Despite its title, Hannibal has spent little time with its eponymous serial killer sophisticate. Precisely captured by Mads Mikkelsen in an engaging, restrained performance, Dr Lecter has spent most of the season as a supporting character, someone for Will or Jack to bounce their thoughts off. Seven episodes in, the show takes the opportunity to scrutinise the not-so-good doctor.
“Sorbet” may not be the most eventful episode of television – the plot is threadbare, with the FBI’s leads on the “Chesapeake Ripper” (Hannibal) only turning up a clumsy organ-thief – but the focus on Hannibal is richly rewarding as a character study. Much of the episode is spent in conversation – Hannibal with his patients, or his own psychiatrist (Gillian Anderson) or in the kitchen, where languorous photography makes cannibalism look almost appealing.
I keep going to use the word “restrained,” because it’s the best way to describe the episode, which pulls back on its maximalist tendencies to achieve the same effect with recipe cards and a rolodex as it has with gory displays (though there’s plenty of that too). There’s careful development of storylines I’d love to see come to fruition, so here’s hoping the renewal/cancellation news from NBC tomorrow is good.