From the brains of Pushing Daisies and Heroes creator Bryan Fuller, season two of Hannibal continues the re-imagining of Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon.
Hannibal starts off with a thrilling fight scene between Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) that leaves the audience with unanswered questions. FBI Agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is seen coping with the events of last season, as well as dealing with his surroundings at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane and the realisation of the actions of his mentor, Dr. Lecter. The season progresses through Will’s determination to solve crimes, apprehend Lecter and his struggle with the psychological toll of his job.
This season is interestingly disturbing; with gruesome scenes and horrifying images, Hannibal is not everyone, especially those with a weak stomach. However, what makes the show so fascinating is the psychological power struggle between Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Dancy and Mikkelsen create an exhilarating chemistry that is intensely fascinating to watch. It is particularly unsettling to watch Will’s dark and steady downfall into the temptation of turning into a dreadful being with the alluring assistance of his mentor, Dr. Lecter. Both characters influence each other in terrible ways, especially with Will’s realisation of Lecter’s sickening interest.
Both actors are electrifying on screen; Dancy shows his ability to create a versatile character, successfully conveying Will’s dark descent into madness. Mikkelsen is diabolically sinister in his role, making his performance outstandingly cringeworthy.
Whilst the show produces effective dramatic results, Hannibal fails to show repentance for it’s horrifying actions, and although this may be selling point to some, audiences expect remorse from fictional characters. Hannibal is filled with violent and nauseating imagery and is not recommended of those with weak stomachs. A unique feature of the TV show is the naming each episode after a specific cuisine – French, and now Japanese – wryly referencing Lecter’s sickening interest.
With only a limited series order – 13 episodes – Hannibal successfully creates a gripping mystery drama that subverts the crime genre ideal. With commanding performance from leads Dancy and Mikkelsen, as well as the supporting cast, the show generates strong and shocking reactions.
Remember, Hannibal is not for the fainthearted.