Hannibal, Season 3 Episode 3: Secondo

We all fear what we don't understand. Looking into the unknown has always been one of the greatest sources of humanity's unrest. So much so that many writers and creators like to work that mystery into characters, locations, and forces in their respective art forms. One of Hannibal's biggest sources of power as a villainous character stems from the knowledge that we have none about him. No one really knows where exactly Hannibal Lecter came from. He's like evil stuck out of time. Hannibal Lecter isn't a person with evil qualities. He is a force of evil.

Now that entire prelude is really just a way of saying that when the twenty minute mark hits in Secondo and Will finds himself in Hannibal's childhood home, I was very worried that the writers would attempt to rationalize his evil ways. To legitimize and humanize his character into something less than what I've grown to love and fear all at once. Shortly after having that feeling I had another much stronger one. And that was guilt. I felt like a traitor to Bryan Fuller who's been dazzling me all along when it comes to his version of Hannibal and I can't believe I didn't allow myself to just go along for the ride because Secondo doesn't give up any secrets at all. This episode manages to give us a quick tour of Hannibal's past without ever trying to explain away the kind of person he is. In fact, it reinforces the already terrifying things we know about Hannibal. He's a manipulative monster whose powers know no limit. Will learns that quite quickly when he meets Chiyoh, handmaiden to Hannibal's aunt. She's been tasked with guarding a prisoner who, according to Hannibal, murdered and ate his sister. This isn't true but Hannibal has a way of telling a story that transcends lies vs. truth. He takes a crime he is likely guilty of and manages to weigh down an innocent party with guilt built out of sorrow and humanity. Hannibal understands everyone he comes into contact with and always knows how best to handle them. Will Graham happens to be the first person he's ever encountered who's able to break down the persona that Hannibal has built to show himself to the world. He explains to Chiyoh that the story Hannibal fed her about his sister's death is a lie and more importantly, it's one of the smallest he's ever told. Hannibal killed and ate his sister Mischa but in no way was she the starting point, nor, really any kind of explanation for the man he is. She's just another one of his victims. A bloody drop in the bucket.

Secondo is a piece-moving episode and is legitimized by watching the episodes that follow it. This third season of Hannibal is moving those characters all around the board that is the killer's life. Once the truth is revealed, Will finds an ally in Chiyoh but manages to turn her into a murderer in the same motion. He convinces her to free her prisoner and then she kills him out of self defense. This story arc is paralleled with another murder by Hannibal's hand but this time Bedelia is as much a participant as he is. So even though Will's intentions are good he and Hannibal are so star crossed that they affect those around them in exactly the same ways. Will and Hannibal will do anything, even unconsciously, to get closer to each other. And this is Will's plan, slowly falling into place. The only way to beat Hannibal is to match him. They must perform on the same plane if they're going to find one another and truly have their war.

No comments: