The nightmarish highly aesthetic Hannibal is this generation’s top contender for best TV show, a master race of intelligent drama, unrivaled visuals, clever pacing, and top-notch acting. Series creator Bryan Fuller deserves much of the credit, his choice to give Hannibal its grotesque beauty, sharp color saturation, and impeccable musical score all contribute to making Hannibal one of the best, if not the best, shows on screen right now. And yes, I’m including Game of Thrones.
Season 2’s morbidly enticing bloodbath left us a gaping cliffhanger; Dr. Alana Bloom thrown off the window, Jack Crawford bleeding and injured, Abigail Hobbs’ throat slashed, Will Graham with a massive wound and severely bleeding, and Dr. Hannibal Lecter jetting off with Dr. Bedelia du Maurier. The season finale was certainly engrossing to the point that it’s been heralded the best episode from any series last year.
Season 3 kicks off with Hannibal riding a motorcycle with the beautiful Parisian nightscape as his background. His unsuspecting victim for the night is Dr. Roman Fell, a renowned literary curator whose identity Hannibal has decided to assume.
Cutting to Florence, Hannibal is in his element, surrounded by a bunch of aesthete snobs, high-brow society matrons and patrons who are clueless about Dr. Lecter’s latest kill. Bedelia, it seems, has assumed the role of Dr. Fell’s wife and both she and Hannibal cut through the ballroom of the elegant Florentine soiree like royalty. Until, Hannibal is chastised by a despicably arrogant Italian, claiming that the former would be unable to be a proper museum curator because of his non-Italian roots. And like the educated egotist Hannibal is, he perfectly recites lines from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno in polished Italian.
Bedelia and Hannibal’s chemistry is magnetic and having the same pseudo psychosexual banter between Will and Hannibal. This immersive sequence between the two is almost hypnotic, with Hannibal obviously bitter about his “break-up” with Will. We can almost empathize with him. Almost. And while Will is not around, his new favorite toy is the beautiful Dr. Bedelia, who continues to convince herself “I still believe I am in conscious control of my actions.”
In stark contrast to the fact that, in a vivid flashback, the scene that forever joined Bedelia and Hannibal was manipulated by Hannibal himself, claiming that, “This isn’t reckless, it is controlled force.” And if you blinked, Bedelia’s patient was Zachary Quinto. I can’t wait for that story to make its debut.
Cutting again to Florence, Hannibal’s new acquaintance Anthony Dimmond (played by the handsome Tom Wisdom) has been invited for dinner. Perhaps one of the most cleverly written “dinner” scenes to date, Bedelia, Hannibal, and Tony all participate in dinner courses that, of course, the killer doctor has prepared beautifully. Bedelia is obviously uncomfortable and refuses to eat meat, choosing oysters instead. “My husband loves the way I taste” is apparently a conversation for the dinner table, taken as a sexual innuendo by the dinner guest. However, we #fannibals know that her statement is more literal than euphemistic.
The episode shifts back and forth from present day Florence to a past period in Baltimore, when Hannibal was still keeping Dr. Abel Gideon prisoner and force feeding him with, er, himself. It’s a beautiful black and white sequence made all the more terrible with nuanced performances, delectably presented food, and the slow limb-by-limb dismantling of Abel’s body.
Antipasto is intelligently constructed in its deconstruction. Much like season 1 has been controlled and nuanced, season 2 visceral and brutal, it’s hinted that season 3 will be a disjointed amalgamation of Lecter’s aesthetics, his warped world view, and his careful manipulation of the characters around him. Much like the titular character, the show is gruesome but controlled, artistic and perfect, a creative genius.
Season 3, so far, looks to be every bit the Platonic delight we #fannibals are anticipating. We’re obviously in for a sumptuous feast this season, the first course hinting at more delights to come. I can’t wait for another bite!