In one of his more sickening digressions, Mason Verger talks with his sister Margot about becoming more of a family again by way of her carrying his future offspring. I’m not sure what’s more disturbing: Mason suggesting incest or the idea of Mason being a parent. Anyhow, while Mason has dreams of having a “family” (and I use those quotes strongly) and a future with them, Hannibal uses this episode, “Dolce,” to bring the show’s family of characters together again for the first time in a while. Jack Crawford already tasted some sweet violence last week when he took on Hannibal Lecter in a no-holds barred brawl, and now Will Graham shares a long scene together with Lecter for the first time in a long time. Oh, and then there’s the matter of Lecter’s would-be servant Chiyoh acting as his protector, sniper rifle at the ready, while everyone descends upon his location.
More than even the average Hannibal episode, “Dolce” leans hard on the visuals to get its point across of everyone coming together to form a whole. During their conversation in the art museum, Will and Hannibal’s facial scars occur on opposite sides of their faces to emphasize their places as two separated halves of the same piece. The metaphor is just subtle enough that the writers didn’t need to write Will’s on-the-nose line about the two characters blurring together, especially since the episode would later incorporate the freaky image of Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen’s faces melded into one. The hazy smokiness of the imagery gets the point across much more elegantly than any clunky dialogue could.
Less hazy by the end are Will’s intentions for Hannibal when he brandishes a knife, only to be shot down by Chiyoh before he can follow through with the act. Will still acknowledges the difficulty he has facing Hannibal as he sees the two of them becoming more and more alike, but it looks like he shakes himself out of his funk enough to make an assured decision. Which is too bad, because it happens right before taking a bullet and then almost getting his cranium fully sawed open as Lecter prepares to eat Will’s brain. There have been far more grotesquely lurid sequences of violence before on this show, but Lecter giving Will attempted brain surgery may have been the most painful to watch, and the strikingly beautiful globs of red matter floating through the air did nothing to dull the visceral impact of it all.
“Dolce” ends on a puzzling note, as it seemingly skips forward in time to Hannibal and Will captured by Mason, ready to no doubt be fed to his pet hogs. I’m assuming that the next episode will clear this time gap up of course, since Will’s still alive but with a massive head wound. It’s also interesting that this season has essentially covered all of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal novel before getting to Red Dragon, almost as if creator Bryan Fuller knew that the show would get the cancellation it unfortunately received from NBC and wanted to get through as much non-Silence of the Lambs material as he could before ending on the story that inspired Fuller’s wildly unique take on the iconic title character. The next episode is the last of this section of the story before the show tackles Red Dragon, and while the cancellation is a great disappointment, perhaps it’s fitting to end things at that point once this season closes.
EPISODE RATING: 8/10