HANNIBAL: POTAGE Review - Mania.com

Hannibal Review

Mania Grade: A+

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  • Episode: Potage (Season 1, Episode 3)
  • Starring: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Hettienne Park, Laurence Fishburne, Kacey Rohl
  • Written By: David Fury (Story), David Fury and Chris Brancato and Bryan Fuller (Teleplay)
  • Directed By: David Slade
  • Network: NBC
  • Series:


Can you catch somebody's crazy?

By Johnny Destructo     April 22, 2013
Source: Mania.com

We start off with a look back at Episode One's killer, "The Minnesota Shrike" aka Garret Jacob Hobbs, teaching his daughter how to shoot, kill and gut a lady-deer. The importance of using every bit of the corpse. The honor they will give her by eating her, otherwise it's just…murder. As Abigail Hobbs goes about the dirty work of slicing and dicing, the doe corpse turns into a lady-people corpse. A young, beautiful woman, covered in blood. And then, just as the transformation happens, Abbie Hobbs wakes from her coma, in a panic.

There is something about Caroline Dhavernas, the woman who plays Dr. Alana Bloom. Something behind her eyes that makes me believe her. Dr. Bloom goes to visit young Abigail, at a psychiatric facility, to get a read on her, to determine if, as Jack Crawford believes, baby Hobbs had anything to do with daddy Hobbs' stabby pastime. There's just something about her performance that makes me wish she was my psychiatrist. Is that weird? I dunno. I'd have to consult my Dr. Alana Bloom Hair Doll. 

I spoke a little bit last time about the graphic nature of Hannibal, about how it's just on the cusp of being a cable network show rather than an NBC production. There is nudity that somehow negates the censors, and rather cleverly, if I may. For instance, there is a scene from the pilot episode involving a girl being found impaled on antlers. She is at rest, face up, being held up by the antlers skewering her body, and is completely naked, and completely visible. How then, do they show her breasts without showing the ever-television-barred nipple? Why, have one of the antlers coming up and out THROUGH said nipple. If there is a more perfect example of the confusing nature of censorship, of bloody violence being a lesser evil than the naked body, I can't think of it. And yet… kudos!

This piece of work was done not by The Minnesota Shrike, but by a copycat killer. There is a scene where our main man Will Graham is teaching a class, which I will call "Cleverly Hidden Exposition 101", where WIll talks about this, as Crawford and Hannibal observe. There are faces made by Lecter, that make us assume that he is said copycat. Lingering stares, smirking, etc. I can only assume that Will cannot see all of these tell-tale signs, since he does not stop lecturing to say "Oh, hey Hannibal, you're making some rather silly, suspicious faces over there…what the dilly, dawg?"

The rest of the episode deals mainly with Abigail and our team of eff'd up Doctors trying to decide if she was in on her dad's killings. Even as a viewer who saw her dreaming about gutting a girl, was unsure after awhile, the actress being so good at her job and all. Things get complicated when sassy Internet paparazzo  Freddie Lounds informs one of the MinnShrike's victim's relatives that Abigail is out of her coma, seemingly for the express purpose of having him come after the girl. What purpose this serves confounds me. I realize that Freddie is a jerk and she does whatever she wants to get what she wants, but in this case, what DOES she want? Is it just as simple as getting a potential "news" story if he attacks? Why send this poor fella into the lion's den? What is her end-game?

At any rate, nameless victim-brother shows up to intimidate and frighten Abigail and gets dragged into more than he bargained for. 

Frankly, when writing these reviews, I'm not sure who I'm writing them for. Are people reading them because they already watched the episode, and want to know other's opinions? Or are people reading them to make a decision about whether or not to check the show out? Is only my mom reading them, and posting comments under different profiles?

Does Abigail know more than she lets on? Is Hannibal the copycat killer? Does Abigail know that Lecter is the man who called and spoke to her father on the phone just moments before he attempted to kill her?

I loathe to spoil anything for readers who haven't seen the episode, so I don't want to go any further into the plot and how it wraps up. It has the tension of a really well done thriller. That's the main strength of the show so far. I was worried that this series might lessen the Hannibal name just through it's existence, but it just seems to be expanding and improving what already came before, and this episode is no different.

The cool:

There is an interesting tidbit involving police procedure. In the scene where Abigail comes home, she sees the blood-stained concrete where her mother died, and remarks that she was expecting a chalk outline. Will reveals that "They only do that if you're still alive…and taken to the hospital before they finish the crime scene". 

Also, she questions why all the pictures are turned around, and Alana tells us that "Crime scene cleaners will do that". I eat these sorts of things up. OH DAMMIT. That pun was not on purpose, I promise.


The not-so-cool:

No actual complaints. That might be a first.

The final say:

This show is eating up the competition. Sorry, I couldn't help myself, it was just too delicious.


Showing items 1 - 5 of 5
DaveFu 4/22/2013 11:26:31 AM

 If someone is reading the review, they're agreeing to spoilers. They can look at the grade in the corner without reading the entire review. I don't think you should be limiting your reviews due to people who haven't watched the show. By refraining from blatant spoilers, you're not going to justify your extremely high grades to regular viewers such as myself or be able to make clear arguments to convince fencesitters to tune in. You said it yourself in this review, this a very mature show, and one of the most mature shows on network tv for a long time. Most people are skeptical that the show would and will continue to be able to pull it off. 


So swing for the fences. Otherise, what is the point of reading this review days later than ones that are on other sites? 


dalgoda 4/22/2013 2:55:31 PM

The wife and I are loving this show so far.  

johnnydestructo1 4/22/2013 5:03:09 PM

@DaveFu - well said sir!


@dalgoda - I have yet to get my gf to watch this show, mostly because I need to watch it several times for review purposes and pause it to take notes and etc...so I'll have to actually make time to sit and watch it with her, but I'm certain she'd dig it

swisshammer 4/23/2013 7:31:21 AM

 This is one of the best shows on network tv in a LONG time. It's shot extremely well, and by film veterans to boot: this ep was directed by David Slade. Great stuff. I'm looking forward to the next ep.

Fortnighte 8/7/2013 3:25:23 PM

"Why, have one of the antlers coming up and out THROUGH said nipple. If there is a more perfect example of the confusing nature of censorship, of bloody violence being a lesser evil than the naked body, I can't think of it."


Just for the record, this isn't true, though I kind of wish it were, because I really liked your observation. It was just a trick of the eye, though, & certain angles make it seem more so than others. If you look again, you'll see that the antler in question actually protrudes well above her nipple, & a different anter is obscuring both of her (non-gored) nipples from view.



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