TVLine's Performer of the Week: Hannibal's Gillian Anderson

THE PERFORMER | Gillian Anderson

THE SHOW | Hannibal

THE EPISODE | “The Wrath of the Lamb” (August 29, 2015)

THE PERFORMANCE | Anderson’s performance as Hannibal‘s haughty-trippy Bedelia du Maurier has, for two seasons now, been a study in cool, calm and controlled — with undercurrents of wicked and sensual, and a top note of the slightly psychotic. In the show’s series finale, though, as Bedelia was confronted with the reality of her erstwhile patient/”husband” Dr. Lecter on the loose and preparing to have her for dinner, the actress seized her mere three-and-a-half minutes of screen time to paint an astonishingly visceral portrait of terror, disbelief, rage and disgust.

The establishing shot of Bedelia — eyes darting around in a panic, lip slightly curled with mounting fear — told us more vividly than any dialogue that her romantic rival and sniping partner Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) had informed her of his plan to free Hannibal and use him as bait to capture the notorious Tooth Fairy serial killer. Anderson allowed silence to linger, as Bedelia attempted to catch her breath (and pour herself a stiff drink) before carefully expressing her utter bewilderment at such a thoughtless plan.

Moments later, though, as Bedelia eased into her therapist’s chair and confronted Will eye-to-eye, her tone shifted to one of warning: “However you think that you are going to manipulate this situation to your advantage, think again,” she purred, every word glistening with menace and contributing to an operatic crescendo. “Who holds the devil, let him hold him well. [Hannibal] will hardly be caught a second time.”

Finally realizing that Will wasn’t merely committed to his plan, but enjoying the terrible position it put her in — “I’d pack my bags, Bedelia,” he practically smiled, “meat’s back on the menu” — Anderson stripped Bedelia of her icy facade for one glorious line. “You righteous, reckless, twitching little man,” she hissed. “You might as well cut all our throats and be done with it.”

After the closing credits, showrunner Bryan Fuller snuck in a little denouement underscoring that a quick blade to the carotid, in fact, might’ve been a true gift to Bedelia. As the camera panned back from the woozy, décolletage-spilling doc at a banquet table, we realized it was her own leg that had been roasted and served by some unseen tormentor. (The culinary presentation did hint at H., though, didn’t it?) Through the haze of meds and madness, though, Anderson allowed us to see the unthinkable — a slight grin emerging on Bedelia’s terrified face — after which she reached for a deadly two-pronged fork from her place setting, yet another move on the Hannibal chessboard. The brilliance and beauty of Anderson’s finale work made us hope that if, by some long shot, Fuller revives Hannibal at another network or transports it to the big screen, Bedelia Du Maurier will have legs. Or at least one of ’em.

ED QUINN, SONJA BENNETT, YUNJIN KIMHONORABLE MENTION | Yunjin Kim has certainly had crazier moments on ABC’s summer sudser Mistresses, but as her Karen entered the quiet confines of a hospital intensive care unit to say goodbye to her dying lover Vivian, she was never more authentic or affecting. Early in the hour, Karen allowed Vivian to touch her stomach — and have a moment of closeness with the growing fetus they’d conceived during their polyamorous relationship with Vivian’s husband Alec. As Vivian’s liver went into a state of sepsis, however, Kim expressed the raw pain and undercurrent of love and gratitude that comes when a loved one is ready to pass. Kim’s reaction shots as Vivian filmed a video to be played for the child they’d conceived together only made Sonja Bennett’s monologue that much more heartbreaking, but it was her followup monologue that proved downright revelatory. “After everything I’ve been through in my life, very little surprises me. But you — you surprised me. Boy, did you surprise me. And I am so grateful for that,” Karen began, and Kim let us feel the urgency and the weight of what she knew was a final farewell. “I thought saving you would give my life meaning. But loving you is what has given my life meaning, my sweet, graceful friend.” With ABC still mum about Mistresses‘ future, it might also be time to bid adieu to Kim’s sweet, graceful performance. Sad as that may be, you can color us grateful, as well.

POTWHONORABLE MENTION Although Masters of Sex has made Betty its go-to zinger flinger, Annaleigh Ashford isn’t just comic relief, she’s also a helluva dramatic actress — a point she drove home in “Surrogates.” Yes, Betty had tried to trick boss Bill into impregnating her lover. And yes, it was wrong. But no way was she gonna let him lecture her about keeping her personal affairs out of the office, not when he’d been cheating on his wife with colleague Virginia for years! And yes, of course, Betty knew. As the secretary put it, “I’m a lesbian, not a moron.” In the end, she asked Bill to do what she long had, and look the other way. We, on the other hand, wouldn’t — and couldn’t — take our eyes off of her portrayer.

Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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25 Comments
  1. D. says:

    Gillian Handerson was pure perfection in every scene she had in Hannibal. Terrific actress.

  2. Cate53 says:

    Agreed, Gillian Anderson did so much in just a few scenes. Her run on the show has been really in keeping with the glacial beauty of the show. Still and often silent, enigmatic but ravishing to look at!

    Also LOVED that the wonderful Annaleigh Ashford finally got something to do than deliver the mail and a quick quip. It was also good to see someone call Bill on his hypocrisy over ethics. Ashford is the brightest spark on this increasingly grim and depressing show.

  3. Shannon says:

    Carl Beukes in this week’s episode of Dominion should’ve gotten at least an honourable mention, I reckon. Really sold the emotions of what Gabriel was going through whilst being tortured by Julian.

  4. Sara says:

    Gillian Anderson’s Bedelia has been an entertaining and icy enigma since she first appeared in season 1. It was a real treat to watch her really crack in the finale. That she was able to do so much in so few scenes throughout the series has been a real testament to Ms. Anderson’s abilities.
    And I totally agree with another poster, Carl Beukes from Dominion would have been a well deserved honorable mention this week!

  5. TD says:

    Gillian/Bedelia’s drugged-out scene from a few episodes ago on “Hannibal” was also a highlight of the series–and hilarious!

  6. Bob Backus says:

    Anderson is great, and one can only hope this cancellation has hit Fuller hard and he learns from his mistakes. The first half of the season had to be the worst in TV history. His head was so firmly up his own butt that he forgot what the show was or that the characters needed to be more than 1 dimensional. Every character spouting the same pop psycho-babble- even a stinking orderly talked like Shakespeare, made the show very one dimensional and boring. At least the second half got back to it’s roots and not everyone talked that way. When…… you……have……nothing…….interesting……..to…….say…….leave……. long…..spaces ……..between….. words……and the morons will be fooled into thinking its Deep Thoughts. Same thing goes for lack of originality, use slow motion or show the same slow motion close-up of dripping water or blood that you used in the first two seasons. The show was very rightly cancelled, hopefully Fuller learns. His previous shows- Pushing Daisies and Wonder Falls were excellent, as was Hannibal till this season. – Must be the lesson, cancel or remove Fuller from the show before the 3rd season.

  7. mArS says:

    Rami Malek should win every week.

    • Laura E. says:

      Did he win any week? I expected to see his name the past month and never did.

    • Lovinda says:

      Yes! He’s been a revelation this summer.

    • Scifilover says:

      Rami Malek is that the actor from Mr Robot? I’ve been trying to get into it. I’ve been watching on demand and I don’t think the pilot was there so I’m a little mixed up about what’s going on. What is he all about? I say one thing he is a very odd looking man. I think the only other thing I’ve seen him in was Night at the Museum

  8. kirads09 says:

    Since it aired week ago Friday not sure if it falls under last week or this week. But I want to give a hm to the entire cast of Defiance for the entire S3. That (hopefully only Season) finale was nothing short of awesome. I especialy want to shout out Trenna Keating and Tony Curran for the life they give their incredible characters. Love Doc and Datak more than anything.

  9. Topsy Turvy says:

    I … found … her … pretentious … vocal … affectation … pure … torture. It’s … one … of … the … things … I … won’t … miss … about … the … series.

    • Scifilover says:

      I watched only one episode and found Bedelia boring as hell. If she talked any slower they would need an extra hour.

  10. Leo says:

    Yunjin Kim is amazing. Especially her scene in the car. so raw, so emotional…

  11. nikki says:

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. She was brilliant. Wonderful actress. Wonderful character. Wonderful show. Fannibal 4 life!

  12. kirads09 says:

    If you haven’t already, check out Gillian in The Fall on Netflix. She is amazing in that. Goosebumps because that show gives me 100% original Prime Suspect feels.

  13. I really don’t understand this fascination with Gillian Anderson’s Bedelia, she says the most obvious things in longest winded ways. I’m a fan of Gillian Anderson but just not in this role and this was a waste of a nod considering this was the last episode.

  14. thefeatheredsleep says:

    Everytime I see her I nearly faint. She’s just incredible