Thursday, June 6, 2013

'Hannibal' Review - 1.11 Roti

        On the newest episode of NBC's Hannibal, Dr. Gideon escapes from police custody and seeks to kill psychiatrists who have profiled him; Will tries to track him down by following Freddie Lounds' blog before Gideon can get to Alana; Hannibal misleads the BAU team in order to put Will in the same room as Gideon; and Jack questions Dr. Chilton regarding Gideon's escape.

        Hannibal certainty has capitalized on the current social media trend of creating a distinct hashtag on Twitter for each episode to open up another forum for the series. This week that phrase #EatTheEmmys and it is fairly easy to understand why that was the general consensus for this hour of television. This hour would be a great submission episode for Hugh Dancy, great throughout as his Will Graham meets one huge psychologically breaking point; guest star Eddie Izzard, perfectly chilling as he removes Dr. Chilton organs despite his character ultimately coming to anticlimactic ending; and Mads Mikkelsen as well, who was great as he sly pushed Will, Gideon and Dr. Chilton to where he wanted them to be and that closing scene with Gillian Anderson showing that he is more conflicted about his feelings for Will than one might think. All in all a great series highlight episode in an overall stellar first season.
        The episode was well paced and had one of the most emotional and thematically satisfying case-of-the-week stories so far this season. This largely could be attributed to the events and characters in the episodic plot being an extension of the events from the sixth episode, Entreé. But because this hour didn't have to be bogged down by introducing the main story it was allowed to hit the ground running which left things very satisfying as a dramatic piece.
        Will Graham's descent into a sort of psychological madness has been a chief focus and building block for this first season. It has come in and out of the narrative easily - being put on the back-burner from time to time in order to focus on the issues revolving around Hannibal and Jack. But as these final episodes are building up, Will's mental state is deteriorating rapidly and it has been immensely pleasurable to watch unfold on the screen. The pressure and stuff that Will sees and that Jack and Hannibal keep subject him to has made Will believe that he is crazy. The extra layer of him seeing Garrett Jacob Hobbs instead of Gideon made his interactions in those scenes much more potent because they have extra meaning. Will sees himself as an extension of all of these serial killers. Some of them have been much more direct in pointing out the similarities like the two mentioned in this hour and the facial blind women among others this season.
       Jack Crawford and Hannibal Lector largely act as the metaphorical angel and devil on Will Graham's shoulder. Each one pulling him in a direction that they believe to be the most beneficial. But these interactions are not one-note. Both of them have been good and bad for Will. Jack keeps pushing Will to look at the crime scenes and delve into the minds of the serial killers but in this episode he is generally concerned for his health telling him he needs to let go of the stuff he is holding onto. Hannibal, on the other hand, is manipulating Will to both cover his tracks as the Chesapeake Ripper and to study how his mind works but he too sees Will as an extension of himself. They share a lot of things in common and he has empathy for Will in the same way that Will does for the Ripper. Hannibal wants to be Will's friend even though it is unethical from a doctor-patient standout and his ability to keep his true identity a secret. For both characters, it is an amazing balancing act between being Will's ally and his opposing force and yet they are both crafted and conveyed brilliantly by the two actors and as well as the writers.

So what did everyone think of the episode? Was this the best episode of the series yet? How does Will recover from this psychologic break? Share your thoughts in the comments.