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*** Caution: Spoilers for the Finale of Hannibal Season Two Ahead… ***

For all those who tuned into the climax to Bryan Fuller’s homoerotic romance between Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal Lecter (a/k/a Mizumono, the Season Two finale) what was left in the final moments of the episode were merely broken, bloody bodies. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) was tossed out a window. Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) was stabbed in the neck and locked in Lecter’s stainless steel wine cellar. Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) was revealed to be alive and presented as an offering to Will before Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) slit her throat. And finally, as he was in Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, Graham was gutted and left for dead as Hannibal exited in the rain and boarded a plane with his coy therapist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson). It was an operatic set piece worthy of Brian De Palma (and certainly reminiscent of the finale of Raising Cain), delivering geysers of blood and numerous unanswered questions as the credits rolled.

Now, Bryan Fuller is weighing in on what fans should expect come the beginning of Season Three. But don’t expect him to tell you who lives and who dies…because that would just be rude. And we all know what Hannibal does to the rude.  (more…)

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Welcome, gourmands, to the final Hannibal review of 2014.

For such an important episode, my analysis of director David Slade’s “Mizumono” will actually be relatively brief (Message from Future James: No, it won’t). Not that there isn’t as much to say about it, but it’s a remarkably streamlined and straightforward episode with little in the way of subplots or other extraneous content.  (more…)

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The penultimate installment of Hannibal, Season 2: “Tome-wan”, is one of the best eps of the show’s sophomore year. Many disparate and vague elements of the season begin to come into focus, and the sometimes conflicting, sometimes complimentary designs of two of the Crime Drama genre’s greatest minds: Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), and Special Investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), have nearly achieved fruition. (more…)

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Ever since Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) was exonerated and released from the asylum, and Dr. Frederick Chilton was successfully implicated in the “Chesapeake Ripper” murders (and then shot), the following episodes have all begged the same question:

“Where are they going with this?”

Is Will truly going over to the “Dark Side” (pardon my phrasing)? If it IS all a trap for Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), does he see it? And IF he sees it, why is he allowing it?

Director Vincenzo Natali‘s “Naka-Choko” brings us no closer to the answers to any of these questions, and as a follow-up to the events of Michael Rymer‘s far superior “Shiizakana”, it’s a bit weak. Fortunately, the return of the fabulous Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) and the introduction of a Thomas Harris character we’ve been eagerly awaiting redeem the episode–somewhat, anyway. (more…)

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I collect church collapses. Did you see the one in Sicily recently? The facade fell on 65 grandmothers at a special Mass.

Was that evil? Was that God? If He’s up there, He just loves it.

Typhoid and swans–it all comes from the same place.

–Hannibal Lecter

Last week’s “Su-zakana” was easily the weakest episode of Season Two. So it would not have taken a Herculean effort to top it this week, and indeed they did: “Shiizakana”, another episode from my boy director Michael Rymer of Battlestar Galactica fame, easily renewed my faith in the series.

Rymer took the few good elements of  “Su-zakana” and extrapolated on them in a richer, more satisfying manner–and introduced the most fascinating “Killer Of The Week” since the Mushroom Killer way back in episode two of the first season.  (more…)

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MARGOT: They think I’m weird.

HANNIBAL: I’m much weirder than you will ever be. It’s fine to be weird.

I suppose no show can bat 1000 every episode for an entire season: I guess there’s kind of a need for “throwaway”, filler episodes that won’t totally throw the viewer off if they miss.

Thus we have “Su-Zakana”, courtesy of director Vincenzo Natali, best known for helming the teen werewolf flick Ginger Snaps. ‘”Su-zakana” isn’t bad, really–it’s just kinda unnecessary. (more…)

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“If I am the Ripper and you kill me, who will answer your questions? 
Don’t you want to know how this ends?” –Hannibal Lecter

Last night’s episode of Hannibal might well be the best of the season: Director Michael Rymer  (easily my favorite director on the show) took the engaging, yet at times overly complex framework of the previous episode–Futamono–and crafted an elegant, ingenious payoff….

WARNING: BIG DAMN SPOILERS–AGAIN!

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 When last we left Hannibal ‘n Pals, poor Beverly Katz (Hetienne Park) was sliced up by the Ripper, opening the door for non-canon character death, and throwing a monkeywrench into the expectations of Thomas Harris fans like myself. And the good Doctor (Mads Mikkelsen) was nearly exsanguinated by an orderly from the Chesapeake Hospital for the Criminally Insane at the behest of Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).

Tim Hunter‘s “Futamono” finds Hannibal oddly contemplative and plagued by nightmares from his attack–nightmares he attempts to exorcise by composing a piece on his trusty harpsichord (above). AND by sharing his anxieties with Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas). Last week’s teaser gave us a look at just how far that “sharing” progressed–but one thing at a time.

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‘Hannibal’ Season 2 Adds a Familiar Face

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My favorite part of watching (and reviewing) the first season of Bryan Fuller‘s Hannibal was the attention to detail and brilliant use of elements that only a fan of Thomas Harris’ original novel, Red Dragon, would recognize. For example, we got to meet characters the book only ever vaguely mentioned–like Garrett Jacob Hobbs.

This season, it seems Fuller has decided to expand further into the “Lecterverse” by introducing a character who will later become infamous as the only person to survive a Hannibal Lecter attack: the wealthy, disturbed, and downright evil, Mason Verger. (more…)

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“It’s like remembering something from your childhood…and you don’t know if it’s your memory or a friend’s memory. Then you realize, sadly, that it was just a photo in an old book…”

–Dr. Abel Gideon

 

Ah, Guillermo!

If you’ve been paying attention: You’ll notice that Guillermo Navarro directed the only two Hannibal episodes that I had anything significantly negative to say about: “Coquilles” and “Trou Normand”.

In both cases, an interesting KOTW was introduced, but could not be integrated into the continuing story line all that well. The killer felt tacked on to the adventures of Hannibal and his Super Friends.

The solution? Bring in a “Killer of the Week” that was already an established character:

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That’s Eddie Izzard as Dr. Abel Gideon once again. Just to recap: Dr. Gideon was a patient at the Baltimore State Hospital For The Criminally Insane. He murdered his wife and her family–was a model prisoner for several years, and then, seemingly out of the blue, savagely murdered a nurse in the hospital in the manner of the legendary, still at large Chesapeake Ripper. This made the monumentally idiotic and egocentric Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raul Esparza) believe that his patient, Dr. Gideon, was indeed the Ripper…and he had no qualms about “suggesting” to his patient that this might be the case.

But WE know who the Ripper is, don’t we kiddies?

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And I’ll tell you right now, there is probably less Hannibal Lecter in this ep than in any this season…So be prepared for that. He has a convo with Will early on, then disappears until almost the end.

This episode is almost exclusively the story of Dr. Gideon’s escape from confinement, and the merry kiling spree he goes on. See, Gideon is so utterly confused as to who he really is anymore, that he’s decided to whack every psychiatrist who ever examined, analyzed, profiled, or treated him….In his mind, they stole his identity–and he’ll get it back when the REAL Cheaspeake Ripper sees his work and seeks him out.
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Meanwhile, Will’s encephalitis (a secret still known only to Lecter) continues to worsen. He’s hallucinating more and more…which culminates in him actually capturing Gideon–only he doesn’t KNOW it’s Gideon: Will sees Garrett Jacob Hobbs–the serial killer from the pilot Will shot, and who has been haunting first his nightmares, and now his delusions ever since. He actually takes Gideon, at gunpoint, to Lecter–he wants his trusty psychiatrist to confirm that he really is seeing Hobbs. Hannibal lies to him, tells Will that there is no one there–which confuses the hell out of Gideon, though he’s smart enough to keep his mouth shut.

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Confused by what he is seeing, and what Lecter is telling him, Will suffers a mild seizure and loses consciousness. Now the Drs. Lecter and Gideon have a chance to talk in “private”.

Lecter sics Gideon on Dr. Alana Bloom, another shrink that once treated him…which is where Will finds him–and shoots him dead before passing out again.

Will is REALLY fucked up, folks…but he’s in better shape than Dr. Chilton–follow me to “STRONG POINTS”:

STRONG POINTS

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My girl Freddie (Lara Jean Chorostecki) is back. Remember that article that she was supposed to write for her blog at the behest of the FBI to help draw out the Chesapeake Ripper? Well, it got Gideon’s attention, and she got a front row seat to a bit of improvised surgical theatre where Gideon cut open the still conscious Dr. Chilton, and began removing a few not quite vital organs.

Freddie was unharmed, but the scene lead me to wonder if they were REALLY going to violate Thomas Harris canon and let Gideon kill either Chilton or Lounds. That’s one of my favorite aspects to this series: All the little details designed solely to appeal to the hardcore Harris readers. By canon, Lounds is killed by Francis Dolarhyde, AKA the Red Dragon…and Chilton is assumed to have been murdered by Lecter sometime after his escape at the end of Silence of the Lambs, though this is never confirmed.

Hannibal constantly approaches the edge of making drastic changes to Harris’ story, and then pulls back–it’s very cleverly done.

This is definitely Guillermo Navarro’s best episode. Navarro is better known as the cinematographer for another Guillermo: del Toro. He’s shot nearly every Guillermo del Toro film–including the upcoming Pacific Rim. Navarro has a magnificent eye, but was weak in storytelling–until now.

WEAK POINTS

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I love Eddie Izzard, please don’t mistake me–but there’s nothing so awesome that can’t become tedious with overexposure (except maybe Bruce Campbell). It’s not so much that there’s too much Izzard, it’s more that there wasn’t enough of everybody else…

Furthermore, Will was so zonked out in this ep that he didn’t get much meaningful interaction with the rest of the cast beyond everyone asking him if he’s okay…that tends to get a little old, too.

Anyhoo, “Rôti” was a worthwhile episode solely for being Navarro‘s best effort, if nothing else. Next week they seem to be playing with the idea of making Will the KOTW…I doubt that’s how it’s gonna turn out, but we’ll see.

Oh, and I’ll be bringing the food metaphors back for the last two episodes of the season–in case anyone missed them.

Later, friends!