Already seen Episode 2? Read on at the bottom for additional, spoiler-filled comments.
There’s one key, perplexing issue at the heart of Hannibal (the show, that is) that really can make or break it for you. Many viewers pick up on it and subsequently episodes suffer from it. That issue is how much you like Will Graham.
Hugh Dancy has never been better. Last season, he turned in some truly terrific performances and he really holds his own in tense, almost sensuous scenes with Hannibal. But left to his own devices – or worse, playing off one of his sometime female companions (Alana Bloom, Abigail Hobbs) – he’s a tougher meal to swallow. Mellow to the point of sociopathy, aloof to the point of arrogance, he matches up to Hannibal in the distant, charismatic loner mold, but Hannibal has the added perk of being, well, a mass murderer; Will Graham is decidedly not this but after recent seasons, he’s not exactly on the side of righteousness either. So what is he now?
That issue overshadows this week’s episode: we’re back with Will to understand who exactly survived the massacre at Hannibal’s house and to see Will’s side of the weird, paradoxical after-effects of the breakdown of their relationship. If the meat in your fridge gets Stockholm syndrome, that’s probably the closest to describe the feelings left between Hannibal and Will. Lecter, ever literal, leaves a replica broken and bloody heart, arranged artfully out of the folded corpse of a hapless dinner guest, for Will to find and contemplate. This leads to a terrific bit of surreal skin-crawling horror – again set perfectly to a tense and weird staccato score – accompanied by one of his afore-mentioned female companions, Abigail, the pawn and pseudo-daughter/protégée Hannibal and Will have toyed over in seasons past.
Together, the hapless, heartbroken pair (if Will’s Stockholm syndrome is bad, Abigail’s needs a whole country name to encapsulate hers) roam the streets of Palermom, in search of their one-time… friend? Father figure? All these and more seem to plug the gaps left in both of them and searching for answers and solutions leads them to church, to the site of Hannibal’s latest kill, and to cross paths with another man hunting Hannibal. Whether Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi will stay around long enough to catch his sought-after prize (or, realistically, end up as game himself) remains to be seen. For now, he serves as a catalyst for Will to more deeply consider why he is there, hunting Hannibal in the sinister catacombs of Palermo – a sequence beautifully spooky in its simplicity, as knowing Fuller is too subtle for shock jumps makes wondering what actual horror will emerge even more terrifying. It unsubtly but effectively hammers home the fact that, while hunting Hannibal in the real world, many of Will’s struggles continue to lie buried deep inside the mind.
Hannibal Season 3 is on Wednesdays at 10pm on Sky Living. Sky customers can watch live online through Sky Go or catch up with Sky On Demand. Non-Sky customers can stream live on NOW TV, or catch up for £6.99 a month. Seasons 1 and 2 are also available. Sign up before 29th June and your first month is only £1.
Additional notes (contains spoilers)
– Others have praised the mastery Fuller executes by confusing us as to Abigail’s real fate, praising the well-disguised reveal that she’s, as she pretty much always has been, just a figment of Will’s imagination. But isn’t it time to give Will a story that is real?
– Water, as a theme, runs strong through this episode again – from Bedelia’s submergence last week and Will’s this week in his flashback sequences, to the lovingly shot scenes during surgery, where blood splashes and cleaning bowls provide a flow between the preparation of Abigail’s corpse and the repairing of Will’s broken body. Michael Doherty hasn’t lost his touch for beautiful editing.
– The art history buff in us loved the artistic theme of this week’s other murderous tableau – perhaps this season will explore Hannibal’s artistic temperament more than his anatomical one? If so, we’re rooting for some big, impressively horrifying set pieces.
Photo: 2014 NBCUniversal Media, LLC