Previously on Hannibal, ‘Primavera’
Hannibal ponders his encounter with Will as Bedelia sips her wine like tea, wondering if it was nice to see Will. His sadness makes him look older. Forgiveness, she tells him, requires two: the betrayer and the betrayed. “Betrayal and forgiveness are best seen as something akin to falling in love,” she says, telling him he is going to be caught. He asks if she’s concerned for her patient or herself. She already has an exit plan. The next place he’ll be looking for Hannibal? Home.
Will walks backwards through the dark of a vision of Hannibal’s Memory Palace, then forward through a murky pond of blood. Blood turns into a puddle in reality, outside of the overgrown gates of the Lecter estate in Aukstaitija, Lithuania. He scales them. A castle looms from the hill, the estate below. Everything is locked tightly, so he wanders through the family graveyard. A Bird of Paradise blooms over Mischa’s grave.
Will watches the castle from afar. He envisions himself and Hannibal in their therapy chairs in the woods. This is where construction of his memory palace began. These rooms that were built so early, are they different? Some are filled with sound and motion, “great snakes heaving and wrestling in the dark.” Other rooms are fragment memories, like painted shards of glass. He mutes the screams with music. Two fired shots. Will hides and watches a Japanese woman kill a pheasant. She takes the pheasant back to the hunting cabin, ruffling its great feathers as she plucks them in slow motion. She chops off its feet.
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Flat Major, Adagio. Likewise, Hannibal chops off Dimmond’s hand and salts the arm generously, flaying the resulting prosciutto into a pheasant, which he serves to Sogliato. The professor only laughs at Hannibal’s lingering resentment; after all, the Studiolo lecture to the “dragons” secured acclaim. Hannibal serves him and Bedelia Punch Romaine over hand-chipped ice, first served to first-class guests on the Titanic, their last drink. As Bedelia double-takes, Sogliato toasts Hannibal, but Hannibal doubts his support. When Sogliato says then he wasn’t paying attention, Hannibal snaps, “I pay lots of attention,” then ice-picks the man in the temple. Sogliato’s mind struggles to make sense. Bedelia ends the show and pulls out the weapon, blood spurting forth as Sogliato’s head falls into his olives. Hannibal pauses, amused. “Technically, you killed him.” She looks dismayed.
“You’re drawing them to you, aren’t you? All of them.”
Artistic Note: Piano Concerto No. 2 was a crucial portfolio piece for Beethoven as he made his public debut in Vienna, previously only playing in private salons. While there are antecedents of his more mature works within it, Beethoven noted it was “not one of my best,” a similar sentiment to Hannibal’s killing of Sogliato: “That may have been impulsive.”
Pazzi finds Jack in the Cappella, saying Il Mostro left no evidence, again. They commiserate over the struggle to catch Hannibal. “My hunt for Il Mostro has let the crows peck at my heart. How’s your heart?” Jack’s too. Doesn’t he want to help Pazzi catch Il Mostro and regain their honor? Jack is only here for Will Graham. Not his casa, not his fire.
Will warms his hands over a campfire, then stamps it out when he hears something. Fireflies swirl around him. He follows their light to an overgrown fountain marked by a small red handprint. Snails. “Firefly larvae eat snails to fuel their transformation.”—Bryan Fuller.
Chiyoh pulls her roast pheasant out of the hunting cabin oven, leaving the main door of the castle open. Will enters. Running water. Snails and bird bones litter the floor. Candles. Muttering echoes from a medieval version of Will’s detention cell, decorated with pheasant-bone dolls. A grizzled, skinny man blubbers. A gun cocks behind Will. “You’re upsetting him.”
Will tells Chiyoh that he’s a friend of Hannibal’s but she holds the gun still, refusing to let him speak to the prisoner. All he’s allowed is the sound of water, the unborn’s last memory of peace… for eating Mischa. They’ve been each other’s prisoner for a long time. How did they find themselves in this situation? The question and answer are the same for her and Will.
“Nakama?” she asks, the Japanese word for very close friends.
“Last time I saw him, he left me with a smile,” he answers, showing her the scar.
“Old sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story.” She lowers the gun. “Tell me a story.”
Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 3 in a Minor Scottish Intro Allegro Un Poco Agiatato. Hannibal entertains Bedelia and the Albizzis with history: the Romans divided their animals by cuts between the quarters of society, the offal going to the poor, El Quinto Quarto, the fifth quarter. He prepares lungs table side, then serves spring lamb liver pate with lungs, heart, purple artichokes. Madame Albizzi declares it divine and Hannibal agrees. “My husband’s ego is not measured by conventional means,” Bedelia says over her oysters. To Tornami A Dir Che M’ami the Albizzis swoon over the dish he first prepared “in honor of” his sister. Bedelia watches with restrained horror.
*Artistic Note: The Scottish Symphony was inspired by the broken, ivy-covered Holyrood Chapel of the doomed Mary, Queen of Scots. Mendelssohn said, “Everything is ruined, decayed, and the clear heavens pour in.” The second piece is from Don Pasquale, a comic opera, highlighting the humor of the Albizzi’s eating the “rude” Sogliato next to his empty place at the table.
Will and Chiyoh share tea. She accepts what Hannibal does what was done to Mischa. But how does she know this man ate Mischa? He took someone from Will; is Will here to do the same? If he were like Hannibal, he says, he would’ve already eaten her. He admits, “I’ve never known myself as well as I know myself when I’m with him.” She is stuck here because she wouldn’t let Hannibal take the man’s life but can’t let him go either. His first ongoing experiment to see if she, like the others, will kill.
Hannibal washes Bedelia’s hair intimately, luxuriously, bubbles sliding over his wedding ring. She wonders what he was like as a young man. “I was rooting for Mephistopheles and contemptuous of Faust.” Would he like to talk about his first spring lamb? Why can’t he go home?
“Nothing happened to me. I happened.”
“How did your sister taste?” she asks lazily, sliding under the water away from him.
The prisoner plucks a snail, eating it. Will breaks the lock and covers the man’s face, releasing him into the forest. Will hands the crying man a blanket and instructs him to go.
Pazzi and Jack light candles for their dead, and Pazzi asks if he believes. This question again. Jack ponders, “Belief comes with imagination that something comes after death.” Will and Jack both died and returned. Jack again laments breaking Will’s imagination, wondering how he put it back together. Pazzi knows: “People come here to be closer to their god. Isn’t that what Will Graham was doing?” Will accepts and understands Hannibal, and who doesn’t want that? Pazzi nods.
Chiyoh brings dinner to the cell where the prisoner sits still, waiting. He leaps through the unlocked doors, dashing a wine bottle, and strangles her. “I’m sorry,” she says, before losing consciousness.
Reverse. Snails creep backward into the puddle of wine. Instead, as he strangles her, Chiyoh grabs a knife, stabbing him in the neck. Will hears her screams of comprehension from the forest, his face dark. She accuses him.
“It was you I wanted to set free.”
“You are doing what he does. He’d be proud of you. His Nakamo.”
Will asks if part of her always knew. She looks down. He jabs out a cork, hands her wine. Hannibal created a story out of events that only he experienced. She chugs the wine, crying, then gets up, saying she’ll join Will’s hunt, since she has no reason to stay, thanks to Will. Will shatters the bottle, creating his own message to Hannibal: a Firefly Man with glittering glass wings and snail covered thorax, suspended between candles. He swaggers down the stairs past Chiyoh.
Fantasie Valse by Erik Satie. Hannibal plays the piano as Bedelia analyzes. What his sister made him feel was beyond his ability to control, predict, or negotiate, like Will: Love. Love either visits you or it doesn’t. “The god Betrayal who presupposes the god Forgiveness.” Sometimes, she explains, we have no choice but to betray. He rebuts: Mischa influenced him to betray himself, but he forgave that. Bedelia extrapolates that there is only one way Hannibal can forgive Will.
“I have to eat him.”
Artistic Note: The avant-garde Satie was merely 19 when he composed Fantasie Valse, eschewing the “laws of symmetrical rhythm,” stark but imaginatively and impossibly complex. This reinforces Hannibal’s early emergence as an unconventional creator.
“Secondo” was slower than the previous two, but still an interesting visit to Hannibal’s first pupil who had literally imprisoned herself in their relationship. My credulity was taxed at the thought that someone so kept and seemingly young had been there alone this long (25 years in the book). Perhaps his sting wasn’t quite so potent back then, but how pleased he’ll be with his longest-running experiment, the emergence of a glowing nightcomer. We never do discover the prisoner’s identity, and apparently, that isn’t important—he was only the snail on which Chiyoh fed to fuel her transformation. How will this message change Pazzi’s view of Will as a neutral force in the search for Il Mostro?
I did enjoy Will’s turn as Hannibal’s surrogate in “freeing” Chiyoh, mostly to his own purpose. What is left of them, after all, but to search for or to be with Hannibal, so he can grant them an ending? But like the roast pheasant, their transformation will only produce one thing: death. Bedelia’s little looks of horror (“Little Looks of Horror”=my next band name) are simply everything, but her declaration that she has a plan to back out struck me as hubris. While she out-matched him once before, she’s still sweetening her own meat. If a comet stops, what happens to all of the pieces of itself trapped in its wake? Looks like we’ll find out soon.
In closing, I’d like to give a shoutout to ProFan Claire J for pointing out the trio of swords in the Heart of Dimmond as it unfolded, a reference to the Italian tarot Three of Swords, symbolic of heartbreak, loneliness, and betrayal. Great catch!