I think this was my favorite episode of Hannibal yet and a big part of it is we get to see Hannibal get down and dirty. By that, I mean he actually fights someone and it’s a visceral fight, one of the rare times we see Hannibal’s elegance shed like skin. The fight is brutal, violent, and at one point, it almost seems like Hannibal is going to lose. His knowledge of human anatomy gets him out of trouble and the best part is that when the fight wraps up, he starts playing the piano, cold as ice.
In fact, the two motifs that run through the series, aside from murder and death, are food and music. The killer is using the victim’s vocal chords, a trombonist, to serenade a mysterious audience (before this episode, I hadn’t known cat gut was used for cello strings). Will Graham can’t figure out who the killer wants to impress. Hannibal, through his patient, Franklin, figures out that his friend Tobias is the killer. Even more disturbing, Tobias knows Hannibal’s secret, having secretly tracked him during the events of last week’s episode. They seem to share many traits and for a while, there’s almost the hint that Tobias could be the friend that Hannibal longs for. But he’s not. Instead, it’s Will, a revelation Hannibal makes to his psychiatrist.
The twists and turns of this episode rely on the psychological, as do the episodes themselves. Finding out the killer for each episode is less important than the way Graham, Hannibal, and company react to each other and develop their relationships. Jack Crawford takes a back seat in this episode, and Alana Bloom fills in as a budding love interest for Graham, all while we slowly start seeing Graham’s mental state fall apart. This is a younger Hannibal we see. Knowing what awaits them doesn’t make the events any less tense.