Hannibal – “Fromage” (Season 1, Episode 8)

“I didn’t poison you Tobias. I wouldn’t do that to the food.”

Hannibal delves into the Dexter wheelhouse this week, pairing Dr Lecter with his mirror: another cultured murderer named Tobias, who uses his victims to create music rather than fine cuisine. On Dexter the two would spend a season becoming friends, then rivals, before one kills the other. But this is Hannibal, so Tobias is lifeless on the floor of Hannibal’s office by episode’s end, head caved in by the same stag statue that lurks through Will’s dreams.

Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) and Tobias (Demore Barnes) in Hannibal, Season 1, Episode 8 "Fromage"

If the episode had a failing, it was the obviousness of Tobias’s fate – it’s the first time the show has been anything approaching predictable. And its foray into a romantic subplot felt perfunctory (this is not a lovey-dovey show, whatever South Korea thinks), though I enjoyed Will’s descent into full-blown hallucinations, and the possibility that Alana wasn’t even there.

But predictability isn’t a sin when the execution is so masterful, whether it was the normal deep thrum of the soundtrack being consumed by ominous, resonant strings, or a shrill buzz after Will is deafened; or the tense repartee between Hannibal and Tobias that became a consummately executed fight, elegant and brutal.

4 thoughts on “Hannibal – “Fromage” (Season 1, Episode 8)

  1. I loved Hannibal’s face when Tobias brought out that metal wired thing he used to fight with. I could just hear in his head “Wtf…is this..”

    • Mads Mikkelsen had some great acting moments in this episode, for sure. I really enjoyed when Tobias told him that he’d seen him “at the bus stop” (or similar) and how his carefully-constructed air of aloofness slipped… just for a moment.

  2. Yes! That buzz after Will and Tobias are deafened by the gunshot in the basement was amazing and it felt like you were really there! I also loved the choreography of the fight between Tobias and Hannibal, the look on Hannibal’s face when Tobias first brought out his strings weapon and began to whip it around. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and I have to admit, I’ve watched that scene more times than I can count. Am I weird? I guess so.

    I wish Tobias would have been featured in more episodes for he would have been such a match for Hannibal, but again I understand why his turn ended so soon. But still, a role you couldn’t easily forget!

    • Yeah the whole scene in the basement – while, admittedly, kinda implausible – was well done. I had to laugh when he was deafened by the gunfire, but that’s mostly because it’s been a running joke on the last season of Archer.

      I’ve seen a few people complain that the fight scene was unrealistic, or a bit silly for the show, but I don’t agree. Yes, it was a little silly for him to unleash his piano-wire-nunchucks or whatever they were, but the show is fundamentally a macabre concept so amped it becomes silly…treated with the utmost seriousness. Plenty of silly things happen in the show, but in my opinion it works because it takes them seriously, even as we the audience can see the humour in it. I thought the fight was a great mix of a little silly, a little serious, and altogether thrilling.

      I agree that Tobias was fun to watch but he definitely needed to go – I liked the actor playing him a lot (and he looked really familiar, but I can’t find anything else I’ve seen him in), but one of the problems that I had with later-era Dexter (as I hinted at above) was that the serial killer pairings in that show felt unsustainable, and it had to jump through a ton of narrative hoops to not just have them trying to murder one another. I can’t see Hannibal “teaming up” with another serial killer!

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