On this episode of Hannibal Will catches up with Bedelia du Maurier and further examines how people have benefited from the trauma Hannibal inflicted. Also things get super crazy at the end.
The episode opens where the last one left off with Francis Dolarhyde making his phone call to Hannibal Lecter. He even goes so far as to make the call from Hannibal’s old office. During the conversation he imagines that he and Lecter are in the room together. They bond over the indignity they both face in how the media talks about them Hannibal encourages Francis to pursue his metamorphosis into the Red Dragon. The scene finishes with a pretty nice looking special effect of the Red Dragon.
Like most of the other characters it seems Bedelia has also managed to turn her experience with Hannibal into a resource. Will finds her giving a lecture about trauma and identity. Once they are alone he accuses her of lying but who hasn’t so far where Hannibal is concerned. At first she is not willing to talk with him unless he has an appointment. So Will makes and appointment. Bedelia talks about how the urge to nurture and the urge to destroy are both natural. She admits that she is more inclined to destroy and even claims that impulse can be for ones own personal good. She also gets to talking about Neil, the patient Hannibal refered to her that she then killed. Neil realized that there was something wrong about Dr. Lecter but was not quite sure how evil Hannibal was. Neil began to think that Bedelia might be working with Hannibal to manipulate him. Officially Bedelia killed Neil in self defense. In truth Neil had a fit in her office and started to swallow his own tongue. Bedelia tried to help but Neil resisted and when she finally got her hand in his mouth she instead killed him perhaps to protect herself and Hannibal from Neil’s accusations.
Elsewhere Franics is still hanging out with Reba and he takes her too the zoo so she can touch a dying tiger before it is put to sleep. The scene is actually kind of moving but also tense especially when Francis sees Reba’s hand get close to the tiger’s mouth. He takes her to his house which is really nice and big and expensive looking. Francis has still never let Reba touch his face so she talks about what other people have told her. At first he seems upset but then she gets closer and starts touching him and next thing you know he is scooping her up and taking her to bed.
Most of this shows attempts at lovemaking scenes end up being so stylized that they become kind of boring. But not this one. This scene with Francis and Reba in bed together actually works with the narrative. And as Francis sees himself as the Red Dragon he now begins to see Reba as his Woman Clothed in the Sun. The next morning he wakes up to find Reba gone and runs around looking for her. Did the Red Dragon awaken while he was sleeping? Did he do something terrible to Reba? No she is just downstairs waiting for him to take her home. But for a minute there the show made you wonder.
Will goes to see Hannibal again and shows him a symbol that was carved into the trees at the murdered families house. It means Red Dragon and Hannibal steers Will towards the William Blake painting. Also when Hannibal is alone he pretends to make a phone call to his lawyer but is able to reroute the call to an operator and after some subterfuge is able to find out Will’s current home address.
Now towards the end of the episode things take a really weird turn I was not expecting. Francis posing as a researcher gains access to a museum storage area where they keep the actual painting that he is so obsessed with. Once it is in front of him he bludgeons the curator and drags her away so he can be alone with the painting. At the same time Will has just arrived at the museum and is on his way up. So Francis proceeds to not just look at the art but take it out of the sleeve and touch it and then smell it and then… he takes a bite out of it!? Yep he starts eating the painting. I thought he was going to steal it and add it to his red dragon shrine but nope, he eats it. Is this what happened in the book? Because that was just bonkers. I mean I get that Francis is crazy and there are mental illnesses that compel people to eat things that are not food but still, I was not ready for this bizarre turn. Anyway Will arrives on the floor and Francis seems to disappear. But Will notices someone on the elevator and stops the door from closing. Francis clearly recognizes Will from the articles he has collected and it looks like Will is working out who Francis is. At that point Francis grabs Will and tosses him in an act of seemingly inhuman strength. By the time Will is able to get downstairs Francis is gone.
NBC’s Hannibal remains one of the few shows that can throw me for a loop and once again they did it, not with gore and horror but with a character doing something insane I was not expecting but in hindsight does kind of make sense in the context of his psychosis. Now I am caught up on past episodes so the next recaps will be here on time.