There are only a handful of episodes left until the legacy that is the TV series version of Hannibal draws to a climactic close. Knowing this I wonder if the writers have plans to have Hannibal escape into a new realm or whether they’ll follow suit and keep him intact and imprisoned for the what-if portion of Silence of the Lambs that we’ll likely never get to see. Either way, tonight’s episode continues to divide attention between Will, Hannibal, Francis, and a returning Bedelia who we finally get to see just how her patient ended up dead. I thought that Sylar looked familiar.
The pacing is wonderfully well kept as we’re led deeper down the rabbit hole of the great dragon. By giving Francis nearly half the episode, we’re given a unique opportunity into his psyche and what it means to try and maintain composure while he’s being pressured into becoming true evil. The dynamic of Will and Hannibal, as important as it is, takes a relative back seat to the courtship Francis takes in both Reba and the original artwork of the dragon. There’s an evolution at work here with Hannibal forced to rework old cinematic lines into his own style that in some ways sells decently, but the charm is slightly off. I only imagine Hopkins’s allure and somehow I forget there were two whole seasons of Mikkelsen owning the performance before getting to this point. Even as Bedelia describes an intimate knowledge between Will and Hannibal, I’m left wondering if Hannibal is in fact over it and ready to succeed Will as the metaphysical killer that he has always been.
Francis breaks into Hannibal’s old establishment as we see the call take place and continue from his point of view. Francis and Hannibal share their fascination with each other in typical other-worldly style. Later, Francis takes Reba to the zoo to experience touching a medicated tiger. Afterward the two share the night in bed together at his house. In the morning, Francis is called by the dragon to continue his work. Will meets with Bedelia as the two verbally serenade one another in psychological taunts and revelations. We witness a brilliant flashback with how Bedelia ultimately killed Neal Frank (Quinto) who had become increasingly upset over his treatment by both Hannibal and herself. Later, Hannibal uses his phone privilege to make an outside call and acquire Will’s home address. Francis then arrives at the Brooklyn museum and attacks the attendant who shows him the original red dragon painting. He proceeds to eat the painting as Will arrives with another attendant. The two cross paths as Francis attacks Will and escapes.
What never ceases to impress is the imaginative way in which Hannibal is allowed to have conversations with his peers and pupils. This is the intimate performance and knowledge I believe Bedelia is speaking about and in the first segment we get to view Hannibal’s representative view on what Francis intends to turn into, which by the way was the most gorgeous CGI I’ve seen to date on this show. There’s no mockery or misunderstanding between Francis and Hannibal. In the past, Hannibal used killers like Francis to stay hidden or further his own edible desires, but here, there’s an eloquent performance with watching chaos run rampant outside of his cell. He’s pulling strings in a ways that points his evil in the direction of Will, just as it always intended.
Bedelia’s return marks a settling argument that she was ever a victim in Hannibal’s care when she chose to leave with him last season. Here, she relents to Will what it was like for her to be behind Hannibal’s veil and in during this conversation, Will surmises that if Hannibal ever does “eat” her, she’ll have it coming. Bedelia never bats an eyelash, but considering how Bedelia told Hannibal nearly the same thing, it’s good to see Will’s caught onto the stigma as well. Her perception is to own those moments of killing rather than helping wounded things which compels her to also tell Will that he’ll never be like Hannibal or her. In a way it’s uplifting because the idea this whole second-half of the season is to watch Will descend into that unstable personality that could be capable. And I would like to think Will isn’t going to naturally prove her wrong. I do believe her role on this show is about wrapped up. She’s neither in the mood to give Will good guidance nor is she going to own her part in his escape any more than she was when she changed her name and stuck to it while in a drug induced state. In the end, she believes to be smarter than Hannibal, and it’s fine to leave it at that.
The moment with Francis eating the painting to his rampant attack on Will was a great way to set up the final arc. The two have now squared off and recognize each other for who they are. The devouring was much more poignant this time around as he chewed the pieces apart rather than tearing them up first. If it’s the near-final stage to his becoming all that’s left is to cut the chords on those he’s connected to. Although I thought it was a silly moment that Francis’s shoe was sticking out of the elevator. He should have just pressed the doors to close. With Will’s address in Hannibal’s hands, we all know where this is going.
Finally getting to see Bedelia’s flashback in its pivotal moment. The scene played on the aspect that she was and is always on Hannibal’s side which can make a psychiatrist’s point of view really cold-hearted considering everything Neal was saying was in fact accurate and fair. And that moment when she stuck her arm down his throat was so raw and disturbing I needed to cringe when they showed the inside view of it. It took three seasons but we finally understand what went down on that fateful day. She didn’t mean to, until she meant to.
Francis deserves credit again. What’s both fascinating and puzzling is his appearance and how he has to conduct himself in order to maintain the persona of normality. It’s an old 80’s form, but it still checks out. A killer who is losing control will find moments when they’re in perfect clarity and can compose themselves enough to not draw attention or to fool those who aren’t looking hard enough. His scene with Hannibal in the old home didn’t really jive as well considering the practice he’s had on Will, but the ending of that opening scene was still stupendous to watch.
With Will knowing the face of the Toothfairy, I expect there will be backlash in the next episode, which could include Freddie’s demise.
Does that gum wrapper trick really work on those kinds of phones? It’s hard to know just how much practical knowledge Hannibal has in the realm of electronics and wires.
No Jack, Freddie, or Bloom in this episode. I expect all three in next week’s along with some development on Freddie’s reporting and how much it will get her into continued trouble.
If Hannibal successfully helps Francis take out Will, what does that really say about Hannibal? Is he in fact petty that any kind of tortured death will do? He still let himself get captured, so unless his plan is to help Will thwart the Toothfairy but as great cost such as his family, that’s some extra dimensional level thinking right there.
It’s hard to forget the evil acts of bad guys, but the warmth and care he showed Reba especially at the zoo with the tiger was exotic and touching. It unfortunately doesn’t get to count because once you start killing families you don’t get to play any sort of good character after the fact. Still, he’s feuding with his normal side and that was the point. There’s someone out there who is incapable of judging him on appearance and he’s trying to hold onto that for as long as possible.
8 out of 10. We’re still on solid build-up mode, but the journey thus far is maintaining interest and intrigue. Hannibal is a constant jar of chaotic intentions, both helping and hindering Will’s investigation which is what he’s done since the beginning. Here, he can be more polite behind the window which makes me wonder why Chilton hasn’t gone to see him as of late. I’d rather he didn’t, that’s for next season which we’ll never see. On it’s own, the spread of highly intense piano mixed with the doom and gloom of Francis’s obscene gesture to consume the red dragon made for a particularly flavored episode this time around. I don’t believe we’re in store for many or even any flashbacks left unless it relates to Francis himself. We’ve learned all we can from Bedelia and there’s nothing left to be gained by more Abigail drama, should they choose to continue that trend. Will and Hannibal have to deal with the future from this point forward, and the future is looking very red indeed. Thank you for reading.
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