Hannibal 3×04 Review: Aperitivo

HANNIBAL -- "Aperitivo" Episode 304 -- Pictured: Hugh Dancy as Will Graham -- (Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC)
HANNIBAL — “Aperitivo” Episode 304 — Pictured: Hugh Dancy as Will Graham — (Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC)

It’s been a weird week for us fannibals.  On Monday NBC announced they cancelled our show, then many of us spent the next several days calling, emailing, and chatting with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon in an attempt to save it. (If you haven’t done so already, please do!)  I’ve been stating since season 1 that it felt a little too gory for network TV, and recently I’ve felt that they’ve been pushing the relationship between Will and Hannibal beyond what most networks would be comfortable showing.  I thought this network was playing a bold move keeping it on the air for so long, but it seems our luck has run out.  NBC has let it go.  It’s a tragedy for our fandom.  Then I was delivered a personal blow when I heard that the press panel at San Diego Comic-Con has been cancelled, so my last chance to talk with the cast and crew has been severely hindered.  It’s been a gut-wrenching roller coaster ride… but I refuse to watch this show as though it were taking its last dying breathes.  It’s far too good to feel like I’m in a state of mourning.  This incredibly gorgeous, bold, and, let’s be real, delightfully homoerotic show keeps delivering us exactly what we want.  We aren’t going down without a fight.  This isn’t a wake.  This is a celebration.  And we’ve got to keep this party alive.

Chilton was flat-out brilliant and a wonderful reminder of why I’m fighting so hard for this show.  I knew that he’d come back thanks to his surprise appearance at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but it didn’t make me any less thrilled.  He was sassy as always, having copyrighted “Hannibal the cannibal” immediately after being shot which is just such a Chilton thing to do.  But now there’s another layer to his character – a thick layer of make up that he puts on every morning as he hides the intense damage done to him by Hannibal.  It’s a stark contrast to Mason Verger, who seems proud of his scars.  I adored the contrast between these two ‘victims’ as they dealt with their new disfigurements in completely opposite ways.  But truthfully, Chilton just kind of walked around sassing everyone who had been injured and then sassed out of the episode like the smug badass that he is.  And that, to me, is the biggest take away of his character this week.  Keep sassing, Chilton.  Sass your way to the finish line.

HANNIBAL -- "Aperitivo" Episode 304 -- Pictured: Caroline Dhavernas as Alana Bloom -- (Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC)
HANNIBAL — “Aperitivo” Episode 304 — Pictured: Caroline Dhavernas as Alana Bloom — (Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC)

Continuing with the theme of revealing who did and did not survive last year’s finale one by one this season, we learned Alana survived her fall from the window.  Like Chilton, this surprise had somewhat less of an impact thanks to last year’s SDCC panel, but it was still delightful to see her.  It was always possible that she could show up as only someone appearing in flashbacks or dream sequences so having confirmation that she survived, albeit injured, is a welcome relief.  Also, her make up was on point this week.  Seriously, Alana is damaged, possibly poisoned by her own bone marrow, and was on the verge of death, but that’s not stopping her from being kick-ass and gorgeous. All hail Alana Bloom.  You can waltz the the finish line with your heels, cane, and fabulous lipstick while Chilton sasses you the entire way.  I believe in the both of you.

Last week I was concerned that Bela’s death would be something brushed to the side.  I was worried she’d be essentially forgotten about as the show moved to Europe, but really, I have always had faith in this show and I shouldn’t have doubted them here.  Bela’s death and funeral were perfectly orchestrated.  It treated her character with respect and, while it did focus a lot on Jack’s pain, I never once felt she was being used as a tool simply for his emotional turmoil.  She was honored, and I’m in awe at how well done that was.  Furthermore, the letter from Hannibal brought these scenes back around to the overarching plot, allowing both a sentimental farewell to her character but not letting the plot isolate itself from the larger narrative.  Bravo, show.  This is how you kill a character and not treat them like nothing more than emotional fodder for others.

Hannibal2Speaking of Jack, did anyone else feel like Will was going to confess his love for Hannibal to Jack when he was working in his shed?  Again, I try so damn hard to leave shipping at the door but this is so impossible.  I sat up and leaned towards my screen during that scene, then the little flicker in his eyes when he called Hannibal his friend made me gasp.  The homoerotic subtext here is so low, so bold, and so in our faces that I’m almost at the point that I become a true believer that this ship can sail on the canon seas.  But I don’t want to get my hopes up for an on screen love declaration, especially with that whole ‘cancelled’ thing (sshh, it’ll be back somehow.  It has to).  But at this point, just how much further can they stretch the canon romantic subtext?  At what point is it text?  We are straddling the line ever so precariously here and I’m about to erupt.

So where do we go from here?  And I’m not just speaking about the narrative of the show, but as a fandom?  How will we get through these next nine weeks in one piece?  What campaigns will we come up with the #SaveHannibal?  Where will the plot go and how much of an emotional wreck will it make us while we are already so damn emotional trying to keep this show alive?  It’s going to be tough, but we’re just stubborn enough to get through it.  I believe in us.  We can do this, fannibals.  Keep your heads high.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.

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