This episode seems like it might be the last “flashback” episode of the season. We finally see the outcomes of everyone from last seasons finale and where they are now. Aperitivo is a different kind of episode from anything we’ve seen in Hannibal. The structure of it seems more functional as a first episode rather than a fourth. The introduction of past characters, the journey they take over the months, and the changes to their lives and personalities are all things we expect to see much earlier. In a way it disrupts the flow of the season because we learn nothing new about Hannibal reclaiming the title of Il Monstro. However, it’s a very telling episode and intriguing in its own right.
Back for more is Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raul Esparza). In season one we saw Hannibal tear him open (literally), in season two we saw him get shot in the face (right below the eye). Suffice it to say, the man has been through a lot. And yet in season three not only is he alive and kicking but he’s become nefarious. It’s as if his scars have finally caught up with him.
The flashbacks seen in previous episodes are expanded on in this one. What’s interesting is how Chilton is overtly manipulating the others.
He reminds Will of Hannibal’s cruelty by making sure Will lives and Abigail dies. In this way he feeds Will’s desire to search for Hannibal.
This scene is great misdirection because we can see Will has been damaged beyond repair by Hannibal. While Chilton focuses on the idea of being alive, Will focuses on the harsh truth: Hannibal wanted them dead.
His vision of a bloodied Abigail highlights Will’s anger with Hannibal. It seems as though forgiveness has become a foreign concept to Will. Of course we know this isn’t true. Much like Abigail’s role in Primavera, Will has been overwhelmed by Hannibal and can’t let go. Later he reveals to Jack that he wanted to run away with Hannibal. This confession is particularly hard because it was Will’s warning to Hannibal that killed Abigail and nearly killed the others.
We also finally see the fate of Alana Bloom. After being shoved from a second storey window he fate was unclear. Her fate may have been the only one Hannibal left up to fate. Luckily she survived. She was left broken in more ways than one. Yet, like Will, she put herself back together but came out differently. This Alana Bloom is out for Hannibal’s blood. She’s still calm, intelligent and soft spoken but anyone who decides to willingly work with Mason Verger has to be up to something.
This was probably the most surprising moment of the episode. Having Mason and Margot Verger back is sure to be a great plot point. It’s revealed that Chilton’s efforts to revitalise everyone’s hunt for Hannibal has actually been pushed forth by Mason. As chaotic as Mason is there’ll definitely be something in store for Hannibal later on.
Lastly, the episode gives us an insight into Jack’s last months with his wife, played by Gina Torres. We see her succumb to cancer and pass away. She did attempt to commit suicide in season one but was saved by Hannibal. This time there was no escaping death. Her death is a beautifully sad sequence, again juxtaposing images of a living Bella with the harsh reality of her passing and the process of saying goodbye to her.
This wasn’t the most exciting episode of Hannibal but it did give us more answers and, more importantly, it outlined each main character’s drive. Mostly this drive is powered by vengeance but also by grief. It will be great to see where Fuller and team will take the rest of the season.