Previously on Hannibal, ‘… And the Beast from the Sea’
The dragon opens its wings. Broken mirrors over Molly’s eyes and mouth. This is how Will pictures her now. “Do you see yourself killing her?” Bedelia asks off screen. Yes. Over and over. Hannibal gave him this time to build his family, with the design of taking it away. She’s not yet worried for herself—Hannibal will only kill her with his own hands and if he can eat her. “If you play, you pay,” Will declares. She says it excites Hannibal to know that Will is permanently marked. Bluebeard’s wife, Will rejoins, referring to the folktale of a nobleman who killed each of his wives until the final one managed to have him killed instead. Which one of them will be the last one?
YES! YES! A thousand times YES! All GIFs courtesy of Executive Producer Martha De Laurentiis Tumblr
Hannibal tells Jack that Will isn’t restrained by kindness or fear; he’s imprinted on the worst idea imaginable, like a duckling to its mother. In the equation of God, the Devil, and the Great Red Dragon, we shouldn’t forget the Lamb of God—Will. “Hide us from the wrath of the Lamb,” Hannibal quotes.
“The seals are being opened, Jack. The Lamb is becoming a Lion. For the great day of His wrath has come and who shall be able to stand.”
Jack keeps deflecting back to Hannibal, but is his conscience really clear? Will and Jack have righteousness in common. Jack growls that Hannibal is the true dragon, so Hannibal says that must make him God, and “All gods demand sacrifices.”
Francis worships in front of the painting. He scratches at his back. The painting rends and blood flows from it.
Jack, Will, and Alana meet about snaring Francis with Will as bait, Will’s own suggestion knowing Jack would eventually ask. Alana reminds them that they’re not in control. He sees mirrors laying across her bleeding eyes, then nervously suggest they use Freddie Lounds again, planning to badmouth the Dragon in Tattle Crime then set a trap. Alana suggests a professional voice to “hide the wire of the snare.”
Chilton sarcastically commends Hannibal on his brilliant journal articles, especially the most recent, which was “quantifiably bitchy.” Hannibal practically crows with pride. Chilton can’t believe he’d refute the insanity claim, which he made to save Hannibal’s life. Hannibal says he just doesn’t have the right stuff to be famous. Frederick rolls up the journal, claiming that they only accept his work for the byline, and stuffs it through a hole into his cell as he says the Dragon is more important, thinking he’ll title the book, The Dragon Slayer.
“Fate has a habit of not letting us choose our own endings, Frederick.”
Chilton isn’t cowed, saying Hannibal will grow old and weak and eventually be moved to the main ward where he’ll be abused. Hannibal thanks him cheerfully for the extra copy of his book as Frederick walks into Alana.
Freddie prepares to take down Chilton’s theories, which Will follows up with more incendiary versions designed to upset the Dragon. Will invites him into the photo, taken with the fountain visible through the window so the Dragon will know where to come. Chilton’s ego beams next to Will’s serious face, Will’s hand heavy on his shoulder, as Jack leans over Freddie. Francis drives with the tabloid next to him, glaring.
Jack and Will stroll next to the fountain discussing their plan to catch the Dragon, maybe help him stop, since Will believes Hannibal is pulling the strings. Meanwhile, Chilton gets into his car flanked by security, telling his phone that he will refute Hannibal’s refutation in the next book, Blood and Chocolate. As he laughs that the tabloids love alien abductions more than Hannibal’s crimes, the body guards’ brains splatter across the back window.
He’s gagged (unrolled tampon? housecoat sash?) and blinded by a panty liner, which are removed, then revived. The Dragon asks if he wants a blanket. Frederick’s skin hurts; he hopes he’s not burned. “Burned,” the Dragon repeats. He’s here to atone. Super glued to a wheelchair, Frederick hopefully notes that he hasn’t seen his face, but Will’s wording from the tabloid has done its damage. Frederick reaches, saying he wants to understand: “It is a privilege, but I have to tell you I am scared, man to man.” In his attempt to relate, Frederick insults the Dragon—he isn’t just a man. Francis starts to reveal himself, but Reba rings the doorbell.
Hearing he was out from work, “sick,” she brought over some soup. Chilton sits silently, and though she cocks her head towards him, she says nothing. She admits to liking him still, understanding that withdrawal can be pain avoidance, as she herself has a “deep vein of cripple’s anger.” She keeps turning toward the chair. She hopes he’s not incapable of love from his scars, leaving unscathed. Whew.
Projector playing, he teaches Chilton what he is, flashing the paintings first, the victims alive, then dead. “Do you see?” he asks over and over, demanding Chilton answer for his lies. Frederick blames Will. “Will you tell the truth about my work, my becoming, my art?” The Dragon lords over him, “a slug in the sun.” He unmasks and stands in glory in front of the now-blank screen.
Francis brings Chilton a thermos of ice “for the journey home.” But first, he films Frederick repeating what he instructs. Frederick remains hopeful, but Francis puts the mask and teeth on, to help him remember better. He climbs over the furniture back to Chilton and bites his lips off.
Mozart’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor Allegro. Alana delivers a package to Hannibal, supervising. The lips. “With these he offended me,” the note reads. Now restrained by straight jacket with Alana in his cell, Hannibal agrees with the sentiment. Jack holds up a lip on a silver tray, asking where the other one is. Flashback to Hannibal slurping it up while staring darkly at Alana. He smirks, apologizing for his great mood, and congratulates them on enraging the Dragon. Alana could have given that interview herself, but she clearly knew what she was doing. “That would have been your lip that I was tasting… Again.”
Artistic Note: This piece is “considered the first major piece composed for piano quartet in chamber music.” (Wikipedia) and was reportedly so difficult to perform that Mozart was released from financial obligation to complete the commissioned set of three quartets after this one was produced, far too difficult for amateurs though pleasing when performed by skilled, studied musicians. One could view this as a reflection of the situation with Hannibal as the composer and Will, Jack, the Dragon, and Alana as the musicians producing the work, Frederick, from the sheet music, Freddie’s article.
She, Jack, and Will watch the video of Frederick reciting his awe of the Red Dragon and blaming Will for the tabloid lies. The Dragon will grant him more mercy than Will, whose spine he’ll snap. “From my own lips, you will learn a little more to dread.” The Dragon bites off his face on film. His screaming sends Will to his knees.
“The divine punishment of a sinner mirrors the sin being punished,” Will tells Bedelia, contrapasso. Chilton wanted the world to know his face, and now he doesn’t have one. Bedelia terms them all Dante’s pilgrims, but Will corrects that to “pets.” She notes his hand on Chilton’s shoulder in the photograph—touch is context and trust… and risk. He acknowledges that he wasn’t surprised. Liquid pours over Chilton’s ruined face.
“Then you may as well have struck the match. That’s participation. Hannibal does have agency in the world. He has you.”
Chilton’s burning, screaming body rolls through the night, dumping him in the fountain.
Will sees himself light the match as Jack tells him what happened, how Chilton was taken to the ER saying Will’s name. They enter the room where the charred man rests in a tub. Will apologizes, but Chilton knows he set him up. “You put your hand on me in the picture like a pet,” he accuses, then describes Reba.
Reba wakes tied on the floor of the van. Francis carries into the house whimpering, past the clock, past roses, and unties her. She anxiously spins that she didn’t know he cared about her that much, and they should just be friends and forget about this. He shushes her, leading her into the revelation, the two families that were “changed.” He asks what they called the “being that visited” them. She stammers out the Tooth Fairy, then the Dragon. “I am the Dragon.” He steps back, his wings unfolding.
This penultimate episode might be the next to last Hannibal episode ever, and it came with a bit of twisted flair, going for straightforward horror rather than its typical macabre artwork. But to make up for the blunt trauma of seeing Frederick Chilton bitten and burned alive, Hannibal layered in a number of callbacks and parallels.
Repeating Hannibal’s lesson from Dimmond’s killing, Bedelia calls Will out on his curiosity and obvious participation in Frederick’s torture. Hugh Dancy nails Will’s dark edge in moments like these where he admits to knowing what would happen. Likewise Hannibal prods Alana for misusing Frederick’s trust, “professional discourtesy,” which puts her in the “rude” category on which Hannibal so enjoys dining. Technically, Alana, Jack, and Will hurt Frederick through Hannibal through Francis through the Dragon. His exuberant glee over Frederick’s fate was disturbingly contagious, while Mads Mikkelsen successfully rides that iffy line of making us question whether its sexy for him to taste Alana’s lip…or not… in any capacity.
Their complicity doesn’t entirely undermine Chilton’s own skills as a Hannibal student. Will and Bedelia’s therapy sessions serve to remind us of the overly careful restraint and precise verbiage that marks this circle of Dante’s Pets, which Frederick models while desperately trying to identify with the Dragon and avoid his obvious fate. But Frederick’s desperate desire for fame masks his perception until after the fact, or else he would have seen his punishment coming a mile way. Chilton’s own words, “I’ve personalized it for you,” might as well be Hannibal’s, as Chilton now languishes in a charred prison of his own body, a living Hell, as he imprisoned Hannibal and derived pleasure from it.
Someone else is not-so-subtly beginning to mirror Hannibal—Jack, who readily admits to taking on the God role as Hannibal once did. With Bella gone, he’s not the least remorseful as he hurts Will with the knowledge of Frederick calling his name in the ER. He manipulates his team, knowing the mortal risk, and hovers over Freddie’s shoulder as she initiates the final act by photographing Frederick and Will in perfect symmetry to Hannibal over Francis’ shoulder initiating the attack on Will’s family.
Congratulations all around on this episode’s construction, thanks to the Oscar-winning Guillermo Navarro, and acting, especially Raul Esparza who sells Chilton’s jealousy, hubris, terror, and simmering blame perfectly. The long, unending shot between Frederick and the Dragon produced anxiety through the roof, despite the foregone conclusion. Cinematography continued developing a Haunted Mansion theme, one from the looming façade of Francis’ Gothic home and one from inside Hannibal’s cell as his reflection continually hovers next to his visitors, harkening back to Will’s feeling that Hannibal always follows him out. And, the musical idea of Hannibal directing his “musicians” through these actions they imagine are independently brilliant was masterful.
Will Hannibal literally follow Will out next week? Join me for the Hannibal probably-series-but-maybe-just-season Finale and post your predictions below!