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Hannibal: Dolce

“All of our endings can be found in our beginnings. History repeats itself, and there is no escape.”

Would this be a good place we can all hold one another? It's goodbye to Florence... and apparently my sense of well-being because even though I was bouncing off of my living room walls at one point during 'Dolce' (Bedelia!), by its end I was as good as crushed. What say you?

Here we are, outside of the law and alone.

With all of its little triumphs, right from the start, there was a dread that permeated 'Dolce'. The corruption within la polizia didn't help an already ludicrous situation. Things, as they say, took on a pallor. The torture exhibit, which was tongue and cheek when it surrounded Hannibal, came off as depressive when Jack and Will were stationed there, trying to come up with some kind of plan. The effect of seeing Jack and Will through the display cases of these tools of torment was like the cool light of reality. They continue to be traumatized -- their lives, wayward, spent in pursuit of Hannibal. They're all in cages.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to take my medicine.

With all my heart, I sincerely hope that Bedelia had some elite now-outlawed anesthesia that matched the 19th century patina of not only her works but that secret hiding place in the wall. She deserves it. So many things came into focus ironically as we watched Bedelia's clarity fall well out of focus. (Jack and Will's faces -- LOL.) If her acting range is any indication, Gillian Anderson must have the best time wherever she goes in this world. As far as I can tell, she's unafraid of portraying any emotion we are capable of experiencing. I love the plan, its execution, her dedication to it, there just isn't a single thing I am not in awe of when it comes to Lydia Fell. I wish I could articulate more but I really am mostly speechless. Do you remember in 'Sorbet', when Hannibal was taking in the opera and at the end of the performance, he had tears in his eyes and was first on his feet leading the standing ovation? That was me after Anderson's scenes in 'Dolce'.

She's crafty, and she's just my type.

How does he inspire such devotion?

Well, Chiyoh isn't what you would call shy, is she. Anyone who feel relatively comfortable walking around Florence with a rifle (sometimes fully assembled) has an admirable self-possession, I would say. I thought the dialogue between her and Bedelia was this show at its finest. Just two people saying it like it is except in the case of Hannibal, it's communicated through a veil of gorgeous evocative metaphors while rarely giving away a facial expression to reveal how one feels about what they're saying. Atta girls. It's no longer a simple list of devotees that Hannibal has accumulated though. It's more like columns with different categories. At times, maybe even a series of venn diagrams. And Chiyoh, by the way, is still a loose end. The traumatized are unpredictable because we know we can survive.

Every crime of yours feels like one I am guilty of. Not just Abigail's murder, every murder stretching backward and forward in time.

As their ('Mizumono') soundtrack plays, Will and Hannibal at long last, meet again at the Uffizi Gallery. The couplets they speak to one another are like little teacups filled with confidence and fidelity. I wanted to savor their last time in relative peace. Both Mikkelsen and Dancy bring untold riches to these characters that in turn grounds the other in some kind realness. With a show committed to this level of madness, that's commendable. Some of my favorite moments of the series have been the minutes wiled away in therapy with these two. I also really liked all of the references to the weird way time moves (several here in this conversation). This show is nothing if not an epic map of patterns, time collapsing in on itself, events and themes repeating again and again. At the blunt end of this is Will Graham. I know, I know, enough with the empath has it really rough but, remember how his mirror neurons were supposed to melt away after childhood and they never did? And also how they absorb instead of reflect? It's really tragic. Also tragic is that based on the specs of their relationship, Will was compelled to leave Hannibal with a smile. And I think I'm being reasonable here in saying that the fourth act will be their final time to dine together. It's all very sad.

The ceremonies and sights and exchanges of dinner can be far more engaging than theater.

Give that a moment… Hannibal tells Will following the sting of the needle. In what rivals, in terror, last week's instruction to Pazzi to 'clear his head', Hannibal 'reassures' Will while he gets his medicine. That 'moment', by the way, lasts 1 minute and 5 seconds. The transition from the third to the fourth act is, for my money, this show besting even itself in visual storytelling. All the kudos to everyone involved since it's also up there with the most frightening imagery Hannibal has thrown up on the screen. The smoke, you guys. He's smoke. The antlered man. The smoke antlers. There's an image embedded here that mirrors the one of Jack and Will ice-fishing, discussing Hannibal's capture ('Su-zakana'). At one point, Hannibal's head sits behind Will's. Will can hear him but Hannibal is out of his visual spatial picture. (AND THEN HE'S UNDER THE TABLE? GOOD LORD.) I can't speak in complete sentences because I am still in shock over it. It was really upsetting. Also, please FEDEX all the acting awards on this planet to this cast. Laurence Fishburne plays Jack, subdued by god knows what sedative, with tears in his eyes. As if his eyes were the only thing that he could volunteer to show the distress he was in. The non-verbal cues of horror Jack and Will exchange while not anywhere close to any muscle control are devastating. If this plot point had less awful of an outcome, I could better focus on the sheer skill it took to make it believable. But that wasn't the case. After everything in this show that's been the most horrible until the next thing that came along and pushed that boundary further out, this, to me is finally a coup de grace that can only truly, logically end with Hannibal locked the fuck down at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Bonsoir, Dr. Lecter. (But not before a quick detour to Muskrat Farm, of course!)

Odds and Ends

*After Bedelia tells him she knows he intended to eat her, the close-up on Hannibal shows him meaningfully swallow.

*Alana is sporting a lot of plaid these days.

*There’s a beautiful parallel shot to Bedelia’s arm going slack after she mainlines her alibi when Hannibal injects ‘whatever’ into Will and his arm falls to the side, lifeless. (And drops the knife.)

*Hannibal sketching Will and Bedelia into Primavera.

*I could take parenting classes…

*Ever notice how Margot is the queen of re-invention? Loving the grind house meets Bettie Page meets Traci Lords meets Boogie Nights look of late. (It didn’t not enhance the mirror effect in the visually arresting kaleidoscope sex scene.)

If she had strapped on roller-skates and rolled out of the room, I would not have been surprised.

*Speaking of that, check out Vincenzo Natali’s Hannibal -- Post Mortem 306 (with Scott Thompson) here. It’s in the confession.

*When Lydia Fell is being questioned by the inspector, she looks at Jack, directly, to indirectly tell him where Hannibal is at the moment.

*I am often curious what the list of Google searches looks like in the Hannibal writers' room.

*Will has matching gunshot wounds in both shoulders now.


Jack: “Will you slip away with him?”
Will: “Part of me will always want to.”
Jack: “You have to cut that part out.”

Will: “You had him, Jack. He was beaten. Why didn't you kill him?”
Jack: “Maybe I need you to.”

Hannibal: “I want to be able to draw these streets from memory. I want to be able to draw the Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo.”
Bedelia: “You won't be coming back here for a very long time.”

Hannibal: “This isn't how I intended to say goodbye. I imagined it differently.”

Bedelia: “You may make a meal of me yet, Hannibal, but not today.”

Bedelia (when Chiyoh glances at her tourniquet): “I'm his psychiatrist. Medicinal purposes.”

Chiyoh: “You're like his bird. I'm his bird, too. He puts us in cages -- to see what we'll do.”
Bedelia: “Fly away or dash ourselves dead against the bars.”

Will: “Mrs. Fell, I presume?”

Will (whispering to Bedelia): “I. Don't. Believe. You.”

Jack: “You've been freebasing your alibi. And I'm not even mad at you. To tell the truth, I'm fairly impressed.”
Will: “Mostly because you're still alive. When this fog of yours clears -- I'd love to hear how you managed that.”

Hannibal: “If I saw you every day, forever, Will, I would remember this time.”

Hannibal: “How is Chiyoh?”
Will: “She pushed me off a train.”
Hannibal: “Atta girl.”

Hannibal: “Now is the hardest test: not letting rage and frustration nor forgiveness keep you from thinking. Shall we?”
Will: “After you.”

Hannibal: “You dropped your forgiveness, Will.”

Will: “He is under the table, Jack.”

Hannibal: “Jack was the first to suggest getting inside your head.”

Mason: “Gentlemen, welcome to Muskrat Farm.”


  1. This was a fascinating episode. I'm glad (?) to see that Bedelia had a plan, although why she felt the need for such a plan (why not just move to Tahiti?) is still unclear to me.

    The transition to Muskrat Farms was a complete shock. Like: WTF? Now we're there? But I love that they did it that way. As though the episode weren't shocking enough.

    Did anyone else expect Hannibal to start eating Will's brains?

  2. Excellent review! I'm joining you in the standing ovation to Gillian's acting chops. Love the throwback to 'Sakizuke' where Bedelia whispers "I believe you" to Will. And it's hard to imagine how Chiyoh gets around Florence brandishing a fully assembled rifle but this gal clearly knows how to hide in plain sight. Now, how much will we get to see of the transition to Muskrat Farms? Or will we already be there?

  3. Bella:
    Are you an Annabelle or an Isabel? ;)
    I had been under my couch for at least five minutes by the time the last drop of blood flew over Sogliato's dinner table, so I didn't catch exactly how jarring the transition to Muskrat Farm has already been. There was the implication of a transatlantic flight, iirc. And a snowy country road... My guess is that if it's more upsetting to show the capture and transport, they definitely will in 'Digestivo'.

  4. I liked the Bedelia stuff quite a bit, but not much else. I'm not sure if Bedelia is enough to keep me going with this show. She might be. But I've been struggling mightily these last few weeks with whether I should just quit, or keep playing out the string, hoping it will rally for me before the end. It would definitely help if Mason Verger gets offed soon. I cannot stand that guy. Any time he speaks it grates even more than emo-Will and the excessive slow-motion blood spatter.

    I enjoy reading your reviews, Heather, because it's nice to see such unabashed enthusiasm for material that just doesn't seem to connect with me anymore. I like the different perspective.

    1. Jess,
      If you decide to stop watching, you will be missed. I enjoy your perspective on this show (and others around here!). FWIW, I think Mason isn't long for this universe.

  5. Jess, I am afraid I have to agree with you. Kwin and I are still watching, but the show has lost the allure it had for us. A few episodes back I felt the characters must be dreaming. It still feels that way and not in a good way. Alana seems to have become a super villain because of the fall out the window? Mason remains a cartoonish character? Don't get me wrong, I love weird, but this is getting silly and tedious. Gillian Anderson is the only bright light. Give me back the last seasons Hannibal. That is what I want.

  6. Jeez Will that was a pretty mean-spirited way to do a callback with Bed-Lydia Fell... go be mean to Chiyoh instead, she's the one who keeps fucking up your shit here.
    The jarring transition to Mason's Verger Funhouse has already been brought up/transcripted beautifully here but I'll mention again how much I loved that immediate transition... Will getting his head sawed off was a perfectly fitting episode cliffhanger on its own but I love double-whammies like this
    I'd be more enamored with that sex scene if it wasn't for the sequence of HanniWill as smoke and butter/oil within the same episode. The former was still hot and insane-looking but that latter is what the show is really about. Also the threesome scene last season was hotter


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