Hannibal, Season 1, Episode 7: “Sorbet”
Directed by James Foley
Written by Jesse Alexander and Bryan Fuller
Airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on NBC
The search for the Chesapeake Ripper continues, as “Sorbet” begins with a rundown of the Ripper’s nine victims. Will (Hugh Dancy) lectures his class, analyzing the mind of the killer as Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) watches from a distance. They know the killer tends to kill in threes, humiliating his victims in the process. Will profiles the Ripper, describing him as someone who is consistently theatrical, and who sees his victims as pigs, not people, displaying their corpses with a sense of mockery. If there was any doubt as to whether Hannibal was the Ripper, or not, this week lays to rest any uncertainty.
Last week’s “Entree” focussed primarily on Jack; every episode prior centred heavily on Graham, but “Sorbet” is all about Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), featuring a radiance in Hannibal we haven’t seen before. Episode 7 attempts to get into Hannibal’s headspace, slowly peeling back the layers to reveal a heart in our favourite cannibal. Take for instance the elegant operatic performance during which Hannibal actually shows genuine emotion. As Hannibal is brought to tears by the performance, a man sits from a distance, fixated on Hannibal. We later discover he is one of Hannibal’s patients, Franklin (Dan Fogler), who’s taken quite a liking in his therapist. Franklin reveals a parallel between himself and Hannibal. It becomes clear that Franklin is desperate for a true friend, someone who understands him and who shares similar interests. In a strange way, Franklin’s issues with loneliness mirror Hannibal’s own sense of seclusion.
When Hannibal visits his own psychiatrist, Dr. Maurier (Gillian Anderson), we learn that much like Franklin, Hannibal also sees his doctor as a confidant. Sociopath or not, it seems everyone craves attention and searches for someone who can truly understand them. Notice how disappointed Hannibal is when Will misses his appointment. The repetition of the phrases “person suit” and “human veil” is, without a doubt, the highlight of the episode. Dr. Maurier’s observations about him wearing “a perfectly-tailored person suit” are fantastic, working both as a perfect description of Hannibal and as a clear reminder of the character Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. It is great watching Hannibal in three different therapy sessions – first his session with Franklin, later Hannibal’s own session with Du Maurier, and finally with Will. And what about the dinner date with Alana? Is he flirting with Alana because he’s attracted to her? Does Lecter even have sexual desires?
One thing we know about Lecter is that he appreciates the arts and fine cuisine, and watching Hannibal’s in-kitchen action is both spellbinding and disturbing. Heart, kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas, lungs are all key ingredients in his recipes this week. A heart and kidney stuffed and wrapped with bacon; a spleen in a blender passing as sausage – needless to say, the meat montage is brilliant. If you’ve been paying close attention to the credits all season, you might have noticed the long list of extremely talented filmmakers behind the camera. David Slade directed the pilot as well as episode three 3, “Potage”. The unaired episode titled “Œuf” was directed by Peter Medak (Romeo is Bleeding, The Changeling) and shot by cinematographer Karim Hussain (Hobo With a Shotgun, Antiviral) – and Guillermo Navarro, a Mexican cinematographer and frequent collaborator of Guillermo del Toro directed “Coquilles.” While I’m not familiar with James Foley’s previous work, “Sorbet” is another stellar entry into what is the best looking series on television right now. Once again the cinematography, art direction, and set design are breathtaking, as are the fine-tuned sound design and crisp editing. On a visual level, Hannibal is an opulent feast for the eyes, with sights and sounds that inspire legitimate awe and disgust.
Jack has a nightmare in which Will, like Miriam, is dead and missing a hand. I guess Jack has more of an attachment to Will than we’ve been let on to believe and is perhaps feeling guilty about using him?
What to make of Will’s daydream, in which he sits with Abigail as she calls him Dad?
Will’s reenactments of the crimes and his hallucinations are once again well executed.
Pushing Daisies fans will recognize Ellen Greene, who played Aunt Vivian Charles, appearing here as Hannibal’s friend at the opera.
I love watching the forensic crew each week, who add a much needed dose of humour to a pretty dark and depressing series.
Will we see Eddie Izzard again? Do we care?