Don Mancini, Bryan Fuller, Steve Lightfoot
Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne, Gillian Anderson, Fortunato Cerlino, Joe Anderson
NOTE: REVIEW CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS
With only one episode remaining, Season Three’s first arc seems determined to fill its remaining time with as much lurid pageantry as possible. If Hannibal sustains this current level of bloodshed, I fear that the entire cast is going to end up permanently crippled and will have to chase each other around exotic locations in wheel-chairs, dragging IV drips and respiratory tanks behind them!
For Will Graham, being pushed from a train turns out to be only a minor setback. He teams up with Jack Crawford in Florence, and they proceed to hunt down their mutual foe. To no one’s surprise, everything goes spectacularly wrong. Will is captured by Hannibal after getting shot by Chiyoh, and Jack gets ambushed trying to save him. Hannibal’s victory is short-lived, however, as the Florentine police that Mason Verger paid off intervene just as he begins to cut open poor Will’s skull with a bone saw. The last shot reveals that Will and Hannibal have been flown back to America and are presented before the maniacal invalid.
Early on, there’s an exchange between Hannibal and Bedelia that’s invaluable to understanding this episode and the entire season thus far. “Florence is where I became a man. I see my end in my beginning,” Hannibal declares, to which she responds: “All of our endings can be found in our beginnings. History repeats itself, and there is no escape.” “Dolce” proceeds to validate this premise over and over again.
First, there’s Rinaldo Pazzi. Twenty years ago, reckless ambition caused him to bungle the arrest of Dr. Lecter and cost him his reputation. Now, similar rash behavior has cost him his life. Second, there’s Will who, when he finally reunites with Hannibal, finds him sketching Sandro Botticelli’s “Primavera.” This is exactly how Rinaldo Pazzi met Lecter as well! Third, Chiyoh is a living embodiment of the title character’s past, meddling in the present. Fourth, Will and Jack find themselves at Hannibal’s (lack-of) mercy, much like Season Two’s finale. Fifth and finally, our two main leads are captured by Mason Verger. The same thing happens in the twelfth episode of Season Two.
So, in a very real sense, the characters are their own worst enemies. It’s as the old adage goes: “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” They either thwart themselves personally or set up someone else to engineer their downfall. That’s what makes “Dolce” so riveting, but also a tad frustrating at the same time.
Perhaps I’m just nitpicking, but after everything they’ve been through, Jack and Will should honestly know better. How many times are they going to split up, walk into a trap, reminisce with Hannibal, or willingly let him escape before they realize he’s not someone to be trifled with? Obviously, I don’t want them to kill Hannibal, it’s just baffling how languorous they act when it comes to punishing the man who maimed them and murdered several of their friends. Will needed to take a page from Chiyoh’s book and smuggle a sniper-rifle into Italy. Trying to stab the most dangerous man alive with a small knife doesn’t seem like the best plan. (Sidenote: The best line in the series so far has to be what Hannibal says when he returns Will’s knife: “You dropped your forgiveness, Will.” Sassy Hannibal is the best kind of Hannibal.)
Personally, I’m hoping that all this leads to Dr. Lecter’s imprisonment because that will provide closure to this overarching theme of “history repeating itself.” Plus, it would be nice to see him face some retribution for his crimes. Of course, this show is nothing if not unpredictable. Anything could happen. If Hannibal Lecter is the worst dinner host imaginable, then Mason Verger is definitely a close second.
OUT OF 5
Although the first arc is winding down, the onscreen action is reaching a feverish crescendo. The characters find themselves thrust into outrageous situations, clashing with a mesmerizing pastiche of words, wit, and weaponry right up until “Dolce’s” juicy cliffhanger. It’s just regrettable that the plot hinged so heavily on our heroes’ incompetence.
+ Exciting twists!
+ Another great ending
+ Plots coming together
– Puzzling character choices
– Gratuitous sex scene