Like many foodies, I gravitated to Hannibal the series both for the beautiful dinner parties and the people eating*. As a lifelong horror fan, it had everything I craved at the time, from the quiet, gorgeous framing, delightful costuming, and little things like growing mushrooms on people or a man who is turned into a beehive.

Every time we rewatch and reread a work, it becomes new in that we have space to notice new details, or to notice old details in a new way. During the intervening days and years between consumption we have taken in new works that create new spaces for these old works to slot newly into our minds, thus changing our worldview oh-so-slightly, wonderfully, in a way that creates a cascade effect to change the works we have taken in and will taken in – and on and on.

In season 2, episode 8, Jack and Will go ice fishing. At this point –


Will has dealt with his encephalitis and subsequent minor jail sequence as the suspected copycat killer. Jack, in the surety of his leadership style, has not yet accepted Hannibal as a suspect, but is working to reintegrate a newly freed Will.

The entirety of their two personalities and the tug of interaction – Jack’s overconfidence, Will’s quick thinking, poorly executed communication style – is on full display in a single frame. Look at the footprints in the snow leading to the ice fishing hole.

Jack’s footprints are in a straight line with a brutally even stride. Will’s footprints are turned in and out, as though the character has carefully and quickly picked his way over the ice, even though of the two, he is the more experienced fisherman.

It’s a single instance of care for the characters, the setting, and the audience, that draws me back to the show again and again.

*Eating people? I feel like this is one of those accidental in-jokes, if you haven’t seen the show and don’t realize Hannibal doesn’t just rhyme with cannibal.

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