Published on July 8th, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart


Hannibal Season 3 Episode 5 “Contorno” Review

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Betrayal and retribution are the themes of the week as episode 5 of Hannibal gets season 3 back up to speed. We begin with two conversations about Hannibal’s history. In Florence a shirtless Hannibal explains to Bedelia his love of snails (a running theme for this season) and how they can be used to attract and feed fireflies. He admires the way that base creatures can facilitate the transformation into such delicate beauty. Meanwhile on a sleeper train, Chiyoh describes the young Hannibal as a charming cub that would still become a big cat and accepts Will’s belief that Lecter is probably hiding in Florence. Both couples discuss their own natures and whether they can be trained to resist them.


These intimate discussions are contrasted by the lone figure of Jack Crawford as he says his final goodbye to his wife Bella by throwing her ashes and his wedding ring from the Ponte Santa Trinita in Florence. He joins Inspector Pazzi in his home, where the two are served food by Pazzi’s much younger beautiful wife. When Pazzi expresses regret at not being able to properly provide for her due to his disgrace over the first attempt to arrest Lecter, Jack advises him against acting outside the law. Jack has been there himself and it did not end well. Part of Inspector Pazzi’s indignity is being reduced to performing interviews in missing person cases, and what a coincidence (!) there just happen to have been a few missing staff members from the Palazzo Capponi recently. When Pazzi goes to interview the new curator Dr Fell, he immediately recognises his old adversary Il Mostro. Hannibal recognises him in turn, making a point to mention that Pazzi’s ancestor was a infamous political assassin.


As I predicted last week, Bedelia’s regular shopping trips have drawn the attention of Dr Alana Bloom and Mason Verger who have ensured that their offer of a reward for Hannibal’s capture is known in Italy. Pazzi, motivated by greed for money rather than recognition, calls the reward hotline instead of alert anyone else to Hannibal’s presence. The hotline advises that a bounty on Lecter’s head would not be legal and encourages Pazzi to call another number, apparently for a lawyer in Geneva. A video conference between Bloom, Verger and Pazzi reveals that the reward is $3million for information that leads to Hannibal being captured alive. There is also a $100,000 advance for a legible fingerprint as proof of contact with Lecter. Pazzi agrees to this, even though he understands that he will be handing Lecter over for torture and death, rather than an official trial. As the call ends Alana predicts that Hannibal will simply kill Pazzi, but Verger is unconcerned with such things. In Florence Hannibal explains to Bedelia that he has come to the same conclusion, if the inspector were honest Hannibal would not still be free.

Back on the train Chiyoh complains about the need to talk after so long listening to only the voices in her head. Will counters that he hears voices from all directions constantly. When he questions whether she considered what she was becoming during her time on the Lecter estate, Chiyoh insists that she did not become anything. She remained static because she is not as malleable as him. He fears that he will become Hannibal if he does kill him – Chiyoh suggests that there are other means of influence that violence. This is a sentiment she repeats when he wakes to find himself alone in the compartment and discovers her standing on the back of the train carriage looking out at the night. She states that she isn’t hunting Hannibal Lecter as he is, there is no need since she knows precisely where he is hiding. Whilst violence may not be the only form of influence, it IS the only one that Will Graham can understand and with a kiss she shoves him off the back of the moving train. Will is awakened by a vision of the raven stag, though we cannot really see if it is still deformed. At least we know the fall didn’t kill him, because we won’t see him again in this episode.


Pazzi returns to the Palazzo Capponi at night when the other staff have left, supposedly to show Dr Fell a family heirloom that was used to torture his conspiratorial ancestor, in return Lecter shows him a carving showing the same ancestor after he was hanged with his abdomen split open. Pazzi still believes he can obtain the fingerprints even as Hannibal chloroforms him. The hapless inspector awakens to find himself strapped to a hand trolley, Anthony Hopkins style, as a cheerful Dr Lecter explains which parts of Pazzi he could eat now and which would benefit from being hung. Yes, it’s cannibal pun time! After extracting information as to who knows about Hannibal’s presence in Florence and briefly speaking to a horrified Alana on Pazzi’s phone; Lecter throws Pazzi out of the window to hang by an electrical cable, ‘bowels out’ like his famous ancestor. Unfortunately Hannibal didn’t check the ground below before the act and only notices Jack Crawford watching from the courtyard when it’s too late. Returning to his office Lecter knows that Jack is in the room thanks to his acute sense of smell but he can’t see him. As he attempts to goad Crawford into revealing himself by asking inflamatory questions about Bella, the audience discovers that Jack has learned a thing or two from Lector himself. First he turns on Lecter’s record player to cover his movements and, like Lecter’s own attack on Miriam Lass in season one he creeps up on his prey in stocking feet. For once Hannibal seems to have been truly taken by surprise as Jack delivers a savage beating. After the relatively matched fight at the end of season two it looks like Laurence Fishburne is properly channeling Morpheus again as Jack throws Hannibal through glass cabinets, stabs him with meat hooks, crushes his arm in a carriage wheel and just generally punches him into the floor, before ultimately tossing him out of the window. Before his defenestration, Hannibal asks how Jack will feel once he’s gone, to which Jack replies “Alive!” which is also how we can describe Hannibal at the end of this episode. He went out the same window as Pazzi you see and used his hanging body to slow his fall. Clearly badly injured, he limps off into the night as the episode comes to an end.


At last the pace has picked up once more! No more floating around for 45 minutes having deep conversations with characters who turn out to be imaginary. Now we just get a short deep conversation then, whoops, someone gets thrown out of something. I have to admit that I laughed at Will falling off the train, the slow motion somersault rather spoiled the tension. But a break was probably needed before the final sequence with Lecter, Pazzi and Jack ramped it right back up again. I do love it when this show takes advantage of Mads Mikkelsen’s dance training and this time Laurence Fishburne’s martial arts experience. The music used for this excellently choreographed fight scene was “The Thieving Magpie” by Rossini which you might recognise from another infamous fight scene – it was used in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange when Alex reeducates his mutinous Droogs at the marina. Whilst the music was definitely appropriate for the scene, I really struggled to get my mind away from it’s previous association. I have to wonder if it’s choice is intentional and Jack’s apparent victory is less certain that it seems. Either way, after this definite return to form, I can’t wait until next week!





Vyctoria Hart
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