This past year has been one of reflection, binging everything from food to old Sex and the City episodes, completing every DIY project on Pinterest and catching up with old friends via some sort of technological gadget.
When I first heard rumblings about Clarice, I thought “When, What, Why, Where, How?” Tackling a project like this seemed equivalent to raising the Titanic. It didn’t seem possible or necessary. After doing some research I discovered that the show was going to pick up one year after the Buffalo Bill murders (1993) and show how Agent Clarice Starling (portrayed by Rebecca Breeds of The Originals) had moved on and how she is dealing with being a star in a male dominated field that seemingly doesn’t want her there. Fair enough. It would be interesting to find out what Starling had been up to during the gap between Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.
Anticipation for the 1st episode released February 11 has been crazy. The teasers were all so good. We have ALL been stuck in the house for close to a year desperate for new content that didn’t involve a Zoom meeting, some version of home schooling, or heaven forbid- a new TikTok dance to learn. The news of this series was dropped just when we needed it most and gave us something to look forward to. It definitely did not disappoint. Put the Fucking Lotion in the Basket and prepare yourself.
The episode jumps right in with flashes of the final scenes of Silence of the Lambs when Agent Starling finds and kills Buffalo Bill and rescues Catharine Martin. It played out like a familiar bowl of comfort food. We lived this, so many years ago, and just like that we are back, catching up with an old friend. That friend is Agent Clarice Starling and there is not a Zoom meeting in sight or a virus that rhymes with SMOVID.
A year after the Buffalo Bill case Agent Starling is being evaluated for her mental stability to return to work. The evaluation is abruptly ended when representatives of the newly appointed Attorney General Ruth Martin (“Love the suit”) calls upon Clarice due to a potential serial killer on the loose. Clarice initially fights the assignment feeling she lacks experience. AG Miller doesn’t take no for an answer and off she goes.
At the crime scene she is greeted by the always hard nosed, crusty Paul Krendler portrayed by the much less crusty Michael Cudlitz of The Kids are Alright and The Walking Dead fame. He still has something stuck in his craw for Agent Starling seeing as she was a trainee and completely upstaged him in solving the Buffalo Bill case. He makes that known from his very first appearance. From Clarice and Krendler’s first scene together you find yourself doing an inner monologue of “Come on Starling, prove that asshole wrong! Show him what you got!” At this crime scene there are 2 female bodies, different ages and ethnicities but similar injuries and cause of death. Krendler is certain it is a Serial Killer. Clarice? Not so much. Krendler not so kindly mansplains to her that she will tell the press it is a Serial Killer and that is that. Clarice complies but still isn’t feeling it.
During this crime scene investigation we are introduced to the team. Other than Krendler we have Shaan Tripathi (Kal Penn), Tomas Esquivel (Lucca De Oliveira) and Agent Clark (Nick Sandow). We don’t get a ton from Agent Clark and Tripathi but I suspect their characters will have quite a bit of screen time in the future. Let’s face it, Kal Penn could stand there and read a telephone book and it would be amazing.
The writers bless us with another brainstorming session with Clarice and her Quantico bestie Ardelia Mapp (Devyn Tyler). I love the bond between these 2 characters and I have always felt Ardelia didn’t get the kudos for her contribution with whole “he knew her” statement in Silence of the Lambs. Hopefully this character will be a lot more present (and rewarded) in the series.
Clarice does find a confidant on the team with Tomas. They are sent to speak with the next of kin of the victims. Tomas confides in her that he believes in her skills and will basically follow her lead. Through the interview process with the next of kin they discover a connection which I will not spoil because you need to watch the show!
Overall the whole episode was fantastic. One scene in particular had my heart in my throat. A 3rd victim is found and Krendler refuses to let Clarice come along and banishes her to desk duty. While at the desk she receives a call from Catherine Martin, who has clearly not recovered from her near death experience. Intermittent flashbacks of Buffalo Bill and Catherine in the well complete with the song Goodbye Horses during this scene bring back all of the feels and anxiety of the film. The writers did an excellent job of putting you in that well with Catherine. There is even an appearance by a furry little friend. I will let you watch and figure out who that is.
One appearance or mention that should not be expected is the name of everyone’s favorite Chianti drinking, fava bean and liver eating doctor. Hannibal Lector. Due to Intellectual Property and a bunch of other legal terms that I don’t have the degree to decipher, he can not be mentioned or visually portrayed. This did not take away from the show at all. The writers and cast kept you in the story the whole time and not once did I even think about that Doctor fellow. What was his name again?
Executive Producers Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman have done fantastic work preserving this gem and adding just the right amount of sizzle and tension. I am looking forward to what they come up with for the rest of the season. Get those bottles of Chianti ready because I do believe we are in for an amazing recap of what Agent Clarice Starling did on Summer vacation.
Did you watch Clarice? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!