Hannibal is one of those shows that is constantly critically-acclaimed but doesn’t draw the kind of ratings it really should. Since it debuted in 2013, the show has attracted a very loyal audience and has been lavished with critical acclaim but renewal has always been a bit touch-and-go. Thankfully the show has already been renewed for a third season so we know that we’ve got at least one more year to enjoy.
Hannibal: The Complete Season Two arrives on DVD this week and the season ups the ante in every conceivable way. At the end of the first season Hannibal (Mads Mikkelson) framed Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) for the murder of Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl). When we last saw the brilliant but unstable Will he was being admitted to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Season two’s opener Kaiseki opens where the first season left off but not before a very juicy flash-forward that shows Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) in a very bloody fight with Hannibal which could potentially cost him his life.
Once the flash-forward has taken place the show rewinds 12 weeks and the FBI is being investigated by Kade Purnell (Cynthia Nixon) who is looking into Jack’s misconduct in the handling of Will’s instability. Whilst Jack and his team try to get Purnell of their backs, Will is trying to figure out how Hannibal managed to frame him and clear his name. He enlists the help of Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) but her loyalties are called into question when she grows closer to Hannibal.
Season 2 of Hannibal focuses on the shifting power battle between Hannibal and Will. Now Will is aware of what Hannibal is capable of, he tries to make everyone else see the truth about the good doctor. Of course it isn’t all that simple to do that, especially when you’re a patient of a mental asylum.
Fans of Thomas Harris’ original stories will be pleased that some more characters from his world are introduced during the course of season 2. Margot (Katharine Isabelle) and Mason Verger (Michael Pitt) recur in an interesting story arc that affects both Will and Hannibal. We don’t want to say too much though as there’s plenty of twists and turns with those two characters.
At the heart of Hannibal are strong performances from Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen. The two actors are remarkable in their roles and the chemistry they form with one another is simply incredible. The best scenes are always when these two are on screen together and the constant shift in their relationship keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Another plus for the season is the return of Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier. Anderson proved very popular as a guest star in the first season and recurs in this second season. Her icy cool performance is spectacular to watch and her chemistry with Mikkelsen as Hannibal is magnificent.
Extras on the release include audio commentaries with the cast and crew, several featurettes taking you behind-the-scenes, webisodes, a gag reel and deleted scenes.
Hannibal: The Complete Season Two is a superb watch and packed with more twists and turns than you’ll expect. There are plenty of shocks along the way, one of which left us with our jaws on the floor, and the season finale teases a very different third season. Whilst the cooking and meat preparation scenes still make us want to heave, we’re absolutely addicted to this fantastic series. Fingers crossed it lasts for a few more years yet!