Bleak TV horror double: The Walking Dead and Hannibal

TV

Hannibal - Season 1

Before I start, let me just warn you…

SPOILERS. LOTS OF SPOILERS. 

There are spoilers for seasons 1-4 of The Walking Dead and season 1-2 of Hannibal in this article, so don’t read on if you haven’t watched all the episodes to date. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Hannibal- a grizzly game of cat and mouse

Hannibal has just started it’s second season in the U.S., having left us on the bombshell of Will Graham’s (Hugh Dancy) arrest at the end of season one. The first 3 episodes have kept up the grotesque horror of the first season, while giving us a tantalizing glimpse of the showdown between Hannibal (Mads Mikkelson) and Jack Crawford (Lawrence Fishburne) that will be coming by the end of the season. Show writer Bryan Fuller has famously said that the Hannibal story arc will last for seven seasons, with the first 3 providing the lead in to the events in Thomas Harris‘ books Red Dragon,  Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal and then another 7th original season.

Events have certainly taken a quick turn in the first 3 episodes of this second season, and Hannibal is once again playing with the FBI agents and Will Graham like a cat taunting a mouse. However, Will seems to be remembering some of the events that led to his incarceration, giving us pause to wonder to what extent he is toying with Hannibal.

“He has carefully constructed a persona to hide his true nature from the rest of the world… Will Graham is driven by vanity and his own whims. He has a very high opinion of his intelligence. Ergo, he caught the other killers simply to prove he was smarter than all of them too.”

This season has broken largely with the procedural format, concentrating instead on the longer game between Hannibal and Will, but there have still been some impressively horrific tableaux, as we had come to expect from the first season.The second episode had one of the most squirm-inducing opening five minutes sequences I have seen on television in a long time, leaving my heart racing as one of the colour pallette people tore himself free of his stitches to attempt escape. However it was nice to see some humour being entered into proceedings by Will’s lawyer with his dry “I think I got your mail” as he dropped a severed ear on to the desk. I am looking forward with dread-filled anticipation to seeing where the next ten episodes take us.

walking_dead_lizzie

The Walking Dead Season 4- Out of the mouths of babes

The Walking Dead had been shuffling along at a walker’s pace so far this season, with lots of grim insights into what life is like for the group when they find themselves split apart. Lots of scenes of sitting around in countryside homes, with seemingly everyday domestic activities being punctuated by the presence of zombies have now paved way to one of the best episodes to date.

The story-line of Lizzie (played brilliantly by Brighton Sharbino) and her sister Mika (Kyla Kenedy) has been bubbling away in the background for some time, with it’s denouement familiar to those who have read the graphic novels (although it’s boys Ben and Billy there), but the TV show pulled it off brilliantly in “The Grove”. Having already hinted that it was Lizzie who had been disemboweling rabbits for fun, as well as feeding live mice to walkers, the signs were all there that she was really very unwell. Tackling big taboo issues- children’s mental health, children committing murder along with the subsequent murder of a child- the tragic events unfolded in a quietly inevitable, but very poignant way. Lizzie seemingly had no idea what she was doing, so convinced was she that her sister would come back from her fatal stabbing, but as Carol (Melissa McBride) said, her actions were something that may well have unfolded in any circumstance, as she had a mental health issue which the group just wouldn’t be able to deal with. The zombie apocalypse is not the best time to be meting out therapy, after all. Seemingly her previous trips to counsellors had just resulted in the “look at flowers and count to 3” therapy, which wouldn’t be much help should she get hold of another knife, so Carol’s actions seemed justified, if hard to stomach. While the group discussed Huck Finn, this episode was far closer to “Of Mice and Men”.

Next week no doubt we will return to more walking through the forest, but when episodes like this emerge it makes me glad I have stuck with it all this time.

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