A dash of sophisticated present, and a sprinkle of two flashbacks make for a seasoned return of one of the most artistic and intellectually-driven shows on the market. Food metaphors aside, it’s a real treat to see Hannibal weave his delightful evil into the realm of Paris and Italy now that he’s cast aside Will and those who he bludgeoned at the end of last season. Who survived? Well that’s not for tonight’s premiere to reveal. Instead, we’re given an opportunity to see how Hannibal lives his life when there are no constraints at all. The meal is the delicacy as is the murder so fanciful and deadly.
There’s surely no shortage of crisp imagery, authentic landscapes, and the atmosphere of tempered cinematography that make the series so engaging and consuming. Season 3’s premiere breathes us in gently yet makes us not forget that there’s a hidden monster under the suit and only a ‘blind optimist’ can see the road ahead and never what awaits. Without the aid of his antagonists, there’s a certain doom and gloom feel that is certainly weighted by Hannibal’s only ally, the docile yet cautious Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, who we last saw willingly leave with Hannibal out of the country. What worked well was the fascinating relationship these two carried, yet I find myself still missing the layered banter between cop and killer that so eloquently brought us to another level of villainy.
In Paris, Hannibal meets an admirer, Anthony Dimmond while following Dr. Fell, a man who he later kills and absorbs his identity. Later, in Italy, Hannibal and Bedelia are posing as a married couple with the latter quietly suffering the decision she made to aid Hannibal in escaping America. Hannibal and Bedelia later encounter Sogliato at a rich gathering who is skeptical of Hannibal being selected as a lecturer and challenges him to speak of Dante’s Inferno at a lecture. Hannibal agrees. During the episode, there are two distinct flashbacks, one from Bedela’s viewpoint that further explains how Hannibal helped her when she killed a patient who attacked her. The second flashback showcases Hannibal continually feeding the single-limbed Abel Gideon his own limbs while listening to Abel prattle on about how the same thing will eventually happen to Hannibal. In the present, Anthony runs into Hannibal and joins him and Bedelia for dinner. He also observes Hannibal’s lecture before revealing that he knows Hannibal is not Dr. Fell but offers to aid any entanglements for mutual benefit. That night, Hannibal brings Anthony to his home and kills him in front of Bedelia who had attempted to flee before being caught. She watches as Hannibal snaps Anthony’s neck. A bloody torso is later seen in a museum, likely Anthony’s.
I enjoyed the fascinating structure that weaved in both flashbacks and seeing Bedelia’s perspective helped the viewer to understand a bit more with how she coped with her attack and more importantly how Hannibal helped with that. Still, there’s fear in her eyes and more so in how she acts under the pressure of third parties attempting to gain insight into their lives. Her fear is so translucent that even her meals betrays her natural state of mind. The single most effective moment, aside from looking at the bloody rabbit and thinking it might soon be her, was her sitting in front of the train station and looking directly at the camera. Was that in fact a plan to be purposefully spotted so that someone somewhere will discover her and lead straight to Hannibal. It’s easy to say yes, but for now we’ll stick with the easy knowledge that she did tried to escape and was caught red-handed. Hannibal is still toying with her, but is this a long con or does he in fact feel a connection that wasn’t capable with Will? That’s the layers in effect.
Hannibal’s role remains the same. Cordial, intelligent, but always hungry. He won’t allows others to join his party unless there’s real kinship and curiosity must evolve even for that to happen. Anthony didn’t fit the bill and died in the effort. It’s a clear and solid indicator that Hannibal isn’t killing good nor evil individuals, just those that threaten him in any way. He’ll speak in metaphor while dancing the obvious in front of their face as he did with Sogliato who had a disdain for Hannibal pointing toward a lack of being Italian. His days are indeed numbered, but for now, Hannibal is playing the cool killer planning at least one perpetual meal out of the man.
Even though it’s been years since I read the original trilogy, I still anticipate some exciting parallels that will incorporate both the movies and the books into this show. Lines such as “Have you given serious thought to eating…” ring true as well as the carousel in Florence. There’s snippets forming and the countdown to the Red Dragon has officially begun. But where and how will all this fit is the harsh waiting period while we continue to guess how Will, Jack, and Abigail ended up, oh, and Dr. Bloom too.
The surreal imagery and fast-forwarding landscapes are ever apparent, yet I feel they were more glossy shine than drowned in a coat of eerie nightmares. Bedelia’s dark descent into a pool of blackness was the most radical of moments that stood out. I just feel there was a missing man-sized deer creature that’s usually saved for Will’s vision of the evil itself. Perhaps we’ll get to that in the coming weeks.
When Hannibal demonstrated to Sogliato how knowledgeable and formidable he could be at the dance. The best Hannibal moments are when he holds his own and beyond against foes who come across as snide, rude, and conceded. That’s Hannibal’s turf and only he may act accordingly. Whether he pretends every second or whether his endless stare carries a sliver of annoyance, he translates in the rich decor of the refined mind. It was a great moment to witness.
This could turn into a moot section for this show specifically as Hannibal tends to steal the spotlight in almost every way. Tonight, he expectedly claims the top spot from his motorcycle driving entrance, to his origami folding of the Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. He commands respect and trains his cohorts with the breadth of his wicked schemes. Tonight and many more to come, Hannibal is the master of his evil agenda.
I wouldn’t expect Bedelia trying to escape to become a reoccurring theme. We now know she isn’t truly in league with him and Hannibal has known from the start, yet he compels a strange obedience that she relents to for basic fear of being consumed. There was a snippet of sexual tension that quickly dissolved once we understand her position by his side. The future of her character is in peril regardless of the fact she’s in the title’s credits.
The threesome innuendo was rather comical and served as a morsel of comedic gold as those left out of the loop are drawn toward one end of the spectrum when faced with double-entendres. Poor Anthony and his pre-conceived notions of bonding.
When Hannibal went to Bedelia’s house to clean up, it didn’t look like he sustained any real noticeable damage caused by Jack in the last season. Just odd.
8 out of 10. Enjoyable and refreshing. This is no longer a tale of the serial killer of the week. The focus is more on Hannibal and his adjustments into a flourished country. He’s on the run, yet living as though he’s been properly elevated into a new era. His trail of death is forever constant. The cinematography was on point during the segment breaks and dream-filled moments. The only thing missing were the other side of the cast that were left out of the loop. Whether we get an entire Will-centric episode is unknown, but Hannibal is back and season 3 is geared for a wild ride. Anticipation for the Red Dragon is high and how he plays a part in this will be interesting to say the least. If in fact he appears.
No more words