Symbols and Sociopaths: Hannibal Season 2, Episode 2


Jonathan May

Like, massive spoiler alert.

Watching the second episode of Hannibal, I couldn’t help but selfishly wonder if somehow, some way, the show’s producers had read my post from last week and decided to give me everything I wanted. If it’s foolish to dream, then I’m foolish. All to say, this episode gave me the heebie-jeebies—it scratched my blood itch and left me wanting next Friday like it was payday.

We’re presented this season around with Lecter stepping into Will Graham’s role as a forensic/psychological expert, a role Hannibal relishes. In this episode, this relationship is brought to the forefront, and we get to see how Dr. Lecter reacts to the close quarters of the FBI’s investigative minds at work. I was completely delighted to see the use of symbolic imagery play out in this episode; the dark antlered man as Lecter read well for the overall thematics, which concerned the relation of God to man, creator to subject.

This unfolded through the serial killer obsessed with a “human palette” made of resined bodies of various shades sown together in a silo. Lecter, wise to his own ilk, finds the killer before everyone else and adds him to the picture, and then his plate. The cooking scene in this episode took a lot of care to show the many stages of preparation for a human thigh; I was even hungry for a moment.

The juxtaposition of closed and open spaces made me wonder exactly who is caged and who is caging, which was doubled down when Lecter’s psychologist (played by Gillian Anderson) decides to exeunt with all relevant information. She even stops by to see Will Graham and tells him, “I believe you.” Of course, she disappears immediately thereafter.

This bit of maddening information must certainly fan Will’s flames as he heads to trial in next week’s episode.

Thankfully, Dr. Beverly Katz (played by Hettienne Park) landed a central role in this season’s events. She really adds a keen and watchful eye to the situation, while still being a great unaware foil to Lecter; their awkward “dance” in the forensics room gave great comedic evidence for this.

My predictions for this week: Hannibal is a witness, Gillian Anderson is dead/missing, Dr. Katz gets real with Lecter. And hopefully more food porn.

Jonathan May watches too much television, but he’s just playing catch-up from a childhood spent in Zimbabwe. You can read his poetry at, follow him on Twitter at @jonowenmay, or email him at

Hannibal airs Friday nights on NBC. You can read our piece about the previous episode here.

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