Hannibal Review: “Sakizuki”


NOTE: I’m taking on the weekly review duties for NBC’s Hannibal. My disclaimer now, and forever, is that everybody here should watch the crap out of this show so it doesn’t get cancelled. I’d really appreciate it.

That was… that was a hell of a cold open. As Hannibal moves into the second part of its “mural killer” opening arc, it continues to ask the big questions: What is evil? Can you trust your memory? Are you really allowed to do that on a network TV show?

Horrendous acts of violence aside, “Sakizuki” gives further indication of how aggressive this show will be over the eleven episodes that comprise the rest of Season 2. The story moves forward in bold strokes; our characters are beginning to make moves.

I’m making it official: Hannibal is my favorite show on the air right now.

There’s a lot of highlights in “Sakizuki” — indeed, it’s one of the show’s strongest to date.

The big news this week concerns Dr. Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), Hannibal’s enigmatic therapist. She anchored one of Season One’s most fascinating arcs as a shrewd psychologist with an analytical edge that rivals the one on her most dangerous patient. Her history with Hannibal is only glimpsed in hints, but each one points towards something really compelling. And now… she’s gone.

In real life, this was done partially for scheduling reasons, but it has real ramifications for the world of the show. What does she know about Hannibal? Is she in danger (the scene at the end sure seems to say so)? How will removing her from the equation affect the psyche of our title character?

Also, how cruel is it to taunt Will with someone who finally believes him, only to snatch her away as soon as she admits it?


Another subplot centered on an enigmatic, vaguely creepy lady. Bringing a lot of biting frankness and every inch of her neck to bear on Will’s case, Kade Prurnell became a real force to be reckoned with in basically no time at all. Most of the series regulars (Alana, Jack, Katz) have doubts about Will’s guilt, but bringing in a hardass FBI investigator really provides the accelerant for his pleas of innocence.

And oh yeah — woven in and amongst the lies and posturing is the case of the human mural killer/artist. Like the best of Hannibal, this is weird, gripping stuff. Even setting aside the nightmare-inducing opening sequence, the pair of scenes featuring Hannibal’s interaction with the mural and its maker are truly chilling.

For one thing, he’s wearing that creepy-ass clear suit again, which is now up there with the famous Hannibal mask in terms of unsettling, yet practical fashion choices.

But for another, Dr. Lecter is in fantastic form; he undercuts what the audience assumes will be a protracted spying scene with a simple quip: “I love your work.”* Only this guy could find himself face to face with an eye made out of embalmed corpses in a corn silo and not only be amused, but join right in after the commercial break.

There’s a sense that Hannibal has been let loose in this season, but has this newfound freedom threatened his facade? A number of things in this episode seem to indicate as much. Whether it’s the visual motif of a cracking shell,** Hannibal’s intrusive presence in the crime lab, or the simple, undeniable fact that Will knows, Hannibal Lecter needs to step even more carefully than usual. Is it Friday yet?

Favorite quote: “So you’re Hannibal’s therapist. What’s that like?” Nicely done, Mr. Dancy.


*I said this in my article last week, but one of the things I love about this show so much is that between the horror and psychoanalysis and generally macabre stuff on display in any given episode, it’s frequently and almost cornily funny.

**Seen in the resin the corpses are packed in… which seems to be a visual echo of Hannibal’s aforementioned plastic suit.

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  1. I’ve watched it from the start. My favorite show. I tell everybody about it. Please watch! If this thing gets cancelled, it will be a tragedy discovered in hindsight by curious TV lovers that one of the best shows of the TV renaissance didn’t get the attention it needed to stay on the air.


    1. Last year, there was some noise about another network — most prominently, Amazon — picking up the show if NBC pulled the plug. Don’t know if that’s still true or not, but I don’t really care how it stays alive as long as it actually does.

      1. One great thing that’s not particularly well known about Hannibal is that it’s actually produced for a Canadian network (owned by Sony) called AXN, and it airs internationally across the globe on a huge number of Sony-owned networks. NBC gets the rights in the US for a very low price, as I understand it, so it increases the chances of it not getting cancelled by them. And it also means that future seasons are not necessarily reliant on US ratings on NBC if it is still doing well internationally. That being said, I still want people to watch because it deserves a big audience.

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