Around the midway point of “Contorno,” Chiyoh compares her state of being to taxidermy; she still looks like herself but feels like something was taken from her, as if her soul was hollowed out. She may still be walking and talking but the person inside feels empty after years of carrying out Hannibal’s scheme to keep alive the man who ate his sister. Will Graham understands this feeling, since he was once victim to it when Hannibal pinned a murder on him and nearly destroyed his life. Jack is experiencing a void too, with his broken trust in the killer that’s right under his nose and the recent loss of his wife. But while Chiyoh and Will wander in their personal purgatories, trying to break free, Jack finds his purpose for beginning anew after throwing his wedding ring in the Florence river and facing the monster he couldn’t catch before.
Mason, Chilton, and Alana have come together in mutual understanding of their deep wounds and rebirths as figures of vengeance, while on the other side of the pond Inspector Pazzi is striking a deal with them to catch his own Il Mostro (who happens to be the same as theirs). Pazzi’s motivation also seems to come from a place of familial redemption to make up for the crimes of his ancestors. Like the moth man that Will created not too long ago, these people are experiencing transformations, adapting and surviving following their traumatic events. But Will and Chiyoh haven’t found their revelatory moments yet on their journeys, although Chiyoh makes a move by pushing Will off of their train to Italy.
However, whether it’s from the writing or Tao Okamoto’s acting, Chiyoh has so far been a blank slate of a character whose only purpose is for long exposition dumps, which is the primary reason why the two episodes she’s been featured in have felt particularly ponderous compared to the others this season. Her decision to push Will off the train feels less like a character-based motive and more like a writer’s chance to throw the viewers off their track for no reason. Everybody is on the same track and direction toward Lecter in Florence, it’s just a matter of how long it will take for each to find him.
If we’re to apply Hannibal and Bedelia’s philosophical conversations to the events surrounding them, then Hannibal is the snail about to be taken over by the fireflies swarming to take a bite out of him (figuratively speaking…or maybe not in this case?). Like the snail, he took a piece from each of them, and like the snail, he carries with him the smell of those he harmed. “To the misfortune of the snail,” says Bedelia, in another example of the show’s fateful approach to Hannibal’s eventual capture.
But the snail will take another victim before the rest of the fireflies can catch him. Inspector Pazzi, like Icarus flying too close to the sun, finds himself strung up on a gurney after underestimating Hannibal’s prowess. While the show had only begun linking Pazzi and Verger’s stories in a way that the original Hannibal novel simply did not with it’s jarring split-halves structure, killing Pazzi at an early stage is a welcome respite from this otherwise leisurely (some would say lethargically) paced season. Following it up with a revival of Jack and Hannibal’s duel is the icing on the cake, especially as Jack beats the living hell out of Hannibal one confident blow at a time. Unlike Pazzi, Jack has gotten a taste of the redemption he seeks for ignoring Will’s warnings in the early going, even if he does flub it by knocking Hannibal out the window with a disemboweled Pazzi still hanging there to grab onto. The snail won’t be able to go at his own slithery pace anymore.
EPISODE RATING: 8/10