The nature of darkness is explored in this week’s mesmerising episode…
What embraces someone to kill? To embrace or follow darkness? That was the theme of this week’s episode, and Gillian Anderson’s Bedelia du Maurier and Richard Armitage’s Francis Dolarhyde were at the heart of this idea.
Part of the fun this season is seeing the changes the dramatic events of the show have had on the characters. First in the dramatic fall out of season two finale bloodbath and now, three years later, with the events at Florence and Muskrat Farm behind them. This week we saw Bedelia returned to society, playing the woman once controlled under Hannibal Lecter’s spell, the victim and not the conspirator.
But Will saw through that and in a very telling ‘appointment’ between them the truth was finally revealed. She sought to study the monster that was Hannibal but she also saw something of herself reflected in him. When someone is in pain, her first instinct is to crush it and while she lies to herself that she would never follow through on such a thought, we saw that this is exactly what she had done. Keen-eyed viewers would have noticed Zachary Quinto playing the corpse of the patient Belida killed in the season premier but here we got to see the incident between Quinto’s Neal Frank and Belelia that led to his death. I’m still not sure what I witnessed; did she put him out of his misery when he had the seizure or did she try and save him? Sticking her arm down his throat was horrific but it might have been an act of compassion. Perhaps again, another way she continues to lie to herself.
Talking of embracing darkness, we delved deeper into the inner emotion struggles of Francis Dolarhyde, who appears fairly well kept for someone who believes himself to be a disfigured monster. His deepening relationship with Reba continues to fascinate. His heart was able to open up to her; a woman bereft of sight and therefore in his mind unable to see all his disfigurements.
Their ‘date’ at the zoo was incredibly touching and tense too. For someone who sees himself as a monster, allowing Reba to get so close to the heavily dosed tiger, to stroke its fur and run her hand over its mouth, It was beautiful to watch even if you were on tender hooks that the beast might stir, a metaphor of course for the Red Dragon that stirs within him. Francis allowed Reba to touch him, to consummate their relationship. While puzzling at first, it all became clear when she became the ‘woman clothed in sun’ before his very eyes. Francis and Reba have given each other a precious gift and I feel for both of them about what will happen when his actions catch up with him.
And they almost did in that final scene. Francis took the final step in embracing the Red Dragon by consuming the very painting he worshipped. With Will on the same track, their confrontation at the museum was thrilling. With three episodes left this was never going to be the moment Will caught him, but the brutal fight took things up a gear, leaving Will injured once again and Francis free to commit his next crime.
Of course no review would be free without the mention of the titular character himself and this week there was plenty of mystery around Hannibal Lecter. I am still confused by his end game; Francis Dolarhyde was one of his patients and he seems far from willing to give up that essential piece of information but what he is doing now that Will is back in his life remains uncertain. He gave himself up to Jack Crawford to keep that connection, something that backfired somewhat when Will walked away from his old life for three years. Now that there is that connection once more, will Hannibal be content to remain under Alana’s care? I have no doubt he can find a way out if he really chooses – the trick with the metallic wrapper and the phone proved that – but what he will do with Will’s information now that he has it remains to be seen.
– And yes, I have read and seen Red Dragon but in Hannibal we don’t know what to expect. –
The title of this week’s episode referentially corrected the mistakes made by Thomas Harris in his Red Dragon novel, which refers to to The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun. ‘With the sun’ was the title of last week’s episode. Perhaps it is the evolution of the disturbed mind of Francis that this week the title took the correct wording of William Blake’s art – The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun – to correct this mistake. The central killer is evolving and with the next full moon coming, the stakes remain high. We’re half way through the Red Dragon adaptation now, so the final three weeks should be a thrilling, mesmerising affair to send the show out on a high.
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