Hey, everybody, let’s huddle in and take a knee for a second.
When Laura first started this website, her goal was
the systematic and devastating mind-control takeover of the human race to provide a place for people to write and talk about their favorite shows and movies, and for people who enjoyed things to come and enjoy them freely, without having to worry about writers who hated what they were writing about, or fighting with other fans. Positivity was the main goal, here, and I think she’s succeeded. This is a great place full of great, thoughtful people who really love the things they love.
This is, unfortunately, why I have to take a bit of a break from recapping Hannibal. There was going to be a slight delay on the recaps for episodes 5 and 6 anyway, as I’ll be away for a week and a half. However, I haven’t been able to make a dent in the “Takiawase” recap, either. Every time I try to write, there’s nothing I can think of that isn’t mean or bitter. That’s not in the spirit of the site, for one, and for two–recapping Hannibal, watching it and writing about it and talking about it with other fans, is a labor of love. Writing about it is work, but I enjoyed it and I enjoyed sharing it with you all, so it was honestly a nice little creative break from the stress of the rest of my life.
After “Takiawase,” I was uncomfortable with the position Beverly Katz was left in, and that discomfort started to build on itself the more I thought about it. When I learned about what was going to happen in this Friday’s episode, I was angry, and in the course of discussions that I participated in and observed, a really aggressively unpleasant response from fans who didn’t see the problem with the circumstances of Katz’s death exacerbated the issues. Bryan Fuller’s summary dismissal of criticism and sudden inability to engage with unhappy viewers (after a year of fairly open communication between himself and the fans), plus his tacit approval of fans who had no problem with the circumstances of Katz’s death directly attacking the fans who were upset, really left a nasty taste in my mouth. Fuller has spoken before about how appreciative he is of the fact that women are the driving force behind Hannibal‘s success, how he identifies with the energy female viewers bring to the table, how he’s tried to incorporate more women into the very male universe he’s created out of Harris’s original one.
I believed him for a long time. I compartmentalized a lot of very blatant evidence that the show we were getting was not the show Fuller claimed to be trying to make, because so much of it was my total jam. A dark, imaginative, semi-gothic fever dream with a talented cast and artistic gore? FINALLY. Oh, okay, another beautifully-displayed female corpse. And another one. Full sequences of women being assaulted and brutalized while the violence done to guys is mainly in the abstract, or glossed over, or only seen after the fact. Georgia Madchen dies horribly. Abigail dies ambiguously but also horribly. Fuller said that the murders were equal-opportunity, and maybe the numbers check out. Maybe there’s technically an equal amount of dead men as there are dead women, or even more male victims. But the vast difference between the way most of the male victims are handled and the way most of the female victims are handled is undeniable.
I put up with it until the details of Katz’s exit came out, and it threw everything that came before it back into the light. I’ve gone into detail elsewhere and I’ll go into more if you’d like to talk about it, but essentially it boils down to: I have to figure out if I’m willing to keep putting my time and energy into a show that brutally, needlessly, nonsensically slaughters the only woman of color with a regular role (and my favorite character) in order to bring two men closer together, after a long string of brutally slaughtered women have been paraded in front of us already. It would be different if viewers hadn’t been encouraged by the showrunners to think of the show as progressive, groundbreaking, and female-friendly. It’s not really any of these things, not right now.
There is a lot about the show I love, which is why this is a hiatus instead of a full-on abandonment. Maybe when this isn’t so raw for me and I can take a step back, I’ll be able to come in and finish out the season, at least. Maybe Fuller will snap out of his Offended Baby funk and see what people are saying, and work on himself and his priorities with regards to female characters and characters of color. Maybe maybe maybe.
Hettienne Park herself has written a thoughtful post about this situation that deserves a read. She disagrees with the criticism but doesn’t say it’s wrong, which I really appreciate. I hope she gets into something awesome ASAP, because she’s so talented and fun to watch.
But as it stands, I’m just tired. I appreciate all of the support and the overwhelmingly kind response to my previous recaps, and I hope you can understand this decision!
I’ll leave you with this–still extremely relevant–couple of paragraphs I wrote way back in the recap for episode six (and I think I might have expressed some dismay at the amount of dead women as early as episode one or two):
NOT HOW IT WORKS. NOT EVEN IN NORMAL HOSPITALS. Even if the nurse was a big burly dude, they would not have left even a restrained and unconscious killer alone with him (especially when they ALREADY SENT THREE ARMED GUARDS AND TWO MALE ORDERLIES JUST TO RETRIEVE THE PATIENT), but it would almost be narratively justifiable. This is just dumb, and the kind of thing that is so far removed from reality that it isn’t an acceptable oversight, even within the framework of a show about cannibals being BFFS with FBI agents.
All the more reason to STOP KILLING WOMEN AND START KILLING BIG BURLY DUDES INSTEAD JESUS CHRIST BRYAN FULLER. I have a sneaking suspicion (since the show doesn’t seem to be run by violent misogynists) that all the writers assume Female Victim=More Sympathy. But that backfires a little bit when most of the audience’s sympathy is going toward all the women who have horrible violence done to them in real life. I watch television to avoid thinking about the fact that some crazy dude could just decide “Hm, today is the day I want to murder a woman,” and that said woman could be me or someone I love, and there’d be no way to stop it from happening. It’s fucked up! And the writers going out of their way to ignore all logic and realism to make sure a woman is killed this way is a huge pain in the ass.