In honor of NBC's Hannibal being named the best show of 2015 by Vulture.com, I thought I would share with you my thoughts on the 3rd season and the series as a whole.
*THE ENTIRE ARTICLE IS A SPOILER*
Let me start out by saying that The Silence of the Lambs is my favorite movie of all time. So I put off watching this show for 2 years for fear that it would take the injustice done to Clarice even further than Julianne Moore did.
Please note, I am a huge fan of the actress Julianne Moore, but she’s not Clarice. Jodie Foster is Clarice. I love Kevin Spacey too, but that doesn’t mean I’d want him playing Forrest in a Forrest Gump sequel.
I was overjoyed to see Bryan Fuller (the show’s creator) not even touch her (aside from some allusions with the Miriam Lass character brilliantly played by Veep’s Anna Chlumsky). Additionally, I found Hugh Dancy’s interpretation of Will Graham to be far more endearing than Edward Norton’s. Fuller’s biggest break from the original material was with the Freddie Lounds character, who is a man in the film version of Red Dragon, but a woman on the show.
This was a brilliant move. Freddie was devious, deceitful, and as morally corrupt as they come. The perfect character to root against while secretly rooting for. This was achieved without adding to the relative sausage fest that would have ensued had they stayed true to the source. Lara Jean Chorostecki (Freddie Lounds) was previously unknown to me, but has quickly become one of my favorite performers. The writers also took every opportunity to use her unique delivery as a vehicle for some of the plethora of sexual innuendos in any given episode.
My favorite character, though? Bedelia, and not just because I’m a huge X-Files fan. I found myself becoming impatient at the gap in the second season that she’s away after she wisely “peaces out.”
For this reason, as well as Alana Bloom’s character development (which I will touch on in a second), the first 6 episodes of the 3rd season were my favorite of the series. In fact, I think a spin off is in order: “Hannibal and Bedelia’s European Adventures.” My theory is that Bedelia is in fact the most twisted character in the series. Most would argue that that award should go to Hannibal, and rightly so, he’s a psychopath. Hannibal knows exactly what he’s doing, though, and is fairly open about it. Bedelia on the other hand is either lying to herself, or has effectively tricked every character that she’s come into contact with (including Hannibal) that her “dark passenger” (dropping a Dexter reference) is a product of peer pressure and professional curiosity as opposed to an all encompassing darkness akin to (but more controlled then) Hannibal’s. I sincerely hope that Bedelia’s feast in the closing seconds of the finale is her own doing, rather than Hannibal’s revenge. In a perfect world, eating her leg is an act of compensation for the adrenaline vacuum that Hannibal left her when he ended the chase by jumping off a cliff. *
Now onto Bloom.
I’m going to be blunt here- she sucked in the first two seasons. So naive. Not stupid, but certainly a narrow and fairly sunny world view (an interesting thing to have in her line of work). Her being the only real female character (sans Katz) up until Margot was introduced (late in the second season) became rather trying on my patience.
Sorry, quick note on Beverly Katz, or quick question.
What was her actual position at the FBI? Was she a pathologist? because she certainly spent a lot of time in the lab cutting up bodies, yet she was treated like a field agent…hmm…and she was surprisingly underdeveloped for having her name in the titles…Anyway…
I mean, really Alana? Jack got with the program. I understand that she had more history with Hannibal than Jack did, but good lord, she literally had to be pushed out a window to figure out what was really going on.
In season 3, though, she did a complete 180. Alana 2.0! and I loved her. Baddass, decisive, a sense of humor drier than Arizona. It was awesome to see (although part of me wishes she had stayed in the wheelchair). I think the wardrobe shift to the “modern noir” genre helped with her transformation into basically a mobster hellbent on revenge (she used Mason’s money to pay off the cops, remember?)
Mason Verger was the perfect Hannibal bad guy. Creepy, twisted, and totally crazy. His relationship with Margot was instrumental in the writers teaching their audience to truly hate him. Not begrudgingly “love to hate him”, but “he got what was coming to him when he ate his own face” kind of hatred. I preferred the first half of the 3rd season and honestly could have watched the Hannibal/Bedelia, Vergers/Alana, Will/his own insanity dynamic for at least an entire season on its own and possibly even a movie. In fact, somehow throw Bedelia into the final Verger show down scene and I’d put that DVD right next to The Silence of the Lambs on my shelf.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the 2nd 6 episodes, which focused on the infamous Red Dragon. Again, though, because both of the arcs they ran in season 3 could have been a standalone endeavor, they seemed a bit rushed towards the end.
Raul Esperanza was absolutely inspired as Dr. Chilton, and wow, that make-up after his "accident".
The whole show was truly a visual treat from beginning to end. My biggest gripe is not with the show at all, but the Television Academy. What a joke to not see Esperanza or Gillian Anderson on the ballot for best guest actor/actress in a drama series. This game has got to be rigged because their performances were so chilling that I don’t think I closed my mouth for any of their screen time (which was far too little). Furthermore, I’m not sure what kind of crack the NBC execs have been smoking, but it has to be tainted because Hannibal was literally the only good thing they had going for them. Although Fuller did manage to tie it up in the perfect mixture of bow/cliffhanger, there was room for a lot more (Bedelia). I would love to see this land on another network (I’m looking at you, Netflix), or maybe even on the silver screen.
*Bryan Fuller gave an interview saying that he meant Bedelia’s meal to imply that Hannibal was alive. I think that’s a missed opportunity. No I do not want Hannibal to die, but there’s also some interesting things to be learned about the supporting characters in the wake of his “death.” It’s been established that Will can’t handle himself without Hannibal, but I believe that there’s value in exploring the character’s actions in a story line without him (or Will). All these characters were once fully functioning adults before Hannibal came into their lives, but he left a distinct and lasting impression. I like the idea that what he left Bedelia was a direct line of communication to her “dark passenger”, and think it would be a fascinating character exploration to give that reality its due.