Early last week NBC released the first two-and-a-half minutes or so of Kaiseki, the first episode of Hannibal‘s second season. The big fight between Jack and Hannibal had been teased in trailers for a while before that and for a while Therese and I had been hypothesizing – as I know most people were – that this season would be filled with numerous flashbacks or flash-forwards. After that opening scene of Jack and Hannibal fighting we all but got our confirmation and now that Kaiseki has aired in full? Well, we’ve got our answer.

At least, we got our answer for that particular scene, I guess.

The fight between Hannibal and Jack takes place twelve weeks after the events in the rest of the episode. So that’s twelve weeks after we first meet up with Will back under Dr. Chilton’s “care,” twelve weeks after we start the investigation that leads to the silo of bodies, and less than twelve weeks after the start of Will’s actual trial based on the episode two trailer. What a lot of people are wondering now is whether or not this is going to the norm from here on out until the end of the season.

I think it will be and the reason I think that is pretty clear. At least to me. Bryan Fuller and the rest of the Hannibal folks know how this season has to end. We all know how this season has to end. Will Graham’s story – well, this part of his story – resolves with Hannibal Lecter being discovered for what he is and locked up. We know how it all ends and so I figure they decided why bother leaving us wondering if this is the season where it all comes to light? The more interesting part isn’t what will happen but how it’s going to happen. And teasing us with these sorts of flash-forwards for twelve weeks would just make us more excited to see it all play out.

I know some people think that maybe that fight happens more towards the middle of the season but I think those fans are just living in denial and want Will to be free and happy again.

But let’s think about this logically.

1. We only have twelve weeks of time to work with here and there are thirteen episodes.

A lot needs to happen this season and we’ve only got twelve weeks of time for that to happen. Well, we have thirteen weeks in real time and twelve weeks in-show time. The fight between Jack and Hannibal happened twelve weeks after most of episode one and so it stands to reason that they are going to make each episode one of those weeks. A lot needs to happen in the short period of time and having each thing happen in a different week is most likely the best way to tell the story. Episode twelve will probably bring us back to the present just like episode six of True Detective finally caught up the story the guys were telling with the present day and will then progress from there as it moves into episode thirteen.

Besides, the fact is that time passes slowly in the Hannibal world. Where other shows may operate with an assumption that longer stretches of time may pass Hannibal goes along almost in real time. (Which doesn’t explain how that family in the fourth episode of season one apparently sat there dead since Christmas but… I digress.) So the whole of Hannibal and Will’s relationship covered mere months. That time frame was even reiterated in the second season premier by someone though I don’t remember the actual quote.

2. Alana and Beverley’s ‘flash-forwards’ still need to happen.

We know from earlier trailers that both Alana Bloom and Beverley Katz have ‘flash-forward’ moments that still need to be explored. Alana’s is directly tied to Jack’s and I would not be surprised if several episode openings were dedicated to Alana, Jack, and Hannibal in a three person sort of melee. Meanwhile, Beverley still needs to have her creepy moment in the dark with Hannibal appearing in the background. It’s seems from the trailers and such that Beverley might wind up being the first person to really start believing Will. Which means that her ‘flash-forward’ could happen sooner than Jack and Alana’s if Hannibal decides to take her out. And Beverley’s death – as much as I wouldn’t want it to happen and despite the fact that Katz survives until Red Dragon in the original continuity – would be reason for Jack and Alana to start doubting Hannibal.

3. Mason Verger has yet to appear.

Some of the biggest casting news for this season was that Michael Pitt was joining the cast as Mason Verger. Verger is featured prominently in the Hannibal book and movie where he was played by Gary Oldman. His association with Hannibal came before he was captured so either Verger is meeting Hannibal for the first time now or reacquainting himself with the man. Either way, a significant portion of this season still needs to be dedicated to Mason and Margot Verger’s relationship with Hannibal.

4. The ‘Color Palette Killer’ has already taken up at least two episodes.

Also, cases might take longer this season. The silo of bodies will be discovered next week but with how divided the story and characters are this season – splitting more or less evenly between Will, Hannibal, Jack and Alana, and the more procedural aspects of the show – but that story might not be resolved for another episode or two. If the Vergers are behind the color palette of bodies then it might last even longer. But the fact that one case alone will take so long to conclude adds weight to the theory that nothing plot wise will be resolved until the very end.

5. The trial will take more than one episode.

Will’s trial is going to be  large part of the show and according to trailers for episode two we’re going to start exploring that next episode. The thing is, though, that capital cases take forever to finish. Even just trying to plead insanity means you’ve got to go through months of pre-trial conferences, motions, evaluations, etc. Every single one of the retrials of the Doody case here in Phoenix takes months and that’s even when most of the evidence and testimonies are stipulated to by both parties. Granted this is TV justice and they do technically have three months of time to work with here. But this case is already going to take forever. I mean, c’mon. We saw the judge strung up Silence of the Lambs style. So someone’s also going to need to solve that murder. (Unless we are left to assume that Will did it or something and that’s why he’s suddenly put in the iconic mask and everything.) No matter what we’re going to be looking at this stretching out white a while, too, which again adds to the theory that all of these episode endings are really the finale.

6. Red Dragon is meant to be Season Four.

The most telling reason that these flashbacks and flash-forwards are likely to last all season is that in Bryan Fuller’s grand scheme of things Red Dragon isn’t supposed to happen until Season Four and we’re just starting the second one now. Season Three will most likely be Will readjusting to being free and also tracking down Lecter who presumably takes off after he’s discovered. Season Two almost has to keep going with Will institutionalized just to keep with Bryan Fuller’s timeline.

Now, all that said, could these flashbacks and flash-forwards end sooner?

Yes, they most certainly could. I don’t presume to know what Bryan Fuller is thinking at all. He could throw us a curve ball and have Will out of prison in six or seven episodes. Is that likely? No, I don’t think so. And I stand by my reasons above. But it is entirely possible that everything that happens in the flash-forward openings could be happening as soon as eight or so episodes into the season. I don’t think they are going to happen soon but in eight or nine weeks? It is entirely possible.

What do you guys thing? What do you think is going to happen with this season and how do you think it will effect the timeline?

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