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The 5 Must-Watch Episodes of 'Hannibal' Season 1

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Feb 12, 2014 | 9:55am EST

Hannibal, Hugh Dancy and Mads MikkelsenNBC Universal Media

Hannibal is rare in its complexity. A character-driven, visually compelling horror story, all 13 episodes of the show's pilot season are frighteningly beautiful mini-movies. And all are streaming on Amazon.

Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham return to our TVs for Season 2 on Feb. 28. Whether you're new to the show and need a quick primer or you're a hard-and-fast Fannibal looking to whet your appetite for the next batch of episodes, we recommend these five season one gems.

Episode 1, "Apéritif"

In the pilot episode, we're introduced to professor and FBI profiler Will Graham, his boss, Special Agent Jack Crawford, and creepy yet dapper psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (rhymes with "cannibal"), among others. We also see Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen develop the dangerous doctor/patient chemistry that the show requires. Hannibel feels a legitimate kinship with Will, one that sets much chaos into motion.

Episode 3, "Potage"

Abigail Hobbs is a crucial character in this first season, and "Potage" sees her strike a deal with the devil. She and Hannibal hold each other's secrets hostage, while Will feels a desperate need to protect her.

Episode 10, "Buffet Froid"

If the first 13 episodes are the story of Will Graham's unraveling, then this one is a clear watershed moment. Will has lost hours in delusions, and when it causes him to contaminate a crime scene, he goes in for an MRI. Lecter manages to hide the disturbing results from him. And in one of the most distressing moments of the series, Will's drawing of a clock face spectacularly fails a test Lecter gives him to test his grip on reality.

Episode 11, "Rôti"

Eddie Izzard returns as Abel Gideon, the Chesapeake Ripper copycat. "Rôti" is a double (maybe triple?) game of cat-and-mouse as Gideon tries to smoke out the real Ripper while being perpetually outfoxed by Hannibal Lecter and his patsy, Will. The episode also includes an image of the insides of a certain smarmy doctor that you won't be able to get out of your mind anytime soon.

Episode 13, "Savoureux"

It's all been leading up to this. The Season 1 finale finds the Hobbs case, Will's mental deterioration, and Hannibal's tight control of all the puppet strings coming together in a conclusion that spells serious bad news for Mr. Graham. Is it Feb. 28 yet?

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