The axe has finally dropped for ‘Hannibal’, which must be a particular irony for a serial killer who prefers more sophisticated and creative forms of murder. The show’s poor ratings have caught up with it and NBC has issued a cancelation order.
Fortunately, the network has committed to airing the remainder of the third season, which will run another ten episodes this summer. However, the series will not get a fourth season, at least not on NBC.
In the meantime, last Thursday brought us a new episode, called ‘Secondo’. We spent the first part of the season separately following Hannibal Lecter in one entire dedicated episode and Will Graham in another. Although the characters still haven’t caught up with each other yet, both storylines intertwine here, as Will hunts for Hannibal, and Hannibal actually seems to be intentionally luring him closer.
Not just Will, but Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) has also arrived in Europe. He stops at the church in Italy and meets with Inspector Pazzi, who suggests that they should team up to find Hannibal. Jack tells him that he’s not looking for Lecter, just for Will Graham.
Hannibal and Bedelia’s bizarre relationship gets even stranger when we realize that she’s still providing him therapy, in a way. Hannibal tells her all the awful thoughts in his head, and she listens patiently. Bedelia realizes that Hannibal’s brazen kill spree is his way of drawing both Graham and Crawford toward him, and warns him that, “You are going to get caught.” He doesn’t seem concerned.
Lecter hosts a dinner for the rival professor at his university, the one who has very vocally had it out for him. Before the meal hardly even gets started, Lecter jabs an icepick into the man’s skull. It doesn’t kill him, not immediately. In shock, the man babbles about losing his vision and actually laughs. Bedelia removes the icepick, upon which he drops dead. Lecter gloats that technically she killed him.
Another day, Hannibal hosts a dinner for a couple of other, friendlier professors. He serves what he tells them is lamb… but isn’t. They make it through the meal alive.
Meanwhile, Graham visits Lecter’s childhood home in Lithuania to trace the origins of the monster. The estate seems abandoned at first, until Will sees a woman on the grounds hunting fowl. She almost spots him spying on her. Later that night, Will returns and walks through a swarm of fireflies in the garden. He enters the house and searches a bit until encountering a babbling old man locked in a cell. The huntress, a Japanese woman named Chiyo (Tao Okamoto from ‘The Wolverine’) catches Will snooping and threatens him with a shotgun. He tells her that Hannibal sent him.
Although she isn’t sure whether to believe him, Chiyo shares that the man in the cell murdered and ate Hannibal’s sister. Hannibal left her to guard and punish him, curious whether she’d kill him. She has resisted thus far.
Lest we think we’ve gleaned some insight about why Lecter became a cannibal, Bedelia later shatters that illusion by asking him how his sister tasted. Hannibal did not learn his ways from anyone else. Mischa was his first victim, and he blamed it on the old man.
The next night, Will returns and sets the prisoner free. However, when Chiyo brings the man’s meal to the cell, he’s still in there. Of course, she doesn’t realize that the door is unlocked. The man jumps out and tries to strangle her, forcing her to stab him in the neck and kill him. Will looks on. He knew exactly what would happen. This was his design. Chiyo scolds him that, “He’d be proud of you.” Even so, with no reason to stay at the house any longer, Chiyo offers to help Will find Hannibal.
Before they leave, Will erects a giant firefly monument made out of the old man’s corpse. Has Hannibal succeeded in making Will Graham like him?
Of the three episodes that have aired so far this season, this is the best and a clear improvement. However, the season still seems a little disjointed to me.
Creator Bryan Fuller stated in the past that he mapped out a narrative for seven seasons. That always seemed like wish fulfillment. With news of the cancelation, I hope that he has some sense of closure prepared for the end of this season.
Fans of the series can still hold out some hope that another outlet (perhaps Netflix?) will pick it up now that NBC has dropped it. That happens sometimes, but for the moment I’m not counting on it.