Last time, Francis Dolarhyde made two new friends: a nice
lady named Reba and Hannibal Lecter. Also, yes, this week’s episode title is
virtually identical to last week’s. Turns out “The Great Red Dragon and
the Woman Clothed in Sun,” the painting that Francis Francis is focused on
so intently, is just one of a series Blake did depicting The Great Red Dragon,
and “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed With the Sun” is
another. So there’s a little art history for you.
Behold the Great Red Dragon
In usual “Hannibal” fashion, we see exactly how
Francis was able to make his phone call to Hannibal that capped off last week’s
episode. First, he does some speech exercises to ensure his impediment isn’t
recognized; then we see him futzing with the phone so that the caller ID shows
Hannibal’s lawyer’s office. Well, that shows me for making
fun of that detail last week.
Francis and Hannibal have a fantasy tête-à-tête
where Francis gets to reveal his full red dragon form to Hannibal. Hannibal of
course understands the reference to Blake and quotes “The Tyger,”
“Did he who made the lamb make thee?” immediately establishing a
theme of duality through the episode, with Reba and Francis, and more
surprisingly, Will and Bedelia, but we’ll get to them in a moment.
Francis successfully woos Reba by
allowing her access to a sedated tiger (hey, there’s Blake again). Once their
relationship is consummated, he sees her at the Woman Clothed With the Sun,
which certainly couldn’t bode well for her. Of course, the dragon is always
lurking, so we get the scene from the novel where he lies his way into seeing
the original Blake painting, then eats it. This sequence was a tad too
out there for Michael Mann to include in “Manhunter,” but it’s the
sort of thing that’s right in “Hannibal’s” wheelhouse. Kudos again to
Richard Armitage this week, turning something as goofy as eating a painting
into a primal and disturbing act.
Unfortunately for Francis, Will has also decided to take a
look at the Blake painting, after a conversation with Hannibal. In a
wonderfully tense sequence, Will is able to catch Francis in the elevator, and
Francis tosses him around like a rag doll. Francis gets away, but Will’s now
seen the face of the dragon.
Hannibal Behind Bars
Not a whole lot of Hannibal this week, beyond chatting with
Francis and giving Will the tip off about Blake. In the scene with Will there’s
a nice shot of them facing each other, with Will’s reflection residing inside
Hannibal, consumed. Hannibal does manage to bluff a secretary into giving him
Will’s address, which he’ll probably just use to send him some nice flowers or
Will Graham: Doin’ Stuff!
Perhaps seeking an explanation for why he’s still drawn to
Hannibal, Will visits Bedelia, who’s still spinning stories about being an
unwilling and unwitting participant in Hannibal’s European exploits to an
enraptured audience. After her speech, Will confronts her with some
high-quality sass about Hannibal, “You didn’t lose yourself, Bedelia. You
just crawled so far up his ass you couldn’t be bothered.” Bedelia is ICE
COLD though, so she just deadpans to Will that if he wants to talk, he needs to
make an appointment.
And that appointment leads to one of the best scenes of the
season. Bedelia reveals herself to Will, and reveals Will to himself. Will
thought himself a monster, but Bedelia lets him know that their time with
Hannibal isn’t comparable. “I wasn’t myself. You were. Even when you
weren’t, you were.” Will’s empathy allowed him to get close, but he could
never fully be on Hannibal’s wavelength. And Bedelia?
Well, we finally get the full story of the death of
Bedelia’s patient Neal (Zachary Quinto). The audience had been told that Neal
attacked her, and Bedelia killed him in self defense. What we instead see is
that Neal was the subject of one of Hannibal’s little experiments, figured out
what was going on, and got referred to Bedelia instead. Instead of pitying him
and showing compassion, she was disgusted by his weakness. When he began
choking in front of her, she reached down his throat to help clear is airway,
and then she just… kept reaching. So if you were wondering how a woman gets
her entire arm down a dude’s throat in self-defense, well there’s your answer.
Bedelia compares her instincts with Will’s, noting how he
feels so much compassion, while she feels a need to weed out weakness. She
gives him some advice about what he might have to do when dealing with Francis
Dolarhyde. “The next time you have an instinct to help someone, you might
consider crushing them instead. It might save you a great deal of
trouble.” Again, ICE COLD.
I thought we might make it through this episode without
anything too crazy, but that’s what I get for underestimating
“Hannibal.” It’s not enough that Bedelia reaches down Neal’s throat
much further than any doctor would recommend, we also get an icky internal shot
of her hand wandering down his windpipe. Don’t mess with the tiger.