Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Idiot Box: Hannibal 1x09 - “Trou Normand” Review

Once again, sorry for the lateness. Using Memorial day to get caught up on some things, which I'm pretty sure is the point of it right? This holiday is to commemorate me updating my blog, isn't it? Anyway, finally got around to watching the latest episode of Hannibal, the title of which I don't have the wherewithal to look up the meaning of. I'm a bit conflicted, as the episode is still generally good, basically consistent with the quality of the show up to this point, but once again we are back to the norm of Hannibal being a supporting character to Will Graham and the deer obsessed cannibal's daughter, which is a bit disappointing in the wake of the last two stellar episodes that had him as more of the focus.

This episode starts with the discovery of a totem pole made entirely of dead bodies on a beach, and right away, I call bullshit on this. I think the idea of the killer creating morbidly wacky displays representative of his psyche is getting a bit ridiculous at this point. Try to think of the last real serial killer who did this. Can't think of one? Think of all the famous ones, Gacy, Dahmer, Gein. You know what made them so successful at the horrible shit they did? They hid it from people. Even Gein, who made belts out of nipples, didn't show 'em off to people. Nobody does this! I know its a cliche of police procedural, but can we get a little variation? It's getting to the point where every episode is the same basic set up, just with a different aesthetic twist to the crime scene.

The crime in this episode is almost an afterthought, with a resolution that is a waste of Lance Henrickson as an elderly psychopath who shows up for five minutes to explain himself so we can move on and focus on the main story following Graham's increasing instability. Again, this is a subplot that seems to be getting a little silly. His hallucinations have now gotten to the point where the fact that he's still allowed to participate in FBI field work is starting to strain credulity. That being said, technically this is the first time his contribution to a case has directly led to the killer being caught, but then it could be easily argued that his insight as to the connection between victims that leads to this is completely arbitrary and has nothing to do with his otherwise completely useless super powered autism.

Luckily, the B plot involving Hannibal and his surrogate daughter goes a long way to redeeming the rest of it. An opening scene that at first appears to be a group therapy session transforms into another one of those uniquely Bryan Fuller-esque creepily whimsical sequences I love on the show, and it sets the stage for a plot that finally advances a story line we haven't really seen much of since the lost episode pulled after the Sandy Hook shooting. I have to admit I'm a little leery about this plot thread, as I wonder if given the way the show is supposedly going to play out, it might be a lot of set up for nothing, ending with this recurring character just being killed off by Hannibal unceremoniously when she becomes too much of a threat to his secret life.

It seems like I didn't much like this episode, and maybe in retrospect it wasn't as good as I remembered it, but I didn't get that sense while watching it. Maybe I'm just a little worn down by what has become a formula in a show that screams not to be so formulaic. The last few episodes focusing more directly on Hannibal were a welcome excursion from the pattern established by the pilot, but now that we're back into the killer of the week mold, my malaise has returned. As far as I know, there's still no word yet on the fate of this show for a second season. I wish it would do more to stop me from bouncing back and forth on the axis of whether or not I should care about that.

Well, that's kind of depressing. Anyway, until next time...

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