Another slow episode in season 3, Secondo just scratched the surface of Hannibal’s troubled past. It also posed the question of why Hannibal is the way he is. The episode uses the themes expressed in Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Rising novel to try and explain why Hannibal is the cannibal serial killer he is. Unlike in the book, the characters question if his experiences really drove him off the deep end or if Hannibal would have been a cannibal anyways.
The episode begins with Bedelia and Hannibal talking about what it was like to connect with Will again. Hannibal simply says that “it was nice” and that Will “knew where to find me.” Bedelia is now clearly settled in to her life as wifey. She presses Hannibal to sort out his feelings about forgiveness towards Will, but it shows that she no longer fears Hannibal. So, is she now his willing accomplice?
The show cuts to Will who has now discovered Hannibal’s childhood home in Luthuania. A creative sequence begins with Hannibal and Will that feels a bit like filler, but is interrupted by a gun shot. Will looks up to see a beautiful women shoot a duck and take it back to her home. The woman begins to pluck the duck’s feathers and slice it open almost identical to Mr. Hannibal.
This is when we see the show switch quickly over to Hannibal slicing up a freakin’ human arm for dinner. Hannibal is having the ever annoying Sogliato, the pretentious academic that challenged him over his knowledge of Dante in the opening episode of the season. In the most exciting sequence of the episode, Hannibal looses his temper with the babbling Sogliato and stabs him in the head with an ice pick. The man laughs hysterically and goes blind at the same time. Bedelia, shocked at Hannibal’s sudden loss of control, pulls the pick out.
Hannibal in his sadistic and cruel fashion tells Bedelia, “Let the record show, you technically killed him.” It’s at this moment you realize that Bedelia is more of a captive to Hannibal than an actual lover because he is willing to turn on her without any guilt.
We soon find out that Jack Cawford is alive. Hannibal most likely left Crawford alive on purpose as well. Crawford meets police inspector Pazzi at a church and explains to him that he’s not there to catch Hannibal, but to find will. I guess he’s there as some kind of one man support group? Lord knows Will needs it!
When Will finally makes his way to Lecter’s estate, he discovers a huge cage that houses a starving man. Startled by the young woman who pulls a gun on him, Will discovers that the man is her prisoner. The woman’s name is revealed to be Chiyoh. We don’t know how she came in to Hannibal’s life, but she apparently knows him pretty well. She explains to Will that Hannibal witnessed the prisoner kill and eat his sister. This explanation deviates from the novel Hannibal Rising as it was a group of Nazis that ate Misha and forced him to eat her as well. Personally, the story with the Nazis is more interesting.
Will doesn’t buy this is as Hannibal’s definitive “origin” story, he believes Hannibal was pretty much just born bad. In a confusing scene, Will decides to free the man. Instead of running off like any rational person would, the man attacks Chiyoh. Chiyoh then fights him off and shoves a knife in his throat. Will says he did this so that he could see what Chiyoh would do.
But why? Chiyoh says that is something Hannibal would have done and that he would have been proud of Will. Seeing that Will is so attached to Hannibal psychologically, she agrees to help will find Hannibal. She knows what it’s like to be so attached to him. Will is clearly showing similar traits to Hannibal and this is extremely troubling.
In the final scenes between Hannibal and Bedelia, we are again taken back by how the relationship between Hannibal and Bedelia continues to change. Hannibal is cruel to her one minute and loving the next. In fact, as she takes a hot bath Hannibal washes Bedelia’s hair. As they speak, she reveals that she also knows about his doomed little sister Misha. Hannibal tells her that he recognizes that Mischa influenced him, but that he forgave her for that influence. I can feel a collective eye-roll from the audience because seriously, that can’t possibly be the only thing that made Hannibal the monster he is.
As Bedelia and Hannibal chat further over the piano, Bedelia pushes that there is only one way for Hannibal to forgive Will. In the show’s closing line Hannibal utters that in order to forgive Will he has “to eat him.”
This season’s viewership is currently pretty low bringing in below 2 million viewers and the show is not doing itself any favors. The show is building its momentum too slowly without any of the shocking twists and turns it had in the past. Some of the artistic sequences are beginning to feel forced and they don’t seem to make much sense at all. Sure, they look pretty, but are they really adding to the story? I always felt like this show would bloom even more on Netflix if they could jump right out of some of the filler content and get to the real slicing and dicing. A girl can dream, but if this masterpiece is canceled, it would be Bryan Fullers’ own fault.