Show creator Bryan Fuller and his crew have put together a dark, twisted and intense second season of Hannibal, and though they choose to burn the fuse slowly, the fireworks by the end of the season are well worth the long build-up. The plot tends to move at a glacial pace at first, but serves to set the stage for Hannibal, Will Graham and Jack Crawford to engage each other in a masterful game of chess, with gut-wrenching maneuvers in the final episode. Stand-out performances on the parts of Hugh Dancy as Will Graham and the always fantastic Laurence Fishburn as Jack Crawford and an excellent supporting cast help the viewer become fully engaged with the characters, and Mads Mikkelson brilliantly presents a stone-cold, calculating and often unnerving Hannibal Lecter who, though he can seem vulnerable in a given moment, becomes frighteningly imposing when his true nature comes to the forefront.
Hannibal is a rare show that excels in its moral ambiguity, keeping the viewer guessing what the end game is for each of the main characters, and the eerie visuals and ever-present motifs make for an unsettling experience not soon forgotten, especially after viewing the jaw-dropping final episode of the season. Far and away one of the best shows on television, pay or otherwise.