Published on July 1st, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart0
Hannibal Season 3 Episode 4 “Aperitivo” Review
If previous episodes of Hannibal have made us guiltily hungry with all the food porn, then episode 4 is not to be watched within an hour of eating. Actually leave a full 24 hour gap just to be sure. I’m sure I’m just being a wuss, but even for a life long fan of Hannibal Lecter the slow motion replay of Dr Frederick Chilton being shot in the head that starts the episode was a bit much. As many viewers suspected back in episode 7 of season 2 Miriam Lass’s gunshot did not actually kill Dr Chilton. He was severely disfigured, though as he compares injuries with Mason Verger we see that his can be concealed with prosthetics and makeup. Mason, whose facial reconstruction surgery is also shown in unnecessary detail later in the episode, does not have the luxury of concealing his own horrific injuries. Now that the character is wheelchair bound,with the lower half of his face replaced with skin grafts, the viewer hardly notices that the original actor Michael Pitt has been replaced by Joe Anderson (The Crazies, Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2). The newcomer has done an excellent job of capturing the sinister and perverse nature of Mason Verger with a significantly reduced range of movement and expression. Even limited as he is, you still wouldn’t want to alone in a room with him, a feeling that is reinforced when his sister Margot advises not to accept food from him.
Chilton is the thread that weaves together all the different storylines in this episode as we finally find out the true aftermath of the season 2 finale. First he visits Mason and offers his services as a psychiatrist. However, he shows too great an interest in Verger’s own in thoughts and is rejected. Next he visits Will Graham in the hospital – the blur from episode 2 that became the imaginary Abigail Hobbs was actually Dr Chilton with an incongruously large bouquet of flowers. He tries to convince Will that they have a lot in common, since he himself was gutted by Abel Gideon in season 2 so he literally knows the other man’s pain. He offers to help Will capture Hannibal Lecter for framing and maiming them both but is again rejected when Graham sees that this is just an attempt to take advantage of the situation. He then visits Dr Alana Bloom, who survived her fall from the window but with significant pelvic injuries. These require her to be held in a futuristic pinning device and some rather revealing clothes that I’m sure were entirely medically necessary. Whilst Alana tries to be upbeat with some gallows humour about the word ‘defenestration’ it’s clear that she is very bitter and Chilton suggests that they both just want to see the final showdown between Graham and Lecter. Again he offers to help her with the Hannibal problem, but she reiterates Will’s own rejection. It looks like no one wants to let Chilton join in with the cannibal hunting fun!
Meanwhile Will has some graphic flashbacks of his own- first to Lecter stabbing him and then to a vision of him and Hannibal killing Jack Crawford at their final meal together. It’s clear that he is struggling with all the what-ifs of the situation, as personified by visions of a blood splattered Abigail keeping him company. Now released from hospital he is confronted by Jack as he is repairing his boat. Initially Jack claims to be concerned that Will might deviate from the official story and break the illusion that they are both “officers of the FBI wounded in heroic duty”. In reality Jack wants to understand why Will made the phone call warning Hannibal and triggering the tragic events around his escape. Graham eventually admits that he did so because they were friends and he “wanted to run away with him”. A wheelchair bound Alana later discovers Will sitting alone on the floor in Hannibal’s kitchen. He says that he is building rooms in his memory place to hold all his friends, a process that Lecter has described to Will in the past. She compares friendship with Hannibal with “blackmail elevated to the level of love” and Will promptly tells her to leave so he can be alone. Unseen by Alana, a smiling bloody Abigail sits at Will’s side. It seems that things have gotten a bit American Werewolf In London for Will Graham – he is a lot less stable that everyone thinks.
Now it is Jack’s turn to horrify us as we see his final moments trapped in the pantry before losing consciousness. It’s revealed that the last thing he did was call his dying wife Bella so her voice would be the last thing he heard. Of course we already know that he survives but the whole fiasco has cost him his job at the FBI. He receives his own visit from Chilton who chides him for losing focus on the Hannibal case. He counters since the first thing Chilton did after being shot was trademark the phrase “Hannibal the Cannibal” the psychiatrist is hardly in a position to judge. Chilton reminds him that Jack is only alive by chance, Hannibal engineered Will’s survival through the surgical precision of his injuries. It is to risky to leave them alone. Although Jack may think that disemboweling should end the relationship, Chilton (and the audience) see that for the two of them it was basically flirting. Jack insists that he has washed his hands of the whole situation and literally leaves Chilton in the dark by turning off the lights on his way out the room. Rude, Jack, shockingly rude! Crawford says that he wants to be there when his wife wakes up but when she becomes distressed in her sleep he seemingly administers a dose of pain medication sufficient to end her suffering. Alana helps Jack to choose a white dress for Bella to wear in her casket which triggers a lovely wedding themed flashback, which are rather ruined by the discovery that Hannibal has sent an ostentatious bouquet to the funeral. Jack confronts Will and says that whilst there was nothing he could do to stop Bella dying on him he doesn’t want to see Will meet the same fate at the hands of Hannibal Lecter.
Back at the Verger household the new psychiatrist introduces herself to Margot- it’s Alana, who as now progressed to using a cane to get around. In the previous seasons Alana’s style was professional but with softened edges. Now she’s all sharp suits, blood read accents and grime expressions – Lecter’s influence on her is clear. As we get our first clear look at Mason it would appear that he has embraced his own twisted form of Christian salvation. He is convinced that his version of Jesus will rise up and smite his enemies, not out of a desire for revenge but for justice. Alana on the other hand is not opposed to some Old Testament revenge. She has chosen to work for Mason because Jack Crawford has lost his power at the FBI and she sees Mason as the best route to Hannibal’s death. Mason is under the care of a nurse called Cordell who he believes is able to achieve anything, except legally work in the medical profession. Mason asks him to make arrangements for Hannibal to be eaten alive- a request that is meet without a moment of surprise, instead Cordell only asks if Mason has any preference on how he should be prepared. However, despite the million dollar reward that Mason has offered to anyone who can locate Lecter so far they have found no trace of him. Alana recommends that they look for signs of his blue ribbon tastes – no matter who he has become he will still want the high quality foods and clothes that he has become used to. Perhaps Bedelia’s plan to draw attention to herself is going to attract Mason’s agents rather than the FBI. Technically that would get her out of the trouble she’s in but it’s going to drop her in a whole new kind of trouble- just as deadly but with worse manners.
The first three episodes of season 3 have been pretty slow and rather confusing due to the ambiguous timelines, not to mention the unreliable narrators. No one in Hannibal is stable and we cannot trust any of their motivations or actions. This episode felt like several hours worth of plot crammed together. After it took an entire episode to reveal that Abigail hadn’t survived, we now get the entire medical recovery process for three characters crammed into 45 minutes. Given that one of them has been assumed dead since midway through season 2 if felt more than a little rushed. Though it was satisfying to see Raúl Esparza’s Dr Chilton go right back to his usual smarmy narcissistic self, it would have been better to see more of Alana’s progress through her own eyes rather than through her interactions with the others. The time dedicated to the end of Jack and Bella Crawford’s cancer storyline felt about right, but the change of heart towards the end seemed a bit abrupt. We know that Jack makes a lot of poor and impulsive choices but we could do with seeing a bit more of the thought process. He criticises Will’s choices when it comes to Hannibal and then seems to make his own choice about Bella after a short conversation with a man he can’t stand. Hopefully next weeks episode can bring us back to a more consistent pace, now that the various forces hunting Hannibal are all on the move.