We start this week with an open letter to Laurence Fishburne:
I am glad you are hitting your stride as Jack Crawford. You appear to have gotten comfortable, finally. You do not need to work overtime to make him a special little snowflake. It is sufficient to portray him as an average government agency working man. This does not automatically consign the character to being two dimensional. Anyway, Will has enough dysfunction for both of them. Look, we know how hard it is to be the old patriarch in a police procedural drama. You have to be the hard brittle cover that goes over the warm gooey center of the younger, hotter, and to some extent manlier characters who serve the 18-25 year old female demographic. As an actor it is not easy to look in the mirror every day and know that you keep the middle aged ladies watching.
But how to keep their attention? Should you play it tough and brooding as an emotionally damaged man who secretly wants to be vulnerable after sexy time, but who can still take care of business (kick ass) when necessary? Let me think; who do we know in a police procedural drama who is dark, sexy, brooding, older, and has a terribly traumatic background?
Jethro Gibbs (NCIS)Aaron Hotchner, David Rossi, and Jason Gideon (Criminal Minds)Gil Grissom (CSI)Horatio Caine (CSI Miami)Mac Taylor (CSI New York)Eliot Stabler (Law & Order SVU)
Anywho, now that that has been said…Fishburne has made the bold choice not to follow in the footsteps of his middle aged peers. Jack Crawford is actually a pretty complex, stand alone, character. He rose in the ranks of the FBI using his cunning and his skill to navigate politics in the good old boys club. Thomas Harris is very clear on Crawford’s portrayal in the novels, and Scott Glenn did a bang up job brining him to life in Silence of the Lambs. This is not a bad guy. This is a good guy who does what he has to in a tough, sometimes terrible, job. He makes hard decisions; he is a general who knows how to move his pawns around the board. You do not have to be a tortured widower to have this motivation.
So what the hell has Fishburne been doing up to this point? He was playing Crawford as if the man was a nincompoop. We know Lecter is leading Crawford around by the nose, but Fishburne has finally stopped acting laboriously like the “layman” to drive the point home.
Okay, now that I have beaten that horse to death, back to the show. This episode of Hannibal opens with the Minnesota Shrike teaching his daughter Abigail how to kill and dress a deer. Fun fact: Charles Dance who plays Tywin Lannister on HBO’s Game of Thrones, gutted an actual dead deer during a scene in Season 1. Apparently it got pretty ripe and gross after a day of filming. Abigail is no Tywin Lannister, and she does not get to work with any particular sense of gusto. Instead, the entire scene ends up being part dream, part flashback. The interesting bit being when the dream shifts and she runs her fingers through the long brown hair of the corpse of her father’s last victim.
There is quite a bit going on this episode. The FBI is openly discussing Lecter’s kill as the copycat Shike, in front of Lecter himself. Freddie Lounds tries to drive a wedge between Abigail and Will. While wearing a leopard print mini skirt and driving gloves set stolen from Cruella de Vil’s closet. I love how aesthetically she does not fit; how her crass behavior and dress crashes through the scenery. She is loud and jarring, like coming home to find someone has spray painted the word CANNIBALS onto your garage door. Actually, I think I would be highly amused if I came home and saw that, but I am a sick, sick, girl. (Editor: I don’t know. I might find it funny too.Depends what they used and how easy it is to clean…)
Abigail is less amused. Once inside the house she is disturbed to learn that the FBI wants her to help find clues about the Shrike’s victims. Abigail does not seem to think that there will be clues. Her father taught her that every part of the animal was used, no part went to waste. Otherwise it was murder. However, judging by the looks she passed with Lecter, they might be sharing another, unspoken version of events. Abigail knows that Lecter was the man who called to warn her father. And Lecter knows she knows. Oh my, this is getting downright delicious! (You’re drooling again. Shush!)
At first it looked like the episode would pass without a single fresh kill. Fortunately, some nice sadist left Abigail’s neighborhood friend murdered and mounted on a rack of antlers in the Minnesota Shrike’s cabin. Could it have been the greasy young man who jumped out of the woods like a real creeper and spit at Abigail, accusing her of being bait to lure her father’s victims in?
Well, he dies too, so no. And about there, the point where he dies, this episode veered right out into the weeds for a quick detour, only cutting back to the beaten track before the credits rolled. What the hell just happened? It looks like Lecter wants to adopt Abigail. Maybe he sees an echo of his own traumatic upbringing in hers. Maybe he agrees with Crawford and thinks she is more dangerous than she seems. Maybe he is just curious to see if he can push the Shrike’s daughter over the edge and turn her into the same human-hair-pillow-stuffing-psycho as her father. All of this is plausible and fits nicely with the existing plot and character arc.
Making greasy creeper dude’s body disappear like he is Houdini while the house is already surrounded by cops and FBI? Get the f*ck out of here. Sorry, that was so ridiculously implausible and out of left field it yanked my tiny brain right out of the narrative. Ugh.
Luckily the quality bonding that Lecter and Abigail shared back in his office helped sooth away some of my grumpy cat face. Come on people, keep the flow tight without resorting to Fishburne-esq heavy handedness. The shared narrative of Lecter’s call was sufficient. Especially since I am 99.999999999% sure Abigail is already complicit in something nasty anyway.
Body parts consumed this week:Nothing was consumed per sé, but we learned how to use human hair in order to make a nice decorative throw pillow.