Mark Watches ‘Hannibal’: S03E01 – Antipasto

In the first episode of the third season of Hannibal, welcome back, Mark! Everything still hurts. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Hannibal.

Trigger Warning: For abuse, manipulation, gaslighting, and gore.

I was left with a cliffhanger for nearly two years, so of course, Bryan Fuller and company are gonna keep me hanging just a little bit more. GODDAMN THEM.

The Escape

“Antipasto” flows almost seamlessly into the world of Hannibal the novel, despite that Fuller is completely toying with the timeline. I actually think it’s brilliant that the show jumps right into Lecter’s time in Europe with Bedelia by her side. I needed to know what happened to Jack, Alana, Will, and Abigail, but I still wasn’t bored for a moment watching the life that Lecter was building. Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson are utterly mesmerizing throughout this episode, and I was reminded of just how subtextual all of the dialogue is on this show. While I’ll get to Bedelia more towards the end, I wanted to talk about the way that Lecter appears to be free. I wouldn’t argue that he disliked or hated his time in the States, but – to borrow the script’s predator/prey motif – Hannibal Lecter is like a lion on the prowl throughout “Antipasto.” You can see the lust and desire slip over his face while he stalks Dr. Roman Fell. You can see the excitement as Dimmond provides him with yet another opportunity for him to play with his prey.

It’s horrifying to watch, and as slow as this premiere might feel at times, it’s only because it’s all so heavily drenched in dread. We expect the inevitable: when will Hannibal kill again? Who is his next victim? How badly will he manipulate those around him?

Gideon

I was just as surprised by the appearance of the Gideon flashbacks as I was by Fuller’s decision to push the cliffhanger resolution to the next episode. (Oh god, what if the next episode doesn’t resolve it???) Yet each scene provides a fantastic insight into Lecter’s current position. On one level, the scenes act as a chance for us to further understand Lecter’s depravity and get a fuller picture of what he did to Gideon. (And we get more of Eddie Izzard, which is a treat, too!) Y’all, I know we knew he kept him alive for a while to frame Chilton, but seeing the full details of it was just TOO MUCH. The arm. THE SNAILS.

But as with most things in Hannibal, the flashbacks offer up another meaning for us. We see how well they match with Bedelia’s current predicament. Gideon is, unlike most of Lecter’s victims, fully aware that he is being cannibalized. What is that experience like? Does it provide comfort and power, or is it unnerving? I say that because like Gideon, Bedelia spends every waking moment knowing that Hannibal is preparing her for a meal. (Hence that unbearable scene where Dimmond comments on Bedelia’s strange meal.)

Yet I think there’s another angle to this, too. Gideon taunts Hannibal with a question: What will Hannibal Lecter do when he’s the one being chased? I’d say that’s one of the questions being answered by season 3. He’s on the run, and while he easily adapts to life in Florence, I don’t think he’ll be allowed to be comfortable for very long. First of all, we still don’t even know what happened to all the characters in the FBI, who will come after Hannibal if any of them survived. (They’re all in the opening credits, so maybe???? Maybe they’re all alive???? WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME) Secondly, how many Dimmonds are there? How many people has Hannibal interacted with that can pull a thread to unravel everything? Hell, Bedelia even makes reference to this very phenomenon at one point! How reckless can Hannibal be before the hunt consumes his life?

Observation or Participation

The exploration of Bedelia Du Maurier in “Antipasto” is honestly my favorite thing about this episode. It’s a scary thing to watch, though, because the script flashes back to Neal Frank’s murder, allowing us to get a fuller portrait of how terribly she’s been manipulated by this man. There’s a stunning scene at the opening of this episode after the reception in Florence where Bedelia and Hannibal trade subtextual barbs about Hannibal’s plans in the city. I loved that Bedelia said that she believed to be operating under her own mind because THAT WAS A GOOD DAY GIVEN HANNIBAL’S PROPENSITY FOR MANIPULATION AND GASLIGHTING.

I believe that Hannibal used this against her. I really do. Because while Bedelia was manipulated into the murder of her patient, then trapped by fear into flying to Europe with Hannibal, and now is stuck in Hannibal’s murder fantasy, Hannibal wants her to think she’s participating. That complicity is a complex thing, and I’m inclined to empathize with Bedelia because I know how hard it is to break cycles of manipulation, even when you’re aware that they’re happening. And Bedelia is painfully aware. She actually tries to run away from Hannibal at one point, just minutes before he murders Dimmond in front of her. Yet does awareness count as complicity? Does Bedelia’s knowledge of Hannibal’s extracurricular activities mean that she condones them or allows them to happen or that, as Hannibal puts it, she participates in them? Perhaps she is participating, but I don’t know that I’d consider that a willing participation. “Antipasto” shows us Bedelia’s fear (brilliantly portrayed by Anderson, of course, SHE IS SO TALENTED) and how she struggles to keep it just under the surface.

How much longer can she last? Will she even survive this season?

The video for “Antipasto” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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