This week’s Hannibal is beautiful perfection and is as sweet as its name. Dolce is a stunning episode of television that will leave you shocked, awed, and completely enraptured with this show. With fate closing in, Hannibal, Bedelia, Jack, and Will must all navigate their paths and find themselves either together, or impossibly apart.
Hannibal sits on a balcony with Bedelia and looks through his drawings of Florence. He explains to her that Florence is where he became a man and that he sees both his beginning and ending here. Bedelia explains that all endings can be found in beginnings, that history repeats itself, and that there is no escape. As they move inside, Hannibal notices that Bedelia has packed lightly. She informs him that she only packed for him and that, “This is where I leave you, or more accurately, where you leave me.” He tells her this wasn’t how he imagined saying goodbye and she informs him that it’s exactly what she imagined. The dialogue between these two then grows very, very interesting. “I knew that you intended to eat me, and I knew that you had no intention of eating me hastily.” Bedelia begins. “Would be a shame not to savor you.” Hannibal responds. “I have not marinated long enough for your tastes. When they come for you, what will you say of me?” Bedelia asks. “I will help you tell the version of events you want to be told. I will help you because you asked me to.” Hannibal responds. “You may make a meal of me yet Hannibal.” Bedelia leans closer as does Hannibal, and they share a brief, but sensual kiss. “...but not today.” Bedelia responds and then she backs away to leave.
Dolce impossibly continues with Cordell serving cooked pig tails to Mason Verger as the two muse about how soon they will be eating Hannibal. Cordell informs Mason that he finds it reassuring that Mason will be eating Hannibal. He explains that it will make Mason the apex predator. Mason then visualizes a dead Hannibal served up like Peking Duck as he runs his fingers along the sauce on the body and inserts his fingers into his mouth. The zeal is short lived however when Mason realizes that Hannibal has killed Pazzi and escaped.
Back in Florence, Bedelia prepares to inject herself with a drug when Chiyoh walks into her room. Bedelia demands to know who she is and Chiyoh explains that she is Hannibal’s family before asking who Bedelia is. Bedelia tells Chiyoh that she is Hannibal’s psychiatrist. Chiyoh looks at the syringe to which Bedelia replies that it’s for medicinal purposes. Chiyoh then nods and tells Bedelia that Bedelia is Hannibal’s bird and that she herself was also Hannibal’s bird, that Hannibal likes to keep them locked in cages to see what they will do. “Fly away, or dash ourselves dead against the bars.” Bedelia responds. “You haven’t flown away.” Chiyoh points out. “You are flying right towards him.” Bedelia counters. Bedelia asks if Chiyoh was there and watched as Hannibal became what he became. Chiyoh tells Bedelia that she watched Hannibal grow as a beast and that someone wants to kill him. Bedelia asks what Chiyoh wants and Chiyoh responds that she wants to cage him. Bedelia tells Chiyoh that she thought Will was Hannibal’s biggest mistake and now she wonders if it isn’t Chiyoh. Bedelia then injects herself with her “medicine.” As she begins to hallucinate, she hears a knock at her door and when she goes to answer it, Jack and Will are standing on the other side.
Inside Bedelia’s room, Jack sees she’s been taking some form of drug. Bedelia insists that her name is Lydia Fell and that she is not Hannibal’s psychiatrist, Bedelia. Jack admits he is not mad at her, that mostly he is impressed. Will tells her he is impressed that she is still alive. Bedelia mentions that they have arrived without the police and asks if they know why, says she knows why. Jack admits that it’s because the police are being bought.
In the next scene, Mason asks Margot what she wants for all her hard work in securing bounty hunters to find Hannibal. He admits he knows that what she wants is a baby and since he removed her uterus, he informs her that perhaps they could use someone else to carry their baby.
Meanwhile, Hannibal sits at a museum drawing Bedelia and Will as the characters Chloris and Zephyrus from Botticelli’s Primavera painting on his sketch pad. Will walks in to find Hannibal drawing and the music suddenly grows painfully sad. “If I saw you every day, forever Will, I would remember this time.” Hannibal tells him. Will muses that it’s strange to see Hannibal there in front of him. He tells him that he wanted to understand Hannibal. Hannibal asks where the difference between the past and the future comes from. Will tells Hannibal that his own past and future, before and after Hannibal, is all starting to blur. Will tells Hannibal they have both begun to blur. Hannibal points out that’s how Will found him and Will confesses that every murder Hannibal has ever or will ever commit feels as though Will has committed them. He explains to Hannibal that they are conjoined and wonders if either of them can survive separation. “Now is the hardest test. Not letting rage and frustration nor forgiveness keep you from thinking.” Hannibal tells him before closing his book and rising. ‘Shall we?” He asks Will. Will rises to a stand as well. “After you.” He tells Hannibal and they exit the museum together. In the courtyard, Will and Hannibal are seen through the scope of Chiyoh’s sniper rifle as she is positioned on a building across the courtyard. She focuses on Will who is drawing a knife from his pocket and shoots him in the shoulder.
In the next scene, we find that Margot and Alanna are in a sexual relationship. Alanna tells Margot that once Mason has Hannibal, she is going to turn Mason in to the FBI. Margot tells her there is one thing she needs to get from Mason before he goes to prison and then asks Alanna if she has any experience harvesting sperm.
Hannibal helps Will who is in pain and bleeding from his gunshot wound. Hannibal tells Will that Chiyoh has always been protective of him and then asks if she killed “the tenant” or if Will killed him. Will explains that Chiyoh killed him and Hannibal responds, “Excellent.” He then places Will’s knife back into Will’s hand and tells him that Will forgives how God forgives. “Would you have done it quickly, or would you have stopped to gloat?” Hannibal asks. “Does God gloat?” Will counters. “Often.” Hannibal responds, before giving Will a sedative. The knife falls to back into Hannibal’s hand as Will begins to hallucinate and then awakens seated at a dinner table, Hannibal strapping him into his chair. Hannibal serves Will soup and tells him it’s made from Pazzi. Hannibal is upset to be leaving Italy and tells Will he would have loved to have shown him Florence. Will notices there is another place setting at the end of the table and wonders if they are expecting company.
Jack Crawford enters the building along with Chiyoh and when she realizes that Jack has a gun and is probably following her, she takes the stairs back down instead of meeting Hannibal on the 7th floor. Jack continues to look for Will and finds him, seated at the table. When he bends down to help him, Will whispers that Hannibal is under the table. Hannibal then reaches out and slices Jack’s ankle.
Meanwhile, the police have arrived to talk with Bedelia. She insists she has done nothing wrong, even as the inspector shows her a photo of Lydia Fell. The inspector asks if she murdered her with her husband or if she just watched. Bedelia once again insists that she is Lydia Fell. The inspector leans forward and places his hand on Bedelia’s thigh. He tells her he doesn’t care who she is or if she is in her right mind or her wrong mind. Bedelia explains that she understands and that in this moment, he is not an investigator. He smiles and tells her it’s a good thing to understand. She explains that she does not want to be seen as uncooperative. He explains that how she is seen is entirely up to her, rescued or apprehended. She tells him that she’s never considered herself in need of being rescued until now. He asks if her husband is still in the city. She tells him that her husband is in a meeting and that it was a private meeting and that they would be somewhere no one is supposed to be. She puts emphasis on that last part.
Jack is also now drugged and sitting at Hannibal’s table. As Hannibal takes out a bone saw from a case near the dining table, he tells Will, “Jack was the first to suggest getting inside your head. Now we both have the opportunity to chew quite literally what we’ve only chewed figuratively.” As Jack screams, Hannibal begins sawing open Will’s head, blood spraying. The scene suddenly shifts to daylight and snow covered forests, meaning that clearly the setting is no longer Florence. We now find Will, his head only partially cut, and Hannibal, hanging upside down in a pig truck that has just arrived at Mason Verger’s. The episode cuts to black.
Dolce certainly lived up to its name. It was rich and chock full of exquisite dialogue and symbology. As Bedelia is bathing Hannibal in the beginning, I was struck at first by the care she shows him. Their relationship has seemed so cautious and intricate, and yet in the opening scene she appears to show genuine concern for Hannibal. Bedelia has kept us guessing all season and it’s perfect. The imagery of her pouring water onto his bloodied palm (Hannibal as Jesus?) is a particularly strong statement. Also interesting in this first scene is that clearly Hannibal trusts Bedelia as she handles the sharp instruments necessary to heal him. Bedelia could kill him right there in that bathtub, she has him in a very vulnerable moment, but she helps him instead. Chiyoh mentions later in the episode that Bedelia is caged, but if that’s the case, this cage seems to be of her making and not Hannibal’s. I’m starting to wonder if it’s really Hannibal who is in a cage.
Will and Jack’s dialogue in this episode is also fantastic. When Jack mentions that perhaps the reason he didn’t kill Hannibal when he had the chance was to make Will do it, you suddenly realize that Jack is not at all convinced that Will is free of Hannibal’s spell. Jack needs proof that he can trust Will again, proof that Will is not becoming Hannibal.
That kiss though…It was teased long before the episode aired and yet all the tease in the world had nothing on actually watching it unfold in my living room. I’ve been desperate for the backstory between Hannibal and Bedelia since season one and to have it now being served up on a platter in season 3, I was a flailing fangirl on Thursday night. The kiss, their faces, the dialogue...it was perfection. “I knew that you intended to eat me, and I knew that you had no intention of eating me hastily.” Bedelia tells him softly. “Would be a shame not to savor you.” Hannibal counters. “I have not marinated long enough for your tastes. When they come for you,” she continues. “And they will come…” He supplies for her (seriously, the finishing thoughts...omg). “What will you say of me?” Bedelia asks him. “I will help you tell the version of events you want to be told. I will help you because you asked me to.” Hannibal responds, just as he did before when he found her bloody and terrified after killing her patient years before. “You may make a meal of me yet Hannibal.” Bedelia, pleased, leans closer as does Hannibal, and they share a brief, sensual kiss. “...but not today.” Bedelia tells him, backing away. Mic drop Bedelia. I was squealing at 10ish pm over a bowl of cheerios, I’m not gonna lie. On the one hand, I watched it thinking Bedelia was literally talking about Hannibal killing her and eating her. On the other hand, I was left thinking that “eating” was totally a metaphor in this scenario.
As if that scene could not be any more amazing, it’s followed up with Hannibal drawing Will and Bedelia as characters in the Primavera painting. He draws Bedelia as Chloris, a forest nymph associated with spring. Chloris is abducted by Zephyrus, whom Hannibal draws as Will. In mythology, Chloris and Zephyrus later marry and Zephyrus makes Chloris the goddess of flowers before they have a son who becomes the god of fruit. So...that happened. I need all the fanfic, like now.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of the episode is also the most sad. When Will finds Hannibal at the Primavera painting and the music turns impossibly bittersweet, I was hit with sorrow for both Hannibal and Will. I felt as though in a different life and time, they could have the friendship and the love that they both so desperately crave. It was a very poignant moment of television and really showcases the brilliance of this show. To make an audience feel for someone like Hannibal, it’s magical.