Previously on Hannibal, ‘Contorno’
Hannibal painfully makes his way home and into the tub where Bedelia washes his face with a sponge, carefully applies stitches. Metronome ticking. Buzzing. He smiles. As she snips the thread, the polizia cut Pazzi down under Jack’s gaze. Will joins him. “Knowing he’s in danger won’t rattle him anymore than killing does,” Will says. Here they are, outside the law like Pazzi was. The police poking around will only encourage him to slip away. Part of Will always wants to go with him. He wonders why Jack didn’t kill him. “Maybe I need you to.”
Hannibal sits on the balcony sketching Florence, wanting to remember it. It’s where he became a man. “I see my end in my beginning.” “All of our endings can be found in our beginnings. History repeats itself. And there is no escape,” Bedelia summarizes. She’s packed for him, instructing him to leave her. He imagined them saying goodbye a different way. She knows damn well he meant to eat her, and not quickly. He’ll help her tell her version of events because she asked. “You may make a meal of me yet, Hannibal,” they kiss goodbye. “But not today.”
Notturno by Franz Schubert. Cordell serves a rehearsal dinner, pig tails in ginger black vinegar as though they were human fingers and marrow in fermented bean sauce. When he chokes, Cordell produces a Buddhist singing bowl, the start of a new day. “Papa always used to say meat is a people business.” Cordell likes the idea of Mason becoming the apex predator. Perhaps they’ll Peking duck him—the preparation requires torture. Mason imagines a table set in splendor with Hannibal glazed in the middle. “Transubstantiation.” Instead, the phone rings. Alana and Margot join the two men to watch the Italian news, each upset at the foiled capture for their own reasons. They’re all worried Pazzi’s effects will lead back to the Vergers. Better pay off the whole department.
Artistic Note: The main thematic idea of this piece is of “not going anywhere” and revolving around one note. This echoes Verger’s obsessive wheel spinning while awaiting Hannibal’s capture.
Bedelia pulls out her escape plan from a hidden hatch—psychotropic drugs. Before she can shoot up, she catches Chiyoh in the mirror behind her, loaded for bear. She’s family, she tells Bedelia. “You’re like his bird. I’m his bird, too. He puts us in cages to see what we’ll do.” “Fly away or dash ourselves against the bars.”
Bedelia wonders if she was there when Hannibal matured as a beast. Chiyoh wants to cage him right back. “I thought Will Graham was Hannibal’s biggest mistake. I wonder if it isn’t you.” She excuses herself to shoot up, her head lolling back to look at the ceiling frescoes. Now alone, she stumbles to a knock at the door. “Mrs. Fell, I presume?” Will and Jack.
Jack examines a drug capsule. Bedelia claims she’s being treated for a condition, that her name is Lydia Fell. Will doesn’t buy it. Jack realizes it’s the cocktail that he served Miriam Lass—she’s been freebasing her alibi this whole time, and Jack ain’t even mad. “Lydia Fell” smirks. The police should be questioning her, if they weren’t so busy being bought off. Will wanders off. “I wonder who will catch him first.”
Margot reports having cleaned up their Italian problem so Mason asks what she wants. Still a baby. He wishes he could give her Verger baby, but, hell, she shouldn’t have been waving around her uterus like a loaded pistol. Fortunately HE still has sperm. They could totally be a happy family!
The Uffizi Gallery. Hannibal sketches La Primavera, this time with Will and Bedelia’s faces. Music from the final scene of “Mizumono” plays. Their love song. Will sits down next to him. Hannibal smiles. “If I saw you every day, forever, Will, I would remember this time.” Will’s been studying Hannibal’s past, his “afterimages,” to be clear about who he was seeing, images from Before Hannibal and After Hannibal. Mischa, Abigail, Chiyoh. How is Chiyoh? She pushed him off a train. “Atta girl,” Hannibal quips.
“You and I have begun to blur,” Will summarizes. Every crime feels like one Will could have done. They’re conjoined. Can either of them survive separation? Hannibal advises that rage, frustration, and forgiveness shouldn’t keep you from thinking clearly. They both rise painfully and exit. As they make their way down the street, a sight focuses on Hannibal—Chiyoh’s rifle—then changes to Will. He pulls a knife to kill Hannibal, but she shoots his right shoulder, then starts breaking down the gun.
To snake charmer music, Margot and Alana have trippy kaleidoscope sex. No, for real. Is Margot Alana? Is Alana Margot? Is Hannibal Will? Is Cordell watching? (Yes.) They get dressed again talking of the FBI and what they’ll do once Mason has Hannibal. Alana reveals that she has every intention of turning them both in to the FBI. Margot asks, “There is something I need to get from Mason before he goes to prison. Any experience harvesting sperm?” Awkward afterglow.
An official-looking man interviews Bedelia and Jack about Dr. Fell. She plays the Lydia part well, saying her “husband” knew Sogliato, pretending horror. Jack slyly accuses the detective of accepting bribes, but is dismissed.
Hannibal unloads Will, painfully removing his jacket, using that moment for one of his Signature Hannibal Hugs. Chiyoh has always been protective, he says. Did she finally kill her “tenant?” Will confirms. “Excellent.” Putting the knife back in his hand, he says, “You dropped your forgiveness, Will. You forgive like God does… Would you have stopped to gloat?” He gives him a sedative, then takes the knife. The music turns strange as it takes effect. Metronome.
Ink swirling. Will’s face emerges. Butter sizzling. Taste and smell precede morality in the brain, like miracles on a church ceiling. Hannibal turns into the wendigo; the horns turn into the two men. What’s for dinner? “Never ask. It spoils the surprise.” Hannibal serves him a tureen and belts him into the chair. Will glares at Hannibal, sees himself. It’s too bad he has to leave Florence. Hannibal wanted to read things at the Palazzo, play the clavier, compose, show Will the city… “The soup isn’t very good,” Will complains. Not soup: a parsley thyme infusion. He notices an empty place at the table. Oh, dear.
Jack walks into the lobby, notes “Sogliato 7B,” and lets himself into the elevator. As door closes, Chiyoh catches the gate. She observes the same floor, presses her lips together. Jack side-eyes her case. She side eyes his gun. When they both get out, she claims she’s on the wrong floor and goes downstairs. Jack opens Sogliato’s door gun first, hearing sizzling and Patrick Cassidy’s “Ave Maria”, seeing Will at the table. He approaches, noting mushrooms on a platter, a colorful spectrum laid across the table. “He’s under the table,” Will says, as Hannibal cuts Jack’s Achilles.
The detective tries to draw Bedelia out with the real Dr. Fell and Lydia’s papers. She asserts that she is Lydia Fell. He leans forward, his hand sliding inappropriately across the seat, and says he doesn’t care who she is or if she’s in her right mind. She realizes that he doesn’t work for the police, changes tact to boozy flirting. She offers that Hannibal wanted to meet a friend before leaving Florence, in a private place, somewhere nobody should be.
Jack sits at the table, drugged to the point of chewing only. Did Jack enjoy the exhibition, a different kind of evil minds exhibit? “Not that different.” The menu was all wrong for their original dinner at Hannibal’s house. Hannibal turns to Will: “Jack was the first to suggest getting inside your head. Now we’ll both have the opportunity to chew quite literally what we’ve only chewed figuratively.” Hannibal saws into Will’s head as Jack screams.
The blood droplets fly weightlessly. Sunrise. Snowy forest. Frozen pigs in a meat locker. Will hung upside down next to Hannibal. Mason wheels up. “Gentlemen, welcome to Muskrat Farms.”
At long last, Will, Jack, and Mason catch up to their quarry, but the women maintain the upper hand—Bedelia enacts her escape plan, Chiyoh slips away before the crucial moment, and Alana reveals her counter-goal to Margot. All four of them wear the appropriate wardrobe for their role, saying their lines, but all four are still very much a force. Hannibal can be outmatched, but for how long? “Dolce” (sweet) was a bit slow and light on the music, in my view, but satisfying as our characters finally begin to reveal their true purposes. Hannibal and Will’s moment of reunion was more romantic than Hannibal kissing Bedelia goodbye.
“Dolce” repeats themes of drugged eyes (perception) and merging with another/alternate selves. In the kaleidoscope sex scene, Margot and Alana are virtually indistinguishable. Alana, like Margot, weaponizes her sex appeal. Bedelia looks into the mirror and sees Chiyoh, who says they are both Hannibal’s caged birds. Will first appears in the torture exhibit behind the gibbet, then literally tells Hannibal they are merging together. He sees his face on Hannibal’s body feeding himself, a part of the wendigo horns.
This theme continues in Mason’s mock human dinner, his obsession with transubstantiation—becoming Hannibal by consuming him. Hannibal’s goal has always been to consume Will, and nearly succeeds, whereas Will’s goal is to consume by understanding Hannibal, and then kill him, to understand exactly which parts of himself he’ll be cutting out and what will remain afterward. The Ave Maria underscores the sacredness of their twisted merging. While we never do see if Hannibal and Bedelia were physically intimate, this is the consummation devoutly to be wish’d. Indeed, in the original Hamlet, the word intended was most likely not “consummation” but “consumation,” an ideal that fits Hannibal perfectly.