Bonsoir! The best show on TV is back for season three!
Hannibal: Season 3: Episode 1: Antipasto: GRADE: A-
Its a real testament that as I watched the season three premiere of Hannibal, I never once got upset we didn’t get immediate follow up on the bloody cliffhanger that ended the second season. The thought didn’t quite hit me until after I had viewed it and while that’s a slight problem, its only a slight problem. Emphasize on slight because its really not enough to take away from the fantastic premiere we got.
We pick up with Hannibal and Bedelia up in Paris an indeterminable amount of time since the season two finale before they head off to Florence, Italy and really the focus on this episode is the relationship between Hannibal and Bedelia, back in flashbacks from the night of the last episode to their departing the United States and this is all excellently done in a slow burn paced episode.
Really this episode was needed to be the appetizer before the main dish of the season is served. Hannibal has clear psychological control over Bedelia and uses it to his advantage, and kudos to Bryan Fuller for not showing said control and dominance through sexual force as that would be far too easy for someone like Hannibal to do, but he doesn’t honestly need to. His knowledge of human insecurities and how to properly attack the mind give him that. While Hannibal is dominant, Bedelia isn’t at the mercy of Hannibal. She is equal in a weird way since as she puts it, “I still believe I’m in conscious control of my actions. Given your history, that’s a good day.” The most threatening Hannibal gets towards Bedelia was when giving a lecture on an depiction of The Divine Comedy by Gustave Dore when he face is perfectly lined up in the backdrop of a slide when he gets to discussing the nature of betrayal in relation to Pietro della Vignia.
This is made cleared that he is also giving her salvation in as much as he’s escaping being discovered after she wakes up with a dead patient, the circumstances of what exactly happened aren’t made entirely too damn clear.
The back and fourth between Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson proves to better than ever here and they can even get a little darkly funny when Hannibal quips, “I’ve killed hardly anyone during our residence.” Even when they share dinner with Anthony Dimmond (guest star Tom Wisdom who is used nicely here) as he notes the chemistry between Hannibal and Bedelia and towards him, “Is it that kind of party?” “It isn’t that kind of party.” “It really isn’t.” Darkly humorous and a nice way of breaking the tension that the scene was already set and heightened when Anthony mentions some of the things set towards the table is used in some places to be given to animals so they taste better when prepared.
Even when Hannibal kills Anthony after he gets a wee bit more nosy than he should, he asks if Bedelia is an observer or a participant. Really when you sit there and watch someone get killed, you’re a bit more than an observer, even noted by Hannibal himself.
Hannibal and Bedelia are perfectly suited for each other, even with this being a one-sided affair that could end at Hannibal’s will at any moment, but their biting words to each other and their psychological knowledge certainly must make this a joy to write and even direct on the set of the show.
Also during the episode we see how Hannibal came to leave limbless Gideon in Dr. Chilton’s house with flashback’s to what else happened after Hannibal served Gideon his own left leg. First off, its great to get at least one last glimpse of Eddie Izzard as Gideon. They have a back and forth as they slowly begin to devour Gideon himself and their dynamic is also as good as ever. They talk about the subject of cannibalism themselves and Hannibal says that this only really counts as cannibalism if they were equals which is such a great line for Hannibal is basically say “Fuck you,” to Gideon as Hannibal still finds himself far superior of course but also how he was given the identity of the Chesapeake Ripper by Chilton. They both take pride in their work, but Hannibal more so as he sees this as some sick art.
Gideon does pose the question, “I’m just fascinated to know how you’ll feel when all of this happens to you…” which did give me and I’m sure plenty of other viewers the question of how will Hannibal be caught? How is this all going to end for him? Even mentioning Hannibal’s true desires at the table that he wishes it was Will Graham instead of Gideon.
It should also go without saying that the episode looked incredible. The cinematography is as on point as ever and gets a refreshing look thanks to its European settings. For as little time is spent in Paris, its lovely, but lighting, angles, and framing of Florence is simply gorgeous. The editing too with how its slow burn pacing and nicely placed and timed close-ups work well and can help dictate beats in the beautiful score of the episode. Hannibal is still a show the excels at pretty much every aspect that brings it together.
Hannibal returns for year three with a fantastically well done and exceptional season premiere that sets the stage well for whatever comes next and next week we get our answers as to the survivors of Hannibal’s bloody exit, and while it may seem more than obvious who made it and who didn’t, its still gonna be entertaining the see the aftereffects.