Hannibal Recap (S01 E04-E05): Moronic metaphors and Jessica Pearson

Tonight is a Hugh Dancy night, it seems! Je t’aime, Mr Claire Danes.

For all those following Hannibal, its been revealed that NBC refused to air Episode 4 in the wake of the Boston Bombings.

At first, I thought it was for fear of offending their viewers’ delicate sensibilities. Oh dear, how are all those Republican housewives who watch Hannibal going to keep from fainting? Now, I feel like a bit of an asshole. At the same time though, if we didn’t air a series known for its explicit content because of some human tragedy, you might as well just shut down all TV stations permanently. There is a freaking WAR going on, NBC.

There’s not much to recap with the Episode 4 webisodes. There are lots of obscure conversations between Hannibal and Mr Claire Danes, Hannibal and Morpheus, Hannibal and other Psychiatrist Chick (what’s-her-face?), as well as Hannibal and Psycho-killer’s Daughter. Just A LOT of confusing conversations interlaced with poorly-executed metaphors and irrelevant allegories.

"There's something so foreign about family. It's like an ill-fitting suit."

“There’s something so foreign about family. It’s like an ill-fitting suit.”


I can understand why Hannibal speaks in this way. Mads Mikkelsen sounds rather enigmatic, in fact (especially with his Danish accent). The rest of them just sound MORONIC.

Another complaint I had in my previous Hannibal recap was that there was too little food porn. I wanted my mouth to drool at the succulent food that Hannibal was making (which is rather perverse, I admit). However, I see that they’re trying a different, less controversial tack with this. Hannibal in the kitchen looks more like a scientist or a taxidermist. Everything looks very clinical and sterile. All the food looks INCREDIBLY unappetising. I guess we wouldn’t want to make cannibalism look delicious. That would definite offend viewers’ delicate sensibilities.

And for our main course, a boudin noir made with baby's kidneys and congealed Oriental blood.

And for our main course, a boudin noir made with baby’s kidneys and congealed Oriental blood.

However, one thing saves this episode for me. Special guest star: Jessica Pearson! For those of you who don’t watch Suits – you suck, and I hate you. Gina Torres guest stars as Morpheus’ wifey. Did you know she’s also his wifey in real-times? Nice one, Morpheus.


Episode 5 is a bit better. There are still a several ridiculous obscure conversations, each one more contrived than the last. But, we get to play with another serial killer! Whoohoo!

This time, the serial killer is a dude with a brain tumour who targets criminals and ‘saves’ them by turning them into angels. How does he turn them into angels, you ask? Why, little children, he carves out the skin on their backs into two flaps and hangs them up using fishing wire, of course! What a silly question:

'Makeshift Angels' by Psycho-killer #3

‘Makeshift Angels’ by Psycho-killer #3

The episode pretty much falls into shambles after that big reveal. It can’t seem to decide if it wants to be a police procedural or an ongoing serial. There are other shows that manage to be both, yet Hannibal insists on trying to be smarter than it is and then failing at everything.

It neglects the police procedural side of things as if its scared of being like CSI. C’mon, Hannibal showrunners – CSI is a multi-award winning, ratings hit for a reason.

I wouldn’t mind so much if they excelled in building relationships between the characters and explored the Hannibal mythology. However, they suck at that too. Instead, we just get a bunch of poorly-drawn characters, sitting around, talking with mixed metaphors and wondering why the baddies are still on the loose. Here’s a suggestion: stop sitting around on your asses, positing theories of Sun Tzu and go DO SOMETHING.

That’s actually becoming a hallmark of the Hannibal series – sitting / standing around and talking. That’s all they do! Talk, talk, talk, talk – about their bad childhoods and struggling relationships – all, of course, in obscure metaphors that  make as much sense as the storyline.

For example, why does Jessica Pearson, after one meal with Hannibal, decide to go to him for counselling? Yeah, lets just go interfere with Morpheus’ work life by spilling the beans about his marriage to his COLLEAGUE. And then we suddenly find out she has cancer? Okay…? It took me a while to process that she actually had cancer. I thought cancer was just another metaphor for her failing marriage…

Dr Hannibal, I have cancer. In my heart. Its called love. My undying love for Morpheus.

Dr Hannibal, I have cancer. In my heart. Its called love. My undying love for Morpheus.

I hesitate to say this, but even Mr Claire Danes is disappointing me a little. Its not completely his fault. You can only do so much with bad material (Sleepwalking? Um, okay?). It’s okay, Hugh – I forgive you. But, will Claire? She needs someone else to help her fill out her awards shelf.

I'm sorry, world.

I’m sorry, world.

In the end, we can still rely on our favourite menacing yet debonair villain, Mads Mikkelsen. He is ever the industry stalwart. The redundant dialogue transforms into diamonds when spilling from his mouth. Too bad its being wasted on such a sub-standard series.

Sexy and he knows it.

In conclusion, Hannibal still LOOKS like it should be a critically acclaimed series, but it gets in its own way. They want Mad Men dialogue, Dexter gore, Carnivale atmosphere, etc etc. In the end, all they’re getting is a steaming pile of convoluted crap.

Here’s to hoping Hannibal gets a handle on their metaphors.


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