Hopefully viewers won’t eat before watching this one. This season’s second episode, “Sakizuke,” contains some of the most gruesome imagery since season one’s “Coquilles,” where victims were made into wonderfully grotesque angels. The entire opening of this episode contains some great special effects sure to turn a few stomachs. The victim from last week tears himself from his killer’s work of art leaving behind chunks of flesh and gore. It’s definitely gripping, but all the excitement does leave the rest of the episode feeling a bit too low-key.
That’s not to say that Sakizuke isn’t a good episode. Hannibal is such a clever show with its various bits of symbolism and multifaceted storylines that even its “bad” episodes are not bad, they just aren’t as great as others. Aside from the opening, “Sakizuke” lacks that certain punch that most Hannibal episodes have.
Still, it does have its moments. After leaving some flesh behind, Roland Umber (Ryan Field) attempts to escape his killer, but is cornered and jumps off a cliff, leaving a body for our favorite investigators to find. This leads to a great scene where Hannibal is given a chance to examine the body and gives it a good sniff. We haven’t seen this chef put his nose to work much yet, so it was fascinating to see just how powerful Hannibal’s sense of smell is. He’s able to discern the location of the killer’s color palette of bodies and goes to admire the art for himself.
Meanwhile Will (Hugh Dancy) seems to be recovering nicely and is devising his own plans to manipulate Hannibal. He feigns a bit of reconciliation with Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) in a bid that is obviously an attempt to ‘keep his friends close, but his enemies closer.’ We also finally get to see Will do more than fly fish when Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) returns for a visit. He mumbles his famous “this is my design” as he mentally recreates the crime scene around him after being handed photographs.
This is a bit of fresh air, and it’s good to see these scenes make a comeback, even if it could have been pushed a little further. While he does interact with the mental crime scene, he does not recreate events or fully step into the killer’s shoes as he did before. Understandably this is because he’s merely looking at photographs, and not actually at the scene of the crime, but Will has been shown to have such a great empathetic imagination that there really isn’t any reason these scenes couldn’t play more like last season’s investigations. It’s an element of the show that will be missed until they are brought back in their entirety. Why not have Will imagine he is performing these horrific actions? Prison hasn’t stopped him from going on mental fishing trips. Should he not also do a little investigative mental murder?
Will’s probing reveals what happened to the unnamed serial killer, and Hannibal’s role in his demise. Lecter’s interactions with the murderous artist make for some unexpected humorous moments. “I love your work,” Hannibal tells him while admiring the human color palette that is revealed to look like an eye.
We continue to see Hannibal lose supporters this episode, as his therapist, Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) tells him she’ll no longer be seeing him. There’s a tense moment between them that makes you question what her fate will be. It’s a nicely done scene that really strikes a chord or fear and unease. Of course, one wonders if Du Maurier’s departure from the series isn’t also due to actress Gillian Anderson’s new roles on the series Crisis. Her last scene where she makes a confession to Will is a good sendoff.
All in all, “Sakizuke” is not very action heavy. Action is not always needed, but a little more might have been appreciated this episode. With the high octane opening, it felt as if the climax of the episode occurred within the first five minutes. Much of the runtime was devoted to conversation. It was well written conversation, but the episode does feel a bit dialogue heavy. While certain props and effects are stunning as always (particularly a severed leg that looks incredibly real) there aren’t as many visually compelling scenes in comparison to last week’s episode. Had there been, “Sakizuke” might have been just as strong as the season opener. Still, this is a solid episode that will leave you craving for a taste of the next one.