Despite the sad news this week that NBC has canceled Hannibal, we’re still going to get the rest of this season, and with Season 3’s fourth episode, “Aperitivo,” we got a whole lot of plot and, if you ask me, quite a lot of “finally” moments. Will Graham was still lost in cannibal Yonkers (or at least he was prior to his going to Europe…timey wimey, y’understand), but we got to see how the other characters — even ones who hadn’t been around at all yet this season — are dealing with the aftermath of last season. There wasn’t much Hannibal himself in the episode, but true to form, like the Harry Lime of Horror (which I’m trademarking), the man is all anyone can talk about.
Remember how Dr. Frederick Chilton was accused of all those murders once Will Graham was found not to have done them? Because there’s nooooo waaaaay Hannibal Lecter could have done ’em, right? And remember how Hannibal shot him in the face through the one-way mirror in the interrogation room? Well, we got to see THAT again, in slow motion, and then we got to see that Chilton miraculously didn’t die. How come? Was it luck? Did Hannibal really mean for Chilton not to die or was it just a coincidence (and/or a writerly cheat)?
Regardless of why he’s alive, Chilton now desperately wants to catch Hannibal and put him in his hospital for the criminally insane. He’s aching to! He visited pretty much everyone on the show in “Aperitivo,” a term which means light meal or snack. We’re really gearing up for something big to happen soon (which is a great thing). Chilton began his parade of damaged meetings with the creepiest character of all time, Mason Verger, now played by Joe Anderson. They compared wounds, with Verger removing his disturbing plastic facemask to reveal his reconstructed, scar-tissuey mandibles. He’s had skin grafting done to repair his just-about-gone face from last season (which we got to see in great detail later in the episode…gross). Chilton then removed his own coverings, which include a contact lens that hides his milky eye, a bit of makeup over the bullet hole in his cheek, and a completely metal cheek and jaw piece. Without them, he looks nothing like his usual, smarmy self. Verger has put up $1 million for any information leading him to Hannibal Lecter, and Chilton wants in.
We then flashed back to Will getting stabbed again — are you getting the impression this was a traumatic moment in his life? — and him waking up in the hospital room for a visitor, just as we saw in episode two, “Primavera.” The difference here was that, instead of Abigail, whom we’ve learned is a ghost in Will’s Memory Palace or whatever, it’s Dr. Chilton who ended up saying a lot of the same things Abigail said — except Will has no love for Chilton. And even though Chilton expressed real remorse, or at least shame for having been duped by Hannibal. Will clearly thinks Chilton being alive was a fluke, whereas Hannibal clearly wanted Will to remain alive. Will’s not going to help Chilton, either, it seems, despite Chilton saying Hannibal purposefully left them both framed and maimed.
Another dream sequence followed, this time of Will having done things differently, sitting down to eat dinner with Hannibal and Jack Crawford on that fateful night. Only instead of coming in later to try and catch Hannibal, in the dream, Will helps Hannibal kill Jack. Perhaps thinking that would have been the better option for all involved? Who knows for sure, but after Jack visited Will at his house, the addled investigator was forced to come clean about why he told Hannibal that Jack and the FBI were on to him: he wanted Hannibal to run away, and he wanted to run away with him. Yikes. More with Jack later.
(Sidenote: who’s feeding all of Will’s dogs while he’s off in Europe?!?)
Finally, about 15 minutes into the episode, we got to see what became of Alana Bloom — the one we all were certain was dead, given that she was thrown out a window. But she didn’t: her pelvis was broken, nothing more. And guess who showed up to visit… if you said creepy Dr. Chilton, you are right! They discussed how Alana’s always loved the word “defenestration” (and who doesn’t?) and how marrow got into her blood and “changed the way [she] think[s].”
Of anyone Chilton visited, Alana seemed the most apt to help, which became clearer later. We saw her go to Hannibal’s house in a wheelchair and find Will Graham sitting in there, feeling sorry for himself (alongside his Abigail Ghost) as always. But much later in the timeline, Alana went to the Verger home and walked with a cane to meet Margot Verger who then took Dr. Bloom to meet Mason. Margot told Alana that Mason’s face might be too much to take, but she seemed A-okay with it. Alana’s definitely a changed woman now, and she wants herself some Old Testament Revenge on Dr. Lecter.
And now for some really sad Jack Crawford stuff. We knew he was alive from last week, but we didn’t know how. It seems Jack thought he was 100% dead in Hannibal’s closet and called his dying wife Bella to hear her voice. He passed out, and then woke up in a hospital room in a bed next to her. But how? Later, when Dr. Chilton visited him (because of course he did), he told Jack that if he’d pulled the piece of glass from his neck, he’d have died, but he didn’t. Jack was dead, he said to Bella, but he didn’t die. Jack castigated Chilton for capitalizing on what happened to him (the man copyrighted the phrase “Hannibal the Cannibal,” after all) and Jack pretty much wanted to leave everything behind.
But he knew what had to be done: the pain has to be stopped. Which is exactly why he helped Bella pass, effectively cutting out the thing that’s killing her — something he also seemed ready to do after what happened next. At the funeral, Jack received a letter of condolences, handwritten, by Hannibal. What exactly is Jack supposed to do with that? Will was the only other person who came to Bella’s funeral, and Jack handed him the note from Hannibal, saying “You don’t have to die on me too.” Later, Jack went to Will’s house, but found only Alana there. She said Will knew what he had to do.
And, just to keep things as creepy as possible, we also got a scene of Mason Verger and his in-home physician/thug Dr. Cordell Doemling. Verger talked about a ceremony of transubstantiation, where people would eat the flesh of of humans to feel closer to Christ. He’s going to prepare a greater ceremony without transubstantiation. He asked Cordell if he was loyal and capable (a rhetorical question, really) and when Cordell affirmed, Verger announced he would like arrangements made for Dr. Hannibal Lecter to be eaten alive. No sweat, boss. Later, Verger again talked to Alana, about Hannibal (what else) and he wondered aloud why she doesn’t go to Jack with her ideas about where Hannibal is. She responded: “You’re preparing the theater of Hannibal’s death; I’m just doing my part to get him to the stage.”
“Aperitivo” was the episode I think a lot of fans have been wanting all season and it’s a very welcome piece of business. While Will is off discovering who Hannibal is, or feeling very woe-is-me about losing his friend, Alana is prepared to go medieval, or at least to have Mason do it for her. She was, perhaps, the most blinded by Hannibal’s charm last season — even allowing herself to go to bed with him — but now she just wants him dead, and that’s pretty awesome for a character who’s always felt a little too naive. Jack is the friend Will Graham has always needed and just hasn’t realized it yet, and Chilton, it seems, is just trying to realize his place in the scheme of things. We know something big is going to happen, we’re just not entirely sure what.
Next week, “Contorno,” someone is going to draw first blood.
Let me know your thoughts on the episode and your theories for how Hannibal’s going to get caught (cuz we know he will)!