Review by Jordan
This is the episode where the Hannibal universe finally expands. Bryan Fuller has been very careful in his portrayal of Hannibal thus far, and it all changes in this episode.
This is the perfect title for this episode, as an entrée is usually an introduction to a meal. We are finally introduced to the real Hannibal and it comes at a perfect time. Those familiar with the Hannibal canon and Harris’s work aren’t surprised that Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper, and those who aren’t finally get a sense of who Hannibal Lector really is. There’s no more ambiguity or subtle hints that he’s a bad guy – he’s the ultimate bad guy and we’ve been finally introduced to him.
This episode is also a wonderful homage to Silence of the Lambs where Will and Alana interrogate Gideon in front of his glass cell. Izzard’s Gideon simply has a very Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal Lecter vibe to the whole thing, being methodical and smart, while one-upping the interrogators at every turn. Sure, he’s smart and violet, but he’s not that exciting and he’s not the story we’re interested in. We assume early on he’s not the Chesapeake Ripper, so his time onscreen is mostly just exposition (which doesn’t hinder the episode).
While this episode was all about Hannibal, it was surprisingly Hannibal light. Nevertheless, the character did have a great scene at the dinner party in addition to his final scene with Jack regarding Miriam. Gideon is all showy and brazen, while still retaining a bit of ego and showmanship in his brutality. Hannibal on the other hand, remains quiet and manipulative in order to get what he wants. Mads Mikkelsen is so good as Hannibal; he manages to coerce Dr. Chilton by immediately sensing that he’s weak and getting into his head. He’s also slowly getting into Will, Jack, and Alana’s psyche as well, but they’re stronger so it’s a much slower process. It’s fascinating the way Fuller and company have portrayed Hannibal thus far, and I really love the direction this episode takes his character.
However, this episode really belonged to Laurence Fishburne who was firing on all cylinders. Jack’s remorse and guilt for sending Miriam alone all those years ago has slowly been eating away at him as the truth finally comes out. When he gets the phone calls from Miriam, he falls under the Ripper’s spell, beginning to hope she’s still alive. At the end of the episode Jack goes to visit Hannibal and tells him: “Whatever the Ripper was doing, it worked. I thought she was alive. For a moment, I let myself believe what I knew was impossible.” We don’t know if Hannibal has killed her or if he has just cut off her arm, but I can’t wait until we see what Hannibal’s plans with her are. Have we seen the last of Miriam Lass? The ambiguity is back as we realize our question will never be answered.
Overall, another stunning, gorgeous episode. Fuller is really spoiling me for other shows, that’s for sure. It’s dark and spooky, but still not completely hopeless, surprisingly. This was a nice showcase for Fishburne and Mikkelsen, even if the latter didn’t have a whole lot to do. We still see Will slowly struggling to grasp reality as he is continues to hallucinate the stag that has plagued his dreams since killing Hobbs.
Read more from Jordan at Really Late Reviews