Secondo: Analyzing Hannibal’s third serving of Season 3

Haven’t sampled my review of episode two yet? Check out my Primavera analysis here.

Wow. Things are starting to pick up in Hannibal. This episode nods a little bit to Hannibal’s past, as Will Graham continues on his search for the man who left him with a smile.

WARNING: As with most of my analyses, I don’t shy away from spoilers. You can watch last night’s episode here if you don’t have DVR and come back after, or you can scroll down to my “Final thoughts” section to get a brief, overall summation of my opinions regarding the episode.

The third episode of season three is curiously titled Secondo, which translates to “second” in Italian. Still, there are a few “seconds” that they could be referring to. Jack Crawford seems to be alive and not particularly well, and he is the second person from America venturing forth into Europe with his own vendetta. Will Graham encounters Chiyo, the second person offering their services to help hunt down Hannibal Lecter. You get the idea.

I don’t want to say Hannibal is necessarily losing it. He is typically very calculated with his actions, but he’s beginning to show a bit of reckless behavior. The initial people he killed upon his return to Italy were out of necessity (sorta), so he could take up his position among the well-to-do socialites that he’s been rubbing shoulders with. First, he snapped the Englishmen’s neck, and left his mutilated carcass inside the chapel. In this episode, he stabs Sogliato right in his damn brain with an ice pick at dinner, seemingly for no reason. Sogliato doesn’t die right away, since Hannibal left the instrument lodged in his brain. It was Bedelia, maybe out of mild ignorance or mercy, who finished the job by removing the tool. Hannibal cemented his previous point by emphasizing that it was technically her that killed Sogliato, and that she was arguably just as guilty as he.

Bedelia comes to the conclusion that Hannibal wants to be caught, and Hannibal doesn’t disagree. Perhaps Hannibal is just getting bored, or that he was dissatisfied with how things concluded for him. He’s risking a great deal by not keeping a low profile, and is very much aware of it. As the season unfolds, I’m sure we’ll find out more as to why he’s killing these particular people or what his overall plan is, so we’ll just have to be patient on that front.

Jack Crawford made his debut back on the show in this episode. Rinaldo once again incorrectly assumes the wrong motives for Crawford’s presence, as he did with Will. He makes the supposition that Crawford is in Italy to hunt down Hannibal Lecter, which I can’t hold against him. Crawford isn’t there for Hannibal, however — he’s looking for Will Graham. I imagine Jack has a lot of guilt about the way things went down. It took a lot for him to believe anything Will was saying, and was the one who had been keeping Will down this unstable journey from the first. I still find it surprising that Crawford has no interest in hunting down Lecter. The Chesapeake Ripper has been a huge part of the show, and it’s been consuming Crawford the whole time. That was the driving force for him enlisting Graham’s help in the first place. It’s likely that he is just playing it safe and “Lone Wolfing” it to keep as many people away from danger as possible. I refuse to believe Jack’s going to give up his pursuit of Hannibal Lecter, especially considering their brawl in the season two finale.

Will somehow finds the location of Hannibal Lecter’s childhood home in Lithuania. I don’t know how he necessarily discovered it’s exact location (let me know if I’m forgetting about a scene where this took place). It looked very reminiscent of Dracula’s Castle, who does seem to share a lot in common with the good doctor. There was also a mention of garlic to ward of demons, which I took as another interesting nod to Dracula, or vampire lore in general.

Will found something unexpected at Lecter’s former home. A Japanese huntress named Chiyo, whose presence was a bit mysterious. Will sneaks into the house, presumably under the assumption that she was unaware of his presence. He makes his way to the cellars below, where he discovers an emaciated old man locked up behind bars. That’s when Chiyo sneaks up from behind, pointing her double-barrel shotgun at this unexpected interloper that I’m pretty sure she was aware of the entire time.

He explains who he is to Chiyo, and she seems to trust him. Chiyo explains that the man behind the bar essentially murdered and ate Hannibal’s sister Mischa, and Chiyo had convinced him not to return the favor. Hannibal had instead chosen to leave the man in the depths of the house, with Chiyo resolving to be the home’s sentinel. Will surmises that Hannibal orchestrated her to stay at his home out of curiosity — to see if she would just make the decision to kill the man herself.

This is when we see how far Will has descended. He takes a note out of Hannibal’s playbook, and releases the disheveled captive from his confinement. Naturally, the old man seeks retribution for his incarceration and sneaks back into his cell. Chiyo, none the wiser to the situation, enters the cellar to leave food, when the old man leaps upon her from the darkness and attempts to strangle the life out of her.

It’s then that Chiyo is forced to stab the prisoner in the throat so she could survive. Will emerges like a shadow from the darkness, confirming that it was his plan all along to free her from her stay. She disagrees, thinking that he was more curious than anything to see what she would do. He denies the claim, as Chiyo tells him with a tinge of sorrow that Hannibal would be proud of him. With nowhere else to go, Chiyo decides that she will accompany Will on his journey to find Hannibal Lecter, and from there an uneasy alliance forms.

This is when things get even more dark. Will dresses the body in a grotesquely beautiful display of moth with outstretched wings. It immediately conjures up images of The Silence of the Lambs, making it an awesome easter egg, if that was the writers’ intention. Will presumably did this to point the murder in Hannibal’s direction, either to get his attention, or the attention of the authorities. There was a lot of care and precision involved in the diorama (heh, DIE-orama), however. A disturbing amount. Could it be that the monster hiding in the depths of Will’s psyche is about to emerge? This made me think of an interesting theory, that I am in know way sure of it’s validity. What if Will Graham is becoming Buffalo Bill in this iteration? Bill and Will are interchangeable names, and Buffalo Bill WAS obsessed with the growth and change of moths. Could Hannibal have messed up Will so much that he too will take on the role of a serial killer..? It’s just a weird thought I had, but who can really say? This show is going to dark and interesting places, for sure.

The episode concludes with Bedelia and Hannibal discussing things at their dinner table. They talk briefly about Will Graham, and the prospects of forgiveness. Bedelia’s suspicions of Lecter’s motives are confirmed when Hannibal tells her that to truly forgive Will Graham — he must eat him.

I am still unsure and curious about Hannibal’s past. There has been speculation both from Bedelia and Will that it was not the prisoner, but perhaps Hannibal who mutilated and devoured his own sister. Maybe she had become aware of what he was as a child, and tried to pull him away from it, only for him to come to terms with being a monster and killing her to accept it. Maybe none of it is true. It’s interesting to think about, but we may never know. Whatever Hannibal was isn’t as important anymore as what he’s going to be moving forward, and I’m excited to see what that is.

Final thoughts…
Season three of Hannibal is not disappointing. It is a lot slower than what we may have been used to, but it is weaving a dark and interesting tale, that is slowly and surely churning toward an exciting conclusion. I find it hard to contain my excitement for Francis Dolarhyde to show up, but for now we’re getting some very smart character development. This may have been my favorite episode yet. The line between hero and villain is getting increasingly blurred, and that just makes for good TV.

What are your thoughts about this season? Share with us in the comments below!

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