The character of Hannibal is a well-known cannibal from the novels and several movies including the most famous Silence of the Lambs. Instead of focusing on Dr. Lector, the television series is centered around his muse of sorts, Will Graham. In the premiere "Apertif," both Graham and Hannibal are introduced while working on a case and it's the beginning of an odd partnership.
Introducing Will Graham
Will has a unique ability to empathize with anyone, which means he can re-engineer a crime in his mind. The opening scene demonstrated his ability through a previous case that he worked while he described it to his students. And, then again on the current serial killer case that he was recruited to help solve.
The imagery from Will's mind showed the horrific murders being committed. It was filmed in such a descriptive and artistic manner that it desensitized the brutality of the killings and instead focused on the emotional aspects.
With violence a regular occurrence on television, watching the killings through Will's eyes was as unsettling as a viewer as it was for him.
Will's talent comes with severe social anxiety. He doesn't relate well to others, which is shown through his interactions with the other FBI agents and especially with Dr. Lecter. The FBI needs him, while all he wants is to teach and be with his many dogs. At so far, he was given space as needed.
The case of the missing girls turned into an official murder case when one of the victim was returned dead to her bed as an apology. Will determined that the killer was as Jack Graham called him, a "sensitive psychopath."
After being called to a copycat murder, Will was able to use that to further profile the girl's killer. When the victim was found to have liver cancer, the killer's cannibalism was revealed.
He loved the girls and used them as a replacement for his only daughter. She was the golden ticket and the key to finding the killer. He ate his victims in order to keep them with him. As Will said, the killer consumes them because he loves them.
Jack Crawford brought Dr. Lecter in to help with the case. After an awkward initial meeting between Hannibal and Will, they were able to work together over breakfast. Was the sausage in the protein scramble made from the removed lungs from the copy cat victim? Ugh!
While Hannibal helped with investigation by assisting to develop the profile, he hurt it in other ways. Hannibal was the copy cat killer. He showed Will what he needed to see in order to profile the serial killer. It was "gift wrapped" for him.
Hannibal helped Will figure out the case, while also playing him. After finding the killer, through the construction company records, Hannibal gave him a heads up that the FBI was on to him with the simple words, "They know." That gave the killer time to murder his wife and take hold of his daughter.
Will got there in time to kill the father, but not before he sliced his daughter's throat. She didn't die, but her prognosis at the end wasn't entirely promising. Oddly, Hannibal stayed the night with her by her bedside.
Will had a difficult time after the case was solved and turned over his class to Dr. Bloom. Though, he showed up in the saved girl's room to see Hannibal there. Going forward, is it possible for Will to balance his ability to help solve cases and his emotional sanity?
Hannibal was an intense thriller in its first hour. The emotional suffering that Will felt by using his ability was palpable. The slow pace filming style was effectively used to draw me into the story and feel just like Will. That's not an easy result to achieve, but Hannibal was successful.
The use of food throughout the episode was especially creepy. Is Hannibal eating human flesh? The not knowing made his preparation of food and then the eating of any food he made a disturbing experience.
The Hannibal premiere wasn't nearly as violent as most procedurals on television, but it was much more haunting.
Did you enjoy the premiere? Did Hannibal creep you out? Will you be tuning in for the next episode? Share what you liked and didn't like in the comments!
(Image courtesy of the NBC.)