As much as I love ‘Hannibal’, sometimes the show’s artier affectations get the better of it and prove distracting to the storytelling – even to the point of making the plot nearly impossible to follow.
Episode ‘Dolce’ was once again helmed by Vincenzo Natali, my least favorite director who’s worked on the series. He really goes full-tilt overboard in this one with weird shots and montages and incomprehensibly edited scenes. Characters we’ve followed for three seasons suddenly behave differently without motivation, and the episode jumps right over big chunks of plot without bothering to connect the scenes together.
We pick up with Hannibal limping home after getting the snot beaten out of him by Jack Crawford. Bedelia stitches him up. She then packs his things so he can escape the city, but won’t be going with him. She has her own plans for how to extricate herself from the situation he’s created.
Will Graham, also battered and bruised from being tossed off a train, arrives in Florence and finds Jack at the scene of Inspector Pazzi’s murder. They agree not to tell the local police who Hannibal really is, out of concern that a lot of cops all scrambling to collect Mason Verger’s reward will create enough chaos and confusion for Hannibal to slip away. Instead, they will hunt him on their own.
Back in the States, Verger and his chef make plans for what they’ll do with Hannibal when he’s finally captured. The crazy chef is positively delighted at the prospect of cooking the body. When news of Pazzi’s death makes its way across the pond, Alana Bloom expresses concern that the investigation could trace back to Verger. Mason isn’t worried, however. He arranges to bribe the Florence police.
Separately, Mason tells his sister Margot that he wants to have a baby with her. What…???
Working on her own, Chiyo is the first to find Bedelia, who is uncharacteristically shooting up with drugs at the time. That doesn’t seem like her, but this, at least, will be explained. Bedelia asks Chiyo if she plans to kill Hannibal, but Chiyo says she wants to cage him, as he caged her.
Will and Jack get to Bedelia later and find her flying high as a kite. She insists that she’s “Lydia Fell,” and that she has no knowledge of her husband being a serial killer. This, then, is her plan – to pretend that Hannibal drugged the sense out of her and that she’s been his unwitting captive. Will and Jack don’t buy it, but can’t prove that she’s lying.
Lecter sits at a museum studying the Boticelli painting that’s been referenced several times previously in the series when Will Graham walks up and sits beside him. How did he find him there? Even assuming that Will counted on Hannibal still being obsessed with the painting, how did he know when he’d be there? I guess he just does, and we have to accept it. The two talk for a moment about how similar they’ve become, and walk out of the museum together. Will pulls a knife as if to stab Hannibal. (Why?) Chiyo, who’s been observing them through a sniper rifle scope, sees this and shoots Will in the shoulder.
From out of nowhere, Alana Bloom and Margot Verger have sex in the most pretentiously staged love scene in the history of cinema or photography. The whole thing is shot through a weird kaleidoscope filter that makes their bodies look like they’re fusing into each other. I believe we knew previously that Margot was a lesbian, but Alana? Where does this come from, and what’s the point of it? Afterwards, they discuss plans to double-cross Mason, but Margot wants Alana’s help harvesting his sperm. I say again, what…???
The Florence police question Bedelia and Jack about “Dr. Fell” and his connection to Pazzi. Bedelia keeps up her story. Despite the agreement he made with Will, Jack comes right out and tells the local cops that Fell is really fugitive serial killer Hannibal Lecter. After Crawford leaves, the new police inspector tells Bedelia that he knows she’s not really who she claims to be, and makes it clear that he wants to collect Verger’s bounty.
Hannibal cuts the bullet out of Will’s shoulder. He says that he knows Will was planning to stab him. He then gives him enough morphine to knock him out. Will awakens later tied to a chair at a dinner table as Hannibal feeds him soup. (I don’t want to think about what might be in it.)
Jack arrives at the building (how did he know where it is?) and crosses paths with Chiyo, who backs off and walks away. Jack enters the room and finds Will in the chair, but Hannibal is hiding under a table (where he really ought to be in plain sight) and slashes Jack’s leg. Somehow, this results in Jack winding up tied and drugged at the opposite end of the table from Will.
Hannibal pulls out a bone saw and gleefully cuts into Will’s skull, causing a huge splatter of blood. The scene then segues into some unexplained trippy imagery and suddenly Will and Lecter are hanging upside down in a slaughterhouse. Mason Verger enters and bids them, “Welcome to Muskrat Farm.”
Is any of this supposed to make sense? What happened to Lecter cutting open Will’s head? (He barely looks to have a scratch.) How did Verger capture them? What the hell is happening in this show?
Also, when did Gillian Anderson get a boob job? Her cleavage is way out on display this entire episode.
Maybe some of this will be explained in the next episode, but the way this one plays out left me feeling cheated and annoyed. I expect better from this series.