Hannibal: 306 “Dolce” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d assume that the next Hannibal was the season finale after this thrilling episode. But no. With another six episodes to go after the next, it’ll be interesting to see if the momentum, which this week’s episode put into overdrive, can be kept.
After the last episode’s rather one sided beatdown, we see Hannibal recovering from his wounds with the aid of Bedelia. Hannibal sits outside, drawing the view of Florence and comments that he wishes to commit the view to memory, providing a nice continuity reference for fans as in Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal does indeed draw the view from memory to decorate the walls of his cell. Hannibal notes how lightly Bedelia has packed only for her to reveal that the bags she has packed are for him, not for her. She makes clear he is leaving while she is staying in Florence and tells him she knows he was intending to eat her eventually and so she’s leaving him now as she isn’t “ready” yet. They kiss and Hannibal departs, making everyone question if there were any genuine feelings between them or if Hannibal was just playing with her feelings to make a “tastier” meal. Meanwhile, Will and Jack reunite at the Palazzo where Will questions Jack’s inability to kill Hannibal in the preceding episode. Jack replies that maybe he needs Will to do it for him and then just like that, the dream team is reunited, tracking down serial killers just like in the good old Season One days.
Chiyoh makes her way to Hannibal’s apartment where she discovers Bedelia about to inject herself with some concoction. The two share a brief conversation and comment on their situations, comparing themselves to birds in cages. While Bedelia has made herself comfortable in her cage, Chiyoh has fled her cage and is flying towards Hannibal. Bedelia then questions Chiyoh’s connection to Hannibal and the two share a fun little back and forth. Chiyoh departs and Bedelia injects herself with her concoction. Amusingly, this isn’t the trippiest scene in the episode. Will and Jack show up and attempt to interrogate her. Bedelia however insists she’s Mrs Fell and has never heard of Hannibal. Will and Jack then discover Bedelia has been injecting herself with the same drug Hannibal used to brainwash Miriam Lass into thinking Dr Chilton was her kidnapper. This was one of the truly ingenious parts of the episode. Bedelia is playing everyone and given herself a watertight alibi. In fact, it’s incredibly possible she’s manufactured Hannibal’s downfall. Her purchasing of the same wine every week from the same store could have been an intentional act to draw those tracking Hannibal to Florence.
Will meanwhile takes a page out of Batman’s book and slips away silently while Jack isn’t looking and heads off to find Hannibal, eventually finding him at the art gallery. The two are reunited in the episode’s most beautiful scene. As the slightly changed music from last year’s finale plays, the two characters discuss their connection to each other. It’s an oddly beautiful scene. As we’ve been waiting all season for these characters to reunite, it’s quite touching for it to just be a quiet exchange between the two. But this is Hannibal so anything quiet doesn’t stay so for long. Indeed, as soon as Will and Hannibal step outside, Will attempts to stab Hannibal and Chiyoh, with a sniper rifle, shoots Will in the shoulder.
Meanwhile, Mason continues his search for Hannibal and while eating various meals (with his intention to cook Hannibal in the same meals) imagines a fully cooked Hannibal on his table in one of the episode’s more surreal scenes. Mason, Alana, Margot and co discuss their next move in the search. They decide to buy as much of the Italian police force as possible to assist. Mason notes how interested in his pursuit of Hannibal Margot has become and wonders what she could want in return. The two talk and Mason, remembering how much Margot wants a child, brings up the possibility that he still has working sperm and could feasibly father a child. Later, Margot and Alana (who have the most surreally shot sex scene ever) discuss this and Margot cautiously asks Alana if she’s ever harvested sperm before. Margot is clearly evaluating if she even needs Mason to get his sperm and, if she doesn’t, she could very well strike out on her own.
Meanwhile back in Florence, Will wakes up after a rather surreal and beautiful sequence where he converses with Hannibal in what appears to be a shifting Rorschach painting. Will then wakes up strapped to a chair in a dining room. Hannibal feeds Will soup which Will finds distasteful (implying its secret ingredient is Will Graham) and Will notes the table is set for three, asking if they’re expecting company. Company does indeed arrive in the form of Jack who shares a lift with Chiyoh, who quickly decides to wait for another chance at Hannibal. Jack enters the apartment and finds Will, who utters perhaps the five most chilling words ever uttered on Hannibal: “He’s under the table Jack.” Hannibal strikes and Jack loses consciousness. Bedelia meanwhile, sticking to her brainwashing alibi, is being interrogated by the police. The detective, who I suspect has been bought by Mason, offers her two versions of events: One where she’s arrested as Hannibal’s accomplice or one where she’s rescued (presumably by revealing Hannibal’s location). Bedelia seems to lean to the second offer.
Jack meanwhile wakes up at the dinner table, heavily sedated and only able to speak and chew. Hannibal then reveals what he intends to do. He and Jack have been chewing on Will’s mind for too long; it’s time they did it for real. Hannibal then pulls out a saw and begins to slice open Will’s head, despite Jack’s protests. As the blood splatters everywhere, we cut away to a meat locker and see… Will and Hannibal hanging among the pigs as Mason arrive and welcomes them to his farm. How did Will and Hannibal get from Florence to (presumably) America? Where are Jack and Chiyoh? What’s happened to Bedelia? So many questions. With the next episode being a finale of sorts due to the conclusion to nearly all of the arcs this season before Red Dragon takes up the last six episodes; let’s hope all the questions are answered. Especially since the chances of a fourth season are dropping daily.
It seems Bryan Fuller has chosen to Sidestep Clarice Starling entirely (we can now safely assume Fuller has now merged her with Will and Jack), as this episode chose to adapt the most sickening and certainly one of the most iconic sequences from Thomas Harris’s third Lecter novel; Hannibal. Namely Hannibal preparing to eat someone’s brain, as they’re still alive and forcing another heavily sedated person to join in the meal. Thankfully we won’t be witness to Will eating his own brain if the cut to Mason’s farm implies anything (the cut on Will’s forehead implies Hannibal is interrupted before he can open Will’s skull). If this is to be the final season, then its good Fuller has chosen to adapt the material he has the rights to, even if this means messing up the timeline a little.
However, I have to agree with the changes. Hannibal’s story works much better with Will than it does with Clarice in the books and film. While we may see Clarice in a possible future season/special/film depending on the show’s future, it’s an interesting approach to see the Will Graham/Hannibal relationship explored much more deeply than it has before. Even in Thomas Harris’s own novels. And all in all, it’s been a success and the main driving force of the show.
Hannibal continues to be beautifully written, made, acted and directed. It’s hard to find any other show that looks like it belongs on a cinema screen more than Hannibal. If Hannibal is to be no more, at least let Fuller end the series with a bang as a film adaptation of Silence of the Lambs. As well as being the perfect way to end the show, it’ll be great to see Fuller’s imagery and vision with a Hollywood budget. With us nearing the midpoint of the season, its great the show has continued to keep such incredibly high quality over six episodes so far. Here’s hoping it can keep it up for the remaining seven.