‘Hannibal’ Spoilers: Early Reviews Tease Sumptuous Season 3

The reviews are in: Season 3 of Hannibal might just be the best yet.

Hannibal doesn’t officially start back up until June 4, but a few lucky, enviable critics got to check out the first few episodes of Season 3 early — and they loved them. If you weren’t excited for the next chapter in Bryan Fuller’s vision of Hannibal Lecter’s tale, you will be after reading what these guys have to say.

Forbes contributor Merrill Barr, for instance, teases a season unbound by the visual cues typically found on television, switching between aspect ratios and color palettes.

“Just on a purely visual level, the premiere episode is, quite possibly, the most avant-garde hour of small screen media to ever exist,” writes Barr.

He also suggests that NBC and Gaumont have loosened the reins a bit (which is saying a lot, considering some of the things we’ve seen on this basic cable network series).

“If anyone was waiting for Hannibal to be let off the leash NBC may or may not have had it on, the wait is over,” Barr continues. “Season 3 is a Hannibal unhinged. Season 3 is the Hannibal everyone has been waiting to see.”

Zac Thompson at Bloody-Disgusting.com, meanwhile, delves into what we can expect in terms of performances, specifically those of Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson.

Anderson’s “pained and distant” portrayal is described as “less engaged than previously but brought to life in an entirely new way that doesn’t align with the woman we used to know,” while Mikkelson’s is said to again be a “tour-de-force.”

“Here he’s more confident, scary, and unpredictable than ever,” writes Thompson. “The early episodes of this season do a lot of work to peel back the layers of his façade. He is still very much a monster, but within that lies a more human side. He’s somehow more engaging than ever before but riddled with contradictions.”

Entertainment Weekly‘s Jeff Jensen gave the episodes an A-, writing, “Now in its third season, Hannibal remains the most engrossing (and gross) serial-killer drama on television, and the most beautiful. Here, the acid never stops kicking in.”

He adds that the overall design of the season becomes clear in the third episode, “as the accumulating murk coheres around a key line: ‘Who among us doesn’t want understanding and acceptance?'”

Hannibal returns on its new night, Thursday, June 4 at 10 p.m. on NBC.