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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Hannibal: “Contorno”

Illustration for article titled Hannibal: “Contorno”
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I just love watching Jack Crawford kick ass. In “Mizumono,” the dance — and let’s be honest, it’s much more a dance than a fight — had each party on much more even footing. They begin with Hannibal looking down at Jack as he stands in the courtyard. Jack has scattered Bella’s ashes, shed his wedding ring, and is seeking revenge not just for his own wounds but for the death of Inspector Pazzi. Pazzi’s wife is a widow and no one knows the pain of that at that exact moment like Jack Crawford. They end the scene together in reverse, now it is Jack that looks down at Hannibal, the one who is forced to flee, more broken and battered than he was before.

Their dance is the first time that Hannibal has been the underdog. It is said time and time again throughout the show that the only reason characters think they have the upper hand is because Hannibal is allowing them to have the upper hand. But in this fight, Hannibal escapes Jack’s rage out of luck and ingenuity. He is the one in retreat, not Jack, and that is not Hannibal’s doing or desire. The tides are turning on Hannibal, and while Lecter escaped this time around, his capture will come sooner rather than later. “Contorno” is the first episode of the third season that is not consumed by (necessary) exposition. Now, the plot moves forward.


Hannibal is drawing his enemies nearer, and each are tracking him through what attracted them to him in the first place. As Bedelia said, he’s intentionally bringing them to him, but this time is different because he is unknowingly the source of his own undoing. For Alana, she finds Hannibal through his taste. She knows his wine, his cutlery, his need for a companion. She knows that Hannibal is in Florence before Pazzi calls to tell her and Verger so. Her call to Pazzi, to warn him that pursuing Hannibal means certain death, demonstrates that the amplified make-up and the severe clothes that she wears is simply a facade. She is still the Alana Bloom from before the accident. She is still a good person who has teamed up with a not-so-good one in order to feel whole again.

For Will, it his need for and use of companionship. It may not have ostensibly been a successful trip from Hannibal’s homestead to Florence, but his partnership with Hannibal did not run smoothly either. Chiyo is wrong about one thing, though. Right before she pushes Will of the train she says to him, “There are means of influence other than violence.” She kisses him (this coming after a scene where they are shot suggestively in separate beds). “But violence is what is what you understand,” she continues. But this isn’t true, Will also clearly has been influenced by the companionship and wholeness that Hannibal had brought him over the course of their friendship. It is the stag — Hannibal’s spirit — that wakes Will up and eggs him on.

For Jack, it is through traditional modes of investigation, even if that investigative work is not his own. Jack piggybacks on the groundwork that Pazzi has already laid out. It was Hannibal’s investigative prowess that made Jack like him in the first place, and now Jack uses the culmination of Pazzi’s work to finally gain the upper hand. Like Pazzi, Jack has been working outside of the confines of traditional law, although for very different reasons. Jack may be a little late to save Pazzi, himself, but Jack was working under Pazzi’s original intentions, his desire to bring justice to Hannibal Lecter.

Importantly, the desire of each of these three people to give end an to this chapter of their lives is what’s driving them. It’s revenge, retribution or reciprocity (in Will’s case) that propels them toward Hannibal. Unfortunately for Inspector Pazzi, his motives for capturing Hannibal are not as pure as they once were. His desire is fueled by money, even if that money is to give his new wife a better life. But he has a higher calling — serving her, making her life better — than the other three. They have nothing else but to catch Hannibal. Jack literally threw the last vestige of any other purpose he might have served into the Florentine water. But it couldn’t have been Jack that ultimately won the fight. It needs to be Will who finally fells Hannibal.


Stray observations

  • Recipe of the Week: Maccu (‘Ncapriata)
  • The facial bridle, as Pazzi calls his “family heirloom,” is a nice callback to what will eventually become one of the more iconic costumes of all time. I anticipate Mads Mikkelson donning his own updated facial bridle rather soon.

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