The Season 3 premiere, “Antipasto” will imperil Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) in ways we've never witnessed. But even with the seemingly impossible challenges of identity theft under the suspicions of canny academic Florentines, and nursing—even provoking—the viper he spawned at his breast who is Bedelia du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), Hannibal's boredom may be growing dangerous.
Warning, this first one's going to get a little lengthy, but as the antipasto, and given previous seasons, I have some confidence we're setting the table with visual and story and character themes that are going to extend faaaar beyond one episode, at least through the first half of the season. Seriously, if I want to say anything about Hannibal and Bedelia, I'm just going to shorthand back here! So, let's dig in!
We begin the night's episode with a coolly-delivered “Bonsoir”. In a brief, neat echo of the blood-sculpture opening credits, shapes curl in smoke as Hannibal revs up a bike Sturgis-style to crash a reception in Paris. The honoree is an author and professor, Dr. Roman Fell (Jeremy Crutchley). As soon as Hannibal arrives, he's singled out by the professor's former assistant, Anthony Dimmond (Tom Wisdom). Handsome, ingratiating, and gnawingly jealous of his former boss, the poet Dimmond approaches Hannibal to dish on the evening's honoree, and, one also senses, to breathe in the scent of all that motorcycle leather.
At the end of the reception, Hannibal will give a metaphorical bonsoir to the man's liver after sauteeing it to his delectation (still leaky rare) and dining upon it in a confectionary apartment of white moldings, pale blue walls, and gold ornament that was so visually Parisian, I expected to see Audrey Hepburn's ghost in one corner. Hannibal will round out his evening with a bonsoir to the professor's wife (Catherine Tait), aussitôt gagné, aussitôt dépensé, which is what the internet tells me is French for easy come, easy go.
The dispatching and eating of these people, we're soon to understand, isn't because of Hannibal's intrinsic desire for this particular game. They're fine, but forgettable. The point is not to waste a chance at even a comparatively small pleasure if you must do the butchery anyway. See Dr. Abel Gideon's (Eddie Izzard) plight in this episode for an example of the lengthy, thoughtful preparation Hannibal gives to someone who actually interests him.
[Lomticks of meats and cheeses!]