Hannibal – “Savoureux” (Season 1, Episode 13)

Hannibal is a lean show, almost utterly devoid of connective tissue (well, unless you count the flayed bodies on display). This leanness worked in its benefit in its first season finale, particularly as Will Graham staggers around Dr Lecter’s office, trying to puzzle out if he could actually be responsible for the copycat murders. It’s…

Hannibal – “Relevés” (Season 1, Episode 12)

It’s always a treat when a drama takes the time to pause and let its characters to engage with one another without the runaway narrative train pushing them forward. Hannibal takes a much-needed chance to breathe in the opening half of “Relevés.” There’s no killer-of-the-week: instead a more traditional investigative episode, as Will and Crawford…

Hannibal – “Buffet Froid” (Season 1, Episode 10)

Hannibal’s early episodes demonstrated an affinity for horror, realised in thick brushstrokes of sumptuous gothic tableaux and direct references to horror classics like The Shining. That horror focus has diminished, but not disappeared, as the season has continued, fleshing out both its characterisation and serialisation. “Buffet Froid” serves as a return to elegant, unnerving horror;…

Hannibal – “Trou Normand” (Season 1, Episode 9)

“Trou Normand” opens on a majestic and terrible spectacle, a totem of twisted corpses reaching to the sky. It’s grand and imposing, but belies the subtlety of an episode populated with little moments like Abigail’s look of recognition as she tastes the meat that Hannibal has served; or, amidst a gripping confrontation between Will and…

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…

Hannibal – “Sorbet” (Season 1, Episode 7)

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…

Hannibal – “Entrée” (Season 1, Episode 6)

Hannibal’s episodes have been largely stand-alone so far; “killer of the week” plotlines dominating the slowcooking larger arcs. “Entrée” embraces a more serialised approach – along with the Hannibal backstory, filling the hour with re-appropriated quotes and visual quotes from the films. It’s made very clear that this isn’t a straightforward prequel, but a reinterpretation;…

Hannibal – “Coquilles” (Season 1, Episode 5)

“Coquilles” is the first episode of Hannibal to disappoint me. This is less a failing of the episode than the circumstances surrounding it. Without knowing the full details of the fourth episode, unscreened in the wake of the Boston bombings, the show’s narrative opacity became a liability; the brief “previously on” segment did little to…

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,…