Hannibal: 3.09 ...And the Woman Clothed with the Sun
The rich material of Thomas Harris's Red Dragon continued to deliver another mesmerising episode of Hannibal this week. The show has clearly moved beyond the often-self indulgence of the first half of season three to deliver a finely crafted horror that delved deeper into the mind of Francis Dolarhyde while reuniting Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter.
The scenes between the two characters were brilliantly played, reflections cast in the glass wall dividing them, Will attempting to keep the darkness at bay by referring to his old friend as Doctor Lecter despite knowing full well that he would soon full under that sway of darkness. Their conversations, investigating the first Tooth Fairy murder took the audience from the elegant cell in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane to the house of the first victims, bringing us back to the season one days where Hannibal and Will would ponder the nature of the killer they were hunting together. As Jack Crawford noted to Hannibal during his visit, Will works best when under Hannibal's influence and that was certainly evident here. Though of course, as the returning Freddie Lounds noted, which one becomes the more dangerous of the two?
This time however, Will has found connections to a life beyond Hannibal Lecter, something others have not. Alana may have found happiness with Margot and even had a Veger baby but she has still appointed herself guardian of the keys to five doors that stand between Hannibal and the outside world. Jack is obviously consumed once more by his work following his wife's death and cannot stay away from the Chesapeake Ripper or deny that he is using Will's relationship with Hannibal to drive the investigation forward. But Will, he has his dogs, his adopted son and his wife Molly. Will shared just one phone call with her but in that scene, Nina Arianda brought the warmth and compassion of the woman who helped him recover from the darkness and she continued to have great chemistry with Hugh Dancy.
In fact, their relationship has brought such warmth and passion to Will that you have to fear for him as he delves deeper into the Toothy Fairy investigation. Hannibal is a darkness threatening to pull him him - he already saw the reflection of the dark antlered persona in a reflection and his nightmare, walking up drenched in sweat as he imagined himself the blood soaked killer he hunted, reminded the audience all too uncomfortably of what happened to Will in season one.
And it felt very much like the show going full circle to its season one days too. Will and Hannibal musing over the killer, Brian and Jimmy providing some amusing banter as they helped Will and Jack at the FBI. Even Freddie Lounds poking around the investigation like the 'superior' authority that she is. And once again we got to spend more time with Kacey Rohl's sweet, troubled Abigail Hobbs, this time flashbacking to her time off screen in season two where Hannibal 'mentored' her in his home, leading up to that fateful night where Will rang to warn Hannibal that "they know".
The Red Dragon storyline continued to develop, with Richard Armitage delivering a fascinating portrayal of Dolarhyde's madness. This story is still very much building but it is far from dull; this week the addition of Reba McClane (True Blood's Rutina Wesley) added even more depth to his character as he struggled to connect with the blind woman in his presence. His belief that he is physically deformed forces him to hide away from society - in Reba he has found someone he feels he can connect with. The scenes between them were intriguing and uneasy to watch; you constantly wondered if her life was in danger and yet there was a gentleness to them that softens the monster on screen.
Lound's trashy tabloid article, advertising Will and Hannibal working together to catch the tooth fairy ensured that the episode ended with these two worlds connecting. Dolarhyde ringing Hannibal in his cell - pretending to be his lawyer - brings these two very dangerous characters together and I am excited to see how this plays out to Hannibal's advantage, particularly when confined to his cell. Unless the events of Red Dragon plays out very different in this version, Hannibal Lecter is not getting out. But that doesn't make him any less engaging.
As rich and captivating as its season one days, Hannibal is once again one of the most fascinating psychological dramas currently on television. Even knowing the story of Red Dragon I am both excited to those events translate onto screen while looking forward to the unexpected. Knowing there are only four episodes left, I can't wait until next week while having trepidation over it ending so soon. At least we can now confidently say it is back on form.