It’s been an excruciating week for hannibal fans with last week’s announcement that the third season would be the show’s last on nbc. There have been rumors about bringing the show back to Amazon or potentially other networks, but here’s the thing: Even if that doesn’t happen, it looks like Bryan Fuller is in the running with season three to bring the show to a strong conclusion. Would viewers really be upset to see hannibal get captured and then watch this show’s version of the red dragon story? The third season is going full steam ahead, but it also stays very focused on its main goals and what it thinks is interesting about the Hannibal franchise: whether or not a psychopath can have real feelings, and the relationship between Will and Hannibal. It would be awesome to see this series take on more Hannibal Lecter stories like Silence of the Lambs and see Mads Mikkelsen act against Jodie Foster to play Clarice Starling (how awesome would Elizabeth Moss be as Clarice?). but perhaps hannibal works best by examining hannibal as a free man. I will miss this show as much as anyone, but I am so excited to see what Fuller is capable of knowing that his show may not see the light of day beyond 2015.
The fourth episode of Hannibal Season 3, ‘Appetizer’, helped set in motion the events that will lead to Hannibal’s possible arrest, or worse. It’s been absolutely stunning to see this series weave together established characters from the books and engage them in often completely different story lines than the books they’re based on. Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle), Mason Verger (with actor Joe Anderson replacing Michael Pitt), and Dr. fredrick chilton (raúl esparza) are all back, with the latter two plotting hannibal’s death for much of the episode.
On other fronts, this episode sees will coming to terms with his own stockholm syndrome. He reveals to Jack, and to himself, that he wanted Hannibal to escape. will is a lonely soul with a gift/curse for profiling serial killers. his gift has left him feeling isolated for much of his life. despite his heroism, his empathy for the deranged makes it almost impossible to relate to other human beings. It shouldn’t be surprising then that the solace Will has with Hannibal isn’t something he’s willing to give up, even with all the horrors Hannibal has caused.
The episode used flashbacks of our characters’ comebacks after hannibal’s wrath during season 2 and the season finale. dr fredrick chilton is alive and reflecting on his gunshot wound to the cheek he sustained while being wrongly interrogated for hannibal’s crimes in season 2. on top of that, it was hannibal who brainwashed his former victim, miriam lass, to that she believed it was Chilton who kidnapped, tortured and disfigured her. despite miriam pulling the trigger on dr. chilton, chilton knows that hannibal is the one who plays the puppeteer in this awful theater. dr Chilton has every reason to despise Hannibal Lecter.
chilton meets with the sacristan mason now terribly disfigured. Verger, who last year was drugged by Hannibal and forced to mutilate and cannibalize his own face, has grievances with Dr. reading too.
dr. chilton wants to set up a plan regarding lecter’s disappearance with mason. Mason, perhaps to fully understand the depths of Chilton’s hatred for Hannibal, asks Chilton to show him his disfigurements. Chilton then removes a contact lens, revealing a misty gray eyeball. he removes his makeup to show his wound where the bullet entered his cheek. he removes his false teeth to reveal toothless gums. To please Chilton, Mason removes his bandages, revealing the depths of the scar tissue: Mason’s face is severely disfigured, almost looking like a pig crossed with a human. Considering the Sexton’s attitude toward women and his penchant for feeding people real wild pigs, looking like a pig is poetic.
“okay, now we can talk face to face”, says mason to dr. chilton.
mason was priced at a million dollars for hannibal’s head. dr Chilton thinks he knows a way to lure Hannibal back home.
The screen cuts and Will bleeds to death in Hannibal’s arms. the shot looks like a shakespearean tragedy, with one lover dying in the other’s embrace. except that will isn’t dead, he wakes up in the hospital. cut back to episode 2 of this season, when will imagined that abigail was visiting him, in fact he was being visited by dr. chilton. Chilton wants Will’s help in finding Hannibal, noting that he and Will will share a similar situation: “both disemboweled and charged,” Chilton says.
“We have matching scars,” will says, disinterested.
will doesn’t seem too enthusiastic. A fantasy sequence concludes with Will and Hannibal murdering Jack Crawford in tandem. there it is: will, in fact, considered running away with hannibal. or if he didn’t fully consider it, a dark aspect of his mind certainly did. Will has to come to terms with his fractured psyche and his misguided loyalty to Hannibal Lecter.
jack will track down to make sure he and stick to his narrative that they were wounded in the line of heroic duty. but then jack reveals what he really has in mind: “remember when you decided to call hannibal?” jack asks will.
will wanted hannibal to run away, “because he was my friend and because i wanted to run away with him,” will says.
The only remaining character whose life status was unknown at this point was Alana, who was pushed from the second story window of Hannibal’s house directly into her back by Abigail in the Season 2 finale. Alana is alive and he wakes up in the hospital with pins in his spine. Chilton also visits Alana, trying to take her anger out on Hannibal. Chilton knows that Alana was more intimate with Hannibal than anyone else, and he hopes to take advantage of Alana’s betrayal. Alana tells Chilton that she had a lot of bone marrow in her bloodstream, “they said I’ll think differently,” she says. Alana is done playing nice.
alana, in a wheelchair, heads over to will’s house to see how he’s doing afterwards. alana asks will if he is tempted to forget. will doesn’t want to forget: “I’m building rooms in my memory palace for all my friends.”
“friendship with hannibal is blackmail raised to love”, says alana.
“a mutual agreement to ignore the worst in each other and see the best,” says will.
alana heads to the sacristan twins’ family grounds, where margot takes her to mason. Margot warns Alana not to accept any of Mason’s chocolates.
mason tells alana that he has found jesus and that jesus led him to forgive hannibal. But only because Jesus has given Mason the strength and serenity he needs to defeat his enemies.
Alana also wants Hannibal back, “I don’t need religion to understand the Old Testament idea of revenge.” alana cannot forgive the violations of his body and his trust by dr. reading.
Jack wakes up with his loving wife, Bella (played by Fishburne’s real-life wife, Gina Torres), in the hospital. he tells her that he thought if he died talking to her on the phone after hannibal put a glass shard through her neck, then they could die together. Bella is dying of cancer and tells Jack that he can’t die with her, as much as he wants to try.
dr. Chilton is still hanging around and it’s Jack’s turn to hear Chilton launch. Jack, who has just been fired from the FBI, tells Chilton that he is not interested in using Will again as bait to lure out Hannibal.
jack is losing everything and seems to find some kind of peace within that tragedy. he finally separates from will, hannibal and her work to be with bella in her last days. Complying with her request from long ago, Jack sleeps in bed with Bella after overdosing on painkillers, effectively killing her.
at the funeral, jack looks at his wife dressed in jack’s favorite white dress, when he sees a note left on top of the arrangements. it’s from hannibal, “dear jack, i’m so sorry about bella,” hannibal writes. Jack is extremely conflicted because Bella liked and respected Hannibal. Jack also knows that, in his own way, Hannibal loved Bella very much, and so did he. Just because Jack is repulsed and scared by Hannibal, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have genuine affection for him buried under his consciousness.
will walks up to jack at the funeral. Jack essentially tells Will that Will is the only thing Jack has left. he wants me to stop risking a friendship with a monster: “I know what’s coming for you, will,” he says, “you don’t have to die with me either.”
mason has a slimy caretaker named cordell (glenn fleshler, hello yellow king from true detective season 1). Mason reveals to his trusted physical therapist what he wants to do with Hannibal. Fittingly, Mason wants Hannibal to be eaten alive.
“How would you like it prepared?” Cordell asks, as calmly as anyone can ask anything.
Alana and Mason are discussing courses of action, and Alana tells her that the only way to locate Hannibal is to track his likes, “their names may change but their likes will stay,” she says.
aside from classical music and fancy italian suits, what does hannibal like? he likes will graham. alana knows how to bring hannibal out of the dark. his quest for revenge is even restoring his health, as we quickly see his walking improve throughout the episode. Caroline Dhavernas did an excellent job in this episode playing a woman resurrected through anger.
jack is going to visit will at his house. find alana instead. alana tells jack, “she’s gone. he knows what he has to do. you?” The episode closes with will jumping aboard a sailboat, heading to find a long-lost friend.
In the first three episodes of the season, we as viewers didn’t know exactly why Will was in Europe looking for Hannibal. Was he there because he missed Hannibal? he needed to talk things out? Did he want to kill him in cold blood? Now we do know. Although it was confirmed in this episode how deeply Will feels for Hannibal, it seems that his commitment to justice has taken precedence. Despite the strange and unlikely interactions between altruistic characters like Alana and repulsive characters like Mason, all plotting to take down Hannibal, Will knows that only he can bring Hannibal to justice. Whether the show ends this season or not, I think we’re about to have a very exciting ending to this chapter in the Hannibal Lecter story.