At last, the first Hannibal heavy episode of Hannibal. It's admirable, the restraint the team have showed in using its titular character. Well, you can have too much of a good thing. Just ask Hannibal's movie counterpart, who was already overexposed by the first ten minutes of Red Dragon.
No, the clever thing about Hannibal is that it has let Will Graham and Jack Crawford do all the heavy lifting so far, while Hannibal himself consults from the sidelines, looking sinister and occasionally feeding them all tasty looking dinners as he goes. Well, with Sorbet comes Doctor Lecter's time to shine. Not only are his crimes made explicit, but we get to follow the food from animal to plate, in delicious detail. We get to see the good Doctor at work too, stalked by a patient at the opera (via a bizarre but entertaining conversation about Michael Jackson) and visiting his very own psychiatrist afterwards, played by a very familiar genre face. That'd be Gillian Anderson, employing a dodgy American accent but more than a match for Hannibal's mindgames. Her description of Hannibal's “person suit” is very nicely put – Hannibal is too classy a fellow to carry a 'Dark Passenger', but the 'person suit' is a good description of the performance (TV) serial killers' put on for their friends and colleagues. Anderson's role in Sorbet is brief, but promises much in future. If we've learned anything from Hannibal, it's that they like to play the long game.
There's lots of Chesapeake Ripper talk in this episode, and little doubt left (if hadn't already guessed, or seen/read The Silence of the Lambs) that Lecter is said Ripper. Graham's explanation of the Ripper's crimes and motives is remarkably on the nose, sounding much like Kim Newman's chapter on Hannibal in Nightmare Cinema. A montage in which Hannibal prepares a series of dinners while flipping through a Rolodex of prospective victims is fantastically done. Vegetarians and the faint hearted would be well advised to skip Sorbet (what are you doing watching Hannibal anyway) since the episode basically plays like meat porn. There are numerous gratuitous shots of Hannibal's meats in various states of preparation, all leading up to a majestic looking dinner party. As ever, it looks delicious, if just a little pretentious and over-laboured.
“Bon appetit,” smiles Hannibal, closing the episode. Bon appetit indeed. Sorbet is Hannibal at its tastiest.