Hannibal: S03E04 “Aperitivo”

Now, I’ve enjoyed the first three episodes of this season. The gorgeous locales of Europe, the twisted ambiguity of Hannibal and Bedelia’s cohabitation, sorting through Will and Hannibal’s feelings. All of it. But understand that I mean this next word:


At last, we return to Baltimore, to see the full ramifications of “Mizumono”. It appears everyone has survived, but no one is unchanged. And no one, it seems, is grateful to simply be alive, or content to move on. This is the other side of the situation; Hannibal fled, but everyone else remains, their curiosity replaced by trauma.

It’s not a new development to revolve around Hannibal and his relationship with Will, but it’s an interesting (to be polite) choice to put this episode fourth. Don’t get me wrong – I really like this season, and I don’t feel that chronology dictates plot. But it’s very hard to watch this episode and wonder how my view would change had it aired first or second this season.

God, Catgun, get to the episode. It turns out almost everyone has survived. We start with Frederick Chilton, first showing the path of the bullet that was meant to kill him. When we see him in the present, though, he looks little worse for wear. Only a blemish on his cheek suggests that anything happened.

aperitivo chilton

Frederick is visiting Mason Verger, ostensibly for therapy, but as much for commiseration. Mason has a new face – that is, he has a face now – but his lack of decorum is consistent. “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” And everything is laid bare.

There is talk of a reward for information leading to Hannibal, which is effectively a bounty. Mason’s old money status affords him some privileges – a male nurse happy to provide pain chiefly among them – but his desire to see retribution is not unique. We spend some time with each of our characters, as they share the effects of Hannibal’s violent departure with each other.

Frederick leads us to Will, then Alana, then Jack. There is little sympathy for Frederick, even knowing that he was wrongly accused and nearly killed, because he remains Frederick Chilton. He may have more dignity than Mason, but nobody is happy to see him.

We follow Alana from immobilization, to a wheelchair in Hannibal’s house where she finds Will. Abigail Hobbs is there, too, but only in spirit. This is a brief and cold meeting. It takes us the Verger estate, where Alana has come to see Mason – she is the new therapist, replacing Frederick. Alana has better results, of course, simply by not being Frederick.

I feel obligated to mention Mason’s reconstructive surgery, if only for the excellent music. So much of the music in this show is sparse and percussive, so the flush array of sounds in the psychedelic track that accompanies the surgery is damned near sensory overload. It fits Mason’s character very well. “Good as new.”

aperitivo bella.jpg

This brings us to Jack, and Bella. There are some excellent scenes here, as we say goodbye to Bella. She continues to appear, haunting Jack as their life together comes back to him. There is a funeral, and a card from an old friend. Hannibal simply couldn’t leave his old life behind completely, could he?

The episode closes with Will on a boat. Will. On a boat. Ostensibly headed for Europe? I’m honestly assuming that Will was just seeking solitude before taking the boat in and then flying to Europe, like a normal person. But I don’t know that. It seems believable that Will would take a boat across the Atlantic Ocean to seek Hannibal, that this is within the realm of possibility. It also seems like things will become crazier before they become normal again, whatever normal means anymore. The important thing is that we’re finally moving forward. That something, anything, is going to happen.

Stray Thoughts:

  • I feel like I glossed over some scenes here – Alana’s visits to Mason, and Jack’s visit to Will out in Wolf Trap. After simply traipsing around Europe for three episodes, we cover a lot of ground in a hurry. But that’s not a complaint. There should be some consequences to eating several people and trying to kill all of your friends, after all.
  • I miss Team Sassy Science and Freddie.
  • Likewise, I didn’t mention Alana and Margot meeting for the first time. It didn’t seem as important as some of the other scenes here. Also, I know there will be more of them together.
  • Speaking of Alana, she is extremely well dressed in this episode. Her dark, dot-striped suit with the leather-trimmed lapels may be a top 5 suit for the whole show. I mean that. It’s this scene – I couldn’t find a good screencap for it.
  • I love the decision to use the psychedelic music again for the credits. It’s so bizarre and makes a good harbinger of the coming insanity.

Next: “Contorno”