Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Idiot Box: Hannibal 1x10 - “Buffet Froid” Review


Unclench everybody. Since my last review, it was finally announced that Hannibal, a show that's been on the bubble pretty much since it premiered, has been renewed for a full second season. I keep going back and forth on whether or not I can muster up enough passion to care about the fate of the show, as some episodes remind me why I liked it so much in the first place, and others remind me how much better Brian Fuller's Munsters would have been instead. This weeks episode is sort of in the middle, much better than last week, but not quite up to the standards of what we've seen as the best of this series.



Buffet Froid is actually somewhat aptly named even though I don't know what the phrase means, as the famous psychiatrist referenced in the title perfectly represents an episode all about human psychology and diseases of the mind. We finally find out what's going on with Will Graham's head, but thanks to Lecter he never does, and is forced to live with the fact that his condition is escalating dangerously. We even get an official diagnosis for the killer this week, who isn't just random TV show crazy, but actually suffers from a real condition compelling her to kill, which I thought was a welcome twist to the norm.


The killer is actually mostly sympathetic this time around, unable to see faces and killing those her paranoid mind tells her she can't trust, even though they are really her close friends. This results in some of the creepier imagery so far seen in the show (which is saying something), including a Joker style face cutting that Wikipedia tells me is called a Glasgow Smile, and a final scene depicting the insane woman's encounter with Lecter mid-murder, where her delusion presents him as a faceless alien menace. It never occurred to me that there was a way to make Mikkelsen's Lecter more frightening, but apparently there is, and that way is to take his face away like The Question from DC comics.


The rest of the episode finds Graham finally seeking help for his hallucinations after he loses it at a crime scene and at first begins to suspect that he might have blacked out and committed the murder himself. Luckily this unbelievable proposition is never taken seriously by anyone else in the show for too long, but its enough to send him to a neurologist, where he finds out that nothing's wrong with him, thanks to Lecter manipulating his doctor. I assume this is setting up the first confrontation between the two of them when this finally comes out, maybe leading to Graham's first suspicions about Lecter's other possible lies, which is something I'm obviously looking forward to.


Chalk this up as another reason this show should be on the air. Evidently its one of the lowest rated shows to get picked up this season, but episodes like this cause me to wonder why more people can't seem to get into this series. Even at its worst, its better than most shows at least on network TV if not all of television. And this is sort of off the point, but the faceless Lecter scene convinced me that we need a show based on The Question. We've already got Arrow, why not Vic Sage? You could make it a spin off, and even bring back Jeffrey Combs. Eh, maybe not, but until then, at least I've still got Hannibal to tide me over. 
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