“We could all use a little a group therapy”.
Before this week’s episode of HANNIBAL landed, fannibal’s around the world were left heartbroken as news of the shows cancellation reached our ears. The finality of said cancellation is ambiguous right now, it could possibly be picked up somewhere else but none of this is clear. So we all found ourselves in a very peculiar place as ‘Aperitivo’, the fourth episode of season 3, started rolling and it became very apparent that we — as fans of the show — were in a very similar spot to many of our favourite HANNIBAL characters.
This week saw the return, at least at some point in time — time and place is all very murky this season on HANNIBAL — of a few of our favourite characters from seasons past. It turns out that smug bastard Chilton is still knocking around, surviving a bullet to the face, and is on a mission to seek revenge against Hannibal (a reoccurring theme throughout the episode). His face horribly disfigured but covered up well with some fancy make up, we see him visiting many of the core characters. This included Will of course, revealing that Chilton was the identity of his hospital visitor, and that Will most likely knew Abigail was an apparition the entire time. “This is your best possible world” he explained to him, in another existential, fractured universe, teasing line of dialogue. “You’re not getting a better one” he finished, yet another hint at that possible HANNIBAL multiverse.
We also saw two other characters return this week, Mason (recast and all) and Alana, surviving her fall but changed forever from the experience. After being rejected by Will, Chilton paid both of them a visit only to suffer an identical response, but all this led to something very exciting: Mason and Alana teaming up to try and kill Hannibal. I’m not sure how well that will turn out for the two of them but the scenes they have shared so far have been glorious. Mason, thankfully, is as crazy as ever, bringing a unique energy to the show and operating at a far quicker pace than everyone else. His addition and re-addition to the show is most welcome and really helps to mix up the shows dynamic.
With the reveal that only Abigail perished from Hannibal’s season 2 rampage, one could jump to conclusion that last season’s events were diminished by the small body count. It may not have had the impact we all expected in terms of main character deaths, but what Hannibal wrought changed the world forever and altered definitively, the lives of the people in it. No one is the same after what happened that night. Alana is a changed person, a woman hell bent on seeking revenge against the man that duped her so easily. Will is a lost a puppy, his mind sick and twisted, whose now only purpose in life is to reconnect with the one thing that means anything to him, and Jack, poor old Jack. Jack’s life has taken a new direction (being forced to retire from the FBI) and also his outlook on life and death, both now very different indeed. After battling for so long against his wife’s wishes to be released from her sickly body, Jack decided after his own brush with death to let Bella go.”It’s not right that the view stays the same” he tells Alana after Bella’s passing, not understanding why his world appears to look the same as it did when she was still alive. Now, I’m not comparing the cancellation of a TV show to the passing of one’s wife, but the sentiment from Jack is one I think we can all share with regards to HANNIBAL leaving us. We know it’s time is up, or soon to be, but it’s still here, everything is the same, the view from this window hasn’t changed at all. It’s not fair in the slightest.
‘Aperitivo’ showed us that the tea cup is still shattered, it hasn’t yet come together — at least in the world which we find ourselves in this episode — and this week, time was well and truly reversed. But like everything in HANNIBAL, nothing is for certain. Time, like this show, goes where ever it wants to and we were taken along its forever ebbing and flowing path via this myriad of flashbacks. ‘Apertivio’ provided us with answers we didn’t necessarily need but we were no doubt curious of. For example, Jack visiting Will at his home, adding a caveat to the scenes of the previous two episodes where they both end up in Europe. The details provided here weren’t required but they will certainly add a new dimension to proceedings when we return to the present (whenever and wherever that is).
Will might be (apart from Hannibal himself) one of the most interesting characters on television but it is his feelings and indeed his relationship with Hannibal that is the most fascinating, and one that is truly becoming quite the commentary on Male relationships, both platonic and… well, whatever the hell theirs is. When asked by Jack why he tipped off his buddy before the showdown at Hannibal’s mansion, Will struggles somewhat, struggles with a great many things. His words, his feelings, his conflicted soul, it wasn’t exactly hard to decipher what he wanted to say to Jack, to us and to himself. Will, it seems, isn’t quite ready to use the world ‘love’, no matter how much he knows, and we know, it to be the pertinent one. “He was my friend” is what he ended up saying (a world that barely begins to cover their relationship) and then revealing to Jack his intentions of running away with Lecter, nicely setting up the mission we know Jack to be on from episodes past.
The episode ends with all the pieces in place, Hannibal’s letter to Jack acting as both a legitimate offer of condolence and the tool to which to draw everyone to him. Jack with a mission to right the wrongs of seasons 1 and 2. Alana and Mason with a mission to kill. Chilton doing what Chilton does, and Will setting sail to locate the one that holds his heart. I say ‘setting sail’ literally because that is indeed how the episode ends, with Will on a boat, seemingly heading for Hannibal, but like we discussed earlier, time is not definitive here, these events aren’t firmly placed in the timeline. It wouldn’t make sense of course for Will to sail from North America to Europe but perhaps this journey is more of a symbolic one, it would certainly fit into the many scenes of immense symbolism from episodes 1 -3, so who knows if the boat was real or not. Surely it must be the latter.
This season has been all about symmetry so far, both visually and thematically. With visuals and aesthetics reminiscent of an Aronofsky film, HANNIBAL never fails to push TV to the very pinnacle of what is thought to be possible. Earlier on this season we saw the juxtaposition of Will’s resurrection and Abigail’s autopsy, this week the circle was complete for Jack as he received visions of both his marriage to Bella and her funeral. Symmetry and imitation are rampant throughout season 3, with characters becoming the mirror opposite of one another and also fusing to be one and the same. Every room, every scene that is found throughout an episode is perfectly deliberate, nothing is there by accident. Bryan Fuller and his team are suggesting to us something with every piece of furniture, with every placed prop, adding as many layers of subtext and symbolism as we could ever want to devour.
“I’m building rooms in my memory palace for all my friends”.
We all lost something this week (at least for now), we learnt that HANNIBAL and all of our most beloved characters were to be taken from us. We, like Will, must construct rooms in our minds to keep the memories of our friends alive, as hoping the show receives a similar resurrection as many of its characters might just end up in heartbreak. And we, like Jack, will have to try and cut out what’s killing us. But unlike Jack, we are cursed with the ability to traverse physical time, we can always go back. For us, time can be reversed, we, for better or for worse, can always be returned to the moment when the tea cup shatters.