TV Review: HANNIBAL Season 1, Episode 11 'Roti'

PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley


Jeezy Creezy, Eddie Izzard returns. When Doctor Gideon escapes from police custody, the race is on to find him before he can seek revenge on those responsible for his earlier capture and imprisonment. Better hurry though – I hear that Izzard fellow is surprisingly fleet of foot.

In my review of Entrée (Doctor Gideon's last appearance) I had suggested that Izzard's performance was missing something; that it felt like the comedian trying too hard to be scary. Unfortunately, Rôti is the nail in the coffin. He's not remotely scary, and his scenes of verbose villainy ring far too hollow. It doesn't help that when he talks, it sounds like an Eddie Izzard stand-up routine minus any of the jokes. Thankfully, Will's “this is my design” bit (wherein we see the killer's crime, only with Graham playing the psychopath) spares us the silliness of seeing Eddie Izzard break free of his chains and murder a pair of trained prison guards.

Typically, it's all Doctor Chilton's fault, after planting the possibility in Gideon's mind that he might be the infamous Chesapeake Ripper. Now, true or not, he believes it too. Or is at least having fun with the idea. Anyone who's read Red Dragon or The Silence of the Lambs will know that they're barking up the wrong tree there. Chilton's naughtiness there gets us a very revealing conversation with Hannibal, in which they discuss the rights and wrongs of manipulating patients like puppets. Hannibal, of course, has been doing this all along. The trick, Doctor Chilton, is not to get caught.

Unfortunately, the poor Doctor is caught in more ways than one – kidnapped by Gideon and strapped to his operating table as he performs some very invasive surgery. He can't die, surely? He's in The Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon. The build-up of things that we already know – that Gideon isn't the Ripper, that Lounds and Chilton can't die – results in a complete lack of tension throughout, not helped by Izzard's campy performance as Gideon. Graham's continued mental breakdown enlivens matters, but too much of Rôti results in the most disappointing episode of the series so far. If Gideon had been played by anyone other than Eddie Izzard, it could have worked. But it doesn't really. Shame, since we love a bit of Eddie.

Thankfully, the main players salvage the episode. There's Hannibal, suave and manipulative. Crawford, wielding a massive shotgun. And Graham, whose mental state yields some of the best nightmare imagery this side of a Nightmare on Elm Street movie. This episode leaves him in a dark place, but one suspects that it's only about to get worse. Jeezy Creezy indeed.

It's apt, that the titular rôti is a form of bread - like a floury Indian pancake – since this episode is disappointingly, and resoundingly, rather flat.

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