Chronological deconstruction and a fetish for snails entice and strike forth as the fifth episode of Hannibal draws the killer’s enemies closer than ever before. Rather than postpone events from the third Hannibal book so called by its namesake, the events of one Inspector Pazzi and a bounty orchestrated by Verger are integrated within the prequel plot to Red Dragon making this particular entry a fascinating and duplicitous watch. The cast has been set and a betrayed Will is left on the tracks. As it undoubtedly stands, he will be the last to catch up to our graceful yet pragmatic eater of men, who has earned the ass kicking of a lifetime.
Wonderful job conducting the symphony of murder and violence albeit a bit repetitive for those who have seen the 2001 film. The first half laments, reflects, and establishes moments that narrate the oncoming slaughter that Hannibal is known for when he’s unavailable to taste his victims. The atmosphere drives the existing dialogue into more fractal surmisings of what’s to come. Where the plot out did itself was the last fifteen minutes where it formally reenacted the book/film’s events, replaces key characters in a candid scene, and sets up the best one-sided tussle since the premiere and finale of last season. Every step of the way I was onboard for the carnage and wasn’t disappointed because it’s just not time for Hannibal to be caught yet, but the clock is ticking, and our villain knows it.
Will and Chiyo travel by train and converse about her first meeting with Hannibal and somewhat gloss over what’s to come in finding him. In the middle of the night, Chiyo kisses Will in the back of the train after informing him that Hannibal is indeed in Florence. She then knocks him off the train, presumable to face Hannibal alone. Jack dines with Pazzi and his wife, who the former discovers at the museum under the alias Dr. Fell. Pazzi speaks with Verger via laptop about the bounty and he’s told to attain a viable fingerprint to attain the cash advance. Pazzi visits Hannibal again at the museum but is subdued and disemboweled for his efforts. Hannibal prepares to leave when Jack ambushes him and beats him severally. Hannibal barely escapes while Jack is forced to watch his enemy slip away.
The events on the train I believe were meant to solidify Will’s bestowing of freedom that he effectively puts Chiyo through. This eventually backfires into her wanting to either find Hannibal herself or possibly track down Lady Murasaki. By pushing him off the train, it resets Will’s entire meter of trust and once more changes perspectives on how he’ll engage Hannibal and Chiyo should they cross paths again. It was almost disappointing seeing her do what she did, but I understand that in a few very short scenes this season, she is establishing a vast amount of growth and it’s almost unnatural how quick she’s adapting to this freedom she was force to have due to Will’s involvement. Is she an enemy of Will now, and is her goal the same as Will’s? If it is, then it truly is a race, if it isn’t, then Will has to find Jack soon because Hannibal may still have an ally or yet another enemy gunning for him, we just don’t quite know for sure yet.
Hannibal’s relationship with Bedelia maintains and accentuates her ability to regain some composure lost early on this season. Now she’s freely partaking in his meals knowing which involve humans and which do not. Tonight, they bordered on some possible sexual innuendos which at the moment are not confirmed or denied. She’s showing more control and appealing to his senses that every move he makes is leading his enemies closer. Whether her trips to purchase specific wine repeatedly is her own method of delivering breadcrumbs to those who catch it is not currently known, but either way, it’s working. Now comes the true test to see if she assists Hannibal in staying hidden or if she’ll capitalize on Jack’s surprise attack and either flee or deal with the serial killer herself.
It’s worth noting that in the original 2001 film, Hannibal has the same conversation with Pazzi about Verger being the one behind the bounty, yet as he answers Pazzi’s phone, it’s Dr. Bloom who speaks briefly with Hannibal and not Clarice Starling, who as of yet is not known on the show. It’s interesting they chose to mirror this moment but replace a central character. Dr. Bloom’s reaction is priceless yet I feel their short reunion was over in a flash and we’re left getting less than a taste of familiar wounds. Dr. Bloom is completely allied with Verger who continues to ridicule her for having been so close to Hannibal. It’s all he has to torment and even though she helps him, he can’t help but abuse her the only way he can. It’s textbook inferiority complex, but the truth is it’s demeaning for Alana to be so driven that she only sees Verger as a means to exact personal revenge. Her role is better suited for his sister, but she’s likely being saved for the inevitable fate of Verger, which we may never see as the show has been…well we all know what happened.
The absolute pinnacle of achievement came after the unfortunate demise of Pazzi. He was a believable character but it took Hannibal to convince the audience why Pazzi would go for the money and not the fame, instead of Pazzi himself convincing us. In the books/film, Pazzi wants to give his wife a luxurious life, a life he can’t afford because of his obsession and nature of work. That really doesn’t translate on the show and his death suffers because his debut made him more developed and sincere about capturing Hannibal yet tonight, he just wanted the money because of the way Hannibal explains it. The effect of his death just wasn’t there. And that’s why the next scene was perfect.
Jack followed up and found Hannibal at the museum and a spectacular battle erupted, where Jack attained a good portion of revenge putting Hannibal in a very exposed position. Knowing Hannibal never truly died in any medium, his narrow escape was one of exhaustion and desperation. Jack was a machine and Hannibal was the human this time, blood for blood. It was the most fun watching since their fight in the last season. Very well done.
I stand by the last scene with all my thumbs up. It was raw and brutal, almost depicting Hannibal accepting his fate if not for the way he used Pazzi’s body to survive and hobble to freedom. He’ll lick his wounds and either face his enemies on all sides or disappear with Bedelia his accomplice once more. That’s the exciting piece because we just don’t know what’s going to happen next except that episode 8 is called “The Great Red Dragon” which means he has to be caught by then, if it’s to follow the book’s motif. Aside from that, great finale to “Contorno.”
Chiyo’s move against Will was a surprise, but Jack’s almost “Terminator” like attack was the revenge we had been waiting for so he gets the edge this week. Not to mention he shared a moment of release as he passed Bella’s ashes into Florence along with his ring, truly letting his wife depart. It was cathartic and also helped telegraph how he was changing in order to face Hannibal as the man we saw at the end. For that, he’s ontop of his game, far different from the man Will talked to in the past, the Jack who wanted to let things go.
How Hannibal will be caught is the crux of this half-season’s mystery. This is a classic case of journey meaning more than the destination even though we know what’s to come. Hannibal is losing his edge, but will he retain his powerful psychiatric persona when behind bars and necessary to aid in the capture of both the Red Dragon and Buffalo Bill?
I’m not satisfied with Dr. Bloom’s role this season. I realize she literally has no place if she’s not with Verger because Chiyo essentially replace her as Will’s compatriot, but there’s just not enough to warrant her position because she’s being set up to fail along with Verger. She might have some substance later when Hannibal is incarcerated, but until then, I don’t mind keeping her off screen to build her up as a credible opponent for Hannibal and not just a bond-villain-sidekick.
Will Hannibal flee to Lady Murasaki for help? I don’t watch previews so I don’t know if something like that has already been given away. But she might be his only hope for survival if Bedelia is set to turn on him at a glance.
7 out of 10. I’m not going to say I was bored with tonight’s artistic style, but some shots just seemed overzealous such as the close-up of Pazzi dialing the phone which had no significant meaning for me, while other shots, such as the victim dressed in Will’s design was absolutely stunning. Close-ups have their place, but that’s not how to win the Hannibal crowd here. It has to be truly unique and resonate with both the characters and ourselves. Will’s viewpoint tends to be the spark of these fantastic surreal shots, but lately we barely get a glimpse into his mindset as we’re more given the culture of Florence as a substitute. There’s nothing wrong with that, I enjoy the change of style there, but sometimes it’s good to up the ante and it’s been very hard to follow up on that deer/heart/corpse which still haunts me. In any case, the last fifteen minutes were very engaging and brutally terrific. The dawn of Hannibal’s capture is near and this snippet is leading us to the endgame. Until next week. Thanks for reading.
No more words