Last week on Hannibal, Will finally turned to Hannibal as an advisor in his hunt for The Tooth Fairy. And while everyone around Will wanted to use him for their own personal gain, in one way or another, the good doctor actually seemed to be on Will’s side. The Red Dragon was still roaming free and murdering folks and even managed to find a new friend in the form of a blind photo tech, Reba. Will this week bring Will and the FBI closer to finding out Dolarhyde’s identity? How much deeper will Will have to sink into the mind of his enemy before he goes mad? And what’s really going on inside Hannibal’s head? This week’s episode, ‘And the Woman Clothed with the Sun…’ answers a few of these questions.
The main focus this time around is on Francis Dolarhyde, aka The Tooth Fairy, aka The Red Dragon. We see the other side of his phone conversation with Hannibal that ended last week’s episode, complete with an imagined therapy session between Dolarhyde and Hannibal. Lecter is acting as a guide, naturally, taking on Dolarhyde as a protégé of sorts. This one, however, is a far cry from Will Graham. Dolarhyde is already primed and ready to kill and all Hannibal has to do is nudge him a bit to get results. Perhaps “plaything” is a better word to use than protégé?
We also witness the growing relationship between Dolarhyde and Reba. He takes her out to the zoo where a tiger has been put under in order to have some dental work. She has the chance to touch the great beast as Dolarhyde describes its majesty in passionate detail. It’s a magical moment, a gift from the killer to the only woman who truly seems to understand him. Then they return home, where they manage to connect on a more physical level. In their moment of passion, Dolarhyde envisions Reba as his Woman Clothed in Sun, the recipient of his demonic lust, and is moved to tears.
Back on Will’s side of the story, we see the return of Bedelia. Much like everyone else in the show, she’s taking full advantage of her relationship with Hannibal. She’s giving lectures on the cannibal and spinning lies about how he controlled and changed her, protecting herself from legal retribution while capitalizing on the past events at the same time.
Naturally, Will has to show up and have a talk with her. They engage in some brief verbal sparring, comparing notes on who happened to be Hannibal’s favorite bitch, how Hannibal remains in their lives to the present day and why they even allow him to continue to be in their lives. We get a short look back into the incident that caused Bedelia to become indebted to Hannibal and, in the end, she even manages to give Will some good advice – that he’s not a killer at all, that Hannibal drove him to believe such a thing and that perhaps Will is being too kind to the people in his life.
Back to Hannibal – the good doctor is being a naughty boy. He rigs the phone so that he can make an outgoing call and, via some smooth talking to Doctor Chilton’s secretary, finds out Will’s home address. For what purpose, we can only guess at for now. Then it’s Will and Hannibal, together again, talking about The Red Dragon.
Finally, Dolarhyde’s madness will wait no longer. He takes a trip to the museum where the Red Dragon painting resides. Posing as a researcher, he obtains access to the valuable work of art and proceeds to… devour it. Unfortunately for him, Will also happens to be coming to view the painting. The two cross paths and look each other in the eye. Two predators recognize each other, although Dolarhyde manages to get away.
This week’s episode was solid all-around, but the best part was that we were able to follow the life of Dolarhyde for a while. Once again, Hannibal has managed to humanize a bestial serial killer, showing us that no matter how messed up someone may be, there is still a human being lurking under the surface. We saw this clearly in the interactions Dolarhyde had with Reba. The show is forcing us to consider what might have happened to Dolarhyde had he met Reba earlier, before his obsession with the painting and The Red Dragon began to take over. And we lament, at least a little, the fate of their relationship.
It’s very similar to the way the show’s chosen to portray Hannibal and his relationship with Will. One moment the bad guy is horribly bad and then next he’s struggling to make a connection with another human being. Would each and every one of us turn into sadistic killers if we failed to have the proper human interaction in our lives? Hannibal asks that question, but leaves it to the viewer to find their own answer.
Just three more episodes to go and Hannibal will be gone from television, possibly forever. Unfortunately, there is (once again) no preview available for next week’s episode, ‘…And the Beast from the Sea’. So instead, you’ll just have to wait and see it when it airs next Saturday night.