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‘Hannibal’ Review: “Amuse-Bouche”

NBC Hannibal Review Amuse Bouche
NBC

‘Hannibal’ serves up another course with its second episode of the series “Amuse Bouche,” as Will Graham struggles with his killing of Garret Jacob Hobbs, while a new killer cultivating mushrooms off his victim’s corpses becomes complicated by the involvement of sleazy journalist Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki).

Last week’s ‘Hannibal’ premiere “Apéritif” saw Will reluctantly drawn back into the field to capture the “Minnesota Shrike,” aided by the expertise of Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), so how the second episode of ‘Hannibal’ taste?  Does the second layer hold up as well as the first??

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Hannibal’s latest episode, “Amuse-Bouche!”

Awakened from a ghastly dream of shooting a lifeless Garrett Jacob Hobbs at a firing range, Will finds himself at the investigation of Hobbs’ cabin. Given all the work involved in Hobbs’ crimes, Jack theorizes that he may have had help, possibly even from his own daughter, while Will finds a long hair left at the crime scene before them. Elsewhere, Freddie Lounds sits naked at her computer and uploads exclusive photos of the crime scene to her website, TattleCrime.com.

Downplaying applause from his students, Will lectures about his take-down of Garrett Jacob Hobbs, before Dr. Alana Bloom and Jack confront him after class. Jack insists he wants Will back in the field full time, but only after a psych evaluation from Hannibal Lecter. Alana concurs, noting that Will had never killed anyone before Hobbs, and has been spending a good deal of time with the killer’s daughter in the hospital.

Will meets with Hannibal, surprised that the therapist is willing to rubber-stamp his evaluation and simply share an open conversation about Hobbs. Hannibal points out that Will needs a way out of dark places, admitting he too feels responsible for Abigail Hobbs, as part of the scenario that made her an orphan. Will continues to reject the idea that Abigail might have been helping her father, while Hannibal assures him his feelings aren’t misplaced. Elsewhere, out in the woods, some young boys stumble upon a mushroom garden with several human hands sticking out from the dirt.

Down in the firing range, Beverly Katz helps Will correct his stance, before calling him in on the mushroom case. The pair head to the crime scene, finding a number of human bodies arranged in shallow graves to have mushrooms growing out of their corpses, while an elaborate system kept the bodies alive for a period of time. Will attempts to reconstruct the crime in his mind, but finds himself distracted by an image of Garrett Jacob Hobbs, while nearby Freddie Lounds subtly questions a hapless officer about the crime scene.  Suddenly, one of the bodies springs to life and grab’s Will’s hand.

Back in Hannibal’s office, Will describes his hallucination of Hobbs, but Hannibal insists he’s simply under stress. Dr. Lecter theorizes that Will is afraid he enjoyed killing Hobbs too much, as they ponder the significance of the mushrooms, and Freddie Lounds attempts to listen in on the conversation from outside. Shortly after, Hannibal steps outside and welcomes Freddie (under an assumed name) into his office, but quickly sees through the reporter’s deception, and ominously forces her to delete her recordings.

While Jack shares dinner with Hannibal, discussing his need to protect the delicate Will from his work, Will and the team perform autopsies on the mushroom bodies. Noting that they all died of kidney failure, and were treated in such a way as to cultivate the mushrooms, Will realizes that all the victims were diabetics, and likely driven into a coma by the pharmacist prescribing their insulin. Meanwhile, we see pharmacist Eldin Stamets selling the wrong insulin to his latest customer, ‘Wonderfalls’ Gretchen Speck!

Jack, Will and a SWAT team infiltrate the pharmacy, finding that they’ve only just missed Eldin Stamets, who fit the profile from all the previous disappearances. The remaining pharmacists direct the FBI to Stamets’ car, arriving just in time to rescue an unconscious Gretchen Speck from the trunk, though Stamets is still nowhere to be found. Inside, the team finds that Stamets’ had previously visited TattleCrime.com, wherein Freddie Lounds managed to post an intimate assessment of Will Graham, and his role in the investigation.

Police burst into Freddie’s apartment, restraining her as Jack questions how she got such exclusive access to confidential crime scenes and reports. Freddie points out that Jack has nothing to indict her with, and the police file out, but not before Zeller points out that she used him to get the information she wanted.

Over in Abigail Hobbs’ room, Will dreams of the mysterious stag, waking to find Alana reading to the unconscious girl. Alana assures him that he shouldn’t feel guilt for saving Abigail’s life, to which he weakly admits feeling good about it. The next morning, Freddie Lounds finds the detective from the crime scene waiting for her outside, but before she can offer to help him find work elsewhere, Stamets appears and coldly shoots the man dead, asking for information about Will Graham.

Sometime later, Freddie recovers in an ambulance, telling Jack that Stamets wanted to know about Will. Seeking someone who understands him, and the way mushrooms make connections like the human brain, Stamets intends to find and bury Abigail to help Will connect to her. Meanwhile, Stamets borrows scrubs from within the hospital, and makes his way toward Abigail’s room.

On his way to visit the girl, Will learns from Jack that Stamets is on approach, and rushes to the room to find it empty. Will races around the hospital in search of the girl, finally finding Stamets wheeling her away, before Will shoots him in the shoulder. Stamets laments that he thought Will would understand, and want to make true connection with the girl, but Will insists he doesn’t understand him as he believes.

Later, Will meets with Hannibal and explains that he saw no visions of Hobbes as he shot Stamets. Will still worries that eventually he’ll feel good about killing someone, even if they deserve it, but Hannibal points out that God too must be fond of killing, considering how often he does it. Even if God didn’t enjoy killing , it at least makes him feel powerful.

We were huge fans of the pilot episode, and the unique, visually haunting manner in which it managed to distinguish itself from other procedurals while still establishing vividly-drawn characters. “Amuse-Bouche” largely deals with the fallout of the previous episode, painting a broader picture of Will’s issues with killing, and fleshing out a few other relationships only alluded to in the premiere. The same eloquent discourse and hauntingly beautiful imagery presents itself throughout the episode, even though it lacks a bit of the tension inherent in the pilot’s investigation.

The second episode of a series can often stumble a bit, if only to prove that series has legs to walk on going forward, but “Amuse-Bouche” still manages to create some truly striking television as it wades into the deepening relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. We’ll be interested to see if future episodes weave Hannibal himself into the narrative more, or keep with a case-of-the-week basis.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Hannibal’ hit the spot with its second episode? What did you like about “Amuse-Bouche?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Hannibal’ episode recap of “Potage” on NBC!

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