Hannibal – “Potage” (Season 1, Episode 3)

The third episode of Hannibal conjures a dreamy, indistinct mood. The soundtrack is almost oppressively melodramatic, shifting from quiet tension to a soaring orchestra of screeching violins – it’s over the top, but suits the show’s expressionist tone. “Potage’s” meticulously constructed atmosphere came at the expense of narrative clarity; some omissions are to be expected, but questions like “How did Freddie get into the hospital?” and “Why isn’t Crawford enforcing his threats on Freddie?” deserve to at least be acknowledged.

Hannibal - "Potage"

Freddie’s character is one of the weak points of Hannibal, but this episode wasn’t focused on her. Rather, the episode shifted its attention to two mysterious, interesting characters:

  • Abigail Hobbes, who is definitely a killer (if accidentally?) by the episode’s end, but it remains unclear whether Will’s faith in her innocence is justified.
  • The eponymous Dr Lecter, who shifted from the margins to centre stage this week. I’m really enjoying Mikkilsen’s restrained performance – the smile that grew on his face as Will described his murder was just fantastic.

The show’s narrative clumsiness may be a liability, but hopefully these are early jitters; the details may not be the point, but I’d still like all the pieces to fit together.

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