Hannibal 3×03 ‘Secondo’: Understanding and acceptance

Hannibal 3x03 Cover

We can’t escape the damage that others do to us.  Even if we separate from them, there’s still a part of them inside us, a fragment that was changed and that continues to change as a result of their influence.  And it can be terrifying to admit that we don’t have control over ourselves, that we don’t have control over the way that we grow and change.  But we don’t, and even when we try to escape the influence of other people, there’s a part of us that still operates under that influence.

Hannibal - Season 3

Source: NBC

Season 3 of Hannibal revolves around the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, how the two of them want something from the other, but more than that, how they want the closure they never had.  Both of them were deeply affected by the events in last season’s finale, and both of them separated from the other after that, never offering enough closure to put those events behind them.  So, as Will goes to Hannibal’s childhood home and as Hannibal eats those around him, both realize that they need to find that closure in order to forgive the other.

Hannibal 3x03-4

Source: NBC

“Secondo” continues along the path that the first two episodes curved along, and it does so by pushing Will to Hannibal’s childhood home, a gothic mansion inhabited by Chiyoh, the maid of Hannibal’s aunt.  As Will watches her from far away, trying to place how dangerous she is, he starts to wonder how violent she’s capable of being.  This has been a fascination for Will ever since he was Hannibal’s apprentice in the back half of Season 2.  Now that he’s been affected so deeply by Hannibal, he tests Chiyoh by setting free her prisoner, an emaciated man who she believes killed and ate Hannibal’s sister, Mischa.  Only the man comes back to the mansion and tries to kill Chiyoh, who is forced to stab him in the neck and kill him.  It’s a manipulative tactic that echoes what Hannibal would do to those around him, forcing them to kill in order to stay alive.  And it robs Chiyoh of her purpose at the mansion, forcing her to ally with Will.  We can especially see Hannibal’s influence in Will when he turns the emaciated man’s death into an artistic expression similar to what Hannibal would do.  In this, he’s becoming more like the man he’s trying to find.

Hannibal - Season 3

Source: NBC

We also see the return of Jack in “Secondo”, and even though we only have a couple scenes between him and Pazzi, he has a clear purpose over in Italy.  Jack wasn’t affected by Hannibal in the same way that Will was, so he comes over to try to save Will from what Hannibal will inevitably do to him.  But what’s really impressive about the episode is how Hannibal never comes off as a victim as his origin “story” is being told.  Hannibal is the one that created victims, that murdered and manipulated others, even in his childhood.  Where Chiyoh believes that the imprisoned man killed and ate Hannibal’s sister, Bedelia knows that this was something that Hannibal did.  As with everything else, Hannibal just twisted his story into something that made others think differently of him, something that hid him from everybody else’s view.  And in order to forgive Will for the betrayal that he feels so deeply, he realizes that he has to eat him, to prove that he is superior to the man who manipulated him and took control from him.

“Secondo” is a step up from the last two episodes, but it still feels like exposition for what is to come.  Since this season is essentially split up into two sections, the chase for Hannibal section and the Francis Dolarhyde section, it’s apparent that things are going to come to a head quickly.  With the next episode bringing back some of the supporting cast that we’ve missed so far, the season could become invigorated by the other perspectives.  Or it could become too complicated for its own good.  But, as of right now, Season 3 of Hannibal has been as exemplary as its first two seasons.  And wherever it’s going, it’s bound to get even better.

So what did you think of “Secondo”?  Was it as good as the first two episodes?  Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

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