“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??