Another solid episode. Not as good as last week's but still pretty good.
Anyway, I got picked up to do regular coverage of this show for my school's newspaper, so I figured I'd start posting my first drafts. I contractually can't post the review itself, but I can share my basic ideas. Though, it should be noted that 1) I get paid by the word, and 2) This will probably end up looking a lot different after my second pass. It'll be much more structured that's for sure.
Today is my lucky day. I got signed on to do regular coverage of “Hannibal” for the rest of its season! The Powers That be liked my first two reviews, and it seems like viewership is strong enough to justify keeping me on board for this, so hoorah! Paycheck! But enough of my joy; it’s time to chow down (please don’t murder me for that) on another strong episode of Hannibal after the jump.
If one thing can be consistently said about Hannibal week after week, it is that the show is absolutely gorgeous. I said it last week, and I will probably be saying it every week here on out: the cinematography is phenomenal. Even an episode like “Potage” which features almost no blood and gore, still manages to dully shine out in a way that is becoming distinctly Hannibal. In the shadow of lauding the cinematography, there are two aspects of the show that have been overlooked: makeup and costume design. Both are subtle, understated even, but they add so much of to the show’s gorgeous look, that I simply wanted to bring attention to them. Next time you are watching, just look at how well the makeup and costumes blend with the overall look of the show. In all honestly it is not something that is difficult to do per se, but somehow it is often not done as well as it should be.
But how about the episode itself? I am rather mixed on it. I thought it was better than the pilot, but it did not reach the heights of “Amuse-Bouche,” episode two. That said, outside of Jack Crawford, this was definitely the strongest script of the show so far. From front to back everything was well paced and delivered. Nearly all the dialogue worked, and there was only one cheesy line. Bloom was better handled this episode than she was in either of the first two, and Lara Jean Chorostecki continues to impressively sleazy as Freddie. Even little Kacey Rohl was able to hold her own as Abigail Hobbs (her glance towards Hannibal as the man on the phone was mentioned was perfect.) Hugh Dancy continues to impress. I wrote in my first review that he was overshadowed by Mads Mikkelsen, but with each episode that passes he becomes the star. He is utterly fantastic, and I cannot tear my eyes away when he is on the screen.
What this episode does best is the subtle development of it Hannibal through the development of Hobbs. That opening scene is just fantastic in explaining Hobbs motivations in eating his victims, and I wish the writers had trusted it to speak for itself. Instead the had Abigail restate it plainly later on, which lessened the impact for me, but it still worked on the whole; no matter what the implications are the strong part. Hobbs, in a way did honor his victims. He never let them go to waste. So what does that say about Hannibal? He does not honor his victims. He does not eat them out of a sense of duty, but because he wants to. Even though that is never stated outright, it is still an idea the show lets present itself, and I thank it for that.
It also allows for an interesting idea to be presented: is evil genetic? It is not a new argument. The nature versus nurture debate has been around for a long while, but it will be interesting to see how the show handles it. By the end of “Potage” it almost seems as if the show is saying yes, it is. Abigail murdering that guy, was probably self-defense at first, but by the look of his body, she went a little too far. Though, stranger still, she didn’t seem like she enjoyed it. Unfortunately Abigail is gone for the rest of the season according to IMDB, so we may never actually get an answer to this question, which would be quite disappointing.
Earlier, I singled Jack Crawford. To put it as short as possible, he bugged the hell out of me. His attitude in this episode was just revolting. I have no idea where it came from. What happened to the man who was worried about Will? Hopefully he is back on track next week, as he nearly ruined every scene he was in this week. Though, credit to Fishburne; the writing definitely let him down.
The episode was also rather uneventful. It tied up the Hobbs storyline in a neat enough way, but only for Hannibal (before I forget, it was nice to see the first hints at his fascination with certain women which will later bloom with Clarice) and Abigail. If the story in this episode had been told through Will instead of Hannibal, it would have felt more filling. It also would have been nice to have a case this week, much in the same vein of the one last week: nicely in the background. The episode would have felt much fuller, and would have benefited from having some kind of b-plot. I still do not want this show to turn into a procedural (which I fear might be about the happen,) but a b-plot case would go a long way each week.
That is really what is keeping this episode in B+ range for me. The episode just felt lacking, so I could not justify anything higher. It’s like a serving at a gourmet restaurant. It’s good, but it’s not filling, and leave leave still hungry. And by the time this episode ended, I just wanted more.
I am excited for a new case next week, I just have to hope that there is a major plot that continues, especially since this one was tied off so cleanly, and Rohl is not credited for any more episodes this season. My biggest fear coming out of the pilot was that we were going to end up with the strangest of buddy-cop procedurals, which is why I was so delighted by episode two. Needless to say, I will be quite nervous sitting down. However, based on what I have seen, I have enough faith to trust that the writer’s will deliver.
On that note, I shall bid you adieu. See you back here, next Friday, for regular coverage Hannibal. And, as NBC is so fond of pleading, remember to watch it live, this show deserves another season.