Ricky Church reviews the fifth episode of Hannibal season 3…
After all the set up so far this season, the endgame of Hannibal Lecter’s time in Florence has begun as multiple characters converged on the city in a big way. Things escalated very quickly for nearly every single character; no one was sitting on the sidelines anymore in ‘Contorno’.
While there was little movement on Will Graham’s front, he learnt a little bit more about Hannibal and Chiyo’s past. Building off last week’s extended flashback and even his introduction to Chiyo, there was a lot of emphasis placed once again on what exactly Will plans to do once he catches Hannibal. He admitted to Jack last week he warned Hannibal of his impending capture because he not only wanted the doctor to run, but wished to leave with him too. After some digging, Chiyo concluded Will wants to kill Hannibal not for revenge, but for the fear that he’ll become like Hannibal if he doesn’t.
This fear does line up with Will’s actions the past few episodes, especially after he manipulated Chiyo and her captive into doing what he wanted simply to satisfy his curiosity. Hugh Dancy has been very compelling this season as Will has been the most clear-headed he’s ever been, yet uncertain at the same time. Tao Okamoto once again impressed as the mystique around Chiyo intensified. It was quite a surprise seeing her toss Will off the train so he won’t interfere with whatever agenda she has in mind.
Will also isn’t the only one whose past with Hannibal has given him insight into his mind. Alana’s continued alliance with Mason Verger has shown her to have a good handle on her former mentor’s mind as she deduced his exquisite tastes in foods and wines would give him away (speaking of tastes, it’s absolutely amazing Hannibal was able to get away with Mason’s overt oral sex innuendo on primetime television). Caroline Dhavernas continues to do a great job as a much darker Alana, though her character has not yet gotten to the point where she’s willing to sacrifice a life if it means Hannibal’s capture. It seems parts of the old Alana still remains and now the audience must question what exactly she will do if she comes face to face with Hannibal.
Did anyone in the audience also expect round 2 of Jack vs. Hannibal to go down in this episode? Viewers got to see much more of Jack’s current state of mind as he mourned Bella and attempted to ward off Inspector Pazzi from catching Hannibal himself rather than within the law, knowing full well the personal cost. All it took, though, was one glimpse of his old friend for that opinion to change. Laurence Fishburne completely sold Jack’s seething rage throughout the fight as he paid Hannibal back for their confrontation last year. It was very fitting to see Jack using Hannibal’s own tricks against him (taking off his shoes to sneak up behind him). He clearly wasn’t holding back in this fight at all and it was very exciting to watch.
One last thing to note is how the show pulled so much from the Hannibal book. Not only was Pazzi’s disembowelment depicted, but direct quotes and other scenes were lifted from Thomas Harris’ story. Alana even took the place of Clarice Starling from Ridley Scott’s Hannibal film as she interrupted Pazzi’s murder with a phone call, speaking directly to Hannibal. The series has sprinkled bits of dialogue and scenes from the books throughout its history, but never quite so much as in ‘Contorno’.
With threats closing in around him from all sides, Hannibal is in real trouble for the first time in the entire series, yet it’s amazing how unfazed he is about this. His attitude is as if it was just a regular occurrence, more of a hiccup than anything else. There’s some irony there given that Hannibal faces an uncertain future, if not ending altogether in the next couple months (For my thoughts on where Hannibal could end up, read this article). It will be interesting to see how Hannibal manages surviving as the noose tightens around him.