Review: 'Hannibal' - 'Releves': A little chicken soup couldn't hurt
A review of tonight's "Hannibal" coming up just as soon as all the oxygen makes me look pretty...
"This disassociative personality state you say he goes into — whose personality is it?" -Jack
Bryan Fuller has named each episode this season after a different course in the meal, and in the note he sent to critics accompanying this episode and next week's finale (about which I'll say nothing, save that it's excellent), Fuller wrote that, "The penultimate episode 'Releves,' also known as the Piece de resistance or 'Main Course,' lives up to its place on the menu as a showpiece. The various ingredients and plot threads highlighted over the season-long arcs are brought to a boil with tantalizing reveals and dramatic confessions, all served on a delectable plate."
That is, indeed, an excellent way to describe what goes on over the course of this hour. It's a very tricky thing Fuller has had to accomplish here: make Hannibal Lecter into a believable supervillain without making Jack, Will, Alana and the rest of the BAU look like super idiots. Obviously, we know much more than the good guys do, but it's important that we be continually reminded what Dr. Lecter looks like from their perspective: a brilliant, compassionate therapist with a reserved manner, and also a genius in the kitchen. Given that viewpoint, and given what a good job Lecter has done of covering his own tracks — and, here, beginning to create fake ones pointing to Will — then it seems perfectly believable that no one would catch on. When Will brings up his Unified Copycat Theory, what does Jack do? He brings it to Dr. Lecter, of course, just as Will does later.
At one point in this episode, Freddie notes that her book still has some plot holes, and while there are at times things about "Hannibal" that you just have to squint and look around — chief among them Freddie's continued presence, given Jack's ability to have her charged with obstruction — I'm really impressed with how the arc of the season has come together. Fuller and company took their time to lay out the Will/Hannibal "friendship"(*), the future of Abigail Hobbs (here told the chilling words "I'm sorry I couldn't protect you in this life" from Dr. Lecter), the complex and uneasy work relationship between Will and Jack,(**) etc., and all that groundwork is paying off hugely here at the end.
(*) What's so great about the writing and performance of Lecter is that on some level he actually could think of Will as his friend, even as he's been manipulating him and is now setting him up to take the fall for his crimes.
(**) And also between Will and the rest of the BAU team, who finally get to express some frustration at having to conduct investigations based on Will's voodoo-seeming brand of intuition.
I'll have a lot more to say after the finale — and should be posting a Bryan Fuller interview at some point next week (possibly some before the finale, and some after, depending on how the conversation goes) — but everything's coming together beautifully so far.
What did everybody else think?