Hannibal Recap: Bowels to the Wall

The snails slowly, beautifully pulling themselves across our screens throughout Season 3 of Hannibal can’t be mere coincidence, can they?

A few minutes into “Contorno” — the fifth hour of the NBC drama’s current run — those maddening molluscs appeared again, and I wondered if it was evil-genius creator Bryan Fuller’s inside joke about the plodding pace he’s adopted in the wake of the Season 2 finale’s horrifying bloodbath.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d have given Seasons 1 and 2 every Emmy imaginable, but Season 3 — with its descent into dreamscape, its deliberate abandonment of plot momentum and its peculiar lack of emotional stakes (does no one care whether they live or die?) — has been a test of my Fannibalism.

Thankfully, this week’s installment advanced a little bit past enigmatic discussions of “moral dumbfounding” and the dreariness of conversing with one’s fellow humans, but still… if you’re a law-enforcement officer who’s suffered great personal cost at the hands of an infamous sociopath, you’re not going to let him slip through your hands like a toddler trying to snatch a firefly, are you?

With that said, let’s recap the three most significant happenings from the hour:

Hannibal - Season 3Throw Will From the Train | Chiyoh and Will ride a train from a cinematographer’s dream and headed to Florence, discussing things like how some snails eaten by birds “survive digestion” and wind up at the other end of the tract in a completely different place. She wonders if he wants to kill Hannibal because otherwise he’ll turn into his mentor, and Will doesn’t necessarily argue she’s wrong. Later, he wakes and finds her staring dreamily out into the night — “more than a period of time, it’s another place,” she coos. And then Chiyoh plants a kiss on our addled profiler. “There are means of influence other than violence,” she says for the second time that night, then adds a little kicker, ” but violence is what you understand.” And with that she hurls him off the back of the speeding locomotive. Fret not, though, Will’s not going to be a wolf pack’s next dinner. The mystical stag nudges him awake, to his feet, and down the track toward his destination.

Hannibal - Season 3Pazzi Sells Out | Alana determines Lecter is in Florence (based on weekly receipts from a local food purveyor for fine wine and tartufi bianchi) and excitedly shares her intel with Verger. The mad meat renderer has put out a bounty for a live Lecter, and that’s good news for Pazzi, whose work leads him to the Palazzo Caponé — and a face-to-face meeting with the young Lithuanian man he once dubbed Il Mostro. Instead of cuffing “Dr. Fell,” though, Pazzi makes the grave error of delaying — and calling Verger about the $3 million prize. Mangled Jimmy Stewart demands a finger print, but his return trip yields no evidence, only a noose around his neck, a blade across his abdomen, and a horrific disemboweling simultaneous to his being hung out the Palazzo window. (And nobody calls 911?!) Bye, Pazzi… you were never going to be the one to catch Hannibal, so just be glad you didn’t get served as ragu to your lovely wife.

Hannbial - Season 3Lecter Vs. Crawford (Round 2) | Jack, meanwhile, artfully spreads Bella’s ashes and tosses his wedding ring in the Arno, then goes to meet with Pazzi and his younger wife for a home-cooked meal. (Given his experiences with Lecter, I’m surprised Jack isn’t still preparing all his own food, no?) Jack is on the scent of Lecter, too, but when Pazzi fails to come home the next evening, Jack rushes to the Palazzo — just as his new pal is being unceremoniously hung out to die. Despite the outcome of their last brawl, Jack rushes into the building — where Hannibal taunts him about Bella’s end-of-life care. “Did you practice injections on an orange?” he sneers, but Jack’s rebuke is even more painful, as he hurls Lecter through a glass display case, crushes his arm in some Medieval-looking wheel, punctures his leg with some hooks. When Jack knocks Hannibal out the same window as Pazzi, though, our villain latches on to the suspended body of his most recent victim — and it blunts his fall just enough that he’s able to limp (bloodily) into the cool Italian night. It’s hardly a TKO, but since Hannibal is left with his life and his freedom, the judges have no choice but to call him the winner once more.

What did you think of this week’s Hannibal? Were you excited for an uptick in action? Disappointed that Jack wasn’t able to raise a “Mission Accomplished” banner? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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21 Comments
  1. I’m probably the biggest Hannibal fan amongst my friends, but I agree with everything about the pacing criticisms. It’s enjoyable, but it feels like the philosophical dialogue has become considerably less organic and more meandering and contextually forced. As much as I love the visuals, sometimes it’s just a bit much. They showed Pazzi dial numbers in slow motion. I can usually just say, “That looks amazing,” and shrug it off, but stuff like that is just lacking both aesthetics and entertaining value. But the entire last act of this episode was what I was waiting for. It was a series of sudden gut punches that met the convergence of story, visuals and character with some much needed action.

    • Cheeky says:

      Ha my thoughts exactly! When he was dialing that phone, all I could think of was “Do we need this” It’s a little too artsy, the first two seasons didn’t get that into every little action and it was still a beautiful looking show. The fight was epic though, classic Hannibal, what we’re used to!

      • could not agree more. overkill of art…..just an odd vibe….then poof “look Hannibal is back!” sad that misstep cost them viewers. but if they keep this up, maybe they’ll come back.could not agree more. overkill of art…..just an odd vibe….then poof “look Hannibal is back!” sad that misstep cost them viewers. but if they keep this up, maybe they’ll come back.

        • I feel like Hannibal being delayed and moved to summer Thursdays, anchored by a new show that has already has all its episodes online killed the ratings more than any quality complaints those of us who are still watching might have. Shows shed the most viewers between seasons and hiatuses and that’s just really exacerbated by the depressed numbers across the board.

    • Jane says:

      Totally agree. As much as I love the visuals on this show they have definitely made the snail the theme of the show. I loved Will the first two seasons but now I cringe when he comes on because I know it will just be pretentious blathering that I don’t care about. When he was pushed off the train I laughed because I thought I would have done the same thing to shut him up.

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  3. Terri says:

    I love this show and I’m so disappointed to hear it’s cancelled. I think it is one of the most beautifully and artistically filmed on tv. I also think it is quite intelligent in it’s approach and delivery and I wonder if this is why it has been cancelled.

    • Slackerking says:

      It’s being cancelled because it went from compelling television to ridiculous nonsense and worse, boring which sent viewership plummeting resulting in cancellation.

  4. FreeRyde says:

    I loved seasons 1 and 2.
    I gave up on season 3 after the first two episodes. What a bore!

  5. Hege says:

    Season 3 is very different from 1&2 but I still enjoy the show. I can’t belive Jack didn’t just capture Hannibal insead of letting him go. I have to say te fight was beatifully shot. I have to say I find Wills storyline the least interesting this season.

  6. CK says:

    Well, I actually enjoyed this episode which makes it the second that I’ve enjoyed this season (after the 1st). Hopefully, they are back on track. Imo they’ve been going a bit overboard with the aesthetics. It’s like everyone this season is suffering from Will’s brand of psychosis/encephalitis. Hopefully, they will get back to that balance that they had in season 1/2 before the end of the season because that, imo, is Hannibal in its highest form.

  7. casserlyrock says:

    I have to admit I have struggled this season. So far it feels like it has descended into self indulgent art-house montages without coherent plot or story. It really has alienated a lot of fans. I’m still watching, but it feels more of a chore, whereas with seasons 1 & 2 I was completely drawn in. Apparently Bryan Fuller has been talking about potential changes to season 4 if it gets taken up by someone else, including reducing the episode count to 10 rather than 13. If this makes for tighter story telling and moving the plot along, it can only be a good thing.

  8. Tim says:

    FInally, an awesome episode!

  9. bhammel103 says:

    I haven’t been struggling with this season like a lot of other people but i can see why people are. Personally, i love this season. I love the slowness and dreamlike/nightmarish quality that the first episodes have had. After last seasons brutal finale, we need some time to see where the characters are, both physically and mentally. I think people really get hung up on the visual aesthetic of this show. They can’t look at what the visuals are doing for the story and the characters. Plus, people are just so damn impatient.

    • Eric says:

      You are a real Fannibal and everything you just said is 100% right. People need to understand that after the bloodbath finale, the characters need time. Maybe they should have used more flashbacks to the in between part between the 8 months since the finale night and now, just a thought.

      • I consider myself a real Fannibal, but the complaints are valid. I feel like the earlier episodes needed some more meat to them and it’s been mostly bread. It’s very, very, very good bread, but it’s not what you sat down at Hannibal’s table for.

  10. Anya says:

    I loved the first two seasons but this one has been quite boring and disappointing. There is an abuse of slow motion. It may have been beautiful initially, now it’s just annoying.

  11. Mike says:

    How does pazzi being killed in the movie fit into the TV show…I’m confused here