HANNIBAL: 1.05 “Coquilles”
As you may know, NBC pulled episode 4 of Hannibal in light of the tragic Boston marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt for the suspects (an event that I found a bit too geographically close from comfort, though that’s another story). I can only assume, based on brief plot summaries of that episode (children killing children, or something), that it may have wrapped up the storyline with Hobbes’ daughter. I’ll have to catch up on it sometime soon, but thankfully watching that episode wasn’t necessary to enjoy this one.
We get another serial killer this week, which is starting to worry me a bit. How many crazy, brutal serial killers are there, really? If there were three or four major killers caught by the FBI within a couple of months of each other, the nation would be in a panic. It’s getting a little hard for me to suspend my disbelief; I’d really like to start seeing the show carry the same case or two over more than just one week. That said, this week’s killer and his “design,” as Will would put it, is very gruesome, as he peels back the skin on the back of his victims to form wings. He’s motivated by a sense of religious fervor, plus a terminal brain tumor that causes hallucinations. Aside from the way in which the killer executed his victims, he wasn’t a particularly interesting villain, and mainly just served as a way to amplify both Jack and Will’s personal crises.
Jack’s problem begins with his wife, who we learn has terminal cancer and is afraid to tell her husband. He eventually finds out the truth, and Laurence Fishburne does a great job of showing Jack’s quiet devastation, feeble attempts at putting up a strong exterior, and quiet melancholy.
Will, in the meantime, is breaking down under the strain of all he’s been asked to do lately. He’s not sleeping, and when he is, he sleepwalks and wakes up in strange places. Finally, his hallucinations are intensifying, from the dark deer that he’s been stalking for a few episodes, to a vision of this week’s dead serial killer. Crawling into the minds of these men is seriously destabilizing him and by the end of the episode, it seems like he may be close to giving it up and heading back to teaching.
Finally, the more I watch this show, the more I am enjoying its depiction of Hannibal himself. His odd shaped, heavy lidded face, his indistinct European accent, and the elegance and refinement in which he cloaks himself (from his shirt-vests or perfect Windsor-knotted tie to his decanter of fine wine and the classical music softly piped into his dining room) makes him fascinatingly, attractively interesting and yet utterly sinister at the same time.