"Clarice" Series Talkback (Spoilers)

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Clarice "The Silence Is Over"

I'm a little disappointed. After the artistry that was Hannibal, it's a little bit of a let-down the next series to try and adapt a Thomas Harris novel is just a straight-up procedural. It's a nice enough procedural but there will be no Wendigos here.

I like how stubborn they made Clarice in telling the media the truth rather than what her bosses wanted her to say. That will make the next few weeks dramatic.

It's interesting this is set in 1993. Not very many shows set during this era.

It was all right but Bryan Fuller's vision is not something that can easily be lived up to. ***.

Clarice "Ghosts Of Highway 20"

I actually liked this a lot.

As a reminder this is set in the early 90's, Waco is still fresh.

I liked Clarice's tactic for getting into the cult leader's head. It was a smart reversal.

Better than the first episode. ****.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Clarice "Are You Alright?"

That was pretty darn solid, to be truthful. Seriously. This will never be Hannibal, but I like it anyways.

I'll tell you where it's better than Hannibal. It's better than Hannibal in the one way Hannibal sucked. My biggest reservation about Hannibal, (particularly the first season), is that it consistently refused to offer a negative judgment against serial killers and their actions. Yes, the FBI tried to catch them, but the tension of the series is whether or not Hannibal Lecter can turn Will Graham onto the idea because it's supposedly a good form of therapy for mentally ill people. And Hannibal: The Series definitely had artistry, and went interesting places with that notion, especially because they somehow did it all without telling rape stories or glorifying violence against women. But I like the lady standing up at the Senate hearing, and calling serial killers monsters, and saying they had to be stopped. And I didn't realize how much I needed that from this franchise until she said it. I mean, I was always leery about it on Hannibal. But it wasn't necessary to me liking or enjoying that show. What this tells me is that I would have liked and enjoyed the show much more had they done that.

The second major thing to note is that the franchise takes a dim view of psychologists and always has. Forget Hannibal Lecter. Chilton was always portrayed as a pain in the neck, and both of Clarice's therapists here are manipulative and working against her. All of the therapists on this show are either villains or bad at their jobs.

I liked where the case went, even if I predicted it as it was going. I don't mind a predictable story if it is told the correct way. And the reason I predicted it is because it WAS told the right way. So I very much enjoyed this episode. ****.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Clarice "You Can't Rule Me"

Neat cliffhanger.

I loved Clarice's roommate reading her the riot act for trying to use their friendship to help with her investigation. It's good the FBI's racial biases are going to be explored.

The show made a mistake. Terry Schiavo was mentioned, but that happened during the Bush Administration, and the show is supposed to be set in 1993.

I found the scene where Krendler explained to Clarice why he was hard on her interesting because I thought it was a very good reason.

Murray is turning out to be quite a character. He does not look like a typical actor cast as a series regular on most of television.

Another solid week. ***1/2.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Clarice "Get Right With God"

Marilyn is not a very effective psycho nurse. Annie Wilkes would have went up and simply hobbled Clarice fifteen minutes into the episode.

I notice that even though Clarice was trapped on the bed it always felt like she had the upper hand. Which is good.

Interesting episode. ****1/2.
 

Fone Bone

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Clarice "How Does It Feel To Be So Beautiful"

Martin is the worst mother ever. It would be one thing if she actually wanted to help Catherine. But she's using her as a prop to say how much she sucks. I think Martin is the actual broken person in that house.

Sean's story of his wife was great. Really moving and brutal in the right places.

The man in Clarice's vision being Krendler's lawyer is an interesting twist. I wonder where they will go with it.

For the record, Clark saying he wants to keeps the circle small to Ardelia makes me instantly distrust him. He just became the prime suspect of being the leak by doing that.

It's weird, but the procedural aspect of the show was absent this week. And I didn't actually mind it so much. ***1/2.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Clarice "Ugly Truth"

Case of the week was super creepy.

The reason Murray is always looking at porn is a brilliant one. I always pegged him for a lech and it's very interesting that isn't it at all.

Krendler is in a lot of trouble.

Good episode. ****.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Clarice "Add-A-Bead"

I like the last scene but I feel like Grigoryan should have been a part of it. Too bad Kal Penn took the week off.

I like Krendler enjoying the fast food with his son. That was a fun moment especially because his son thinks he's totally lame for it.

Hannibal Lecter is mentioned, but not directly by name. Must be a rights issue.

Solid. ***1/2.
 

Fone Bone

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Clarice "Silence Is Purgatory"

As far as this franchise goes, this was long overdue.

Buffalo Bill was a terrible message against transgender people when Thomas Harris created them and Jonathan Demme popularized them. I like this episode for taking responsibility for that, and Clarice realizing that she hurt a LOT of people she didn't intend to by never correcting the media's most salacious aspects of the story. It's a mea culpa that even if the series is set in that Universe in the 1990's, that some tropes are not acceptable. And I am very glad about that.

Speaking of the 1990's, that was WAY before "under the bus" became a popular saying.

Frankly I would not be as cool with Ardelia as Clarice is. Ardelia is very lucky Clarice is currently feeling a black hole of guilt. She probably thinks that Ardelia filing the case against her specifically is no less than she deserves. And in that moment. I think she's probably right.

Is Kal Penn off the show? His name is no longer in the credits but it's weird Grigoryan has simply dropped off the face of the Earth without explanation instead of actually being written out of the show.

Kathryn's ex totally sucks, but I very much like that she was able to itemize the very real reasons he sucked to his face. She might not be capable of much strength, but I'm glad she had that in her.

Clark's behavior was really grating on me this episode, and I liked Clarice drawing the line to him at the end. It was his fault for using the blackmail tactics which led to Naomi being killed. They shouldn't be rushing to do that on another innocent woman.

Very cool episode. ****1/2.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Clarice "Motherless Child"

That was super interesting. The ending intrigues me because it's been awhile since I saw the film, and I forgot what Clarice actually told Lecter about her father. It may have been the truth and she repressed it here. I don't remember. I need to see the movie again.

Julia is the franchise making up for Buffalo Bill. I love that Clarke is weird with her, but I specifically love the reasons he was weird and found it endearing. On the surface Murray is a creep. You dig a little deeper and you realize that isn't it at all. It's fascinating, especially because you don't see too many series regulars with his unattractive looks. I'm not merely saying he's unattractive by TV standards. I think he's unattractive period, which makes him even more interesting to me.

Another way this show does some repairing about potential bad messages from The Silence Of The Lambs. The cops that Lecter killed in that movie were shock fodder, and the movie didn't give two craps about them. Here, we find out their unnecessary and cruel deaths ate Krendler and Ruth alive. And finding out they were responsible for the FBI seeking Lecter's help in the first place has dark implications if the series decides to explore Harris's later books (Which I hope they don't.). I personally think there is only so much Hannibal Lecter fall-out you can explore without being allowed to say the character's name.

I loved the stuff with Catherine and Bill's mother, and found it fascinating and as frustrating as Catherine did. I still don't understand the significance of the lotion and I resent the mother for not giving me answers that I want now now now! I also greatly respect the show for the stance that, "Crap happens". There might not be an answer as to why Bill was a monster. He might simply have been born one and nothing could have changed it. I really hope Clarice thinks a little deeper about that idea next week. It might help her daddy issues.

I love Clarice disobeying Ruth's orders and taking Catherine into the police. Believe it or not, that is actually the best thing somebody has done for Catherine since Clarice herself freed her from Bill. Her mother's "handling" of her increasingly dangerous behavior doesn't work because all it does is isolate Catherine, which is the thing that's killing her. Putting her in the system, having to deal with shrinks and the law, this is all stuff that has the potential to ground somebody in her specific frame of mind. Clarice is the best friend Ruth has ever had that she'll never fully appreciate.

For the record, I agree with Ruth that it was stupid Clarice never told anyone that Catherine was looking for Bill's mother. In hindsight, it was the stupidest mistake we've seen her make so far. I think the thing that makes me unhappy, and the mistake itself hard to forgive, is that there is no good justification for Clarice to make it. Even therapists have a duty to warn if a patient is engaging in threatening behavior. Clarice was trying to be Catherine's understanding friend, which is Clarice completely misreading what their relationship actually is. They have a bond. But it's not an actual friendship. I think a lot less of Clarice for not knowing that the entire time. It wasn't just the stupidest and worst thing Clarice has done (that we've seen). It was an entirely unforced error, which is why it annoyed me.

That episode was pretty riveting. I'm not going to go out on a crazy limb and say this show is better than Hannibal. There is an artistry to Hannibal that this show will never live up to. What I will say is that there were a few things (more than a few, actually) that I despised about Hannibal. Mostly that it tried to normalized Hannibal Lecter's fatalistic view of other people, and dehumanize the victims of serial killers. Being a murderer was portrayed as a legit lifestyle choice, and there was very little negative judgment attached to it, which appalled me every week. There is a glamour to being a killer in Hannibal that is entirely absent on the show. People on this show grieve the victims of serial killers. They try to pick up the pieces. The whole season isn't about the cast who Hannibal betrayed plotting lethal revenge on him. It's about Clarice helping Catherine understand that revenge is not something that is applicable in this sort of situation, and the best thing we can do is take care of ourselves and move on. Hannibal was a very cleverly written show with amazing and disturbing visuals that have rarely been matched on a TV series with no actual supernatural elements present. And yet a large part of me found the entire enterprise utterly detestable and I resented the reasons the fandom of that show actually liked it. Clarice is never gonna blow my mind visually or cinematically. And yet, I think its worldview and the characters it is exploring are far healthier things to show on television. Yes, it's incredible Hannibal got away with what it did on network television. But part of me thinks it got away with entirely too much.

So yeah, I'm giving that five stars. I don't recall if I've previously given an episode of this show a perfect grade, but that episode earned it. *****.
 
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Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Clarice "Achilles Heel"

Julia was this episode's MVP.

I got to say, learning Haggins was the culprit was a bit of a surprise but after meeting him you can clearly see he's deranged. If he and Clarice had shared a scene before this he would have been caught already. But yes, they were hunting a serial killer all along after all.

I can't help but feel the show is doing a Trump allegory, although it feels weird since the show it set in the early 1990's.

I love Katherine thanking Ruth for sending Clarice to her. I said last week that Clarice is the best friend Ruth could ever have that she'll never properly appreciate. That opinion stands.

I especially was rewarded to hear Krendler of all people tell her Clarice was actually right about everything. I personally think he's giving Clarice a bit TOO much there, but I liked it for the character growth.

Solid episode. Things are getting scary. ****.
 

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