Contorno Plot Summary:
The hunt for Hannibal continues. Will (Hugh Dancy) and Chiyoh (Tao Okamoto) head to Florence via train, which leads to some very intimate discussions about their motives for finding Hannibal. Meanwhile, Jack (Laurence Fishburne), is in Italy where he has become allies with Rinaldo Pazzi (Fortunato Cerlino). Pazzi, however, has less than honorable motives for finding Hannibal – as he aims to collect the lucrative bounty placed on Hannibal’s head by Mason Verger (Joe Anderson).
‘Contorno’ was the first episode of Hannibal in quite a long time where only one storyline really mattered.
Yes, we had some interesting visuals, and one shocking development in the Will and Chiyoh plot. Unfortunately, one could only listen to them speak obtusely about Hannibal while staring out their train car window for so long. It was a little too drawn out and slow. Will putting into words his fear of becoming Hannibal was a nice touch, but didn’t we already know this? Also, the Chiyoh character really is just so vague right now that it’s hard to connect with her. Of course, Chiyoh tossing Will from a damn moving train was completely unexpected, and furthers my theory that Will Graham is one of the most unlucky characters on television.
The small scenes between Verger and Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) were nice, and served to show how ice cold and vengeance-riddled Bloom really is, while reinforcing Verger’s vulgar personality.
However, none of this really mattered in the grand scheme of tonight’s episode. The storyline that meant the most was the game of human chess between Pazzi and Hannibal. The Pazzi character has been an odd one — he’s obsessed with Hannibal like Will is, but his motives aren’t as deep-seeded and emotional as Will’s. For Pazzi, this about saving the face he lost when he failed to apprehend Hannibal. His obsession is reclaiming the pride he once had. It’s the type of motive that gets a character killed, but usually in some sort of grand, glorious manner. Pazzi, on the surface, seems to be a proud cop who’ll go down in a blaze of glory to capture the uncatchable Hannibal Lecter.
However, the writers decided to throw a really interesting wrinkle into Pazzi’s character — he is deathly afraid of Hannibal. The scene where he confronts Hannibal’s ‘Dr. Fell’ persona is masterfully constructed. When speaking to Hannibal, Pazzi exudes this cool, calm and antagonist personality. Yet, when he turns from Hannibal, Pazzi’s face is awash with anxiety. Remember Pazzi is the man who calls Lecter, ‘Il Mostro’ (which translates to ‘The Monster’). Then you see fear. The moment Hannibal addresses Pazzi, who has his back to Lecter, you can see the fear striking him like lightning with a near crippling force. Fortunato Cerlino does an amazing job conveying the duality of Pazzi’s emotions in this scene with amazing use of body language and facial gestures.
This fear of Hannibal motivates Pazzi to, in essence, sentence himself to death. After the confrontation he decides, that instead of battling Hannibal and bringing him to justice, he will cash in on the bounty Verger has placed on Lecter. Again, Cerlino’s eyes really emphasize Pazzi’s betrayal of himself. The once proud police inspector is now selling his soul for what looks to be ‘easy money.’ Pazzi is so fearful of Hannibal that he insists that Hannibal not be in Florence when Verger and Bloom torture and kill Hannibal. We now see Pazzi as a coward, a mercenary, a man who will not face his monster head on, but will instead let someone else do his dirty work.
Everyone in this series, at one time or another, has been afraid of Hannibal. However, characters like Will, Jack, Alana and even Verger are willing to go to war with Hannibal. They will fight on his terms, and will go for bloody vengeance. However, Pazzi only wants one thing on his hands, and it isn’t blood, it’s cold hard cash. This guarantees that he will not only die (wonderfully foreshadowed by Hannibal when discussing Pazzi’s family history), but he will a terrible, graphic, and painful death. The death of someone not worthy to be Hannibal’s adversary.
The hanging and disembowelment of Pazzi is so artfully, and horrifying shot that you continue to question how in the world the censors let Bryan Fuller and company get away with such violence.
This death leads to the brutally awesome fight scene between Jack and Hannibal. Jack, simply put, beat the crap out of Hannibal. It’s the complete inverse of their brawl from the Season 2 Finale. Laurence Fishburne seems to have brushed up on his old Matrix martial arts skills, as he delivers brutal and bone crunch thrust kicks. Yet, in the end, he allows Hannibal to live when he could’ve easily ended him.
That leads to the amazingly blunt teaser for next week which in essence says, ‘The next episode of Hannibal gets crazy.’ I loved every second of this – the Hannibal team knows their time is up, so why not just have some and be outlandish? While the message might be too straightforward for some, it’s got me amped for next week.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be six years old in 2015 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He can be read every Monday for the Happy Mondays Interview Series as well as his weekly reviews on True Detective, Law & Order: SVU, Mad Men and Hannibal. His goal, once again, is to write 500 stories this year (a goal he accomplished in 2014). He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites