Hannibal Recap Episode 3.6 – Dolce
Throughout the series, Hannibal has always employed a rather curious double standard. Hannibal believes that he has the right to consume other people solely because he has the will and ability to do so, but that privilege does not extend to others, no matter how competent or daring. To attempt to influence Hannibal – to make him do something he does not wish to do – is a great offense, an affront to the standards of decency and good taste. He’d argue that his taste is superior, but in truth, it’s a self-serving justification that allows him to commit any act of cruelty he desires.
That double standard was on full display during the affectionate museum reunion between Will and Hannibal that anchors “Dolce.” Whereas Will can divide his life into the past and the present – his life before Hannibal and his existence after – Hannibal’s timeline is more ambiguous. As much as he pushes people to change, to grow, and to evolve, Hannibal refuses to do so himself. His philosophy is exactly what it was when he killed his sister.
Yet no matter how much he might wish otherwise, Hannibal is still flesh and blood and is therefore susceptible to the schemes of others. He takes Will’s post-reunion murder attempt far less personally than the betrayal at the end of season two, largely because that relationship has evolved. Hannibal views himself as an apex predator, but after so much time in the company of brilliant individuals, he is not the same character that he was at the beginning of the show.
He’s not necessarily more compassionate. But maybe – just maybe – he’s a little more vulnerable and a little more human than he was before.
As for the rest of the cast, Bedelia demonstrates an astonishing degree of control as she nurses Hannibal back to health after his fight with Jack then sends him on his way without supper, fully aware of the fate that awaits her if she continues in Hannibal’s company. She later drugs herself with the same cocktail that was used on Miriam Lass, evading questions from Will and Jack and creating a plausible alibi for remaining in Hannibal’s company for so long.
Mason Verger, meanwhile, takes a break from his search to discuss the possibility of family with his sister Margot (Katharine Isabelle), unaware that Margot is conspiring with Alana following a kaleidoscopic sex scene that rivals Georgia O’Keefe for images that resemble (but are not actually) vaginas. Margot wants to come up with a plan to harvest some of Mason’s sperm. Alana merely plans to betray Mason and notify the FBI once Hannibal is back on U.S. soil.
Finally, there’s Chiyoh, who seems to have taken up the role of Hannibal’s guardian angel, winging Will with a sniper rifle to prevent his aforementioned murder attempt. However, she does express a desire to cage Hannibal rather than kill him – she previously told Will not to resort to violence – so her bullet may have been as much for Will’s benefit as for Hannibal’s protection. Chiyoh is in the vicinity when Jack, Will, and Hannibal finally sit down to a belated dinner at the conclusion of the episode, and there’s considerable ambiguity surrounding her intentions.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), that dinner is rudely cut short for reasons that remain unclear. After establishing the upper hand, Hannibal begins cutting into Will’s skull with a bone saw until the record skips and both characters wake up hanging upside down next to the pigs in Mason Verger’s walk-in meat locker. The best guess is that Mason Verger’s newly purchased investigators came through, or that Chiyoh is in some way involved.
Either way, the Italian leg of the tour seems to have reached its conclusion. Will and Hannibal still have their brains, so the mind games will continue when the show resumes back in Baltimore.
Need more Hannibal? Here’s a full list of our recaps.