[TV] Hannibal – The Wrath Of The Lamb (S313)

Hannibal Poster

Just what was it that motivated the character of Hannibal Lecter throughout this series? Even after this series finale, it’s hard to think of a definitive answer though two answers rise above their peers. Perhaps he was just a force of nature, spreading misery and agony wherever he went; in this interpretation of the series, he has no purpose beyond just being what he is. It is a simple explanation, yes, but also an attractive one. It paints Hannibal as a thing more than a person and in doing so allows us to keep from considering any human elements of a creature like him – like a storm at sea, there is no reason for Hannibal; he just is. Yet, convenient as that explanation may be it is also insufficient in many aspects, primarily because it offers so little in explaining Hannibal’s interest and obsession with Will Graham. The dynamic between these characters goes well beyond predator and prey, especially since the roles each has alternated rather regularly throughout the series – these characters are more reminiscent of two planets circling the nexus of a black hole, destined to collide and annihilate each other. Add to this calamitous mix a dash of a fiery red dragon, which acts as a catalyst for the aforementioned collision, and you have the recipe for tense season finale.

Click here for the review

[TV] Hannibal – The Number Of The Beast Is 666… (S3E12)

Hannibal Poster

Jack Crawford’s line, “God, Satan and the Great Red Dragon” is the essential summary of this final half of Hannibal; Jack is even kind enough to spell it out for us. In this twisted version of events, Jack is God, Hannibal is Satan and the Dragon is exactly that. As far as episodes of Hannibal go, this was somehow more savage than many that came before – Digestivo’ was gory, as were any number of past episodes but they didn’t feature the kind of bestial savagery that this episode, ‘The Number of the Beast is 666’. This episode is Armitage’s to command – both Will and Hannibal have had their time in the spotlight but now it is the Dragon’s turn to dominate the main stage. The performance Armitage puts up in nothing short of stellar; I have mentioned time and time again that Armitage has really captured the terror of the Great Red Dragon, but this week we see that terror in a completely new light. This penultimate episode also shatters some illusions that the characters have had for far too long; none of them are really in charge of what is going on here. Hannibal has controlled events from behind the scenes almost since the beginning and Will has been his agent just as much as Dolarhyde, but with the season finale approaching, it just might be time for the Lamb to get even with the monster that has plagued it for so very long.

Click here for the review

[TV] Hannibal – …And The Beast From The Sea (S3E11)

Hannibal Poster

It has long been said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat and looking at the current state of affairs in Hannibal it is baffling how little the characters have learned from their previous dealings with the character of Hannibal Lecter. With two episodes to go until the series’ conclusion, ‘And The Beast From The Sea’ brings the action closer to home than any of the character, saving the titular antagonist, saw coming – Dolarhyde is given the address of the Graham residence and, with some encouragement from his thoroughly despicable psychiatrist, goes to pay Will’s new, unsuspecting family an unwelcome visit. This third season of Hannibal has featured some of the most complete, and best, episodes of the series thus and this week’s episode is no different; from Armitage’s ongoing, breath-taking performance as the Red Dragon to how well director Michael Rymer is able to escalate the tension in the episode’s atmosphere when needed. Yet, what stands out more than anything else is how the character of Hannibal Lecter has never been as far from sympathy and decency as he is in this episode and with his dignity taken from him. It’s not that the past seasons of this show have given Hannibal Lecter a more positive depiction than the character deserves, but rather that the entertainment value of his actions, in the past, provided at least partially compensation for their heinousness.

Click here for the review

[TV] Hannibal – And The Woman Clothed In Sun (S3E10)

Hannibal Poster

AS we head into the tail end of the final season of Hannibal, the episodes’ focus is beginning to shift with increasing frequency. This week’s episode, the confusingly named ‘And The Woman Clothed With The Sun…’ (it shares its name almost entirely with the previous episode), shifts its focus away from our main cast of characters and towards some of the secondary focal points. Reba McClane, the sweet, blind photo developer at Franics Dolarhyde’s company, gets some time to shine while we see the surprising return of Bedelia Du Maurier and take a trip down memory lane to the time she first learned what Hannibal was. The main focal point though is Dolarhyde himself – we see more of the turmoil within the troubled man and see some of the steps he takes to address that conflict inside him. Thus far, we have seen only bits and pieces of the peripheral characters – a small bit from Chilton, an appearance from Freddie Lounds and even Jack has had a very much diminished presence in this final section of the season. As of this episode, the ‘suffering’ wife of ‘Dr. Fell’, Bedelia Du Maurier, can be added to that list. There are no truly major developments in this episode but with the characters making these minor appearances it seems that this episode was mostly set-up, moving various pieces into place for what will undoubtedly be a charged, violent finish to this final season.

Click here for the review

[TV] Hannibal – And The Woman Clothed With The Sun (S3E9)

Hannibal Poster

‘…And The Woman Clothed In The Sun’ completes the two-part introduction to Hannibal’s final arc, the tale of the fearsome Tooth Fairy, Francis Dolarhyde. As far as Hannibal episodes go, this one was a little unfocused but filled with excellent moments from the mildly amusing, to the worrisome, to the exhilarating. Will’s mental image of the Tooth Fairy is slowly sharpening but there is a price to be paid for that additional clarity; Will must once again tangle with Hannibal Lecter, whose feelings towards him seem ambivalent at best. The new dynamic between the two men lacks the spark that marked their often ponderous conversations in the first season; instead, in its place is an incredible tension and well-disguised anger. The episode takes us all over the place – alternating between the past and present, while continuing in the series’ well-established tradition to cheerfully crossing back and forth across the line dividing sanity and madness. We return to familiar scenes but are now given additional context; the first ‘death’ of Abigail Hobbs and Hannibal’s decision on the night of ‘Mizumono’. The episode sheds some light on Hannibal’s state of mind and what might motivate his actions in the near future, but there is also sufficient plot progression to spare us forty straight minutes of hallucination and cryptic psycho-babble.

Click here for the review

[TV] Hannibal – The Great Red Dragon (S3E8)

Hannibal Poster

If you’ve never read Tom Harris’ Red Dragon, you might be a little confused as to just why Hannibal is moving its focus away from its relentlessly fascinating antagonist in favour of a man who seems no different from your typical run-of-the-mill psychopath. Without giving too much away, the answer lies in the fact that the story of Will Graham, seemingly elegantly tied up in the masterful ‘Digestivo’, is not quite done. Three years have passed since the ‘capture’ of Hannibal Lecter, the infamous Chesapeake Ripper, and in those three years, Will Graham has learned his lesson – he has parted ways with the FBI, retreated to his abode far, far away from the seething mess of mankind and seems to have genuinely left Hannibal behind him. A string of murders by a killer nicknamed the ‘Tooth Fairy’, however, forces Jack Crawford to once again turn to his best profiler and coax him out of retirement. ‘The Great Red Dragon’ is almost a reboot of the series in some ways, picking up the story at a point most audience members would be familiar with; Hannibal behind bars, bound but not quite neutered, in the plain drab prisoner’s uniform that Anthony Hopkins made infamous in The Silence of the Lambs. It feels a lot like a return to the real world featured in the first season, before the battle between Will and Hannibal transported the show to strange lands and stranger dimensions. The artistic abandon of the first half of the season is mostly done away with and replaced with a more minimalistic approach, one that is considerably more appropriate for the threat that Francis Dolarhyde represents.

Click here for the review

[TV] Hannibal – Digestivo (S3E7)

Hannibal Poster

After the visceral violence of ‘Dolce’ last week, everyone’s fate was in the air. Will and Hannibal had been delivered like pigs fed for the slaughter to the doorstep of the twisted Mason Verger, where all the various plotlines of the season were to finally churn together. This third season of Hannibal has been slow at times, and more than a little self-indulgent with its artistic flair but ‘Digestivo’ has cut all that fat; all that remains is the lean, gruesome meat. The episode opens with Will and Hannibal tossed into the crucible to stew as Mason milks the occasion for all its worth. The depths of Mason’s depravity have been explored before but his plans for Will and Hannibal drops those depths to new lows. Meanwhile, Alana and Margot begin to realize that this whole plan is more than slightly insane and the humanity that separates the Alana Blooms and Will Grahams of the world from the Mason Vergers and Hannibal Lecters begins to surface once again. In terms of quality, ‘Digestivo’ doesn’t quite eclipse ‘Mizumono’ in terms of sheer shock value and gut-wrenching impact, but it does provide a deeply satisfying end to a plot line that began all the way back in the very first episode. If Hannibal ended with ‘Digestivo’, the episode would be hailed as the perfect send-off for the show.

Click here for the review