Before I begin my recap of Hannibal‘s fourth episode of season three, I of course have to address the devastating news that Fannibals received earlier this week. On Monday, it was announced that NBC had cancelled the show due to low ratings and this third season would be its last. The latest news from creator Bryan Fuller is that they are definitely looking at finding another platform for the show, through either Amazon or Netflix (Amazon is probably the more likely bet because they already stream the show) and that there is a “50/50 chance” of it happening.
Many people probably want to jump on NBC for cancelling one of the finest and most beautiful shows on television, but it’s actually not that hard for me to believe that Hannibal had lower than expected ratings. It’s a very cerebral and oftentimes trippy show that is probably a bit difficult for the average viewer to get into and follow. On the other hand, of the people that did fall in love with it, they are an amazingly loyal and rabid fanbase. Almost immediately after the cancellation announcement, there was an online petition setup to save Hannibal, and #SaveHannibal was all over Twitter.
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) June 22, 2015
Hopefully Hannibal will indeed be saved for at least one more season. I never saw this as a show with a particularly long lifespan, but (and I guess this is mostly depending on how this season ends) it has earned the opportunity to do right by itself and the fans to bring the show to its most satisfying conclusion. And now for the recap of Hannibal season 3, episode 4 – “Apertivo.”The audience is slowly finding out what became of several characters after the events of season two, and “Apertivo” (the “appetizer” of an Italian meal) jumps around in time and place to show us what they were up to in the aftermath of the season finale and before Will jetted off to Italy after Hannibal. The episode opens with one of the show’s signature effects shots, following in slow motion and great detail the bullet that went through Dr. Frederick Chilton’s face when he was shot by Miriam Lass last season. It’s a very gruesome but effective sequence, especially when watching the bullet break several of Chilton’s teeth and seeing blood come out of his eye. Narcissist that he is, Chilton-who is fantastically portrayed by Raul Esparza-wears makeup, dentures, and contacts to mask his injuries. He reveals what he really looks like while talking to the equally mutilated Mason Verger, with whom he is trying to team up against Hannibal. Verger basically tells him to get lost.
Chilton also tries to recruit Alana Bloom, another tangential victim of Hannibal’s. Her fall out of a window after being pushed by Abigail Hobbs broke several bones in her body, but now she’s back and a much different character than we have seen before. I would venture to guess that she feels a fool for her relationship with Hannibal last season, and that betrayal coupled with her near-death is possibly sending her down a dangerous path of revenge. She is rejected by Will and instead teams up with the still completely unlikable and unsympathetic Mason Verger. Alana very much looks like a femme fatale when she goes to see Verger, wearing a bright red coat, dark lipstick, and perfect hair-a striking contrast to the somewhat plain, but still beautiful style she’s always had. Her affect is also completely different. She is cold and unfeeling. Mason is making some kind of plan to have Hannibal eaten alive, and Alana seems to be going along with him, offering her help to make that happen. I really hope that this is some of kind of game she is playing, using manipulation that she learned from Hannibal, because it’s going to be very hard to watch this genuinely good person fall so hard.
Will is not in this episode that much, only enough to show us that he is still conflicted over his feelings towards Hannibal. He admits to Jack that he warned Hannibal to leave his house that night because they were coming after him, and can’t seem to give Alana a straight answer when she asks him if he can really look past all the things Hannibal has done to find the man he might still consider a friend. I think the whole deal with Will’s confliction is that Hannibal was the only person who truly understood Will. He didn’t see him as the broken and maybe slightly crazy profiler on whom everyone needed to keep a close eye. Hannibal accepted Will and affected him just as much as he was affected by him. That comfort that Hannibal brought to Will about himself is perhaps what is making it so difficult to separate that man from the monster that he really is. Will is also still having visions of Abigail, but now he can see her as she really is, gruesomely covered in blood from the fatal wound she received. She seems to watch over Will like an angel almost, always at his side.
For a while after his near-death, Jack had the comfort of his wife Bella to recover with him. The obvious love and adoration between the two of them is absolutely beautiful heart-warming to watch. It’s also quite devastating for the audience, too, as we know the probable outcome to their storyline. And indeed it is revealed that sometime after that fateful night at Hannibal’s house, Bella finally succumbed to the lung cancer that had been attacking her body. Jack is not exactly grief-stricken just yet-this death probably hit him a lot harder than he’s willing to show at this time. There is a strange scene where Jack is shown to be blasé about the situation with Will and Hannibal, saying that he is putting them aside and not worrying about it. But we know that that is not true at all-Jack still cares immensely for Will and wants to help him in whatever way he can. He doesn’t even seem that concerned with catching Hannibal, although he probably does have a huge axe to grind with Hannibal for almost killing him, and for his betrayal because Jack also considered Hannibal a friend.
The pressure is on and the suspense is ratcheting up as Jack, Will, Alana, Mason, and Chilton are now all after Hannibal in their own way. As the preview for the next episode asks, who will get to him first and who will draw first blood? Will Bedelia be caught in the middle of all this or will she take a side-and which one? Most importantly, how will Hannibal and Will react to final and inevitable dissolution to their friendship and connection to each other? Next episode looks to have some more action in store for Fannibals, so maybe some of those questions will be answered soon!