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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Saturday, October 3, 2015


It's been a few weeks since Bryan Fuller's HANNIBAL came to a conclusion. Eventually I'd like to explicate the entire series-- even in the knowledge that Fuller had hoped it would run at least one season longer, and that he may in future manage to realize his version of Thomas Harris' character in another form, possibly a film or streaming series. But I wouldn't mind if the saga ended on with the series' finale, as I felt it sufficiently tied up most of the principal story-lines.

In my 2014 essay PSYCHO VS. PSYCHO I debated with myself as to whether or not HANNIBAL felt into the combative mode. I'd determined to my own satisfaction that Lecter's initial two cinematic appearances did not, but that the series might go that way:

Not every episode [of the TV series] culminates in a literal combat, though some stories establish that Hannibal Lecter can kick ass on a Jason-esque level of dynamicity.

No doubt I was thinking about scenes like the one that initiated HANNIBAL's second season on 2-28-2014, where the cultivated cannibal is seen throwing down against Will Graham's FBI boss Jack Crawford:

By the beginning of Season 3, Hannibal has finally been exposed as a psycho-killer, and eventually Will Graham does capture him as established in the Harris mythology. Fuller's version of this capture does not involve any form of violence as such; not even the subcombative type of violence I detailed in my review of the 1986 MANHUNTER. The third season, rather than presenting viewers with a one-on-one opposition between hero Graham and monster Lecter as some might expect, chooses to focus upon how Graham and Lecter become allies against common enemies, the better to stress the psychological bond between them. The above mentioned finale even forces the profiler and the serial killer to "team up" against the menace of Francis Dollarhyde (aka "the Tooth Fairy" and "the Red Dragon"), resulting in a brutal, bloody battle-- one very much in the combative mode, unlike the conclusion of MANHUNTER, where Graham simply shoots the Tooth Fairy before a fight can ensue.

So is the series as completed a combative one? I would tend to say that the element of the "combat myth" is much more important in Fuller's mythos than it is in that of the cinematic "series." And though the majority of the episodes don't end with all-out combat-scenes, two facts-- that some episodes establish Fuller's Hannibal as a more forceful figure than the cinematic version, and that the series as a whole culminates in a major display of "Kantian dominance"-- qualify it for that status. Thus, Bryan Fuller's muscular version of Harris' psychotic psychiatrist can be added to the list of works that went from a subcombative to a combative mode seen in MYTHOS AND MODE PT. 4.

ADDENDUM: I don't plan to revisit the HANNIBAL series, but have decided, based on the argument of PASSIVELY AGGRESSIVE, that the combative elements in the series constitute a "passive share."

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