The Martini episode

sorry, i forgot to warn! Spoilers for Hannibal S3 ep 10!

source: Decider article, click photo for link

I better rush this because the next episode is already breathing down my neck, I think the first promos for ep11 have already been released so already I am having to watch every click so as to not spoil myself.

This is not going to be any big news, but I liked the episode very much. Maybe unfairly to the series itself precisely because there was little of the usual and much more of the Dolarhyde storyline. It was what we have all been waiting for 🙂 I enjoyed many details of the episode, but also the general feel of it, which had less yuck factor and was overall less ‘horror’ and slightly more ‘action’, which is more up my street. The dialogue felt sharper, blunter in some cases, one could say bordering on crass sometimes but all the more funny. It’s only a slight change of tack for this episode and not an overall change in tone but I enjoyed the temporary immediacy and straightforwardness of it. I have recently bumped into an interview with Hugh Dancy where he described the show as ‘fairy tales’ – dark ones obviously – not to be taken seriously or literally. I think it is a useful perspective to have on what we see on the show. It is clear we should suspend disbelief and anything goes 🙂 But it also allows us a degree of lightness in dealing with what is just a fictional universe and an acceptance of monsters the likes of which in real life would frighten us too much. In this imaginary world we can bend black and white a bit and smile with them or hope that redemption can be possible even after such crimes.

People have made a lot of Bedelia’s statements but I have to say although I am happy to see her back rather than some other past character I didn’t find her scenes surprising or shocking. They also didn’t add to the development from my point of view. She wouldn’t have left with Hannibal for Florence if she wasn’t a lot like him, or watch him kill people in front of her for that matter. I didn’t find the smugness of being behind the veil with H as opposed to the other side of it like Will particularly appetising. I think I am getting to the point where I want the bad guys to be getting what they have coming 🙂 I did like Will being a bit feistier. I am starting to think I shouldn’t have doubted his transformation, maybe he did realise he was drifting to a very bad place with Hannibal and has the determination to hang on to normality. The lines were funny; the murder of the previous patient didn’t do much for me. Will telling Bedelia exactly how and what she is was hilarious and such a relief from the usual cryptic talk.

As to Hannibal finding out Will’s address, not much of a surprise either, the previous episode already made it clear he doesn’t like the idea of Will’s family and normal life much.

There were instances where this show felt a bit like a spy story to me, very satisfyingly so as I love them 🙂 I got a kick out of Dolarhyde getting techy and going to all that trouble to call Hannibal. From the elaborate vocal exercises to the wiring of the phone lines and all the electronic gadgetry, all done with precision, determination and skill, I just kept smiling throughout. (Oh, how I’ve missed Lucas! And yes, can somebody please give R another spy role sometime soon?) From the FD pov I liked the fact that they show Francis is resourceful and clever, not just obsessed. He may be a beast, but he is a highly intelligent one. I don’t want my serial killer to be second rate to Hannibal, get it? 😉 And did you see the quick switch from that look of tiredness in his eyes to focused determination? How does he do it, go from soft to strong just like that?

I had another ‘I spy’ flashback in the last scene when Dolarhyde is on another mission in the museum. Even the soundtrack with its suspenseful rumble and echoing sound had that spy thriller feel to it and his sharp looks just played along. It was more Bourne than Bond but I love both 🙂 My spy-loving heart certainly beat faster and although I know all the rational arguments pro and against him playing such a role this instant just confirmed that it is certainly part of my fantasies and I’ll just be in heaven should it ever happen. Richard, you can always be my spy 🙂 Oh, but your name has to be John 😀

It is also just stunning how context and a slight change in wardrobe and lighting can let the hard looks appear mysteriously handsome. Not that I particularly liked the wardrobe in the scene. I liked the idea but it was a bit too old fashioned and straight. But that scene was full of gems, from the intimate scene with the painting to the full on action sequence with Will. Talk about consummate relationship (with the painting)! I was leaning into the screen to get closer to it until… until those teeth made an appearance… ew!!!!! Chomp and my spy was gone and back was the beast from which I instantly recoiled. But he is certainly elevating scarfing down to an art!

I watched the episode very late at night and went to bed straight after and the image I woke up with was the one of Dolarhyde elegantly lifting Will through the air, into the lift wall and out onto the floor! Coupled with the intense discovery sequence before it was pure action heaven. That first instance of recognition that has shivers running down your spine and then the unexpected confrontation. You know something is about to happen but wow… People assure that it is very like it was RA himself doing the moves. I’d love to think that is the case, confirmation very welcome if available 🙂 I just find the idea he could swing somebody through the air so elegantly and effectively stunning and incredibly attractive. I know it is just physical power, but it is different to somebody carrying a sack of potatoes, no? 😉

source: Decider article, click photo for link

But there was so much more than the action man in this episode (wonderful though it was to see memories of past heroes emerge). How about Dolarhyde…. the fan? The whole dialogue with Hannibal I think was just in Dolarhyde’s mind or we were treated to an imaginary extended version of the conversation they may have had by phone. It is quite possible H also imagines himself sitting opposite D but I think we see it primarily from D’s perspective. For me the fascinating thing was the instant where D flicks from assurance to almost childish bedazzlement with an idol. I couldn’t help but wonder where his inspiration came when depicting those feelings of admiration? 🙂 If we forget what it is about for a minute it’s quite amazing what we recognise in Dolarhyde’s emotions. Take this sentence for instance: “it’s not a good picture of you…” … how many times have we said that reading an article in the same tone? There are ways in which only fans understand their idols but also a certain admiration and creativity that idols inspire fans to. Oh, come on! Don’t recoil in shock to be the inspiration for a serial killer conversation ‘ggg’. I’m not suggesting it feels like that to R 😉 But I can’t help but wonder if at least on the emotional side of that conversation we weren’t part of the inspiration. Wouldn’t you like to know? 🙂

As to the dragon emerging it was both funny and good at the same time. I think it is one of the more outlandish images the show has produced; even with disbelief suspended I had a laugh. But then I had a closer look at the face and partially also at the features of the beast and realised that they put quite a bit of work in to model it close to R’s physicality, from the extension of the arms and the face. It turns out from information they provided us with after the show that the did green screen with R for this. I find that impressive in terms of detailed work, considering how much time and effort that must have cost when it could have just been CGI’d completely. That’s dedication.

source Decider article, click photo for link

I also enjoyed the brief eyelash distraction throughout that whole scene. And while I am close to the eyes I’d like to mention how brilliant the lighting is regards to Dolarhyde and the way his eyes are captured. We all know his eyes are stunningly grey blue, light and transparent. But in their natural daylight colour they would be too beautiful almost. Here with lighting they managed to make them appear dark and almost chocolate coloured, and rather than transparent they appear deep, in a ‘dark mysterious waters’ kind of way. And still they glint and shine. And how on earth have they managed in the darkness and with no makeup distinguishable to have the lashes stand out? He’s often filmed from profile or even from the back and although they are a lighter shade than his hair they are visible, light against the darkness of the eyes as opposed to the usual contrast. It’s just stunning and the camera angles, light and direction are playing with his features the way I have never seen it done before.  I am guessing thanks are due mainly to Guillermo Navarro but in any case I’d like to extend them to his DOP and the whole camera crew as well, for showing us R as we have never seen him before.

I wanted to mention Navarro in particular before I talked about the extended tiger + D’s house scenes because I guess he’s the master of how these scenes came together in the end. The script lifts a lot from the book material, with added elements which work really well. But few words are actually spoken and to me it is all about how these scenes were directed and acted. I had very strong doubts about the show being able to quicken my pulse with pleasure rather than fear. The seemed to be very good at the latter and not very good at the former. Don’t get me wrong there have been cleverly and ingeniously shot bed scenes, but they were more visually original than hot. One could think that is because of the restrictions in what they can show, but this episode proved that is not at all the case. There was much less unusual camera work to reduce the amount of skin on show and instead it was much better emotionally placed. They walked an almost perfect path from foreplay to action to intimacy. And stayed away from the obvious at the same time. They managed to light the fire without showing any skin at all and gently and very touchingly transformed skin on skin contact into heart melting intimacy and vulnerability. They proved that they could not only achieve this but do it really really well. Between Navarro, Wesley and Armitage they really did it.

And I thought I’d never say this but I really enjoyed the slight element of danger that flashed throughout, first in the strong grip of D on Reba’s shoulders before he took her in to touch the tiger and then in the almost rough way he gathered her up in his arms and stomped away with her. At each of these instances you had instant doubts about her safety. For a moment you didn’t know if this was not about to explode right in your face and go horribly wrong! I enjoy this kind of tension much more than the in your face gore, however beautiful. It is scary but not in an ‘I have to look away’ kind of way, again well done Navarro for keeping very discretely in spirit with the show even throughout these scenes.

So, there we were looking into Dolarhyde’s almost pleading and hesitant eyes as he was asking Reba to come and feel the tiger. And her knowing smile is so telling for her intuition and understanding of his attempt to get closer. I’d say because in many ways she is much more emotionally mature than he is, she understand much better what is he trying to feel/reach. How much he actually feels for her is indicated in the confidence he feels to slightly joke with her and suggest she tickle the tiger 🙂 And in his reassurance : ‘I’m right here with you’.

I was equally charmed as everyone when his disruption of the tiger came visually alive and the fur started glowing under her caress. Both her wonderment and the emotional explosion  (or implosion?) he experiences are so touching. You can literally see the craving on his face to be touched as the tiger is and at the same time the confusion, apprehension and fearful excitement at the fantasy of it. I don’t think he consciously realises it, but he certainly feels it. Wonderful expression of the tension in that hand clamped over his mouth and consequent relief for the viewer at her emotional tear.

Cue Debussy and the Martinis 🙂

source : Decider article, click photo for link

And we get a perfect demonstration of her emotional maturity and generosity at the same time and his innocence. At the mere mention of his appearance he retreats into himself, into the darkness, almost like a dog that expects to be beaten. His stance is stoic, closed off, expecting the worst. When she approaches and leans into him, he’s almost unable to look at her and doesn’t even know what to do. He pulls his arms away, his hand clutches at chest level, fingers gathered, almost like an infant. It’s such a gesture of vulnerability which totally plays the viewer because unlike D, we know what to expect and we know nothing bad is going to happen to him next 😉 The way she lays in his lap and that single finger playing on his thigh coupled with his anxious breath is probably the hottest image this series has produced to date.

And then the glass shatters 🙂

I had a brief moment of fear when he grabs her and one of hilarity next at his wide footed stomp. Those are some boots and some tight jeans! It was a total cave-man moment but tender in its own way.

source: Decider article, click photo for link

Although we see the dragon next the possible menace – especially with the movement suggesting it is alive – is diffused by the reversal of position and the enchanted expression in his face with her above. It may start out as dragon capture but it ends as simple human rapture. And thankfully it didn’t stop there but we were gifted with an even more beautiful moment of intimacy when he awakes next to her sleeping form and is filled with wonderment at the fact that she is alive and next to him. That image of an almost floating golden angel is stunningly beautiful indeed, showing for me how deeply he has been impacted by this rare positive human experience.  That single tear and the way he cradles, much bigger form, into her neck, seeking solace in her much smaller frame is heart breaking.

source: Decider article, click photo for link

Fuzzy feelings don’t last long in Hannibal however, morning cometh and his troubled mind rears its ugly head again with thoughts turning from pearls to teeth to gunmen. Seeing her gone an athletic race through the house to the attic follows (this man can run! and do it beautifully) with the dragon image triggering painful conflict within him. The dragons tail circling his thigh and descending on his ankle is just a brief reminder of what he really is.

But at least this time the man won over the beast and from a protective embrace he decides to get her away from this dangerous place. If only things could continue like this….

Before we go back to murder and mayhem in the next episode let me just savour this for another moment and leave you with:

I’ll never look at the Martini glass the same way again 😀