(Spoilers) Rather than the season 3 premiere putting us out of our misery after the bloody finale of season 2, we're still none-the-wiser as to who's left standing. Although, the opening titles did kind of give the game away. Antipasto was all about further establishing the relationship between Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), and setting the Florentine stage for his takeover of Dr. Fell and wife's identity. As with Ridley Scott's 2001 Hannibal, Lecter is after a prestigious position that suits his ego and intellect, a literary curator. After bumping off the current curator, Lecter easily impresses and wins the position, but not without making an enemy. I can see this enemy's liver being eaten with some fava beans and a nice chianti some time down the line.
Although Bedelia gave the appearance of being 100% behind Hannibal at the end of season 2 as they flew away on that plane, her motivations seem less sure now that the reality of her situation has truly set in. Hannibal is completely open with Bedelia, which is something we've never before witnessed. Even when he thought Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) was on his side, Lecter always held back. And rightly so. Obviously missing Will Graham, but trying his best not to let it show, Hannibal has an old friend over to keep him company -- at least on a temporary basis. Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) is kept hanging around to enjoy a meal or two with his gracious host. But unfortunately for Gideon, his extremities are what's on the menu. Lecter is serving the pair of them Gideon's legs, one at a time, and in the basement the snails are feeding on his severed arm, to add extra flavor for when they're supplying an escargot appetizer. Thanks to Gideon being almost as psychotic as Lecter, Abel can watch his own harvested body-parts being prepared, cooked and eaten, while taking it all in his stride. Of course, this allows for some fascinating table conversation between the two men, and also gives closure to Gideon's part in the affair.
We also learn more of Bedelia's previously only hinted at past, and just how she and Lecter became more than just patient and client. In one of many flashbacks in the season 3 premiere, Lecter walks in on Bedelia having just killed a patient in what she claims was self-defense, evidence to the contrary, and that was immediately picked up on by Hannibal. Bedelia had her arm down her patients throat, up to the elbow! I'm sure there's a perfectly rational reason for her doing that but for the life of me I can't think of one. He swallowed her car keys?
This season is just as visually stunning as the first two, with an abundance of carefully crafted imagery and symbolism. This was exemplified by the bath scene where Bedelia appeared to sink into the depths, perhaps denoting the position she's found herself in with the murdering cannibal, Hannibal Lecter. Although she outwardly seems regretful of her decision to escape with Lecter, it could be that she really does want to stay, and wants Hannibal to use his powerful but subtle persuasion.
Next week sees the return of the rest of the cast, and we'll learn what sort of chaos Lecter caused when he left everyone carved up.