NBC’s Hannibal
Season 3, Episode 4: 
Aperitivo
Directed by Marc Jobst
Written by Nick Antosca/Bryan Fuller/Steve Lightfoot

* For a review of the next episode, “Contorno” – click here
* For a review of the previous episode, “Secondo” – click hereScreen Shot 2015-07-25 at 2.32.41 AMThe opening scene, the make-up effects with Frederick Chilton’s (RaĂşl Esparza) face taking a bullet – flashback to last season – it all worked so perfectly. And I’m actually glad that Chilton is still alive, as I’d predicted last season when he was shot. Though I hated him in the films, as well as the books, Chilton is a little more witty and fun here. Still a dick, but fun.
Extremely interesting how there are so many people left in the wake of Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). Not only has Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) survived the cannibal doctor, there is Chilton, Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) who made it out alive except she walks uneasily with a cane now, and of course the half-faced Mason Verger (now played by Joe Anderson). There’s a great dynamic between the wounded in Hannibal’s little social experiments. Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 2.30.10 AMThe dead at least have the luxury of being done with what they lost…” Chilton tells Mason, as they meet having a show-and-tell of sorts.
Anderson does enough Gary Oldman while still doing bits of his own thing to do the role justice. I always thought, for all the faults in Ridley Scott’s Hannibal adaptation (I do dig that movie all the same), Oldman truly embodied Mason Verger.
So if people want to say that Anderson is simply mimicking, then whatever – some things are meant to stay the same. I don’t see how anything different could be done with Mason; sure, he could try a different voice, but there’s a great sound to that voice already. I thought it goes well. Sounds a little bit different than Pitt’s version, however, I don’t find it bothers me, in the slightest. Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 2.31.17 AMWhat we’re seeing in “Aperitivo” is just before Will heads off to Italy in search of Hannibal. Basically, this is right after everyone gets out of the hospital, as soon as they can all be up and about once more. In the image above, we see Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl), bloodied, dead, sitting next to Will. Right before that shot, Alana – still in a wheelchair at that point – comes in asking what Will is up to. He replies: “Visiting old friends.
What’s more interesting than Will in this episode, which is not usually the case, is how Mason Verger, Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle), and Alana come together. Parts of the dialogue/conversation between Mason and Alana comes from the Thomas Harris Hannibal novel, where it was a lot of the exchanges between Clarice Starling and Mason Verger. Also, in the absence of a Paul Krendler, from the novel/film, Alana plays a part in the hunt Mason initiates for Hannibal the Cannibal.
I wondered how Alana might come into play later especially once Hannibal, or should I say Abigail, put her in the current medical situation in which she finds herself. Alana Bloom puts it perfectly in her own words when she tells Mason: “Forgiveness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Mr. Verger. I don’t need religion to appreciate the idea of Old Testament revenge.
Another aspect of Bryan Fuller’s television adaptation from Harris’ novels that I love is the character of Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne). I do love the Harris version, obviously. There’s something I can’t shake about Fuller’s incarnation of Jack, though. It could be Fishburne himself that makes the role so interesting; he’s a phenomenal actor. I just love how Fuller takes that vulnerable, broken type of Jack from Harris and also infuses the character with a true strength. Once Jack is able to let his wife Bella (Gina Torres – in real life they are actually married) pass away, free from illness, then he is able to be free himself: he can finally hunt, without worry for his wife or his own safety. There’s a certain freedom that comes with Bella’s death. While he loved her more than anything, Jack is at least happy to know Bella won’t suffer any longer.
Furthermore, the prospect of revenge against Hannibal Lecter for all he put everyone through seems to actually excite Jack a bit. So I think that what Fuller has done with Jack Crawford works because there are aspects of that Harris version where the weakness comes into play, his own faults, et cetera – but there’s still a tough son of a bitch inside Crawford, which Fishburne brings out. When Jack sees the letter from Hannibal and reads it, I thought that was great, macabre moment. Played perfectly – apologies from Hannibal the Cannibal. Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 2.32.27 AMThe rift between Jack and Will is evident here. When Jack goes to see Will, there’s a certain distance and maybe even a little coldness on behalf of Crawford’s protege. Not that Will hates Jack, I just see a tension there. It’s clear, though, when Will tells Jack how he deliberated while the phone rang (as he called Hannibal during the finale of Season Two). He obviously made the choice to go through with it, there was a part of him did not want Hannibal to leave; or maybe it was more so that he didn’t want Hannibal to have to leave. He wanted to keep the relationship, but at the same time Will knows what Hannibal is, and it continually complicates their weird relationship. Mainly, we see here that things aren’t exactly perfect with Will and Jack, no matter how the situation ended up for them both. Will shows up later at Bella’s funeral to pay respects to Jack. Still, there is a void between them that will never ever be fully closed again (especially considering the events of Episode 8 “The Great Red Dragon”). Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 2.32.52 AMWhat I like most about the step back we take in “Aperitivo” (before following up on the events of the previous episode) is that it brings the tension and excitement up another level. At the end of this episode, we’re ready to jump back to present day and see exactly where the path will lead us. Even more than that, I love where the Mason Verger plot is going. Lots of good stuff. In comes the fabulous and creepy as all hell Glenn Fleshler (many roles – people know him best most recently as the now iconic killer from True Detective‘s first season) as Cordell, the personal attendant to Mr. Verger. He’s a bit different than the book, but Fleshler is a fine character actor. He will do the role justice.
An absolute WOW of a scene between these two comes up –
Mason: “I would like you to begin arrangements for Dr. Hannibal Lecter to be eaten alive.
Cordell: Do you have a preference for how you would like him prepared?
Mason: “Oh, Cordell – if I had lips I would smile.
This is another part of why I love the adaptation Fuller is presenting: Mason’s revenge has changed a bit. That’s just why I love this show, it’s fresh yet familiar. Fuller doesn’t give us exactly what the books were, he changes things up to keep even the readers guessing from time to time.Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 2.34.28 AMThis episode was a fantastic lead-up to the events which follow the previous week’s “Secondo“. The final moments, as Will takes off on his own boat to seemingly head for Italy in search of Hannibal, they bring a great energy that amped me up. I wanted the next episode right away. In “Aperitivo”, we don’t see as many visuals as other episodes, but I love that it drove forward more character development and began to set up plot for at least the first half of the season.
“Contorno” is next.

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