{TB Talks TV} Hannibal Review: “Contorno”


Hannibal-logoTweetable Takeaway: Plot happens on Hannibal this week, but not really that much.

Airtime: Thursday at 10ET on NBC

By: , Contributor

With “Contorno,” stops reflecting on its past traumas and gives us a bit of forward momentum. It’s counter-productive to call this episode weird, but I was so enjoying all the psychological interludes that plot business begins to feel strange simply by its lack of Hannibal’s patented weirdness. Plenty of things happened in this episode, including Pazzi’s gruesome demise, but rather than building anticipation it felt stunted. The credits rolled and I simply said “okay. Sure.” The previous four episodes of this season have functioned as stand-alone mood pieces. Without the next installment of the story, “Contorno” is underwhelming. Stuff happens, but nothing much.

The small doses of introspective, arty, slow-motion close-ups that manage to make their way into the episode reverently call attention to the physics of everyday life. The emotional consequences of spreading ashes off a bridge, of throwing a wedding ring into the water, or dropping a coin into a payphone are all illustrated by taking a pause to focus on the inconsequential yet perfect mechanics of the actions. Excuse my tiny geek-out over just how pretty and effective those tiny details are. In an episode lacking any kind of head-trip, getting in the expected artiness by focusing on objective reality is a super-cool choice.

Adios, amigo.

The pretty arty bits aside, this episode made very little sense to me. And I know how absurd it is to say actual plot makes no sense. I get all of Pazzi’s stuff, and all of Mason and Alana’s stuff. (Special note: how about Alana’s sparkly silver blazer? Hard as diamond, she’s become.) But I never fully trust anything that happens to Will because Will’s subjectivity has so often been our lens into this world. And Will is not a reliable subject. Is Chiyoh so enthralled with Hannibal that she’d shove Will off a train to protect him? Or is she that pissed at WIll for trying to re-fashion her the way Hannibal did? Is she free now or is she headed straight for Hannibal? To kill him or because she needs his influence? Just plopping that one action in at the tail end of an episode when we neither know Chiyoh very well or can truly trust Will is disorienting. Once I really believed he was dumped off the back of a train I was just like “wtf.” It wasn’t compelling, just kind of random. I’d have to know Chiyoh better for that twist to feel either like a betrayal or an inevitability. As it is, it’s just nebulous and unknown.

As for the other crap that’s just sort of weird, Jack beating the tar out of Hannibal in the middle of a museum exhibit about medieval torture devices was narratively symmetrical, echoing season 2’s epic fight, and plenty cathartic but also completely random. Like, yeah, dude, I’m with ya on the beat down. But also you could, I don’t know, kill him. Or arrest him. Or restrain him. Or something logical. It was also anti-climactic because you know Hannibal is going to get away somehow. The only question was whether Jack would survive. And given Laurence Fishburne’s billing, my bets were on “yes.” Hannibal’s escape by essentially repelling off of Pazzi was nifty but also ridiculous. Duh, Jack, duh. If you’re going to beat up a sociopathic serial killing maniac maybe actually finish the ? My beef with this is that it was truly pointless, gratuitous violence with no function—not even artistic. Jack obviously wasn’t beating Hannibal to bring him into custody; he was just beating him to beat him and, given this is episode 5 of 13 and Hannibal isn’t going to go down that quickly, there is no suspense and only a bit of closure for Jack himself. Presumably. We don’t actually know.

A museum of historical torture devices is the perfect creepy place for this man. And the show just uses it as a moody setting without belaboring the point which somehow makes it even better.

So with Hannibal discovered and beaten but on the loose, Pazzi dead, Will stumbling along European train tracks like a vagrant, and Chiyoh headed for Hannibal (I guess???) the presumed plot has swung into motion but I’m kind of sorry for it. I was having way more fun dicking around in everyone’s trauma. What I did just accidentally discover is that Francis Dolarhyde, the serial killer from the Red Dragon novel itself, is going to be introduced in episode 8. So maybe they won’t drag out this “capture Hannibal” thing too long and everything can get back to being beautiful, bizarre, and fueling the industry for antipsychotic medication.


 is a digitization archivist by day and a masked pop culture avenger by night. She spreads the gospel of science fiction and fantasy wherever she goes.

Twitter: @DanaLeighBrand

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1 Comment

  1. TimeLordVictorious on

    There is a rumor in the ether that Hannibal will be captured by episode 8 and jump forward in time by a year or so to introduce the Francis Dolarhyde stuff. During the Crawford beatdown I thought Fuller may be throwing me for a loop and capturing him earlier than that. So, that fight was a little more meaningful and intense for me because I thought, for a second, that his capture may be happening sooner than I thought. To be honest, I was a little relieved that he wasn’t. Too soon for that.

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