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Home » media studies » film and TV » Hannibal – TV review (S1E7, Sorbet)

Hannibal – TV review (S1E7, Sorbet)


This is the seventh in my set of reviews of series 1 of Hannibal. The full set are listed under the ‘Hannibal’ label. We are now more than halfway through the series! 

Bryan Fuller’s walkthrough for the AV Club is here, and the AV Club’s own review here

In brief: a showcase for Hannibal’s elegant and graceful masterpiece (dinner), the episode demonstrates his whimsy and cunning as well as his reactiveness to life going on around him.

This is the episode in which Hannibal is at his most human as well as his most chillingly inhuman. We see him as playful, preparing his culinary performance, but Hannibal’s playful is the Chesapeake Ripper’s grotesque showmanship, a different form of self-expression.

The episode more broadly explores Hannibal’s social relations, his position in the cultural arts ‘crowd’ but also in his small professional community and now the FBI.  Hannibal defends himself to Dr Du Maurier as having “friends and the opportunities for friends” — thinking of Will, rather than the deluded Franklin — but Du Maurier seems sceptical. She denies being her friend himself and calls into question the authenticity of the interactions that they have. She tells him that he comes to her with a “a very well-tailored person suit” that she respects for its “meticulous construction” but understands as only a “version”. We see Hannibal’s different “versions” in the different characteristics he takes on with Alana, Will and Jack, but also in the distinction between the emotions inspired by his cooking — appreciative applause — and his murders — disturbed horror.
Hannibal’s insistence of retaining his psychiatrist even after her retirement shows the fixity of his attachments. The attachment is something unnamed, perhaps unnamable, and it comes from both of them equally: she tells him, “I see enough of you to see the truth of you, and I like you”. The episode contrasts this with Franklin’s attachment to Hannibal — gauche stalking — and the whole series with the growing attachment between Hannibal and Will. Hannibal is constantly inviting Will to see the truth of him, showing him just enough but also throwing up distractions that could protect him from the FBI.

There is the lovely, if slightly obvious, moment after Franklin has expressed his fears of aloneness when Hannibal opens his office door to find an empty waiting room where Will should be. The ominous music seems to invite pity, but provides a transition into Will’s hallucination of himself and Abigail sat across Cassie Boyle’s impaled body. Hannibal’s pursuit of Will might be loneliness, a desire to pursue the opportunity for friendship, but is also an expression of his need to control the relationship.

My one random observation here is about the music in this episode, and more generally in the series as it progresses. The discordant notes has echoes of the musical ‘tip offs’ in the early Tomb Raider games; it tells us there is something here to note, to be found if we explore further. 


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