‘Hannibal’ 3.04 Recap: “If I Had Lips, I Would Smile”

The first few episodes of ‘Hannibal’ this season, while pretty good, felt strangely off. Their dreamlike tone was overly pronounced and the various character storylines were too segregated. With the fourth episode, the season starts to come into a little better focus.

Not only does episode ‘Aperitivo’ manage screen time for most of the show’s major characters, it even brings back some we assumed had been written out, if not killed off entirely. Dr. Chilton, for example, has improbably survived being shot in the face. Not only that, he actually looks totally fine. At least, he does until he reveals that he’s wearing extensive makeup and prosthetics to make himself presentable. This strains credibility a fair amount, unfortunately. Still, he’s a fun character.

Chilton visits Mason Verger (now played by new actor Joe Anderson, though the change hardly matters given that the character has no face anyway). Verger has put out a $1 million bounty on Hannibal Lecter. He wants the doctor captured alive and brought to him, after which he plans to eat him.

Chilton, who is clearly trying to build a network of everyone that Lecter has wronged, also pays Alana Bloom a visit. She has likewise survived her own ordeal – being thrown out a window. (She deadpans, “I’ve always enjoyed the word defenestration. Now I get to use it in casual conversation.”) After spending time in traction in the weirdest hospital room ever, she’s back up and walking with the help of a cane. Alana in turn stops by the Verger estate. All of these characters circle around each other, each with the common goal of getting revenge on Hannibal Lecter. Alana suggests that the way they’ll find him is through his tastes. Lecter may be posing in a new identity, but he will always appreciate the finest things in life.

After his attack by Hannibal, Jack Crawford actually died briefly until he was resuscitated. He’s been forced to retire from the FBI, and claims that he’s given up on Lecter and Will Graham in order to spend time with his dying wife Bella (Gina Torres). However, witnessing her endure the final stages of terminal cancer, he ends her suffering by euthanizing her, then jets off to Europe on Will’s trail.

This is a very flashback-heavy episode, and the repeated back-and-forth still feels rather disjointed. Nevertheless, it gives the season its first real sense of direction. If this is to be the show’s final season, I like the idea that it will be a reckoning for Hannibal Lecter, in which the many people he’s wronged hunt him down to make him pay. Will any of them be successful? I’m sure the good doctor has some contingency plans in mind.


  1. Was that Dr. Chilton or Raoul Silva revealing his “true face” this episode?! What a shameless Skyfall ripoff. 🙂 I will miss Michael Pitt in the role of Verger, as I thought he was creepily fantastic. I was and still am hoping this show gets its full run. I know Bryan Fuller has big plans for the future of this show and I would hate to see a rushed ending.

  2. “This strains credibility a fair amount, unfortunately.”
    In a show where a bird can survive being stuffed into a corpse, or man planted in a tree, or the numerous other murder tableaus, I’d say Chilton’s survival is the most believable. Besides, true fans had figured out he wasn’t dead mere hours, if not minutes, after Yakimono’s end (just watch the bullet trajectory). I love seeing him back and more arrogant than ever, even copyrighting the phrase ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’ (oops, I owe him a nickel now).

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