NBC’s Hannibal
Season 1, Episode 7: “Sorbet”
Directed by James Foley (At Close Range)
Written by Jesse Alexander & Bryan Fuller

* For a review of the previous episode, “Entrée” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Fromage” – click hereIMG_0205This may be Father Gore’s favourite episode of the first season, though it’s hard to choose only one. Maybe it’s tied with the following episode, “Fromage.”
The reason I say this might be the best is because it shows us exactly the essence of the whole Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) story here. Not only do we get another Killer of the Week sort of thing, it again plays directly into the motivation of the central characters, the theme.
Here what we’re seeing is Hannibal skirting along behind the curtains while Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), and the FBI Forensic Team (Scott Thompson/Aaron Abrams/Hettienne Park) are all trying to figure out what’s going on. Even further, Will is having to battle against the Forensic Team as he believes the latest murder is not one committed by the Chesapeake Ripper; instead, he believes it is a medical student, or someone similar, trying to make an extra dollar doing black market surgery/et cetera. So there are plenty of things happening in this episode, beginning with the crime scene examined.IMG_0210I love the Stanley Kubrick homage in this episode, just like the early bathroom scene in the pilot episode referencing a scene out of The Shining between Jack Torrance and Delbert Grady. Here it’s a reference to the scene from the same film where Jack heads up to Room 237, only to find a dead woman whom he hallucinates to be a beautiful naked woman. Then horror ensues.
Once more we get almost identical shots, framed spectacularly with that attention to dimensions just as Kubrick did in The Shining. It looks horrifically beautiful, and I love that they’ve included such direct and eye-popping homages in the series.
Again, this is just another perfect example of Will’s ability, as we watch his mind situate itself in the perspective of the supposed killer. I love how this one played out, simply because it is so nasty. The shot in the picture above shows Will spreading the rib cage of the victim; while he does it, there are shots of his face intercut with the victim, and you can tell that he is disturbed. I think that’s my favourite part of his recreations, is the fact that Hugh Dancy is able to show us how Graham is tortured by what he must look at, even if it’s for the sake of stopping a killer and getting justice for victims. Just more proof that Dancy takes the character to another level.

I see him as one of those pitiful things born in hospitals. They feed it, keep it warm, but they don’t put it on machines. They let it die. But he doesn’t die, he looks normal, nobody can tell what he is.

Finally, we get to see Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier. First off, I am a huge fan of hers, simply due to the X-Files. However, if you’ve yet to see her newest series The Fall starring her and Jamie Dornan, then I suggest you quickly watch it when you can: both of them are incredible.
Here we’re headed into a new direction, as we see Hannibal interacting with Bedelia; who as it turns out is Dr. Lecter’s psychiatrist. Though it is a normal thing for psychiatrists to see one themselves, in real life not just on The Sopranos, the most interesting part about Hannibal Lecter and his psychiatrist here is something which has not come out yet. Having the ability to look back now that I’m into Season 3 and caught up, there’s so much intrigue. Right off the bat we can see that Bedelia knows more about him than anyone else, and more than she lets on through an expository dialogue.
Bedelia tells Hannibal that he wears a “very well-tailored person suit” or that perhaps it’s more of a “human veil”. This speaks so much to the general concept of serial killers because, as we know, people such as Dennis Rader (B.T.K), Jeffrey Dahmer, and especially the infamous Ted Bundy, they all put on that human mask that helped to shield them from the outside, curious world. When you look at Bundy, mostly, you’re able to see how Hannibal is so much like him and others – he has a finely tuned personality, he shows others only what he wishes them to see,
The contempt Will is building inside him for Jack Crawford shows at times, the influence of sneaky Hannibal working into the folds of his brain. In this episode, we see how smart Will is and all the while people around him, Jack + the Forensic Team, doubt his abilities simply because they’re reading the evidence. In opposition, Will reads emotion, feeling, he takes what’s there and extrapolates to figure out the methodology, or ‘design’, of the current killer. Not that Jack distrusts Will, however, there’s small examples in this episode of how Will is truly the Other when juxtaposed with the rest of the typical crime fighters in Jack and his FBI team.IMG_0224Also, Jack’s not exactly doing all right. He begins to have dreams, visions of Will dead on a table in the lab, stitched up after his autopsy. Graham’s dead eyes focus on Jack – we can see he’s missing an arm, just like Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky) Jack’s previous disappeared trainee. We’re able to see how much Jack truly is worried, despite pushing Will further and further. He’s truly scared that Will is going to end up, because of him, just as Miriam did: in the hands of the Chesapeake Ripper. Little does Jack know…
I like that there’s bits of tension between Will and the others at times. Particularly, Brian Zeller (Aaron Abrams) and Will Graham have a few moments where you can see that Brian thinks Will is half nuts, and Will just does not care what any of them think. It’s not because Will thinks he’s special that he acts in such a way – it’s because he knows the torture, the pain, the burning flame in his brain that comes from looking at these crimes, recreating them, taking them in as a part of you. This episode helps flesh that whole concept out a bit more than usual.
What I enjoy about Hannibal’s patient, Franklin (Dan Fogler), is that he illuminates some of the issues of friendship which surround Hannibal and his relationship with Will. I don’t want to say too much more about that because the next episode explores plenty of that as well. Mainly, the way Franklin attaches himself emotionally to Hannibal feels rude for the doctor; the above quote comes out of Franklin’s mouth and I almost cringe, seeing Hannibal look at him and the word RUDE flashing through his dark mind.
But it’s not just a bit of fodder to include Hannibal’s patients, what we see in Franklin is a desire to connect, and somehow this awakens part of Hannibal which doesn’t merely want to experiment on Will with his dangerous variables – now, he wants a genuine friendship. He sees the longing of others to have friendships and whether he genuinely wants one in the beginning, or if it only becomes genuine later as he becomes truly close with Will, there’s still that want/need in him to seek out Will’s friendship.IMG_0239I love when Franklin’s appointment is finished, the look Hannibal has in his eyes is one of hurt; he has not heard from Will, whose perceived slight of not confirming that he wouldn’t be there for his own appointment seems RUDE to Hannibal. Though, rudeness in someone he enjoys does not particularly upset Hannibal. He’s willing to forgive Will, as Hannibal can tell his friend is in a bad place; Hannibal walks in as Will is caught in a dream/hallucination of himself and Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) at a makeshift dinner table, which is in actuality a young woman impaled on stag horns.
Another piece of this episode I thought worked incredibly well is when Hannibal and Will go along with Jack + FBI to supposedly “catch the Ripper,” as Jack puts it. However, they discover Will was more than right: the culprit of the murders early in the episode is in fact an EMT who is trying to become a doctor. In the back of an ambulance, the EMT has his hand inside another person. Jack calls Hannibal over to assess the situation.
Here is what really interests me. As Hannibal works at his makeshift surgery, Will watches him go. You can absolutely see how Hannibal has completely hidden himself in Will’s blind spot. Clearly, we witness that Hannibal still has plenty of surgical chops left from his days at John Hopkins and the emergency room. Others might believe, as a psychiatrist so long, Lecter got sloppy or forgot how to do most of his surgery-based techniques. Right in front of us, right in front of Will, Hannibal gives up a piece of himself for everyone to see. Juxtaposed with his earlier conversation with Bedelia, the person suit comes off at this moment, unwillingly as he Hannibal certainly didn’t expect to be doing any surgery that evening, and we can see what is underneath. Only briefly, but it is still viewable to the naked eye. Luckily for Lecter, his burgeoning friend Will can’t seem to look past all the decor and find the rotten soul of Hannibal underneath it all.IMG_0226
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You cannot force a feast. A feast must present itself.

Ultimately, my favourite part of this episode is the collection of Hannibal’s feast.
The way things are shown throughout this part is fantastic, even delicious in a sinister and sick way. There’s just this fascination for me, watching Hannibal prepare the organs, putting things away in the fridge for later. We never ever got enough of this portion of the Hannibal story in any of the films – the closest part for me was in Ridley Scott’s Hannibal where Lecter feeds Paul Krendler (Ray Liotta) bits of his own brain.
Here, especially at the end of the episode, we really get to see how awfully twisted Hannibal is, feeding a feast of human organs to his supposed friends, a group which includes Dr. Alana Bloom. I think the finale of the episode caps things off wonderfully, in a dark and delightful manner. The smile on Lecter’s face near the end shows that eating people is only part of the fun; watching others, unknowingly, eat human meat almost looks more exciting to him than the actual consumption on his own part. Devilish stuff.IMG_0252“Fromage” is next.

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