TV Review: Hannibal S01E05, Coquilles

As all characters struggle with control in this episode, Dr Lecter ends up revealing so much more

Sharin Bhatti May 6, 2022
  • Acting
  • Direction
  • Cinematography
  • Screenplay

You’re at Hannibal Lecter’s dinner table. He’s just served you a pate of foie gras with dried and succulent figs. The plate looks ready to eat, the red wine glasses look dangerously potent and the blue background almost surgical. Jack Crawford, his wife Bella (Gina Torres from “Suits”) have come for dinner. An eager Jack and a weary Bella are Lecter’s mealtime today. It is very clear in the scene. The food on the plate is simply supplementary. Bella passes the course for she can’t stomach the brutality of the fatty duck liver. Of course Lecter doesn’t mind. But of course he does make his point. “First and worst sign of sociopathic behaviour…cruelty to animals,” he says, “Human emotions are a gift from our animal ancestors, cruelty is a gift humanity has given itself.” Behold, Thomas Harris’ sinister and vile cannibal, Dr Hannibal Lecter. We are now five episodes in and besides the passing human killings for meat, the warning phone call and the devious alliance with Abigail Hobbs oh helping her cover-up her very own crime scene, we haven’t  really been acquainted with the character that Harris held our immoral desires and fascination with over scores of literature. In that one scene, you are face-to-face with the demon in Hannibal Lecter. Until now we had only been mildly aware of his existence, now we are aware of him. And that is actor Mads Mikkelsen’s greatest attribute - the nonchalant oversimplification of the pscyho cannibal Dr Lecter will eventually become.

His control over the people around him is just getting enforced - his mealtime conversations with Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) probing him to bring his troubled wife into the equation, sessions that have turned into an unlikely partnership with the troubled Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) making him an essential part in his crime solving, his literal control and brain altering attempt with Abigail Hobbs in episode four. Dr Lecter we can start seeing who you really are now.

Control is also the overriding theme in this week’s episode. Graham’s struggles to control his nightmares that is now leading to rabid sleepwaking resulting from his extreme empathy with the killers and victims of crime scenes. Crawford’s quickly losing control of Graham’s work methodology and his loss of connection with his wife Bella that he keeps trying to figure till the end of the episode. Dr Lecter’s control over Graham provoking him to enter into an altercation and meltdown with Crawford where he threatens to quit. And Bella’s losing war to stage four lung cancer that she is unable to share with her loving husband and seeks out Dr Lecter’s advice on dealing with it. And of course the control of the killer of the week.

Elliot Boodish (Sean Gallaghar) is a dying brain tumor patient who can tell just by looking at people if they are criminals. Kinda like a “Dexter” code application for Boodish who is dubbed the angelmaker because he hoists his victims skin, peeled off their backs, as wings to make them look like angels. Three victims later, he gives himself the same death sentence.

Again props to cinematographer James Hawkinson for beautifully crafting the crime scene angels. There’s only skin, flesh and bone with hardly any blood. By this episode you almost want to walk into a gallery exhibition of Hawkinson’s artistically photographed and created crime scenes from the series. Morbid? Hardly. The opening credits CGI of Hannibal’s face forming out of dripping blood akin to wine should be warning enough of the show’s contents.

Things are just about getting interesting.

Watch the promo of the sixth episode:

  • The sixth episode of “Hannibal” will air on Friday, May 10, 2022 at 10 pm on AXN.