Hannibal: 3.05 Contorno
This week's episode of Hannibal went straight for the source material to give audiences the first real use of a novel / film adaptation being realised on the small screen. We're no longer just in the prequel territory, not in the case of how the show is using the book Hannibal at least - and yes I realise Pazzi, Florence and the hunt for Hannibal Lecter comes after Silence Of The Lambs, but in this case it worked beautifully as one of the most memorable scenes from the book / film made its way onto Hannibal.
Alana fitted perfectly into Clarice's role from Hannibal, first in her rather graphic conversation with Mason Verger; "“I bet you got a taste of him, too. Spitters are quitters, and you don’t strike me as a quitter, Dr. Bloom.” It builds on the nastier side of Mason's character; he might have an ally in Alana but he isn't beyond using her sexual history with Hannibal for his own kicks. Secondly came that call as Alana rang Pazzi to warn him about Hannibal only for the killer - and in this case former lover - to pick up the phone. Her shock and his delight and hearing an old voice spoke volumes.
But of course the big shock was the murder of Pazzi. We had just been introduced to his wife Alias's Mia Maestro in a lovely scene where Jack shared a more simple Italian meal with the happy couple - so his demise was always inevitable, even if you hadn't seen the book or film in which he featured. Their scenes where Pazzi interviewed 'Dr Fell' and attempted to get close to the killer were tense indeed - the gift of the scold's bridle made for a great set piece. We knew full well that Hannibal had the upper hand as he delved into the history of the Pazzi family and the disemboweling of the good inspector's ancestor at the Palazzo Vecchio. The modern retelling of this gruesome event. Pazzi being hung with a noose of orange electrical cord, gutted and thrown out of the window was stunning and Alana's brief connection to Hannibal added to the whole event.
And then came Jack and the revenge-fuelled fight between them. I loved how Jack took off his shoes to close in on the killer - just as Hannibal did with Miriram Lass - and the ensuing struggle with brutal with Jack seemingly gaining the upper hand before Hannibal jumped from the window, using the strung up Pazzi's body to break his fall.
The only thing that didn't really work this episode was the Will and Chiyoh; perhaps it is because their motivations continue to remain suitably vague. Why is she going to Florence and why did she serve him willingly for so long> And what is Will's game? There is a sense that the the dubious nature of his motivations - will he capture, kill or join Hannibal - is getting a little lost, to the point that I need him reconnecting with the rest of the cast.
There is an argument that Bedelia is just as vague - why is she with Hannibal, eating snails seductively and discussing Will Graham and Hannibal's game? But Gillian Anderson delivers such a mesmerising performance with Mads Mikkelsen that I could watch them debate philosophically for hours.
Still, Chiyoh throwing Will from the train was shocking and this betrayal may bring him back into the fold. And Mason Verger's role from the books is coming to fruition with the deadly bounty placed on Hannibal's head having deadly consequences for Pazzi.
Everything is starting to converge on Florence and with events from the books merging with the prequel setting, Hannibal is finding a fresh take on the already fascinating retelling of the source material. Like last week, the show is finding its feet again after the heavy imbalance of symbolic imagery; it is still a little heavily used in places but Jack pouring his wife's ashes on the bridge in Florence made for a beautiful moment and thankfully there was enough plot this week to regain some of the show's old balance. Is season three getting to the heights of seasons one and two? Not yet, but the last two weeks have renewed my faith in the show and I am eagerly awaiting the next episode.