Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Idiot Box: Hannibal 1x07 - “Sorbet” Review

Lastweek, I lamented the fact that despite this show's low ratings, my growing ambivalence had left me unable to muster up the appropriate level of worry or outrage over its likely cancellation. Now that NBC has pretty much cancelled every other show it airs except this one and perhaps even more remarkably the now terrible Community, that cancellation seems less certain, which is good, because this week's episode has served to brighten my spirits a bit, maybe even enough that I might have been sad to see it go.

If you remember, last week's episode was obviously designed as a tribute to The Silence of the Lambs, with a new character in the traditional role we normally associate with Dr. Lecter, specifically a serial killer Eddie Izzard behind the glass. Also, you might remember that in abdication of its potential, that episode blew ass. Amazingly, it turns out that the secret to doing a tribute to Hannibal Lecter in a show about Hannibal Lecter is to actually have, you know, Hannibal Lecter in it. This episode more than makes up for his cameo last week with a psychological showcase of the man across several days leading up to a fancy dinner party.

To be honest, I did roll my eyes a bit once it became apparent that the main point of the episode was how sad it is that Hannibal can't have any real friendships because the fake personality he uses to conceal his mania keeps him separate from people, but then the episode seemed to realize how silly this was as well, and played it for dark humor rather than unearned sympathy. All of this culminates in a montage of rapid succession hunts designed both to throw his FBI colleagues off of his scent, and re-stock his meat freezer to entertain his high society friends.

I'm getting a bit sick of the moose at this point, which it occurs to me is an odd thing to be able to say about any show, least of all a police procedural where moose would not typically be a thing appearing at all, let alone enough to get sick of them. Also I can't exactly remember if the actual case this week was ever ultimately solved, as I'm pretty sure at least one of the many, many murders was not directly attributed to Lecter, and who this other killer might be is eventually forgotten entirely, unless I missed something. Not sure if they are setting this up for later or if they are just going to move on, but if they don' t come back to it, it will be an uncharacteristic loose end.

As much as I have praised this show in the past and still generally enjoy it for the most part, I remember a moment distinctly towards the beginning of this episode that made me rather sad that its even on TV. Its not anything that was essential to the plot, just a stylistic touch in which a scene begins deep inside the throat of an opera singer for no reason, the kind of strange and whimsical little thing that I think of as pure Bryan Fuller. I want an entire show with this sensibility, as I imagine The Munsters reboot would have been, and not a procedural with minor touches of inspired Fuller-ness, even if said procedural is markedly better than most in its typically boring genre.

Still, I'll take what I can get, and outside of maybe the pilot, I have to say that this was probably the best episode so far, delivering about as close to the idea of what I thought and hoped a series about Hannibal Lecter could be. It skates just up to the edge of too over the top with its deep exploration of a man who is essentially a walking facade, and by the end, I'm not entirely sure what exactly it was trying to say about the man other than that he still really likes to kill and eat people, and he's still really good at it. But overall it was a fun watch, and I can't complain. Now if only they'd bring back Eddie Izzard's character and redeem that travesty, we can all move on with our lives. 

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