Hannibal 3×06 ‘Dolce’: Forced into cages

Hannibal - Season 3

The one facet of Hannibal that always gave me pause was the plotting.  Season 1’s plotting was, by far, the easiest to get a handle on.  Season 2’s plotting worked very well in the first half, but stammered a little in the second half as the Hannibal/Will relationship took center stage.  This half of Season 3 has been decent, even extraordinary at times (as it was during the Jack/Hannibal fight), but the plotting has been somewhat tricky at times.  The first four episodes were largely set-up to what we’re seeing now, but that puts an immense pressure on these current episodes.  In order to validate the first four taking their time, these need to be fairly frenetic, or at least intense enough to pay off the audience’s patience.  So, here the question is: Does “Dolce” give the pay off we desire?

Hannibal 3x06-1

Source: NBC

Yes and no.  Yes, because the episode’s final act has Hannibal indulging in he carnage we know and love.  When he slices Jack’s Achilles and cuts into Will’s head with a buzzsaw, it’s a truly vicious moment that takes the tension built thus far end and pushes it to its breaking point.  Hannibal and Will’s relationship comes to a head in this episode when they reconcile, only for Hannibal to discover Will’s treachery after trying to treat his bullet wound after he’s shot by Chiyoh.  This causes Hannibal to commit to his original plan to eat Will, where he decides to eat Will’s brain in a great scene that pays homage to the scene with Ray Liotta.  But, in the end, even that doesn’t work, as Hannibal and Will are whisked away to Muskrat Farm to indulge Mason’s thirst for revenge.

Hannibal 3x06-2

Source: NBC

But the episode isn’t all good.  While Bedelia’s way to escape proves how tough she is and how intelligent she is, I can’t help but see “I don’t recall” as kind of a cop out for her.  It’s an easy way to remain innocent when she has embedded herself so much into Hannibal’s life.  It was too simple for its own good.  The second issue revolved around Mason, Alana, and Margot.  Alana and Margot’s sex scene, even though it brought the two of them together in order to have them team up, didn’t seem like it came from any real connection between the two of them.  Even after the scene was over, I wondered why they hooked up in the first place.  It’s these plot issues that, even though the show never operated with realism in mind, still deconstructs the characters and makes them less interesting.  The Mason/Alana/Margot storyline is nowhere near as interesting as the storyline in Italy.

Hannibal 3x06-3

Source: NBC

If anything, this episode revolves around what happens when people are used to fulfill another person’s purpose.  Will wants to kill Hannibal.  Chiyoh wants him caged.  Bedelia wants to manipulate Hannibal to preserve her innocence.  Alana and Mason want to torture and brutalize Hannibal.  Everybody has an interest, but as these interests come into conflict, Hannibal continues to slip away and hurt another person.  If not for Chiyoh’s bullet, Will wouldn’t have his head sliced open.  If not for Bedelia’s hint, Hannibal and Will wouldn’t be at Mason’s Muskrat Farm.  If not for Jack’s inability to kill Hannibal, Will wouldn’t have been shot by Chiyoh.  People don’t tend to think about collateral damage when they contort other people, but every action has a reaction.  Damage is done, whether or not it is intended.  And once that damage is done, there’s no real way to reverse it.

So “Dolce” ends with Hannibal and Will at Muskrat Farm, Will apparently relatively together after being brutalized by Hannibal.  People are continually being slipped in and out of cages, Hannibal and Will both released from one and placed into another.  And the more this displacement occurs, the more blood that is shed.  The question here now becomes: What amount of blood will be shed as a result of this displacement?  And with “Digestivo” finishing off this story arc, we can assume that there will be a great deal of blood shed, and that just maybe a heart or two will cease to beat forever.

How do you think “Digestivo” will put a cap on this half-season’s arc?  Will there be any casualties?  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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