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Hannibal: Antipasto

"I've taken off my person suit."

Oh shii. (And all the other expletives.) The very first shot in ‘Antipasto’ calls out to us... it’s not that hard, if you just turn the key. Just turn the key, everyone, because Hannibal would like to welcome you back to the show that has managed, in its third season premiere, to eroticize our human experience in even more new, unexpected and horrific ways!

Everyone has their flavor.

Is that why we are all bonded together in this viewing experience? We all prefer the flavor Bryan Fuller has flawlessly cooked up for this series? And we don't want to eat alone. What’s remarkable is that as the scope of this story expands, an episodic polymorphism has surfaced. We’ve gone from NBC procedural to what’s basically now dream porn. And here’s ‘Antipasto’, which only features Hannibal and Bedelia, and it's, too, fluent within the show’s palette. The stakes are higher now, organically, plot-wise, and really in every other conceivable way, as well. And the creative team's answer to dealing with this heightened everything is to throw knives, while blindfolded, at spinning targets. Perfectly. While making pretty little designs on the bullseye.

Ethics become aesthetics: Boris Jakon

Maybe this is the mantra of the cannibal on the lamb. Attention to detail and appearances really would necessitate a meticulous effort for Hannibal at this point; aliases and changing locations and things of that nature. (It’s a small world, after all.) I think that’s why the scenes with Dr. Gideon played as such a gorgeous contrast. Hannibal luxuriated in the long drawn-out time it took to complete Abel’s demise. The snails, a perfect symbol. He doesn't have that kind of time anymore. And he never will again. And then there’s Florence. Why Florence and not Rome or Venice or Milan? Then I realized, what other Italian playground would be framed by so many angles? Every outdoor shot features the most complex architecture made up almost entirely of right angles. (It’s a similar dimensional visual effect for me as Hannibal’s former Escher floor in some ways.)

There is no morality, only morale: Dr. and Mrs. Roman Fell

How do you feel today, Mrs. Fell? One day, Bedelia’s waltzing, with almost a smile on her laser-cut features. Another day she’s running errands for Hannibal at Vera Dal 1926, his bridge between his former and current life, but it’s not that kind of party. No, it really isn’t. So in yet another moment, face to face with that unfortunate rabbit that should have hopped faster, she’s sitting in a train station looking directly at the eye in the sky. She’s aware of her role, as a wind-up toy and victim and packs her bags to get the hell out. But of course, no such luck. I’m sorry but sitting this close to that fire (that frame, oh my god, of Hannibal's face merged with the fallen angel’s during the lecture), there’s nothing but searing pain and wounds that can’t ever heal. Don’t fool yourself into thinking he’s not in control of what’s happening.

Are you in this very moment observing or participating?

Hannibal has to be doing cartwheels inside when lines get blurred with the company he keeps. You can just tell it’s what he lives for. It’s in this sodden place he gets to see what motivates people and more interestingly, how their actions embody their desires. And there’s always so much water. Will’s was a tidal wave, while Bedelia sinks into a watery grave. God help the person around Hannibal who needs help covering something up. Or who wants help with becoming someone else. Or feels compelled to satisfy an intellectual curiosity. Though, if I'm not mistaken here – we are all participating. In that case, let it be a fairytale then.

Odds and Ends:

*When Hannibal notices someone watching him (i.e. the party scene when he first meets Antony Dimmond) his reaction is so great, on the surface it’s so deliberate as if to say... Who? Me? But it’s a subversive mechanism meant to put the other person at a disadvantage. It’s the opposite of sizing someone up. The mannerism is saturated in faux showmanship for the other person’s benefit (detriment). I suspect, by the look of it, this style is all Mads, because it’s so specialized.

*If I’m honest, I’m mourning Hannibal’s former kitchen in the Gideon flashbacks.

*Speaking of flashbacks, best use of flashbacks... ever? It sounds like hyperbole, I know, but I can’t remember being so taken with one as I was with the use of the scene with Bedelia and Jack from 'Tome-Wan'.

*Zachary Quinto.

*I really loved the story structure. It demanded everything from me on first, second and third watch (plus I read the script).

*Brian Reitzell has outdone himself. The score, both the more lyrical one (WTH with the 80s keyboard ala Tangerine Dream? BECAUSE I LOVED IT) and the other thing he does that resembles rearranging our central nervous systems, were off-the-wall bananas.

*This show can be so many things and still include the kind of humor where a well-placed wine glass is the source of peals of laughter.

*The two times Bedelia and Hannibal professionally chide each other were also hilarious. Hannibal throws 'person suit' back in Bedelia's face, insinuating that this could very well be her fault. Later, Bedelia snarks that the patient who just died on her floor was originally Hannibal's -- not exactly a ringing endorsement and they both know it.


Dr. Gideon: “You smoked me in thyme.” (Heh.)

Hannibal: “This isn’t cannibalism, Abel. It’s only cannibalism if we’re equals.”

Hannibal: “I’ve killed hardly anybody during our residence.”

Hannibal: “Is this professional curiosity?”
Bedelia: “Almost entirely.”


  1. This show is so head and shoulders above everything else. It's true I don't literally watch everything else, but I can imagine. I had to watch this episode twice, and I will probably watch it again today. First of all, for the just the sheer look of it. It's gorgeous. Second, to catch things I missed the first time around. And as for the third time later on: to catch even more and luxuriate yet again. Where my love for all things Supernatural is very emotional, this show is all about the cerebral (at least for me). It is a beautifully constructed seminar, debate, learning experience... heavy on the experience. I was very intrigued by the "observing vs. participating" talk. When does someone become part of the evil? When do they admit what's been inside them all along? To quote another iconic figure in popular culture, "Fascinating" (insert single upraised eyebrow).


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