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‘Hannibal’ Review: “Sorbet”

Hannibal Sorbet Review
NBC

Hannibal’ serves up another course with its sixth (technically seventh) episode of the series “Sorbet,” as Will and Jack continue to hunt for the Chesapeake Ripper, finding instead a copycat organ thief, while Hannibal prepares a dinner party and spends time with his own therapist (‘The X-FilesGillian Anderson).

Last week’s ‘Hannibal’ episode “Entrée” saw incarcerated killer Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) suddenly take credit for the Chesapeake Ripper murders, while Jack found himself haunted by the memory of trainee Miriam Lass (‘Veep‘s Anna Chlumsky), lost to the killer, so how does the seventh course of ‘Hannibal’ taste?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Hannibal’s latest episode, “Sorbet!”

Will lectures to his class on the Chesapeake Ripper’s habit of killing in threes, bringing up the murder of Miriam Lass when Jack arrives. Meanwhile, Hannibal takes in an opera performance, after which a woman (‘Pushing DaisiesEllen Greene) urges him to throw one of his famous dinner parties. Having watched Hannibal, his patient Franklyn Froideveaux (Dan Fogler) greets Hannibal, introducing him to his friend Tobias.

Jack dreams of walking through the morgue late at night, finding Miriam’s severed arm in a drawer, before a real call wakes him with news of a potential Ripper killing. When Jack and Will arrive on the scene, Will uses his powers of deduction to figure out that it wasn’t the Ripper who repeatedly performed surgery on the victim, and the killer had in fact tried to save the man by massaging his heart directly. The others argue similar points to the Ripper, but Will assures them they’re wrong.

During their next session, Franklyn admits to Hannibal that he intentionally visited the opera he’d expected Hannibal to attend, believing they could be great friends outside of their sessions. Franklyn relays that he sometimes fantasizes about how he could have been Michael Jackson’s friend, and helped him escape death in exchange for a chance to simply touch greatness

Hannibal pays a visit to his own therapist Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), who similarly dresses him down as nothing more than a patient, in whom she sees someone placing a human veil over their true nature. She does however admit to keeping him as a patient out of respect and intrigue, as the two share a glass of wine. Later, Will shares a session over wine with Hannibal, wherein Hannibal plants the suggestion that Will’s copycat ripper could be someone harvesting organs to sell on the black market.

Later that night, a man who’d rudely taken Hannibal’s blood during an insurance physical has his car break down by the side of the road. Moments after, Hannibal drives up, and ominously approaches the man in the guise of offering help. The man is later found by the FBI bisected within a school bus, missing his kidney and heart, the very items of Hannibal’s latest culinary preparations.

Alana and Hannibal prepare his latest meal over custom-brewed beer, wherein Alana cops to avoiding questions about Will Graham. Alana reveals that Jack hadn’t asked her opinion on the Ripper cases since Miriam’s disappearance, before the conversation turns to flirty banter between the pair, and back to Will. Meanwhile, Jack shares another dream of walking through the morgue, but instead of finding Miriam’s arm, Jack sees an autopsied Will missing an arm.

Over time, Hannibal gathers multiple organs paired with the business cards of those he’d killed, while the FBI scramble to identify which victims belong to the Ripper, and which to the organ thief. Meanwhile, Franklyn shares another session with Hannibal, as Franklyn admits to “accidentally” finding Hannibal at a cheese shop. Hannibal questions if Franklyn has an attraction to his friend Tobias, which Franklyn sheepishly denies, but admits to worrying about being alone.

Later that night, Hannibal finds his waiting room empty, despite a scheduled meeting with Will. Hannibal instead finds Will half-asleep in his office, imagining himself in a fatherly conversation with Abigail Hobbes next to an impaled stag victim. Hannibal rouses Will from the delusion, and the two discuss progress on the Ripper case, Hannibal suggesting the Ripper feels his victims don’t deserve the organs he takes. Meanwhile, Beverly Katz points out to Jack a tape of an unregistered private ambulance leaving the latest crime scene, likely the killer’s vehicle. Jack grabs Will and Hannibal, and invites them along with their latest break.

The group tracks the ambulance to a private company employee named Devon Sylvestri, but find the ambulance in question missing from the scene. After tracking its GPS, Jack and his agents surround the ambulance at an abandoned garage, opening it to find Devon mid-surgery, unable to remove his hands from the victim’s heart. Jack tasks Hannibal with taking over, as the men take Devon into custody, and the patient lives.

Later, Hannibal prepares his latest dinner party as Will drops off wine and declines his invitation, in need of returning to the real Ripper case. Will questions why Hannibal left his career as a surgeon, to which the good doctor admits a patient dying on him convinced him to transfer his passions elsewhere. As Will departs, Hannibal leads his appreciative dinner party, and assures his guests none of the dishes are vegetarian.

Admittedly, it’s an odd time to ponder tonight’s ‘Hannibal’ episode, what with NBC’s noticable lack of renewal amid the other major announcements today. Not only that, but “Sorbet” represents the first aired episode not screen for critics, and one perhaps most evocative of the series stylistic flair. Were ‘Hannibal’s future to be in doubt, we might be hard pressed to suggest “Sorbet” as an easy entry point for casual viewers, given that an understandable few could truly appreciate the magnificent flourish of tonight’s operatic episode.

In plainer terms, “Sorbet” marks one of the first ‘Hannibal’ episodes to truly focus on the titular character, going literally and figuratively inside the good doctor’s head to the heightened, bloody world within. The presence of Hannibal’s own therapist (a sadly minimized, but effective Gillian Anderson) allows us an intriguing look beneath the mask at what makes Dr. Lecter tick, serving up the series goriest moments yet among the culinary flair.

“Sorbet” affords Will and Jack some strong character moments in their own right, but the hour truly belongs to Hannibal as we taste but a sample of the elegant horror within. Surely the series won’t unravel the Chesapeake Ripper thread too quickly however, likely saving Hannibal’s exposure for a later season. It would seem unwise of NBC not to renew ‘Hannibal’ even with its moderate ratings but hopefully “Sorbet” proves just a taste of the grander vision to come.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Hannibal’ hit the spot with its sixth/seventh episode? What did you like about “Sorbet?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Hannibal’ episode recap of “Fromage” on NBC!

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