It’s always a treat when a drama takes the time to pause and let its characters to engage with one another without the runaway narrative train pushing them forward. Hannibal takes a much-needed chance to breathe in the opening half of “Relevés.” There’s no killer-of-the-week: instead a more traditional investigative episode, as Will and Crawford begin to put the pieces together regarding the copycat killings.
Director Michael Rymer eschews the shows trademark intense score and opulent lighting for a gentler touch, filling normally gothic-tinted sets like Hannibal’s office with natural light – light that Hannibal is invariably cast in shadows by. Fitting, as he remains the obscured centre of the jigsaw the FBI are unable to solve.
Thankfully the episode takes the time to answer many of the audience’s questions, revealing many of Hannibal’s own motivations behind his actions (a combination of morbid, sociopathic curiosity and a “backup” plan, setting up Will as the perfect patsy for his own murders). Each scene featuring Hannibal carries an undercurrent of imminent violence, and by the time Abigail discovers the doctor’s true nature in the episode’s closing moments, the sinister, heart-pounding tone has returned, ready for the eagerly anticipated events of next week’s finale.