Hannibal is now five episodes into what will probably, sadly, be its final season. The show has perhaps been moving at a much slower pace than some viewers would like, but so far the season has been the one that is the most focused on its central characters, with less of the procedural element of the previous two seasons. And now things are definitely getting more interesting, especially with episode five, which had some wonderfully intense and shocking moments.
Episode five is titled “Contorno,” and it has (almost) all of our characters finally back in action and in direct pursuit of Hannibal to bring him to their own kind of justice. The episode opens with Chiyo and Will on a train, and Chiyo telling Will a little bit about her history with Hannibal–how she was “taught” by him, though she is not really that specific about what that means. During this conversation, the characters’ faces are almost completely obscured by shadow, indicating that they are not being fully open with each other and are still harboring some secrets that they are not ready to share. We find out later that this is indeed true, at least in regard to Chiyo.Again, there is not much Will Graham in this episode, but it seems to be the calm before the storm. There are a few references to snails at the beginning of “Contorno,” as there were in previous episodes. Snails are symbolic of patience and determination. No matter how long it may take them, they will still reach their destination. Will is taking his time to work through his relationship with Hannibal, and how best to approach him. This is in contrast to the extremes that other characters take this week to capture Hannibal for themselves, Chiyo included. Just after admitting to Will that she knows exactly where Hannibal is, she pushes Will off the back of the moving train. He does survive, of course, and ends the episode following the lead of his guardian stag down the train tracks. Despite her actions, Chiyo makes the most profound and accurate statement to Will about his relationship with Hannibal that no one has really said out loud yet. She says, “If you don’t kill him, you’re afraid you’re going to become him.” Will immediately answers in the affirmative–he has been thinking this, too.
Inspector Pazzi steps up his pursuit of Hannibal this episode, though it unfortunately doesn’t get him anywhere. Already feeling like and seen as a disgrace by the police, he goes to Mason Verger, who offers a price of $3 million if he can bring Hannibal to Verger alive. However, Pazzi makes the mistake of revealing himself to Hannibal before he commits to catching him, which gives Hannibal the upper hand. Hannibal’s not stupid, and he recognizes Pazzi right away – probably making the decision right then to kill him. He even straight-up tells Pazzi that he’s in deep by making references to his ancestors that basically say, “This is what’s going to happen to you if you keep going with this.” Pazzi really didn’t have much of a chance, though. He was too quick to act against Hannibal without being fully aware of what he has become since Pazzi knew him as a young man. In a nicely gory and elaborate sequence, Hannibal gets the information he needs about Verger and Alana’s involvement in his pursuit before tying a noose around Pazzi’s neck, disemboweling him, and sending him out of a window (just like his ancestor).
In another quick turn of events, Jack Crawford shows up just in time to witness Pazzi’s death. He pursues Hannibal, and the two of them get into another round of violent and bloody fisticuffs. But Hannibal seems almost reluctant to fight back, and pretty much lets Jack beat the snot out of him. He definitely goaded Jack into it by taunting him about his dead wife (Jack is seen earlier in a very sweet scene throwing Bella’s ashes off of a bridge in Florence). Like Pazzi, though, Jack is not fighting smart, bringing it from a place of anger, grief, and revenge. Instead of making a plan to catch or kill him–although it looks like he’s really trying to kill him–he just beats Hannibal and takes out his emotions on him. And because of this, Jack fails and Hannibal gets away.
Hannibal speaks briefly to Alana on the phone right before killing Pazzi, and there is not a flitter of emotion from him about the relationship the two of them once had. This dismissiveness probably hurts and angers Alana more than anything, as is the knowledge that Hannibal has thwarted them once again. Alana is still working with Mason Verger (ever the disgusting creep despite his disfigured face), and actually manages to pinpoint Hannibal’s location before being contacted by Pazzi. Will these two continue to pursue Hannibal from afar, and opt for paying others to do their dirty work? Hannibal knows now that there is a bounty on his head–but how far is Verger’s reach and who should Hannibal be looking for over his shoulder next? We’ll have to wait and see.
Bedelia’s character has lately been relegated to an expository role, rather than actively participating in the progression of the plot. But Hannibal still keeps her around. In their first scene together, they talk about reciprocity–what is she really doing for Hannibal at this point? He is subtly threatening her through the whole scene, putting his hands on her neck while talking in doublespeak that seems to say that he is going to kill her soon. What will the final straw be that ends their toxic relationship and puts Bedelia out of her misery? Or will she maybe get the courage to fight back, and join the others against Hannibal? There is really no indication of where her story is going, making it a very frustrating mystery.
If things were slow for Hannibal at the beginning of this season, they are definitely not slow now. The pace is finally picking up, and hopefully it will all lead toward a series conclusion with which Fannibals will be happy. The possibility that the show will be picked up again after its cancellation last week looks pretty grim. Deadline announced that the contracts for stars Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen were not renewed, and that series creator Bryan Fuller is already attached to a new show, American Gods. Hopefully good things will come to Fannibals who wait.