Hannibal: La Dolce Vita

Photo by: Ian Watson/NBC
Photo by: Ian Watson/NBC

Now at the season’s halfway mark, Hannibal has really stepped into high gear. The many diverging and geographically distant plot lines have finally begun to really come together, ostensibly beginning the set up for the major confrontation of this season.

After being beaten to within an inch of his life, Hannibal escaped Jack (via shimmying down a hanged Pazzi, his human drain-pipe) and made his way back to his home with Bedelia. She tended to his wounds, packed his bags, and informed him of her intention to see him on his way.

Bedelia is a phenomenally complex character, and Gillian Anderson clearly has a ball playing the character. She has been around, now, for several seasons, and I still have basically no grasp of her loyalties and what’s going on inside her mind. She is incredibly enigmatic.

That sexual tension between Hannibal and Bedelia finally reached an apex this week (there are really only so many sensual hair washing massages one can get before things get romantic, apparently). The two kissed, right after Bedelia informed him that she had known all along of his intention to eat her, slowly, savoring it.

“You may make a meal of me yet, Hannibal… But not today.” – Bedelia

You can tell that Hannibal truly respects Bedelia, which makes their relationship so intriguing. His relationship with Will, easily the centerpiece of the show, is much more complex and turbulent. Whatever he has with Bedelia, as indefinable as it may be, is somehow still more certain than the Will/Hannibal connection.

Bedelia’s plan to concoct an alibi (of sorts) for herself was very clever. Mimicking the state that Miriam Lass was found in (drugged up and totally brainwashed), she was able to maintain just enough plausible deniability and mental instability to stay out of the hot seat. Planned and performed like a true psychiatrist. While everyone knows she isn’t really Lydia Fell, no one can prove that she doesn’t truly think that she’s Lydia Fell. And therein lies the defense.

I’m tired of Chiyoh. One of my favorite parts of “Dolce” was watching Bedelia’s utter disinterest in the other woman. She doesn’t even bother to attempt a cover up with Chiyoh, the way she employs it with Jack, Will and the Inspector.

“You’re like his bird. I’m like his bird, too. He puts us in cages to see what we’ll do.” – Chiyoh

Apparently, when caged, what Chiyoh will do is protect Hannibal repeatedly. Hannibal basically confirmed the mindgames he’d played with Chiyoh when he asked casually whether Chiyoh or Will had killed the “tenant” (their prisoner). He seemed completely unsurprised when Will confirmed it had been Chiyoh.

One of the most interesting parts about the character of Hannibal is his deep fascination with playing God. Above all, he loves to set people up, lining them up like pawns, and watch them fall as he knocks them over. With some, like Chiyoh, he plays a long, drawn-out game, not even caring to watch the game play out. With others, like his prodigy/partner/great love Will Graham, he is determined to see the game through to its inevitable conclusion (whatever that conclusion may be). And Will remains ever unable to extract himself from their game.

“You had him, Jack. He was beaten. Why didn’t you kill him?” – Will

“Maybe I need you to.” – Jack

Photo by: Ian Watson/NBC
Photo by: Ian Watson/NBC

I liked the reveal that Alana and Margot Verger were involved. Their sex scene was stylistically excellent and very visceral, and on top of that, a great callback to the parallel sex scenes of season two (Alana/Hannibal and Margot/Will). As fun as it was to see Alana as a ruthless co-villain for a few episodes, (as we thought she was complicit in Mason’s disturbing plan to capture, cook, and eat Hannibal himself), it made much more logical sense (and was truer to Alana’s character) for her to be playing Mason. I don’t see their plan to allow Mason to corral Hannibal, and then turn Mason in to the FBI shortly before the cannibalism ensues, going smoothly.

With all this baby-talk by the Vergers, I’m getting the sneaking suspicion that this is gonna have a Being John Malkovich type of ending: Margot and Alana and baby makes three? Margot can’t carry a child, and Alana most likely can. Are we going to see Alana carrying a little Mason, Jr.? Ew.

Photo by: Ian Watson/NBC
Photo by: Ian Watson/NBC

Speaking of Mason: the scenes between him and his personal chef, Cordell, were comedy gold. Cordell made Mason pig’s tails to get him used to the feeling of eating human flesh, in preparation for snacking on Hannibal. Mason is completely insane, training himself to be a cannibal to take revenge on Hannibal. It’s madness, and yet it’s so compulsively engaging. I love it.

“You and I have begun to blur.” – Will

Will and Hannibal finally came face to face in a non-hallucination setting this week, as Will used their super special brain-connection to figure out that Hannibal would be sketching, looking at art. It was a nice touch that both men were sporting very similar bloody head wounds. They both looked like they needed a good scrubbing.

I was surprised (and annoyed, because ugh, Chiyoh) when Chiyoh turned her sniper rifle on Will, in defense of Hannibal (who was about to be stabbed by Will). Apparently that was the last straw for Hannibal, who carted off a shot Will to Sogliato’s apartment, lured Jack in, and set about removing Will’s skull to eat his brain.

Luckily (?), someone (unseen) put a quick stop to that. One minute we are seeing the shockingly beautiful visual of blood drops splashing from Will’s skull as it’s being sawed in half, and the next we see of the two men, they are hanging from their feet at Mason’s Muskrat Farm. While it’s not explicitly stated, the most likely scenario is that the cop grilling Bedelia was under Mason’s thumb and tipped him off to the location right after Bedelia mentioned it to him.

Extra Nibbles:

  • Mason’s dream/vision of Hannibal cooked and prepared like Peking duck was simultaneously horrifying and very yummy-looking.
  • Speaking of Mason: I continue to want to have Joe Anderson narrate my life in that voice. Incredible.
  • I loved the small detail of Hannibal sketching Will and Bedelia while in the museum, as he’s approached by Will.
  • It was a little odd that Will never bothered to clean the blood off of his head from when Chiyoh shoved him off that train. He walked around the entire episode looking like he needed to be carted off for an MRI, stat.
  • Will suggested he and Hannibal were conjoined and questioned whether either of them could survive separation. This basically sealed it for me that both will die by the end of the series. It’s just the only way.

What did you all think of this week’s episode? Do you really think the conflict of the season will wind up being Hannibal/Mason? Or do you think the real confrontation is being saved for further down the line? Sound off with your thoughts below!

Hannibal airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.