SPOILER ALERT: I talk about Season 2. Also, this article is likely SEXUALLY EXPLICIT, given what a hottie Mads is. You’ve been warned, yo!
I read Hannibal, the third Lecter book, when I was seventeen. My Dad recommended it; “Brilliant bit with some pigs,” he said. I’d seen Silence of the Lambs, but was relatively new to the world I’m now swimming in thanks to Bryan Fuller and the best incarnation of a character, and their storyline, ever. Back then, I was picturing Anthony Hopkins, so when Clarice fell for him, inevitably, I bought into it about 36%. Because, totally, they’re all ying, yang, and shit, but Ant’s not my type and, power or no, I wouldn’t fuck him, sorry. Even for a Krispy Kreme.
Reading Red Dragon didn’t change my mind on Anthony. Manhunter didn’t make me wish to convince Brian Cox I wasn’t worth eating. I figured, hey, I’m just not that into Hannibal that way, and I’m not meant to be. He’s a little bit of a psychopath, a cannibal by all accounts and as tastes go, mine are predictably awful (Matthew Perry for TWENTY YEARS), but they’re not there, yet. Then Mads Mikkelsen happened, and my life’s like super better and über worse because it’s Lex Luthor all over again; an obsessive love I can’t shake with basically the devil.
The love was instantaneous. Will Graham’s a better fit, especially as I take Dawson over Pacey each time that dilemma arises in everyday life. But, where Tom Welling’s Clark Kent should’ve been my poster crush of the decade, my fantasies all circled around a certain Lex, played by the most beautiful bald head of all time (other than maybe Bryan Cranston’s) Michael Rosenbaum. Don’t get me wrong, Tom Welling is total spank bank material of the highest valour, but Rosenbaum’s drawl, the way he looks in a suit, his eternal wrestling with the powers that be, made me ready to tear my surname off like a sale sticker. Just kidding, the surname stays, what century are we even living in? But I’d totally be Luthor’s life partner, like, respectfully.
Hannibal’s set up as a bromance. Make no mistake, what starts as a police procedural becomes a twisty, deeply interconnected, friendship-but-won’t-you-just-kiss, dynamic, that many a YouTube video has been dedicated to. The latent sexuality between Will Graham and his invisible nemesis Hannibal Lecter, lines every laugh, therapy session, joint investigation. Hell, they’re even vying for the same woman’s affections (Dr. Alana Bloom, who’s masterfully changed sex from the novel to the TV show, hasn’t she, Alan?) but whoever wins that battle, I’ll never stop dreaming that Hanni and Will will tongue kiss at least once. Fan service is a powerful tool.
And season 2 is no different in this. There’s an interesting conversation in episode 4. Will Graham, still locked up, and accused of the Chesapeake Ripper’s crimes, hallucinates/dreams/imagines his peaceful place: fishing. Stood in the centre of the stream, Will’s joined by Abigail, whose death he’s accused of. He teaches her to fish, the way her own father taught her to hunt (women and elk), and the conversation is many layered. There’s one idea, repeated over and over in this episode:
Abigail: “What are you trying to catch?”
Will: “The one that caught you.”
Abigail: “The one that got away.”
And suddenly everything makes sense. Hannibal is the one that got away, that unforgettable person who, for whatever reason, you can’t erase or undo or get over, years later. Hannibal’s the elusive one that got away. Everything points to him, leads to him, is him even if unrelated: a fishing line and a dead girl and a prison cell. This show struck me as a rom-com way before this juncture, but this was the first time it was explicitly said: that Will is nothing without Hannibal, is looking for him, only, knows he’s the one, but without a complex and tricky to pull off set of plays a la How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, the time they can be together is a way off. As Will says, “Catch a fish once and it gets away, it’s a lot harder to catch again.” True dat.
Will Graham, conversely, seemed like a possible romantic lead in season 1, having an ill-conceived tryst with Dr. Alana Bloom, who instead of saying, “I’m just not that into you,” used a line like, “You’re medically fascinating, but no.” It was a line-crossing kiss which seemed a culmination of chemistry, even if Alana was self-cast as Will’s only protector. Still, she had no excuses left when Hannibal tried to seduce her, come season 2, and something about the surface simplicity of him and the way he plays classical instruments after dinner parties, was too much to resist. I get it. At this point, Will’s well past cray-cray. I’d too take Hannibal.
And this is very much down to Mads. His casting is Ross and Rachel perfect. Because he overplays nothing. There’s no Hopkins hamming up or teeth sucking, no OTT nonchalance like Brian Cox, so prison cell relaxed he’s practically comatose. Mads’ Hannibal is meticulous, from the way he dresses (impeccable suits, cravats and ties, and lest we forget that American Psycho PVC full body wipe clean boiler suit job), to the way he cooks for one. His house is showhome gothic cute, and he never overspeaks. Will tells us too much, all of the bloody time, from how much he hates eye contact to where on the autistic scale he exactly sits. Hannibal, instead, is tightlipped, every morsel from his mouth an absolute gem. That sort of masterful control, I should get forgiven for finding sexier than topless Matt Damon holding a bag of Doritos in one hand and a jar of sour cream dip in the other. Mads’ Hannibal is so precise, he wouldn’t even step in the wrong space. No accidental One-Click Amazon Prime orders, son. No, Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter is straight up legit, Cookie Dough ice cream perfection. So let’s finish this off with a list.
The top 5 reasons Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal Lecter is marriage material!
1. Best chef of all time: There’s nothing sexier than a man that can cook. I am woefully inadequate in the kitchen (amongst other places) so a prerequisite for me is a man with at least one cookbook and a couple of staple dishes he can rustle up when I can’t be fucked, which is pretty much always. So Hannibal’s recipe cards are too cute, and his well-stocked fridges give me butterflies. If you don’t think about what you’re eating, then everything’s fine. And if it tastes good, let it be!
2. Those suits: He’s a sharp dresser, ain’t no denying. A well put-together man means one of two things. He’s either Patrick Bateman, or a ring is going on to it.
3. He’s a great friend: I realise what’s happened to Will of late might not constitute any BFF awards (force feeding him a severed ear, oh, Hanni) but Hannibal’s complicated, and if you want him in your life, there’s extra work required. He’ll totes return the favour threefold in dinner parties, free therapy and charm. It’s worth your while, knowing Hannibal, and if you’re Will Graham, all he really wants is to be your friend. He’s not always excellent at showing it, but he’s trying, bro. Which is hot.
4. Free therapy sessions: Therapy is expensive, and Hannibal’s the best. Enough said.
5. GSOH: Now this man is funny, and articulate to boot. And it’s a real subtle humour, delivered so dry you think he’s offending you, then realise he’s not, but might be a little, and that only makes it better. Basically, someone this sort of funny is so fucking difficult to find. Sure, he makes one joke too many about the food, but cooking’s his thing, so we’ll let that slide, for now.
Much love Hanni. If you’re sick of waiting for Clarice to show up on the series, then holler at me. Settle for Clarissa. I’m right here, bro. ❤ xoxo