TV Review: HANNIBAL Season 1, Episode 13 'Savoureux'

PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley

The most common criticism of Hannibal so far is that Doctor Lecter's continued freedom makes Will Graham and the FBI look inept. What those same people tend to forget is that poor Will Graham is losing his mind and Hannibal Lecter is a genius. It's not as if it's even the sneering, operatic Sir Anthony Hopkins iteration of the character, either – Mikkelsen's performance looks restrained by comparison.

Still, it couldn't go on forever. While Bryan Fuller and the folks at Hannibal could have tried to drag things out for a few more seasons or so, the longer Doctor Lecter goes undiscovered, the more stretched credibility becomes. Just look at Dexter. Our friendly neighbourhood serial killer remains as lovable as ever (unless you're Deb, or LaGuerta, I guess) but his continued freedom has left his friends and colleagues at the Miami Metro looking very stupid indeed. When Sergeant Doakes is your best detective, you know you have a problem.

Fair play to Hannibal, then, for having its Deb-and-Dexter moment already. While the cat's not entirely out of the bag, and Hannibal still has plenty of room for manoeuvre, the ending of Savoureux should change the series' status quo entirely. A part of me can't help feeling sad that Hannibal managed to get itself recommissioned for a second series – it's ending is so beautifully downbeat that it's almost perfect. And then I remember that Hannibal has been my favourite television series of 2013 (until Breaking Bad returns, anyway) and I praise the telly gods that we're getting more.

Don't expect to see any more of Abigail Hobbs, though; she's absent for the whole of Savoureux, save for Graham chundering up her ear into the kitchen sink and a really tasty looking 'veal' dinner towards the end. Sorry, by the way, if I've just spoiled that meal for you. It's like a terrifying version of The Hangover in which the guys wake up and realise that they're all serial killers and that they ate Zach Galifianakis last night. At first, even Will himself isn't sure of his innocence, but when evidence of further crimes come to light (basically, everything) he becomes determined to clear his name. And, despite having to spell it out for himself, he finally gets what we were all shouting at the screen: it was Hannibal what was the cannibal!

Good luck convincing everyone else that this is the case. Crawford, Bloom and his colleagues at the FBI are quick to jump to the conclusion that Will is guilty of the crimes of which he has been accused. To be fair, if you will go around puking up earlobes into sinks, people may tend to think the worst of you. It's excellently acted by all involved, from Mikkelsen and Dancy through to Fishburne and Caroline Dhavernas. Mikkelsen even sheds a tear. With a mention of his traumatic childhood, we're left wondering just how canonical Hannibal might be to Hannibal Rising (surely not that much, considering Mikkelsen's comparable youth). Gillian Anderson is welcome too, reprising her role as Hannibal's therapist. With this and The Fall, we're looking at a lovely career resurgence for our one-time Agent Scully, who, like the fine wine she and Hannibal seem to chug every episode, only gets better with age.

Beautifully acted, and with some incredible imagery, despite its occasionally duff plotting, Hannibal is king (Marvel comics joke) of TV right now. All this, in spite of it being really quite dark and depressing. In its masterstroke, Hannibal ends with a complete subversion of Red Dragon, Manhunter and The Silence of the Lambs. Some may have seen it coming, but it's an opportunity too good to give up. With Will behind bars and Hannibal completely free, it's as delicious an ending as the veal meal Hannibal serves up to Dr. Du Maurier during the episode's closing moments.

With episode thirteen, so ends Hannibal's first season. Unlucky for some, but it's gone out on a high, with a great cliffhanger and promise of more to come. It's been flawed, occasionally predictable, and far too short, but overall, Hannibal has been quite the series to Savoureux.

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