Hannibal episode 6 review: Entree

Review Laura Akers 6 May 2013 - 08:00

Has stylish thriller Hannibal revealed its hand too early? Here's Laura's review of Entree...

This review contains spoilers.

1.6 Entree

I’ve never been one of those people who reads the end of the book first. I open my presents on Christmas morning, not Christmas Eve. And I never read spoilers for the movie I’m going to see. To me, anticipation is one of the best parts of any experience.

So I’m not exactly sure what to make of this week’s episode of Hannibal, Entrée.

Thus far, the show has done an excellent job of keeping us guessing. We know Hannibal will turn out bad, so the question instead becomes: how and when (and maybe why) does this happen? And perhaps, has it already occurred? The lushly filmed scenes in the doctor’s dining room have constantly teased us, by juxtaposing the meals with other events, that it is entirely possible that Hannibal has gone bad (if indeed, he was ever good) and has been serving his teammates specially selected cuts of various players in this narrative.

We do know before this episode begins that, if he’s not yet bad, he’s not really good either. His salvation of Abigail (which involved driving Dr. Bloom’s head into the wall and hiding a body) may not have had a body count in and of itself, but it did hint that he may be grooming Abigail for more murder. In comparison, however, this week’s ending came as a shock in how that it removes doubt that Hannibal’s evil has already been unleashed - in the past.

So much of this episode lives in the past. It appears that we are moving away from the Hobbs killings and focusing instead on the hunt for the Chesapeake Ripper, a killer who ostensibly stopped murdering two years ago, as we slip in and out of flashbacks to that time. Not only does this give us backstory, it allows the series to tap into our shared Hannibal Lecter past (in the films and novels) in a way that even the first episode did not.

The team’s attention turns to the Chesapeake Ripper when Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard), a resident at Baltimore’s home for the criminally insane after killing his family over Thanksgiving dinner, breaks loose just long enough to kill a night nurse in roughly the same way the Ripper did his victims years before. This leads Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raúl Esparza), the unbelievably arrogant and insecure head of this same institute which will eventually house Dr. Lecter himself, to conclude that the reason the Ripper has not killed in that time is that he’s been under lock and key for the Thanksgiving crime. Anthony Heald did a great job with the inferior Chilton in a couple of the Lecter films, making much of a part that was more caricature than character. And Esparza is given a meatier role, not just stabbing at perceived challengers to his intellect blindly but with an insight more in line with the top role at a place for the most violent psychopaths. “You’re quite the topic of conversation among psychiatric circles, Mr. Graham. A unique cocktail of personality disorders and neuroses that make you a highly skilled profiler.”

Both Graham and Dr. Bloom choose to interview Dr. Gideon in his cell - which bears a striking resemblance to the one Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling will visit Dr. Lecter in in Silence of the Lambs, not the scene's only resemblance, it should be said. The rapport that Dr. Bloom establishes with Dr. Gideon has a very similar feel to that between Agent Starling and Lecter. What is missing is the way in which Lecter toyed with Starling, Hopkins’ scenery-chewing stopping just short of damaging credulity. Along with Eddie Izzard’s own penchant for outrageousness in his performances, this has the unfortunate effect of making Izzard’s turn as killer seem less than it might be. We don’t need fava beans, but it would be nice if he at least didn’t look so bored. And Gideon doesn’t even rise to the wonderfully snide level of boredom that makes usually makes Izzard so entertaining.

Dr. Bloom isn’t the only one serving as a stand-in for Starling. In flashbacks, we meet Miriam Lass, an FBI trainee also recruited by Jack Crawford to help in the tracking down of a serial killer. Her smarts and assertiveness are certainly on a par with Clarice as she figures out a way, albeit not a legal one, of tracking down the killer, whom she appears to find in the person of Lecter. While Lecter attacks her, we know that she can’t be dead, at least not yet, and wonder whether, like Starling (and apparently Abigail), she merely ends up seduced by the weirdly charismatic killer.

And with this ending scene, I’m left wondering whether the time for anticipation is over. It appears that his secret is out in the open (to us, if not his own colleagues). Of course, this does open the way for us to delve more into the actual psychology of Hannibal (an expectation enhanced by the forthcoming introduction of Gillian Anderson as the serial killer’s own psychiatrist). That holds a great deal of promise, especially considering that this is a show in which empathy is such a driving force. Many of us can understand the inner workings of a Jack Crawford, a Dr. Bloom, and maybe even a Will Graham. Thankfully, Hannibal is far removed from the emotional makeup of the vast majority of us, and is thus the most difficult to comprehend. He’s also, perhaps for this same reason, the most intriguing.

But I’ll honestly be disappointed if this means that we now have an unobstructed view of the machinations of Dr. Lecter. The hints, suspicious dinners, and barely-there reactions have not, unlike the elk scenes, worn out their welcome. Rarely has not knowing been this much fun. Which is why I’m still praying that, any evidence to the contrary, this is still Christmas Eve. I’m not quite ready to open my presents yet.

Read Laura's review of the previous episode, Coquilles, here.

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Disqus - noscript

I'll have to watch it again but did they reference Godfather Part II
when Jack found out someone was in his home - "In my home, in my bedroom
where my wife sleeps"

Also I thought it was a wonderful episode and the perfect time to fully show Lecter's dark side. I've liked the subtle build up but its been pretty clear he was already into his hobby and committing murders for his own amusement (the cutaway in episode 4 shows him hunting a man down and suggests he is feeding Jack human meat).

I thought the episode was a great homage to silence (as close as we'll ever get due to the rights issues) and that Izzard was a great mimic of Hopkins (which as it turns out is exactly what his character was doing from the beginning - mimicing Hannibal). Raúl Esparza as Dr. Frederick Chilton was also a highlight for me knowing what role the slimy git plays in Hannibal future

I'm loving the show, really I am, but wish they'd turn down the music a little. There are times when it gets almost loud and oppressive, and makes everything around my TV shudder, but I have to have the volume up 'coz the dialogue levels can be so low! Or am I the only one finding that? :-)

I think we will have the greatest surprise by the end of the first series. I think Hannibal has killed nobody in the series yet (Chesapeake rippings aside). I don't think he has fed anyone to any of his guests either. That would just be rude. And let's be honest.. Too obvious, considering its 'Hannibal', the TV series. It's too smart for that.
We've been shown Lecter can condition patients, like the Huntsman's daughter, as he did in the 'Hannibal' novel with Clarice. I expect the same with a still very much alive Miriam.
With a 7 or 8 season long Arc already worked out, this is going to be fascinating.
Ta ta

Agreed totally, and I do hope that the network sees sense and keeps renewing it :-)

Where have you been? It could not have been any obviouser about Lecter!

I thought it was established that Hannibal had been killing for quite some time now, and that's the reason why he's profiling Wil, because he's the man that's hunting him. Wasn't he the copycat Shrike? There were too many obvious shots of them eating at his dinner table, with Hannibal quipping about having several people over for dinner, and even a deliberate shot intercut of someone running through the woods as he speaks of how 'the chicken should've run faster' in a few episodes back. He deliberately contacted the Shrike. He's deliberately undermining Graham's psychological state and Jack's and their relationship and messing up their investigation, even throwing dr Bloom mercilessly against the wall and covering up crimes and hiding evidence AND now he's tormenting Jack by calling him with recordings of his trainee. Graham had fatherly feelings for Abigail and then he establishes himself as a fatherly figure for Abigail just to spite Graham. And now he's the Ripper too? It's all a bit of a mess. I think he's been using other killers as a cover, by hiding his murders as a copycat and now by using Dr Gideon as a scapegoat. All the while he's listening in on the investigations and taking in as much information as he can get, while taking pleasure in examining psychotic behaviour, even trying to corrupt Wil into accepting his psychotic tendencies; the power he feels in the kill.
Hannibal is definitely evil. By killing the trainee they're even recreating the scene in the movie 'Red Dragon' of how Wil caught Hannibal, to establish that they're going to be original, I think.

The character of Hannibal is a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, as seen in 'Hannibal Rising', telling us to much about the character robs him of his mystery, but telling us too little is confusing and makes him distant.

So we have no idea what he's doing, why he's doing it, and are only left to speculate. So far, he's been too confined into his apartment complex. It's far more interesting to have Hannibal in the outside world (in this series at least) and interact with people, like Abigail. His involvement in her case was interesting, to say the least. I would like to see more of their relationship.

Ah, no. We haven't seen anything that confirms that Hannibal has killed anyone yet. Only things which strongly suggest it. In part, I think there's a certain psychologizing of the audience as well as the characters. We're being deliberately played with.

While it has been subtle I think your reading too much into it (although it's always a possibility there may be more - Just covering my own ass there) while smart I don't think they are pulling any twists on this show.

If the series is based on the books even as a prequel to Red Dragon it still means that Hannibal Rising has still happened (thus he is already a cannibalistic killer). That said Rising was rather rubbish and I really do hope it's scrubbed from this cannon

Bryan Fuller has also said in interviews that they are down playing the murderous/cannibalistic nature of Hannibal for various reasons from making those moments more shocking/special (as the viewer is already aware of Hannibals nature) to making the rest of the cast look more credible in their fields (they didn't want the FBI to look foolish by having an overt killer as one of them)

As Michael de Boer said above in detail Hannibal has been manipulating Graham not just verbally but actually committing copycat murders (what are the real chances there is actually a third serial killer pissing around in the background)

Unfortunately it seems that this show isn't going to make it past this rather great (so far) first season so I doubt we'll get any real resolutions.

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