With Contorno we see the pace of the show picking up once again, and it becomes startlingly clear just how close Hannibal Lecter is to meeting his demise. Once accredited as a mastermind of the darkness and someone who had the capability to deceive those around him not just with skill but with artful precision, it appears as if the doctor may have duped himself this time. Hannibal has always managed to sniff out the weakness in others and pray on it. Now, however, it seems his weakness may be the one thing that gets him caught.
“Will Graham is en route to kill you while you and I wait to kill him. Now that’s reciprocity.”
With a new season came a new beginning for many characters, particularly for Alana Bloom. She transcended into a much darker, more complex role that has seen her allegiances shift. There’s always a danger associated with pivotal moments in a character’s development, and for Alana the danger lied in how she would be used by Mason. She could easily have been consumed by his darkness, or became Mason’s plaything. Thankfully, she continues to evolve into a stand-alone character that doesn’t rely on male figures for her air time. Instead, she is the brains of the operation to catch Hannibal Lecter. It is Alana who deduces that the way to track Hannibal down is to follow his purest desires: food, wine, and art. Weekly receipts for the finest truffles and white wine reek of Lecter and his equally conniving lover (we’re still very wary of the relationship at play between Hannibal and Bedelia).
Back in Italy, Pazzi grows ever closer to finally catching ‘Il Mostro’, the mysterious figure that has eluded him for the majority of his career. When Jack pays a visit to Pazzi and his wife, the once respected detective divulges how he wants to shower his new wife in lavish luxuries. It is here that the differences in each character’s motives begin to surface. For Pazzi, Hannibal Lecter equates to money (making his somewhat untimely death relatively inevitable from the outset). But for Will, Jack, and Alana, the motives are much more personal. Hannibal stripped Alana of her ability to trust, essentially pulling the rug from beneath her feet. Hannibal stripped Will of his ability to live a normal life without the presence of the doctor; he presented Will with a brand new world on a silver platter, but just as it was within touching distance that platter was flipped and came crashing down to earth. For Jack, catching Hannibal is the one remaining tie he has left to his late wife. As we see him despairingly pouring Bella’s ashes into the rivers of Florence, it becomes clear that while Hannibal Lecter destroyed Pazzi’s career, Jack Crawford is willing to destroy his career for Hannibal Lecter.
“I brought Bella back from death and you returned her to it. Is that where you’re taking me, Jack?”
This all leads us to a climactic confrontation between Hannibal and Jack that plays out as more of a dance than a fight. There are undeniable similarities between Contorno‘s final scene and that of Mizumono; swathed in blood-stained clothes, this is a Hannibal Lecter that knows it is time to do or die. The end is in sight for him, and everyone knows it. The most obvious difference this time round lies with Jack. He embodies sheer anger in Contorno, relishing in the power he finally has over the man who has irrevocably changed the lives of those who mean the most to him. Jack could’ve easily brought Hannibal to his demise – but he didn’t. This is not his battle to win. This is Will Graham’s.
Words by Sophie Mace.