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TV Review: Hannibal 3.4 “Aperitivo”
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Hannibal
Season 3 Episode 4 “Aperitivo”
Directed by Marc Jobst
Written by Nick Antosca
Created by Bryan Fuller
Starring Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Gillian Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Raúl Esparza, Joe Anderson and Gina Torres
NBC
Air date: Thursday, June 25th, 2015, 10pm

Hannibal’s trend of using other language to describe the events that are about to transpire has, more often than not, been a good rosetta stone for interpreting the episode in the larger context of the season. Aperitivo is described as the ritual of going out for a pre-drinner drink. It stems from the the Latin phrase “to open” and fully means to “open your stomach.” A taste to get you excited for your upcoming meal.

If this pre-dinner drink is an indication of the meal we’re prepared to receive, it’s going to be a brutal one, as Hannibal Lecter is about to learn the true meaning of the phrase: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

After three episodes very much focused on the titular character, Mads Mikkelsen’s good doctor takes a backseat as we’re left to look “face to face” at his table scraps: Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raúl Esparza), Mason Verger (Joe Anderson, who replaces Michael Pitt), and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne).

“Observe or participate?” is very much the theme this third season has explored, carrying through to this episode, as these bowed, bent, broken characters begin down a path to be an obsessor or a participant in a bubbling revenge plot. These decisions come as surprising revelations, jumpstarted by the equally shocking return of Dr. Chilton, so expertly dispatched and framed by Hannibal (through the proxy of Miriam Lass) last season, is the specter that forces all into action. Having come out the other side, Chilton’s attempt to save face with the others comes across as a desperate, but it’s the impetuous others need to begin to take action.

Jack’s decision to stay above the fray comes as the most rational of all, especially as he enjoys what are the final days of his beautiful Bella’s life (the always welcome Gina Torres). Yet, Jack’s arrival in Florence (as we saw last week) seems to be less about going after Hannibal, and more about saving Will Graham from absolution. Due to the nature of the show, I’m not sure we’re getting the full picture of what’s transpiring, but that’s certainly the space in which the show lives.

If Jack’s true motivation is unclear, the game Alana Bloom is playing is even murkier. However, revenge is a good look on our other good Doctor, whose partnership with Mason Verger is far more fascinating than the face-off we’re treated to at the top of the show. Alana’s transformation gives the show’s other major female character some meaty material to dig into, and like the red as blood coat she sports throughout most of the episode, revenge looks good on Dr. Bloom.

True to its definition, “Apertivio” is exposition as literal as a pre-dinner drink – wetting our palette for what’s next, with us never the wiser that we’re waiting for the main course.

Quick Thoughts:

– I always love watching Fishburne and and Torres act alongside one another. For those unaware, the two are married and the real life chemistry between the actors has always benefitted their characters.

– Joe Anderson has the tremendous task of stepping in for the very beloved Michael Pitt, but does a near seamless job of doing so.

– Lots of talk about forgiveness (or the lack thereof) this week. Forgiveness is something Will Graham has embraced, but look at the path it is setting him on. I wonder what forgiveness might look like for Alana, Mason, Jack, and Chilton. I have a feeling for most of them, forgiveness starts and ends with the death of Hannibal Lecter.

– For an episode devoid of Hannibal, this was a very strong well. This show really knows how to use its supporting cast.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Sound off in our comments below.

Video

Hannibal – Vengeance Is Coming (Preview)


Alana, Dr. Chilton and Mason Verger are ready to get their revenge against Hannibal on Thursday’s all-new episode, 10/9c on NBC.

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