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Hannibal – Recap: Nothing Here is Vegetarian

Don’t get me wrong, I love Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), but the past few episodes’ focus on the inner workings of the show’s titular star, Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), have fascinated me beyond belief. Hannibal’s seventh episode this season, “Sorbet,” continued to peel back the layers of skin, tissue, and muscle and began to reveal the heart of our favorite cannibal. This show has always been very well executed, but the past few episodes, pieces dedicated to the Chesapeake Ripper, have seen it hit its true stride. Mads Mikkelsen in a fantastic Hannibal, Dancy’s Will Graham is the perfect foil of a companion. Maybe it just means I’m crazy too, but I want to be friends with Hannibal Lecter. He’s an amazing chef!

The episode opened with one of Will’s lectures, as he continued to analyze the mind of the Ripper in front of his class. Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) watched from the back of the room as Will uncomfortably referenced Crawford’s lost FBI trainee, Miriam. The killer, whom we know for sure to be Hannibal Lecter, tends to kill in threes, humiliating his victims in the process. He sees them as pigs, not people, displaying their corpses with a sense of mockery and shame after surgically removing their organs.

The first murder scene of the week centered on what seemed to be another murder by the Chesapeake Ripper; however, Will’s careful analysis revealed something very different. This body wasn’t a victim of a murderer, but rather, a botched illegal organ donor. The crooked doctor most likely performed this surgery poorly, leaving an open gash by the man’s kidneys and evidence that he’d performed an internal cardiovascular massage. The victim’s heart had stopped. Still, Crawford’s team remained relentless in their insistence that this was the work of the Ripper. As Will continues to spiral out of control following his killing of Garret Jacob Hobbs (Later, we’d catch a glimpse of him imagining himself sitting beside a corpse with his “daughter,” Abigail), he gets better and better at throwing some serious shade. He couldn’t even be bothered to listen to Crawford’s team member’s trivial argument, slamming the bathroom door in his face while he continued to explain the reality of the situation to Jack.

NBC "Hannibal"

NBC “Hannibal”

Watching Hannibal attend the opera was certainly a sight, huh? Hannibal was brought to tears as the performer effortlessly sang, sending her brilliant talent straight from her throat to his ears. From the back of the room, a man sat fixated on Hannibal rather than the singer. Post-performance, we discovered that this was one of Hannibal’s patients, Franklin, who’d attended the performance with Tobias, a man who seemed to be Franklin’s partner and who clearly rubbed Hannibal the wrong way. Funny, he’s a psychopath, but we tend to trust Hannibal as a fantastic judge of character. Later, we’d get to witness a session between Franklin and Hannibal in which the patient clearly seemed to unnerve Lecter. He was desperate to be his friend, recalling a moment where he broke down over the death of Michael Jackson and how he’d never get to experience his greatness in person. Hannibal attempted to thwart the man’s forward behavior, keeping his cool as best as possible. Still, wasn’t it something to see the Chesapeake Ripper slightly creeped out? Part of the reason we would watch this session was so that we could relate this man’s issues with loneliness to Hannibal’s own sense of isolation. Hannibal, in fact, has his own psychiatrist, who’s retired save for him. Dr. Maurier (Gillian Anderson) recognized that she merely met with a version of Lecter, that he appears as a well-tailored suit or, rather, a veiled human being. Her hope is that something she passes on to the persona in front of her helps the whole individual. Hannibal recognizes his doctor as a friend, a label that she was quick to buck. He’s her patient and colleague, but not her friend. Thus, we have our connection back to Franklin.

NBC "Hannibal"

NBC “Hannibal”

We were also treated to another dinner date between Lecter and Alana (Caroline Dhavernas) this episode. Seriously, is there more romantic of a gesture than Hannibal crafting her own reserve of beer that he’d brewed in cabernet wine barrels? I think the point of having Alana drink beer over wine, and having Hannibal respect that, is to remind us that he’s talented and tasteful rather than a snob. He’s simply impeccable. This was the first time I ever really recognized the sexual chemistry between the two. Could a love triangle be developing between Hannibal, Alana, and Will Graham, their mutual friend whom they’re looking to protect?

Meanwhile, Jack continued to be plagued by nightmares and visions of his dead trainee. Over the course of the episode, the visions warped from obsessing over her severed arm in the morgue to replacing her image with Will. In other words, Jack has more of an attachment to Will than we’ve been let on to believe. Maybe Will, as a person, isn’t as valueless to Crawford as they’ve made him seem to be. Maybe he is more than a piece of “fine china.”

NBC "Hannibal"

NBC “Hannibal”

Over the course of the episode, we were invited to witness the great Hannibal Lecter at work. We began to be clued in as to why he kills and strips victims’ of their organs. Hannibal robs them of what he feels they do not deserve. His murder scenes are intricately planned spectacles, but of what use were the organs? Lecter suggested to Will that he consider the illegal organ trade, to which Will concurred. Of course, we know those organs are at the bottom of Hannibal’s stomach. It was incredibly interesting to watch Hannibal help on the Ripper case, knowing he was the culprit. It was as though his helpful advice doubled as an explanation so that Will could better sympathize with the Ripper, himself, who was clearly targeting individuals who were rude, or twisted, or otherwise wrong. We watched as Hannibal slaughtered a doctor who was once obnoxious to him, carefully pairing the appertained liver and heart with gourmet recipe cards. We also became privy to the fact that he’d slaughtered several more people before even Crawford’s team was, as we follow Hannibal as much as we follow Will’s investigation.

Before we get to the conclusion of episode seven, it’s important to note that Hannibal met once more with Franklin, who admitted to stalking his psychiatrist at a local cheese shop. My favorite moment of the episode might have been when Franklin lightly tapped Hannibal on the knee, as if they were buddies, only to see Hannibal politely recoil and cringe a bit. Talk turned to Tobias, the man Franklin had brought to the opera performance who was apparently not his partner. At least, Franklin wouldn’t admit that, although Hannibal did note that Tobias was his best friend, but that the feeling wasn’t mutual. Hannibal’s curiosity surrounding Tobias seems to be a major plot point next episode…

The episode closed with Will missing an appointment due to zoning out into a awake sleep, prompting Hannibal to pay him a visit at work. Will apologized, while Hannibal insisted it was unnecessary. In truth, it seemed much more so that Hannibal was looking for some company following a depressing talk about the pangs of loneliness with Franklin. Will explained the ways of the Ripper to, well, the Ripper, noting that Miriam hadn’t been displayed because her death was unplanned. Instead, the Ripper, Hannibal, had been humiliating Jack by using her death in the present. In the end, Hannibal would end up accompanying Will, Jack, and Beverly (Hettienne Park) to a privately owned ambulance company. Beverly had pieced together that a strange ambulance seemed to be leaving crime scenes when it should be arriving, though no one took notice prior to her. As it turned out, the illegal organ dealer was using an ambulance to perform his work, and the crew caught him red handed. Literally, his hands were red with blood as he reached inside the donor for kidneys. Hannibal stepped in as the emergency doctor, while Crawford arrested the crooked surgeon.

Hannibal had saved a man’s life. Will questioned why he’d ever quit the surgical field, prompting Hannibal to recall a time he’d lost a single patient. One was too much, so he channeled his love for anatomy into his love for the culinary arts. The final scene featured a dinner party thrown for Hannibal’s friends from the opera, a smorgasbord of varied organs(!) to which Hannibal introduced:

Nothing here is vegetarian.

 

What did you think of Hannibal Season 1 Episode 7, “Sorbet”? Do you like the show slightly more now that it has turned the spotlight onto Lecter? Do you see a love triangle brewing?

Thanks for reading my Recap and Review of Hannibal Season 1 Episode 7, “Sorbet”!

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