TV Review: HANNIBAL Season 1, Episode 12 'Releves'

PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley

Amidst a debut season full of murder, madness and man-eating, Hannibal's penultimate episode has arrived. Already! Surely not, we’re still starving for more. Hopefully these last two dishes will be filling ones, then. It's hard to tell, given that I have no idea what a 'releves' is.

After last week's damp squib of an episode (even if it did manage to rid us of Eddie Izzard's irritating stand-up comedian come scenery-chewing surgeon) Graham is already in a pretty dark place. While recovering in hospital, he visits an old face (she who cannot recognise faces herself, Georgina Madchen from Buffet Froid) for reassurance, answering some of the questions which trouble his own increasingly damaged mind. If she can make a recovery, surely he can too? And is it really possible to turn serial killer without knowing it yourself? Such questions reverberate throughout Releves, along with the question 'what the hell is a releves?' No sooner has Will gone on his less-than merry way though, than poor Georgina dies – in the oddest of circumstances. It's a less baroque demise than most denizens of the series manage, more befitting an episode of CSI than Hannibal.

An open and shut case of suicide, then, figures Crawford. But Will is convinced that Georgina was murdered most foully. If anyone should know, it's Will Graham, a version of The Mentalist for serial killers. It's his design. 

Elsewhere, Lounds and Abigail Hobbs are hard at work on her book. Spending too much time around serial killers and delicate criminal psychiatrists has obviously done her no good, as she's as fragile as the best of them. What better for her mental health, then, than a road trip with Will Graham? This can come to no good, especially with each suspecting that the other is the 'copycat' killer still on the loose. And if they say the name 'Garrett Jacob Hobbs' one more time, I may just throw something at the television. Garrett Jacob Hobbs this, Garrett Jacob Hobbs that.

Worrying for Will's mental health and suspecting that the good doctor might know more than he lets on, Crawford pays a visit to Hannibal's own psychiatrist, Gillian Anderson. While no one knows Doctor Lecter's true persona, folks are starting to see a little beyond the smooth, suave facade. Even Hannibal himself seems ruffled. Could his friendship with Will be genuine? It certainly seems that way, even as he continues playing his malicious games. This also gives Mads Mikkelsen opportunity to practice a few other emotions outside of Hannibal's comfort zone. It may all be a show put on by his person suit, but it's fun all the same. Hugh Dancy plays a treat too, making us really feel for poor Will and his plight. He still seems vaguely annoying at times, but it's hard not to sympathise with the man. Has there ever been a protagonist so disturbed and put-upon in recent years? Hopefully Series Two (the institution years, I should expect) will bring us Will assisting Crawford and the FBI from the confines of a mental institution, like some sort of reverse Red Dragon or Silence of the Lambs.

Whatever happens, we're definitely heading for a showdown. And poor Abigail Hobbs, having just discovered Hannibal's true nature? Things look even worse for her. A releves, by the way, is a second meat course, or a dish served between the soup and entrée. It feels vaguely insubstantial, if I'm being honest, but then, they do want to save room for the final bite. I'm salivating already.

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