Season 3, Episode 3: “Secondo“
Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Written by Angelina Burnett/Bryan Fuller/Steve Lightfoot
* For a review of the next episode, “Aperitivo” – click here
* For a review of the previous episode, “Primavera” – click hereThis episode’s a real treat. There are a few things going on here, one of which is the introduction of some real stuff out of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Rising/the film adaptation. Most interesting is how we watch Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) not only meet someone out of Lecter’s (Mads Mikkelsen) past, but he actually, in a way, gets closer to Hannibal himself. Through learning what he learns in this episode, Will finds himself getting to know the real Hannibal, past all the facade and the person suit.
We see Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) finding herself getting closer to Hannibal, as much as she does not want anything to further keep her in his clutches.
That’s one big part of this series: duality. I like how there are so many different shades of duality going on between doctors and patients, good and evil, Will and Hannibal. It’s a thematic richness like that which can keep a show interesting and helps sustain character development, as well as lots of other aspects; if the themes are treated appropriately. I think Bryan Fuller and Co. are doing more than a fine job handling that side of the series, which is a prime reason for why I love it so much.The snails from Episode 1 reappear significantly throughout here. Ultimately, the snails represent a part of that slow inevitably: of death, of capture, of being found out. For everyone, the snail is something else. I love how Vincenzo Natali really plays out the snail imagery; lots of great close-up shots of the little critters crawling about, spreading their antennae and feeling out towards the lens. Good, creepy and cool stuff! Natali loves the weirdness, as evidenced by his own features Cube and Splice.
I just love it how Hannibal is still freely roaming Italy, cooking up human organs and still serving them to idiotic, unknowing, piggish victims. Not only that, he and Bedelia find themselves getting closer – not through a romantic link, but through coldblooded murder.
“That may have been impulsive,” says Hannibal after thrusting an ice chisel he’d lodged into the temple of Sogliato (Rinaldo Rocco).
“Technically, you killed him,” Hannibal quips after Bedelia removes the chisel and blood poors out of Sogliato’s temple.The fake Mrs. Fell has obviously had enough of the prolonged agony of having to live with Hannibal. He is clearly insane and needs to murder, which we all knew anyways. She puts it out on the table and calls him on ruining the peace he’d sought out in Italy.
Hannibal tells Bedelia: “You cannot preserve entropy. It gradually descends into disorder.”
Yet, again, it’s so obvious how well Hannibal controls everyone. He knew Bedelia would do what she did, he knew it would startle her (though she chastises him for saying it was an impulse kill when clearly he’d wheeled out the ice with a pick for some Punch Romaine in anticipation of a quick & saucy kill). So she plays right into his hands, once more, by hauling the thing out, making herself a full accomplice. Then again, sweet Bedelia might have more tricks up her sleeve than she lets on, to us and to Hannibal.Obvious to anyone who knows the films, certainly those who’ve read the Harris novels, there are certain aspects of Hannibal Lecter that have had to be changed slightly to fit this vision, or altered, I should say. One of those aspects has to do with Lecter’s past, as in the novels the past events of his life that lead to his cannibalistic impulses take place around 1941. So, as this is a full-on modern take on the events of Harris’ novels, Fuller has had to tweak things slightly.
I’m enjoying the sort of cold and distant nature of Chiyo (Tao Okamoto). Some seem to think she can’t act, but I believe that attitude she has is a part of the character. Chiyo, as it appears to me, is a version of the Lady Murasaki character from Hannibal Rising. In the novel/film, she is his aunt, married to Hannibal’s uncle Robert. Here, she is another casualty of Hannibal in essence. She met Hannibal at a certain period of his life, one related to Hannibal’s sister Mischa, and he has exerted influence over her exactly as he has on Will.
There comes another duality of the series: Chiyo and Will. They’ve both been tortured by Hannibal, albeit in much different ways. That’s something I love in this episode, the absolute weirdness and disturbing nature of Chiyo’s ‘task’ for Hannibal – the keeping of the caged man. I won’t say much more on that, you need to see it for yourself to feel the eerie qualities. Natali does well with this part, again, bringing a creepy essence to yet another episode.More and more, we are witness to how Will and Hannibal are part of an intimate circle of brotherhood. They hover around one another like two animals; part lust (somehow if you can lust without sexuality), part primitive and violent urge. There is a desire to understand and to forgive, forget, even though they continue to hurt one another.
Sometimes I think that the Will/Hannibal dynamic is the ultimate metaphor for an abusive, bad relationship. Neither of the two can give the other one up, no matter how many times they get hurt, no matter how many scares they each bear on them, physically or mentally.
Will does something fantastically grim in this episode. SPOILER ALERT – YAR THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD!
It’s akin to how he posed the man he killed back in Season Two, in an episode titled “Naka-Choko,” also directed by the wonderful Vincenzo Natali. There’s not the same brutality here obviously, as that character, Randall Tier, was killed by Will; the man Will poses in this episode is killed, in defence, by Chiyo.
“What were you like as a young man?”
“I was rooting for Mephistopheles and contemptuous of Faust.”
Lots of insight into Hannibal here. Bedelia slowly seems to be taunting Hannibal, as if she believes in the end he will not kill her; though, she clearly knows with the snails he feeds her Hannibal is trying to make ripe for the carving for a soon-to-be dinner party.
My favourite quote of the episode is when Bedelia asks why he can’t go home, and questions what happened to him there. To which Hannibal replies: “Nothing happened to me. I happened.” Such a chilling and perfectly poignant moment concerning the becoming/history of Hannibal Lecter, right from his own mouth.
Moments after Bedelia is brazen enough to ask him, as Hannibal bathes her, his hands at her neck (where he has so often snapped away the lives of others): “How did your sister taste?”
Excellent episode, especially concerning how Fuller and Co. brought in the bits of Hannibal Rising. It teases me, as a reader, because I want to know how they’re going to work in the story of Hannibal’s sister Mischa. We’ve got little bits and pieces, but there hasn’t been a definitive answer yet as to what the full backstory behind Hannibal, Mischa, and his beginnings as a cannibal truly will be in the end for the series. Some readers are dismayed with how Fuller has taken things away from the original vision of Harris.
For me? That’s the best part. I love, love, love the novels, and I do dig the films, too. But I didn’t come for that, I don’t go to a film or television adaptation of a novel for the novel to be repeated completely in the same manner. Where is the fun in that? I love Hannibal as a series because it takes the familiar and gives it a fresh, innovative twist.
Coupled with the imagery of each episode, I cannot imagine a better way to have brought Hannibal Lecter and the other Thomas Harris characters alive than what Fuller has done. Amazing wor!“Aperitivo” is next.
And how can’t you love Hannibal with this final line of the episode???
As he plays a piano piece for Bedelia. she unenthusiastically proclaims: “If past behaviour is any indicator there is only one way you can forgive Will Graham.”
Hannibal replies calmly, finishing his piece: “I have to eat him.“