Five episodes into the third (and possibly final) season, has Hannibal completely lost its way?
Let’s bitch it out…
Last week, I lamented that it was starting to seem as though the visual artistry of Hannibal had usurped its narrative. While there are a few significant plot developments in ‘Contorno’, it’s hard to deny that this episode is an improvement. Aside from Pazzi’s (Fortunato Cerlino) death and the sequel to Jack (Laurence Fishburne) and Hannibal’s (Mads Mikkelsen) epic showdown from the second season premiere/finale, most of this episode feels stuck in molasses.
The biggest disappointment by far is Will’s (Hugh Dancy) journey by train with Chiyo (Tao Okamoto). I’m all for conversations about death, fate and Hannibal, but it honestly feels like their entire trip is one long philosophical debate. The visuals, as usual, are fascinating and gorgeous, including the scene when they’re laying in bunks that look like graves. The muted, almost artificial landscape beyond the windows gives these scenes a perpetual dream-like feel, but all of the train sequences nevertheless feel ponderous. It’s not until Chiyo flips Will over the guard rail that these scenes feel justified (albeit as a delay tactic to prevent Will from getting to Florence quickly). If nothing else, her random act of violence is amusing because it seems equally inspired by film noir classic Double Indemnity and the aesthetic of Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City.
Meanwhile Pazzi’s pocketbook gets the better of him, despite an entertaining evening with Jack that should have confirmed he was in over his head. A quick call to a hotline gets him a Skype meeting with Mason (Joe Anderson) – who promises riches – and Alana (Caroline Dhavernas) – who promises torture and death. Unfortunately for Pazzi, it’s Alana’s promise that comes to pass; the cannibal makes swift work of the detective, murdering him in the same fashion as his namesake: tossed out the window, bowels out.
There’s a moment of (unintentional?) hilarity when Jack arrives at the exact moment of Pazzi’s death. I’ll confess that despite the excitement of seeing these two formidable opponents go head to head again, their entire fight felt off to me. Why was Jack suddenly so able to overpower Hannibal at every turn? Was Hannibal going easy on him or was Jack’s anger about his late wife fuelling his rage? Whatever the motivation, Jack easily wins round two, tossing Hannibal out the window and inevitable death has Pazzi’s body not conveniently been there for Hannibal to grab. With this development the game is surely afoot as we close on the end of the first act of S3.
All I can say is that I’m looking forward to the end of the Florence chapter so that we can get to Richard Armitage and Rutina Wesley’s take on the Red Dragon saga.
- It took me a moment to recognize Mía Maestro as Pazzi’s wife, because it seemed completely random for her to show up in such a small role. Back to The Strain with you!
- Alana’s not completely aligned with the dark side. She calls Pazzi to warn him that Hannibal will kill him (too late, of course). It’s still a bit strange to see her throwing down with the villains, though.
Your turn: what did you think of the episode? Are you becoming frustrated with the Will/Chiyo scenes? Do you understand why it was so easy for Jack to battle Hannibal? Will you miss Pazzi? Sound off below.
Hannibal airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on NBC. Next week: the net closes further (sound familiar?)