Hannibal Season 1 Review “Fromage”

Hannibal Episode 8 Fromage (1)

On the latest “Hannibal”, we got a little bit of unexpected and quite satisfying action from two characters that didn’t exactly scream knock-down drag-out fighters, in the oddly-titled “Fromage”, aka the French word for cheese. I say odd because it would have made perfect sense to call last week’s episode that, as there was talk about psychic cheeses and whatnot. In comparison, there wasn’t even a mention of it in this one, but never mind all that, as the episode itself made up for it.

Maybe it was the limited amount of commercials in light of the big “The Office” finale, which reduced the show to about 45 minutes or so, but this one flew by. Honestly, though, I think it actually had more to do with the more streamlined storyline this time out. Normally, we’d have the traditional beginning part where a crime is committed, then the bulk of the rest of the show is spent putting together the clues to catch the killer, followed by a swift denouement, more often than not.

This time around, we knew who the killer was almost immediately, and Lecter ratted him out pretty quickly to boot, so there was no need for much clue-gathering all around. Not that he didn’t have good reason this time, as Tobias, the man in question, had admitted to following him and seeing him kill the man found on the bus in a previous episode. Bad move. While Lecter was fine contending with a potential killer in Abigail, here he wasn’t too thrilled to discover that someone had gotten away with tracking him without his knowledge. And Lecter’s not big on the loose ends.

What I didn’t expect was that Lecter would kill his patient in cold blood, and then proceed to go all kung fu on Tobias, who gave as good as he got, very nearly getting the best of Lecter in the process. While I’ll certainly allow that both are pretty menacing from a creepy standpoint, at the same time, you don’t necessarily expect two such staid people to go all Crouching Tiger, Hidden Psycho on each other.

It was far and away the most exciting moment on the show to date, and made all the better because it not only showed the various layers of the men at hand, but that Lecter could be vulnerable at times, which is not something we’d really seen until this episode. This was furthered by the sessions with his psychiatrist, in which he admitted that he’d like to have a real friend who really understood him, and thought that Will might be it. I suspect this decision will come back to haunt him, given that Will is, of course, the man that eventually brings him down.

The opening murder was pretty freaky, with the revelation that the killer was trying to “play” the victim, with strings made from human parts, no less. Is it wrong that I kind of wanted to see that, or hear what it sounded like? I mean, why bring that up if you’re not going to do that, right? Still, very neat idea, if totally gross. (Also intriguing- the fact that Lecter’s instrument of choice was the theremin! Such a perfect choice for someone who thinks outside the norm like he does.)

We also got an almost-hook-up from Will and Dr. Bloom, which she backed out of almost instantly, worrying that it wouldn’t end well, which I suspect is right on the money. Even if he’s not technically her patient, there’s no way in hell she’s going to be able to stop psychoanalyzing him. Meanwhile, he recognized that he needed stability, what with all the instability in his life, courtesy of all the nightmares, sleepwalking and so forth that has been plaguing him since the show began. Can’t say I blame him there.

Lines of the evening, an all-Lecter edition this week:
Lecter, on his perceived excellence as a source material for string-making: “Lean animals yield the toughest gut.”
Lecter, on why he wasn’t trying to kill Tobias via dinner: “I didn’t poison you, Tobias. I wouldn’t do that to the food.”
Lecter, to his psychiatrist: “I can’t help but feel responsible for what happened to Franklyn.” (Gee, I wonder why?)

So, some good stuff here on the whole. That fight was super-exciting and unexpected, the scene where Will realized Tobias was the killer and went after him was pretty intense, and, as per usual, the murder set-piece was oddly compelling and artistically done, much like Lecter’s art-installment style food layouts. This episode zipped along at a nice, even pace, and if certain things were abrupt, like Franklyn’s death, it earned them, unlike certain previous episodes, where the wrap-up seemed rushed and almost like an afterthought. This one worked for me on all levels. Granted, it might have been fun to do a bit of cat-and-mouse style stuff with Lecter and Tobias before taking the latter out, but I get why they did it.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Hannibal”? Were you, too, confused by the title? Did you dig the big showdown between Lecter and Tobias, too? How about the scene where Will was trying to catch the killer at the music shop? Do you enjoy seeing Gillian Anderson on the tube again? Do you think Dr. Bloom and Will should hook up? Do you think there really was an animal in Will’s fireplace walls? Enquiring minds want to know, so sound off in the comments section!