Hannibal GIF and a Graf: The Final Mic Drop
In the end, it was always going to be the story of Will and Hannibal. No matter how well creator Bryan Fuller and the rest of the writers adapted Red Dragon, the story had to bend around to meet the first half of the season, a mental game of chess between two men who cannot truly live without one another. It all unfolded throughout Saturday’s finale in a nice series of not-so-surprising twists. First, the Red Dragon himself, Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage), confronts Will (Hugh Dancy) and they share a tense and meaningful conversation about Hannibal’s various betrayals. From there, it’s a series of hoops to jump through in order to free Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen), shame everyone involved in the FBI throughout this whole ordeal, and then get to Will’s obvious plan to abscond with the doctor in order to have a chance at stopping Dolarhyde—an exchange that lead to Hannibal’s brilliant retort above. In the end, just like Holmes and Moriarty over Reichenbach Falls, Will and Hannibal’s outcome is left uncertain—with only Dolarhyde’s corpse among the named characters in peril, a stark contrast in comparison to last year. But as opposed to that cliffhanger, there’s not much room for the story to go from here without the rights to Silence. And this incarnation of the characters clearly values Will and Hannibal’s complex parallelism more than using the doctor as a boogeyman fascinated with a young investigator. The looming possibility of an 11th-hour renewal shouldn’t matter anymore—all Fannibals can consider the mic dropped.
Nobody watches Gravity Falls expecting to see a cutting political satire. And yet last night’s “Stanchurian Candidate” ended up being a fun romp about local politics. Disney teased a character death for this episode and it turned out to be the mayor, setting off an archaic ritualistic election process that involved a stump speech on a literal stump, a debate where townsfolk threw birdseed at their favorite candidate, and a Mayor Pickin’ Eagle that chose the winner. Thanks to a display of small-town heroics—ripping off shirt sleeves, climbing a mountain to save a couple children—Stan won the election, but his hysterical criminal history ultimately disqualified him from taking office. And thus the episode went back to the status quo.
Oh dear, Masters of Sex, what happened? After 2.5 seasons of fairly remarkable television—and 2.5 seasons of offering up Virgina Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) as the Prime Stroker of Male Ego—you might have went too far. On last night’s episode, “Monkey Business,” Virginia, while looking to help a gorilla named Gil get over some sexual dysfunction, showed that ape her breasts. (You read that right.) The moment—largely an extended metaphor about the battle of the sexes (or something)—comes after Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) notes, “No one gives of themselves like you, Virginia. You saved me—now it’s Gil’s turn to be saved.” In the context of the narrative, and even in the context of the show, it kind of makes sense, but it is easily the most Why?! moment we’ve seen on the Showtime series so far. And, as Judith Warner at The New York Times points out, it might also be its jump-the-shark moment. “‘Flashing the Ape,’ I predict,” Warner wrote, “will soon become the go-to term for creatively racing to the bottom.”
One of the characters most transformed in Thomas Harris’ novels, the Hannibal Lecter films, and Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal series is Frederick Chilton, administrator of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. In The Silence of the Lambs, he’s a preening, arrogant overseer who hits on Clarice Starling, and is the object of Hannibal’s final line in the film, “I’m having an old friend for dinner.” But as played by Raul Esparza on Hannibal, he’s given both a depth of manicured, jealous boorishness and a history of systematic torture and disfigurement to fuel his inferiority complex. When he was first introduced, it was as a failed surgeon who accidentally killed a patient before switching to psychiatry. Chilton was then tortured and had a kidney removed by Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) in the first season, framed and attacked by Hannibal and shot in the face by Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky) in the second, and in Saturday’s “The Number Of The Beast Is 666,” Chilton was burned beyond recognition after Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage) bites both of his lips off and sends them to Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen). Dolarhyde biting Chilton’s lips is at least as gruesome as Hannibal and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) watching Mason Verger (Joe Anderson) cut off his own face last season, but Chilton has endured so many acts of violence that it’s impossible not to feel sympathy as he deludes himself into believing he’s on the same intellectual level as any of the other characters. One can only hope his graphic punching-bag status is finally over.
Does anyone do Oddly Appealing Creep better than Josh Charles? Sure, he’s played some very nice guys, but the current one-two punch of his role as Blake on Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp to his new role as a perfume magnate on Masters of Sex, he’s showing again what is right in the center of his wheelhouse. As Dan Logan on Mos, he’s a guy looking for help from Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) to find a scent that causes arousal. He’s also looking to arouse Virginia. So when he tells her she deserves “what we might call a proper courtship” it seems to remind her of something that might be missing. This is obvious when—after being forced to tryst at their office to avoid being recognized in public—Virginia tells Bill that starting their “relationship in a lab is hardly a proper courtship.” She’s right, of course. Their relationship never had a lot of romance. By the end of last night’s episode it seems like Bill is willing to woo, but is it too little too late?