I’d like to preface these weekly episode recaps by saying that they are written after a third or fourth watch. I intend them to be consumed (cannibal puns) with the hindsight of re-watching or at least watching along. Perhaps it will even inspire you to go view it again with fresh eyes while we wait for Season 4 news. I will try and recapture what was felt at first, alongside what I feel now I know everything. A mixture of recap, bad analysis and fangirling.
TL:DR ***SPOILERS*** and then some.
Antipasto AKA The Hannidelia Show – European Tour
Season 3 *rubs temples*…Season 3 was the one they never thought would happen; the one that by rights and ratings shouldn’t have happened; and the one that morphed from a ‘treading water’ Florence arc to half Florence/half movies mash up fanfiction. That is why it frustrates me when people say it’s bad or boring – it’s really not, it’s just an entirely different show that doesn’t give any recognisable fucks anymore. With a strong indication that this was The End, they went for it. They spun us an Italian snail fairytale with gilded threads, cranked the mutual longing up to 12.5, then literally pushed us off a cliff. My personal favourite is Season 2, but 3 absolutely holds it’s own against 1 if you immerse yourself. Just give in, it’s beautiful…
A slow blinking edit of keys, ignitions and a man in black riding a motorbike through Paris to some hotel party. I’ve been at those arches, in Toronto lol. It’s Hannibal and he swans through the elite in his leathers, eyeing some dude and being eyed in turn by Anthony Dimmond. He can’t shake his hand because of the flute of champagne in each paw; or as Hannibal puts it in his SECOND LINE OF THE SEASON, “It’s a double fisted kind of bash.” Yep, this is not reality and TSD (Thirsty Scarf Dad because fucking look at him) is just a tall, flirtatious, poet Will who is immediately observant about Hannibal and scathing about the host – Roman Fell – that Hannibal was glaring at before tossing back all his fizz. A cork gets popped with a sword. Wow. Yeah. OK.
Hannibal gives this Roman a “bonsoir” before following him home and repeating it much more menacingly. Thus follows some food prep porn that seems much more like the Hannibal we know. Dude’s wife comes home to find Hannibal “bonsoir”-ing her too while eating her husband so let’s assume she’s dessert.
Black and white flashback #1 as a legless Abel Gideon and Hannibal chat shit about cannibalism. He tries to refuse eating himself since he’s already dead, but then relents so as not to “spoil the fairytale…you and your little gingerbread house”. People think Hannibal doesn’t talk in a realistic fashion but Abel communicates entirely in cautionary tales, the like of which he is now the star of. Steal the devil’s identity – eat yo’self. Hannibal is entirely just like ‘whatevs’ and runs with it, “Once upon a time…”
Where? Florence now, ballroom, Hannidelia waltzing round with very poorly concealed Mads/Gillian banter between them as they spin. What even is her deal? We know now but back then it was maddening. Some beardy bitch comes up to the new Dr. Fell (Hanners) and is like ‘Do you even Dante? He doesn’t even go here?’ about him being the new curator/translator. Hannibal recites Dante’s first sonnet in Italian for the assembled snobs and is all ‘challenge accepted’ about giving a lecture. He says “the eating of the heart is a powerful image” and Bedelia can’t even.
Back at their apartment, which looks like a room in a shimmering Hogwarts, Hannibal is fully in his old world AU gazing out at the “palaces built six hundred years ago by the merchant princes, the kingmakers and connivers of Renaissance Florence”. Bedelia just hands him a drink and he points out he’s “hardly killed anyone” there. She says, “You no longer have ethical concerns, only aesthetic ones” and he can’t disagree.
She asks him to unzip her dress and he pouts that he got the museum job fairly (after killing Dr. Fell) while he does so. She observes, “Even the most-contentious Florentines can’t resist Dante ringing off frescoed walls” but then walks away and he notes that “one contentious Florentine can”. LOL, COCKBLOCKED. Her impeccable control over this aspect of their relationship, in lieu of having any control at all elsewhere is just…flawless. Then again, he and Will were ‘involved’ without actually fucking, so who knows what’s going on.
Bedelia goes to run a bath and Hannibal follows to say, “Morality doesn’t exist only morale” before asking how she is. She says she thinks she is in control, takes off her dress entirely and waits until he leaves. See? Control. In the tub there are some lovely water-drip horror movie shots before she sinks into an inky nothingness akin to Alana’s nightmare, and it’s all very symbolic of her succumbing to his evil. She pops back up, panicking, and has her own flashback to telling Jack that you can only think you’re in control with Hannibal if he wants you to…he did voluntarily walk away from her naked body after all.
After they had had that talk Bedelia had gone back to her vacant house and poured a drink. She had heard the shower and it was Hannibal washing the entire cast’s blood off him in a stunning Mizumono-esque image and link. He emerged (oh hi, Daddy, jfc) to her aiming her gun at him and asking “What have you done?” like you would a bad dog or naughty child. He isn’t doing too well with what went down (same) and just says, “I removed my person suit” before making it clear she’s not his therapist anymore. She still asks how he feels and if Will is alive, but Hanni avoids both. They vaguely negotiate her going with him in return for him not killing her, she lowers the weapon and takes a victory sip. Self-preservation queen.
Next she is walking through the damp streets of Florence looking like it’s The Past and going into some fittingly archaic deli to order wine and truffles. This must be significant, and we know now that it is, but we don’t find out why until later. Meanwhile Hanni is curating shit, including anatomical heart drawings *eye roll*, and is accosted by a cheery Dimmond (TSD) when he leaves. They flirt about this chance meeting, “you’re hard to forget” and talk about his desire to see Dr. Fell as though Hannibal isn’t impersonating him right this minute. Hannibal then says, “My wife and I would love to have you for dinner” because this is his very favourite cannibal pun ever.
Monochrome Gideon memory #2 and he is full Baby Jane rolling in too see Hannibal tending his “cochlear garden” aka snails he is feeding on Abel’s severed arm in a big enclosure. I wonder if some such weirdness is what Bev saw in his basement? Gideon is, understandably, mad at being fed on snails (fed on him) to make him tastier but Hannibal just loves his spunky attitude. Gideon wonders about, or maybe wishes for, this fate befalling Hannibal but I doubt that is even possible; and muses about the nails being unaware they’ll be eaten. Unlike him.
Speaking of eaten *sniggers* cue some oyster shucking to burlesque-y sounding jazz. Hilarious from you, Reitzell. Bedelia eats some as Dimmond watches her and tosses sassy remarks around about his dislike for ‘The Fells’ – the real ones. He is like a parallel universe Will, honest to god. Hannibal asks if he’s in Italy alone and he says yes, making Bedelia panic. He then invites TSD to the third party ‘Dr. Fell’s’ Dante lecture and she pics more. Yup, he dead.
Dimmond asks her if she’s avoiding meat and casually points out her “oysters, acorns and marsala” is what the Romans fed animals to make them tastier. Hello Ms. Gideon. Bedelia almost chokes and glares at Hannibal, who is all ‘yeah, so?’ about this chat. She collects herself to say, “My husband has a sophisticated palate, he’s very particular about how I taste.” and they all, we all, everyone knows what that’s implying. Did I mention this series couldn’t care less? Screaming.
TSD is even thirstier now as he processes this and purrs, “Is it that kind of party?” I use this line at least once a week now. Hannibal looks at B and wisely says no, which she strongly agrees with. Dimmond is openly disappointed and my lord, I adore him. Hard to believe he is only in this one episode, but we cut to them saying goodbye to him and Bedelia is as confused as we all are that Hannibal let him go. The utter bastard, trying to force her into admitting being complicit (or at least mentally on the same page as him) practically shrugs, “What would you have me do, Bedelia?”
She is back out for another stroll in a femme fatale hat and smiles very distinctly at man in uniform, before returning to looking haunted. She is getting the same order from the same ‘ye olde deli’ and takes her brand logo bag from there to the station. Bedelia sits by the CCTV camera for a bit, even looking up at it, and it clicks. She is showing the world and anyone who may be searching, where she is. It’s the cleverest cry for help without attracting Hannibal’s wrath ever.
Time for her second flashback to waking up on the floor of her old office next to a dead Zachary Quinto. OK. Her arm is bloody from having it halfway down his throat and I don’t even know what the hell she did but yuck. Hannibal strolls in, right on time and wearing actual trews (tartan trousers to the rest of you) and she says she was attacked. Hannibal gently tells her this wasn’t self defence and that he may have once been Hannibal’s patient but he died in her care. He helps her wash her bloody hands offers to help her cover up the truth. So kind. This is so like Abigail and Nick Boyle AND like Will and Randall Tier I could scream. She, like them, asks him to do so. Another fully fledged alumni of Hannibal Lecter’s Murder Finishing School
Bedelia is then at Dr. Fell’s (Hannibal’s) Dante lecture, in what is actually the Toronto Royal York Hotel ballroom, where I have also been. He is waxing lyrical about the historical harsh punishments for betrayal. He is merged with the projection of Lucifer behind him and then wanders out to lay his hand on her shoulder to really hammer his point home. He foreshadows some “bowels out” murder and Dimmond arrives, surprised but not really to see it’s Hannibal. Bedelia sneaks out as he is invited to sit and sweeps down what is the Royal York staircase. This is a lovely tour this episode.
Afterwards, Sogliato comes up to concede that Hanni’s not the worst Dante scholar ever and Dimmond rocks up to be supportive of his ‘friend’. He repeats that he was Dr. Fell’s TA (true of course) and adds “The stories I could tell.” as he and Hannibal eye fuck each other conspiratorially over his easy joining in with the lie. Sogliato wants those stories but leaves when TSD won’t share.
Now alone, Dimmond muses about the room full of torture devices makes Hannibal a “connoisseur of the very worst of humanity”. He then very deliberately uses a sentence with “slap”, “submissive” and “hard” in it as they discuss what people still find wicked. I mean…come on. Hannibal wonders what wickedness Dimmond is into and he Dancy-whispers, “Yours” before assuring him he hasn’t gone to the police and is merely curious what happened to Dr. Fell. Hannibal says he would have to put him on the breaking wheel to get the truth. Dimmond is not bothered that much though and when he says Hannibal obviously found him distasteful too, Hannibal actually canni-fesses, “On the contrary.” More wow. It’s real dialogue time:
TSD: We can twist ourselves into all manner of uncomfortable positions just to maintain appearances, with or without a breaking wheel.
H: Are you here to twist me into an uncomfortable position?
TSD: I’m here to help you untwist…to our mutual benefit.
UST level 9 million and I am speechless every time I watch this exchange. This is ultimately Hannibal getting everything he wanted from Will, but Dimmond just isn’t Will. Who knows if Hannibal was down, but he’s certainly thinking about it. You can see it, and not for the first time. I think it really just depends if he’s the kind of person who would feel better or worse having sex with a substitute Will…
Back at the ranch, Bedelia has packed to flee and is literally leaving when Hannibal returns with TSD in tow. He doesn’t react but simply closes the door menacingly. Next thing we see is blood splashing her face as Hannibal smashes Dimmond on the head with a bust of Aristotle, as you do. He casually asks her, “Observe or participate?” and she is basically in shock as she says she is observing. He very closely echoes Will’s speech from 2×12, wondering if she had been trying to anticipate his actions and she admits it. He asks if this is what she expected and again she says yes. Hannibal is a bit taken aback that she could correctly predict him when he couldn’t predict Will and his betrayal. Don’t beat yourself up, Hanni, it’s Will Graham and also…love is blind.
During this chat, Dimmond has been doing a comedy crawl towards the door and just as he reaches for the handle, Hannibal snaps his neck. Bedelia is horrified and Hannibal laments sarcastically, “What have you got yourself into, Bedelia?” before offering to hang up her coat. He is so frighteningly sure she isn’t going anywhere now, and she simply gives it to him as a tear rolls down her face.
Whatever horrors happened next we don’t see, because suddenly Hannibal is on a train with a big trunk. Final Gideon flashback to him petulantly tapping his fork rather than eat his arm-snails. Hannibal offers to give him the same ignorance as the snails, which I guess involves some kind of drug and kill scenario, and he declines. Abel says knowing is more powerful or else why he is allowing this. Hannibal is irked and asks, “Why do you think I am allowing this?” Gideon, as we have seen countless times, is a sharp one. He says it’s because Hannibal, like the snails, enjoy company and “If only that company were Will Graham.”
Burn. Again Abel ponders how Hannibal will feel when it all happens to him and I’m starting to gather that although he meant that literally (or did he?), Bryan Fuller means it figuratively. I say this because back on the train, Hannibal gazes sadly out the window and folds a sketch of the Vitruvian man into an origami heart. He has been punished for his fake identity. Like Gideon he has been emotionally fattened up only to have his love, doomed to know was coming after smelling Freddie on his punisher. Living on but feeling dead, after having lost ‘a limb’, his Will. *sobs*
The page is, however, not the only thing folded into a heart. A big pile of meat impaled by swords, when the camera pulls back, is a skinned corpse bent into ‘an uncomfortable position’ in a chapel. The Norman Chapel. How Hannibal will feel, Gideon, is he will leave Will his giant, bloody, broken heart moulded from the body of the man who couldn’t live up to him.
The music over this final scene has an instrument, note, chord or some combination of the three that is APPALLINGLY like Love Crime. Welp, I guess at this level of pain, we are about ready for episode two…