Thursday’s episode of ‘Hannibal’ may have started out slowly, but it has one hell of an ending that will surely get fans amped up for the rest of the season.
A great deal of episode ‘Contorno’ is spent moving pieces into place. Will Graham spends what feels like an eternity riding a train to Florence with Chiyo, discussing their philosophical musings about how Hannibal has changed them. She eventually tosses him off the back of the moving train, for reasons as yet unrevealed. I think she may just be tired of listening to him. Will survives, but is badly banged-up.
Meanwhile, Inspector Pazzi meets Lecter (under his fake identity) at his new job in the university. Although he only asks some perfunctory questions about his missing predecessor, he knows immediately whom he’s found. Lecter, in turn, remembers having met Pazzi many years earlier when he was a young man. He already knows what Pazzi is thinking and is three steps ahead of him at all times.
Jack Crawford pours his wife’s ashes off a bridge and chucks his wedding ring in the river, as if to make a clean break with his old life.
Pazzi secretly contacts Mason Verger about the reward for Lecter. Verger offers $3 million to capture Hannibal alive. Pazzi can collect a smaller advance for a positive ID by obtaining a clear fingerprint. Alana Bloom worries that Verger has just sent a man to a certain death, but Verger couldn’t give a crap.
Pazzi makes an excuse to visit Lecter again, allegedly to show him a family heirloom (which I believe is some sort of medieval torture helmet). Lecter knows all about his family history and tells him a story about an ancestor who was strung up and bitten by an Archbishop for heresy. The moral of the story is about the need to be careful about the decisions you make. Unfortunately, Pazzi foolishly gets distracted by trying to swipe a knife that Lecter has handled. This was Lecter’s litmus test. He left the knife with an obvious fingerprint on it to see what Pazzi would do. Disappointed at the decision Pazzi has made, Lecter suddenly grabs him from behind.
When her husband doesn’t return home, Pazzi’s wife (Mia Maestro from ‘The Strain’) tells Crawford that she’s concerned.
Lecter binds and gags Pazzi, wraps a noose around his neck, and wheels him on a dolly cart over to a window. Just then, Alana Bloom calls Pazzi to warn him that he may be walking into a trap. She’s too late, obviously. Lecter answers the phone and announces that, “You’ve caught me at a rather awkward moment.” He then asks Pazzi, “Bowels in or bowels out?” but goes ahead and makes the choice for his victim. Lecter stabs him in the abdomen and tosses him out the window, whereup the noose stops him halfway and Pazzi’s guts spill out all over the cobblestones below. It’s a disturbing, disgusting moment, taken straight out of the third Lecter novel by Thomas Harris. Sadly, its impact is lessened by the fact that Ridley Scott already staged this scene in his 2001 movie that nobody likes.
Before Lecter can revel in his latest masterpiece, he notices Jack Crawford on the street staring up at him. Crawford witnessed the whole thing and rushes into the building. Lecter tries to make an exit, but realizes that he’s trapped. He skulks around the building for a moment trying to lure Jack out, but Jack gets the drop on him and goes full Morpheus. They have a brutal fight. Jack beats the living shit out of Lecter, tossing him around like a ragdoll and stabbing him in the leg, until eventually he knocks Lecter out the same window where Pazzi is hanging. Lecter manages to grab onto the body and climb down to the street, limping away out of sight before Jack can catch up.
I’ve gotta say, Laurence Fishburne looks really good in this episode, like he’s lost a bunch of weight and made a concerted effort to get back into fighting shape. His beat-down on Lecter is very cathartic. The slow build-up to that moment tried my patience a bit, however. The show has too many characters this season with very thick, nearly impenetrable accents, and their dialogue can be a strain to listen to. I actually find it a relief that one of them has been killed off.