Make Believe and Fairy Tales on Hannibal: “Belief Comes with Imagination”

19 Jun

Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived in a castle in and then he transformed into the monster we see today. What made him become this way doesn’t involve spells or curses or a wolf in the woods and on Hannibal this week we found out a little more about how Hannibal came to be. Imagination is a tool used to protect from past experiences, to conjure up an idea for a better future or to understand what it taking place in the present and on Hannibal this tends to involve a dead person or some kind of horror. This is a land lacking in handsome princes or fairy godmothers waiting to save the day.

Hannibal 3.03 WillWill Graham’s mind has been twisted and manipulated by Hannibal, but he is not the only one who has take liberty with Will’s rare empathy skills. In season 1 Jack asked Will if he could borrow his imagination and this haunts Jack in “Secondo” as he joins the list of people who survived the bloodbath, but he still bears the physical and mental scars of this encounter. Jack tells Inspector Pazzi that he is not here to catch Pazzi’s monster instead he has come for Will Graham as ultimately he set him down this path by borrowing his imagination in the first place. Guilt plays a big part in this journey and as they are chatting in a church it is not too much of a leap when the discussion turns to a belief in a higher power. It also delivers yet another magnificent shot and this location continues to stun. The color palette in Italy is mostly golds with red being uses sparingly for the candles, Bedelia’s dresses and well, blood. 

Hannibal 3.03 JackJack thinks belief comes with imagination and “we also imagine the possibility that we all live on after death.” He goes another step further citing that they both died on that night and unlike Abigail they are still part of this world. Jack also believes that while borrowing Will’s imagination he broke it, but somehow Will has managed to piece it back together again unlike the tea cup in Hannibal’s own story. 

So what of Hannibal’s past and how he came to be the way he is? Well first of all I want to preface this with saying that my Hannibal knowledge outside of this show consists of Red Dragon (the book) and the movies Silence of the Lambs and Manhunter. So it is somewhat limited and I found some of the sister chat to be a little bit vague in places because I know nothing of Mischa aside from the brief mention last season and what this episode reveals. And these revelations involve a lot of inference to what actually happened to her; however it is clear that Hannibal ate her and now he feels like this is the only way he can resolve things with Will. That is an interesting solution from the various discussions between Bedelia and Hannibal this week which take place in front of the fire, while taking a bath and during piano playing. Unconventional in both form and conclusion. Not sure how happy Will is going to feel when he finds out he might be the next dinner party main course and the center piece of Hannibal showing his cooking prowess.

Hannibal 3.03 Will mistBack to Mischa and the creepy looking misty castle which could exist on the pages of Grimms’ Fairy Tales as the catalyst and Will won’t allow this trauma to provide an excuse for what Hannibal does, but what did happen to her? Well she definitely died and they play with who did the deed; it appears the imprisoned man did it, but when it comes to Hannibal’s manipulations it really is hard to figure out the reality from the fiction (I seem to recall someone mentioning that in the book Nazis are involved somehow).

Will makes an interesting point as he tells Chiyo “we construct fairy tales and we accept them. Our minds concoct all sorts of fantasies when we don’t want to believe something.” This relates to what he is telling her about Hannibal and the ‘smile’ he left him plus the various other crimes Hannibal has committed which all points to inaccuracies in the story she has been living with. Chiyo has been living in limbo out in the woods in a more twisted version of a princess locked away in a tower.

Hannibal 3.03 Will and ChiyohWill then pulls a very Hannibal move manipulating the situation so Chiyo will kill the man she has been in charge of for however many years. He claims he did this for her and this is eerily similar to how Hannibal would justify this action of setting this man free just so he will attack her.

We have seen Hannibal do this in season 1 when he sent Gideon after Alana and then Will after Gideon. The result was the same except Chiyo killed her mark whereas Will simply wounded his. And up pops the word which circles around the show constantly as Chiyo tells Will “you are curious too.” Everyone is and it’s how these characters manage their curiosities which defines them. Hannibal is the only one who knows the truth as he “created a story out of events that only he experienced. All sorrows can be warm if you put them in a story.” Even monsters need to construct a version to make them feel better or to justify their actions.

Hannibal 3.03 firefly manWhat of Will’s transformation and the tableau he creates at the end; is it a calling card for Hannibal even though he knows he will never return to see it? Maybe he took a photo and sent it to him on Snapchat. Like many things on this show there are plenty of ways to interpret this setup as Will might be doing this to emulate Hannibal or merely understand him.

Is Will slipping again thanks to how far he has been pushed by both Jack and Hannibal? It is also unclear what Will wants to achieve when he does catch up with Hannibal or which side he is on; he has a bond with Hannibal due to Hannibal’s deep understanding of him which makes his actions very hard to predict and this firefly creation only makes him seem more unstable. One thing that is clear is that Hannibal would be proud of this creation and manipulation.

Hannibal 3.03 dinnerThe game of cat and mouse keeps expanding with new players joining the party each week; Hannibal doesn’t seem too bothered and is acting in a cavalier manner drawing everyone to him. This includes the dinner party which featured Hannibal making a funny and it made me full on snort laugh (super dark I know) as after he plunges an ice pick into Sogliato’s brain he mentions how this “may have been impulsive.” Except it wasn’t all that unplanned as he served Punch Romaine noting it was given to the first class passengers on the Titanic which ended up being the last meal for some. Bedelia also technically kills Sogliato by removing the ice pick from his brain which Hannibal notes with some glee. Bedelia tells Hannibal that he is enticing his would be captures and this goes back to something she said last season when she mentioned that whimsy would be his downfall.

Hannibal 3.03 Bedelia hair washingLast time we saw Bedelia she displayed a nervous disposition regarding her current situation whereas this week she seems more in control and she goes as far as mentioning that she has an exit strategy, which is surely a dangerous thing to mention in front of her companion. There is a trust between them and it seems like the more awful things she witnesses Hannibal doing the more she lets herself get drawn in. The hair washing scene is the height of this kind of intimacy and Bedelia acts as a surrogate to his sister and this relationship does not come across as sexual in any way.

Hannibal 3.03 Bedelia bathShe once again submerges herself in the bath water but it is no longer inky black and instead is a murky brown, which is more to do with what Hannibal has used on her hair suggesting she is now far more comfortable with these circumstances she finds herself in.

There are some other repeated images that Hannibal loves to throw up and twist including these stunning shots of Will in his memory palace chatting to Hannibal about the creation of this space. Oh hey Hannibal in your old plaid suit.

Hannibal 3.03 graveyard Hannibal 3.03 Hannibal's houseThe kaleidoscope effect of Hannibal’s Baltimore home/office reflects how this room “holds sound and motion” although it also suggests the fragmented nature of those long ago places which represent “pain and shards of glass.”

Imagination twists with reality and the fairy tales that take place in this world don’t end with a happily ever; the beast will not turn into a prince and the surviving characters will have to construct a safe space of their own to deal with the aftermath. And next week it looks like some more players will be joining this party.


3 Responses to “Make Believe and Fairy Tales on Hannibal: “Belief Comes with Imagination””


  1. Putting the Pieces Back Together for those Hannibal has “Framed and Maimed” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - June 26, 2015

    […] his first conversation that we see is not with Dr Chilton (Abigail morphs into Chilton for Will). Last week Jack mentioned that he died, an assertion he repeats to Bella. Jack survived by not pulling out the […]

  2. In the Belly of the Beast on Hannibal | TV Ate My Wardrobe - July 3, 2015

    […] by a bird and making it out of the “belly of the beast.” The firefly played a big part in the tableau Will created at Hannibal’s childhood home and signified a transformation with Will taking on the Hannibal […]

  3. Where Does One Begin and the Other End on Hannibal? | TV Ate My Wardrobe - July 10, 2015

    […] wants to save the broken imagination of Will Graham which he borrowed and set him on this path of destruction; he tells Will that he […]

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