'Hannibal' Season 2 Premiere Recap: The New Will Graham
'Hannibal' Season 2 Premiere Recap: The New Will Graham
Josie Rhodes Cook
Josie Rhodes Cook
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
The premiere episode of the second season of Hannibal has Will behind bars, Lecter out in the field, and the newest body count piling up. Literally.

The first episode of the second season of Hannibal doesn't open on Will Graham, as one might expect. Instead, the first few minutes features a fight between Hannibal Lecter and Jack Crawford. Why are they fighting? We don't know yet, but it gets ugly fast.

At the start of the fight, Lecter throws a knife at Crawford that hits his hand, but instead of letting that incapacitate him, Jack pulls the thing out and continues fighting while his hand bleeds profusely! Nothing stops the guy, apparently. 

Anyway, the two fight mostly hand-to-hand for awhile, and as the fight ensues, it gets uglier. Jack eventually wraps his bloodied hand with his tie, and at one point it looks like he's beaten the doctor - only to be caught off guard when Lecter stabs him in the neck with a chunk of glass off the floor. 

Crawford manages to hide in Lecter's wine storage, but the scene ends as Hannibal tries to break down the door. You may have already seen this scene, as it's been floating around the Internet, but it's definitely worth a re-watch. 

Twelve Weeks Earlier

As it turns out, that scene actually took place in the future! A quick "twelve weeks earlier" caption flashes across the screen, and we instead find ourselves watching a very different scene between Lecter and Crawford; one where Lecter is instead cooking for Jack. 

They speak of mourning, in this particular case mourning the "loss" of Will, and nothing seems amiss between them just yet. Except for, well, the fact that we know what's probably in that food they're both eating. The food is just so gosh-darn pretty, however, and Jack feels a bit guilty for eating it as a result. "I never feel guilty eating anything," Lecter tells him. If you only knew, Crawford.

Gone Fishin'

This episode introduces us to a sort of "happy place" for Will: a quiet river where he's fishing, a place he escapes to in his mind a couple of times throughout the episode. It's a bit like a mind palace would be to the BBC's Sherlock Holmes, or at least that's what I'm reminded of.

The first time we see Will fishing, when he is brought out of his mind, he's in his cell and Frederick Chilton is speaking to him. But Will doesn't want to talk to Frederick. Instead, he says he'd like to speak with Doctor Lecter.

A New Investigation

In the next scene, we see Alana Bloom and Jack Crawford speaking with a woman portrayed by Cynthia Nixon. The woman is Kade Prurnell; she works for the FBI and she's investigating exactly what happened with Will Graham in the first season. 

Bloom, as Ms. Prurnell explains, filed a report that alleged misconduct on the part of Jack Crawford, and an internal investigation is necessary as a result of that and the events surrounding the whole Graham ordeal. She says what she and her colleagues want is for all of it to, "go away - quickly, and quietly." 

But Alana won't recant the report, which would make smoothing over the whole thing much easier. She argues that Will's life has been destroyed as a result of Crawford pushing him, and she wants that to be on record. She might believe Will committed those murders, but she also believes that he was driven to it, and not fully responsible for his actions, and she isn't about to erase evidence of that.

Another Week, Another Body

But what about the crime of the week? Well, there's a body found, as usual. In fact, not just one body, but several. Two men wading in a river to spear unknown objects out of a beaver dam instead find bodies there, so of course the FBI and Crawford's team are called in.

Since Will isn't there to act as Crawford's bloodhound, Lecter is called in instead. He explains that four bodies were already found, and a fifth is discovered when he arrives. The bodies are perfectly preserved in some sort of resin, to create human models. Hannibal suggests that the bodies found there are the "discards," the victims found to be imperfect in the killer's eyes.

Lecter's Obsession

So what else has Lecter been up to this episode? Talking to his psychiatrist, for one. He explains during their first meeting this episode that he's been told Will wants to speak to him, and he's still curious about the way Will thinks. Bedelia Du Maurier implies that the two are continuing to manipulate each other, and tells Lecter he is, "obsessed with Will Graham." 

When Lecter says Will is his friend, Du Maurier questions why. He says Will can't repress who he is, and he admires that honesty. In return, Bedelia asks what Hannibal himself can't repress. It's obvious that she knows there's more going on with her patient, but she's very careful about letting on about this knowledge.


Lecter goes to see Will, and the conversation is tense. During this initial meeting, Will explains that the voice in his head, which used to sound like himself, now sounds like Dr. Lecter. And when Lecter says it might have to do with their close friendship, Will denies that they are friends at all. 

Will is clearly angry with Lecter, and tells the doctor that he now has clarity - in regards to Lecter, at least. It's notable that Will is, in fact, more focused than he's been in a very long while on Hannibal. He swears that he will find a way to prove what Hannibal did, and that when he does, "there will be a reckoning."

The New Will Graham

Hannibal is swabbed for DNA by Beverly, and his clothes checked for evidence. No one expects to find anything, she explains, except Will. After she's done collecting evidence with Hannibal present, she tells him he's the new Will Graham, since their usual is out of commission and all. 

So in a later meeting, Lecter explains to Bedelia about how he "got to be Will Graham" at the crime scene. During this meeting, he gives his consent for Du Maurier to speak to Crawford about the current situation if necessary, and she becomes even more wary of the doctor. When she says Crawford doesn't know what he's capable of, he replies that neither does she. Way to diffuse the suspicion, Hannibal.

Alana's Assistance

So here's the most important question: what's happening with Will's dogs?! Turns out Alana has been taking care of them, as she promised she would, and she tells Will so when she meets with him. Aside from Winston running away to go "home," they're in good shape.

During this meeting, we find out that he's refused any of the lawyers he's been given because they've all been FBI lawyers, and she says she'll find him one that isn't connected to the FBI. Considering the bureau seems to want the whole thing to go away, that's probably a good plan on her part.

It becomes clear during their conversation that Bloom believes that Will is guilty, but that he didn't really have control of what he did. Will asks what it would mean if he could remember, recall the missing memories that could be the key to his case. So they attempt a session of hypnosis to recover said memories.

During the hypnosis, Will sees Alana as a dark figure, made up of darkness and a kind of smoke. She tells him to relax, then moves in to kiss him, at least in his mind. The "smoke" surrounds him when they kiss, and he is transported to a different scene entirely.

In Will's mind, he sits at a table covered in "food," in various states of rot and rancidness. At the head of the table is the strange stag-headed figure he's been seeing in his mind, and just before him on his plate, the ear he threw up into the sink in last season's finale episode. When he pulls out of this sort-of vision, Alana asks what he saw. He doesn't answer, but the scene quickly changes and we are again shown...

Dinner With a Murderer

...Hannibal, cooking this time for Frederick. Chilton can't eat meat as a result of his previous injuries, but I'm sure he's still eating something pretty nasty if Hannibal's culinary history is an indicator. They talk about Will, and how he won't talk to Chilton. He tells Hannibal that the one thing Will does talk about all the time, probably in the recordings Chilton has been taking when others have visited Graham, is Hannibal.

The doctor, it seems, is Will's favorite topic of conversation. Apparently, he tells everyone who will listen that Hannibal is a monster. In a joking tone, Hannibal replies, "you're dining with a psychopathic murderer," and my God, how many of these quips can he get in in one episode?

"Tell Me What You See"

Back to the crime of the week, and we are introduced to the latest victim, an African American man who is shown riding a subway train. He is approached by an unknown man who places his hand over the subject's on a pole and tells him he has nice skin. Which is seriously too creepy for me, because I've had similar encounters on the New York City subway. 

We are then shown the man being lured out of his house and abducted, then being prepared to join the other victims in the murderer's bizarre ritual. He's sewn up in places, injected with something, etc, you know, the sort of creepy stuff we're used to seeing on Hannibal.

Back at the lab, the team tries to determine who the next victim could possibly be. They have nothing in common aside from all being adults who were found injected with copious amounts of heroin. It's become clear that the killer is preserving their looks so they look alive, but it's still not clear why.

I think we all know who Beverly thinks might have some answers, though. She goes to Will for help, bringing the file on the case, along with photos of possible victims, and asks him what he sees. He observes, then states, "it's a color palette," which is the sort of leap we're used to from Will and exactly the leap the case needs to move forward.

One Mystery Solved

Not long after this, Will is brought his meal by one of the guards. As he eats the provided meat, he suddenly remembers an extremely disturbing moment in which Hannibal stuffed a tube down his throat and shoved the ear, later thrown up into his sink, down it. 

It's disturbing in a different way than many of the grotesque scenes on Hannibal because it makes it personal, showing the experience to some degree from Will's point of view. That, at least to me, makes it creepier somehow.


Crawford makes his way to Will's house, where he finds poor Winston waiting for his master to come home. When Alana Bloom arrives to retrieve the dog, they talk about the investigation and about the case in general. 

"Hannibal's not guilty," Crawford argues, but "neither is Will," Bloom states. The two can't totally see eye-to-eye on the situation, but they do know that ultimately Will needs to remember and accept the truth of what happened. Too bad the truth they think he needs to accept is not actually the truth.

Searching for Meaning

Near the end of the episode, Will is again in his "happy place" when Crawford approaches his cell and greets him. They talk for a bit, and Will insists again that Hannibal is in fact responsible for the murders. Will tells Jack that before he didn't even have a memory to recall to support his own innocence, but now he does. Crawford says that's meaningless, but it isn't to Will. It probably means more than anything to him. 

Crawford reminds Will that they investigated Hannibal and found nothing, but Will continues to demand that he "is not the intelligent psychopath you are looking for." Way to stray into Star Wars territory, Hannibal

When Crawford goes to leave, unable to listen to Will any longer, Will tells him that he will eventually believe him. I wonder if it'll take the entire season for Jack to see the light. 

A New Crop of Carnage

The final scene of this premiere episode ends on the most recent victim, now captured, bound, and thrown into a grain silo. A grain silo that, in fact, holds not just this latest victim, but many, many more.

But there's something different about this man; unlike the others, he's still alive. When he wakes up and realizes where he is, what he's surrounded by, and begins to understand what's happened to him, he screams, and the camera pans out to show us a literal pile of human bodies around him. Looks like Hannibal isn't about to go easy on the horror this season!

Hannibal airs every Friday night at 10pm on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)