Hannibal Review: “Secondo” (Season 3, Episode 3)

“Technically, you killed him.”

NBC announced today that it would not renew its option to broadcast a fourth season of Hannibal. This came as sad news to many fans. But notice my wording in that first sentence.

Hannibal has always been an independently produced show. Just because NBC doesn’t want a Season 4, doesn’t mean there won’t be one. Last year when Season 3 was in question, there were murmurs of other networks who were interested if NBC passed.

The most important variable, in my opinion, in determining whether or not there will be a Season 4 is Bryan Fuller. His commitment to Hannibal has been undeniable. He is also committed to Showtime’s adaptation of American Gods. As sure as I am that he would have delivered a great Season 4 had NBC picked it up, I’m also sure it’s tempting as hell for him to see a silver lining here — no Season 4 of Hannibal would sure simplify his life.

Now for the question of why no Season 4 on NBC. In other words, who, technically, killed Hannibal? NBC itself. No, it’s not a question of inadequate promotion or lead ins or which night the show is on. Hannibal was dead the minute NBC decided to let Fuller do the show he wanted to. This is NOT a network show. The fact that we fans got THREE SEASONS (let alone one season) should have us jumping for joy. That’s a miracle. Let’s all count our blessings before we cut our own hearts out and eat them.

But this is supposed to be a review of episode 3. Thank you for allowing me the digression.

“Secondo” is a merging of the aesthetics of the first two episodes this season, giving us more of Hannibal’s adventures in Florence and more of Will’s search for Hannibal, this time in Lithuania. The juxtaposition is unfortunate. As much as I like the gothic aesthetics of the Will Graham storyline, there’s an electricity to Hannibal’s storyline that dwarfs the rest of the episode.

I found myself wishing for something more to happen. Things did happen, of course. Will met and allied himself with Chiyo. Chiyo resolved her dilemma over whether or not to kill her prisoner. But I didn’t find myself caring very much at all about these new characters and new developments. As I’ve said before, I’m confident I will appreciate this individual episode more once the full context of the season is known, but on first viewing I was ambivalent.

What I was not ambivalent about were two scenes in particular. First, the dinner party Hannibal throws for Sogliato. We’ve never seen the good doctor lose his composure the way he does when he drives the ice pick into Sogliato’s temple. Even when he was massacring Baltimore’s entire FBI field office in the Season 2 finale, he was a man in complete control. It’s quite revealing of the level to which Will’s declaration of forgiveness must have affected Hannibal.

Second was Will’s “design” of the dead prisoner. On first reading I thought it was a sign post to Hannibal, should he return to Lithuania. On second thought, I saw it as a reply to the valentine Hannibal left for Will at the Cappella Palatina. On third thought, I wonder if Will misses the dance he did with Hannibal in Season 2 where he was pretending to be his serial killer protégé, and this was a way for him to flex those murderous muscles. On fourth thought, I imagined a twisted and bizarre Season 4 where Will Graham is the moth-obsessed serial killer standing in for Buffalo Bill (which the television show does not own the rights to). That would be a crazy twist and elegant way to keep Hannibal and Will dancing once Hannibal is committed to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

Jack Crawford makes his first appearance of Season 3 in this episode. We’re not given much here except some conversations with Inspector Pazzi that echo too closely to Will’s from last episode. I did find it extremely interesting when Jack says, “I’m not here for the monster … I’m here for Will Graham.” I see two interpretations of this line. One, it seems that a consequence of the Hannibal House Massacre is that Jack has finally learned there is a price too high to pay when pursuing the bad guy. And two, that Jack can see the potential monster in Will Graham and is fighting for his friend’s better angels.


  • Did anyone else notice the scene “from” episode 2 in the recap that was not actually in episode 2? Will says to Abigail, “There are places within himself he can’t safely go.”
  • That suit Hannibal wears to dinner!
  • Fireflies! And snails!
  • Who keeps that dungeon stocked with candles??
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6 thoughts on “Hannibal Review: “Secondo” (Season 3, Episode 3)

  1. Leon says:

    We also were taken aback by Hannibal’s dinner party attire … Ha ha ha! But about the “meat” of the episode … I wish we had learned more about WHO that dungeon prisoner was and about the circumstances surrounding Hannibal’s sister’s demise – and consumption. But I know it will come later. In many ways, I also was left wishing MORE had happened. This season, though, is a BIG transition because not only has the location changed by the dynamics of all the characters relationships have changed. So it’s almost like a WHOLE new show? So we must be patient even though, in the end, we CANNOT … !

    • Curtis says:

      I wonder if we’ll get flashback scenes of Hannibal and his sister. I hope not, but if we do, I trust that they will be handled skillfully. Bryan Fuller stated after Season 2 ended that the Season 3 premiere would essentially be a pilot for a new show.

      • PussNHikingBoots says:

        I think Bryan had to make the finale of each season the pilot for a new show, because he was never sure when it was going to get canceled. 😦

  2. PussNHikingBoots says:

    I liked this episode better than the first, but less than the second.

    The whole Chiyo character confounded me. The idea that somebody in seemingly perfect health and quite young spending years and years torturing a prisoner not their own in a godforsaken castle in the middle of nowhere makes no sense to me whatsoever. She clearly does not take care of the castle- it seems to be falling to pieces around her, while she does take care of herself, wearing bright red lipstick when there is probably nobody around to see for miles. Does Hannibal really have such sway over people that he can condemn them to such a life?

    And is Dark!Will still becoming? What he did with that prisoner: setting him free and probably knowing that he would come back to fight Chiyo and that she would then have to kill him was really no different than Hannibal sicking Randall Tier on Will. And then of course, Will with the murder tableau–Randall Tier again…

    And did that prisoner really do anything to Micha or is that just Hannibal’s story that makes it easier for him to bear?

    In this episode, we see Hannibal acting like a petulant child. Poor, lonely cannibal. Taking off that person suit has really disturbed his sense of control. and the more childish he acts, the more in control Bedelia seems to think she is, and the bolder she gets.

    Honestly, the thing that bothered me the most about this episode was the fireflies. Fireflies do NOT move like that. In fact, real fireflies are the most beautiful thing when you see dozens of them in pitch black. What they tried to create here as fireflies just looked like a bunch of fantasy glitter lights. (Says the wanna-be-entomologist.)

    That preview, though…

    • Curtis says:

      The way that I understand the Choyo thing is that Hannibal was going to kill the dude and she convinced him not to, so he said, “Okay, fine, then you deal with him.” She couldn’t let him go because of his horrible crime but she couldn’t kill him or let him die of starvation, so that’s why she’s been caring for him. Not a spell that Hannibal put on her or anything.

      And maybe it’s American fireflies that don’t move like that. Have you actually seen Lithuanian fireflies??? 😉

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