‘Contorno’, the 5th episode of season 3, wasn’t quite as hellish as that quote suggested but things are certainly hotting up as we progress through this possible final season of the show. The devil is most certainly waiting for Will but it was another character that got to reacquaint himself with the fiend of all fiends.
Will and his new friend Chiyoh found themselves on a train for most of this week’s episode, travelling by night to Florence. Between flashes of the butterfly motif that Will so artistically created a couple of episodes back, the two of them engaged in conversation regarding the motivations they share and goals that they aspire to. “If you don’t kill him you’re afraid you are going to become him,” Chiyoh explained plainly to Will. Those fears are certainly very real but it might just be too late to do anything about it. Will has been undergoing his transformation into Hannibal’s other self for quite some time and it’s hard not to worry that he might be too far along in the process. However, giving the audience a clear motivation for Will’s actions and future actions certainly helps to define his journey.
‘Contorno’ was really all about Pazzi, the inspector who has been on Hannibal’s trail for many years. His team up with Jack has been fun to watch as the two continued to close in on their pray. But, as we soon discovered, Pazzi hasn’t been particularly honest with his new partner, or with us for that matter. Leaving Jack in the dark, he decided to forgo his duty as a law enforcer and take up a bounty on Hannibal provided by one Mason Verger. It seems Alana and her new partner are outsourcing their capture of Hannibal, tracking him down by his rather expensive tastes in drink and dinnerware, tying in nicely to Bedelia’s shopping exploits earlier this season. Unfortunately all their detective work didn’t quite pan out as Pazzi met his rather grisly end after rather foolishly confronting Lecter alone and without telling Jack.
“I haven’t had a bite all day,” announced Hannibal before recreating the death of Pazzi’s ancestor by hanging him outside the museum window with his guts splattering to the ground below, a rather striking and visceral image, one of many great shots that punctuated this episode so finely. What was even more enjoyable was realising that Hannibal had figured out Mason was the man behind the bounty and that he had already called up one of Mason’s hotlines “just for fun”. Oh Hannibal, you’re such a jokester. Another nice moment saw Hannibal having a brief chat over the phone with a rather shocked Alana, almost flustered in her tone as she asked if Pazzi was still alive, a stark contrast to the strong and determined coldness she has been emitting of late.
“I brought Bella back from death and you returned her to it. Is that where you’re taking me, Jack?”
Things came full circle for Jack once again this week. Earlier in the episode we spotted him sprinkling his wife’s ashes in the city where they had met all those moons ago, and then seeing him once again confront Hannibal after Pazzi went missing. One of season 2’s many highlights was undoubtedly Jack vs Hannibal, so to see them go at it for a second time was a real treat. Maybe this speaks more to my character than the shows writing but I often find it particularly hard to root against Hannibal and I don’t think I am the only one. This is a man so charming, so charismatically flamboyant, portrayed by an actor that oozes screen presence from every enigmatic pore, that you can’t help but to want to see him succeed. However, after all that Jack has been through it was nice to see him get some revenge on the man that ruined his life. It turned out to be a rather one sided battle, a stark contrast to their first encounter, and one that was perfectly choreographed and performed. Hannibal managed to escape however, climbing down Pazzi’s hanging body, dropping himself to the ground right next to his victim’s freshly gutted insides.
‘Contorno’ was an episode — not unlike this season as a whole — that was all about mirroring, about reflections. For example, Jack looking up past Pazzi’s dead body to see Hannibal looking down at him and then the reverse of this image as we find Hannibal on the ground, bloody and beaten, looking up at the seething Jack. Most symbolically of all, the episode shows Hannibal emulating, almost to a tee, Will’s earlier fall, or rather the push from Chiyo that left him bloodied up and left to scamper away after the departing train from which he fell, chasing the nightmare stag that is forever haunting him. As these two men are so finely linked as people, their personalities becoming more and more entwined with each passing day, it was a great touch from the shows creative’s to have their separate misfortunes resemble one another so closely.
‘Contorno’ was another marvel of an episode. The show that isn’t like any other ploughs on while the net continues to close in on Hannibal. With the show’s entire cast seemingly making their move (or already making contact like Jack), Hannibal’s secret location is now not so much of a secret, but we all know Hannibal and we all know that this was his intention, to draw in his foes (and friends), in order to exact whatever Machiavellian plans he has in store. So as we feel sad for him, as we wince at his cuts and scrapes, we have to remember that Hannibal wanted all of this, that this is all part of the plan, whether that plan will be scuppered however remains to be seen. Will is on his way after all, perhaps a little late, but fuelled as always by his demons, by the only other thing apart from Hannibal that keeps him going.
“When life is most like a dream,” he mumbled while in transit, forever the commentator on both his world and the scenario we find ourselves in as a viewer of fiction. So the dream continues, at least for a little while longer. Will our hero ever wake up? Will we? I hope not, after all, this place was made for us and this place is too much fun. Lets dream a little longer.