The Binge: Hannibal
Welcome back to The Binge, CraveOnline’s recurring feature that looks at the best TV series streaming online.
One week ago, TV fans had to say goodbye to Hannibal, the modern update of Thomas Harris’ classic serial killer that ran for three seasons on NBC. There were many reasons that Hannibal did not get a fourth season, and the fact that the streaming rights were tied up at Amazon may have also played a role in that. Once Amazon passed on ordering another season and saving the show from being canceled, there just wasn’t much hope of the show finding another home online.
I have to admit to being one of the early doubters about whether Hannibal could work at all, much less at NBC. Having anyone follow in Anthony Hopkins’ footsteps as one of the most iconic screen villains seemed like a bad idea. Yet Mads Mikkelsen turned out to be an inspired casting choice for Hannibal Lecter, and Mikkelsen seems to be poised for even greater stardom now that the series is over.
Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls creator Bryan Fuller was the driving force behind this incarnation of Hannibal, as he and the other writers remixed and reshaped the narrative. Fuller also gave Hannibal’s nemesis, Will Graham a more compelling character arc and personality. Hugh Dancy’s performance as Will Graham has been widely praised, and rightfully so. This show truly belongs to both Mikkelsen and Dancy as the relationship between Hannibal and Will became more complex and harder to define or predict.
Fuller also put in place a truly stellar supporting cast for Hannibal, including Laurence Fishburne, Caroline Dhavernas, Gillian Anderson, and Scott Thompson with memorable recurring turns by Kacey Rohl, Eddie Izzard, Raúl Esparza, Michael Pitt, and Richard Armitage. That’s a pretty amazing lineup, and that’s only a few of the great performers who passed through the series.
Hannibal never shied away from the darkness of the source material. And perhaps it just wasn’t the type of show that could ever be a mainstream hit. But the Hannibal fans (or the Fannibals) are among the most devoted fandoms of any show. Their love for this series is very impressive.
Because Hannibal was canceled so early in its run, it feels somewhat unfinished. The season 3 finale was satisfying. But after Fuller told CraveOnline’s William Bibbiani about what he would have done The Silence of the Lambs on Hannibal… it’s hard not to think about what might have been. Maybe someday. we’ll get to see that play out in some form.
But for now, every episode of Hannibal is available to watch online. The first two seasons are free to Amazon Prime members, but the third season is only available as a season pass or by individual episodes. However, if you can wait a few months, Hannibal Season 3 will probably pop up on Amazon Prime as well.
I do recommend Hannibal as a whole series, and it should be watched in order. But if you want an overview of the best episodes, these were my personal favorites. Feel free to share your favorite episodes of Hannibal in the comment section below!
Apéritif (Season 1, Episode 1)
The first episode of the series introduced the new dynamic between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham, who pointedly told Hannibal that he didn’t find him to be very interesting as they ate breakfast together. David Slade has directed many episodes of the Hannibal series, but the first time had some of the best intensity as Will attempted to stop a serial killer while Hannibal subtly undermined him.
Entrée (Season 1, Episode 6)
The midway point of the first season of Hannibal added two memorable characters, a very Clarice Starling-like woman named Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky), and Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard), a deranged killer who has been duped into believing that he committed Hannibal’s crimes. And the good doctor Lecter just couldn’t let that slide. This was also the debut episode of Raúl Esparza as Dr. Frederick Chilton, a key figure from Thomas Harris’ Hannibal novels.
Miriam’s fate in this episode was very shocking, as Hannibal came up with a cruel way to taunt Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) without incriminating himself.
Savoureux (Season 1, Episode 13)
Rather than let Will play dumb for several seasons before realizing the truth about Hannibal, Fuller had that momentous event take place in the first season finale during the height of Will’s mental problems. And as determined as Will was to bring down Hannibal, his adversary had already planned out every move in advance…
Yakimono (Season 2, Episode 7)
With Will Graham out of prison, Hannibal needed a new fall guy: Enter the very unfortunate Dr. Chilton, a man who was smart enough to realize just how badly he had been outmaneuvered. But it still wasn’t enough to save him from a gruesome fate at the hands of one of Hannibal’s victims.
Will also resumed his therapy with Hannibal in an attempt to expose him. As you might expect, that did not turn out well.
Naka-choko (Season 2, Episode 10)
The problem with getting close to Hannibal is that he warps the people around him. “Naka-choko” put forth the idea that Will had already gone too far to catch Hannibal…to the point that he seemingly murdered and cooked Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki)!
This episode also marked the debut of Michael Pitt as Mason Verger, one of the villains from the third Hannibal novel. Pitt’s performance was so deliciously twisted that it plays like a demo reel to take over The Joker role once Jared Leto steps aside.
Tome-wan (Season 2, Episode 12)
Mason Verger’s story temporarily came to an end with one of the most shocking episodes on network television. “I am enchanted and terrified,” said Verger before Hannibal put him through a nearly lethal experience that included Verger cutting off parts of his own face.
And as the trap for Hannibal came to fruition, it became increasingly clear that Will is more like the good doctor than he would have cared to admit.
Mizumono (Season 2, Episode 13)
Season 2 opened with an incredibly brutal fight between Jack and Hannibal. In the second season finale, that fight played out in horrifying detail with severe consequences for Will, Jack, and Alana (Caroline Dhavernas). Even Hannibal felt the sting of a friendship betrayed, but he was also the one dealing out the punishment…and getting away with it. All of it.
Digestivo (Season 3, Episode 7)
The sometimes rocky, “Hannibal in Europe” storyline came to an end as Hannibal got an unexpected assist in his escape from Verger. Hannibal also found a way to demonstrate his affection for Will while still rebuking him for his rejection.
The Number of the Beast Is 666… (Season 3, Episode 12)
While attempting to stop the Red Dragon killer, Will was forced to contemplate the true nature of his relationship with Hannibal. And Will’s family may pay the price of Hannibal’s “love” for him.
The Wrath of the Lamb (Season 3, Episode 13)
To finally put an end to the Red Dragon, Will was forced to personally ask Hannibal for his help. It’s the grand finale of the series and “justice” was served. Just don’t ask where the meat came from…