Published on July 16th, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart


Hannibal Season 3 Episode 6 “Dolce” Review

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It seems that absolutely no one lives in Florence, at least in the Hannibal universe. Last week we saw a battered and bloody Hannibal Lecter getting tossed out of window (at night) by Jack Crawford. This week we open with the same battered and bloody cannibal stumbling across a major Florentine bridge at sunrise, totally unobserved. It’s an unlikely start to a beautiful but very unlikely episode as a whole. Bedelia stitches up Hannibal’s wounds and they say their rather creepy, codependent goodbyes after he promises to tell the investigators whatever ‘truth’ she wants to tell. Since that was the same promise he made after the incident with her dead patient, it’s surprising that she’d willingly accept it a second time. Meanwhile as Hannibal and Bedelia go their separate ways, Jack is reunited with Will Graham. Their exchange is just as creepy again; with Will admitting that he still wants to go with Hannibal and Jack insisting that he needs Will to kill Lecter for him. At this stage it’s pretty clear that there isn’t a sane person left anywhere in the show.

Which conveniently leads us to Mason Verger. He’s been happily practicing for his cannibalistic revenge on Dr Lecter through a variety of faux human meals. Just when he has settled on preparing Hannibal in the style of a giant Peking Duck, Mason discovers that Pazzi has failed to capture his prey. To avoid the bounty on Hannibal’s head being traced back to them, Alana recommends further bribery and the entire Florentine police department is swiftly bought out. Back in Florence we discover the Bedelia’s plan is to take the same cocktail of drugs that Hannibal fed to Miriam Lass, then insist to the authorities – rather unconvincingly – that she believes herself to be Lydia Fell. Before she can take the drugs she meets Chiyoh for the first time, although she has clearly heard about the woman from Hannibal. Whilst Chiyoh describes the two of them as birds that Lecter has caged for his own entertainment; Bedelia believes that Chiyoh is Hannibal’s biggest mistake, beyond even that of Will Graham. Chiyoh leaves her to her drugs. She becomes disorientated just as Will and Jack arrive at her door- neither of them are convinced by her performance. Jack is merely impressed that she is still alive and confused that the police haven’t gotten to her first. It’s around this time that he realises that the police have probably been bribed and that Will has disappeared into thin air. Again. You would have thought that he’d have put a leash or at least a bell on the guy by now.


Where would you find a serial killer, living under a fragile false identity, who is wanted for the brutal murder of a police officer? Why, casually sitting in the middle of the Uffizi Gallery sketching the Primavera painting once again. Of course the success of this bizarre behaviour is explained away by the local police refusing to believe Pazzi’s old Il Mostro story or Jack’s statements as to Dr Fell’s true identity and Mason Verger’s bribery, but it’s still really far fetched. Will has traced him there through the strange empathic connection they have and admits that the two have them have begun to blur in his mind. He feels guilt over the murders Hannibal has committed and neither is sure that they can survive the separation that is coming. Will wanted to understand Hannibal before laying eyes on him again but he finds that Mischa, Abigail and Chiyoh have all become one in his mind. Hannibal is most impressed when he hears that Chiyoh killed her captive and threw Will off a train. As they leave the museum together it’s clear that Will should have paid more attention to this- Chiyoh is waiting for them, sniper rifle in hand, on a near by rooftop. As Will removes a knife from his pocket to get his revenge on Hannibal, she shoots him in the shoulder instead.


Over at the Verger homestead Mason is once again playing his favourite incestuous mind games with his sister Margot. He still hasn’t given up on his idea of them having a child together, despite having removed her uterus as punishment for her affair with Will Graham. He won’t adopt and commissions her to find a spare uterus they can use instead. This then leads into a phantasmagorical lesbian sex scene, as view through some kind of high art kaleidoscope. Yep, Alana and Margot are getting it on. Not entirely sure why. You would have thought that Mason would have learned his lesson about Margot last season, what with the being forced to eat his own face and all. But no. Inexplicably he still trusts Margot and Alana, though the audience now learns that they both intend to turn him in once he’s succeeded in capturing Hannibal. Margot doesn’t intend for her brother to go to prison leaving her empty handed though, asking Alana whether she has “any experience harvesting sperm?” I don’t think that’s the mental image anyone wanted after the weird sex scene and frankly the confused look on Alana’s face is the same one I’ve been wearing through out this episode.


So Will got shot outside the Uffizi Gallery, in daylight, and somehow Hannibal manages to get him back to an apartment somewhere without anyone doing anything. Did Verger bribe the entire population of the city? Has the zombie apocalypse struck but everyone in the show is too self absorbed to notice? I’ve been to Florence, it’s not a quiet city! Anyway. Somehow, Hannibal has gotten Will somewhere private; removed the bullet; taken away Will’s knife; drugged him and tied him up at a dining table. Will asks “what’s for dinner?” but Hannibal advises never to ask as it spoils the surprise. He then feeds Will a ‘not very good soup’ which is revealed to be a parsley and thyme infusion, more for Hannibal’s benefit than Will’s. Oh dear. Given that he refused to rush eating Bedelia at the start of the episode – because she hadn’t ‘marinated’ for long enough – it seems a little odd that he’d be intending to consume Will so hastily. But we soon discover his plans when Jack is directed into the room by Chiyoh and finds Will seated at the table alone. Will is alone at the table because Hannibal is laying in wait underneath it. So now both Will and Jack are tied up and drugged at the dining table. Jack realises that this was the scene that was intended for him in Baltimore before everything went wrong at the end of season two. Well, everything is about to go wrong all over again because Hannibal points out that it was Jack’s idea when they first met to get inside Will’s head, so why don’t they both have a taste? And then Hannibal takes a circular saw to Will Graham’s head! No really. An actual circular saw, into Will’s skull, at the dinner table, whilst Laurence Fishburne gives it some of his best “nooooooooooo” acting. I know this is a reference to the original Hannibal novel where Lecter and Clarice Starling do something similar with a traitor but it seems a huge leap for him to be doing it to Will Graham at this stage. A lot of weird things have happened this season – and indeed just in this one episode – but this is a wierdness too far. By this point I was beginning to feel a lot like Bedelia and would have been grateful for a cocktail of mysterious drugs to make this seem like a sensible plot move. Fortunately I can tell you, in the best Princess Bride tradition, that Will Graham does not get eaten by the cannibal at this time. Bedelia and her drugs haven’t convinced the corrupt police any more than they convinced Jack Crawford. She has given up their location. The episode ends with Will waking up – covered in blood but with his brain still in place – hanging upside down next to Hannibal Lecter in one of Mason Verger’s meat lockers. Oh dear.


There were a lot of beautiful shots in this episode and some truly lovely effects used to capture the blending of minds and realities. I look forward to owning this episode on DVD so I can study them in detail and then fast forward past the many scenes that make no sense whatsoever. Jack says he let Hannibal go in the last episode because Will has to capture or kill him, despite the fact that its blatantly obvious that Will can do neither. He claims that he doesn’t want to reveal Dr Fell’s true identity because Hannibal is so valuable that it would tempt the corrupt. Which then gives Mason time to buy out an entire police force. Then after redeeming himself in last weeks fight scene Jack just blunders straight into Hannibal’s trap. I know Jack Crawford isn’t really involved in a hands on way in the other Hannibal media but it’s hard to believe that this version of him has managed to make it to such a prominent position in the FBI. I’ve not been terribly keen on the use of the plot from the Hannibal novel at this stage in the story, partially out of devotion to the Clarice sotryline, but mostly due to how rushed everything has seemed. In the original book it took Lecter seven years and plastic surgery to create the character of Roman Fell, this Lecter doesn’t have the luxury of time to do things properly. The Florence police show Bedelia the Fell’s French work papers, which clearly show two completely different people. Why did no one else notice this? Did the Fell’s have no online presence, despite Roman Fell being a published author, such that only one person would ever notice the change? Similarly Margot’s lesbianism is canon, having served as a major element in her relationship with Mason in the original novel, here it seems like its just been tacked on after she shared a few meaningful looks with Alana in the last two episodes. Alana does seem to fall into bed rather at random, see her relationship with Hannibal last season, and we know Margot used Will against her brother as well, but it still feels tacked on. It’s rushed and I wish these two characters would be allowed even a hundredth of the build up that’s been given to Hannibal and Will’s relationship. Given that episode 8 looks to be the beginning of the Dolarhyde/Great Red Dragon storyline, I doubt they’ll be getting it.

Vyctoria Hart
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