We open with Francis eating the Blake painting, and cut to Will, explaining his confrontation to Jack and Alana. This is very much a microcosm of where these characters are: Jack, pissed off; Alana, cold and pragmatic; Will, affected and vulnerable. But it still feels like progress. We have met the Dragon, and we are getting closer. Things that were foreshadowed are coming to pass.
Francis is still out there. The Dragon is still out there. They have developed a relationship with Hannibal, who may have traded his great suits for a prison onesie, but he is still sinister and manipulative. We begin to see the Dragon, now. The wings and the tail are effective, I think – the graphics are a little distracting but they’re used sparingly.
This is an episode full of frustration and bad decisions brought on by desperation. Francis is afraid of himself, as his personality continues to bifurcate; “D” cares for Reba and would not have her hurt, but the Dragon must be sated. And so, a compromise that is convenient for two parties. The Dragon will have a family to destroy, and Hannibal has an instrument with which to lash out at Will.
So there is research. The dichotomy between D and the Dragon has become a strange coexistence, one where Reba can cuddle with D while a film of the Dragon’s potential victims is shown on the wall.
What happens next may be predictable but it is no less terrifying for it. The security system at Will’s home – the dogs – is eliminated. An FBI flyer warning about pet mutilations goes unnoticed. And then, Will goes to Hannibal, who all but confesses to what he has set into motion. “They’re not my family, Will. And I’m not letting them die. You are.” Jilted, jailed Hannibal is still dangerous, but he is also bitchy.
The next scene is the kind of quiet terror that lends frightening life to any stray noise in an old or isolated home. The Dragon comes under moonlight and descends on the Graham house, with no dogs to alert Molly or Walter. But Molly knows this house, and she is able to sneak herself and Walter out. The scene is incredibly tense, and it ends with Molly and Walter narrowly escaping – but not unharmed – as the Dragon roars in the moonlight.
This is a failure, and the repercussions affect almost everyone. Molly barely survives, Will has to explain himself to an eleven year old boy, and Jack Crawford is held responsible. The Dragon holds D accountable, leaving him beaten and bloodied on the attic shrine floor. And then, things become desperate.
Francis leaves Reba for her own good – there can be no D, only the Dragon. Jack Crawford sets up a wiretap in the BSHCI, but when the Dragon calls, Hannibal protects him at his own expense. Alana Bloom – icy as her beautiful pale plaid suit – takes everything from Hannibal’s room, including the toilet. “I keep my promises.”
It matters little. There is one person who stood to benefit from the Dragon’s failed slaughter. With the Dragon coming for Will personally, he bitterly arrives at Hannibal’s bare cell. And now, finally having what he wanted, Hannibal is ready to explain.
“He didn’t murder those families. He changed them.”
- Hannibal’s copper-colored suit is striking, but I feel that Alana’s pale suit is the star here. She dresses very well in the first two seasons, but her third season wardrobe is magnificent.
- I really like Molly in this one. Her being resourceful enough to get out of the house with Walter, and then her talk with Will in the hospital – both did a lot for her character.
- I haven’t seen the movie version of Red Dragon, or read the book, so I wasn’t completely expecting Molly and Walter to make it out of the house.
- This episode gets one Husserl out of five. No real blood. Seeing the Dragon in action is serious terror, though.
- Have I mentioned how much I like the version of Alana that keeps her promises and tolerates no bullshit?
Next Episode: “The Number of the Beast is 666”