Hannibal has revealed its hand for season 3 at a measured pace, focusing its first few episodes on Hannibal’s new life, followed then by the revelation that Will and Jack both survived “Mizumono” and have followed him abroad.
“Aperitivo” continues that character-by-character rollout at a slightly quicker pace. Vignettes play out that occasionally weave together, revealing the fayes of Alana Bloom, Jack Crawford, Mason Verger, and even Frederick Chilton in the aftermath of the season 2 finale.
And the episode progresses in a beautiful set of movements, most of the acts reflecting one another. Many open repurposing moments from “Mizumono,” putting new spins on familiarly haunting scenes as each focuses on the specific damage done to each character.
First up is an unexpected guest to the table, Frederick Chilton, who we last saw being shot in the face by Miriam Lass. Chilton survived, but with major damage to his face. He puts on a new facade, literally, each morning, a physical reminder of the emotional (and many more physical) scars Hannibal has carved out in Chilton’s life.
But Chilton is seeking a bit of company in this brave new world. He’s arrived at the home of Mason Verger, he himself having suffered severe scarring to his face thanks to Hannibal last year. They engage in a macabre yet brilliant striptease, as he and Verger, piece by piece, reveal their true faces to one another. (“There, now we can talk face to face” is only one of many darkly hilarious lines peppered throughout “Aperitivo.”)
Verger wants information on Hannibal, as he thinks he will better understand himself if he can fully understand the powerful puppet master. But in speaking with Chilton, Verger no longer wants to work with him, leaving Chilton striking out for the first of several times in finding support in his hunt.
So Chilton moves on to another victim. He visits Will in the hospital, revealing the truth behind a scene that appeared earlier in the season. Whereas Will sees visions of Abigail, it is in fact Chilton who came to visit, seeking to commiserate with Will. He even goes so far as to say he can empathize with Will, knowing the trauma he suffered at Hannibal’s hands. But there are key differences in both of their relationships to Dr. Lecter that Chilton can’t quite see, and Will informs him there’s no opportunity for him here.
Chilton then goes on to visit Alana Bloom, who has also survived “Mizuomo” but in a terrible state. And while she doesn’t exactly take warmly to Chilton’s suggestions, she doesn’t turn him away quite as definitively as the others. And as we’ll see, it’s because Alana came out the window she was thrown from a new person.
Jack also receives a visit from Chilton, though at least Jack makes it home before he came calling. Jack claims he’s let everything go. He’s willing to move on in his personal and professional lives. Wanting to refocus, he shifts his attention to his dying wife Bella.
Laurence Fishburne and Gina Torres have consistently impressed in translating their real-life relationship to onscreen chemsitry throughout Hannibal, but it reaches a heartbreaking climax in “Aperitivo.” Bella is knocking on death’s door, but rather than being slaughtered in a bloody or grotesque tableaux, as so many victims have on the show, her death is a surprisingly peaceful one. Fishburne is excellent as Jack decides to guide her gently through the door rather than have her suffer her way through to whatever may await.
NEXT: The hunt begins.