Hannibal: S03E05 “Contorno”

“How will you feel when I’m gone?”

Now, things are moving. “Contorno” feels like pure progress – there are no flashbacks and  little talk. This episode would be relief even without the savage beating that closes it. We’ll get to that necessary violence soon. At the very least, it makes sense to see how the episode arrives there.

We open with a closeup, like other episodes this season. This is smoke, which gives way to fire, which becomes the engine of a train. Chiyoh talks of her youth: of identifying smells, of a charming cub that became a big cat. Her shared experiences with Will hang over the train like so many clouds. And there is talk of snails, how thousands of them are consumed by birds each day, and how some survive the digestion process. The parallel explains itself.

A sensuous late night snack at Hannibal’s gives way to morning, where Jack carries an urn to a bridge. This is a goodbye for Bella, and his wedding ring follows her ashes into the river. Jack then goes to Pazzi’s, to meet the inspector and his wife. They are moving forward as best they can, and they are not the only ones. Things are coming to a head.

Alana and Mason remain in Baltimore, but they have baited the trap for Hannibal. And Pazzi, intrigued by money and redemption, has taken the bait. Will and Chiyoh are coming closer, too. But Chiyoh closer than Will. “…violence is what you understand.” A kiss, and Will is thrown from the train. Florence will have to wait, as the stag leads a bloodied Will into the darkness.


Pazzi continues to pursue Hannibal, though not as covertly as he believes. And this costs him dearly – his desire to take credit for the cannibal’s capture leaves him isolated, and Hannibal joyfully reenacts the historical tragedy of Pazzi’s ancestor. There will be no bounty, no redemption, no escape. The Monster of Florence claims another life. But Hannibal’s victory is brief; as he looks down at Pazzi’s dangling body, there is Jack.

Hannibal, knowing that there is no point in more deceit, runs his mouth about Bella. But Jack, for his part, says not a word. He puts on a record and proceeds to destroy Hannibal – and the exhibit – in a beating that is as brutal as it is earned. It is every bit as spectacular as the brawl that opens season 2, and even more satisfying.


Hannibal is kicked, thrown, and punched in the face several times. His debt has come due, and he pays dearly for his taunts. He escapes only by climbing down the hanged Pazzi and falling to the courtyard below, as the record reaches its end. The game is not over yet. But the cub who became a big cat has used up most of his nine lives.

Stray thoughts:

  • I have mixed feelings about the Mason/Alana pairing. On one hand, Mason seems to set a new standard for lack of decorum every time he speaks. But Alana, to her credit, takes it in without a blink.
  • Alana may be gravely serious – being defenestrated (that word she loves) will do that to a person. But the experience has not affected her wardrobe. Her red suit in this episode is glorious, and the peak-lapel silver-grey jacket she wears as she explains how Hannibal was located through Bedelia’s shopping is dynamite.

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Brav-o. “Old Testament revenge” is my favorite, followed by “Applesauce”.

Next episode: “Dolce”