Emily Clark

TV Series Review

It’s 1993, a year since FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling visited the infamous serial killer Hannibal Lecter in prison in order to gain insight on the equally infamous Buffalo Bill, who murdered and skinned his victims.

Clarice tracked, shot and killed Bill. And although Bill managed to kidnap seven women, Clarice was able to rescue the final one, Catherine, before he killed her as well.

But despite these victories, Clarice isn’t doing so hot. She still dreams about moths every night (Buffalo Bill’s calling card) and remembers his death, and those of his victims, in vivid detail. This is triggered even more so whenever she has to face the press. So, to keep them at bay, she hides away in the FBI’s basement, inputting data for the Behavioral Sciences team.

Her therapist says she’s deflecting, but Clarice insists she’s coping just fine and is content to continue living under the radar.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world isn’t quite as content with Clarice’s choice.

The Screaming Of The Lambs

Catherine’s mother (and newly appointed attorney general), Ruth Martin, pulls Clarice out of the basement much like Clarice once pulled her daughter out of Bill’s. Back in D.C. they’ve found victims whose wounds match the MO of a serial killer, and Ruth wants Clarice to find him.

Except, she doesn’t care so much about catching the guy as she does about making sure Clarice is the one who does it.

With Clarice being such a press magnet, putting her on a team that specializes in capturing serial killers is giving Martin a lot of good press. But Ruth also hopes that having Clarice around will encourage the agent to reach out to Catherine, who, like Clarice, is still struggling from her experience with Bill.

However, Paul Krendler, who was on the Buffalo Bill case and is now the head of Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, still doesn’t like Clarice. For starters, he thinks Clarice got lucky with Bill and doesn’t like that Martin is using her to build her own reputation. But he’s also been in touch with Clarice’s therapist. And as her superior, he worries that she might suffer her own psychotic break.

Well, Clarice? Have the Lambs Stopped Screaming?

Clarice offers a look not only at what happened to Clarice after the events of The Silence of the Lambs, but also at how survivors of serial killers cope with the trauma.

Clarice and Catherine are not OK. Ruth tells Clarice that Catherine has become “very thin” since her experience because Buffalo Bill only kidnapped larger women. And the fact that Clarice is not only being put into situations that trigger her own PTSD but also being told exactly what she can and can’t say to the press regarding these situations can’t be good either.

By that criterion alone, many viewers might choose to steer clear of this crime drama since it might seem a little too real. But potential viewers should also be wary of the crimes themselves.

In addition to seeing flashbacks of Bill’s heinous crimes (which includes very graphic shots of him sewing victims’ skins into a suit), we also see the victims of other serial killers on the show. The Violent Criminal Apprehension team also takes a beating when they try to stop these alleged psychopaths, and sometimes they have to shoot the murderers to do so.

Language is another factor. And it because Clarice grew up in a church, we sometimes see references to Christianity and the Bible.Clarice feels like the team of NCIS hunted down Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill. It’s dark, but it plays out like so many other serial crime dramas, which somehow makes it seem less so. That being said, viewers who don’t want to see mangled corpses on screen should probably find a show that doesn’t show them in literally every episode.

Episode Reviews

Feb. 11, 2021: “The Silence Is Over”

When two corpses show up in a river with similar wounds, Clarice is called to Washington, D.C., to investigate the possibility of a serial killer.

Flashbacks show Buffalo Bill getting shot by Clarice and bleeding from his wounds. He also sews the skins of his victims together while keeping Catherine locked in his basement. (He is nude in these shots, but nothing critical is seen.) We see the bloody and mangled corpses of victims from the new killer. (The bodies are nude, but again, nothing critical is seen.) One woman is found still alive in her bathtub but bleeding heavily from having her wrists slit in an attempt to make it look like she committed suicide.

Clarice and another member of her team are choked out and , later, beaten by a killer. They stab him with knives and shards of glass, but it isn’t until Clarice shoots him that he stops attacking them.

We hear the song, “Jesus, thou art the sinner’s friend.” Someone reads a verse from Exodus after seeing it on a fridge. A woman recounts asking her pastor for help as a girl. Someone has a notebook entitled “People I’m sending to H—.”

We learn that several children have special needs because of an adverse reaction to a drug trial their mothers participated in for migraines. A man smokes a cocaine pipe in a drug den. We hear a reference to an eating disorder. Someone wipes semen onto Clarice’s desk drawer handle as a prank. We hear uses of “d–n,” “h—” and “b–ch.” God’s name is also misused.

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Emily Clark
Emily Clark

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

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