Mark Watches ‘Hannibal’: S02E01 – Kaiseki

In the first episode of the second season of Hannibal, I’m a mess. I’M A MESS AND I CHOSE THIS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Hannibal.

Surprise! AGAIN. NONE OF YOU FIGURED THIS OUT muahahahahahaha i have lied so many times in the past two weeks. Sorry to that person I blatantly lied to on Tumblr JUST KIDDING NOT SORRY

So, in case you’re not a video watcher (which is PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE, OF COURSE) allow me to repeat my introduction there. The response to Mark Watches Hannibal was enormous. Ridiculous. Incredibly exciting. Y’all set a record for the most video files downloaded on a single day, AND IT WAS ON A SATURDAY. This experience was so much fun to pull off that literally just hours after I debuted my review for “Apéritif,” I though it would be perfect to simply continue watching the show and tell no one. And I do mean no one. My moderators will testify to the fact that I didn’t tell them. I didn’t even stick this review into WordPress until minutes before it went live because I even wanted to surprise them. Y’all made all the stress and the sacrifice of what little free time I had completely and totally worth it, and I figured there’d be no better way to show then to keep this little bonus experiment going.

A couple of notes about how this is going to work! These reviews for season two will continue to post every day at 10am Pacific time straight through to episode 2×11. I’ll write the review for tonight’s episode, 2×10, Sunday when I watch the episode, which means the video for 2×10 will go in the store on Sunday. (I’m out of town this weekend.) I’ll also get a chance to watch 2×11 on May 10th, will upload the video that day, and then for the final two episodes, they will happen in somewhat real time. Like I did when I was watching Fringe, we’ll have liveblog posts up so you can liveblog the show in the comments in your own timezone. I’ll record my videos and write my reviews on Saturday mornings, and then I’ll tweet from @MarkDoesStuff when they’re ready. It’ll be fun, and then I can actually suffer in real time with y’all. I seriously couldn’t bear the thought of waiting months until I had more time, so doing it now before I start traveling was the best chance I had of pulling this off.

Additionally, as you can tell, there is not a prediction post for season two. I didn’t want to trick y’all too much, first of all, and I thought it would be great if this review went up the day after the one for “Savoureux.” However, there’s another reason I’m not doing predictions: I actually got spoiled for something fairly major. I don’t know when it happens, just that it does. For full transparency, I know this: gung ng fbzr cbvag orireyl xngm qvrf. It’s way too complicated of a story to explain how this came about, but suffice to say I know it’s a thing, and I only knew it a couple of days after I finished writing about season one. Please, DO NOT HINT AT ANY WAY AS TO WHEN IT HAPPENS. Let me at least preserve that sense of surprise / anguish.

SO. With that in mind, let’s talk about “Kaiseki.”

Trigger Warning: For talk of blood/gore, and of abuse/gaslighting.






I didn’t know this show could be more shocking. I didn’t know that a season could open with something so horrifying. I DIDN’T KNOW THAT THERE COULD POSSIBLY BE A FIGHT SCENE MORE INTENSE AND MORE SCREAM-INDUCING THAN THE ONE IN “Fromage.” I’M FUCKED UP. I’M SO FUCKED UP FROM THAT.

Here’s the thing. I wrote extensively about the narrative device that Fuller and company used during the writing of season one that gave the show its horror and urgency. It’s an old trick masters of suspense like Hitchcock used to use: give us the monster. Put it right out in the open. Let us wonder when it’s going to strike. And while in media res is not a new device, the way that this episode utilizes it gives the season an air of urgency and inevitability. This time around, though, we already know who the monster is. What are we waiting for?

For Jack Crawford to recognize the monster for who he is.

There’s no context whatsoever for the fight that breaks out between these two, but it’s not hard to imagine that Jack Crawford, who keeps his anger hidden below the surface in nearly every episode of season one, is unleashed upon Hannibal. He has to know. He has to know that this man destroyed Will Graham and used him in the process in order to do it. Their fight is primal and vicious. It’s a fight between a man determined to destroy a destroyer, to wipe the very idea of Hannibal Lecter out of this world, and a man who will fight with every shred of his being in order to stay alive, in order to win. Again.

It hurts to watch. And of course, it ends on a horrific note: Jack, with a shard of glass in his jugular, stumbles into Lecter’s wine cellar and locks himself within it. I mean, people have survived worse on this show (LOOK HOW GREAT CHILTON LOOKS, Y’ALL), but I’m worried. I’M SO WORRIED. Bryan Fuller has demonstrated before that he has no problem twisting existing canon, so this could end SO BADLY.

Oh god, it’s going to, isn’t it?


One thing I’m thankful that this episode addresses is Jack’s complicity in Graham’s mental decline. We’re introduced to Prurnell, who is investigating on behalf of the FBI in regards to Will Graham’s recent… well, disaster. And I say that because it’s clear that more than anything, Prurnell and the FBI wish this entire case would disappear. It’s why she pressures Alana to recant her complaint against Jack; it’ll make the entire debacle that much easier to pin solely on Will so that the FBI can sweep it all under the rug. I’m glad that Jack doesn’t even bother trying to pressure Alana himself, and I suspect his own guilt prevents him from asking her to recant. He knows he pushed Will far beyond what was decent, but the unfortunate part is that despite this, he still thinks Will is either lying to him about the murders or is delusional. Jack is haunted by the idea of what happened, and I’m sure it’s because he feels responsible in some way. I think it’s the reason he visits Will’s house and doesn’t leave for what seemed like hours. What he believes happened is so unnerving that he can’t shake the need for answers, anything that might help this make sense.

AND IT’S SO FRUSTRATING TO WATCH. It’s frustrating because neither Jack nor Alana have any reason to mistrust Hannibal. That’s particularly true of Alana, who knew Lecter for years before he was involved in this mess. Part of the drama of Hannibal comes from the fact that none of these characters are aware of the world they’re living in. And Hannibal’s manipulation is so far-reaching that there’s no doubt in the minds of anyone. Not Jack, not Alana, not even Beverly.

Actually, that’s not right, is it?

Bedelia Du Maurier

AH, SOMEONE GET HER OUT OF THIS SHOW. PLEASE, TAKE HEED, BEDELIA. WILL DID NOT LISTEN TO ME LAST TIME AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM. Holy shit, Bedelia OPENLY DOUBTS HANNIBAL IN THIS EPISODE. Her sessions with him are somehow even more upsetting and layered than they were in the last season, but I think it’s more obvious than ever that she suspects Hannibal of more than he thinks she does. She accuses Hannibal of being obsessed with Will (OH MY GOD YES), and then realizes that part of the reason he’s consented to let her discuss him with Crawford is to STRONGARM HER INTO LYING FOR HIM. Bedelia, get out of this goddamn world, I swear. This is so bad, I AM SO WORRIED ABOUT HER FATE.

Will Graham’s Mind

I’m actually impressed that something that is so internal to Will is able to be represented in a visual manner. After spending months being gaslighted by Hannibal, Will is uncertain of the truth solely because he has no memories that implicate Hannibal Lecter as the true mastermind behind his framing. I found comfort, though, in the mental happy place he’d constructed, mostly because it was a way for Will to escape. His world is so scary and upsetting to me, but I found that his scenes were more encouraging than ever. He is fighting Hannibal’s manipulation (to Hannibal’s face in one scene!!!) through a powerful validation of his self. He knows who he is, he knows he didn’t kill anyone, and he now knows that Hannibal was responsible. He has to go through a fairly intense hypnosis session with Alana before the memory finally floats back up to conscious mind. (And shit, y’all, that scene was gorgeously rendered. ALANA’S HAIR LOOKED AMAZING.) Now he has a memory to cling to, and I love that scene where he defiantly tells Jack that he doesn’t care if it’s not physical evidence. It’s all the evidence Will needs to confirm the truth to himself. It’s only going to continue down this path, I KNOW IT.

I also wanted to talk about the utterly HEARTBREAKING moment when Beverly comes to visit Will for help on the case the team is baffled by. (More on that case in a bit.) I know I spent a lot of this episode essentially begging for just one person to believe Will, and I thought that Beverly’s appearance here was the first sign that someone did. So yeah, Hugh Dancy? YOUR FACE ISN’T OKAY. That look he gives her when he realizes she’s there to treat him as a consultant is GUT-WRENCHING. He thought that she was there to support him or tell him that she was rooting for him. But that scene she has with Hannibal earlier in the episode is necessary to understand why this isn’t the case. Beverly deals with definitive evidence every day. It’s what she’s good at. She processes physical matter and deducts from that, and every shred of evidence exonerates Hannibal. Like the others, she has no reason to believe Hannibal is responsible for any of this.

Of course, this whole grand manipulation seems to have had a negative affect on Hannibal that he didn’t anticipate: Will Graham is no longer around for him to toy with. GOOD. YOU DESERVE TO BE SAD FOREVER.

The Case

It wasn’t until there was only a couple minutes left in “Kaiseki” that I realized that the utterly disgusting case introduced in this episode wasn’t resolved. Which intrigues me! It’s not like this show has had serialized cases unconnected to the main narrative, so I want to know more. It’s also through the case that we get to witness the utterly horrifying end to Hannibal’s manipulation: HE’S NOW THE FBI’S WILL GRAHAM. HE TOOK WILL’S PLACE. OH MY GOD, MUST YOU RUIN EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH? (Of course. OF COURSE.)

I don’t know that I have anything substantive to say about the case because not that much time was spent on it, which was clearly intentional. Everything else that “Kaiseki” dealt with was far more important, and we needed to be distracted so that the end would take us by surprise. Because WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT. WHERE IS THAT MAN? Is he on the ceiling??? HOW MANY PEOPLE IS THAT. OH MY GOD THIS IS THE WORST THING. I’M SO UPSET.



I can’t deal with him now and forever. HE KEEPS GOING BACK TO WILL’S HOUSE please bury me here i am done i am done.

The video for “Kaiseki” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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