Hannibal: Episode 12 “The Number of the Beast is 666”




Our protagonists are suffering. There’s no other way to say it. Alana is cold and ruthless, Jack is desperate and reckless, and Will – he has become his old self, haunted by his experiences and his own potential. But there is no time for recovery. There are two things that need to be addressed – the Dragon is still loose, and Will Graham is close to the edge.

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Will is still in therapy, but now with Bedelia. She continues to be elegance personified, but her therapy is cold truth, not comfort. This session does feel like progress, though, given that Bedelia understands her position. She remains a target, albeit guaranteed safety so long as Hannibal himself cannot touch her. But she knows Will means something else to the devil.

“Is Hannibal in love with me?”
“Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for you and find nourishment at the very sight of you? Yes. But do you ache for him?”

This takes us to the BSHCI, where Jack speaks with Hannibal. The religious allegory is open – Hannibal explains everything. He is the devil himself, bound in the pit. Which casts Jack as God. Hannibal speaks of the Lamb, becoming a lion. Of retribution. This is not the last time God will be mentioned – this is very much Revelations as brought to you by Bryan Fuller and some generous NBC censors.

Hannibal - Season 3

The Dragon has to be dealt with. The presence of Freddie Lounds – filling the space in the room normally occupied by morals and common sense – explains everything about the lines Jack will cross. And so a trap will set and baited. But not with Freddie – she is amoral, not unintelligent.

“Are you volunteering?”
“No. I’d have to be a fool.”

Cut to Frederick Chilton speaking with Hannibal. (There are actually a few laughs in this episode.) The meeting is unfriendly, to say the least. “I have seen a lot of hostility. This is quantifiably bitchy!” Hannibal may not have a toilet, but he has something that Frederick cannot – credibility. And so, Frederick is willing to help the FBI, to sell more books.

There is a pointed, extremely unflattering interview with Frederick and Will, published in TattleCrime. A picture, Will’s hand on Frederick’s shoulder, the fountain in the background. Will and Freddie have no love for each other:

Will: “You sell t-shirts that say ‘The Tooth Fairy isn’t a One Night Stand’.”
Freddie: “I can get you one if you like. Small or medium? I’m guessing small.”
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And the interview works. What happens next – the Dragon’s divine judgment – is the stuff of nightmares. Chilton is woken and finds himself naked in a strange home, the Dragon’s. I say this as someone who loves to see Frederick Chilton humbled and wronged: this is frightening. God cannot help those who are taken here.

(As an aside, Raul Esparza is phenomenal in this episode, and especially this scene. He is every bit as good at vulnerable cowering as he is being indignant and arrogant.)


Frederick pleads to an angry Dragon, who is monstrous even in his silk robe. There are slides, biblical images mixed with the Dragon’s murders. Reba comes but she is oblivious. Frederick is terrified, and it is hard to blame him. There is talk of God, the Dragon talks of the importance of his work. Frederick is made to understand, and like all divine beings – real or self-annointed – the Dragon provides punishment for mortal sins.

“Fear is not what you owe me. You owe me all.”

And then, Hannibal gets a package. (Some of it gets eaten.)

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(Caption: The Happy Cannibal)

Frederick is further punished for his blasphemy. He is set on fire in the wheelchair – just like the faked Freddie Lounds murder – and cast into the fountain from the photograph. A message for Will. And somehow, Frederick survives. Bedelia blames Will for this, as does Frederick – who is completely burned. “You set me up.”

The confessional that Frederick was forced to record provides the only hope, because through it, Reba is identified. It is now a matter of time before the Dragon is found. But Reba may not have much time. When we see her again, she has been kidnapped, and now she understands who Francis really is. There is no D now. Only the Dragon.

This is an effective and powerful episode. I feel like the show has a real sense of its ‘clock’ and the different elements of this story – balancing the aspects of Francis and Will with those around them. The scene of Chilton held captive by the Dragon is incredible horror. And it feels like there is enough movement to suggest impending finality.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Five Husserls out of five. No question. Everything that happens to Frederick in this episode is nightmare fuel.
  • I feel like we’re nearly to Silence of the Lambs Hannibal – I can picture him saying “Oh, and Senator? Love the suit.”
  • Alana continues to dress extremely well – her muted pink suit here is beautiful. Frederick has a great suit too, and a paisley tie to match, when he visits Hannibal. Pinstripes definitely work for him. And Bedelia’s green dress is stunning. Christopher Hargadon, the costume designer, can never be given enough credit for his work on this show.
  • Freddie Lounds makes her last appearance here. One last spat with Will is completely welcome. Her hair and wardrobe are nothing less than perfect, of course.
  • Almost there. My plan is to post the final review in a couple days, maybe? I also plan to have a debriefing article with thoughts on the season as a whole.

Final episode: “The Wrath of the Lamb”