Hannibal Lecter is a weird dude. Seemingly the world’s greatest and most elusive serial killer, he’s convinced the greatest minds in neuroscience and psychology that he’s 100% sane, and is the golden boy of Baltimore’s social elite. The guy’s an enigma. He opens up to his therapist, Dr. Scully but the viewer can never be sure if what he’s saying is true or a lie. He claims he’s Will’s friend… but he’s also intentionally suppressing the discovery that Will is suffering from encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. He also claims Dr. Sutcliffe is his friend, then later kills the man by severing his jaw in half.
The past few episodes left me wondering if Bryan Fuller is trying to humanize Hannibal and present him to us as someone we could maybe relate to if he were not a cannibalistic serial killer. Now I’m reverting back to my old theory: that Hannibal is a crazy fuck who revels in sadism and uses a finely tuned human mask to avoid detection from the psychological minds he brushes shoulders with on a daily basis. Perhaps Hannibal thinks he friends with Will, and is friends with him in the only way a twisted sociopath could be: through control. Hannibal’s affection for Will seems born more out of intellectual curiosity than an actual bond, and Hannibal gets the greatest joy out of controlling and manipulating his hapless patient.
The thing that really pushed me back to my original “Hannibal is pure evil” theory was Sutcliffe’s murder. There really wasn’t any reason for Hannibal to do that– Sutcliffe had already agreed to keep Will’s encephalitis secret so as to research him and gain renown in the neuroscience community, so Hannibal’s murder didn’t act as a means of suppression. No, Hannibal killed him because he likes killing people and because he wanted to fuck with Will some more. It’s almost like the discovery of Will’s affliction made a lightbulb go off in Hannibal’s head- ohhhh, THAT’S how I control him. That’s how I make sure he keeps being my friend… because if he knew who I really was…
Oh, thanks Bryan Fuller, thanks for the nightmares.
What Fuller is doing here is far more interesting than the ‘ol “isn’t it creepy that serial killers have feelings too?” arc that Dexter drove into the ground over the course of eight seasons. No, Dexter, that’s not creepy because that’s not possible. Serial killers don’t have normal emotions because they’re not normal people so stop trying to turn Dexter into some kind of lovable family man. Hannibal is the opposite: he’s a pure sociopath who’s so good at hiding that no one, and I mean no one can detect his secret (except maybe Larry Fishburne). To me that’s far more terrifying, the idea that the sanest man in the room is the one who’s actually killing and eating people.
So yeah, this was another great episode of Hannibal, and it came on the wave of news that the show had been renewed by NBC for a second season. Not only does that mean we’ll get more sweet horrific goodness, but it means Fuller will have the time to let the story advance naturally, and hopefully get to Hannibal’s inevitable ousting sooner rather than later.
I don’t know what was more gross or disturbing this week: the blood being splattered from underneath the bed, that woman’s Glasgow Smile, Sutcliffe’s face basically falling off, or Will pulling off all of the skin from Georgia’s arm. Probably the latter. Ugh, that and the fingernails. We didn’t see any gross George Romero closeups of fingernails being torn out or anything, but we knew it was happening when Georgia pulled her victim under the bed, and later when Beverly pulled a nail from the floorboards. Eeeewwwwgjhjshjkhhuuurrrllll. Now that’s some effective horror filmmaking right there. But yeah, skin and nails and teeth all skeev me out so yeah, gross, all of those were gross.
No really, thanks, thanks so much for this horrifying nightmare material.
But Georgia, in this show’s grand tradition, wasn’t just some crazy maniac, she was a woman suffering from a mental affliction that made her unable to discern peoples’ faces. This was visually illustrated in the episode’s tag, when she witness Hannibal killing Sutcliffe, and it was appropriately disturbing. Like the alien rebels on The X-Files, only a lot creepier. Georgia was played by Ellen Muth, who previously portrayed the Grim Reaper on Fuller’s Dead Like Me, which I haven’t seen but really want to. Her mental disease reflected Will’s and it was nice to have him empathize with a killer because they actually had something in common, and not just ’cause. Georgia was also extremely scary-looking- in addition to her mental disorder she suffered from a condition that was never fully explained but basically implied to be jaundice. She looked a lot like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, which really added to the visuals of her hiding under the bed like some kind of demonic critter.
There’s not too much to say about “Buffet Froid” other than praise. I can’t express how happy it makes me that there’s a broadcast show that takes risks and isn’t afraid to have a character that’s just straight evil, and not in a cloying, Blofeld kind of way, a realistic, this man is terrifying kind of way. Here’s raising my glass to sixteen more episodes of Hannibal.