Last season, Hannibal masterminded by Brian Fuller, ended with one of the most explosive (and bloody) finales of the year and since then, many fans have been holding their breath. For two years we’ve watched Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) play a game of cat and mouse and now, finally, the hunt is on.
Season two ended with Hannibal taking off his “person suit” and leaving Will, Alana and Jack in various states of dying before making his escape to Europe with Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), his former psychiatrist. The show returned last week to US tv and fans will be happy to know that it’s every bit as creepy, tense and addictive as ever.
The episode centered largely on Bedelia who has, up until this point, been somewhat of an enigma, as she decides whether she is merely “observing or participating“, in Hannibal’s ‘lifestyle choices’. We find the two first in Paris, where Hannibal gleefully stalks his latest victim on a motorbike and meets Anthony (Tom Wisdom), a young, Will Graham-looking poet and then in Florence, where Hannibal has assumed the identity of his victim, Dr. Fell. Anthony, of course, appears again, knowing full well that Hannibal is not Dr. Fell so Hannibal, naturally, disposes of him.
While this is going on we’re treated to flashbacks of Abel Gideon’s (Eddie Izzard) time as Hannibal’s captive. While Hannibal feeds Gideon his own leg, Gideon tries his best to goad Hannibal, telling him he lives in a fairy tale and that one day, this will happen to him too. Bedelia watches all of this and drifts about Florence, visiting creepy food shops, sits very deliberately in front of CCTV cameras and looking, for all intents and purposes, like she’s in a waking nightmare.
It’s clear she’s in somewhat of a daze, that she can’t quite reconcile the monster that Hannibal is with whatever it was inside her that drove her to flee with him. We learn through flashbacks, a little more about her, about their relationship. Her first murder, the death of one of her patients (Zachary Quinto set to appear in a hopefully more alive capicity later this season) is shown to have been anything but self defence.
It’s Hannibal’s murder of Anthony though, that seems to really get to her though, the moment Hannibal points out that she crossed the line from observation to participation when she decided to do nothing to prevent the killing. It’s then, after snapping Anthony’s neck, that Hannibal utters the line that best sums up the episode, “What have you gotten yourself into, Bedelia?“.
The episode had somewhat of a slow burn to it, there was a lot of movement, a lot of restlessness to break up the usual scenes of abject horror. There was an undercurrent of frustration, the sense of overwhelming entrapment portrayed brilliantly to reflect Bedelia’s feelings and that, more than the gore, is what made this episode hard to watch.
Season one for most of us was spent silently pleading for someone, anyone to save Will Graham but Will had no idea of the danger he was in, while Bedelia does and Hannibal knows it. There’s just something stomach-churning about watching Hannibal feed Bedelia oysters, acorns and marsala while the late Anthony points out jokingly that the Romans used to feed that to animals to improve the flavour. Hopefully no one will need to save Bedelia, hopefully she’ll save herself but with Hannibal’s track record, it seems unlikely.