Previously on Hannibal, ‘Secondo’
A bullet flies through the interrogation window slow-mo, hitting Chilton in the face, destroying his eye, cheek, jaw. “Each of us lost something… The dead at least have the luxury of being done with what they’ve lost. You and I, we still itch,” Chilton tells Mason Verger. They slowly reveal their ruined faces to each other, the mutual seduction of predators. “Now we can talk face to face,” Mason says. Chilton thinks that he should focus on his survival of Hannibal, rather than trying to find him. “This is exactly how he intended for me to live,” Verger spits; the idea of Hannibal enjoying life galls him, and he fires Chilton.
Hannibal stabs Will, embracing him. Will wakes up in the hospital bed, says he’s thirsty. The visitor wasn’t Abigail. Chilton says, “He knew exactly how to cut you. They said it was surgical. He wanted you to live.” Chilton laments his gullibility, despite having no excuse like Will’s encephalitis. “Compulsive imitation,” Will condescends; dull, but there’s understanding in imitation. Will acknowledges that they have matching scars, but like with Pazzi, declines his partnership.
Hannibal serves dinner to Will and Jack. Will splits from himself at the table, leaving the dark Will behind. This Will holds Jack while Hannibal slashes his throat. What might have been. Will welds a boat engine together in his shed. Hannibal stands over him as he falls. Jack walks through the snow to Will’s shed, past a sailboat, and the dogs greet him. “I had hoped that you’d come look for me but I understand why you didn’t.” Jack says, making sure Will won’t contradict the official word that they were officers wounded in heroic duty. Will wasn’t decided when he called Hannibal. “I decided when I heard his voice… I told him to leave… Because I wanted to run away with him.” Jack’s face is every “This Bitch” face in the world.
Glass breaks. Between the shards, Alana Bloom’s skeleton floats to the ground and shatters. She lays in recovery, bruised, bandaged, and braced at the hips. All the marrow in her blood is causing her to think differently, and she jokes to Chilton about using “defenestration” in casual conversation. She put herself in this position, he reminds her. Maybe they all need a support group. She snarks that the one person he’s interested in isn’t interested in him. “Being broken is his breakthrough?” she quips of Will. It’s only a matter of time before Will and Hannibal are back into each other’s orbit. Perhaps they should assist.
She wheels herself into Hannibal’s house. He hurls himself against the door. He whispers, “You were so afraid of me… the last time I saw you.” She finds Will seated on the kitchen floor, building rooms in his memory palace for all his friends. “Friendship with Hannibal is blackmail elevated to the level of love,” she admonishes. Will terms it “ignoring the worst to enjoy the best,” and dismisses her. Bloody Abigail smiles next to him.
Now in a red coat and red lipstick, Alana parks at the Verger stables where Margot drops off her horse. Hobbling in with a cane, Alana notes, “A witchy beauty about this place.” Would Margot let her brother know she’s here? “He knows,” Margot sighs. She offers to answer any questions if Mason bothers Alana, and warns her against accepting chocolate. Mason declares what happen to him a salvation; he’s right with the Risen Jesus. “Nobody beats the Riz.” A fluster over her relationship with Hannibal, he starts choking, and she watches, barely tolerant. While he claims he’s forgiven Hannibal like Jesus forgave the Roman soldiers, she’d be ok with Old Testament revenge.
Jack’s blood pours in the pantry. He dials the phone in his bloody hand. The drips reverse, floating upward, glistening, weightless, and transcendent. Bella’s voice. Bella lays next to Jack, twin beds side by side, holding his hand. Did he die?
“You did a lot of things. Dying may have been among them.”
“What’s good for the goose…”
“You’re not going into the ground with me, Jack, so stop trying.”
“I thought if I could hear your voice we both wouldn’t have to die alone.”
She’s not afraid of death, more curious, but unlike her, he can still cut out what’s killing him. Hannibal, watching her die, or both? Chilton talks as Jack packs his office, saying he’s losing focus. Jack laughs, since the first thing Chilton did is copyright “Hannibal the Cannibal.” He’s not up for Chilton’s game—he’s let both Will and Hannibal go—and saunters out.
He reads as Bella mumbles in her sleep. He lays his head on her chest, holding her hand, kisses her wedding ring and fingers. She struggles to breathe. He preps her medication, checking the meticulous dose log, and then gets in bed with her, cheek to cheek. She stops breathing. The focus shifts from her face to his. He cries.
Jack stares at the empty bed. Bella holds up a white dress, looking for his approval. “God, I love you in white.” Alana’s holding up the dress, helping him. “Bella’s dead. That should change the view from these windows. It’s not right if the view stays the same. It’s not right,” Jack says. Someone applies her makeup, dresses her. He ties his tie. Bella walks down the aisle in a wedding gown, white roses lining the pews. He kisses her forehead at the wake; candles line the aisle now. A calligraphed card in a dark red bouquet catches his attention; the organ turns discordant. Annoyed, he looks to the sky as he opens it. “A Fever” by John Donne. “I’m so sorry about Bella, Jack.” A tear falls on the ink. Will arrives.
Jack thinks Bella was hoping to die when he was out of the room, but instead he heard her heart stop beating, held her until her brain died. “I hope she can see in my heart.” Even though he knew it was coming, it hurts. “I know what’s coming for you, Will. You don’t have to die on me, too.” He hands him the letter and leaves.
Verger estate. His nurse, Cordell, massages his face, saying pain is good because the nerves are working. “Scar tissue is an awesome demonstration of self-preservation. The flesh’s fight to exist down to the most basic cell is a wonder.” Mason focuses on the transubstantiation of communion, noting that Cordell is capable of almost anything, and asks him to begin preparations for Hannibal to be eaten alive.
“Do you have a preference for how you would like him to be prepared?”
“Oh, Cordell. If I had lips I would smile.”
Mason’s private doctors graft skin onto his ruined face. He complains to Alana that Hannibal’s still missing, but she reminds him of Hannibal’s specific tastes in wine and truffles. “I think I amused him,” she smiles, but Mason didn’t. Genuine feelings? Who knows. Her understanding of him is a predator/psychiatric tool, while Jack’s a footnote in his own Evil Minds Museum. Might she have an idea about where to look? Mason jokes, “I’m all ears; they’ve just been redistributed.” Alana answers, “You’re preparing the theatre of Hannibal’s death. I‘m just doing my part to get him to the stage.”
Jack parks at Will’s house at night and hears the dogs clamoring to get outside for their walk. They burst out of the door, and Alana behind them. He’s already gone. “Will knows what he has to do. Do you?” Will casts off in the boat he repaired.
After the deep episodes between the major players, a sip to spark the appetite, Aperitivo. With Jack as the transitional piece, we visit the more damaged creations in Hannibal’s realm. Each living pieces of Hannibal’s perfect design, they form a progressive installment of vengeance. Chilton imagines himself setting all of these pieces into motion Hannibal-style, a shadowy imitation. Unlike Jack, however, Chilton does not intend to cut line and let Hannibal swallow his bait.
This brush with their creator has been a religious one in their conversion to a darker self. One wishes for a literal communion on living flesh; one wishes to ensconce his idol in a private shrine; and the last wishes for just reparations. Like scar tissue, their painful fight to exist shapes their every movement, stronger but twisted. Hydrangeas, meaning literally “water vessel,” thematically pull us through the act. Chilton presents them to his lures, symbolically projecting hope of being understood; hiding underneath, the darker symbolism of vanity and heartlessness. For Bella’s funeral, hydrangeas speak of heartfelt feelings and enlightenment, which Hannibal punctuates with his own dark roses and a purple artichoke, the Fiesole native only to Florence, which he served to the Albizzis atop the “spring lamb.”
The most poignant, final transformation is Bella’s, whose cancer Hannibal allowed to grow by preventing her suicide; by extending her life, he saved Jack’s, an act of cruelty and kindness as only Hannibal can create. Does Jack give her the prescribed dose of medication, or release her from suffering? All of their moments were heartbreakingly beautiful and so real. Hannibal’s touch freed them both, but Will Graham reveals that his second self still lurks. As Bedelia would note, if past experience predicts future behavior, Will will decide to join Hannibal, even as Hannibal’s forgiveness devours him, and Jack is determined to stop him.
Note: As of June 22, NBC announced its cancellation of Hannibal. During its airing on the 25th, the show won Saturn Awards for Best Network TV Series, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. NBC will air the rest of the season, and Bryan Fuller is in serious talks for an alternate outlet of future seasons. Stay tuned!