“Extreme acts of cruelty require a high level of empathy.”
First off: this episode has a different title than the previous episode. They are different! The title here is deliberate and not a mistake. Having said that…
We are nearing the end. The show has but a few episodes left, and our biblical allusions now come from Revelations. This episode is very much a setting of the stage, and an attempt at defining relationships. There is movement, but mostly, there is perspective.
The first perspective we have is from Francis. A little more is revealed about him, as well as the Dragon. His day job – if he ever goes outside during the day – is given, and it makes perfect sense, given his night activities. The other side of Hannibal’s phone call from the Dragon is shown – it comes from inside Hannibal’s home.
This is not Francis playing games with the FBI, Hannibal-style. This is the Dragon, descending into Hell to confront the Beast. This conversation – half real, half imagined – provides a good deal of insight into Francis. There is “D”, and there is the Dragon.
“D” – Reba’s name for Francis – arranges a trip, to see a real-life beast. A tiger. This is ostensibly a treat for Reba, who caresses the sedated beast, but it’s also exploratory for D. Watching Reba run her fingers over the tiger’s fur, up to its jaws, is frightening ecstasy. The music changes here – instead of ominous percussion, there is piano. This scene means as much to D as the conversation with Hannibal meant to the Dragon.
The event culminates in D allowing Reba to touch him, leading to intimacy, and a vision. The Woman Clothed in the Sun. And with her touch, the Dragon has become silent. For now. But he is not forgotten.
The Dragon is not the only one thinking of Hannibal. Bedelia du Maurier is apparently giving lectures now, speaking of her time with Hannibal in Europe. The crowd applauds her, but one person in the audience is more than skeptical. Will confronts Bedelia, who casually distorts the truth. But there is plenty to talk about.
Will and Bedelia have a therapy session that is less therapy and more about relating their experiences. Bedelia states – not incorrectly – that her relationship with Hannibal is not the same as Will’s. For one, Bedelia was essentially manipulated into technically killing Zachary Quinto. (Even the cameos on this show are stars.) She looks fabulous in both flashback and present, though the contrast between her white blouse in the past and her black one in the present couldn’t be more clear.
Bedelia, for all her lies, presents one unmistakable truth. She, with Hannibal, was not her true self. But Will, try as he may, is not his true self without Hannibal.
So we return to Baltimore, where Will and Hannibal discuss the Tooth Fairy. Will’s reflection overlapping with Hannibal is momentary but clear, though the talk here actually focuses on the active serial killer. And Hannibal identifies the symbol carved in the tree, giving just enough of a lead.
The episode closes with Will going to view William Blake’s “The Great Red Dragon”, based on Hannibal’s help. But someone else has come to view it. The painting is gone – Francis has consumed it. (Is it clear whether he hopes to become the dragon’s master, or to gain its power?) And now, things come together. Will tries to confront Francis, only to find himself thrown from the elevator.
By the time Will reaches the museum lobby, Francis is gone. This isn’t over.
- I appreciate how much of Francis’s internal struggle is shown rather than explained.
- Fun Fact: watching the extras, I learned that Richard Armitage actually ate an edible version of “The Great Red Dragon” that was made for this show.
- Hannibal making a call from inside his cell and conning his way into Will’s home address seems so much like a serial killer’s prank call. Even if it seems obvious what he plans to do with that information.
- I give this episode two Husserls out of five. Very little gore here – it would be a one if not for the Bedelia / Zachary Quinto scene.
- Also: I was fine with Francis’s voice until I heard Richard Armitage’s actual speaking voice, and now I hate Francis’s voice. Good god does Armitage have a wonderful voice.
- I have little doubt that Francis can pick up and toss tiny Will Graham with little effort.
Next episode: “…And the Beast From the Sea”