Does any show on TV use close ups more effectively than Hannibal? For a horror series, there’s a lot going on in this one image. First, obviously, there’s a forensics angle, the collection of data with the intent of discovering a killer’s identity. Secondly, though, what a shiver-inducing shot. Seeing the instrument run under the fingernail forces to mind a scenario in which the fingernail is being removed.
As I noted back in episode 1, Hannibal isn’t much interested in sex. This is a show about the mind, not the groin. Even when sexual imagery arises, it’s never arousing. For instance, this shower scene, with Anna Chlumsky’s Miriam Lass bathing behind a backlit panel, her silhouette projected against it. On another series, this would be sexy. On Hannibal, Lass has had half of her left arm cut off. Not terribly sexy (for most us, at least).
The series’ most emblematic position: two people, face to face. Usually, these scenes are battles of wit, tests of mettle. Not so here: Dr. Bloom still believes Lecter to be innocent.
Not a lot of story significance in this shot; just another example of the terrific shot composition and set dressing of the series. Look at the stark emptiness of the room, the bank of lights hanging over the scene like a flat sky.
With its sharp lines and intense geometries, the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane has been a great set. It’s almost too bad that we’re probably not going to return to it (this season, at least).
The sublime horror of Hannibal.
Does any show on TV care more about color than Hannibal? Save your guesses; the answer is no. Look at the palette in this shot. That dusky, withered yellow in the sky, the muted blue/green in the snow and background are so terrifically complementary. It’s a beautiful, oil-spill-in-a-puddle set of colors.
Nightmare encyclopedia entry: The Other.
Backlighting on Hannibal can signify knowledge and understanding, but sometimes it’s something much more basic. Sometimes it just makes things hard to see. For a season that’s obsessed with seeing and understanding, the constant use of bright backlights to obscure detail and characters can make some things as hard to make out for the audience as the truth is for the characters.
Miriam Lass’ vision (hallucination?) of Jack Crawford as The Wounded Man seems like a bad omen for him (that, and the opening scene of the season, which ended with a piece of glass jammed into his neck).
We’ve seen this image before: a character centered in the middle of a round hole, staring out at something, centered as if they are the pupil of an eye.
We end with the central struggle of the series: the brilliant minds of Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. They’re mortal enemies, but somehow—for Hannibal, at least—also friends (or frenemies). Even if it’s Will’s means to exposing Lecter, there’s something that just feels right about seeing them this way.
Yakimono are grilled foods, often prepared on a skewer or in a net.
(As in previous posts, I’ve slightly lightened these screenshots to make the detail easier to make out.)