Review: ‘Hannibal’ – ‘Fromage’

Senior Television Writer
05.16.13 75 Comments


A few quick thoughts on tonight’s “Hannibal” – and other recent developments on the show – coming up just as soon as I take a hammer to my chimney…

Other end-of-season bits of work have gotten in the way of me writing anything about the previous two episodes of the show – both of them dealing with Dr. Lecter’s side career as the Chesapeake Ripper – which is a shame, as they were two of the strongest episodes so far, and boasted fine guest performances by Eddie Izzard and Gillian Anderson (who continued tonight as Lecter’s therapist). My hope is that once most of the network shows are done for the spring, I’ll have more time to discuss the show in the home stretch of its first season.

A couple of news developments since last we left. First, NBC’s upfront announcement earlier in the week featured no decision about renewal, and it may be a few more weeks before its fate is known. Second, Bryan Fuller gave a long and thoughtful interview to Kate Aurthur about the way the show portrays violence, and went much more in depth into the reasoning behind shelving the fourth episode (which was more about Newtown than Boston).

As to “Fromage,” it continued the recent focus on Hannibal as both shrink and master criminal, this time with him outfighting catgut enthusiast Tobias Budge (played by Demore Barnes from “The Unit”) while standing over the corpse of annoying patient Franklin (Dan Fogler in a rare dramatic role). On the one hand, the fight was almost hilariously over the top. On the other, this is a show that is not shy about absurd (and also horrifying) imagery, and Lecter is portrayed as something of a superhuman in pretty much every version of the story. So if a fellow killer comes at him twirling bow strings as a lethal weapon, why the hell not?

As the focus on Lecter increases, there’s the danger that Will could start feeling lost in the show, when Hugh Dancy was the performer who stood out most in the early going. Fortunately, Will’s gradual break from reality is providing Dancy, a lot to play with, and the kiss between Will and Dr. Bloom (briefly ignoring her own psychiatric advice) provides a lot to consider about both characters.

What did everybody else think? Seven episodes in – or eight, if you downloaded the one NBC wouldn’t air – how are you feeling about the series in general?

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