Clarice season 1, episode 1 recap – “The Silence Is Over”

February 12, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 2
Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“The Silence Is Over” establishes Clarice as its own show away from Hannibal Lecter’s long shadow, and thus far it seems to be getting alone fine without him.

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3.5

Summary

“The Silence Is Over” establishes Clarice as its own show away from Hannibal Lecter’s long shadow, and thus far it seems to be getting alone fine without him.


This Clarice season 1, episode 1 recap for the episode titled “The Silence Is Over” contains spoilers.


In the 30 years since The Silence of the Lambs, everyone seems to have forgotten about young FBI Agent Clarice Starling. Dr. Hannibal Lecter, on the other hand, the serial killer she mined for information to help track down a different serial killer, has received plenty of attention in the form of sequels and prequels and spin-offs; he and his mask and his dietary preferences are baked into the popular culture. Thanks to some arcane rights issue, though, he’s nothing to do with CBS’s new Clarice, from showrunners Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman. And maybe that’s for the best.

It’s only fitting, since The Silence of the Lambs was hilariously released on Valentine’s Day in 1991, that this continuation airs just prior to the same holiday, and that Clarice episode 1 is titled “The Silence Is Over”. The point is taken. There’s scarcely any mention of Lecter, but plenty of Buffalo Bill, the skin-wearing serial murderer who has suitably traumatized Clarice Starling (Rebecca Breeds). Here, we find her far too unstable for the level of fame she has earned for cracking that case, which is a problem since attorney general Ruth Martin (Jayne Atkinson), the mother of one of Buffalo Bill’s victims, Catherine (Marnee Carpenter), wants to use Clarice’s profile to bolster her office’s efforts.

Thus Clarice, who is still avoiding Catherine’s phone calls so as not to be tarred by the same brush as a “victim”, is dragged from her self-imposed obscurity to the frontlines of ViCAP, the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, just in time to track down another serial killer. But her attempts to keep her nose clean don’t take, since she won’t tow the official line, and quickly deduces that what first appear to be the frenzied attacks of a madman are actually professional executions covered up with stab wounds and bite marks. She and her fellow agent Esquivel (Lucca De Oliveira) quickly uncover that the victims are whistleblowers in a clinical trial being bumped off by a professional killer, and rather than parrot sensationalist soundbites to the media at the behest of her a*****e superior Agent Paul Krendler (Michael Cudlitz), Clarice instead announces the truth and that she’s here to stay.

It’s a fine moment to cap off Clarice season 1, episode 1, which I seem to have liked more than most. It’s a bit bloodier and more suitably horrifying than your typical network procedural, for one thing, but I also never really noticed Lecter’s absence as a real elephant in the room (aside from one deliberately tongue-in-cheek reference about him being her former therapist.) And why should I? Lecter and Clarice had some chilling conversations, but they were on either side of a cell. What has defined her since, at least in the context of this show, is taking down Buffalo Bill personally, which is why her PTSD manifests as stylistic glimpses of his manky house of horrors. Just because Lecter is what the general public took away from The Silence of the Lambs doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what Clarice took away, which strikes me as a neat workaround for the rights dispute. I’m sure he would be in the show if they could get away with it, but they can’t, so he’s not, and for the most part that seems just fine.

And Clarice is compelling enough on her own! Squint a little and Rebecca Breeds could quite easily be that young, thickly-accented Jodie Foster, and officially existing in the same universe as the film puts her character in an interesting position of earned fame but also serious emotional damage and trauma. It’ll be a difficult line for the show to keep walking, but the premiere does an admirable job of feeling both like a continuation and its own thing. I’ll be here for as long as Clarice is, in part because I’m professionally mandated to be, but also because I’m intrigued to see what becomes of her next.

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2 thoughts on “Clarice season 1, episode 1 recap – “The Silence Is Over”

  • February 15, 2021 at 5:45 pm
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    I appreciate your working this article and also the rest of the site is really good. I just want to say thanks for sharing this post.

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