Hannibal 1.06- "Entree" Review

A tv review article by: Paul Brian McCoy

 

Hannibal 1.06 "Entrée"

 

Director: Michael Rymer

Writers: Kai Yu Wu and Bryan Fuller

 

An entrée is the dish served before the main course, and this is maybe the most appropriate use of the food/title affectation so far, as next week's episode is when we finally get to see Hannibal being Hannibal. Outside of America, an entrée is a first course, according to Wikipedia, so this is especially apt in that this episode focuses on the Chesapeake Ripper's last appearance and Jack Crawford's attempts to bring him to justice.

There's a lot going on this episode, but Will puts it best when examining a murder possibly attributable to the Ripper: "This is plagiarism."

Hannibal has never been shy about lifting dialogue or scenes from Thomas Harris' novels, but this episode is perhaps the most blatant example yet. Ostensibly, the episode is about Crawford's last failed attempt to nail the Ripper and the loss of his most promising agent-in-training, Miriam Lass (a completely wasted use of Anna Chlumsky). The flashbacks are triggered by the violent actions of Dr. Abel Gideon (a completely wasted use of Eddie Izzard), who has murdered and mutilated a nurse in the same manner as the Ripper's last victim, while incarcerated at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

 

Hannibal Entree Eddie Izzard

 

The script, by first-timer Kai Yu Wu (with an assist from Bryan Fuller), is a pastiche of scenes from Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs that seems to be, if critical reaction is to be believed, exactly what the people want to see. Dr. Gideon's attack is modeled on an attack by Lecter, described in Red Dragon (only there, the nurse survived) and it leads to a series of interviews that are lifted directly from Silence. Then, in the flashbacks, Lass discovers Hannibal's identity in exactly the same way Will Graham did in flashbacks from Red Dragon. Except, of course, he survived the discovery. Barely. We also meet the smarmy administrator of the hospital, Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raul Esparza) in a word-for-word scene from Red Dragon.

For a new writer, it's a dream gig. For the audience, it's all very familiar. Comforting, even.

I didn't dig it, though. It felt too much like fan-service and really only served to make plain what we already know as viewers: Hannibal is the Ripper. I suppose it adds a touch of extra Pathos to Fishburne's performance, having lost an agent in the line of duty, but even that wasn't really necessary, given his Pathos quota is overflowing already. Gideon's assault lacked motivation other than establishing that Dr. Chilton is unethical – but there was no reason to introduce his character this early in the Hannibal Mythos anyway. Overall, the episode just felt like a wasted opportunity that brought nothing to the show that wouldn't be showing up eventually, anyway.

 

Hannibal Entree NBC

 

Provided the series isn't cancelled, of course.

The most interesting thing that this episode brings to the table is that now, the events as established in Red Dragon regarding Hannibal's capture have to be entirely re-imagined. That could be good; it could be bad. Regardless, it means that this incarnation of the Hannibal story is going to have to veer sharply from what we would have been expecting.

Provided the series isn't cancelled, of course.

Michael Rymer returns to direct an episode that lacks the creative script of his previous installment "Amuse-Bouche" (with the mushroom people buried in the woods), and is unfortunately limited in the variety of settings or horrors that he gets to represent. It's still a beautiful show, but the limitations of the script are telling.

 

Hannibal Entree NBC

 

I highly recommend following @BryanFuller on Twitter as he live-tweets each episode, dropping interesting bits of background knowledge (such as Lecter originally being called Dr. Gideon in early Silence of the Lambs scripts because MGM didn't have the rights to the character yet, or Dead Like Me's George Lass' little sister was named Reggie Lass and Miriam's middle name is Regina – nice!) and photos, music cues, and assorted awesomeness.

As usual, if you feel the need to watch this episode, here it is:

 


Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor to Shot for Shot at Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is on sale now forKindle USKindle UK, and Nook. You can also purchase his collection of short stories,Coffee, Sex, & Creation at Amazon US and UK. He is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at@PBMcCoy and blogging occasionally at Infernal Desire Machines.

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