So. Hannibal 1×06: ‘Entrée’

Well.

If there were any doubts left about the true nature of this version of Hannibal Lecter, the ending of ‘Entrée’ cleared them up very nicely, as Lecter chokes our poor Clarice Starling substitute into unconsciousness. No doubt with something terrible in mind for her.

Except that Miriam Lass (who never appears in the present, only in Crawford and Lecter’s flashbacks, creating a lasting impression on both of them for both the right and the wrong reasons) is far from a Starling substitute, even if this episode is rife with shout outs to The Silence of the Lambs,* and definitely doesn’t deserve that title. She’s a force in her own right, clever and insightful – and apparently related to a character from another of Bryan Fuller’s shows, Dead Like Me – and dedicated enough to bring about her own downfall at Lecter’s hands. Anna Chlumsky did wonders with what she was given to work with. The few scenes that she had left me really wanting to see more of her, so it was heartbreaking to watch as, unlike Graham, she isn’t nearly as lucky in escaping Lecter’s office alive. Heartbreaking but hardly surprising, as she’s been considered dead a long time  before the episode began, and doubly dead by the end of it.

Or is she? As others have already pointed out, Lecter merely caused her to pass out, and the frantic calls she makes to Crawford had to have been recorded at some point. Perhaps we shouldn’t give up on Miriam Lass just yet.

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So. Hannibal 1×05 (or 1×04): ‘Coquilles’

So. Hannibal 1×05 (or 1×04): ‘Coquilles’, because the title bar is still acting up for some reason.

I won’t pretend to be a die hard fan of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but a certain few lines from that poem have always stuck with me, from the moment I read one of M.R. James’s best ghost stories Casting the Runes. Watching Will Graham walk down a road at night, with the familiar stag that haunts his dreams so close now as to sniff at his hand, they came to mind yet again:

‘Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.’

This is true for more than just Graham’s nightmare – which turn out to be a rather jarring reality, albeit minus the stag; Graham has actually developed a habit of sleepwalking. ‘Frightful fiends’ preying upon the minds and spirits of the characters, and dogging their footsteps, are in plentiful supply this episode.

First, there are the fiends that spur the efforts of this week’s killer, Elliot Budish, the ‘Angel Maker’,who transforms his victims into guardian spirits to watch over him should he die in his sleep from his brain tumor. Despite the secular reality – the tumor that supplies his hallucinations of heads on fire, the lack of religious faith on Budish’s part as opposed to his belief in his own guardian angel – it’s impossible to overlook the spiritual imagery in this episode when it comes to the corpses. The religious nature of the first grisly tableaux is closely discussed in the episode; I particularly like the call forward to Hannibal when one of the forensic team – I still haven’t learned to tell the two men apart, I am ashamed – spoke about Viking sacrifices of Christians by snapping open their ribs and pulling their lungs out through their backs: the ‘Bloody Eagle’. I did, however, think that this sacrifice wasn’t designed specifically for Christians but rather as offerings to the god Odin, but after more than a thousand years, who can be certain?

But I was especially struck by the picture the second victim makes. When Crawford leaves Graham alone at the crime scene after they’ve each respectively blown up at each other over the case, we get a beautiful almost silhouette of Graham looking up and the corpse seeming to look down. Back lit by some unknown source, it plays on the idea of an actual angel descending from heaven to the man on earth, providing divine inspiration.

Capture angel from on high

Continue reading “So. Hannibal 1×05 (or 1×04): ‘Coquilles’”