Deadshirt Is Watching…is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt staff, contributors, and guests sound off on the television shows we’re tuned into, from intense dramas to clever sitcoms to the most insane reality shows. This week: Hannibal, Silicon Valley, and Daredevil!
Dominic Griffin is watching…
Season 3, Episode 1 “Antipasto”
Thursdays at 10:00PM on NBC
I can’t quite explain why NBC chose to bring Hannibal back for a third season, considering its abysmal viewership, but being one of the religious few who loves the damn show, I won’t complain, either. Showrunner Bryan Fuller has been quoted as saying they’re not trying to create television with their liberty taking adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novels, but rather a pretentious eighties art film. Never has this been more apparent than the third season premiere, a sumptuously shot flight of fancy that serves as a definitive break from the show’s passive-aggressive procedural masquerade. It reminds me of Benjamin Linus summoning the Smoke Monster in “Shape of Things To Come,” Lost’s Season Four declaration that from here on out, this series is for the diehards. We came to Hannibal for the torturous bromance, the deliciously realized debauchery, and the horrifying exploration of the devil’s soul. There’s no reason to pretend anyone here cares about a case of the week.
“Antipasto” makes little effort to catch up with Will Graham or any of his cohorts from the season two finale, instead taking a detour to Italy, where Hannibal and his former therapist/current co-conspirator are hiding out as Dr. Roman Fell and his wife, a couple Hannibal killed. Although he’s “taken off his person suit” and is fully exposed to the cast back home, seeing him pretend to be someone else almost allows us to see Hannibal more than we ever have. He’s vulnerable and mellowed in a way that’s impossible to trust, but continues this show’s trend of stacking symbols upon deception upon themes. Every twist and turn is a layer cake of tumultuous drama
The performances and the writing are as prestige as ever (specifically Gillian Anderson, who is doing some of the best work of her career) but the cinematography and direction (here courtesy of Cube‘s Vincenzo Natali) ratchet up to absurd levels of gorgeous execution. Brian Reitzell’s score is also let off the chain, peaking and spiking with startling flourishes. The fact that this season’s first half is just a preamble for an adaptation of Red Dragon means this seven-course meal is just getting started.
Episode Highlight: The dinner Hannibal and Bedelia share with Dimmond, a man who knew the real Dr. Fell, is one of the most richly written scenes in the show’s history. “My husband is very particular about the way I taste.” “Is it that kind of party?”
Madie Coe is watching…
Season 2, Episode 9: “Binding Arbitration”
Sundays at 10 pm ET on HBO
After redeeming himself by handing a left-behind cell phone with the defunct Nucleus algorithm over to Richard, Hooli’s team of lawyers manages to successfully prop up Nelson Bighetti, a.k.a. “Big Head,” as a major thought leader in order to falsely frame him as a key player at the inception of Pied Piper. As Richard, Erlich, and an extremely shady-but-effective lawyer (not an attorney!) battle Gavin and the predatory team of Hooli lawyers over the intellectual rights to the Pied Piper middle-out algorithm in the small court, Dinesh and Gilfoyle ply Jared’s worries that the condor egg on their live feed has been abandoned in the nest and died.
Overall, Season Two has pushed the raunchy, irreverent, but painstakingly truthful take on the tech industry. This episode showcases the perfect condescension, smarts, and plethora of dick jokes that make Silicon Valley what it is. With one episode left in the season, as “Binding Arbitration” has brought up; Pied Piper’s fate is a Schrodinger scenario with the possibilities frozen in quantum superposition.
Episode Highlight: With tight writing throughout (this one is chock full of biting quips and horrifying nuggets of information), it’s hard to pick a favorite moment. Perhaps Erlich’s hail mary scream of “I’m Richard’s girlfriend” in the court room.
David Lebovitz is watching…
Season 1, Epsiode 13 “Daredevil”
Whenever You Damn Well Please on Netflix
I know what you’re thinking: “It took you two months to finish Daredevil? What kind of person are you?” I’m the kind of person who does a lot of night shifts, thank you very much. Now stop judging me, especially because it’s even money that you’re reading this during your day job.
Daredevil already had a case for being in the top three entries into the MCU, and this final episode helps cement its place as perhaps one of the top two. Everything about it is good—Foggy and Matt coming to terms with “the new normal” of Foggy knowing Matt’s identity, Fisk proposing to Vanessa as he’s whisked away by law enforcement, and Fisk’s ultimate confrontation with a finally costumed Daredevil. The show is brilliantly paced, and the fact that there are any number of plausible ways the show could end makes the tension that much more palpable.
Big credit to everyone running the show here—they managed to completely wrap up the season’s storyline while planting seeds for new ones, and in no way did one sacrifice for the other. What I’m looking forward to getting resolved next season: Karen Page’s background. We know she shot someone in the past and Urich found something that would “undermine her credibility.” I sincerely hope it’s not her being a heroin junkie porn actress; that’s a storyline adaptation I can live without.
Episode Highlight: (Highlight for minor spoiler, but you probably finished the series before I did: Wilson Fisk staring at the prison wall, which bares an uncanny resemblance to the wall he was made to stare at as a child.)