Hannibal Recap: S2E1 Kaiseki (relatively spoiler free)
The term “kaiseki” means hot stone in a kimono fold, and it is believed that Zen priests would tuck hot stones wrapped in towels next to their stomach to cure their hunger pangs during their morning and afternoon prayers (the term “kai” means a fold in a kimono and “seki” means stone). In this way it was believed that only a small amount of kaiseki would be enough to take away your hunger. Originally, kaiseki was a simple, vegetarian meal served during the traditional tea ceremony. It was thought the tea would taste better if the guests were not so hungry. Today kaiseki is no longer a strictly vegetarian meal but may also include both meat and fish.
One kaiseki dinner can consist of anywhere from 6 to 15 different kinds of food.
The kind of food served will change according to the different months, seasons and what is freshly available at the local market. It is also depends on the area. For example, a kaiseki served in February in Kyushu would be different than a kaiseki served February in northern Honshu.
It is said that kaiseki is a meal at one with nature. In fact, guests will often find such things from nature as flowers and leaves adorning the food. The ingredients are natural, of high quality and chosen according to the season. Most important of all, the ingredients are all freshly served… each course is served immediately after it is prepared so as to maintain the freshness of the ingredients. The design and the display of the food is a reflection of shapes found within nature…
(from http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com. Click the link for more info).
Kaiseki indeed. A well planned meal, each step executed perfectly and on a delicate, careful schedule.
Until someone is late or makes a mistake. Until somewhere, somehow, something goes wrong.
We know in the first two minutes something has gone wrong. We have, however, no idea of what it might be. And the tight way this shows is written, we won’t until it happens.
Now that’s a hook.
Well played, Fuller and Lightfoot. Well played.
And a “well-done, sirrah,” to my pod-partner, who correctly predicted the extended flashback nature of S2. Which would normally drive me crazy but, in this case, isn’t. Explanation? Doesn’t feel like a flashback. More like a dash of precognition followed by a whole lot of superior writing.
Gillian Anderson is still creepy as fuck, queen to Hannibal’s king, shuffling the pieces at his direction. Why? We know some (he killed a patient who attacked her) but that’s clearly not the sum total of the story (why did she hide it? Why is she hiding what he’s doing now?). Wide eyes and defensive posture mean she’s getting jumpy, perhaps even terrified. Preview indicates she’s not going to put up with his ego forever.
And then, Hannibal and Will. Oh, Hannibal and Will.
Hannibal continues, somehow, to view Will both as a friend and a patsy. Genuinely. He has no guilt, but there’s clear remorse at having lost his “playmate,” his matcher of wits, his intellectual, if not constitutional, equal.
“There will be a reckoning…” Will says. Hannibal responds he has faith in Will, faith in Will’s ability to expose Hannibal. Big. Fucking. Gauntlet. “Come and get me,” Hannibal is saying, because he needs the game. He’s bored now his toy has been taken away, and his willingness to be investigated by the FBI confirms. Also, without Will, Hannibal is just the weird kid in the corner. And no one, not even cannibal sociopaths, like to be the weird kid in the corner.
The next big ah-ha moment comes when Beverly Katz tells Hannibal, “You’re not a suspect, you’re the new Will Graham.” Hannibal is the new profiler, sure, but he also has the ability to empathize with serial killers the way Will does. The big difference? Hannibal actually is a serial killer. A very organized, methodical, OCD serial killer. Who eats the evidence. His obsession with Will, however, is an unexpected break in Hannibal’s pattern, their friendship an flaw in the system. And as we all know from hours and hours and hours of police procedurals, serial killers get caught when they break their pattern.
*cue dramatic music with lots of vibrato or those drums playing in the background at the crime scene. Those were some serious drums*
The background case was a good call. The color palette angle is intriguing. It was a toss up whether or not we’d care about the ancillary crimes once Will was behind bars and so far so good. The break in the high-tension wire makes the characters more realistic and keeps us from having a heart attack by the end of every episode from the adrenaline surge. And who knows: this challenge to his place in the pantheon may be what cracks Hannibal. Eddie Izard almost got him last season and this new killer has a much wider range.
Two little nitpicks:
1) The encephalopathy diagnosis was made (remade) once Will was in custody. Will’s crimes were “committed” under the influence of an organic brain disorder that effectively rendered him incompetent, albeit temporarily. Which means no death penalty, even if convicted. Besides which, Maryland repealed the death penalty in 2013 and several organizations, including the American Bar Association and the American Psychiatric Association endorse federal death penalty exemptions for the severely mentally ill. So yeah. No.
2) Beverly Katz would never, ever, ever be allowed to bring Will a file. Nor would with an FBI agent with any common sense do so. Bringing a supposed serial-killer cannibal an active investigation file? Really, Katz? Showing your clearly traumatized friend, no matter the mechanism of the trauma, crime scene photos that may further traumatize him or catapult him into some sort of violence? Stupid and cruel.
I predict her being eaten at some point during the season, by the way.
Rating: five out of five severed heads. Because that seems more appropriate than stars.