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Make Believe and Fairy Tales on Hannibal: “Belief Comes with Imagination”

19 Jun

Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived in a castle in and then he transformed into the monster we see today. What made him become this way doesn’t involve spells or curses or a wolf in the woods and on Hannibal this week we found out a little more about how Hannibal came to be. Imagination is a tool used to protect from past experiences, to conjure up an idea for a better future or to understand what it taking place in the present and on Hannibal this tends to involve a dead person or some kind of horror. This is a land lacking in handsome princes or fairy godmothers waiting to save the day.

Hannibal 3.03 WillWill Graham’s mind has been twisted and manipulated by Hannibal, but he is not the only one who has take liberty with Will’s rare empathy skills. In season 1 Jack asked Will if he could borrow his imagination and this haunts Jack in “Secondo” as he joins the list of people who survived the bloodbath, but he still bears the physical and mental scars of this encounter. Jack tells Inspector Pazzi that he is not here to catch Pazzi’s monster instead he has come for Will Graham as ultimately he set him down this path by borrowing his imagination in the first place. Guilt plays a big part in this journey and as they are chatting in a church it is not too much of a leap when the discussion turns to a belief in a higher power. It also delivers yet another magnificent shot and this location continues to stun. The color palette in Italy is mostly golds with red being uses sparingly for the candles, Bedelia’s dresses and well, blood. 

Hannibal 3.03 JackJack thinks belief comes with imagination and “we also imagine the possibility that we all live on after death.” He goes another step further citing that they both died on that night and unlike Abigail they are still part of this world. Jack also believes that while borrowing Will’s imagination he broke it, but somehow Will has managed to piece it back together again unlike the tea cup in Hannibal’s own story. 

So what of Hannibal’s past and how he came to be the way he is? Well first of all I want to preface this with saying that my Hannibal knowledge outside of this show consists of Red Dragon (the book) and the movies Silence of the Lambs and Manhunter. So it is somewhat limited and I found some of the sister chat to be a little bit vague in places because I know nothing of Mischa aside from the brief mention last season and what this episode reveals. And these revelations involve a lot of inference to what actually happened to her; however it is clear that Hannibal ate her and now he feels like this is the only way he can resolve things with Will. That is an interesting solution from the various discussions between Bedelia and Hannibal this week which take place in front of the fire, while taking a bath and during piano playing. Unconventional in both form and conclusion. Not sure how happy Will is going to feel when he finds out he might be the next dinner party main course and the center piece of Hannibal showing his cooking prowess.

Hannibal 3.03 Will mistBack to Mischa and the creepy looking misty castle which could exist on the pages of Grimms’ Fairy Tales as the catalyst and Will won’t allow this trauma to provide an excuse for what Hannibal does, but what did happen to her? Well she definitely died and they play with who did the deed; it appears the imprisoned man did it, but when it comes to Hannibal’s manipulations it really is hard to figure out the reality from the fiction (I seem to recall someone mentioning that in the book Nazis are involved somehow).

Will makes an interesting point as he tells Chiyo “we construct fairy tales and we accept them. Our minds concoct all sorts of fantasies when we don’t want to believe something.” This relates to what he is telling her about Hannibal and the ‘smile’ he left him plus the various other crimes Hannibal has committed which all points to inaccuracies in the story she has been living with. Chiyo has been living in limbo out in the woods in a more twisted version of a princess locked away in a tower.

Hannibal 3.03 Will and ChiyohWill then pulls a very Hannibal move manipulating the situation so Chiyo will kill the man she has been in charge of for however many years. He claims he did this for her and this is eerily similar to how Hannibal would justify this action of setting this man free just so he will attack her.

We have seen Hannibal do this in season 1 when he sent Gideon after Alana and then Will after Gideon. The result was the same except Chiyo killed her mark whereas Will simply wounded his. And up pops the word which circles around the show constantly as Chiyo tells Will “you are curious too.” Everyone is and it’s how these characters manage their curiosities which defines them. Hannibal is the only one who knows the truth as he “created a story out of events that only he experienced. All sorrows can be warm if you put them in a story.” Even monsters need to construct a version to make them feel better or to justify their actions.

Hannibal 3.03 firefly manWhat of Will’s transformation and the tableau he creates at the end; is it a calling card for Hannibal even though he knows he will never return to see it? Maybe he took a photo and sent it to him on Snapchat. Like many things on this show there are plenty of ways to interpret this setup as Will might be doing this to emulate Hannibal or merely understand him.

Is Will slipping again thanks to how far he has been pushed by both Jack and Hannibal? It is also unclear what Will wants to achieve when he does catch up with Hannibal or which side he is on; he has a bond with Hannibal due to Hannibal’s deep understanding of him which makes his actions very hard to predict and this firefly creation only makes him seem more unstable. One thing that is clear is that Hannibal would be proud of this creation and manipulation.

Hannibal 3.03 dinnerThe game of cat and mouse keeps expanding with new players joining the party each week; Hannibal doesn’t seem too bothered and is acting in a cavalier manner drawing everyone to him. This includes the dinner party which featured Hannibal making a funny and it made me full on snort laugh (super dark I know) as after he plunges an ice pick into Sogliato’s brain he mentions how this “may have been impulsive.” Except it wasn’t all that unplanned as he served Punch Romaine noting it was given to the first class passengers on the Titanic which ended up being the last meal for some. Bedelia also technically kills Sogliato by removing the ice pick from his brain which Hannibal notes with some glee. Bedelia tells Hannibal that he is enticing his would be captures and this goes back to something she said last season when she mentioned that whimsy would be his downfall.

Hannibal 3.03 Bedelia hair washingLast time we saw Bedelia she displayed a nervous disposition regarding her current situation whereas this week she seems more in control and she goes as far as mentioning that she has an exit strategy, which is surely a dangerous thing to mention in front of her companion. There is a trust between them and it seems like the more awful things she witnesses Hannibal doing the more she lets herself get drawn in. The hair washing scene is the height of this kind of intimacy and Bedelia acts as a surrogate to his sister and this relationship does not come across as sexual in any way.

Hannibal 3.03 Bedelia bathShe once again submerges herself in the bath water but it is no longer inky black and instead is a murky brown, which is more to do with what Hannibal has used on her hair suggesting she is now far more comfortable with these circumstances she finds herself in.

There are some other repeated images that Hannibal loves to throw up and twist including these stunning shots of Will in his memory palace chatting to Hannibal about the creation of this space. Oh hey Hannibal in your old plaid suit.

Hannibal 3.03 graveyard Hannibal 3.03 Hannibal's houseThe kaleidoscope effect of Hannibal’s Baltimore home/office reflects how this room “holds sound and motion” although it also suggests the fragmented nature of those long ago places which represent “pain and shards of glass.”

Imagination twists with reality and the fairy tales that take place in this world don’t end with a happily ever; the beast will not turn into a prince and the surviving characters will have to construct a safe space of their own to deal with the aftermath. And next week it looks like some more players will be joining this party.

Serving Up Two Delicious Hannibal Season 3 Previews

26 May

The Hannibal countdown now enters the less than two weeks zone and we’re already salivating at what this new season will bring (it is very hard to avoid any food puns when discussing this show but just know I am shaking my head at myself). As the new episodes are within sniffing distance the onslaught of new footage steps up including a look at who survived the bloodbath that closed out last year and what Hannibal has been up to while he has been on the run with Bedelia. By the looks of things entertaining and dining. Sometimes with the guest ending up on a plate.

Hannibal S3 - HannibalHannibal of course can recite Dante’s first sonnet, ride a motorbike without messing up his hair and talk oh so casually about killing people as the ‘Hannibal’s Dilemma’ preview reveals. However he is still being hunted and Bedelia warns him that he is going to get caught; the super bashed and bloody appearance adds weight to her theory. There are also flashes of the characters left behind to pick up the pieces after what Hannibal did to them, plus a glimpse at new additions to the cast such as Tao Okamoto who is playing Chiyoh. Oh and also some characters we know to be dead show up (flashback? fantasy sequence? both?).

If you are a regular TV Ate My Wardrobe reader you will know how much I love talking about the costume design on Hannibal and if you can hear clapping and screaming right now it is down to a glimpse of this Bedelia ensemble in this preview:

IMG_0642The color, the hat and the style is everything and their European ‘on the run’ collection is one of the many things I am highly anticipating when Hannibal returns June 4.

In the second preview or rather the ‘first look’ the cast discuss the new season in a slightly more in-depth fashion showing some of the same images we have already seen and giving some background context; this includes expanding on the Bride of Hannibal storyline. Once again there are some people present in this video whose fate was left hanging in the balance and I think it is safe to say that Will, Alana and Jack are all very much alive. How well they are mentally is unclear and the hunt to find Hannibal will not rest on Will Graham’s shoulders alone.

Another costume that has caused much excitement here at TV Ate My Wardrobe is Alana’s plaid pantsuit from these cast promo shots. Sometimes clothes worn for these shoots are only for promotional purposes so I was thrilled to see Alana wearing the plaid pantsuit in this preview. She also has an additional item and the fall or rather massive shove from the first floor window has left her requiring a cane.

IMG_0644As you can see in the photo above Alana’s will cross paths with Margot Verger (another victim of Hannibal’s manipulation) and there is a suggestion in the preview that things might get a lot more intimate between the pair. I only say suggestion because it is such a quick cut and this show loves a good dream/fantasy sequence so who knows what is real. But yes smooching is definitely on the more intimate end of hangouts.

We also get a glimpse of the storyline which will dominate the second half of the season with Francis Dolarhyde aka ‘Red Dragon’ which looks very promising (and terrifying).

Watch the two previews below and for more season 3 chat head here. Hannibal returns Thursday, June 4.


Hannibal Season 3 Promo Photos Include Costume Changes Galore (Super Spoiler Warning)

12 May

The end of Hannibal last season was a bloodbath with four characters lying on the floor in and around Hannibal’s residence with various life threatening injuries while Hannibal ditched Baltimore for pastures new with his former therapist, Bedelia. Hannibal returns in just under a month (June 4) and so the promo department has gifted us with some cast photos from the new season.

Now this is where the SUPER SPOILER WARNING comes in as by all accounts these photos reveal who survived the traumatic events, but there are too much incredible costume changes in these shots to wait a whole month before I can discuss them. So I’m going to kick off with a pair who were the only ones not bleeding and broken at the end of last year.

Hannibal S3 Bedelia and HannibalServing up so much poise and pretty much making me want to bow down right now; what a power couple! The focus of this campaign including the recently released promo is this relationship between Hannibal and Bedelia with #BrideofHannibal as the nifty Twitter friendly hashtag. Are they married? Well certainly in how they present themselves to unfortunate dinner guests and this dynamic is one I can’t wait to see explored further.

Bride of HannibalSpeaking of ‘the bride’ Bryan Fuller shared this incredible poster on Twitter with Gillian Anderson serving up so much Marlene Dietrich realness as Dr. Bedelia du Maurier.

Hannibal’s costuming is still full of style and flair; swapping out the plaid for a range of different pattern and he’s even got a new leather jacket for his European wardrobe (which you can see in the gallery below). Hannibal gets a little bit more sartorially flashy when he’s on the run it would seem. No laying low here.

He’s not the only one changing up his look in the new promo photos as Alana’s colorful prints have been replaced with black hinting at how much her relationship and subsequent horrific breakup have impacted her. Ah yes so this is the spoilery stuff I was talking about as three out of the four house of horror victims all appear very much alive. Abigail is nowhere to be seen so it is safe to assume this was one throat cut too many. Or like Chilton she might have many lives and because she’s not a regular she doesn’t get a spot in these pictures. I am leaning towards the first option as the more likely. There are two batches of promo photos; one in the ornate and decadent Italian looking location with the second half doing the plain background thing (click on the gallery below for a better look).

The Alana plaid suit image is exciting – I actually yelped with joy when I saw this photo for the first time – for a number of reasons; she is wearing pants which is a huge departure for her usual ultra feminine wrap dress/pencil skirt styling. And even more notable is the choice of pattern because plaid instantly conjures up images of Hannibal. Is she emulating his style as a way to get into his mind and help track him down? Sometimes the clothes worn in promo photos are simply for this purpose alone, but Alana’s green ensemble from her season 2 shots ended up featuring in a pivotal moment for this character’s journey last season and I have a feeling this plaid pantsuit is not just for the promos.

Alana suffered a great deal last season as Hannibal’s champion; she was the one who insisted that he was innocent and she also had a romantic relationship with him (the unpleasant names Alana got called in comment sections was nauseating). By putting her in this position of Hannibal believer she ended up looking incredibly naive and I hope this season goes to some lengths to rectify this narrative stumbling block. I wrote about both her costuming and the season 2 Alana problems at length here.

Over season 2 Will’s costuming evolved from his usual slightly rumpled style to tailored coats and a more polished appearance as he mimicked Hannibal’s fancier attire (but never so far as delving into plaid suits). In these new photos he looks halfway between the man he was and the man he is now. The smart blazer remains, but we see the tailored coat ditched for a style that is more reminiscent of Will circa season 1. Also worth noting is the continued absence of the glasses Will used to hide behind.

We could also split the two photos up by calling one set fancy and the other work threads. Jack in the second collection is also dressing a little bit like Hannibal; his jacket nods to the style we are accustomed to seeing on Hannibal. Gone are the hat and the ties, appearing a whole lot less FBI.

And there is a new character joining the promo photo ranks with Tao Okamoto as Chiyo (Lady Murasaki’s handmaid). Interesting choice of attire in the second half of the photos as she looks prepared for swashbuckling while teaming up with Will. I’m sure I will have a lot more to say about this character after she makes her first appearance, for now I am very excited to see another woman joining the team.

Watch the new promo and check out the gallery below for a detailed look at the costume changes. Hannibal returns
Thursday, June 4.


Out of the Box: Look of the Week

18 Apr

Switching up “Out of the Box” this week and moving away from the red carpet and magazine editorials with a Hannibal special using last Friday’s episode “Yakimono” to discuss some of the various looks this season and how costuming has been utilized to show a shift in character temperament. The repetition of a wide shot showing two characters sitting opposite each other is something of a Hannibal signature and this is presented in this episode with a slight shift that stops short of being a callback to the season 1 finale. Plus someone has had a makeover (sadly no montage).

Hannibal 2.07There’s been a variation of this set up throughout Hannibal whether it is in a therapy session or as prisoner/friend. Hannibal has even sat opposite the empty chair revealing just how much he has been missing the friend he framed for murder. Even Hannibal, no matter how twisted the reasons for any of his deplorable actions has the capacity to miss someone. The chair is filled once again as Will is free and he wants to resume his sessions, the very sessions that were used to manipulate his brain that was already on fire (like a messed up Katniss). The framing of these scenes suggests some kind of equilibrium, which of course in the past was a lie as Will was very much at Hannibal’s mercy. The balance has shifted and while Hannibal is still in control, he’s now facing a previously unknown entity; a Will Graham with all of his facilities working and a desire to hook to Hannibal for good. The game has been upped and this simple, yet effective shot signals this new stage in the Hannibal vs. Will battle.

Hannibal 2.07 Alana and ChiltonWhen Alana sat opposite Will in the season 1 finale in a room very similar to this one we saw them facing each other in a wide shot. Not so in this case with Alana and Chilton and this shows just how alienated Chilton is at this point. Alana is not here to be his confidant, though I suspect her personal involvement in the case makes her presence a tad messy. My fear for Alana, now she has slept with Hannibal is that for the rest of the season she will act primarily as a “Hannibal is innocent” mouthpiece and this character deserves more than the role of blind faith advocate. Costume wise this is the most unlike Chilton we have seen as he wears the orange of prison and Alana is very much in her signature wrap dress attire. Chilton gets shot in the face, but Bryan Fuller has hinted this doesn’t necessarily mean death for this character.

Hannibal 2.07 Chilton at homeSo how did Chilton end up going from pristine and flamboyant plaid to jumpsuit orange? Let me show you how and first of all I want to mention just how audacious Chilton’s costuming has been this season as it mimics the plaid of Hannibal. Chilton wanted to be like Hannibal and now he is, well in the crimes he is accused of. This shot also gives a good look at Chilton’s spacious home which is bathed in light as opposed to the dark decor of Hannibal’s home.

Hannibal 2.07 Chilton and HannibalThe moment of realization as Chilton lies at the feet of a plastic kill suit wearing Hannibal as he shows the perfect “Oh fuck” face, he can’t even bask in the glory of being right. At this point Chilton’s suit is still looking rather dapper even as he lies on the floor…

Hannibal 2.07 Bloody ChiltonCut to all the blood and there’s no way he’s getting those stains out.

Hannibal 2.07 ChiltonNow this is the most Chilton has looked like Will as it’s a more subdued approach, Hannibal sure picked out a suave on the run outfit in the bags he helpfully packed. The red and black pea coat does lose cool points as Chilton scrabbles around in the snow covered wood. Hat tip to Raúl Esparza for the amazing and hilarious performance he has given this season, even in Chilton’s darkest moment he still got the funniest line of the episode “Abel Gideon was half eaten in my guest room, I have corpses on my property. You just threw up an ear.”

Hannibal 2.07 Hannibal plastic kill suitYou know who always looks good? Yep, Hannibal once again shows how to make a plastic kill suit (which has to be bespoke) stand out, that’s right wear your regular suit (plus pocket square) underneath. No muss, no fuss.

Hannibal 2.07 Will unwashedNow we come to the before and after as Will shows off his post prison “I don’t really give a shit how I look” look. Bedraggled hair, untidy beard and the plaid of before, plus a nifty vest which could almost double for his fishing attire. To catch a fish the second time it means scrubbing up so please welcome the new, slightly less hairy Will Graham.

Hannibal 2.07 Will close upWill’s wearing a lighter, single color shirt as if he is free from the constraints he has been in both mentally and physically; there’s a renewed confidence we haven’t really seen before and this makes him an unknown entity to both Hannibal and us. Having a haircut and trimming his beard show that he isn’t going to slink away into the darkness and the power balance has shifted to an even playing field. One thing that is notably missing are Will’s glasses and this is something I chatted about with Noel Kirkpatrick on Twitter and he pointed out the lack of glasses makes sense as Will previously used them to mask his face, now he wants to “seduce” Hannibal so the glasses are no longer required.

Will GrahamThe new more polished Will Graham look continues with tonight’s episode “Su-zakana” with this rather fancy looking wool coat and scarf combination. It’s like a halfway point between Jack and Hannibal; I really want to see what he has on under the coat (unintentionally pervy turn of phrase).


Hannibal Season 2 Trailer: “You’re not a Suspect. You’re the New Will Graham”

6 Feb

Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller asked “who’s ready for seconds?” over on Twitter and my hand pretty much shot up into the air. This new trailer (complete with a somewhat jarring movie style voiceover) expands on the idea that Hannibal is taking over Will’s spot as FBI consultant on the macabre cases. The new promo also features Gillian Anderson’s Dr. du Maurier and it was insinuated last season that she knew more about Hannibal than she was explicitly saying out loud; it looks like she might be one of the only people who isn’t fooled by Hannibal’s charms this season.

Hannibal season 2 groupThe male characters on the show are blinded by Hannibal’s charm and sophistication, sitting at his dinner table and enjoying whatever treats Hannibal has prepared for them (THE FOOD IS PEOPLE). This was the role that Will took on last year, he is now of course very aware of what Hannibal is capable of and he’s going to have a hard time of convincing people otherwise. Dr. Chilton has recovered enough from his non-elective surgery last year to discuss Will over food with Hannibal “He tells everyone that you are a monster.” Hannibal responds mockingly “Well in that case you’re dining with a psychopathic murderer.” It’s all very tongue in cheek (pun maybe sorta intended).

There’s more of the fight sequence that was teased in the first full trailer and seeing Hannibal shift from cool and reserved to cool and dangerous is unnerving and I can’t wait to see this sequence in full. The one person lacking in the trailer is Alana Bloom, though the first trailer revealed that she is part of this confrontation. Alana is very much on Team Will, but she’s also got a very long standing professional and personal relationship with Hannibal so I am intrigued to see what they have in store for her. As long as it’s not an untimely end.

Beauty and horror go hand in hand on Hannibal and the crime scenes are as complex as ever as there’s a brief shot of what appears to be a judge missing the top of his skull, set up to look like the scales of justice. Just because Will is aware of his condition it doesn’t mean there won’t be stag sightings and it’s not just going to be Will in his cell either as you can see from the new promo; there’s the courtroom and his imagination.

I was already beyond excited about season 2 and all the promotional work is raising the anticipation bar even higher. Hannibal returns to NBC Friday, February 28.

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