Another excellent episode of Hannibal, which continues to be so gorgeously and hauntingly shot. From Will outside of his house in the snow, gazing across the dormant winter landscape, to Tobias in his violin shop with its rich wood and old world feel. I was actually in a violin shop like that recently, and the show captured exactly the feeling of being surrounded by so many beautiful instruments, hand crafted with such expertise and beauty. Though Hannibal‘s violence is much, much more overt than two other recent, excellent series, Top of the Lake and Rectify, they share an intensity and immersive storytelling that wraps up the darkest of horrors in the most stunningly rendered visual blanket. How could such terrors occur in a place that’s full of such beauty and richness? Hit the jump for more on why “life is like a musical performance. We are finite events, unique arrangements.”
“Fromage” was a turning point for our two main characters, as well as Alana. Though everyone wants to be Hannibal’s friend (the poor, misguided Franklin, and Hannibal’s fellow psychopath Tobias), Hannibal rejects them in favor of just one: Will. As Hannibal says, though Will is not like him, he can appreciate his world view. Secretly, anyway. While Tobias can also appreciate his world view, the problem arose when Tobias followed Hannibal and witnessed one of his crimes. The risk became too high. Though Hannibal can act as a mentor (as he did with Hobbs), as a patient (with his therapist) or even perhaps as a friend to Will, he does not and cannot have an equal.
Meanwhile, I was happy to see the tension between Will and Alana both smothered and escalated. I can’t stand drawn out “will they won’t they” relationships in series beyond the point of reason. I’m not sure Will and Alana had really reached that point, but I’m glad the show took care of it before it became unbearable. The way the kiss happened, and their discussion about it (and, somewhat hilariously, Will’s driving an hour through the snow to talk to Hannibal about it just like friends would do) was perfectly done. The attraction was acknowledged, but they are not meant to be. For now. As for Hannibal’s seduction of Alana, of course, that remains to be seen.
Will also took an important turn in his mental health. Though he convinces Jack he’s dealing with it (what medication is he taking?), he sees Hobbs’ corpse in the audience, still haunting him. There was no buck covered in feathers this week — things are become less cryptic and more real. Will’s auditory hallucinations are escalating, but what is the significance of the wounded animals and the car tires screeching? Will, already on edge when he went to Hannibal’s, was sent into the black when Hannibal outed Tobias and his whereabouts to him. The reality of the murder came crushing down around him, and yet he handled himself just fine at Tobias’ little shop of horrors. He’s on the edge of falling down the well, but he hasn’t gone there yet.
All of this created a rich and rewarding episode that was linear in its storytelling, and proved that we don’t need a traditional Case of the Week to sustain it. We knew from the start that it was Tobias who killed the trombonist, but where Hannibal differs from other procedurals is that the reveal of the killer is not the strongest moments (seen particularly in the episode with the man who flayed his victims). Tobias being killed by Hannibal was important, because it was the first time we’ve actually seen Hannibal engaged in combat — the rest has always been behind the scenes or with him as a predator, not prey. The scene was brutal. But it was important for Jack to stumble upon it wondering how someone like Hannibal could have taken down such a killer.
It was a nice touch, too, to have this week be an extension of last, with the completion of the Franklin and Tobias story. That’s another great thing about Hannibal: things can last from week to week (like the Hobbs murder haunting Will, or Miriam haunting Jack for several episodes) and be part of the deep weave of the show’s rich storytelling, in which the principal characters evolve as they would in a regular drama. Hannibal is not like anything else on TV. Please, please NBC, do the right thing.
Episode Rating: A
Musings and Miscellanea:
— If you’re on Twitter, hashtag #Hannibal as much as possible in praise of it. NBC actually cares. It helps. (And if you want to chat TV, you can find me at @keeneTV)
— Ahhh, entrail strings, how lovingly assembled. As a violinist I am particularly horrified (aww, Beverly and I both play!). And curious.
— I love the way Hannibal describes things, like the “playing” of the trombonist: a “skilled musician trying a new instrument.” And I know the saying is to “play him like a violin” but, come on, the setup was clearly like that of a cello, people!
— “You’re not a psychopath, but you maybe attracted to them” – Hannibal to Franklin, and also me during most of my dating years.
— I like that Will thought to bring a friend along before investigating sounds in the woods, and also that he went to the string shop with two police officers (R.I.P.). I can’t stand it when investigators on these shows are always going places by themselves. Buddy system!
— I kinda had to laugh (sick, I know) when Hannibal broke Franklin’s neck, denying Tobias the pleasure.
— Hannibal saying the word “Google” also cracked me up.
— Almost no Jack Crawford this week, which was fine by me. I like the scenes with Hannibal and his therapist though, and I’m interested to see what she knows or suspects about him. Also, did he kill her attacker?
— Of course Hannibal plays the harpsichord.
— “This plane is going down. Let it have a controlled descent. We can get you back up in the air!” – Franklin
— Where is Abigail Hobbs?!