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Published on June 25th, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart

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Hannibal Season 3 Episode 3 “Secondo” Review

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As we adjust to the disappointing news that Hannibal will be cancelled at the end of this season, episode 3 also hits us where it hurts, The history of Dr Hannibal Lecter is a twisted fairytale and Will Graham finds that his family home is straight out of folkstories. Set in the wilds of the Lithuanian Aukštaitija region the Lecter estate comes complete with a spooky abandoned cottage, a hilltop castle, sinister dungeons and an overabundance of smoke machines. This is the one place Hannibal believes he can never go since it holds too many painful memories of his childhood and Mischa, his long dead sister. Although he has previously described his family home to Will, Hannibal failed to mention the mysterious Japanese woman hunting game birds in the woods, or the man she is holding captive in a cellar filled with snails and wines from the Lecter vineyards.CastleLecterStein

While Will is stalking the mysterious woman through a firefly filled forest we rejoin Bedelia and Hannibal in Florence where, in between tense discussions on the nature of betrayal and the inevitability of capture, the ever so rude Professor Sogliato is being served dinner. This in the form of a human arm, a cocktail once served to the passengers of the Titanic and an icepick through the frontal lobe. Hannibal admits that the final item “may have been impulsive” and a horrified Bedelia pulls the weapon out of the blinded still-living Sogliato’s brain, killing him. Lecter, who is dressed as Gomez Addams for some reason, points out that this means that technically she now has a death on her hands as well. He no longer wants to enjoy the peace he thought he’d found at the Palazzo Capponi, instead he’s drawing the others back to him, including Jack Crawford. Yes, that’s right Jack’s ok! We’re finally very slowly finding out who survived the season 2 finale with just Alana Bloom left unknown. Agent Crawford meets Inspector Pazzi at the scene of the orgami corpse heart in Palermo but refuses to help him trace Il Mostro (“not my house, not my fire”), he’s only looking for Will Graham.

Jack’s target is still in Lithuania and has managed to gain some of the woman’s trust by explaining his relationship with Hannibal. That although Lecter left him with a ‘smile’ (referring to his gruesome stomach wounds) he has never known himself as well as when they are together. The woman is revealed to be Chiyoh, whom fans of the novel will know as the ward of Hannibal’s aunt, though this is not mentioned in the episode. The man is allegedly the one who killed and ate Mischa, the event which lead to Lecter’s own cannibalistic tendencies. Chiyoh had refused to allow Lecter to kill the man so Hannibal left the man’s life in her hands, she has kept him alive in the cellars for years with only candles and the sound of water for company. If you haven’t had any exposure to the earlier media, the very young Mischa Lecter was originally killed by deserters during WWII and served to Hannibal in the form of a stew, a fact he realised when he discovered her milk teeth in the bowl. This storyline was originally conceived on the basis of the Red Dragon novel being set in 1978, as such it was never going to work for a modern setting given that Mads Mikkelsen is only 49. Chiyoh as never seen any evidence of this man’s guilt beyond Hannibal’s own statements, the details of which we do not hear in the episode.

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Back in Florence Hannibal has fed the remains of Professor Sogliato to some of his other unsuspecting colleagues from the Palazzo with the usual combination of cannibal puns and horrified facial expressions from Bedelia. She mentions that Hannibal first prepared this particular lavish dish for his sister, though he has probably perfected it by now. This then leads to an incredibly creepy scene of Hannibal washing Bedelia’s hair whilst she lounges in a gold bath tub. She tries to draw him into a conversation about his childhood and the origins of the meal before bluntly asking “How did your sister taste?” Lecter explains that, unlike Will, Mischa never betrayed him but she did lead him to betray himself and he forgave her for that influence. If he is to forgive Will Graham then there’s only one thing he can do, he’ll have to eat him.

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This for me was the biggest shock out of all three seasons so far. Many of the other previous big set-pieces were either mentioned in the original material or foreshadowed in someway or another. Even Dr Chilton’s shooting in the head or the murders that Will seems to commit in season two are lessened by the feeling that this is all some kind of trick or plan. The Mischa revelation is an event far into Lecter’s past and it’s very clear from Hannibal’s own statements that this is not going to be undone with some surprise reveal or flashback. Her story is very close to a lot of the fans hearts and since Mischa was briefly mentioned in season two many have been anticipating/dreading Bryan Fuller’s take on this element of Hannibal’s past. The novels Hannibal and Hannibal Rising served to give Dr Lecter an explanatory history and some sympathetic elements through his terrifying wartime experiences, the harrowing death of his sister and the transformative nature of his revenge. This version of Hannibal Lector does not have that- Mischa no longer explains or excuses his actions as Will Graham himself notes. Hannibal created a story from events only he experienced and the man in Chiyoh’s cellar is just one of Hannibal’s tests. He was simply curious as to whether Chiyoh was prepared to kill; a curiosity that Will shares and satisfies by releasing the man, thus forcing her take action. Having displayed the man’s corpse in a monstrous winged sculpture the two of the them set out on the hunt for Hannibal together. But this Hannibal is not the one we were expecting, its hard to imagine how a genius cannibal serial killer could get any darker but Bryan Fuller has managed it. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess but I don’t see this Dr Lecter running off to Argentina with Clarice Starling any time soon.

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Vyctoria Hart

Vyctoria Hart

Steampunk illustrator, disabled cosplayer, cat wrangler, maker of terrible puns. I draw under the name of Phantoms Siren.
Vyctoria Hart

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