Hannibal: Aperitivo Darkly Drinking

Mason Verger in Hannibal
Hannibal continues to enthrall, with Aperitivo allowing the viewer to darkly drink in the gathering of those who have survived their encounters with Lector. All roads lead to Hannibal apparently as it seems that a climax will take place in Europe. The teaser at the end of Aperitivo has Bedelia saying to Hannibal, “Graham is en route to kill you, while you lie and wait to kill him.” Watching this week’s episode though makes it seem that Will may have company, or failing that, competition since a price has been put on Lector’s head.

Dr. Chilton has been busily visiting Hannibal’s other “victims.” Mason Verger (whom Lector drugged and then let the man start eating his own face) and Chilton agree to show off each other’s true face and each perform a slow prosthetic striptease that was splendidly horrific. “Now we can talk face to face” chortles Verger who definitely has not lost his sense of humor nor, as we learn later, his thirst for revenge.

While having his physical therapy from a struck off medico, he asks the man to find out how much it will cost to have Hannibal Lector eaten alive. Great stuff that, another example of what makes this show such a compelling one to watch, despite the stupidity of the network who have cancelled the series.

Bloom is visited by Chilton as is Will, although in his case he sees the dead Abigail as the two recite the dialogue from earlier when he hallucinated her visit. “It was surgical,” says Chilton, “He wanted us to die,” says Will, “But we didn’t,” Abigail/Chilton replies. All of season three has this dreamy off kilter feel.

Each character has their own flashbacks. Jack’s are tinged with sorrow and regret as he flashes back to releasing Bella and then his dismissal under the guise of retirement from the FBI. Crawford has been doubly damned in that Graham, “Hannibal thinks you’re his man and I think you’re mine,” betrayed Jack and his action almost cost him his life and has cost him his career.

The survivors are intertwined, Bloom is now working as Mason Verger’s therapist and is closer to Graham than Crawford, enough so that she tells Jack that Will has gone to take care of Hannibal. This week’s episode maintains the deep darkness that marks season three.

The dialogue continues to be double edged with hidden, or at least shielded, meanings and Jack’s line about how the view from the window has changed now that Bella is gone was poignant as it was deep. Will excuses his betrayal of Crawford by claiming that Hannibal was his friend. Certainly the two men are more alike after their relationship. Both understanding that to be free from the other one of them has to die.

That death must come from one of them, Hannibal cannot “forgive” Will unless he kills him, according to Bedelia and Bloom says that Graham knows what he must do. So the two men plot and other survivors are working to the same end. Verger’s via a contract and Chilton through his interaction with the players in question.

Kudos to the exchange between Katherine Isabelle’s Margot Verger and Dhavernas’ Bloom, “I wasn’t sure if this was my entrance…” “This can be your entrance,” Margot replies, “It isn’t easy to find the first time you come.” All before the introductions are made and then the doctor declares that there is a “Witchy beauty about the place.”

It is dialogue like this that makes Hannibal what it is. Over and above the more macabre humor, “If I had lips…” are these lines that add so much depth to the proceedings and provide a different kind of amusement. NBC may have axed this splendid show, but its creator assures us that the best is yet to come. Seeing the teasers of the next episode, there is no reason to doubt his veracity. Hannibal airs Thursdays on NBC.