“One of those friendships that ends after the disemboweling.”
“Apertivo” was the episode 2 I was hoping for. The fact that it comes a little later in the season doesn’t bother me, though, because I think it was a necessary choice for pacing reasons. This episode is electric, and I suspect all of the tension sown in episodes 2 and 3 will begin to pay off in exciting ways from this point forward.
We’re treated to 3 “surprises” in this episode (though not surprising to those who avidly devour Hannibal news):
First, Dr. Chilton is alive (!), twice resurrected. Surviving the removal of his insides by Dr. Gideon in Season 1 and surviving a bullet to the face by Miriam Lass in Season 2, Chilton proves that no one on Hannibal is dead until we see a corpse, preferably displayed as a work of art. I loved how it was Chilton who came to see Will in the hospital, instead of Abigail as Will wanted/imagined. The disappointment in Will’s face is utterly tragic. It’s like the most perfectly executed bad joke, mirroring Abigail’s second “resurrection,” only this time fo’ realz. The reuse of the dialogue from episode 2 is poignant and heart-breaking. Hugh Dancy’s reluctant delivery of the line “He left us to die” suggests that Will is reliving this scene a second time just as we are.
Second, Alana is alive (!) — with an adamantium skeleton and mutant healing powers! (Not really, but who wouldn’t want to see Caroline Dhavernas as the next Wolverine? Am I alone in this fantasy?) It seems Alana has gained a newfound understanding of Will’s early homicidal instincts.
Season 2 Alana: “Will, it’s wrong to conspire to murder Hannibal just because he’s killing everyone you care about.”
Season 3 Alana: “Hey, Mason, can we conspire to murder Hannibal? He’s killing everyone I care about.”
To what degree is she deceiving Mason? And will her dance with this devil corrupt/transform her in the same way Will’s dance with Hannibal corrupted/transformed him?
And third, “Apertivo” introduces us to the “good as new” Mason Verger. In tonight’s episode, the role of Mason Verger will be performed by Joe Anderson. I wasn’t so sure what to think on first viewing; he seemed kind of flat compared to Michael Pitt’s more flamboyant approach. But the second time I watched the episode I found myself really enjoying the subtleties of his performance, especially in the eyes and voice. Where Pitt’s Mason was operatic, Anderson’s is fully of seething anger.
Also quite interesting was Will’s clear admission of his ambivalence about Hannibal to Jack Crawford. Though still conflicted, Will’s emotions swing much closer towards forgiveness than I ever expected. After the Season 2 massacre — in particular, Hannibal’s sadistic “Indian giver” act of murdering Abigail right in front of Will after resurrecting her for him only moments before — I’d envisioned a vengeance-driven Season 3 Will pursuing Hannibal across Europe. Instead we get a Will Graham who not only imagines an alternate world where he participates in Jack’s murder, but perhaps even wishes he had. Apparently this is not one of those friendships that ends after the disemboweling.
(By the way, that scene that begins with Crawford’s murder and transitions through to the conversation in Will’s garage — all set to those sweeping and weeping melodic strings — could be the most beautiful moment in the entire series so far.)
And seeing all of Hannibal’s victims together in one episode like this makes me think that perhaps Hannibal’s goal is rarely to kill. Killing is incidental. First principles, Clarice. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing (or attempting to kill, or positioning people into situations where they might be killed)? He wants to see what people become. As Mason Verger says, “Survived him? This is exactly how he intended me to live.”
In summary, “Apertivo” has the potential to be one of my favorite episodes of the series. Every moment between any two characters is pregnant with so much history and so much emotion that what might be born henceforth is something only Hannibal/Hannibal can imagine.
- A boat! That’s exactly how Will Graham would travel to Europe!
- Jack’s goodbye to Bella. Maybe Laurence Fishburne’s best performance in the series. Actually, he rocked this whole episode.
- What does it say about this cast of characters that Chilton is acting the most rationally of all of them?
- “Friendship with Hannibal is blackmail elevated to the level of love.” Best line ever. My head exploded when I first heard it.
- I cheered out loud when I saw Katherine Isabelle’s name appear in the opening credits!
- “The optimist believes we live in the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears this is true.”
- Did Mason Verger really quote Conan the Barbarian???
- Are we to assume that Jack Crawford doesn’t know what “copyright” means, or is it the writers who don’t?
- Defenestration! Now I love that word, too!
- The POV of Will’s intestines during the gutting.
- Sitting there in Hannibal’s house, Will and ghost Abigail reminded me of David and ghost Jack from An American Werewolf in London.
- Hannibal’s note of condolence to Jack quotes from John Donne’s “A Fever.”
- Ah, the eternal Baltimore winter.