Hannibal, Season 3 Episode 5: Contorno

At the end of Hannibal's second season, Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) sneaks up on an unsuspecting Hannibal Lecter with the intention of arresting him and finds the killer is anything but unprepared. What ensues is a brutal acrobatic Battle Royale between the two of them in Hannibal's kitchen which results in Jack being stabbed in the neck and surely on a quick route to the grave. Last week's catch up episode, "Apertivo" actually did the impossible by bringing Jack back from the presumed dead and it's much to the show's benefit. Jack announces his presence by kicking Hannibal's ass.
The fight, which feels more like a dance due to the musical and fluid fight choreography, begins with Jack looking up through a window at Hannibal on the second floor. Jack has spent the episode getting used to life after his wife Bella has lost her battle with cancer. He follows Hannibal's trail to Italy and comes to know Inspector Pazzi and his wife only to lose his newfound friend to Hannibal who executes the man by hanging him (but not before disemboweling him). Perhaps it is this sight that causes Jack to dance with Hannibal so furiously and more importantly, to actually beat him. For one of the only times in the series' history, Hannibal is defeated. He manages to escape and in the moments before fully retreating he mirrors his position with Jack at the duel's onset. Now he stands below looking up at Jack, his position solidifying his status as the loser.

This entire sequence serves as a reminder that forces are finally closing in around Hannibal. He escapes Jack but really only by sheer luck. Hannibal is nearly always in charge of the world around him so even though at this point in the series he is the villain, this change has turned him into the underdog and he actually inspires sympathy. "Contorno" has Hannibal finally realizing that, yes, he is pulling his enemies to him, but it's no longer by his own design. He is quickly becoming the source of his own undoing and by the end of this episode that fact becomes clear to him. His relationship with Alana Bloom has given her knowledge of his tastes that few have and those facts allowed her to track him to Florence. Jack uses traditional, gumshoe fact finding and police work, though most of it is Pazzi's, to locate Hannibal. And Will is spurred on for an incalculable number of reasons but after Chiyo pushes him off of a train, it is Will's mental conjuring of Hannibal's spirit, a stag, that actual gets him up and moving again. This makes perfect sense. Will must the final straw in the battle against Hannibal. If Hannibal is going to lose it will be by Will's hand. That is why Hannibal was able to escape Jack. That is why no matter what happens to Hannibal in the next few episodes, the only time there were will ever be any real risk will be when he's in Will's presence. He is the only one who can fell the beast.

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