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'Hannibal': For the Love of All Mankind

By Alexander Joenks | Hannibal | February 26, 2014 |

By Alexander Joenks | Hannibal | February 26, 2014 |

Hannibal is back, yo. In the patented Friday night death slot, but then the ratings for this masterpiece can’t get any lower, so I don’t think much is going to change in that regard. I wrote about it last summer in the middle of its wonderful first season, and one thing I said was:

“Notice that to a lesser or greater degree every murder on “Hannibal” is one of art, one of constructing something that to the killer’s mind, is beautiful. They are all trying to build something, sculpting with human flesh as the clay.”

This kept coming back to me at times, rolling around down there in the black. See, across fiction, the scenes that always have eaten at me, haunted me, stuck with me aren’t the ones that are necessarily gruesome. Not necessarily from horror movies and the like. They’re the ones where someone is simply dispatched. You know, the execution, the shot to the back of the head, the casual cutting of a throat. Those images rip away at me.

But Hannibal’s killers, they kill in order to create. They find value in human beings. It’s twisted, gross, and not even remotely resembling what a normal person would call ‘value’, but it’s there nonetheless. They’re the antithesis of that monster that bothers me the most. Because they love people, they absolutely love them, the way that an artist loves his paints or a writer loves her words.

Hannibal’s not a true monster. True monsters are nihilists. What makes them so terrible is that they don’t care at all. They don’t torture, they don’t mutilate, they just turn people off like light switches without even a blip on the emotional radar. Ask the millions of dead in unmarked graves of the last century, because that’s the murder that the industrial age perfected.

Hannibal, though, he does everything he does out of love for mankind.