HANNIBAL: 1.02 “Amuse-bouche”
One thing that I really liked about the second episode of the most surprising show on TV this year was the continued fall-out from Will’s showdown with last week’s cannibal. The show and its characters don’t gloss over or bury what happened. It’s obviously eating Will up; he spends hours by the wounded Abigail Hobbs’ beside, despite the fact that she is now a suspect; he spends time polishing up his rusty shooting at the gun range; and he returns to Hannibal’s couch for more than just a cursory analysis when it becomes clear to him that his guilt (or his obsession) over his killing of Walter Jacob Hobbes interferes with his ability to understand this week’s serial killer.
Speaking of this week’s killer: Eldon Stammitz, this week’s maniac, is a myconid obsessed pharmacist who’s been burying his victims alive in a nutrient rich soil so their bodies feed the growth of some kind of special mushroom. I’m not sure we get much of a deep understanding of Stammitz’s motivation, other than his obsession with the interconnected nature of fungi, but his methods were tremendously creepy; the neat rows of mounded dirt, sprouting with mushrooms, amid barely visible IV attached hands emerging from the dirt was nightmare fuel. Will eventually takes him down with a non-lethal bullet to the shoulder, but it doesn’t stop him from agonizing over the Hobbes case. He admits to Hannibal later that killing Hobbes felt good, and the look on his face suggests he’s frightened by the admission.
Though the mushroom man case from this week was quickly resolved, it seems clear that the Hobbes/Minnesota Shrike investigation will continue onwards, both for the FBI as they attempt to determine if Hobbes’ daughter was involved in the killings as well, and in Will’s damaged psyche as he tries to come to terms with what he did. I expect this will lead to more couch sessions between Hannibal and Will, which have been really great scenes so far.
I should also mention our new character, muckraking TMZ wannabe, Freddie Lounds, who leaks some compromising information about the mushroom man investigation to the general public and at least, temporarily, allows the killer to escape. She also tries to get more information about Will by taping his therapy session with the good doctor, but Hannibal sees through her lies with ease. Their back and forth in his office was brilliant and full of tension, and for at least fifteen minutes afterwards, I was convinced that Lechter had killed her and served her up to Jack Crawford in the next scene. I guess the loin that Jack ate really was pork, and Freddie lived to stir up more trouble in the future, but I wouldn’t be surprised if pieces of Freddie eventually wind up on Hannibal’s plate.