This is going to hurt.
For those who have read the books and/or watched the movies, this week’s episode wasn’t particularly surprising (in terms of narrative) but it was shocking all the same (for several reasons). Continuing on from last week’s beat down (a scene that’s still incredible to watch), we see Hannibal retreating to his house and licking his wounds. Well, sort of. Hannibal, it seems, has decided to act on his promise to eat Will Graham.
Meanwhile, Jack and Will meet up in Florence to discuss Hannibal’s next actions and also Will’s mental development, which seems just as fragile and unstable as before. We get no answers as to how Will got to Florence since when we last saw him Chiyoh had pushed him from a moving train. That aside, Will’s emotional and mental state have been a point of concern all season. Much like Chiyoh, it was unclear where his loyalties lied. Unlike Chiyoh, Will discovered the answer a little too late. More on that later.
More important to the plot is the Hannibal/Will reunion. A creature of habit and taste, Hannibal returns to Botticelli’s Primavera. It is here Will finds him sketching the painting, a scene reminiscent of Pazzi’s first encounter with Il Monstro. Here Will admits how much Hannibal has infiltrated his mind to the point where Will can’t tell where the Hannibal ends and Will begins; the line is too blurred for Will. It is yet another scene rife with Hannigram inferences. Of course Bryan Fuller has something to say about this “blurring”:
Despite how much Fuller (and fans) would love to see Hannigram become canon, actually taking into consideration what this means for Will is frightening. This is the doubt that has plagued Will. If he gives in and becomes Hannibal’s accomplice, what would it do to him? We see the price Will pays for his doubts at the end of the episode.
The fear Bedelia would end up yet another one of Hannibal’s victims is now less likely to happen. She has learned from and adapted to Hannibal’s needs and wants. So much so that she seemingly has an escape plan. She subtly taunts Hannibal, letting him know she expected to be dinner but just not today. However, with the Dr and Mrs Fell charade finally over, everything from this point on is dangerous grounds. But she’s too smart to just give in completely and . Her fate is still up in the air.
While Chiyoh did push Will off the train (which gains Hannibal’s approval), it was a possibility she was out to kill Hannibal for what he did to her. However, as we saw, Chiyoh is yet another person who has been manipulated beyond repair by Hannibal. “She’s always been very protective of me” Hannibal mentions. So protective that she shoots Will in his attempt to kill Hannibal. So now that we know whose side she’s on, the question is what’s next for her? Chiyoh, although a great character in her own right, seems to be superfluous now. Where else can she go from here? Will she replace Bedelia?
Mason Verger continues to be creepy as hell. He doesn’t just want Hannibal for revenge, he wants to eat Hannibal in a tit for tat sort of way. It’s actually a funny scene where Mason is tasting the different possible ways to eat Dr Lecter. It’s unlikely this will happen but Mason can dream.
One of the most interesting, yet not surprising, revelations in this episode is the relationship between Alana Bloom and Margot Verger. When Alana first met Mason there was a spark of attraction between the two women. Dolce fully solidifies this idea by showing, in an almost psychedellic way, the two of them in bed. It is very rare we see a female-on-female sex scene where the focus is not on their bodies (i.e. for the heterosexual male gaze). Instead, Fuller continues on this idea of “blurring” and shows these women at the apex of intimacy.
The fact that this sex scene was more about showing these two women fulfilling their own desires rather than the desires of the viewers is pretty fantastic. It was sexual but not sexualised, not in the conventional sense. These two women have been horribly mistreated and hurt so it’s easy to see they would make a connection and find safety and/or comfort in one another. It’s also great for queer represenation (Alana being bisexual and Margot being a lesbian).
However, it must be noted that this is a Verger. Mason and Margot had previously had a conversation (a really uncomfortable conversation) about the possiblity of having a baby. It is very possible Margot is using Alana in a similar way she tried using Will in the previous season.
Then of course we get to this confronting and shocking scene. Fans of the books/movies knew the famous scalping scene was bound to happen. But we have grown to care about Hugh Dancy’s portrayal of Will that seeing him helpless is taxing.
It’s even more powerful because of Jack’s softspoken pleas for Hannibal to stop. On Hannibal’s part, this was a perfect revenge. By hurting Will, whom Hannibal knows Jack is trying to save, and having complete and utter control over the situation, Hannibal knows he’s really damaging Jack.
It wasn’t all emotionally crippling. No, we also had this beautiful 1980s-style
So, to repeat:
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