written by Jeff Vlaming & Bryan Fuller | directed by Tim Hunter
The conclusion of the premiere's story was equally good and very satisfying; opening on one of the most horrifying sequences the show's ever done when kidnapped Roland Umber awoke in the killer's grain silo, and realised he had to tear his own fused flesh apart in order to use his limb and escape. That whole sequence was masterful horror, with the killer chasing Roland through a cornfield to the edge of a cliff above a river... crowned by a soul-crushing ending, as Roland made a leap of faith and battered himself to death on the rocks below. In the creepy world of Hannibal, victory doesn't come easy.
That's exactly what Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is finding behind bars, as his world collapses around him. However, " Sakizuki" did offer some reprieves from his torment—now he's remaining useful as a criminal profiler via the visiting Dr Katz (Hettiene Park), and in the final scene when Dr Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) offers him the first unequivocal piece of hope he's had in a very long time, as she whispers "I believe you" into his ear, before being dragged away by guards. Unfortunately, Du Maurier's now ceased being Hannibal Lecter's (Mads Mikkelsen) therapist and apparently plans to sever ties with social interaction, so it doesn't feel like her support is going to be much help unless she has a change of heart. And if that happens, how long before Lecter has her for dinner?
Here, this involved going to the silo ahead of the Feds, introducing himself to the killer as "a friend", then convincing him to become part of his grotesque mural. If that's not evidence Lecter's a masterful manipulator, I don't know what is. Plus Hannibal got his trophy-meal: a sawn-off limb belonging to the killer, which he later band-sawed into chunks and ate. (Is that the first overt image of a recognisable piece of the human body being devoured by Lecter, incidentally?)
I have no idea how long Hannibal can keep Will Graham incarcerated, although his trial begins next week. Last week's gruelling teaser suggests Jack won't uncover Lecter's guilt until the end of the season, so perhaps Will will be freed mid-year without Lecter necessarily being fingered as the real culprit? This uncertainly certainly works in the show's favour, and I have faith in the writers to make the right decisions. I really hope we get a showcase for Dr Du Maurier soon, however, as it's hard to get a good insight into her. Sometimes it sounds like she's fully aware of Lecter's true nature as a cannibalistic killer (but she owes him a debt so won't say anything), and then sometimes it's as if she only has suspicions. Either way, she's pretty fascinating in her own right, and it would be great to have a flashback episode casting light on her past with Lecter. Or has Anderson gone for good, as she's been cast in new NBC drama Crisis and also has commitments to The Fall?
Overall, "Sakizuki" was another excellent episode with a lot on its mind. I also really love how Will secretly has the upper-hand (now he's play-acting in front of Lecter and Dr Bloom during their sessions together), and is noticing the cracks in Lecter's "design" (the wrong placement of the killer in the mural was a clever nod to this).
- For a very cinematic series, it's fun how much mileage it also gets from people chatting. The show obviously has a lot of investment in the idea of psychotherapy, so it was fun to see that even Jack has a therapist: played by Martin Donovan (Weeds, Homeland).
- Loved the brief comic moment when Lecter accidentally bumped into a few people back at the FBI's morgue; a little nod to the fact he's not at home in this sterile environment, and certainly not the equal of Will Graham.
- The title "Sakizuki" is the first part of the kaiseki meal, similar to the French "amuse bouche".