Hannibal: 107 “Sorbet” Review
Reviewed by Gabriel Bergmoser.
Sorbet is a marked departure from the escalating intrigue of the last few weeks. This odd, stylish and somewhat light episode focuses on Hannibal as he goes about his day to day business. He has always been established as a lover of fine arts, and we see that more clearly than ever as he sits in the opera, on the verge of tears, the camera closing in on his ear as the music crescendos. The endless contradictions of Hannibal Lecter are placed front and centre; this is a man who can butcher people with horrific savagery, but will cry at a beautiful singing voice.
This contradiction in character has always been part of Hannibal’s charm, and Sorbet might be the closest we will ever get to a glimpse into his world. We see him choosing his victims from a selection of business cards, and as the FBI pull their hair out over the case of the organ harvester Hannibal gleefully muddies the investigation even further by taking kidneys and hearts to serve to his dinner guests.
When his needy patient Franklin — a man who seems obsessed with Hannibal to the point of stalking — turns up at the opera and clumsily attempts to get Hannibal’s attention, his annoyance is tangible. This leads into one of the more interesting reveals of the series; Hannibal has a psychiatrist of his own, Bedelia Du Maurier, played by Gillian Anderson. The scenes between these two are full of icy tension. Hannibal seems to enjoy their sessions, playing with the steely Du Maurier, who is very aware that it is all a game to Hannibal. This begs the question of how much she really knows, and it’s not a stretch to imagine that there is a lot more to this woman than meets the eye.
While this episode certainly exhibits the inherent playfulness in Hannibal’s character, it does not forget his danger. While the scenes of him choosing victims are accompanied by almost joyful classical music, the black humour does not undercut just how vicious a killer he is. It is hard not to feel uncomfortable in his scene with Alana when he questions why they have never had an affair. Is this some kind of seduction? I would guess so, but the endgame is as yet unclear. There are certain people, such as Will and Alana, who I believe Hannibal would not harm. That is, unless they became a threat to him. Hannibal is a pragmatist, but his scenes with Du Maurier hint at a new aspect of the character that has never been truly explored until now. For the first time I found myself considering the possibility that Hannibal Lecter is lonely.
He considers Will a friend, but does he also consider Alana a potential lover? He obviously respects them both as intellectuals and seems to be quite happy with the makeshift family they are forming around Abigail Hobbs. A man like Hannibal would not form connections often, but he is capable of both empathy and remorse, so why not love or friendship? This whole season seems to have been about the forming of this warped little family, beginning with the death of Garret Jacob Hobbs. He lingers over it all like a spectre, a constant reminder that no matter how much these lonely people need connection, their relationships are built on shaky ground. It’s a striking central theme — a surprising streak of gentleness amidst all the murder and blood — yet for a show whose protagonist is a man with extreme empathy, it is very fitting.
Sorbet was not the most exciting or eventful episode of Hannibal. It was especially slight compared to last week’s fan-fest. But it did provide an interesting peek into the psyche of Hannibal Lecter, and in terms of examining the intricacies of the characters and their connections with each other it was certainly one of the most important.