Hannibal - Season 1, Episode 1

Getting to the heart of a television show is more easily done when we consider an entire season at a time, but it's been a while since I got down to an individual episode, and the premiere of a new show is always a good opportunity. Still, it's a risky maneuver to start discussing a show at Episode 1, because you never know if the show will blossom into a seven-season smash hit or will be quietly snuffed after two episodes. It's especially fraught when talking about Bryan Fuller shows, because the networks tend to squash his work like a mosquito.

Despite my anxiety about the gore factor and my general disinterest in the Hannibal Lecter character beyond Silence of the Lambs, I made sure to tune in for the premiere episode of Hannibal. That's what happens when you give someone a Lifetime Pass. Was my faith justified? Well, it's probably impossible to tell after a single episode, but it's off to a very promising start. Hugh Dancy plays Will Graham, an FBI special investigator who has a talent for empathy. That's not the complimentary sense of the word; he can actually put himself in the mindset of a serial killer, which is not pleasant for him. His talent not only gives him insight into murderers' personalities and patterns, but makes him adept at sizing up crime scenes. This makes him a very fragile-minded kind of man, who must be handled with kid gloves by his boss, Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne).

In this first episode, Will starts to go to pieces a bit when he begins investigating a series of missing/dead girls who all have the same type of look, so Jack brings in psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) to help. Hannibal senses a kindred spirit, and the two forge a delicate partnership. Please enjoy this picture of the good Dr. Lecter, but know that episode spoilers follow.

So after the investigators stumble across what Will is able to intuit as a copycat murder, he's able to figure out a lot more about the real killer, and after a bit more investigative digging, they're knocking on the murderer's front door. Only two eensy, beensy complications: The first is that Hannibal sneaks off for a private moment to call and warn the guy that the FBI will be arriving on his doorstep any minute. And the second? It's obliquely indicated that Hannibal himself is the copycat killer that set Will on the right path.

"Apéritif" has some beautiful, symbolism-laden imagery (very Twin Peaks), and is extremely well-written and well-acted. The two leads look like they'll mesh well together, and Fishburne puts a nice spin on what could have easily been another boring, put-upon administrator character. It's always nice to see Caroline Dhavernas (who plays a consultant profiler), and I also want to make special mention of Hettienne Park, who stands out as a crime scene investigator who appears to really enjoy her job. Will Hannibal make it on a struggling NBC? Will Bryan Fuller finally have a hit on his hands? Will this become appointment television for me like his other shows have been? Will I be able to handle the ick factor? I have no idea. But judging purely on this ambitious premiere, I'm hoping it's a "yes" for all of the above.

"Apéritif": A-


Post a Comment

Copyright © Slice of Lime