Hannibal: 304 “Aperitivo” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
This week’s Hannibal was slightly marred by the saddening news of the show’s cancellation earlier this week. It was to be expected when NBC announced they would air the show in the summer, which anyone will tell you are a terrible time to start a show. Especially one like Hannibal which is more suited to dark autumn nights than bright Summer ones. Thankfully NBC will continue to show the remaining nine episodes while Netflix and Amazon wait in the wings to hopefully bring the show to a new home, although personally my moneys on Netflix who are going to on the lookout for a new dark gruesome drama once the third and final season of Hemlock Grove premieres later this year.
This episode, like episode 2, minimised Hannibal’s presence to focus on the survivors of Hannibal (minus Miriam Lass) and how his attacks have “changed” them and indeed, how they seek to deal with what has happened to them. Focusing on the core trio of Will, Jack and Alana we saw three very different reactions and attempts to cope. Will, as we know, seeks to find Hannibal, along with the subtle reveal that Will might not want to capture Hannibal and instead seeks to reunite with him. Jack attempts to move on and put the events behind him, but his wife’s death and Hannibal’s letter of condolences proves that there’s no escape. Alana makes her intention clear to Mason Verger that she seeks to help him capture Hannibal and kill him by helping to set the trap. It’s interesting that Alana, who before was ever the voice of reason, would choose to help end Hannibal’s life so I look forward to seeing how she continues to develop as the season continues. Whatever happens, it seems the Alana we’re seeing now is not the same person who was thrown from that window.
This episode also saw the return of some of Season 2’s supporting cast, namely Frederick Chilton and Mason and Margot Verger. Chilton and Verger’s “face to face” conversation was one of the episode’s chilling and most memorable scenes as well as being one of the few times in the show two characters have shown each other their “true” selves. Verger is offering a million dollars to anyone who can offer information on Hannibal, not to help with his capture however, but to have Hannibal for himself. And thus the first half of this season officially becomes an adaptation of the third Hannibal Lecter novel Hannibal with several creative changes made, Will Graham replacing Clarice Starling for one (thus side stepping those MGM rights issues with the character). This approach, playing with the timeline of the novels in order to tell the story as it suits the natural development of the story helps a lot. It certainly helps with Hannibal which always felt out of place, perhaps because Thomas Harris only wrote it so the studio could make a movie.
Most interesting is how vague Will’s character has become. His imagining of helping Hannibal kill Jack certainly proves how conflicted Will has become within, entirely unsure of whose side he’s on. It adds a layer of ambiguity to Will’s actions earlier in the season and certainly raises the question on Will’s current mental state.
Huge shout out to Laurence Fishburne though. His performance in this episode was amazing. His reactions to Bella’s death and his acting throughout the wake was just perfect. Jack’s face upon finding the letter was perfect. He knows that try as he might to leave it behind, he’s always going to be dragged back into the world of Hannibal Lecter and it seems his new goal is to try and find Will in order to save Will from being dragged into that world for good.
This episode, like every episode of Hannibal, was stunningly beautiful. The way each “act” of the episode began with an in depth look at each of the injuries sustained by each of Hannibal’s victims was oddly beautiful to watch, if also sickening. Seeing the bullet carve its way through Chilton’s skull, the knife through Will, the blood pouring from Jack, Mason’s surgery and Alana’s skeleton crashing with the floor all provided amazing imagery for the episode and provided nice openings to each part of the episode, a nice running theme.
This episode was another fine entry in the season. If this is to be Hannibal’s last, at least it’s shaping up to be its best. Here’s hoping the show continues to have an impressive output over the next few episodes. It can only improve the show’s likelihood of being picked up by a new channel or a streaming service.