Warning: Spoilers & Graphic Images
Bedelia: Are you the betrayer or the betrayed?
Hannibal: I’m vague on those details.
NBC’s Hannibal is glamorous, luxurious, elegant, violent, bloody, viciously cruel. What is it that makes this show so captivating? Multi-dimensional characters, brilliant dialogue, devastating plot, stunning special effects, and absolutely delish irony. Viewers were treated to all of this show’s best in last night’s episode “Secondo” (which some reviewers are listing as “Secundo”).
Will (Hugh Dancy), describing his gutting by Hannibal as being “left with a smiley face” on his abdomen, went to Hannibal’s ancestral home in Lithuania, which features prominently only in Thomas Harris’s novel Hannibal Rising, about Hannibal’s childhood trauma during World War II, the fate of his sister Mischa, and Hannibal’s “Becoming” as he hunts down the men who destroyed his family and looted their castle. It was appropriately gothic and haunting in last night’s episode.
In Lithuania, on the grounds of Castle Lecter, Will found an Asian woman named Chiyo (Tao Okamato), hunting in the forest for pheasant, viewing Will through the rifle’s sights, though she did not shoot at him. Later, we saw Chiyo caressing the carcass of the game-bird, plucking it, and preparing it for roasting (alternating, for the viewers, with scenes of Hannibal cutting the hand off a severed arm, and preparing it for roasting and dinner).Chiyo claimed that Hannibal had left her there to guard a man responsible for the death of Hannibal’s little sister Mischa, whom he has already mentioned to Will. In a previous season, Will asked if Hannibal had ever been a father or if he’d ever had a child, or something to that effect, and Hannibal mentioned his sister Mischa. (Even those who have not read Hannibal Rising would have eventually figured out Mischa’s fate in last night’s episode, but I don’t want to spoil it for you yet.)
When Will showed his abdominal scar to Chiyo — it being the only scar he could reveal since the remainder of Will’s scars from Hannibal are psychological — she said, “All sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story.”
Despite this, Will did not deign to relate his story to Chiyo.
Will found the man who was being guarded in a basement dungeon, being starved to death (which confused me about the show’s timeline, since this man was supposed to have hurt Mischa during World War II, and Will et al seem to be in the 1970s or 1980s: Hannibal certainly doesn’t seem to be in a contemporary time period, so I’m not sure when this show is set).
When Will accused Chiyo of keeping the man “like an animal,” Chiyo responded that she “wouldn’t do this to an animal.” Will released the man, gave him clothes, then took him into the woods, instructing him to run away.
He returned to his dungeon cage.
But the door was unlocked. So when Chiyo came down again to the dungeon, the imprisoned man, who was never named, leapt out and attacked her. She killed him, in self-defense it would seem.
But then the strangeness happened: Will became Hannibal by saying he’d wanted to see what Chiyo would do.
Wait: isn’t that something Hannibal would say?
And then Will made a weird angel-moth-fetish of the man and hung him from the ceiling.
Isn’t that something some of the other serial killers Will has been hunting in the previous season have done: making angels, totem-poles, etc out of victims?
Either Will has lost his mind, or he has, indeed, become Hannibal.
Will as Dr. Hannibal Graham
There was another bizarre instance of Will behaving as Hannibal: the two are sitting (in Will’s or Hannibal’s imagination) as they used to during Will’s psycho-analysis, only Will is asking the questions of Hannibal. The question and answer scene was filmed or edited in some fancy-schmancy fashion that made it seem as if we were viewing them through shards of broken glass, fit back together in some imperfect puzzle.
It was beautifully symbolic, not only of how much of Hannibal has infiltrated Will’s personality, but of how much Will was already like Hannibal before Hannibal encouraged him to “Become” more like him.
The initial similarity between the two men, I assume, is what drew Hannibal to Will originally, and what is drawing Will to Hannibal now.
They do love each other — that much is obvious, and I don’t mean in a sexual way, though they could have erotic feelings of arousal without their love being sexual.
Perhaps Will and Hannibal love each other for the parts of themselves they see in the other one.
Now, the question is this: do Will and Hannibal love each other for the good they find in the other, or for the evil?
Bedelia: Gone Girl
Bedelia (Gillian Anderson) is, like… wow… suddenly cray-cray über-confident in her relationship with Hannibal.
She’s really starting to scare me silly.
She initiates the conversation on being betrayed and on forgiveness, telling Hannibal, as if she’s still his psychotherapist and as if she still retains some of his respect or still has some authority over him, that it takes two to forgive: the betrayer and the betrayed.
Casually, while sipping wine, she asks which Hannibal is: the Betrayed or the Betrayer?
He tells her he’s vague on that.Then Bedelia, who’s already killed one man herself (the patient who attacked her) as we discovered in the flashback in “Antipasto” S3E1,
become like Abigail (Kacey Rohl) after killing the brother of one of her father’s victims by asking Hannibal for help and protection afterward (becoming, in effect, like a slave or a voluntarily indentured servant for life),
“participated” in another killing (this time in Florence, of Tony the poet, who was going to reveal that Hannibal and Bedelia were not Dr. and Mrs. Fell, as they are claiming to be),
all the while knowing that Hannibal is still killing people and serving his victims to their dinners guests as food,
Bedelia then virtually taunted Hannibal, claiming she was confident that she could “navigate her way out of what she’s gotten herself into.”
Gone is the frightened, disoriented woman who begged Hannibal to protect her after she killed the patient who attacked her.
Gone is the girl who sat in the train station being “surveilled” just as she was being watched by Hannibal.
Gone is the terrified girl who was going to run away, who was running away, just as Hannibal opened the apartment door with Tony the Poet behind him.
Yes, that Bedelia seems to have vanished.
This girl, she’s giving me the shivers.
The Hannibal & Bedelia Show
Yes, some critics have expressed concern that Hannibal is becoming the Hannibal and Bedelia Show, but I find Bedelia’s relationship with Hannibal fascinating, even though I’m scared to death for her. After inviting his nemesis Sogliato (Rinaldo Rocco) for dinner, Hannibal stabbed him in the temple with an ice-pick.
Sogliato continued laughing and talking weirdly, though not really moving much. So he was alive after Hannibal skewered him.
That is, he was alive until Bedelia got up from the table and, annoyed by his incoherent gabbling about his not being able to see anything or his inane giggling, I suppose, yanked the ice-pick out of his temple, causing him to pitch forward, blood gushing from the wound, onto the dinner table.
She turned to Hannibal and said something like, “Now that’s two you’ve killed from the Palazzo Caponé.”
To which Hannibal responded, “For the record, technically, you killed him.”
Bedelia knows that Hannibal kills and eats people. She doesn’t eat the people-entrées when they’re served to guests. Tony the poet commented on her “different diet.” That avoidance of eating Hannibal’s victims was shown again last night, while Bedelia was again eating oysters, which the guests were not being served, and Bedelia was clearly uneasy about the guests’ expressions and exclamations of pleasure over the food.
Yet Bedelia was, in effect, scolding Hannibal after she yanked the ice-pick out of Sogliato?
I guess that means the girl never sleeps.
But then, when has Hannibal ever killed any his victims while they were sleeping?
Hannibal likes them to know he’s coming.
Apparently, so does Bedelia.
In an ironically erotic scene, Hannibal was washing Bedelia’s hair while she was in the tub discussing little Mischa and her fate, letting viewers know that Bedelia knows all about Hannibal’s sister and what the Nazis (or pseudo-Nazis) did to her and his family during the War. This linking of sexual arousal and killing is exactly what real serial killers unconsciously do. The writers of Hannibal did it by linking the erotic nature of Hannibal’s washing Bedelia’s hair, camera focused continuously on the weaving and entangling of his long fingers through her hair, while she asked things about his past that involve murder and cannibalism.
Things like: “What happened to you in Lithuania?”
To which Hannibal replied, “Nothing happened to me. I happened.”
Then Bedelia, wicked little girl that she’s become, casually asked, “How did your sister taste when you ate her?”
Hannibal knelt there, motionless, his soapy hands and fingers mid-air, staring, as Cruella-Bedelia sank slowly — almost luxuriously — into the tub, rinsing her hair — and herself — clean of the filth of that question.
The teacup has once again been broken.
Only this time, Bedelia and Will, in different scenes, are the ones who have knocked it from its secure place, both of them betraying and intentionally hurting Hannibal.
You’d think they’d know by now that the teacup, once shattered, cannot be put back together again.
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Hannibal Lurker: NBC’s Hannibal, S3E2 “Primavera”
Bello, Bellisima: NBC’s Hannibal, Season 3 Premiere: “Antipasto”
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The Nightmare Under the Pillow: NBC’s Hannibal, the Series, Season 1
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The Nightmare that Followed Him Out of his Dreams: NBC’s Hannibal, Season 2