Threesome

Warning: spoilers for Hannibal S3 finale, some gory bits, excess of caps – sorry i couldn’t stop myself.

keychest

You can imagine this to be whatever you like 🙂

Feeling a bit melancholic today.

It’s reporting week and that just makes me sooo tired every month. The reason I never wanted a job in Finance after trying it out once was the endless cycle of month end reports and stats and such. And guess what I have ended up doing? Yup. Though it could be worse, it could actually be monthly accounts, but it’s not, it’s just some other sort of monthly statistics. Still, it involves endless staring at and manipulating of figures and communicating to a long list of people who all expect error free reports. I wouldn’t mind it as much if it didn’t suck the life out of any writing impulse I have while it happens. I get home and I just can’t even look at the pc anymore and I just want some mind-numbing activity that doesn’t involve brain cells.

Which is why I have been struggling a lot with writing about the Hannibal finale. But since i fell into bed last night when I finally got home and then woke up at 4,30 in the morning I made myself  breakfast and then sat there with my tea and watched it for a second time in peace and quiet. And chomped quite happily on Cheshire cheese and plum tomatoes and then wholegrain toast and chocolate peanut-butter all throughout. And felt pretty similar about it as the first time I watched it…

You might think this is not how you’d like to start the day, watching blood and gore, but that is actually not what comes to mind first when I think about it. I found it relaxing in a strange way. Well, engaging is probably the more appropriate word. And stimulating visually and also mentally. It is anything but boring and interesting in so many ways. I realised watching the last episode that I will really miss it. There is precious little on TV which is really original and interesting these days. It is mostly one detective story after another and few are really good. I can count the ones I enjoyed last season on the fingers of one hand +1: Banished (BBC), Poldark (BBC), Fortitude (Sky), Our Girl (BBC), Blacklist (NBC via sky) and… Hannibal. There’s been others, but nothing particularly well done or just seasons which have been nowhere as good as the previous ones. There are probably others but there’s only so much TV one can watch 😉

Basically, even if parts of season 3 I was wondering ‘where they are going with all this’? and ‘what’s the point?’, I was still interested and enjoyed spending 1h a week with H. Last week I felt as if it had nowhere to go but end.  I still can’t imagine where it could go from here, but my imagination is a bit at a loss in this universe 🙂 Which is why I enjoyed the viewing experience I am sure, as it was less predictable than most other stuff I watched. I didn’t experience the rush to watch very often, it was more looking forward to siting down in peace and unrushed and seeing where it takes me and how I react to it.

I’m not a convert to the horror genre, I have to say. And I don’t think that was typical horror fare anyway. I still don’t enjoy being scared and most of the times this was not that kind of terror, it was mostly dissection after the fact or justification of upcoming deeds. We didn’t have many victims actually being chased around and I’m ok with that. To be fair, I was also much less put off by the gore than I thought I would be. On one hand I’ve watched crime drama all my life and on the other hand I have probably seen more blood and death on the opera stage than I have seen in 3 seasons of Hannibal put together. Opera is certainly not lacking in death, blood and crazies 😉 It’s all alternative realities and stories and they don’t pursue me in my dreams or make me question the way I lead my life and my universe has nothing in common with the various fantastical ones. So I’m sort of ok with watching quite bizzare and disturbing things, it seems more so than I thought, because it just isn’t reality.

I found dead bodies much less disgusting than other strange things, like Reba’s soup or Verger dying by swallowing a fish and things like that. Very puzzling what one finds icky, it is not always what your mind tells you it will be. I was grateful in season 3 for the lack of cooking of body parts! I like my food and in season 2 I really struggled with that. It is all just too revolting to me, even in fantasy land, which is why I never really warmed to Hannibal himself. Through absolutely no fault of Mads’ 🙂 I blame it on the food stylist! 😀

Strangely enough I even sort of reconciled myself with H in season 3, in that there were quite a few times when I actually felt sorry for him. Not that many though 😉

It is true that one big draw in the series were the actors. I didn’t know all that much about them, nor had I seen them a lot before, apart from Esperanza, Fishburne and Anderson of course and the other Brit ;-).

I’ve often battled with some holes in the logic, but at the same time what I liked best was that the characters had not much logic to them. You never knew what they were going to do or say next.

It has irritated me greatly at times, especially when the censorship reared its ugly head to high (that Botticelli!) or the women were just below par as characters. And I don’t think that really changed until the end… Alana just got more and more on my nerves and in the end Bedelia just got too fuzzy for my liking.

But oh the visuals… and the camera work… and the soundtrack… what a feast for eyes and ears! I will miss this tremendously. It has changed the way I view things forever I think. The lighting was original, even though on the dark side sometimes. The editing was flawless and the camera angles drool-worthy. There were fewer straight on head shots than you normally see on TV and instead you saw people through reflections, side angles, profiles and discovered the infinite variety of facets in human faces. And the close ups…. Oh, those amazing close ups! Visually it never once got boring and it has made usual TV where you pan from one character to another during a dialogue so old-fashioned. I think in some of these respects they have re-invented the ways in which a story can be told on screen and the depth you can lend to the image without going 3D and such. And for a horror show, where everything is OTT most of the time they went the other way, especially on the acting. It’s extremely subtle and underplayed, there are no grand gestures, no waving about of arms, no raising of voices. It is where having good actors made all the difference and allowed the visual innovation.

The writing was at times brilliant and funny and at times just self-indulgent and outlandish. But I thought the acting almost always delivered and made even the most outlandish phrases seem almost natural in the context. Most of the times I really got the black humour. Sometimes it was a bit too obvious, but it had an increasing insider feel which was a whole lot of fun in itself. Especially the 3rd series felt at times like fan-fiction almost 🙂 Which Fuller has also admitted in a way. I wonder if writing the series so much for fans is the best idea. I am undecided, as there is a great pleasure to be had from seeing your wishes come true on screen 😉 And that I am sure was certainly true in series 3 for the fans of the series. I would probably normally advocate for exactly the opposite: keep them guessing, keep them wanting and keep them watching 🙂 But when the possibility of the end draws nearer I think it is the right time to give the fans a bit of what they have wanted all along. I think the series finale certainly did that.

I have moved past all the arguments about the glamourisation of the criminal universe Hannibal lives in. The books have been out there for a while, serial killers are not new to TV. Not all creative ideas are fuzzy, comfortable, some are twisted, disturbing. I don’t think it is for everyone but I also don’t think it is something that shouldn’t be. With the right disclaimers it can certainly be enjoyed 🙂 And not taken too seriously as it is not meant to be in any way even a slight depiction of reality. Just like we accept the fictional universe in say Star Trek, or Game of Thrones or some superhero movie, we can accept this one too. I found myself to be a bit hypocritical being negative about the theme of it but at the same time enjoying watching it. I still maintain some of my critical points (see above) but I don’t have a problem with the universe itself as a fictional set up.

I am glad there is something different in the Tv panorama of today, it is always good to have innovation and change and Hannibal is a great part of a trend of increased quality on the small screen. In fact over the last years I’ve seen more interesting things on TV than in the cinema and certainly better written and better made.

So yes, I will miss it, TV will be much duller without it.

What about the finale? I had to watch it twice before expressing what I felt about it, to double check.  And the first word that comes to mind is still… romantic 🙂 And in a totally fanfic  kind of way to add to that. I would almost argue they went a bit too far with it as I had to giggle and smile more than once and it overrode the abundance of blood, fleshy parts and dead bodies by a mile!

They still played games, they like it too much, but I think ultimately they created a fitting end for the fans. In case we thought we managed to outplay them last time by looking away at the right times from lip-snagging and barbecuing they made sure they cheekily re-inserted the relevant highlights in the places where you just didn’t have time to look away. So there I was slapping my palm over my eyes and ewww-ing at the TV again. I guess with Hannibal still in prison for most of the ep and Dolarhyde doing most damage with a gun, so low on gore, they wanted to make that last point.

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‘I can’t stand to watch you burn’… oh that face of suffering… sniff, sniifff..

Afraid it didn’t distract me quite enough not to notice, like I did in the last ep already, that they got Chilton’s teeth wrong. Whatever happened to him, his teeth could not have changed and the lower mandible closes in most cases below the upper range of teeth. Ie the teeth overlap, they never close edge on edge the way he was shown. The devil really is in the detail 😀

Regardless of wrong teeth I was still happy Chilton survived (and how just like Hannibal to wish him not to be too ugly 😉 ).

The episodes proceeded to get rid step by step of all but the 3 male leads.

rejectedyou

Goodbye Hannibal… i rejected you (yeah, right….)

First on was poor Reba. I am impressed considering they had to integrated the Dolarhyde story into the overall series how much of the book material they covered and actually how faithfully. Thankfully Francis managed not to kill her, but the experience was utterly scary. All the ordering around and the fire 😦  There were flashes of Francis regretting the outcome and losing her because she ‘felt good’ but sadly, even he realises it is all over for him. Maybe I am just hanging on to some little positive thing, but I believe he showed her clearly where the key was and made sure she knew the way to the door and back not just to keep her under his control and deceive her about his death but at least subconsciously to also make sure she could make it out of there. And whether he is dead or not, their relationship could not go on 😦 😦 😦 I could barely stand it to hear the sounds of anguish when he flicked the match to the floor…

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Perspectives, lights, lines, glass, stances…. love everything about it!

I am glad they gave us the little scene with Reba and Will in the hospital. It was good to see she is resilient and will make it through and also good to see Will empathise and provide support. We’ve almost only seen him chase or interact with the bad guys and it was nice to see this side of him.  Maybe that is the side of him Molly saw…. Too bad we saw it too late and I didn’t believe him when he promised Reba to come back and see her. And I felt really touched at what Will told Molly about Dolarhyde and her relationship with him, that he wasn’t a monster but a ‘man with a freak on his back’. It is what we felt all along about their relationship and I was happy in spite of the sad ending that Fuller decided to remind viewers of the value in that relationship (remember episode for fans and all that ;-)).

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‘Meat is back on the menu’ 😀

This is where we left the book behind and we were on completely new territory. We knew the ending would somehow belong to Will and Hannibal and I never thought Hannibal inside the asylum would be it. I’m glad they decided to bring Dolarhyde into the finale. I’m taking it as a massive compliment to Armitage and his acting talents (and I don’t think it is just the fan in me speaking, or the fan in Fuller for that matter 😉 He’s a fan alright but the critics have praised Armitage’s Dolarhyde from his first appearance so it was not just the nice thing to do for fans but also the right thing to do for the series).

righteoustwitchyman

‘righteous twitchy little man’ and again those camera angles and shots to die for!

Also, while the last episode put me at odds with Will this one managed to reconciled me back again. Yes, it’s probably because they gave me enough sugar coating to swallow the bitter pill. I enjoyed the strength he managed to summon up, first to snub Hannibal when he thought a resolution had been reached and then to go back and really end it when it became obvious not taking action was no longer an option.

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Will says .. please

I’m slightly frustrated Alana got away, I always much preferred her to Chilton, but I can’t imagine her still being interesting or putting up a fight as character after a fire. At least we got to see Margot and the kid 🙂 I still think Margot had the better clothes, she always did! (Speaking of which I am prepared to forgive them that white number Hannibal wore in the church because they put him in some really nice clothes at the end).

goingmyway

want a ride? (doesn’t he looks just innocent sometimes?)

Bedelia’s anger and angst was quite funny, especially with Will dismissing it. Ah, how mean and petty of her to call him a twitchy little man 😀 And only after Will revealed he will be instrumental to Hannibal’s mock escape. I almost think there is more jealousy in her reaction than fear. Will telling her in that ironic voice ‘meat’s back on the menu’ was great! Some of the best lines in the show.

themoon

Let’s not forget the moon (what else are you looking at? tsk tsk tsk)

Speaking of lines, I’m actually not sure about Hannibal making reference to ‘mic drop’… Not that it didn’t fit the situation, but it doesn’t sound like something the smooth doctor would say. But he did say ‘he thought they called it a mic drop’ rather than owning the phrase.

cantsavemyself

cheekbones 🙂 and those looks in his eyes

It was quite a sad interchange between Will and H, as quite of few of them have been. Even though H succeeded in wounding him again through his family I did feel throughout the series that H was loosing ground with Will. Which is why H’s baits have been getting more aggressive as of late. I think when he turned himself in he was so sure of Will he thought he would always have him there. But Will has grown stronger and has overcome some of the trauma from the past and he is not quite so dependent on Hannibal as before, probably more dependent on his darker instincts than on Hannibal (to a point). He took quite some perverse pleasure in pointing out Hannibal would have been there had Will not rejected him first… outch! I almost felt sorry when Hannibal asked if it had been good to see him again. Unrequited love can be quite painful as both Hannibal and Bedelia seem to have found out. Twitchy little Will, eh? Who knew his tender charms could have them all so dependent on him, in different ways, but still. I did see the charm myself though, especially this episode.

layhislifeforfriend

‘I don’t know if i can save myself’

I felt from the point where Dolarhyde first catches him that all 3, D, Will and H were equals. And not only that but tied through weird and dark similarities. They really made for a strange sort of threesome. Each with their own weakness and insanity. None weaker than the other two, all intelligent but sadly broken, all needed something from the others and being incapable of breaking free. All on the search of some kind of freedom and staying trapped.

suicideenemy

all that play with perspectives… and light

I think each one is searching for an ending or senses the ending near, each thinking that the death of the other 2 would liberate him somehow. I think even Will considers of knows this ‘out’ but is secretly hoping Dolarhyde will take the decision out of his hands. It is why, unlike with everyone else, these is no fear in any of them. Why Will is neither very surprised to find Dolarhyde in front of him, nor surprised to be alive. And there is an undeniable attractiveness to all 3 characters when in these final acts they are each so self-assured. I am sure Jack knows Will is lying but this is not the Will that can be intimidated.

nolongeralone

Dolarhyde, finally not alone

Dolarhyde on the other hand wants to meet Lecter, I don’t think out of admiration. In all his insanity he is intelligent enough to have realised by now that Lecter has played him and that he has probably lost Reba due to the way Lecter baited the dragon and he probably thinks he can kill the dragon by killing Lecter. I am not sure he realises he is on the path of killing himself too, but it is quite possible he thinks of himself being changed rather than dead… As he himself admits, trusting Reba with some of the truth has liberated him in some way, he doesn’t feel he needs to hide any part of him anymore. This confidence and determination make him stand tall and appear more physically imposing than ever before. (Strange how there is a change in Will’s physicality as well, even he seems a notch taller than before and his posture certainly exudes more inner strength than before).

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Hannibal wounded waits for Will to act

Some, like Will and Dolarhyde have come to decisions more instinctively than consciously and some like Hannibal have been plotting all along. I feel Hannibal too has accepted the possibility of his own death, the temporary freedom only means something to him because it brings Will back not because of freedom per se. There is an almost a shrugging off attitude he has to his own death, evident when he speaks about the sea eroding his shore and the place disappearing soon, just as he thinks he will.

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the Dragon’s last flutter…

It is why he is waiting patiently and almost excitedly for the Red Dragon to catch up with them, because he expects Will to step up to the plate so to speak. He expects something from Will which he has been waiting for all along.

I don’t think I quite realised that the first time around, it was just all overwhelming, but it became clear when he dropped to the floor shot with Dolarhyde talking about changing him and the look in his eyes as he was watching Will. Dolarhyde was almost of no consequence to him in the situation, it was all about what Will would do.

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The man behind Dolarhyde. the one who managed to save Reba in the end, finally Fuller bathes his face in golden light so we can see all its beauty

In this weird world of theirs blood and death and killing people is how these broken men express their admiration, their love if you will. In spite our eyes taking in all the blood spatter and the body count growing in their path the undeniable feeling about it is one of romanticism.

fire2

Dolarhyde burns the dragon… what an incredibly beautiful image and silhouette

It is a good thing Will has enough sanity and connection to reality left to end it 😉 Meat may be back on the menu, but it really has to be to be a one off banquet.

And given how this world is upside down it couldn’t be clearer what the whole blood fest stands for. It is probably not how the fans wrote it in fanfic, but the feeling certainly was there. And the visuals were as much a feast for the eyes as possible. Each character was dressed perfectly for who they are but the best version of themselves. I couldn’t find fault in a dragon all in black, including a black leather jacket, in Will’s finally form fitting tailored trousers and white shirt and in H’s suits and elegant dark grey form fitting top. Thankfully no silly ties or suits in sight. I mean , let’s be really honest here, they couldn’t have shown more clearly how good looking all 3 are if they tried 🙂 There was at least 1 instance each where I smiled shaking my head at Fuller, but smiling in agreement nevertheless. I’ll freely admit Mads holding a glass of wine, with much shorter hair and smiling ever so slightly (looking nothing like a killer would thankfully) looked stunning too, in that instance I really got the appeal. So yeah, I didn’t mind those 3 men in one room at the same time at all 🙂

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Redemption for Dolarhyde? finally free of the dragon…

I was really sad Dolarhyde became the sacrificial lamb in a way, but while for H it was all about Will’s reaction I think for Will it quickly became obvious that D was physically capable of overpowering any of them 2. That was not how he had started this plan and it is something he couldn’t allow. And I think also when it came down to it although he said he would watch Dolarhyde kill Hannibal he couldn’t quite do it. While they other 2 killers may have been driven by their insanity I think Will make the only possible conscious choice, choice undoubtable allowed by his own darker instincts. This is probably the only he was able to do it, indulge.. how did Bedelia put it.. an extreme sense of compassion, because in that instance it was also the right decision to make for the only possible viable outcome. He could simply not let the dragon survive and the only way to prevent that was for him and H to act together.

As horrible as the killing actually was (agrr, bloody Hannibal and his bites) the choreography was beautiful and it managed to stay just shy of animalistic and just appalling. But at the same time show what each of them are, Dolarhyde just a man, just as Will in a way, and Hannibal something so much more unhinged and unnatural. There was an eerie beauty in the image of Dolarhyde splayed on the tiles with the blood fanning around him like wings, his blue eyes standing out. Interesting that they left his face untouched 🙂 And didn’t destroy the frame either with too much cut flesh showing or anything else that would make the image disgusting. Also, although bathed in quite a bit of blood the darkness kept it from being too revolting both on Will and Hannibal. Their eyes and foreheads and hair remained largely untouched and again the injuries remained hidden.

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It’s all Hannibal ever wanted for them…

(Compare this to what was done to Verger and to poor Chilton…. Nothing really to mar these 3 in these final moments).

I can’t say I am completely surprised by the end. As I was watching it for the first time I was actually expecting Will and H to kill each other, stabbing or something. The way it actually happened was poetic in comparison. I fully expected H to say what he did, that this is what he had wanted all along, he’s been pining for Will to become his ‘partner in crime’ for a really long time. I am not sure I like ‘my’ Will to go for it and say  ‘it was beautiful’. I admit I found it shocking when I first heard it, just because I never really wanted to have the admission of Will’s darker side (just like I mentally erase the fact that Dolarhyde has killed families before meeting Reba). But given his next gesture it made sense, this is the only was he would be able to admit to it, if while admitting he also puts an end to it. It is what keeps Will human, he knows it is wrong and can’t actually live with it.

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Will decides

Fuller has left it sort of open with the scene added and I guess this could be explored further but for me it is the satisfactory and right end. I need Will to remain on the positive side of the story. While the attraction and game might be interesting with all the ‘what ifs’ I couldn’t actually handle them as a pair of killers.

But Will and Hannibal in a light embrace dropping off the edge off the cliff into the dark sea… yeah that had a sort of beauty to it. The song sung by Siouxsie was the perfect soundtrack to this. I felt all my buttons being pushed in that scene, from beginning to end and I enjoyed it. I still feel sorry for Reba, but however much I wanted Dolarhyde redeemed I can’t wish a serial killer on her, there was truly only one way to redeem him.

Maybe it was all sorts of cheesy and obvious and indulgent, but why not, it was the end after all.

Well played Mr Fuller, I’m happy with that.

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Goodbye…

PS As an aside, I need to look at least for curiosity’s sake at  how H did here in the UK in viewing figures; it is prominent on Sky and it has always been on the channel promos/images between the shows and it has been this way for the last 2 seasons at least.

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Distracted or applying evasive maneuvres

Warning, spoilers ahead for Hannibal s3 ep 12  and talk about icky stuff, so if you have a sensitive stomach best to skip this 😉

Francis? (or is it the dragon at this point? ) carrying Reba .. bound :-(

Francis? (or is it the dragon at this point? ) carrying Reba .. bound 😦 My cap… easy to guess why.

I’m ready for this to end. I’m getting tired of all the cat and mouse games and i am starting to feel with the ongoing series characters that we are running in a bit of a circle. At times during this episode i asked myself why i did like it enough to watch 3 series of it or rather what was it about similar scenes for nearly 3 years that i found interesting and now seems to grate on my nerves? When did i fall out of love with the slow, chatty, spiralling dialogue?

I think it was Reba’s normality and very human aspirations that put the whole bunch of nutters into perspective… Her and Francis, or at least his attempts at humanity. For a short amount of time we were given the hope that the gravitational pull of her love could put him on a different path as well and disrupt his own cyclical spin around a dark center. Maybe one could consider Hannibal to be the dark star pulling them all towards hell and that his force is strong enough that nobody can escape his orbit…But it is hard to lay the blame solely at his feet. In addition to his pulling force they each spin in their own dark little circles around their own axis. It’s like a mysterious constellation of poisonous  planets within a universe governed by its own twisted, crazy but inescapable laws of physics. And while at the beginning this was fun to explore for the novelty and the strange, alien quality of it all it has now become familiar and the discomfort far outweighs curiosity.

While Bedelia’s cleverness and slippery elegance  used to be fascinating now she’s revealed herself to be like a female Hannibal, minus the cannibalistic appetite. But she does for and to Will what Hannibal used to do and now does to the dragon because Will is somewhat out of reach. We see and hear the exact same questions bounced back, reinforcing Will’s confused feelings and general fuzziness of comprehension and moral balance. And she’s made the point about Hannibal only killing her if he could eat her one too many times. That particular conversation has come up again and again and again during this series and it makes you want to say:’oh, serve her up already!’.

I’m tired of Jack’s chase as i don’t feel a sound reason behind it, he wants the killer eliminated, stopped but you feel little concern or consideration for potential victims (or for the actual ones as a matter of fact), no strong sense of justice.

I never liked Alana much but she’s a real pain lately. I don’t like her fancy hairdo and her deep red pouty lips. I’ll give her points for survival, but i’d give Margot many more. And i just don’t see any purpose to her. Yes, she is holding H in his cell, but it hasn’t really stopped his actions or his influence. She doesn’t protect people from him or care about the greater good, she’s only concerned with keeping him physically away from her. And it is a cause i care little for.

But mostly, who the h**l is Will???? i felt sympathetic towards him, well, i even routed for him in series 1 when he was poor, sick, abused Will. I wondered what that kind of psychological abuse had done to him when he aimed to kill H in season 2 and then managed to get out of prison. There was a certain evolution and a dark kind of resilience of fighting back and he kept being knocked down. There was a sense of purpose to what he was doing. But this series he seems to have lost a couple of points off his IQ…. he doesn’t seem to get hints from H that are obvious to us, he seems to forgive the unforgivable and chase H around Europe with a sick kind of addiction. He tells Bedelia what she is but then keeps going back to her.. for what????? And then acts shocked when Bedelia implies Hannibal feels some kind of jealous love for him.(This was definitely also on my most-funny list of the episode as well 🙂 BF finally got that one in, ok it didn’t come from Hannibal’s own mouth, but nearly as good as, surely that must count? And there was a dizzying collective fan eye-rolling at Will’s reaction – you know like the moon rolling in the last ep? Just as spectacular 😀 ) I thought that reaction was too out of character for its own good. Nobody expected Will to get all starry eyed or something (only in fanfics 😉 ), but a little bit of empathy or some other reaction than uncomfortable surprise would have been a welcome signal that Will still had brains.

(Aside – did anyone else think the wall above in Bedelia’s office looked quite a bit like dragon wings in a cubist sort of interpretation? )

This dumbed down version of Will does not make much sense. He also seems to have taken on a very drifting kind of personality: he seems almost normal and domestic around Molly, he fights Jack but then acts without any restraint even more callously than him, he seems to fall for the webs Bedelia is spinning at each encounter, he neither listens carefully to what Hannibal says, nor does he seem to take the time and really understand his reactions. He seems to want to catch Dolarhyde and try and save him but then descends onto a path of revenge when his anger is really directed at Hannibal. Does he lash out around him because he can’t really reach Hannibal? Will seems to have become a strange sort of creature which does no longer have a strong sense of self but instead seems to take on traits from everyone who surrounds him, and not the good ones. There is a brief flash of conscience once he’s set the wheels in motion and there is again talk of the Dragon maybe being able to stop, but it is all too late (maybe it is an attempt to explain his other behaviours as impulses in range and confusion?).

It is an interesting contrast between the dragon who knows itself and has a firm purpose and sense of self and Will, who seems to be loosing himself or getting ever more confused.

The problem is i am not really buying this confused back and forth with Will and the lack of direction and conviction after season 1 and season2. Why would the Will who fought back his mind to sanity and himself out of the asylum in season 2 crumble like this now? The new family bonds just weren’t told strongly enough to explain this.

Like everyone else he seems to just be repeating a pattern of movement that is circular and has no firm purpose. And everyone just seems to indulge in ever more far fetched considerations and explanations of why this world is a confusing place where we have all sorts of instincts to which we fall prey, acting like the animals within. And there seems to be only one type of instinct with this bunch, sorry 2: kill and eat.

Or get famous, in the case of Freddie and Chilton 😉 Her t-shirts are a hoot (‘The tooth fairy is a one night stand’) as is the way she measures Will up to ‘small’. Nasty, nasty and a way too obvious pun. No need to get that bitchy dahhhlings, Hannibal is the only one who seems to be able to pull off bitchy with some class 😉

bitchyFreddie

Some things just made little practical sense and i had to shake my head at them. Hannibal and those darned articles! In which universe would that ever happen? And when Chilton turned up to rant about them i just rolled my eyes. It turns out of course it is repetitive for a purpose, we need to be reminded of his infinite vanity, thirst of fame and of the fact that Hannibal can best him, even from behind a glass wall. But it was still illogical and all to predictable. As soon as one saw Chilton ranting and furious for the lack of attention it was clear who would be the psychiatrist who would be dangled as bait in front of the Red Dragon. Oh Chilton, Chilton, how silly you are. I thought his survival instinct was better than that. Considering his biggest sin is vanity – compared to the rest of the lot –  i felt really sorry for him and his suffering, he didn’t deserve it. Which makes me despise Alana even more. And Will has sunk even further in my sympathy because of the way he used Chilton.

The whole talk about protection and the reminder the Dragon shoots first was again just an announcement in big bold letters of what would happen next, which is why i didn’t even flinch when Chilton’s ‘protection’ was gunned down in a splatter of blood (again, silly silly Chilton! you frustrate me!).

But of course it had to be him, since he is the only other male shrink in the series and one could hardly have a naked female glued to that chair… predictable much? Also, of the two who made it into the article Will would never have been the first victim as no series would eat up its main character an episode before the last one! That surely will be left for the end.

It is only one of the reasons why what happened to Chilton didn’t feel as scary to me as it seems to have been for many.

Then there were those chomped off lips! And lookie here, when they come via mail to Hannibal they are pristine.. come on! Really?   The Dragon is certainly dexterous but not even he would be able to do that… It just didn’t look believable and for a show that does human bits so well, it wasn’t good enough, it didn’t make my stomach flinch one bit. Speaking of that mail!! What possible reason can anyone give me for the fact that the packag made it to Hannibal unopened???? You telling me the scan did not show biological material? That Alana thought Hannibal deserved a prize of some sort? Why would she enjoy letting him open his own mail? No reason whatsoever other than it was the only way we could indulge (yum, eh?) in a last bit of cannibalism in this series. Fair enough, but it still doesn’t make it a sound story device.

I was glad poor Chilton survived the ordeal in some way, but that is more like sci-fi than any real possibility. Somebody with 3rd degree burns all over his body + the rest wouldn’t have survived it, and even if, in the extremely unlikely event, would never be conscious enough to say anything to anyone. Or is that supposed to be another sign of both Will and Jack’s cruelty in having the doctors keep him conscious so they could have a chat? Too much of a stretch for me to take any of it seriously.

However, there was one thing which was cleverly done. Since they already burned a body in a wheelchair they had to have a good reason to be able to do it again. And it actually made sense for the Dragon to be inspired by the fake burning of Freddie Lounds in his own actions. Ties in well with his scrapbooking hobby (he would have known about Will and Freedie’s ploy to trip Hannibal with this trick) and it is sort of homage to Hannibal again. It gave them the perfect excuse to play it out exactly like in the book. That was an instance of well done continuity.

All the incongruous bits kept switching me out of the gloom and doom atmosphere, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The scare wasn’t nearly as bad as it otherwise might have been and the gore was less stomach churning than i expected it to be. Though this episode certainly was ‘gore galore’! Some it of was more horrifying than revolting, like Dolarhyde clawing his back to bone and flesh (spine-tingly shudders) and covering that painting with his own blood.

images NBC

images NBC

Some was definitely up there with the worst of the worst in the series; of course i mean the lip smacking, er.. ripping? Triple ewwww!  But ever since that moment when Verger ate his own face i’ve gotten a sense of when the worst is coming and since i never want to have such an imagine in my mind again my head turned quicker than that flesh flew…. evidently not quite fast enough though since i still caught some of it from the corner of my eye. Still wonder how both Armitage and Esperanza managed to have their eyes open while acting it.. but maybe the flying-flesh was CGIed after? That is a comforting thought.

But the worst yuck moment came from where i least expected it… food. Reba brought Francis some soup for his flu and it was easily the most disgusting soup i’ve ever seen: greyish, murky liquid with white and pink looking bits floating at the bottom. Just remembering it is making me gag! Whoever came up with that dish really did a number on the classic chicken soup. Looked more like scrapings from the bottom of a dirty aquarium or something. Shudders! And of course it was intentional, as it came in a nice big transparent tank like container! And Francis was wobbling it about to make sure we notice the content, which i did; it certainly distracted me from looking at his masked face.

see, told you! would you eat that??? yeah, i know, guy in mask big -distraction

see, told you! would you eat that??? yeah, i know, guy in mask big -distraction

But there were gory instances which were also funny at the same time. Like Hannibal almost aspiring a piece of his meaty gift from Dolarhyde, together with his explanation that one piece would do the job just as well as two. LOL and yuck at the same time! Same with poor barbecued dr Chilton and his white teeth, which were pretty awful to look at and yet he was having a rant at Will for basically handing him over to Dolarhyde. The way Will was translating the conversation to Jack was horrendously funny. I almost felt bad for laughing at it. But as i’ve said above it was too surreal and unrealistic anyway so i guess it is ok.

Dolarhyde’s props and get ups are so unusual and surprising they also end up having at least an ironic element to them. I mean how about a panty liner as a means to cover the kidnapped doctor’s eyes?? Very…effective? LOL Makes one wonder where he got it from and what else he’s got in his home stash.. if it was from his gran, boy the quality today certainly isn’t what it used to be! Wish stuff we buy in the shop would stick like that. And i am still wondering in this context what it was that he used to gag him… but maybe better not to know? 😉 I also have to give the guy/girl who came up with that idea for the series brownie points, it is usually bind the eyes and gag the mouth with yer usual kidnappers. Not with Dolarhyde though, original to the end this one… it was stick the eyes and bind the mouth 😉 No wonder the guy gets irritated when the media does not recognise his ‘special’ talents.

I am also not entirely sure going by the book with Dolarhyde’s home dress code was the best idea for the scary impact. The silk flowing kimono and the loosely knitted cap used as a balaclava paired together were a bit strange and the contrasting effect also made me giggle quite a few times. Don’t get me wrong, Dolly in undies exudes a sheer physical force that is truly menacing and the balaclava should be frightening. And it was when he was dressed all in black in the last episode. But hiding Dolarhyde’s breath-taking and chilling facial expressions is not the best option. Behind the knit the face softens, you end up admiring the prominent shape of the nose behind it and because they have to shed more light to show some features his eyes appeared for the first time what they are, a light shade of blue’grey rather than the deep dark pits they have been under less light so far. And hiding the muscle behind the silk took some of the apparent bulk away and showed how tall and lithe he actually is. Instead of ripples of muscle you were drawn to the elegance of the movement in the arms and hands, especially when he extended them and they made the fabric flow so elegantly. Sorry, made me think of a poised geisha 🙂 I can’t help it if the man moves like a flowing elegant feline and not a stompy ape 🙂 It turned into a sort of kinky peek-a-boo get up which made you wonder what was beneath it and distracted me out of context. It just seemed as if he’d dressed for a completely different activity, if you know what i mean 😉 (Even if i wondered when that mustardy-yellow kimono had last seen a wash….).

The dragon showing off his 'art' .. i'm not showing you those shots though :-) Focus on the essentials, arms+Kimono

The dragon showing off his ‘art’ .. i’m not showing you those shots though 🙂 Focus on the essentials, arms+Kimono

But once the silky sheets and knits were off the skin tight beast was back and the face told a very scary horror story indeed, as did the few firm words in no uncertain terms. I just wasn’t scared out of my mind because once Chilton started whining in his chair that he was stuck it was clear what would happen next as they were back with the book. And everything is less scary when you know about it beforehand. Even with the insidious music doing its job of trying to get even further under your skin.

It being Chilton in the chair helped to lighten up the mood. I feel sorry for Chilton, he’s far from an exemplary human being himself, but he was likeable 🙂 Too bad his own vanity ended up being his downfall. His ebullient way makes him entertaining even in this situation, the way he tries to talk himself out of a ..erm.. sticky situation is frightening but also a bit ironic. Poor sod even brings the idea of his final punishment to the Dragon’s mind, Chilton talks of ‘burned’ and the Dragon just laps it up… eeeeeek! (flexing his fingers pleasurably while sitting in his armchair..). And when he saw himself in the pictures he was shown he was so utterly terrified (by the way, Dolarhyde’s repeated ‘lies’ ‘lies’ that were a bit Proctor-ish ).

out of sequence, he's just listening to some music, fret not ;-) (yeah, right!)

out of sequence, he’s just listening to some music, fret not 😉 (yeah, right!)

And there are other light touches even in this chilling scene, like Dolarhyde covering Chilton up with a towel and patting him reassuringly on his shoulder. These things ran chills down my back (as the book did exactly that, gave a false sense of security and maybe hope when in fact you knew Dolarhyde was going to punish him) but also made me smile. The things Dolarhyde says and the way he questions Chilton are aggressive and you can just feel we are headed for trouble, but the voice saying them is close to the deep theatre voice RA used for Proctor and partially also in his reading of Hamlet. So my brain instantly triggers flashbacks at the audio stimuli. Can’t say these mental evasive maneuvers were unwelcome 😉

Look, he's brought some ice.. it was getting hot in here

Look, he’s brought some ice.. it was getting hot in here

And although i knew what he would do next, when he dropped the kimono and the mask i just engaged in visual feasting and the fear was just something in the background. As soon as he turned the camera on the good doctor i thought: ‘ poor bugger, he’s done with and he knows it :-(‘ But it didn’t really stop me from admiring the way he slithered and crawled, like a tiger smelling his prey, over the furniture towards him. At the same time i was trying to gage the exact moment the beast would leap to look away from the bite itself, yikes!  (however mesmerising the movements, believe me , you do not want to see any caps of that and i don’t want to have anything here that would prevent me from looking at my own posts!).

my cap.. wish we could see on his face what he is thinking.. probably the point of no turning back

my cap.. wish we could see on his face what he is thinking.. probably the point of no turning back

The one i really do fear for is Reba. While all the rest have it coming for more than one reason each, she is the innocent and generous one. Unfortunately for her, there is very little left of Francis inside the Dragon… The last battle is probably done behind the mask and behind the glass in the intricate ironwork which unfortunately does not really let us see what is going on with Dolarhyde at that moment. We are left to imagine it in those instances of uncertainty and then the door is opened and the sinking feeling in your stomach tells you there will be no going back from this.

It felt strange when Dolarhyde warns Chilton to stay silent lest he kill the woman… I didn’t think that argument would really be convincing enough for Chilton, but maybe he was hoping if he showed obedience there was still hope to survive?

Maybe there would have been a chance for Reba to get away had she not sensed another presence in the room… but her repeated turning around in that direction just sealed her fate i think. And Dolarhyde was sadly not really listening to her kind words, he was too focused on the task at hand 😦

The similarities between how he brings in Reba and how he brought Chilton in i found much much scarier than everything he did to Chilton. Maybe because one couldn’t help thinking with every similar gesture that a similar fate awaited her 😦 My heart nearly stopped in pain when we saw Reba bound and gagged in his van and he patted her… reassuringly.. chills… on her head. There is maybe a flash of Francis in the way he carries her in and looks at her (which is why the cap above), at least i’d like to think/hope so… but his actions are those of the Dragon. The Dragon clearly thinks he is much more worthy of her admiration than the man and tries to hammer that point home with her. He expects awe from her too at his revelation…. And all i want is to magically get her away so she would never hear what he has to say and leave at least her illusion intact. I fear for her physical safety but at this point i can’t imagine what kind of devastation she would feel realising who/what he is. At least she can’t see the look of madness and anger on his face, though the cold and precise control certainly fills his voice and his strong grip of her chin.

I fear for what he will do to her next but this moment in itself was a moment of death already, the death of any illusion she might have had, of any positive experience she was holding on to in spite of the break up and ultimately it is the death of Francis too. His actions and his revelations have finally killed and buried his human side. Yes, hope was but a glimmer, but it is still sad when it is lost.

Hannibalisms

click for source (Will, Jack and Hannibal)

Yes, I know, absolutely overused and terrible pun 😉

Needless to say, spoilers for S1 and S2 ahead, potentially S3 as well from existing promos. My opinions are my own, no intention to offend any fans of the show :-).

But fear not (well, maybe inappropriate advice with this particular show ;-)) it is not all bad. There are many things I actually like about the show, just as there are things that irritate me, some that put me off massively and some that go against things I strongly believe in. I did watch it though, not quite as religiously as some but also not looking away quite as much as I thought i would do in S2.

I’ll never be a total fan, just as I’m not the biggest fan of GOT, I enjoy watching them, some original formatting, but mostly compelling acting.

Where to start… Probably by saying ‘horror’ is not a genre I will ever enjoy. I gave it a few tries but it’s not for me. I like being puzzled, engaged, thrilled, angered etc but one thing I do not enjoy is being frightened to the bones. The chills don’t give me any kind of thrills. I’m not one for bungee jumping, for playing with fire, for throwing myself off cliffs and things. I love fast cars and motorcycles, but they have to be safe. I know some people have genetically much higher adrenaline tolerance and enjoy extreme sports and are able to/enjoy taking more risks. I am not one of those people and I’m fine with it 🙂 I’d be equally fine if I was and was able to enjoy more risky stuff but I’m not. I tried watching the Exorcist but decided half way through it was not for me, I remember trying Carrie many years ago and same reaction, I think I watched about 20 min of Misery and stopped. I’d have nothing at all to gain by being uncomfortably scared. It is not particularly to do with the gore, I find I have a reasonably high tolerance for it, my dad is a doctor and I’ve been around hospitals more than I like. The human suffering and physical destruction that comes with accidents, war, illness I can deal with, it is fact of life and needs to be accepted as such; it makes me sad, angry, it upsets me, but it doesn’t really give me nightmares or turns my stomach.

Man inflicted aberration for thrills and gallons of blood and guts on the other hand shown as entertainment I find quite off-putting. Or the type of mutilations which horror movies tend to go for as far as I can tell from my minimal experience.

Having said that I enjoy detective stories a lot! In fact probably 80% of what I tend to watch falls within the police/detective/thriller category or documentary of some sort. These can be quite dark sometimes  and some drama , especially in historical context is terrible. But it feels very different from a spectator perspective. It is also true that it has become harder and harder to find interesting ways to tell thriller or detective stories. The usual ’cops and robbers’ has to be reinvented several times each season and it is increasingly difficult to be fresh and original. And because I guess it is harder and harder to write original characters we’ve seen some innovation in formats. One tendency has clearly been towards more and more violence so I have found myself in the last 2 years watching the Following and Hannibal. The Following didn’t actually turn my stomach with the gore but the violence was just too much and forever twisting- I switched off. Just not for me.

I’m currently watching Stalker which scared me quite a few times to the point where I did question if I was going to continue watching, but so far it managed to stay within tolerable limits even if sometimes barely so. But I like the psychological element of it. I’m also watching the Blacklist, which I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying! Yes there was too much gore at times and I had to fast forward a few times, but they have toned down that aspect recently -thankfully- and the characters are just so much fun to watch! I enjoy watching James Spader as Raymond Reddington much more than I am enjoying anything in GOT for example (also because there are far too many characters involved in the latter for my favourites to get much screen time anyway) .

But getting back on track, sorry for the digression. There are 2 movies I do remember which have definitely scared me, but I did sort of enjoy watching them and they have left a lasting impression: one is ‘Seven’ and the other one is ‘Silence of the lambs’. Thoroughly disturbing but brilliantly executed and acted. Although they do give me the chills in retrospect still I don’t regret watching them. Clever and very convincing. Maybe these kind of stories do work better across more hours  or are more effective if a real story line can build with physiological depth. The rapid succession of crazy serial killers in shows like the Following never engage me, they tend to just twist my stomach especially as they don’t come with the reward of said killers being caught  or normality prevailing.Actually, scratch that about Silence of the lambs, incidentally it was back on TV last night and i watched bits of it and wondered what i found interesting last time i saw it, didn’t seem half as claver now and pretty heavy handed.. it hasn’t aged well as a film ;-).

It is I guess why I did stay with Hannibal for the full 1st season, because the acting was good and the characters were engaging.

click for source (Will)

Let’s talk a bit about the book material before going into some of my pros and cons about the show. Thomas Harris’ novels, which provide the material for the series.. I have only read the Red Dragon and based on that one I doubt I’ll read the rest. I’m afraid I didn’t find them original in terms of story line and a lot of it was very predictable. A lot of it was far too cliché for my liking and some of it just felt way to exaggerated in terms of environment and prejudice. Having said that I reminded myself of when these were written (1981 for the Red Dragon). I think psychological thrillers have moved on a lot since, there has been much preoccupation with serial killers, both in fiction as well as documentary  and as viewers we’ve become much more demanding and sophisticated in our expectations of the characters we get served up 🙂 So I guess the books are just a bit outdated in terms of character build up and we’ve seen too much since for them to read ‘fresh’.

One of the ‘pros’ of Hannibal the series from my point of view is the fact that they take the material of the books and make much more of it. The main characters in the series are much more complex and multidimensional than they appear in the book.

The other big ‘pro’ factor is the great acting from Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford, Hugh Dancy as Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter. All 3 of them make strong, believable and engaging characters. I really disliked Crawford in the book, but Fishburne makes him a much more balanced and human character. I felt Graham came across broken, empty and weak in the book, but Dancy is almost nothing like that. He’s sensitive and complicated inside, not quite whole I guess, but not the confused character in the book. Mads makes a very convincing case for the soave and charming… murderer 😉 And with that I mean he looks like he really does believe the aberrations that he utters, the twisted logic of what he does and is really good at letting through all that elegant civility just enough twinkles of the madness within. He’s flamboyant all-right but within the reality-expanding boundaries of the show it is ‘natural’. He doesn’t come across as fake and in such a surreal show that is no mean feat.

However, because I’m not familiar with the genre and very ‘straight’ I guess in why I like thrillers/detective stories, I got caught up with it in S1 because of Will himself. I never thought the show was to be taken at face value, that it was going to be a logical, life-like narrative, but I did feel Will’s psychological quirks were within what I could engage with as a viewer. In fact I like stories where the bad guys get caught because somebody understands how their minds work, or what kind of people they are or because people can connect with the victims on other ways than just the logical, factual ones. These days that is no longer outside police work and in terms of fiction it is certainly a very grateful way of learning more about victims and killers as well, of learning more about the human element than just the clinical facts. So it is definitely something that attracted me to the premises of the series, or to Will’s character in particular.

However, I fell into the trap of expecting things to go sometimes bad but ultimately good for the ‘good guys’ while I was being treated to a ‘horror’ show logic of bad, more bad leading to worse. By the end of S1 I was literally fed up with Hannibal experimenting on Will, physically and especially mentally, with no end in sight. There was no end to suffering, no good was coming to any investigation anymore as Will was getting more and more messed up internally and I got annoyed and at the end of S1 decided I’d had enough and wasn’t prepared to see more of it.

Let me be clear, I am fully conscious of the glamorous, inventive, striking and sometimes oddly beautiful visuals of the show. That is innovative, and fresh and certainly very creative. It is a look that is ‘pleasing’ a lot of the times and creates a clever and mind-twisting contrast to the actual subject. But ultimately I watch TV for the stories and this was going nowhere or I just felt strung along to no interesting or satisfying end. As mentioned I am ‘straight’ that way, no matter how elaborate the dinners (and I love to cook and eat, pretty much foodie), how elegant the dress for me Hannibal will never be anything else than a very clever and totally mad killer. I want him stopped and caught. I don’t buy into his charms other than seeing them as a weapon, a means to his twisted end. While I appreciate and applaud the acting, it is not attractive to me because the bottom line for me never changes, he is a killer. I don’t need to understand why, I’m only interested in as much as I want him stopped. There is nothing logical or normal about it, it is sick, it is an illness that drives him, he’s broken beyond repair. That may not be the premise of a ‘horror’ show where black and white and grey are not as we normally interpret them, but it is the way I see things in such context. There is no way this kind of ‘bad’ becomes attractive to me, it just doesn’t. Which is probably why I’ll never be a complete fan of the show, because even while watching or thinking ‘this looks fine’, I still think it is sick and he is bad and over 2 seasons now that view I have has never changed, never wavered one bit. I actually expected it to maybe change or shift during S2, but it hasn’t.

same source as above (Jack)

(Time for a tea-break 😉 Go make yourself some coffee or tea and relax, I’m probably only half way through! And thank you for not falling asleep already if you are still reading 😉 )

It also means it will take a whole lot of convincing and coaxing for me to feel a lot of sympathy for RA as Dolarhyde. The horrible whys of how he became so broken won’t make me automatically be on his side. I’ll want him stopped and the fact that he is a killer will always be at the back of my mind. Realistically, there is no going back after the first deliberate and gruesome killing. I think Bedelia is absolutely right in her argument about it and hers is the only psychological reasoning I have been able to buy into so far in the show; I find her most convincing and in a strange way objective.

It is interesting that she is the only one who really understands the extent of Will’s innocence – but also guilt. I’ll come back to her but I just want to say a few more things about Will. For me the central theme of the 2nd season was innocence or guilt.. Will’s in particular, with variations and examples on each side shown through other characters. But essentially it is about Will. Has he changed, how? Is he a murderer? And I think it is a story line the series has done really well, ie manage to break free from the Will in S1, vulnerable and adorable though he was. What Will becomes in S2 is much more complex, more interesting and it opens up many possibilities for the series.

I’m glad for the evolution, but am sorry for the loss of innocence… Another clever thing they did in S2 was pile on the evidence and suspicion about his guilt to the point where you believe he is just like Hannibal. It is painful to watch if you are engaged in the character and very convincing done. We find out reality is not quite as bad towards the end. Essentially, we see Will kill in self defence (after we have already seen him try to kill Hannibal for revenge by proxy, convincing another killer in the hospital he is incarcerated in to do the deed), but we are also led to believe he’s killed Freddie Lounds when she finds him out. I felt a massive relief when I saw Freddie survived and it was actually part of an elaborate strategy to try and catch Hannibal in the act. But! The deception was so good I wish they’d kept it until the end of the series and revealed it all in one go.

The way it was done made the last episode anticlimactic, especially if like me you saw it now, before S3 starts and when you know all characters survive the attacks suffered from Hannibal. Basically they try and count their chickens a bit too early and he literally smells them out (ie smells Freddie on Will, who has been meeting with her to talk about a future article). Bedelia warns them… but nobody seems to really listen to this women in that show. Bar Hannibal that is.

So it turns out Will is not a serial killer…. But he is a killer nevertheless. Yes he convinces himself that it is necessary to catch Hannibal, so he lets him believe he’s killed more times. But we also find he moves unusually quickly from attempting revenge to killing in self defence and then horribly displaying the mutilated body. Which I hoped until the last minute was actually Hannibal’s work (the show tries to make us believe in this sort of ‘tandem killing’ idea), but turns out it was all Will.

His mind is no longer affected by physical illness, but one wonders about how much of this is motivated by seeking justice and how far Will is actually able to go. Needless to say the most interesting aspects of the show, including visually, are the goings on in his mind. The picturing of the killings, the doubts and so on, which he is much more in control of in a way but which populate his mind constantly. Bad for poor Will, but great for the series. I still like some of him and I hold on to hope that he’s not completely tipped over, but he’s moved past the character I can be supportive of to a character I observe and maybe hope the best for.

I think Will is trapped in trying to catch Hannibal and realising too late after the fact what the consequences are; I think Bedelia is much more conscious of them than Will. Sadly her taking a wise distance from Hannibal and everything means we don’t see all that much of her in S2.

The reasons I like her and like seeing her in the series is that she is by far the most complex female character. Freddie is smart and risk taking and a good portrait of her profession and I am glad at least she didn’t fade into the background, but apart from her, the only female character with any depth and complexity is Bedelia.

I am sure I’m not the first to notice or the first to complain about it: the show sorely lacks a female perspective. Women seem to be passers by in the story, without leaving much imprint and generally weak, easily trapped and quickly eliminated. I don’t like any of them except the two mentioned above. I thought the storyline of Jack’s beautiful but sadly ill wife was going somewhere, but when Hannibal actually didn’t let he die (presumably to let her continue suffering and let Jack continue suffering) she was dispatched to the sick bed barely to appear again. Any interaction or grief Jack Crawford might feel was just a glimpse, again never repeated. Why?

Don’t even get me started on Alana… for God’s sake… how self-delusional and blind does one have to be? None of her is believable, likeable or even in the slightest convincing. There is zero chemistry between her and Hannibal and her interaction with Will is just silly. I’d have more respect for the character if she decided either way and stuck to her guns, but she’s depicted as one of those airheads, an emotional bundle, totally charmed by Hannibal (insert gagging noises).

Who else?

Ah yes, poor Abigail, who Will thinks Hannibal has killed and feels guilt about that he could not only not save her but also not find her. She turns up again, hidden away …  in Hannibal’s house… only very predictably to be killed again. Not very effective or convincing as the damage that particular guilt trip did on Will has long since been inflicted, nothing new will come of it. She’s treated as disposable anyway. Not before she dispatches Alana equally dully through an open window, (not interesting enough to even get a proper killing, all she gets is a desperate shove through the window) which I am afraid has not finished her off…

Equally quick work was made of Will’s police colleague who starts believing him only to get very easily killed and sliced.

Ah one more, Verger’s sister – introduced on an ever more hyperbolic arc and equally quickly discarded. Continuously abused by her brother, she is also Hannibal’s patient and ends up pretty swiftly in Will’s bed…. Poor sod, not particularly good taste. Ok, it is comfort sex… which ends up creating a baby!!! Well, nearly, babies are much too cute for this show. Hannibal only taunts Will with the idea,they don’t really explore it enough for it to take hold or do any lasting damage when it is taken away (other than to the women herself…). Brutally I might add, by the sick brother literally taking not only the baby but also her ovaries -presumably- away from her and therefore any chance of escape from under his control.

It is I think where it was most evident in the series that a female perspective was totally absent. Yes Hannibal is cold and he’d use the whole idea to torment Will even further. And yes I fell for it, thinking there could be a small positive turn, forgetting this is a horror show and nothing ever ends even remotely well. I would have thought Hannibal would have played that card longer tbh. And I found it utterly disgusting how they all, including Will, treated that poor women as just an object in their various strategies. And once ovaries were out and baby was out, out she went to, unceremoniously, never to be heard of or cared about again.

Dear Mr Fuller, I’ve put up with those stupid man-eating pigs for an exceeding number of episodes! It was a boring and predictable story line, though the right one never got eaten by those pigs. Sadly it just annoyed me, I’ve not become a vegetarian. You spent a silly amount of time with the pigs but made a mess of the much more harrowing story twist above… bleh! Definitely a big ‘con’ in my book.

The women’s fate was dispatched almost in the blink of an eye or wave of a hand while I had to watch the pigs again and again and, to top it all off,  you inflicted Mason Verger upon me and I actually accidentally nearly watch him fillet his face off and feed it to Will’s dogs! I’ve looked away a few times in the series, but that particular image still makes my stomach turn. And in combination with the above lack of depth makes my mind twist in anger as well.

And while I am at the ‘cons’ and especially the ones that annoy me incredibly –> while I had to put up with that particularly disgusting scene, in comparison the sex scenes which supposedly conceived the baby above made me laugh. For such imaginative and fantastic minds they sure are Victorian bores in bed. Not that I could find anything attractive in silly Alana getting into bed with Hannibal, I just wanted to shake her! But there was nothing there to suggest she was really attracted to him physically or even emotionally, she seemed to be more drugged than enamoured.

Same with Will and Margot (finally remembered the Verger sister’s name),  I just thought: ran out of conversation subjects, have they? And then it becomes truly hilarious and in all honestly not at all surprising: Will and Alana – or whichever combination of 2 people of the 4- turn their heads on their respective pillow after the ‘event’ and what you see is the two couples merged in one image: ie Will sharing sheets with Hannibal! LOL It was really funny, but yeah some chemistry was there, predictably. Just because the idea in itself was so predictable; they only way to virtually get them in each other’s beds was to get them in each other heads ;-). Funny, but not necessarily fun for the characters I’m guessing – as in ‘between the sheets’ fun. Nobody really looks or breathes enough away from the whole murder business for other passions to emerge or some real fun to happen.

In fact, with so much murder business and eating constantly on screen, I was surprised we were suddenly in bed with them; it is not a natural place for any of them to be in and it felt as if the production as well as the characters didn’t really know what to do with themselves there. It was awkwardly and ironically out of character for everyone.

Which raises some doubts for me for the next season where several love interests are supposed to appear. They better do a more interesting job of it than they have done so far.

I am excited to see more of Bedelia but she’s going off with Hannibal?? Really??? Unless she thinks she can trap him somehow and get him caught… she is probably bold enough to try. I’m just not convinced they will be able to sell me some sudden chemistry if that should be their intention. Mind you, if anyone can pull of chemistry in that show it is Gillian Anderson 🙂

I’m curious to see what they make of Will’s wife and hopefully she’ll be a bit more than a piece of human furniture to populate his life.. I am exaggerating, but I’m just hoping for some strong definition in that character, more than I have seen them capable of doing so far.

Thankfully in terms of the Dolarhyde story Reba McClane is already written as a pretty strong character, so at least the model has already been created, hopefully nothing will go wrong there.

They have shown in S2 that they can bring interesting twists and fix weaknesses of the show so I am hoping they can do that in S3 on the female front. Those men need some distraction from their constant digging in their own minds 😉

From Fuller’s very interesting interview I gather we can hope for some complex relationship development, even though we’ll still see more gore than is good for my stomach and only Victorian sex (from the shoulder above)… yeah I can’t quite wrap my head around ‘face filleting allowed but don’t show me your nipple’.

There is only one more quibble and a few quirks to mention from my side.

click for source (that tattoo image)

I sometimes have problems with Mad’s diction to be honest. I’ve heard him in interviews and I have much less of a problem. But in the show as a non-native speaker I find it difficult to follow that psychobabble the character is prone to because I can’t always understand the words, literally. I could rewind but that destroys the intended atmosphere and that I find is more important than the words that are said. Still I wish they would be a bit more careful and work harder at it.

In the S3 promo I only clocked he was speaking Italian when I heard ‘Dante’… . and I speak Italian. I know they were pressed for time… but the show is aiming for quality and achieving it a lot of the times, for me this is part of it. I just had to say it, because I think it is something that can be improved on pretty easily. And it is a pity for a good actor who can pull of such a strange character to loose some of the impact because we can’t quite understand what he is saying. Not least because I want to be able to make up my mind about the text of the script, not just the story line.

For a bit of light side Hannibal click here for the gag reels from S2 🙂 

I don’t know about you, but I find myself laughing with it quite a few times. I am not sure it is intended to be funny, but I somehow suspect it is. The chewing, eating, ingesting puns can’t really be meant to be taken seriously, can they?

Take the latest example which had me bursting into laughter, from the S3 promo: Bedelia :’ there is only one way you can forgive Will’, insert more images, a small pause later, Hannibal: (Wait for it……)  ‘I have to eat him!’ ROFLMAO!!! Groan.. it is so bad it is good 🙂

Or  Hannibal: I’ve hardly killed anybody during our residence! Or H again: my wife and I would love to have you for dinner 🙂 LOL… seriously… I know it is sick, but it is funny 🙂 The mind-twisting that must be going on in the team to come up with new eating-puns!

While these are meant to be funny, I think I have laughed at things that probably weren’t intended to be funny, like the bed scene mentioned above 🙂 And I have to say Hannibal does make me giggle when he wears one of those ultra- extravagant suits of his, in checks of way too many colours and with much too clashing ties. Or maybe it is just the European in me that interprets elegance as something slightly more subtle and refined and sees this more as an eccentric twist. I’d never be attracted to any of those suits! I find him much better in plain shirts or t-shirts tbh. Maybe he’ll find elegance in Florence, there is always hope 😉

Will and his clothes are a bit boring by comparison but that’s ok, plain suits him.

As for the recent S3 promos, intriguing things ahead. I like the idea of seeing Florence in grey weather as the image I have in my mind is so deeply characterised by sun. I’m looking forward to seeing the city through their eyes. It certainly will be a refreshing change from the endless prison/mental hospital images we had to put up with for more than half of S2.

I’m also very intrigued but the prominence of Dolarhyde’s hands in the promo. It is not what I would have thought of in connection to the character so I am curious to see what they came up with. I am very glad they did, those hands shout out for screen time!

click for source (the hand)

Having said that, the tattoo is not what I expected and so far not really to my liking. I guess from the point of view of the character he wanted to cover as much as possible of himself with the dragon to absorb him. I on the other hand wasn’t expecting an actual depiction of the painting but rather a graphic interpretation of it. This is a bit of copy paste, more artful of course ;-), but essentially a transfer of the image onto the body. It is so broad I initially though they were using a transparent sleeve, which would have made application easier, or even that it was as projection of the image,  but apparently they were stickers re-applied each time. I think it looks a bit odd that they cover the back as high as the armpits and also completely on the sides; after some pondering that it is what makes it look somewhat odd to me.

But tattoo aside I’m curious to see how much they develop Dolarhyde’s character and how close they will bring him to the brink of turning back before they let him fall. I am however not at all looking forward to them finishing off poor Freddie Lounds 😦 When I thought Will killed her I thought they used that idea already and was relieved we’d be spared all that horrible attack, but not so lucky I’m afraid. Honestly don’t think I will be able or will want to watch that. So far the series has excelled more in presentation of victims post event, but that changed towards the end of S2 with icky Verger and the last episode. I have a feeling there is more of this coming in S3… sigh. And that is the bit I definitely don’t want to watch; question is, will I be able to suss out which will be the episode to fast forward through…

In any case, S3 is coming to the UK on June 10th on Sky Living (ominous tone fully intended).