Previously on Hannibal, ‘… And the Woman Clothed in Sun’
“He ate the painting,” Will tells Jack and Alana. Jack confirms that the thumbprint from his pass matches the one on Mrs. Leeds’ eye. Fortunately Dolarhyde didn’t kill the docent, although Jack feels he’d have been better off killing her and Will. He asks Alana if there’s a way to push Dolarhyde into a self-destructive path. “Suicide suits me just fine,” he says harshly, to her disbelief. Will disagrees—if Francis killed himself, he couldn’t be sure the Dragon wouldn’t live on.
“Jack Crawford, fisher of men. Watching my cork move against the current. You got me. Again.”
Memory Palace therapy session. Francis and Hannibal talk of his first time seeing the Red Dragon painting, as though Blake looked inside him and saw it coiled inside and around him. Until meeting Reba, their wills were as one, but now… His murderous films flash through his head, interrupted by a vision of her. The Dragon finally spoke to him, calling his name. It wants Reba. Hannibal points out that without the power of the Dragon, Francis couldn’t have had her. The sound of her heart and voice holds him back from giving her to the Dragon. The Dragon is inside him now, Hannibal says. You can have her alive.
“You can always toss the Dragon to someone else,” he finishes. Like Will Graham. A second Hannibal whispers in his ear, the killer Hannibal. He has a family. Francis exhales in happy relief.
“Save yourself. Kill them all,” Hannibal says on the phone.
The ocean. Waning moon. Knife carving into a tree. Francis watches in the dark, through the trees. The moon rotates. Again he flexes and stretches in his attic. This time the Dragon wings and tail blossom from his back.
La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin by Claude Debussy. Reba fixes another drink while Francis spools up a film. Homework. But he wants her to stay, so she’ll just listen to the music and drink sprawled across his lap while he watches. Will’s dogs run across the screen, then Molly and Walter. “Are these your nocturnal animals? Think they know they’re being filmed?” “No,” he glares.
Artistic Note: Translated “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair,” Debussy’s popular piece reflects innocence, naivety, and warmth, applicable both to Reba and Molly in this situation and Francis’ first self.
Walter yells that something is wrong with the dogs. The vet guesses poisoned Chinese dog food and keeps them overnight. Molly decides not to tell Will. “It’s not a lie if you keep your mouth shut,” she jokes to Walter, not wanting to worry him. They exit past the FBI warning on the bulletin board, oblivious.
“I’m not fortune’s fool, I’m yours,” Will snipes at Hannibal, knowing he knew that researchers only were admitted to the museum on Tuesday. When one has intelligent information, forecasting becomes easy. Hannibal lets Will guess how Francis has contacted him. Personal ads? Toilet paper? (nods to the book and movies) Will reminds him there’s a family they can save, but Hannibal doesn’t know who he is. “When you close your eyes, Will, is it your family you see?” Will scoffs, asking how he’s choosing. Social media, Hannibal half-jokes. They’re not Hannibal’s family and he’s not letting them die, after all. Will is. HEAR THE WORDS, WILL. HEAR THEM.
Francis waits by the carved tree and inserts his teeth, pulling a cap over his face. The moon is full. Molly wakes in the night to creaking on the porch. He opens the door, gun in hand. She wakes up Walter and gets his clothes on, sending him out of the window to the car. Francis searches under the bed as she sneaks through the house. She sits under the porch, shushing Walter, and throws a rock to distract him. She sets the car panic button and runs to the road with the boy. They flag down a car but the driver is shot. She takes it anyway, and is shot as well, but keeps driving. Francis screams in the road.
Will runs into the hospital finding Jack with Walter while Molly’s in surgery and reassures him that they’re safe in the hospital. Walter tries to get it all straight, asking if this guy is trying to kill Will and if Will is going to kill him. Will says the object is to put him in a mental hospital. Speaking of, Walter read a similar article about Will. He confirms that’s true, providing ZERO context. “You should kill him,” the boy says, going to watch baseball. Great fathering skills, dude.
Shaken, Will tells Jack about the Freddie Lounds article, seething without directly accusing. “Resentment’s raising a blister in you, Will.” He cocks his head, asking if Jack is worried he’ll lose him after this. Except they both know he can’t go home. He sits on Molly’s ICU bed and breathes.
Alana delivers the phone to Hannibal, his lawyer—the real one, this time. She busts him hard: his lawyer hasn’t called since he was declared insane. “I could’ve told you that,” Hannibal replies casually. If only she’d known to ask. He’s always told her the truth, in his own way. Which is true. He’s been talking to the Tooth Fairy, although he thinks he’s earned the right to be recognized as the Great Red Dragon. “You have hubbed hell, Dr Lecter,” Jack surmises angrily. “I often do,” he replies smoothly. Suddenly he’s relevant again, so they’ve set a trace. “I can’t refuse him a sympathetic ear. He no doubt needs it,” Hannibal states obliquely.
Francis grunts through a difficult handstand and the whining starts as the dragon stalks around him, growling. It beats him through the room, changing perspective between him beating himself and the dragon beating him bloody.
Renewed, he unfurls his wings slowly as Reba enters her lab. She sniffs and calls him, but he stays silent on his stool. Finally he answers. “Do you remember the light? Is it worse to have seen it and lost it?” She knows she can’t have the light, but there are things she can’t have. He breaks down, uncertain on what to say. “You threaten me and you do not threaten me,” he cries. She reassures him that confusion is normal. He recoils from her touch. He can’t be with her.
“Most men are terrified of entailing a burden. That fear is amplified in my case,” she says reasonably. But he’s afraid he’ll hurt her. She says that it was nice to spend time with someone who had the courage to leave or stay and gave her the same. So he goes.
Gladys wordlessly delivers the phone. Hannibal assures Francis that he doesn’t have to be afraid since the Dragon is his higher self. Francis is scared that if he’s not as strong as the Dragon, Reba will die. “You’re almost blinded to your true feelings. No more able to express them than a scar can blush,” Hannibal judges. Francis is worried that if she comes to the house to talk, the Dragon might come down. “Do you know how easily she would tear?” the Dragon voice asks. She called him a sweet man. He beats his chest in time to her remembered heartbeat. Hannibal stares at Jack and Alana listening to Francis’ vulnerable moment, then decides: “They are listening.” He hangs up.
Francis unpacks his things from Hannibal’s old office in blurred time, replaced by the investigation team pouring over the office. “Hannibal’s having his fun,” Jack growls. Hannibal stands wrapped in the infamous straightjacket and mask as his room is cleared of fineries. “You’re not the only one who keeps their promises,” Alana says. “The toilet, too.” He looks forward.
Molly wakes slowly to baseball on TV and finds Will asleep at her side. Wally and the dogs are safe, he reports. He looks different. She was wrong about being different, with nobody to blame but herself and Jack. And yet… how can she not be angry at the fact that her son and she almost died because of Will’s ex murder husband? He explains that Hannibal sent Francis after them. She knew it was him after seeing the paper. He cries, hating it. They’ll all be back home… won’t they? “It’s tough to hold on to anything good. It’s all so slippery.”
He strolls out in slow mo and into Hannibal’s cell. He’s just about had it with Hannibal’s crazy sons of bitches. What did he say to him? “Save yourself. Kill them all. And then I gave him your home address. How’s the wife?” Hey, Jealousy. Hannibal admires her ability to survive the Dragon. What does Will see when he looks at her now ? “You know what I see.” Hannibal sobers. The Great Red Dragon thinks he can do anything now, and probably thinks Will is just as much a monster as he is. “Two souls, alas, adwell in my breast and one is striving to forsake its brother,” Hannibal quotes Faust, speaking of them all. This is freedom to Francis, shedding his skin, craving change.
“He didn’t murder those families. He changed them,” Will realizes.
“Don’t you crave change, Will?”
“…And the Beast from the Sea” was quite a ride! The “sea” combined with ocean tide imagery clues us in to the tidal pull of the moon on Francis’ state of mind, his growing fears of the Dragon overwhelming him now that their wills are diverging. Building on this, duality of self hits hard this week, as Hannibal expresses in his Faust quote—Hannibal’s memory palace session splits him into therapist and devil on the shoulder; Will begins to realize Jack’s duplicity coming to the forefront and blotting out their friendship; Molly ably escapes the Great Red Dragon despite being a somewhat inept caregiver; and Will even gets the Crazy Face camera angle as he comes to understand what the Dragon is willing to do.
A few things nagged at me. Will’s inability to hear to the obvious words coming out of Hannibal’s mouth when he previously would have simply asked. Molly’s cluelessness about Chinese dog food, despite being a dog rescuer, and the vet’s office not following through with the blatantly posted warning. Will lamely asking Walter if it bothered him to find out Will was formerly an insane killer. And finally, the masking of Hannibal diluted by its intent to embarrass rather than protect them from his menace.
That said, this episode did a lot of things right with tension, tragedy, and dark humor. Molly wasn’t the only one to follow the maxim, “It’s not a lie if you keep your mouth shut.” Hannibal actually did tell them everything except Francis’ name, then kicked up his feet and waited for them to figure it out. Richard Armitage once again dragged the audience into Francis’ anxiety and relief as he attempted to balance his desire to protect Reba with the Dragon’s needs. His dark glare over the glass on the couch was as disturbing as the cabin scene was scary, when Molly proved surprisingly handy in escaping the gifted killer. Even Walter’s reactions were neither over nor underplayed. Are you watching this, New Zach?
What Hannibal continues to do its best with is the counterpoint of two love stories: Reba and Francis vs the Dragon and his “families,” and Will and Molly vs Will and Hannibal. Reba’s struggle to accept Francis’ decision with grace and Molly’s struggle not to be angry at Will were both beautifully done, all the while neither knowing the true nature of their choices. The darker loves are beginning to demand their due and won’t take no for an answer.