Previously on Hannibal, ‘Aperitivo’
Smoke. On the train, Chiyo recalls how, as children, on still evenings, Hannibal would burn bark and incense for her to identify. He was charming like a cub, but cubs grow up. He was an orphan, supposed to be with his sister, but alone, and she was his aunt’s attendant, Lady Murasaki. Will asks if she sees herself killing her prisoner over and over. No. She sees Will. How does he know Hannibal’s in Florence? He hands her the Boticelli postcard from the Uffizi gallery. She thinks… Some snails survive being eaten by birds and emerge to find they’ve traveled “in the belly of the beast.” Snails crawl across the Firefly Man, fireflies swarming.
Hannibal places a snail onto a platter, explaining that he kept them to attract fireflies, to power them as fuel. Shirtless in silk loungewear, he serves Bedelia, holds a skewer for her to eat one, then he does as well. “Snails follow their nature as surely as those that eat them.” He brushes her hair back as she notes the brevity of fireflies. “Better to live true to yourself for an instant than never know it.” Anything can be trained to ignore instinct, like shepherd dogs, but instinct doesn’t die. Empathy vs. reciprocity. “Will Graham is en route to kill you, while you lie in wait to kill him. Now that’s reciprocity.” The snails feed on the Firefly as the fireflies feed on the snails.
Jack crosses a Florentine bridge, urn in hand, and kisses it. “Ciao, Bella.” Her ashes glitter in the sunset. He gives his silver wedding band a turn, tosses it twice, and hurls it into the water.
Rinaldo Pazzi pours wine for his new wife and Jack. He met Bella here, so it’s strange being without her. Pazzi wants his wife to see him differently, not managed by former subordinates. He’s not told anyone at the Questura just yet. His disgrace inclines him to a game outside the law, which Jack has played and lost. Dinner: Pappardelle alla lepre (pasta on hare).
Bloom shows Mason Hannibal’s table settings, demonstrating his specific tastes. Mason of course wonders how she tastes, and if she tasted Hannibal. “Spitters are quitters, and you don’t strike me as a quitter, Doctor Bloom.” She makes no comment. “The first step in developing taste is to credit your own opinion,” she illustrates, unwrapping a fig suggestively ensconced in a tissue flower. Hannibal’s taste? Batard Montreche and tartufi bianchi (white truffles), for which there are 3 months of weekly cash receipts at Vera Dal.
Will lies awake in a top train bunk, Chiyo on the bottom. She’s not used to talking or hearing voices outside her head. He wonders if she looked at what she was becoming. She felt she was standing still, like taxidermy, where Hannibal left her. She claims she’s not as malleable as he is—plus, he likes it. She understands that if he doesn’t kill Hannibal, he’s afraid he will become him. “There are means of influence other than violence,” she says. He turns his face to the dark.
Hannibal is working when Pazzi greets “Dr Fell,” inquiring on his predecessor and Sogliato. Pazzi watches him soberly, saying they found no note. Hannibal assumes the police are interested in profit, but Pazzi says both were bachelors, not much money. Why did this come up? Hannibal assesses Rinaldo Pazzi as “a Pazzi of the Pazzi,” as he resembles Andrea de Pazzi, depicted as John the Baptist in the family chapel. Then there’s Francesco Pazzi who tried to assassinate Lorenzo de Medici. Hannibal observes him without blinking, like a shark. Then Pazzi does the same, Hannibal’s wanted ad on his computer.
A stack of coins. Pazzi rolls one into a payphone, dialing a private hotline on Hannibal, his wedding ring bright against the red receiver, and asks if the bounty on Doctor Lecter is paid to people who aren’t normally eligible. The voice advises that bounties are illegal, providing the number of a Geneva “attorney.”
Mozart Piano Sonata No. 13 in B-Flat Major, K. 333, III Allegretto Grazioso. Hannibal plays, recalling sketching the Boticelli painting. He tells Bedelia he prefers playing harpsichord, its sound sudden and entire. “The piano has the quality of memory.” When he relates his own encounter, she asks if Pazzi knows what he is. “I was well aware that all of the elements of epiphany were present.” Yet, Pazzi wishes to lurk, which means a price on Hannibal’s head. A bounty is better than radar. Bedelia asks if Pazzi should die quietly like the others. But no, Hannibal says Pazzi must decide what his honor is worth, and credit only lasts so long. “Better to sell me.”
Artistic Note: This movement begins playfully, then softens, followed by a difficult crescendo, repeated second phrase in a minor chord, and surprising climax with a callback to the original theme, mirroring the shape of this episode’s plot.
Blood drips on Will’s face. Chiyo suspended from the ceiling in a sea of antlers. He finds her outside on the caboose. Night is more than a time, “it’s another place.” Life is most like a dream. He asks why she’s searching for Hannibal. But she’s known where he is all along. Why didn’t she say? “I told you there are means of influence other than violence.” She kisses him—“But violence is what you understand”—and pushes him off the train.
Will falls, lays on the tracks. The stag sniffs him awake, then trots away. He staggers to his feet, bloody, and stumbles after it.
Money counting. Benjamin’s face merges into Pazzi’s on a Skype call with Mason Verger. He’s offering a $100,000 advance for a fingerprint and $3 million for Hannibal alive. Bloom specifies that he would be selling him into torture and death. Pazzi understands, just as long as it’s away from Florence. “Hannibal is going to kill him, you know,” she tells an uncaring Verger.
The record needle drops. Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra, Overture. Pazzi returns to the museum. “Buonasera,” Hannibal offers, slicing a pear. Pazzi shows him the scold’s bridle from Francesco’s death, his family’s shame in iron. Hannibal dons gloves, but a fingerprint shines from the knife. Hannibal cheerily shares a carving of Francesco’s execution, his crime germinated by 30 pieces of Papal silver. Pazzi senses danger, but ignores it, looking at Francesco’s bowels spilling out and bite mark from the Archbishop of Pisa. As Rinaldo pockets the knife, Hannibal confesses to wanting to do the same and chloroforms him.
Artistic Note: In writing this piece, Rossini was locked in a room to ensure its production and threw the pages out of the window to copywriters below. The topic: a thieving magpie, which are attracted to shiny objects. Naturally all of these elements are echoed in the scene.
Pazzi’s wife serves Jack an espresso. He’s late. Dirge-like organ music plays, light sweeping up the candlelit Pazzi carving. Hannibal advises, “Take a deep breath while you can.” He rolls Pazzi to the window on a dolly, deftly making a noose from an extension chord. If he answers questions, Hannibal won’t eat him. “You can trust me, you know. Though I expect you find trust difficult, knowing yourself.” Pazzi confirms the bounty was Mason’s. Hannibal once called the number, just for fun. Pazzi’s phone rings, Alana trying to warn him. Hannibal answers, apologizing to her for the awkward moment, then returns the phone, slashes his guts open, and tosses him out of the window. His bowels splash as Hannibal gazes down…
And Jack gazes back up, then dashes inside. Hannibal gathers himself but is unsure, calling out his condolences. “For her night and day must have been much the same in the end.” Did Jack speak for her, give her what medication she needed in the night, or more, in the end? Jack drops the record needle again, then sneaks up behind him, throwing him through the glass axe case. He punches Hannibal, hard, and grabs a torture hook, jabbing him in the leg, and drags him back to more punches. He rolls up his sleeves as Hannibal pulls the hook out, then bashes him into the stretching wheel and breaks his arm. “I brought Bella back from death and you returned her to it. Is that where you’re taking me, Jack?” The happy music marches on as Jack tosses him into another glass case, the chunks falling like diamonds across his face. Jack grabs the hook and spins the wheel, following Hannibal to the window and smiles predatorily.
“How will you feel when I’m gone?”
Jack hits Hannibal on the chin and sends him out of the window, but like the Archbishop of Pisa, Hannibal grabs Pazzi on the way down, dropping into the entrails. He looks up at Jack this time. The music ends.
Punctuated by bright music and vicious action, this episode primarily focuses on two characters who, after decades suspended in a cocoon, emerge to act. Pazzi, driven by fresh love, returns to his Pazzi nature. From the silver coins on the pay phone and stacks of money at the bank to the dismissal of Verger’s intentions, his end is as inevitable as his blood requires. Having thrown away his silver, Jack appearing in the street below at the exact moment, his trap sprung, provided fantastic counterpoint to the unavoidable. Though Jack Crawford is a deliberate, cerebral character, he makes for a menacing physical foe when focused; his sudden movements and disturbing amusement, like a harpsichord, bring to mind Fishburne’s Matrix days. An excellent sequence.
Chiyo, on the other hand, emerges as a skillful student of Hannibal’s meditative arts and is in no rush to prove herself. She’s read Will accurately—throw the man from a train, and he’ll come trotting back more entranced than ever. Between alumni from Hannibal’s Minion School, this is foreplay. Bedelia, too, attempts to blunt her partner’s flamboyance, recognizing the necessity of Pazzi’s death, but unsuccessfully prevents Hannibal from attracting the spotlight.
Twice we see the evolution of the Firefly Man as the snails feed on it and the fireflies feed on the snails. This illustrates the growing energy of the predatory group, feeding off of the big Firefly, snails and little fireflies alike. The fireflies increase and swirl, glittering like Bella’s ashes and the glass shards. Hannibal has been fed from their presence; now they feed from his—fuel, as they grow brighter. The secondary image is night and its dreamlike quality, inspiring people to be truthful about their nature, to know themselves if only for a moment. At night, Chiyo tosses Will off of the train, Pazzi inadvisably approaches Hannibal, Hannibal offs him artfully, and Jack Hulks out on Hannibal. Have all of these characters, like Jack for Bella, spoken for their victim when their daytime life too closely matched nighttime?