“Hannibal” hasn’t officially been pronounced dead, but if we ever do get any more of Bryan Fuller’s beloved cult show, it’s going to be a good long while. There is, however, at least one way to prolong the pleasure of the final season, and that’s to read the scripts posted at Fuller’s Living Dead Guy site. You can savor the original staging for the climactic three-way (fight) between Hannibal Lecter, Will Graham and Francis Dolarhyde, which Fuller admitted had to be greatly reduced for budget/time reasons and had to be salvaged in editing, and read a description of the season/series-ending post-credits scene that makes it a shade more clear what Fuller had in mind for Bedelia du Maurier.
But the most informative passages in the scripts are the purely visual moments that distinguish “Hannibal” from virtually every show on TV. (Note: That’s “TV,” period, not just network TV. People often say it’s a shock that a show like “Hannibal” could air on a broadcast network, but there’s never been anything like it on cable, either.) Perhaps the most striking sequence in a season full of them was the sex scene between Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) and Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle) from episode 6, “Dolce,” a kaleidoscope collage of sensual imagery that, in characteristic “Hannibal” fashion, manages to be both explicit and opaque. (You can watch it in all its lesbionic glory here.)
Setting Alana and Margot up as a couple — and, after the third season’s time jump, a full-fledged partnership, complete with child — might have been Fuller’s most inspired modification of Thomas Harris’ original texts, and it was certainly his most pointed. In Harris’ novel, “Hannibal,” Margot is a grotesquely homophobic stereotype, a musclebound dyke so strongly coded as masculine that Clarice Starling is moved to “wonder if she took steroids and had to tape her clitoris down.” Isabelle’s Margot, by contrast, is a sleek femme fatale whose relationship with Alana stands apart from the soul-sickness that infected so many of “Hannibal’s” other couples.
“Dolce’s” sex scene parallels a similarly impressionistic passage in the second season’s tenth episode, “Naka-choko”; both were directed by series MVP Vincenzo Natali, and both depict sex as an act of psychic as well as physical congress, blurring the lines between both body and soul. But where “Naka-choko’s” was a virtual orgy, intercutting Will sleeping with Margot, Alana sleeping with Hannibal, and the series’ symbolic stag-man, “Dolce’s” is less symbolically overloaded, more purely sensual. Reading the script reveals just how writers Fuller, Don Mancini and Steve Lightgoot had planned out in advance, and how much Natali brought of his own.
Here’s how it reads in the script.
A WOMAN’S ARM
It reaches INTO FRAME as if to caress something. The image
TWINS and the original hand is caressing its twin’s arm.
She leans INTO FRAME as if leaning in for a kiss. Her image
TWINS and it appears she is about to kiss herself.
ON MARGOT’S LEG
It moves THROUGH FRAME and TWINS, then the twin legs scissor
across each other.
She kisses her twin tenderly, sensually, and CAMERA reveals
her twin is Alana Bloom. As the two women kiss…
CAMERA reveals we are —
INT. VERGER ESTATE HOUSE – MARGOT’S BEDROOM – NIGHT
Margot and Alana, their nudity tastefully obscured, make
love, their long hair splayed across the satin sheets as they
kiss passionately. Pale light moves across their skin,
catching the fine downy hairs along their backs.
ON MARGOT AND ALANA
As their faces TWIN with each kiss in an erotic, PULSING
rhythm, Alana BECOMING Margot BECOMING Alana BECOMING Margot.
Their faces transported by ecstasy as they arch in climax.
Their hair appears to be the sockets in a lovely SKULL, their
limbs composing the rest of the image. The curvature of a
thigh appearing to be the curvature of a cheekbone, their
feet the grinning teeth of a broken smile.
TIME CUT TO:
INT. VERGER ESTATE HOUSE – MARGOT’S BEDROOM – MORNING
Margot and Alana are sitting on opposite sides of the unmade
bed, their backs to one another, each getting dressed.