Hannibal: 303 “Secondo” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
What made Hannibal Lecter into the man he is? That was the question this episode posed and by the end, we didn’t have a definite answer. It’s clear it has something to do with what happened to his sister Mischa, but exactly what happened is murky and unclear leading to a very intriguing mystery this week.
Picking up shortly after last week’s episode, we see Bedelia ask Hannibal about his “encounter” with Will. This scene showed a startlingly different Bedelia to the first episode. Gone is the unease and the worry, in its place is a Bedelia who’s almost comfortable with her situation. The matter of fact way she calmly told Hannibal he’s going to get caught and then apparently subtly threatening him by revealing she has a plan to get herself away should he be caught was intense. Perhaps Bedelia has decided to show Hannibal she can’t be so easily controlled? Or does it allude to something more? Anyway, Hannibal and Bedelia discuss Will for a while leading to a small discussion on forgiveness. Bedelia notes that forgiveness is a two way stream between the betrayer and the betrayed and asks Hannibal which one he is, apparently making him stop to think about it and actually unsure.
Later, Hannibal cooks up a human arm for dinner which he serves to Bedelia and Sogliato, the pretentious Italian academic who questioned Hannibal’s knowledge of Dante earlier in the season. Hannibal, not one to forgive this act of rudeness, shoves an ice pick into Sogliato’s head which causes him to go blind. In a slightly amusing moment, Hannibal notes he may have been too impulsive. Bedelia then pulls the pick out, killing Sogliato to which Hannibal notes that technically, Bedelia has killed him. This scene seemingly served to highlight Bedelia’s growing comfort with Hannibal’s killing but yet she also seemed slightly annoyed with Hannibal, perhaps disagreeing with Hannibal’s decision to kill Sogliato and noting he’s only killed so many people so he can lure “them” to him, with “them” certainly referring to Will, Jack and Alana (if she still lives). This scene showed a nice return to the dark comedy of some of Hannibal’s murders with Hannibal serving the last cocktail served on the Titanic to Sogliato before killing him.
Later on we see Hannibal presumably cook the remains of Sogliato and feed them to some of his guests. Here we get treated to a bit of black comedy as his guests praise the meat and Hannibal’s “butcher”. Bedelia watches them eat and appears uneasy with the situation, seemingly not touching her own food making me question if Bedelia is comfortable with Hannibal or if she’s just biding her time and waiting. In fact, this seems to be the case. Bedelia seems to be trying to find a chink in Hannibal’s armour by questioning him about his past and then realising (part) of the truth. Hannibal ate his own sister. As she asks him how his sister tastes, the power dynamic momentarily shifts in Bedelia’s favour. It almost certainly won’t stay that way, but Bedelia seems to be “fighting” Hannibal’s control.
We also get another reveal of the aftermath of Season Two. Jack Crawford is alive and well and has come to Italy to find Will. Arriving at the church from last episode, he speaks with Pazzi and the two discuss Hannibal, with them apparently deciding to join forces to capture him.
Will meanwhile has travelled to Lithuania to investigate Hannibal’s childhood home in order to find a way into Hannibal’s mind and hopefully find out where he is. Here he finds Mischa’s grave and questions Hannibal in a fantasy sequence which is interrupted by a gunshot. Will witnesses a woman shoot a bird. That night he follows her and discovers she is keeping an unidentified man in a cell, who I can only assume is the TV show’s version of Vladis Grutas. The woman identifies herself as Chiyoh (although I have suspicions as to her true identity) and claims the man is the one who killed and ate Hannibal’s sister Mischa. Will however refuses to believe that this is the main reason Hannibal became the man he is, perhaps a slight dig by the writers at Thomas Harris’s much criticised fourth Hannibal novel Hannibal Rising and it’s equally criticised film adaptation. Chiyoh tells Will she asked Hannibal not to kill the man, so Hannibal locked him up and left Chiyoh to care for him making her as much as a prisoner as the man is. The two discuss their intimate connections to Hannibal and the two bond slightly. Will deduces that Hannibal left her with the man in order to see if Chiyoh would eventually be driven to kill him. Will releases the man who then attacks Chiyoh. Chiyoh kills him in self defence and claims Will did what Hannibal would have done, released the man out of curiosity as to what she would do. Will denies this and the two decorate the man’s corpse as a moth and Chiyoh, freed of her prison, decides to join Will on his search for Hannibal.
This entire storyline was magnificently done and was eerily haunting. What remains of Lecter Castle and its surrounding woods would not look out of place in a gothic horror movie creating the sense of unease that was needed. Chiyoh seems to be an intriguing character. Tao Okamoto gave a great performance and seems to be a great addition to the show’s ever growing cast. I look forward to seeing her character develop and if she is revealed to who I suspect her to be, then she’s in for a lot of development.
And finally, the episode returned to Hannibal and Bedelia as she questioned him yet again about Mischa, seeming more in control. Hannibal denies that Mischa made him into the man he is and instead influenced him, but he forgave her. Bedelia, suspecting what this means, tells Hannibal that according to his past behaviour, there is only one way he can forgive Will. Hannibal calmly tells her that he has to eat him. It seems Hannibal has finally dismissed Will as someone he can connect with and decided that he’d be better off without him and has chosen to end their partnership by eating him. This adds a great deal more suspense to Will’s hunt. Is it all a trap so Hannibal can kill and eat Will?
All in all, this was another great episode. It was unsettling yet oddly fascinating to watch as well as fleshing out some of Hannibal’s back-story without giving a valid reason as to why he’s the man he is. The show seems to be off to a very good start to the season. We’re three episodes in and the show seems to be showing no signs of dipping in quality. Here’s hoping this high level of quality can be kept for the remaining 10 episodes.