Our stomachs have been emptied, our television tongues salivating with the lack of gore and horror, our appetites un-whetted and our palate fervent and begging for a little culture in our tastes. Hannibal has left us crying out for more as the cliff-hanger finale of season two, missing its psychological prowess and cannibalistic poetry. But now it’s back, answering some much needed questions (and leaving some still very much up in the air). Curving across the world and jetting off from the destroyed Baltimore, in the aftermath of a finale as four lives hang in balance, Hannibal’s third season lifts off into a much more seductive territory, Florence.
Visually divine, this episode is locked in the emotional power play between Bedelia and Hannibal. As the true nature of her acceptance of Hannibal and fleeing to Europe with him, as well as the past indiscretion with killing a violent patient, it becomes clear that her faith and trust in Hannibal is practically non-existent. Throughout, she is alluded to her own stance, a rabbit caught hangs dripping from its own capture whilst Hannibal in lectures speaks directly to her wavering faith. Gillian Anderson, a truly remarkable actress, is able to adeptly handle the fear that clings onto Bedelia whilst also slicing in her own moments of control. Whilst Hannibal is, indeed, the master of trickery, his supposed therapist has bounds of intelligence to battle against it. It’s beautiful to see them entwined this way.
Juxtaposed against Abel Gideon’s untimely death (where he ate his own legs), the episode is a stark reminder that Lecter is in full control of his actions and those around him who submit to his prowess are spellbound. As a theme that trickles, bloodlike, throughout the book, Hannibal is not above drugging and manipulating the high so when the low hits, his resonance is deep seated in their brain. This has been addressed before in the show with Abigail and Will Graham. It’s easy for fans to compare Bedelia to Clarice (a character who cannot appear in the series at the moment due to legalities.) After all, the Hannibal aspect of the show, which will run parallel to Red Dragon, is similar as Bedelia confesses to still being aware of her actions despite Hannibal’s seedy past with influencing the brain. Hannibal is seemingly always one step ahead, even when his plans seem foiled and futile, he manages to grab the upper-hand be sublime waltzing with the frailty of the human psyche. In these moments, despite the lavish amounts of gore and food porn, the show is seductively terrifying.
Though audiences will be dismayed that we don’t know the conclusion of the finale in Baltimore, our characters still left critically maimed and dying, this is a defining welcome back to Hannibal as it continues to be a gloriously sadistic and wonderful thematic show. As the taste of Antipasto lingers on our lips, let’s hope the show will continue to drip pure excellence down our throats and satisfy our bellies with this voluptuous meal.
Bravo. Brava, Bravissima, Bryan Fuller.