Review: HANNIBAL S1E08, FROMAGE (Or, Everyone's Getting Friend-Zoned And Are None Too Pleased About It)

Andrew Mack, Contributing Writer
This week's gruesome discovery is the body of an orchestra member left at center stage. His throat and neck have been cut open, the neck of a cello has been stuffed into his mouth, and his vocal chords have been treated in a specific traditional way that catgut strings were treated for musical instruments. Treated in such a way that they could be played to create some sort of musical harmony.

It is no secret that Franklin's friend Tobias, whom we met last episode, is killing and making strings for musical instruments with his victims intestines. There is a lovely and melodic montage before the title sequence that tells us this; we get to watch Tobias pull the intestines from one of his victims and create a set of strings. You see, strings for musical instruments have long been made from the intestines of sheep and goat primarily. Not to worry. Though they are referred to as catgut strings it would appear no kitties were harmed in the making of this episode. Just humans. Whew. Insert sigh of relief here.

When we first catch up with Will he thinks he hears the sound of a wounded animal outside his house. We know Will takes in stray dogs which could mean that his compassionate side is trying to reach out to him subconsciously. We know that his special brand of investigation is taking its toll on him. He has also been having visions of Garrett and Abigail Hobbs. The first time he hears the sounds they are outside in the fields around his house, then in the chimney, then later in the episode as he investigates leads related to the murder of the trombonist.

Will asks Doctor Bloom to come over to help him find the first animal. Their discussion leads into an inquiry about each others dating life. The second time around Will is compelled to pull bricks out from above the mantle just to get to the animal, which is not there. Bloom just so happens to drop by the second time- passing through what appears to the be the middle of nowhere on her way home- and the two kiss. Because, as Will puts it, he has always wanted to kiss Bloom, she is very kissable. The show has been leading up to this moment, just in little bits and bites. Though there is admitted affinity for each other Bloom feels that neither is good (read as healthy) for each other- she always analyzing and he always envisioning gruesome murders.

When I watched Fromage last night I was none too pleased about the romantic story line but after watching the episode a second time today I understand that Bloom's rejection of Will does send him into the 'waiting arms' of Lecter. So it does serve a purpose. Will runs to Lecter to tell him about the kiss and the follow through. Lecter suggest that the kiss was a 'clutch for balance' because Will has been feeling rather unstable as of late. Will is increasingly medicating himself during this episodes. But Will running to Lecter does fill Lecter's need of companionship and keeps Will close to him. To show, after all, is about their relationship. But I totally understand Will's desire for Bloom. Very kissable indeed. 

As Lecter meets his patient, Franklin, the patient is understandably disturbed by Tobias' behavior. Tobias says dark and disturbing things then says he is just kidding. But when Tobias says that he wants to cut open someone's throat and play their vocal chords like violin strings? Well then, that has Franklin all up in a tiz. Lecter realizes however that Tobias is sending him a message.

Turns out Tobias has uncovered Lecter's true nature. It is never said why Tobias suspects Lecter is a serial killer- birds of a feather?- but he follows Lecter one night, likely one of the nights Lecter went 'shopping' for meat for his dinner party in the last episode, and watches him do what he does so well. So Tobias reaches out to Lecter because he understands Tobias. He can relate to him. Tobias is looking for another serial killer friend. Tobias was serenading Lecter with the throat of the dead trombonist.

Lecter no doubt has to protect his identity so he plans to kill Tobias, but not before preparing him a sumptuous meal. If Will had not run to Lecter's house to talk to him about Kissing Bloom the two admit that they would have tried to kill each other then and there. The episode will inevitably end with some gruesome murders and a violent confrontation between Tobias and Lecter in his office. The latter with poor, poor Franklin stuck in between two violent psychopaths, without a clue to his name.

Fromage is an episode where everyone is looking for a friend. Franklin so desperately wanted to be Lecter's friend but since Lecter will not he does the next best thing; Franklin tries to be Lecter. Tobias reached out to Lecter because he needs someone he can relate to. Will kisses Bloom and wants to be more than friends but she friend-zones him and he runs to Lecter. Lecter sees the possibility of friendship between he and Will. As Lecter's psychologist, Dr. Du Maurier, points out to him during a session, Lecter builds walls and is looking for someone clever enough to climb over them. Lecter is looking for an intellectual equal and he thinks he has found it in Will.

There is a subtle suggestion at the end of the episode that Hannibal killed the patient that attacked Dr. Du Maurier. She said that she took responsibility when she was attacked by her patient but did not take responsibility for his death. "Nor should you", says Hannibal. Interesting. Probably a losing bet that he did it.

As the great philosopher Dionne Warwick once said, "That's what friends are for".
Around the Internet:
  • This episode was the best in the series yet. We finallly got to see the Big H kick some ass

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