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Hannibal 1x01: "Apéritif"
msauvage purple
cleolinda
Oh, why not.

So I've come out of recapper retirement for this because Silence of the Lambs is my favorite movie. Yeah, I used to not admit that because, obviously, people give you the side-eye. (My mother still squawks about "THAT MOVIE?! BUT THE PART WHERE SHE GOES INTO THE BASEMENT!!" every time it comes up, like I should have put the DVD in the freezer or something by now.) But my adolescence spanned one end of the '90s to the other, and my two role models for life were Clarice Starling and Dana Scully. My initial reaction to "let's make a Hannibal Lecter TV show in the year 2013" was "WHAT? WHY? NO!!" So I figure, if I of all people liked this show, it might be worth a recap or two.

I, uh. I laughed a lot. But it was a good laugh! It was a giggle of enjoyment-type laugh! The OH, SHOW, OF COURSE YOU JUST DID THAT laugh! I was not laughing during the scarysad parts!

@TheAVClub: Hannibal restores the terror and the sorrow to the serial killer genre.

At once beautiful and languorous, Hannibal unfolds with the logic of a terrifying dream. Not a nightmare, per se, because the dream never grows to a place where the dreamer is physically threatened. But definitely one of those dreams where something is off, where the world has taken a turn for the worse, and everything looks to be at the wrong angle, and the dreamer simply cannot will himself awake. It’s going to have a healthy cult of detractors who will lob insults at it that it may very well deserve, insults like pretentious and slow-paced and poorly plotted. Those who are so inclined will find plot holes by the dozen in every single episode and mercilessly tear it apart on those grounds, ignoring the project’s dream logic ethos.

Yes. Yes, they will. I enjoyed the entire episode at straightforward dreamlike face value, but... also kept asking inconvenient questions like, "But where do you steal a taxidermied deer head FROM? How do you love someone so much that you just decide to start eating other people's livers? Who feeds all those dogs while Will's empathing across Duluth? Is lung sausage even a thing?" However, given that I have always wanted the movie Hannibal to end with Jodie Foster waking up and gasping, "I just had the weirdest dream, I was Julianne Moore and what the actual fuck," I am willing to go with it. But only if I can ask those questions and then cheerfully ignore them.

So.

Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is a sad, squirrelly, sensitive empath with a love of plaid shirts who sees things backwards. Specifically, crimes. You put him at a crime scene, and he puts himself in the head of the killer and mentally reenacts etc., but is haunted by etc. It's a trope now, but--I'm not sure, but (I am confident you'll correct me if I'm wrong) I think Thomas Harris might have been the originator of the FBI Profiler Haunted By His Work. And there's two really awesome things going on here: 1) the visuals, which are (yes) like dreams bleeding in and out of reality (if you've ever wanted to see arterial blood spurt in slow motion, this is your chance) and 2) Hugh Dancy's face, which single... facedly... explains why our sensitive hero, at this moment, is kind of terrifying.

We see Will--in his imagination--kick in the door of some suburban dream house and immediately murderize a man coming down the stairs: "I shoot Mr. Marlowe twice, severing jugulars and carotids with near-surgical precision. He will die watching me take what is his away from him. This is my design." And he says it like he means it, which is... unnerving, to say the least. The wife fumbles hysterically with the alarm system: "I shoot Mrs. Marlowe expertly through the neck. This is not a fatal wound. The bullet misses every artery. She is paralyzed before it leaves her body." And this is the point where Dancy's voice begins to falter. "Which doesn't mean... she can't feel pain. It just means... she can't do anything about it. This is my design." And it's like Will can hear this Awful Arrogant Killer voice coming out of his mouth even while he's reeling in horror from it, like there are two people in his face at the same time, and it's really well done. "The amazing detective who can reconstruct crime scenes" has been done so many times that this particular moment is how the show sets out what it has to offer. Here's a guy who's really good at channeling not just what happened but how it felt when it happened, and how it felt scares the shit out of him.

Then there's a bit that's kind of weird, wherein Will realizes that the killer had to deal with the alarm somehow: "I need the incident report from the home security company?" And then some cop pulls a thick folder out of thin air or hammerspace or his ass or something, because the police just got to the crime scene but there's already a printed report? What? Ah, but look: the incident was reported as a false alarm! There was another false alarm last week! The killer must have tapped the phone and recorded Mrs. Marlowe's responses to the home security company and played them back that night! UTILITY DUDE ON A CRANE: "Yeah, it's been tapped." Oh. Thanks, Utility Dude. And "this is where it gets really horrifying for Mrs. Marlowe," Mental Will intones, but we never find out how because it turns out this is actually a lecture Will is giving. Oh, okay--so that scene happened in a strangely convenient way because he's condensed the story for time, basically. But who was the killer and what did he want? How did he have near-surgical arterial precision? What was Mr. Marlowe's that he died watching being taken from him? How was it about to get even worse for Mrs. Marlowe, who was already on the floor the way she was found? Why do I have so many questions?

"EVERYONE HAS THOUGHT ABOUT KILLING SOMEONE." Right now, about half the Academy is debating whether they should drop the cute but terrifying professor's class. "Now, THINK about killing Mrs. Marlowe. Why did she deserve to die? What is your design?" Apparently this means... class dismissed? Wait, was that an assignment? Does this mean a hundred people are going to turn in papers about why they would kill this poor woman and then Will has to grade them with "Good understanding of utterly creepy shit, I think you have a future in being haunted by crime scenes," or "YOU'RE EMPATHING IT WRONG" all over in red ink? I have to stop asking questions.

Enter Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), Head of Behavioral Sciences at the FBI. I would just like to say that I really, really appreciate that they've cast everyone very differently from the movie(s) and are clearly going in their own direction. If the show just had a third-rate lookalike ensemble, I would not have been able to handle this. At all. Will and Crawford met once before, so Crawford dives right in: "Where are you on the spectrum?" Dude, you're supposed to save the awkward questions for the third date. Will's response is basically, "ASPERGER'S--MAYBE--SHUT UP--I MEAN--MY IMAGINATION JUST FEELS TOO MUCH, OKAY." Also he doesn't like "socializing." I get you, Will. Permit me to hug you in the Jedi fashion.

So here's the walk-and-talk: Crawford wants to "borrow his imagination." The FBI is investigating the abductions of young women taken from Minnesota campuses, and while none of them have turned up yet (Crawford, clearly at his wits' end: "No bodies, no parts of bodies, nothing that comes out of bodies, NOTHING"), nobody's expecting this to turn out all that well. Particularly since they're now, as of three minutes ago, up to eight girls missing. Looking at pictures of the girls, Will immediately points out that they all have similar age, height, weight, coloring, etc. (I'll give him "They all look very... Mall of America," but "wind-chafed"? What?) and theorizes that the kidnapper (real talk: killer) is really after one girl, going through all the candy bars looking for his "golden ticket." It's either someone he hasn't gotten to yet, or someone he's already killed but carefully covered up: "He would hide how special she was. I WOULD. WOULDN'T YOU?" Simmer down, Captain Plaid.

(Dammit, now I just really want chocolate.)

The Nichols home, Minnesota: Like the AV Club points out, the show does not look away from grief and suffering; Elise Nichols' mother is white with anxiety, and her father is visibly torn up over her disappearance. Unfortunately, Will's aversion to "socializing" includes "any kind of rapport with grieving parents": "How's your cat? Was the cat weird when you came home?" What I like about this scene is that it's an example of both the "inexplicable leaps" Will makes while seeming incredibly logical, even obvious, in hindsight. Because Elise was supposed to feed the cat while her parents were gone for the weekend, right? And yet the cat seems totes okay. So (Will explains to Crawford), she must have come home, fed the cat, and then been kidnapped. Her father's so nervous about allowing Will to see her room that I kind of thought we were going somewhere with that, particularly since he keeps insisting that the police have already been in and out of it all day, why do you need to go in there again, and, uh, Totes Okay Cat is now trying to claw the door open, and...




"I need you to leave the room," says Will, turning right back around.

I'm not even going to ask how the killer got back into the room with her body while police were "in and out all day." Forget it, Jake. It's Hannibal.

So, another mental reenactment. I really can't overstate how good Hugh Dancy is on this show, because he goes from saddened and shaken to strangling Imaginary Elise on a dime. Unfortunately, we are now introduced to the first of the Investigators Three when Twenty Questions the fiber analyst (Hettienne Park) bops in and starts getting up in Will's business: "Oh hi! You're Will Graham! I found antler velvet in two of the wounds! Are you not real FBI? Did they screen you out? Are you unstable?" Lady, the neon sign says EMPATHING IN PROGRESS and you need to get the fuck out. "Now, you know you're not supposed to be in here," murmurs Crawford, gently steering her away from his high-strung thoroughbred profiler. I ended up liking the Beverly Katz character a lot, but--seriously, do they not teach any of you tact at the Academy?

Anyway. Will's initial theory is that the killer put antler velvet into the wounds to... heal Elise? He brought her back as "an apology"? "Whatever he did to the others, he couldn't do to her," says Will.

Will's House of Dogs (motto: All the Dogs, All the Time): I would say "House of Bark," but one of the dogs thinks about barking and Will immediately TSH-TSHes it, and the dogs are all SIR, YES SIR. "Everybody, this is Winston, the stray I painstakingly befriended on my way home because the only way I can cope with the horrors that I see and my inability to connect with people is to rescue dogs. Winston, this is everybody."




Hiiiiiiii, Winstonnnnn.

Unfortunately, a houseful of dogs on big soft pillows does not help Will's nightmares. And I like the way they do this: when Will turns over in bed and sees Elise's body lying next to him, you expect her to turn and look at him, everybody jumps, etc. But instead, she just floats away up into the darkness, out of his reach.

The next day, in the bathroom of the Overlook Hotel, Angry Pinboard-Punching Crawford wants Will to empath moar faster: "WHAT KIND OF CRAZY IS HE?!" The kind who loves women and wants to honor and respect them! Wait, what? THAT IS NOT HOW SERIAL KILLERS WORK, LIKE, EVER. "Sensitive psychopath," Crawford says wonderingly, and I started laughing because I was sure they were setting up Lecter's eventual appearance with that line, considering what his fandom (yes, he has one) is like. However, given that Will is not empathing the psychopath sensitivity fast enough for his taste (I'm the only person here who will apologize for a pun like that, by the way), Crawford decides to go get a second opinion.

In the forensics lab, Beverly endears herself to me with the way she says "I got you!" when she finds a tiny shred of metal in Elise's nightgown. We're then shown a flashsideways of an Elise-looking girl (I like her cowboy boots and socks combo. No, I'm serious) getting out of a car at a construction site where someone is shaving tiny shreds of metal off pipes. So: countdown to something terrible happening to this girl.

Meanwhile: walking and talking at the Academy. THINGS WE LEARN ABOUT ALANA BLOOM:

1) I know there was a Dr. Alan Bloom in the books, but I honestly cannot remember anything more than that; if he ever turned up in the movies, it's not coming to me. Thus, in recasting the character as female (Caroline Dhavernas), we pretty obviously now have a love interest on our hands.

2) Alana, who's guest-lecturing at the Academy, is very protective of Will. But very professional. So professional that she won't be in a room alone with him. I think she would like to hug him in a fashion other than the Jedi.

3) Jack Crawford, FBI Matchmaker, is clearly aware of this, because he's all "He liiiii~iiiiikes you."

4) In Alana's opinion, Will's strongest drive is fear, "the price of imagination."

5) If Crawford lets Will "get too close," Alana will cut him. Too close to what? Do not even let him get close enough to find out, or ALANA BLOOM WILL CUT YOU.

Over at Elise's autopsy with the Investigators Three: no prints, no fingernail imprints, nothin' but metal. "We should be looking at plumbers, steamfitters, tool workers," says Will... who suddenly imagines Elise gored on antlers in the dream-darkness. Meanwhile, Beverly and Brian (Aaron Abrams) argue over how, exactly, one gets murderized by a deer. "She was mounted on them. Like hooks," intones Will. Well, that's a conversation-killer right there. But why, wonders Jimmy (Scott Thompson [!]), would the Sensitive Killer take out Elise's liver just to sew it back in?

"There was something wrong with the meat."

This line, or maybe just Dancy's queasy reading of it, is maybe creepier than any single visual in the show. "She has liver cancer," says Brian, astonished. Will nods: "He's, um... he's eating them."

[Cut to: CANNIBAL FAMOUS FOR EATING LIVERS, CURRENTLY EATING LIVER]

Oh, show.





(+1 for attention to detail, guys.)

This is the great tension of the series, I think, that we totally know that this guy is a murderous manipulative cannibal. We even know (or you do if you're familiar with Red Dragon) how this working relationship is going to end (spoiler: not well). Generally, Mads Mikkelsen kind of plays it like Lecter knows, too. He's been getting away with God knows what all these years, so if he decides to fuck with somebody, I'm guessing that he assumes, in his arrogance, that it's going to end exactly the way he wants. And that arrogance is precisely his downfall. Right now, though--how long does he want to play with the mouse before he eats it? So the show can be like, "LIVER!! DUN DUN DUNNNNN," and we all know. We know. And meanwhile, Will doesn't, so he has no idea that... well. We'll get to that.

And now: Lecter's office. I would just like to note here that it is super strange to actually see Hannibal Lecter being a psychiatrist, because the books and movies usually just talk about this in the past tense. So brilliant, so renowned, we had no idea he was eating people, etc. So I've always wondered what his professional manner was actually like. The answer: kind of terrible? Okay, look. My therapist is pretty poker-faced. She generally lets me talk and asks a few questions now and then; her expression is bland verging on indifferent, and her tone is pleasantly deadpan. I get that a certain amount of non-response may be standard operating procedure. But the look Lecter is giving this guy is just cold impatient hatred. I'm pretty sure he begrudges this guy--"Franklyn"--every single tissue he snorfles on. And, you know, I don't see a wastebasket anywhere, so I'm not sure why you're giving sad neurotic Franklyn the stink-eye for just wadding up his Kleenex on a side table.

Which is something I find kind of fascinating, now that I think about it: how incredibly cold and unlikable Mads Mikkelsen allows his Lecter to be. Anthony Hopkins always played him with this constant gleam of mischief--I am serious, he always seemed to have an actual glow of evil--and I think that's exactly the aspect that would come off like a cheap imitation if anyone else tried to do it. Life and death are just one long delightful game, the way he played it, and I actually think the reason Lecter's relationship with Clarice was different was that he was playing a game with her rather than against her. He wanted her to win. Mikkelsen's Lecter is here to amuse himself, but (so far) in a much more detached way. And Lecter is not--never has been--on Will's team. (Holy shit, is he not on Will's team. You have no idea.) There are a number of audience-wink !FORESHADOWING! lines, but Mikkelsen underplays them pretty skillfully. Because we know. And the show knows we know. Right now, it's enough for Lecter to just seem vaguely incompatible with the rest of the human race, somehow.

So, back to hating our patients. "[Anxiety makes] you feel as though a lion were on the verge of devouring you. You need to convince yourself the lion is not in the room." You know, that's actually pretty good advice for any-- "When it is, I assure you... you will know." Oh my God, we are all going to die.

By the way, we also have the cheerfully informative livetweets of show-runner Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies) to shed light on the proceedings:

@BryanFuller: I've been a fan of Dan Fogler since seeing him in #SpellingBee! He plays our Benjamin Raspail character! pic.twitter.com/yBukDQOyp8

Franklyn gonna get et, y'all.

Oh, look, here's Crawford pushing in through the private exit to accost Lecter before Franklyn's even out the door, and if there's anything Lecter hates more than Franklyn's sad ass, it's bad manners. Crawford, you're being rude! ABORT! ABORT!

"Dr. Hannibal Lecter?" he presses, which is the first time we hear the title character's name spoken, and somehow it's not followed by an ominous thunderclap or something. This is what I tend to think of as the People in Dracula Don't Know They're in Dracula problem. You and I are sitting here going, "Dude, are you hearing yourself? Hannibal Lecter. What kind of name even IS that? It RHYMES with how he's EVIL. Everyone knows who he is, that's why he's got four movies and a TV show." "No, I think there's five, actually." "SO THEY OUGHT TO FIGURE OUT WHO HE IS PRETTY QUICK." But in a story, the characters don't know. "Why would you go to the dark scary castle of a guy named Dracula?!" Well, because "Dracula" doesn't mean anything to those fictional people--not the way it does to us. So, as a reader/viewer, you sometimes have to fight this impatient disbelief that the characters do not realize they are talking to a household name of horror. Rather, they're living in a world where "This guy is actually a terrifying killer who wants to feast on you" is the least obvious conclusion.

(Sorry, I just find that reality-fantasy disconnect fascinating.)

By the way, I highly suggest turning on closed captioning if you've got it (the Hulu player does) because I couldn't understand a lot of the dialogue the first time I watched the show. (I think headphones helped the second time.) And so I missed the part where Lecter tells Crawford that he no longer has a secretary because she conveniently followed her "romantic whims" to the UK, never to be heard from again. Yeah. I'll take People I Have Et and Loved for $500, Alex.

(I should add that Lecter's officewear is a sky-blue three-piece suit with a hint of swag windowpane check, because why not.)

"Wow! Are these your amazing masterpiece sketches of the Department of Back Story?" Why, yes, Jack Crawford, yes they are. Lecter is immediately like, "So, are you investigating me? Because I'm not secretly a cannibal serial killer. I mean, in case you were wondering." Ah, but no, Alana Bloom recommended Lecter, her former mentor, to Crawford! "I learned as much from her as she did from me," he says ominously graciously. Could you please eat her last? I really like her, thanks.

King Arthur reunion, Quantico. So, let's all sit down and get to know each other, shall we? Crawford reveals that the inevitable flood of false confessions only got details after tattlecrime.com (wait, nobody's grabbed that URL yet?) leaked a photo of Elise's body. (Interestingly, the Freddie Lounds character is also female now, as well as being a blogger instead of a tabloid reporter. She doesn't actually appear in this episode, though.) Will is disgusted: "Tasteless." Lecter replies, "Do you have trouble with taste?" because what does that even mean? "My thoughts are often not tasty," Will retorts, because apparently we're doing this now. Lecter decides to never shut up about Will's lack of barriers and eye contact and coping mechanisms and starts speculating about Will's dreams and "the things you love" and "the bone arena of your skull" and people, what did I just tell you about awkward questions and third dates? And then Will snaps, my hand to God, "You won't like me when I'm psychoanalyzed." WILL GRAHAM NOT LIKE PSYCHOANALYSIS! WILL SMASH PUNY CANNIBAL!

("Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go give a lecture. On psychoanalyzing." *FLOUNCE*)

("Maybe we shouldn't poke him like that," offers Crawford.)

Now that Will's out of earshot, Lecter diagnoses his "uncomfortable gift" as "pure empathy": "Perception's a tool that's pointed on both ends. This cannibal you have him getting to know... I think I can help good Will see his face." DUNNNNNN.

With dreamlike immediacy, we're now in the middle of a field with some poor butchered girl impaled on deer antlers (the pecking crows are a bit much), and they pretty much show you everything (from the side, at least.) So... naked impalement on a deer head. That's a thing I saw on network TV. Crawford informs the gang that "the stag head was stolen"--from where? Where do you steal a taxidermy stag head on short notice? (The Elks Lodge?) Will sounds not just upset, but offended: "He wanted her to be found. It's--petulant. I almost feel like he's mocking her. Or... he's mocking us." Examining the body, Investigator Brian--looking about as queasy as I feel--says, "He took her lungs. I'm--pretty sure she was alive when he cut 'em out." I don't think I want that chocolate anymore. "Our cannibal loves women," argues Will, worked up to quite a lather of pissosity now. "He doesn't want to destroy them, he wants to consume them. This girl's killer thought that she was a pig." YOU DON'T EVEN GO HERE, COPYCAT GUY! YOU DON'T EVEN GO HERE.

Meanwhile--oh, guess. I... this is just... is that what raw lungs look like? They look meatier than I would have expected? What is Lecter doing to them with his back turned to us? Like, kneading them? Do you have to tenderize lung? I have so many questions I don't want answered, you guys.

(Wait. So Lecter is kneading lungs at... his house in Baltimore? But the girl's body was found in Minnesota? So he stole a taxidermy stag head, kidnapped an exact match for the victim profile, and... drove? flew? teleported? some poor random girl, or possibly just her lungs, and probably had the most entertaining conversation ever with the TSA about them, got his gourmet on, and then he goes back to Minnesota, in--what, 24 hours? Less? He is even more dangerous than we knew.)

Inspired by the utter ur-doin-it-wrongness of the crime scene, Will insists that their cannibal must have a place to ~honor~ these girls more discreetly, a house or cabin with an antler room instead of this "field kabuki" (wha--?). Spoiler: We never find out what the hell place the ~Sensitive Killer~ has for his nightmare meat-hook deer-antler setup. Until further notice, I'm going to assume it was Skyfall.

(ETA: Oh, look, it's further notice.)

(Actually, he's been named "The Minnesota Shrike." See, this is why newspapers are going out of business: they're not coming up with creative, informed killer names like this anymore. I mean, you probably wouldn't get any better than "The Deer Hunter" from Fox News.)

(WTF is a shrike? Well, Jimmy explains that they're mouse-impaling, organ-ripping birds who carry off their prey to "a little birdie pantry," which is so on point that I refused to believe it was a real thing until I looked it up.)

"He has a daughter!" Will empaths suddenly. She's the one all the victims look like! She's an only child! Leaving home! She's the one in this flashsideways that only we get to see! "He can't stand the thought of losing her. She's his golden ticket." So, obviously, the only way to cope with your daughter going to college is to eat stranger-girls' livers. People are weird.

"What about the copycat?" Crawford calls after the departing Will, who's all like, whatever, I don't have time for your intelligent hard-to-catch sadists, if you like Lecter and his opinions ~so much~ you can just GO ASK HIM.

*facepalm*

P.S. "Field Kabuki" is the name of my next band.

And then there's a forest with a stag in Will's shower. I nominate David Lynch for guest director in Season 2.

Oh, hey, Lecter's up bright and early at Will's motel room, because I guess some of us can't teleport home for the night. (The way he very specifically asks, "May I come in?," not once but twice, reminds me of legends about having to invite vampires in. But then, everything reminds me of vampires, so.) Lecter explains that he is very careful about what he puts into his body (...I'm just gonna leave that there), and so he generally eats only his own cooking. Oh, look, Will! He made you breakfast! Isn't that nice! Scrambled eggs and sausage! OH GOD WAIT NO

NO DON'T

WILL, IT'S A--

HE'S A--

@BryanFuller: #SPOILER Sausage Is People

OH GOD NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

"It's delicious, thank you." "My pleasure." I just started laughing helplessly, I don't know. Shit, I'm laughing right now. And he just keeps eating it. At this point, I'm pretty sure we've seen more cannibalism in one hour than was shown in all the movies combined.

"I would apologize for my analytical ambush," Lecter begins, but basically he means to continue never shutting up about Will's psyche, "so I have to consider using apologies sparingly."

"Just keep it professional."

"Or we could socialize, like adults." DANGER, WILL GRAHAM! "God forbid we become friendly."

"I don't find you that interesting."

"You will."

You see what I mean about the foreshadowing.

(STILL! EATING! THE SAUSAGE!)

So, let's get down to tasty business. Will doesn't think the Sensitive Shrike killed the girl in the field. "What gave it away?" asks Lecter (always open to constructive criticism, this one). "Everything. It's like he had to show me a negative so that I could see the positive. That crime scene was practically gift-wrapped." Okay, I know that you don't know that you're in Hannibal, Will, but there are some questions here that you need to start asking. Oh, fuck it, we'll think about conveniently telltale murders later. Lecter wants to poke around and see if Will has any "problems" (although Will denies it): "You and I are alike: problem-free. Nothing about us to feel horrible about" (SAUSAAAAAGE). Also, he thinks that "Uncle Jack sees you as a fragile little teacup," whereas Lecter himself sees Will as "the mongoose I want under the house when the snakes slither by." What, so you can throw more snakes at him? "Finish your breakfast." OH STOP.

Unfortunately, Crawford's off somewhere being deposed, so it's just two guys who are not actually FBI agents doing the investimagating today; Lecter can barely hide how deeply relevant to his interests Take Your Cannibal to Work Day is. "You're lucky we're not doing house-to-house interviews," says Will, which I can only imagine is his idea of hell. Although I'm pretty sure it would be hilarious if they did. EMPATH AND CANNIBAL: THEY FIGHT CRIME. Awkwardly. As it is, they're just visiting to the office/trailer of a construction company that uses the same kind of pipe-threading metal that Beverly found, so as to paw through the employment records. The receptionist is somehow suspicious of these two charming and sociable gentlemen: "What did you say your names were?" Honey, you wouldn't believe me if I told you.

Will decides that the one guy who didn't leave an address at this, the first construction company they went to, is their suspect, because, sure, I don't really want to sit through an hour of Trufax Unglamorous Legwork any more than they do: Garrett Jacob Hobbs is their man. ("Does Mr. Hobbs have a daughter? Eighteen or nineteen, wind-chafed?" REALLY, WILL?) Outside, Lecter basically dumps a box of files on this woman's head so he can stroll back into the trailer and make a quick phone call. To review: so far, Lecter has eaten the lungs he ripped out of some girl while she was still alive, just to give Will a ~helpful hint~ on a case. Also: sausage. But this, this is the point where I started shouting at the TV:

LECTER: Mr. Garrett Jacob Hobbs? You don't know me, and I suspect we will never meet. This is a courtesy call. Listen very carefully... Are you listening? ...They know.

HOBBS [on the phone in a kitchen with a wind-chafed young Mall of America brunette]: O_O

!!!!!

Hannibal Lecter, you are the worst at helping.

When we come back from the break, Will's already reversing into a mental reenactment while semi-catatonic and spattered with blood, so obviously this is going to end well. The whole thing starts when he and Lecter arrive at the Hobbs house, and then Mrs. Hobbs staggers out onto the porch, throat cut and spurting blood. Will tries to help her but it's too late. It's a good thing he was issued a Special Professor Investigator gun to go point-and-shouting around the house with, because otherwise everyone would be shit up a creek right now. Meanwhile, Lecter's just standing around on the porch looking down at Mrs. Hobbs' body, like, "Huh. Bonus," because HE IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST.

And there's Garrett Jacob Hobbs struggling in the kitchen with his brunette Mall-of-America wind-chafed daughter, and you think, okay, this is the part where Will's going to try to talk him down, and it'll be tense for a few minutes, and he'll probably say something relevant to his own tormented psyche, and Lecter will probably stand in the shadows and listen, aaaaand wrong. Hobbs just cuts her throat, done. "Sensitive psychopath" my ass. So Will shoots the fuck out of him, and then he shoots him again, and then he shoots him again some more. But only half her throat got cut, so Will has a chance of saving her, if he can just stop freaking out long enough to hold his hands tight around the wound. Like, I'm kind of freaking out, so it's not like you can blame him. And then, something I didn't catch until I watched it with the captions: Will looks over at her dying father, and he whispers, "See... see?"




What the hell.

So eventually Lecter strolls on in to see how this whole throat-cutting thing is going because OH MY GOD, WHY ARE YOU SUCH A TERRIBLE PERSON (oh... right). His expression is so calmly inscrutable when he comes over to Will that I can't tell if he's like, "There, there, son, I'll take care of this" or "No, you amateur, this is how you keep them from bleeding out when you don't want them to die right away." Nevertheless, he holds on and keeps Hobbs' daughter alive until paramedics can get there while Will sits there, covered in blood, shaking. I guess Lecter calls 911 with his mind? He can probably do that, yeah.

Meanwhile, back at the Academy, Alana Bloom is Not Happy with Crawford. In fact, I daresay She Mad. She doesn't actually say, "I'm covering Will's classes because YOU ARE BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD," but that's kind of how it comes out: "You said he wouldn't get too close." Okay, look, to be fair, how was Crawford supposed to know that Will's new partner was going to start outright trolling him, cannibal recommender?

Meanwhile-meanwhile, back at the hospital in Minnesota, Lecter is sitting at Hobbs' daughter's bedside, "asleep" in a chair, like, holding this girl's hand. Yeah, okay. My side-eye here is fierce and true, y'all. He is either guarding this girl so that he can do moar terribler things to her later, or he's waiting for Will to show up like a sad traumatized puppy and--oh, look, success. So Will sits down by the other side of the bed and they just chill there unto the credits, like an angel on one side and a demon on the other, I guess. But Will doesn't know that. But we know.





@BryanFuller: #RedDragon will be our Season 4, if we are so fortunate! #AskHannibal

This gon' be good.


@BryanFuller: There is absolutely a role for #LeePace that we've discussed with him. All depends on his availability for Season 2! #AskHannibal

Is he gonna get et?


Also: LATER THIS SEASON:





YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!

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(Continue: 1x02: "Amuse-Bouche.")



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Love the recap!

I thought the episode was a bit disjointed--the mystery with Garrett Hobbs could have been spread over two episodes for a more even build-up.

It is kinda weird watching a show knowing what will eventually happen. Not sure if I love Mads Mikkelsen's Hannibal--you're quite right, he's missing the glee that Anthony Hopkins gave the character. But then again, by that time Lector is revealed for what he truly is and figures he may as well enjoy it?

It's been so long since Red Dragon was first published that one tends to forget what a landmark book it was in the genre.

I did have nightmares about the girl impaled on the deer. Knew that had to be Lector's work as it had his artistic touch on it.


I will say, yeah, I think the movies could get away with a gleeful Lecter because they were always approaching the story from a point where everyone knew what his deal was. In a pre-Red Dragon storyline, he's got to at least try to hide it. It's a lot more subtle, but I think it's there?

"Good understanding of utterly creepy shit, I think you have a future in being haunted by crime scenes,"

As a person currently grading undergrad Criminal Justice major essays, I would really like to use that on someone's paper. Sadly, not appropriate for the class I'm working with.

Well, if it ever is appropriate, feel free. And then maybe take a picture of it.

What is even this show, oh my god.

This show.

What really got me was the use of music and silence in this thing... I was so tense in some places that I had to get up and walk around because OMG WHAT.

I hope it gets renewed because it is pretty damn well done and frankly, Bryan Fuller needs a win. Also, Hugh Dancy is pretty, and I am shallow.

I am really impressed that he is somehow the most interesting character on the show, despite being surrounded by a bunch of potential scene-stealers. Really, really good.

i ... have got to start watching this

Bloom was mentioned in Red Dragon, and I swear it's exactly how she was first mentioned on the show (Graham listing off other people Crawford has to profile besides him). The stuff about him/her not being alone in the same room as Will, and will liking/trusting... them is in the book, too. It's just as subtextually romantic, but I'm inclined to view *everything* like that, so...

And now: Lecter's office. I would just like to note here that it is super strange to actually see Hannibal Lecter being a psychiatrist, because the books and movies usually just talk about this in the past tense.

When we got to this scene at the screen at Wonder Con, the woman sitting next to me said, "Is he a therapist or something?"

And then, something I didn't catch until I watched it with the captions: Will looks over at her dying father, and he whispers, "See... see?"

This also comes directly from the book. But... I'm not sure what it signifies.

This whole thing gets dragged out for a least one more episode, probably more. They showed the first two at WonderCon (and I heartily approve of female Freddie Loudes because her hair is fantastic). Even through Hobbs is caught, they're still investigating everything else (like where the bodies are).

I have two basic assumptions with this show: 1) Everything Hannibal does is to mindfuck will, and, 2) It's all people. Every meat is people.

"Is he a therapist or something?"

I have no idea why that made me laugh out loud, for real.

Wait, was this whole "See?" business in the book? It's been forever since I've read them.

(Shhhhhh, dun tell me what happens! Although, yeah, the previews indicated that they'll keep going with the Hobbs aftermath, which I like, rather than there just magically being another unusually creative serial killer to chase after every week.)

I have two basic assumptions with this show: 1) Everything Hannibal does is to mindfuck will, and, 2) It's all people. Every meat is people.

I'm basically operating on this theory as well, yeah.

OMG sausage.

FBI chasing serial killers or other freaky shit really was one of the narrative threads of the 90s, wasn't it? Were we tired of light and fluffy stories? I can't complain, as I read all of Tom Harris and Patricia Cornwell and watched X-Files and all. Reading this recap makes me want to reread it, but I'm afraid it won't hold up. Only one way to find out, I guess.

This series sounds fun. Thank you for the recap! I hope you write more of them.

You know, I think we were all into really dark gnarly shit because the economy was actually doing pretty well in the Clinton years. Like, we could afford to scare ourselves. Maybe all the horror coming back the last year or so means that things are getting better...?

Cleo recap!! You've made my night! I cannot stop giggling over Lecter's entertaining conversation with the TSA. (I don't want to know what that says about me.)

I don't know what it says about ME that I giggled with delight through much of the show.

Most excellent recappage, Cleo.

I knew I was gonna be devouring (heh) this show since I've been on a MAJOR Hannibal Lecter kick lately. I read both Red Dragon and The Silence Of The Lambs books in the span of two weeks, watched Manhunter and the SOTL movie, listened to the Now Playing Podcast review of the Lecter films as well as the sister podcast Books and Nachos covering the books. Like I said, MAJOR Lecter kick.

Anyhoo, I did like how the show had elements that we know from the books in the series, like Hobbs being the first person Graham kills. And after reading Red Dragon and knowing exactly how it all ends, I found it very interesting to see how the relationship starts and progresses before the events of the book.

And I did a little squee of delight when I saw that Julianne Moore was doing a cameo in a future episode.

Dr. Bloom does make an appearance in Manhunter, albeit briefly. And knowing that Freddie is a woman makes the events in Red Dragon all the more... interesting?

Thank you for this recap. My dog was crying in the other room, and I missed half the episode. (I really need to learn the Will Graham Method to Silence Your Whining Dog.)

I couldn't agree more that knowing what we know about Lecter just adds another layer and ramps up the tension. I don't think I've clawed my face as much in an hour as did here. And...I liked how Mikkelsen played Lecter; much cooler and detached than Hopkins. (I don't think it'd be wise, anyway, for Mikkelsen to attempt to play Lecter the same way Hopkins did.) I wonder--if we make it to Season 4--the more "gleeful" Lecter will come out to play; since by then he won't be concerned with hiding his extra-curricular activities and can openly mindfuck Will.

Not knowing it was a prequel, I was seriously annoyed with the whole "profiler who can think like a serial killer" trope until I realized that it was started with Red Dragon. Then I just felt like the guys who think that Shakespeare is full of cliches.

I had relevant commentary on your commentary, honest, but then LEE PACE and HUGH DANCY on the same screen became an idea in my life, and I had to take a quiet moment.

And what I'm getting here is that Will Graham is Spencer Reid, Jason Gideon, and Deanna Troi all wrapped up in one.

Also, I convinced my dad to take me and a friend to see Hannibal. Then he made stew for dinner. With beef hearts. Took years before I could eat beef hearts again.

Apparently this means... class dismissed? Wait, was that an assignment? Does this mean a hundred people are going to turn in papers about why they would kill this poor woman and then Will has to grade them with "Good understanding of utterly creepy shit, I think you have a future in being haunted by crime scenes," or "YOU'RE EMPATHING IT WRONG" all over in red ink?

This made me imagine what would happen if, terribly late for class, Will dropped these papers and some helpful soul stopped to aid him in getting them back together.

"Oh, let me help you Professor! *starts gathering papers* What class do you teach? *glances at titles of papers like "Why I would kill the Marlows" and "I love making them suffer as they die"* WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!?"

Yeahhhh. "What is YOUR design?" sounds like the creepiest college recruitment ad ever.

The last time I saw Hugh Dancy he was just barely avoiding being completely trampled by Nina Arianda in Venus in Fur, so I was seriously impressed by the work he did here. I really don't care for serial killers or horror or most cop shows, and yet here I am, THANKS FULLER, and man, this pilot was good. "Dream logic" is the perfect way to describe it.

Yeah, and you know, the dream logic actually worked for me when I first watched it. It was when I had to sit down and write down what happened that I was like, "Wait, so this guy climbed back into the girl's bedroom with her body while police were in and out and... what?" Like, Lecter's kitchen being a magical place in his own head almost makes more sense logistically than trying to figure out how he kept going back and forth. FINE BY ME, honestly.

I have no real interest in watching this series, like, ever, but your recap made me laugh hysterically at several points, so thanks for that.

Hee, yay. I know some of y'all read things here whether you watch the shows or movies or not (I read tons of recaps on TWOP for shows I never watched), but I was afraid people would just go, "Nope, not this one."

I AM SO DELIGHTED THAT THIS GLORIOUSLY MONSTROUS SHOW HAS INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE AGAIN

IT IS LIKE 50% AMAZING AND 50% WONDERFULLY RIDICULOUS IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT TOO LONG

Which is exactly the kind of thing I find easiest to write about. Worth watching, but still enough room to have fun.

(The way he very specifically asks, "May I come in?," not once but twice, reminds me of legends about having to invite vampires in. But then, everything reminds me of vampires, so.)

Dammit, why don't we have teleportation yet so we can hang out, drink tea, and talk about vampires? WHYYYYYYY?

I was waffling about watching Hannibal, but your recap has convinced me. It sounds like my sort of ridiculous fun.

I don't knoooow!! And, in my defense, there actually is a line in Silence of the Lambs, some random deputy type: "Is he some kind of a vampire?" And Clarice says, "They don't have a name for what he is." I'm not just totally pulling this out of thin air, in other words.

Honestly, I can't really do justice to the visuals; the whole show is really well done. It's just that when you sit down and try to describe what happened--much like a dream--you find yourself unable to explain exactly how it must have happened. Well, and I can't help it, I end up having fun with everything I like, no matter how serious it started out being.

CLEO! I love your reviews. I also feel that you would love Stoker. Have you managed to see it yet? /shameless begging

OH MY GOD DON'T EVEN SPEAK OF THAT MOVIE TO ME, I have been shaking my fist at the sky for a month solid now because NO ONE WILL BRING IT TO ME. Oh my Gooooood, I want to see it so bad. I SPENT MONTHS WAITING FOR IT TO COME OUT. Every weekend I check Flixster to see if it's anywhere near. ALWAYS WINTER BUT NEVER STOKER.

I should really take a look at this, but I don't know. Right now, courtesy of the Chiller Channel, I've been catching all those episodes of Pushing Daisies I missed, 'cause when it was originally on I didn't know what to think other than it seemed kinda cutesy, but watching it now I'm thinking "Cutesy is WHAT I NEED RIGHT NOW."

Somehow I can't wrap my head around the notion that Lecter would have female victims, but maybe that's just me.

And of course, my curiosity is about what Mads Mikkelsen does as Hannibal... not necessarily in speech pattern, but body language and facial expression. Hopkins in the films did have a sort of poker face in his scenes with Clarice... the smile, the glint in the eyes that just said "I'M CRAZY ANTHONY HOPKINS!" And whenever he'd turn his back on her, his face would change... up until their final scene in Tennessee where it's all intense, intense, intense...
The other thing about Hopkins as Lecter was his stillness. Like how a praying mantis can just stand there for what seems like hours before it suddenly lashes out and grabs its prey...

Somehow I can't wrap my head around the notion that Lecter would have female victims, but maybe that's just me.

Yeah, I know what you mean--oddly, it seems "rude"? His whole thing about manners kind of looks like chivalry if you squint. I mean, the first time we "meet" him in SOTL, he talks a guy into killing himself for harassing Clarice. But then, I don't know if that "chivalry" is something that really comes out in that particular story and not any of the others or what.

Mikkelsen's pretty subtle, but still creepy. That whole thing with the sausage--the really interesting thing, the second time I saw it, was to watch him watching Will eat. That's the kind of thing I'm interested in, the mind games.

Huh. This is the first thing I've heard that actually makes me want to watch the show. It seems like a tough premise to sustain, though.

Apparently they've gone ahead and planned out all five seasons (and are trying to get the Silence of the Lambs rights from MGM, presumably for that fifth season if Red Dragon would be the fourth?). So they seem to have an end in sight and a decent sense of how to pace themselves, I hope.

(Also, I think the seasons are only meant to be 13 episodes long.)

Edited at 2013-04-08 06:17 am (UTC)

It seemed everyone I talked to about Hannibal wrote it off before it premiered, and now it's GIFs and fangirling and recaps galore! I couldn't be more pleased, as it's felt like a while since a show came out of nowhere and got everyone excited.

The thing I took away from my first watch was how the Lector/Graham team-up seemed like an inversion of the Holmes/Watson dynamic: Will is all heart - full of confusion, action, and good intentions, while Lector is calm, calculating, and trying to teach Will by example. But for evil.

Man, I can't even imagine what Tumblr looks like right now. I'm afraid to even look.

HEEEE YES I MISSED RECAPS.

Will snaps, my hand to God, "You won't like me when I'm psychoanalyzed."

That was the funniest moment of the whole show. I had to pause the player because I kept chortling. SOMEONE follows a hulk or two on Twitter.

" (The way he very specifically asks, "May I come in?," not once but twice, reminds me of legends about having to invite vampires in."

No, that occurred to me too. I think it was on purpose.

I don't follow Hannibal the Cannibal, but when you said David Lynch I was In Like Flynn. Dreamlogic FTW! Maybe the deer antlers came from the sheriff's dept on Twin Peaks? (Not making it up, the deer head was on the table when they came in.) Truely you have never said WTFBBQ to a TV screen until you have seen Twin Peaks.

I have to agree with you on Twin Peaks. I was so into the "Okay, so confuse the hell out of me THIS week!" challenge with that program...I just recently rewatched it all!

Greyson :)

I love you sooOOOoooo much! So much.

I am so glad to have a recap from you! And such an excellent one.

I REALLY liked the show, to a degree that surprised me. Will as embodied here is an amazing character; Dancy was so good at portraying the agony of unfettered empathy that I felt HIS emotion. (I also said something on Twitter about how if he was working on this while Claire Danes was doing Homeland, the end of a working day at their house must be brutal.) I was incredibly tense for the entire episode, less from the horror stuff than because of how overpowering his emotion was. The bit with the dogs...aaaaahhh, what a way to show how someone copes with this kind of constant horror. And that fragility, which is something that so rarely gets shown in a male character, and the way it inspires protectiveness, that's kind of a remarkable thing to put in a setting like this.

I'm loving Mikkelsen as Lecter. I'm not all that great an admirer of Hopkins' Lecter (though I think some of that is poisoning from Hannibal the movie, which is too Grand Guignol even for me, and has had an essay sitting in me for years on what we have to do to make "evil" emotionally palatable to ourselves), and I appreciate that Mikkelsen isn't trying to re-create that. I like that he's just sort of vaguely creepy; it would be too distracting if he was trying to be Hopkins, so he's going for that generally-unsettling thing and letting the context fill in the rest. I totally agree that a lot of this premise is based on the existing cultural background; the show doesn't have to show us much to make Lecter ominous and upsetting because we come into it already knowing what he becomes, so we can fill in the gaps all on our own. It's a really interesting way to structure things, and I'm pretty intrigued at this notion of using common cultural consciousness to drive a story arc, effectively making the audience partly responsible for how the story works itself out. Bates Motel is doing the same thing, and it works in a similar way.

The biggest thing I got from the show--and it's probably going to sound weird, but I think some people will understand--was that it reminded me of why I became interested in serial killers and criminal psychology in the first place, and that is because this stuff is effing terrifying and trying to grasp and live with that terror is a huge challenge. (For context, I'm old enough to remember Ted Bundy's first period of activity in the Seattle area--long before anybody actually identified him--and that my mother was deeply afraid because she fit his prey template. This is something that was born very early for me.) SotL did indeed lead to a surge of cultural "respectability," as it were, for serial-killer stories, and over the past couple of decades they've become so commonplace that now they can even be heroes. This show stripped a lot of that away and reminded me that it's not merely about the puzzles and the spectacle and the strangeness of these killers, but about how terrifying it is to know that some of our own kind regard us as prey and trying to grasp how they can be like that and how we might fall victim to them. There's certainly a lot of spectacle in this show, but the heart of it is that sense of helpless terror. And having that underlying all the "entertainment" aspects makes this more compelling to me, not necessarily because I "enjoy" it in the sense of getting off on the violence and terror, but because there's something compelling about wrestling with the terror in a "safe" setting.

(The one thing that is really bothering me is that I've heard numerous complaints about how heavily this series presents women as victims, and while some of that is reflecting the reality of what we know about serial killers, this is a circumstance where I'd prefer some unreality for the sake of not continuing the trend of violence against women as entertainment. As absurd as so many of the details about Hobbs' killings were, I was weirdly grateful about the "purity" aspect, because I'm at a point where sexualized violence in entertainment is beyond my capacity to handle. And as others have noted, it's incongruent with what we already know about Lecter. Maybe this will change as it goes on. I kind of have to hope that it will.)

You know, the interesting thing about the "cultural consciousness" aspect driving the suspense (and I think you're right), is that I still think the tension works if you're coming in cold. Because once they show him cutting up and cooking the lungs, you already know something 1) major and 2) horrific about this guy. What this guy's really like isn't a reveal they held until midway through the season; they just straight-up show you that Will's trying to find a cannibal who's emotionally invested in his murders and is theoretically acting out some kind of deep angst, and over here, we have this guy who is SO MUCH WORSE, and Will doesn't even know. And with the sausage, they show you very, very quickly that Lecter's in this to play (awful, awful) games with people. So even if you didn't bring that cultural consciousness to the show--they've given you a remedial course in it ASAP.

As far as the incongruent killing goes--I think what was so chilling about it to me was that it looked like your stereotypical sexual violence crime (well, in terms of "absurdly creative serial killers in fiction"), but we know that Lecter actually did it as sort of a dispassionate exercise in logic for Will. Like, something that people who are not severely, violently disturbed are incapable of doing--he just did it to make a point, just to prompt a conversation. And he so very easily could have just told Will the things he was trying to "explain" with that crime scene. And I think that says a lot about him.

The next episode looks like it's about Will coping with the Hobbs aftermath, and if we're going to have violence against women in the first place, I'd rather them focus on how awful and upsetting the crimes they've already shown were, instead of marching a parade of new victims though every week, yeah.

Edited at 2013-04-08 03:45 pm (UTC)


Shrikes are real, and awesome. Their larders are confronting...

Love SotL. The film and book both. Fave part of the book remains this bit:

" Starling, scrubbed shiny and wearing her FBI Academy nightgown, was working on the second draft of her report when her dormitory roommate, Ardelia Mapp, came in from the library. Mapp's broad, brown, eminently sane countenance was one of the more welcome sights of her day.
Ardelia Mapp saw the fatigue in her face.
"What did you do today, girl?" Mapp always asked questions as if the answers could make no possible difference.
"-Wheedled a crazy man with come all over me."
"...I wish I had time for a social life; I don't know how you manage it, and school too."
Starling found that she was laughing. Ardelia Mapp laughed with her, as much as the small joke was worth. Starling did not stop, and she heard herself from far away, laughing and laughing. Through Starling's tears, Mapp's face looks strangely old and her smile has sadness in it."

God bless, I love Ardelia.

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