Synopsis for 3×01: Months after the incident at the end of season two, Hannibal and Bedelia are making a comfortable life for themselves in Europe. Sort of.
Hannibal was back this week in full force as it christened its new slot in the summer network schedule. The first episode of season three picked up months after the events at the end of season two and took place solely in Europe. The show opened in its usual artistic way, with the first three minutes being all visuals and no dialogue. Hannibal was making his way to a party.
When Hannibal arrived at the party he sought out his latest target, a certain Mr. Fell who happened to hold a position he wished to have. While he assessed his target, he caught the unfortunate eye of a young man by the name of Anthony and engaged him in a conversation. Anthony was clearly flirty with Hannibal as they discussed the party and the people in it. After parting ways, he fulfilled his actual objective and followed Mr. Fell home where he killed him and made dinner out of him.
Then, of course, it became more gruesome when Mr. Fell’s wife came home to find Hannibal in her house. Her fate was no doubt the same as her husband.
This episode was accented with flashbacks to events that occurred but were not presented last season. Specifically, this episode flashed back to a series of events surrounding the imprisonment of Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) in Hannibal’s home. At the end of last season, viewers were left knowing that Abel was at least one leg down, though the rest of his fate was unknown. Season three, episode one, gave us all a peek behind the curtain to see the fate of Gideon.
Naturally, even though he was being served his second leg and forced to eat it, Gideon continued to hold true to his critical and humorous nature. He challenged Hannibal all along the way because, as he pointed out, he had nothing more to lose. He’d already been caught in the hunter’s snare, there was no point in making the most of it. All the while, Hannibal fed Gideon oysters, acorns, and other fodder often fed to animals that will be butchered for eating.
Between the flashbacks, Hannibal continued to settle into Europe and viewers got the first look at the illustrious Bedelia. She’d been last seen on a plane with Hannibal, headed to Europe, with no idea what her part in the whole thing was. Under the guise of a fake marriage, both appeared to be attending yet another party, and Hannibal’s dance moves were put to the test. It was revealed at the party that Hannibal had been chosen to fill the position of the fallen Mr. Fell, who had vanished without a word. However, his appointment is not without issue as a gentleman loudly and publicly doubts Hannibal’s qualifications.
Hannibal, with an air of suave disdain, proved to the man just how capable he was at translating and understanding old Italian. Once the party was over, Bedelia and Hannibal returned to their presumed home and viewers got a chance to see the real state of their relationship. Bedelia, clearly unhappy and probably traumatized, has a conversation with Hannibal about what kind of day she was having. She replied that since she was mostly in control of her actions, it was a good day.
Yet in a show of her control, she held a gun to Hannibal after he came out of the shower. They have another tense conversation about Will Graham, and about Hannibal’s desire to be caught. Finally, Bedelia had to choose whether or not to shoot him and she chose not to. Should have shot him while you had the chance, Bedelia.
Hannibal ran into Anthony yet again while attending to his work and invited the coy young man over for dinner. During the dinner scene, there was a distinct parallel displayed in the flashbacks between Gideon and Bedelia. Both were being forced to eat oysters. Both realized it was to make them taste better. In this episode we had two people who had been sucked into Hannibal’s orbit and knew what their fate was going to be, yet they continued to go along with it. They had a lovely dinner and no one died.
In a fun call-back to the movies, Bedelia is shown walking by the same carousel seen in the movie Hannibal. She was dressed in a very fetching blue outfit and did everything in her power to try and stand out, especially in front of CCTV cameras. Right after this scene there was a flashback, one viewers had been waiting for since her character was introduced. Bedelia woke up next to a very dead man, images of her shoving her hand down his throat very vivid in her head.
Hannibal appeared moments later and it was revealed that it was the patient Bedelia had killed. He had once been a patient of Hannibal’s, referred to Bedelia after Hannibal believed he couldn’t provide care for him anymore. When really, it was another part of Hannibal’s plan to manipulate those around him. He offered to help her cover it up, make it look like self defense, and she agreed.
When Hannibal’s skills had been questioned at the party earlier in the episode, he’d been challenged to give a talk on Dante. Fitting, given that Bryan Fuller has said in a number of interviews that Hannibal is Lucifer in the flesh. Anthony showed up part way through the presentation, and Bedelia booked it out of there. When viewers met up with her again, she had her bags packed and was on her way out the door but hadn’t been fast enough.
In walked Hannibal, Anthony accompanying him. Anthony, who knew too much and tried to play with the devil by offering an alliance in return for not telling the world he knew who Hannibal wasn’t. Bedelia looked stricken, Hannibal didn’t appear surprised, and the door shut behind them. Hannibal smashed in the side of Anthony’s head and Bedelia watched, splattered with blood, as the poor guy crawled pathetically to the door.
Hannibal asked if she was observing or participating. She said observing, he countered by saying what she had been doing is participating. Her curiosity in what would happened played a part in his actions and he claimed she was not an innocent party. She watched as he murdered Anthony.
There was a final Abel Gideon flashback, where as he was fed his own arm he continued to mess with Hannibal. He played on Hannibal’s humanity. Pointed out that Hannibal wasn’t keeping Gideon alive just to slowly eat them, he was keeping him alive so he’d have a dinner companion. Hannibal wanted Will, or so Gideon proposed, because he no longer wanted to be alone in what he did.
Finally, the episode ended with Hannibal folding Anthony into the shape of a heart, leaving it no doubt for Will Graham to find. Thus, the third season has been kicked off with the primary theme of the first half of the season: Hannibal’s broken heart.