19th Sep2014

‘Hannibal: The Complete Season Two’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne | Created by Bryan Fuller


What is it about the character of Hannibal Lecter that draws us in? Gaspard Ulliel’s version in Hannibal Rising may not have had the same success as Anthony Hopkins or Mads Mikkelsen but Lecter is adored by the fans, even as one of the greatest monsters in movie history.  Watching Hannibal: The Complete Season Two especially the final episode you can’t help but feel that the show has peaked in such a glorious manner, can it get any better?

The second season of Hannibal is a story of two halves, the first being Wil Graham’s (Hugh Dancy) fight to get out of the mental asylum and have people believe that Lecter is the guilty one, and the second half introduces the Vergers and the battle of wits of Graham and Lecter.  With the surprises that are sprung on us all, culminating in the final episode, the finale is an exquisite ballet drenched in blood and regret.

My last sentence sounds way too romanticised I know, but there was a point to that and it reflects how the final episode is set out.  The dance that Lecter and Graham are in is very much a love story between the characters, even if the result would just be friendship.  As hinted previously in the first season and now in the second Lecter really is obsessed with being Wil’s friend, though he has to manipulate Wil into the friend Lecter could have.  In the second season we really start to see this change in Wil and really I’m not sure that he’s not bought into the fantasy of joining Lecter, there is a metamorphosis taking place in the character that keeps the audience guessing.  The final scenes have a feeling of heartbreak between them both as the betrayals are piled onto each other when all lies and subterfuge finally fall away there is just them, on the battlefield of regret.   The fact that we have no idea where season three can go from this shows how destructive this season is and although it is arguably over the top on a huge level I loved just how grandiose it all became.

For the battle of Lecter and Graham to work though I did notice that certain characters became slightly annoying, and this is the case of Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas).  Her devotion to Hannibal is understandable as she feels betrayed by not only Wil but also Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) which makes her susceptible to Hannibal’s manipulations.  It’s just a shame that her blind devotion makes her that character which you just end up hating for the stupidity they show, though of course they are often redeemed at the end.

While we have the battle of Lecter and Graham I was surprised that they could actually fit in the story elements for Mason Verger (Michael Pitt) and his sister Margot (Katharine Isabelle).  Adding this story to the mix as well as continuing Freddie Lounds’ (Lara Jean Chorostekci) story show that the Hannibal series is not an easy prequel for Silence of the Lambs.  I doubt in truth that was ever the case, but I still look forward to finally seeing Clarice Starling make an arrival.  Michael Pitt and horror favourite Katharine Isabelle really shine in the roles of the Vergers and the fact we get the pigs and the infamous dog scene is something I’m sure horror fans loved as much as I did.  You need a strong stomach though so be prepared.

What I like about Hannibal: The Complete Season Two is the fact that even if the show does become too over the top at times it really goes for the extreme and feels like it is breaking boundaries with how far it will go.  The character of Hannibal is excellent, especially in Mads Mikkelsen’s hands and knowing that Gillian Anderson is going to be a regular character in the third season shows that there are plans in motion that the fans are bound to love.  As long as the show keeps the same focus as it has been doing, I tend to think this will stay as one of my favourite shows.

***** 5/5

Hannibal: The Complete Season Two is available on DVD and Blu-ray from September 22nd.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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