The split

Back on Hannibal, spoilers for ep 11 ahead for the many who haven’t seen it yet. Try to stay away from reading or seeing anything if you can, it works so much better if you come to it fresh 🙂

Image Sophie Giraud/NBC

By now i am completely out of the loop, but i’ve been out of it pretty much from the beginning. I personally prefer not to see or read anything about each episode before i see it, so don’t watch trailers and don’t look at pictures. I usually get round to it somewhere at the start of the weekend for a run through in peace and then get on with stuff that happens over the weekend. I’m currently on a business trip so even less time than usual and even longer hours in front of my PC during the day. It’s not completely out of my mind but i find it extremely hard to sit back down in front of the computer screen after being at it for 9-10h a day.

I’m finding this one quite hard to write about, for several reasons. One, because the relative emotional high point of ep10 is a single blink in the series and i know it is all back to bad and worse, confirmed of course by ep11. So there are increasing depths of emotional low to come, which – while interesting to experience – are much harder to write about.

The other reason is that i am finding amongst the excitement about it all that i am having a quite solitary experience in the end. While i experience pretty much the same rush of following something ‘as it happens on TV’, trying not to be spoiled before means i don’t get to look at anything and stuff is everywhere. So anticipation is somewhat solitary and it sort of becomes even more isolated after that. While i am usually trying to find the time to watch in peace reviews are already out and i’ve barely had time to sit down with it. Because i still have problems understanding some actors and their lines i tend to like watching twice before i make up my mind about things, but i don’t really have the time to do it 2x back to back. In last weeks the weekend went by without getting the chance to do so and, by that time, i have to duck everyone and everything again because it has all been written about, gifed, talked about and dissected 100-fold and i wouldn’t get a chance to actually think about how i feel about the show, what it made me think about, what i found interesting or not.

I know Tv is being consumed fast and en-masse, i do that with some stuff too, but the things i am really interested in i want to spend time with. Excitement about it for me means i want to see the new ep but it doesn’t translate into rush to put it behind me or chew my way through it; quite the contrary, i enjoy taking my time, especially because i’ve not had the chance before to see anything R has done as it was first broadcast.

It is a bit sad though not to be able to engage with the discussion. By the time i’ve half made up my mind about the episode everyone has already moved on to trailers for the next… while i am left to read back and see what people thought about the last. However, i am sure there are plenty others out there feeling the same way.

But – even though solitary – i am enjoying the experience and it is certainly made more interesting by the structure of the show itself, the fact that it has a non-linear narrative, that it is layered and does assume some prior knowledge of material,. etc. It is a bit like a puzzle as well as just a story on TV. You can play with it and engage with it on any level you want. You can follow the action, you can dissect the dialogue and find the clues, you can just laugh at it when it gets too strange, you can revel in camera angles, like/dislike wardrobe choices, you can compare accents, you can block the images out and focus on the sound, etc. Which is why repeat viewing can be very interesting 🙂

For me this episode was one of breakups and breakdowns. Let’s face it, no relationships in this show are quite ‘normal’ and none were intact to start with. There were little cracks here and there, but you could hope that at least some could be healed. (Hope… not a word i should be associating with this show! LOL) However this last episode went a bit like the wave of an earthquake through the ranks and almost nobody was left undamaged.

image NBC .. now they’re truly done

Hannibal and Will’s ‘relationship’ was never what it used to be from the start of the series but in his attempt to lure Will back in Hannibal has for the first time really lost the plot and failed to judge things in the right balance. Is being locked up starting to affect the good doctor’s finesse? Trying to take Will’s family away from him and confirming it with such unconcerned glee is surely the beginning of the end for those two. Maybe it is good for Will to be reminded of what H really is, in case he harboured any nostalgia. But that is one breakup that cannot be repaired.

Any ties Alana might have felt to H have been severed too and it is not just that she took the loo away 😉 I don’t think H will be able to forgive that lack of courtesy 😉 She does enjoy having the upper hand in this power play for now, we’ll see how it works out, but i would say again trust has been broken both ways and negative consequences are to be expected.

Aside – not that i would expect anyone to trust Hannibal. I don’t know why they didn’t figure out earlier he had been talking to Dolarhyde or why they thought he would just meekly keep him on the line for the police to catch! The naivety..

Then there is Jack – if Will had any doubts left as to where Jack’s priorities lie he’s been set straight at the hospital. Not much remorse then, Jack? It’s become obvious that he probably even considered Will’s family could be victimised in the pursuit of Dolarhyde but pushed Will in that direction nevertheless. I don’t think trust can be recovered in this relationship either.

Sadly, even Will’s family seems to be falling apart. Getting chased by a serial killer could do that i guess, but something was not quite whole there either. I had the feeling that although he might have told them about his past neither Molly nor Will himself ever dealt with the consequences of it. She seemed to have ignored it as best she could and he’s kept it locked up, not really finding in her an open ear for what he went through. It’s now dawned on Molly the past is not really forgiven and forgotten and i wonder if their relationship was ever on sound enough ground to survive such stress…

Molly’s son on the other hand also feels betrayed. He’s not had all that much time with Will as a father figure and the straightforward child’s mind immediately detects the possible similarities between both Will and potentially Dolarhyde being locked up in a mental hospital for murder. And Will can’t really explain the difference either…(Which also clearly points the finger to the similarities of Will and Hannibal also being locked up in the same mental institution. While Will was not guilty at the time he was put there, by the time he left he had made an attempt on H’s life via proxy) This very difficult conversation between Will and the boy was one of the most distressing scenes in the episode, particularly the instance when the boy insists Will should kill the man who made an attempt on their life (Dolarhyde) and not just lock him up to be treated…. It’s a chilling instance and much more frightening than any murder in the show: is it just the child’s anger at his mother’s injuries? is the desire to murder in everyone, even so small, if given the right circumstances?

I fear the bonds that held Will’s family together have been broken.

And then of course there is Reba and Francis. And Francis and the dragon… 3 is definitely too many in this relationship and for her own safety Francis decides to remove Reba from it.

Some of this breakdown of a barely sprouting connection between Reba and Francis is Hannibal’s doing. This particular scene is a mockery of the comfort and safety a psychiatrist consultation room normally provides and H does everything in his power to give the dragon wings and stamp Francis’ fragile humanity into the ground. He suggests he only has Reba because of the power of the dragon when Francis speaks in awe of his recent experience (some of the best lines in the episode): “I put my hand on her beating heart. Heard the sound of her living voice. A living woman… how bizarre.”  I really liked the use of the word ‘bizzare’. A striking reminder of the fact that Francis’ human side  is ‘bizzare’ to him, it’s new and fresh, inexperienced and vulnerable. And H prays on this vulnerability, suggesting he would never have had Reba had it not been for the dragon, thus accentuating Francis’ fears that the dragon will take her away from him and he will not be able to stop him. Deviously, H suggest he give the dragon Will’s family instead, thereby effectively pulling the 2 sides of Dolarhyde apart and completing the rupturing of his personality.

Image NBC .. the devil whispers..

The split is complete and we are treated with the spectacular visuals of the hatching of the dragon accompanied by the growth of the dragon’s tail and unfolding of its wings. The creature beastly howls at a rolling full moon.

Set on this path of what he believes to be Reba’s salvation Francis enjoys a last moment of ‘domestic bliss’ wearing a lighter coloured and neatly tucked t-shirt and enjoying a martini with Reba leaning against him… while watching his secret surveillance videos of the dragon’s next victims… Molly and her son. The whole scene is sad and creepy on so many levels… He is just going through the motions, but his focus is on the film far more than the women snuggled up against him. His warm, almost reassuringly whispering voice talks about ‘animals at night at the zoo’. And while Reba leans comfortably in we suddenly see Molly on the screen and the whole horror of the situation hits home.

Image NBC

The actual night attack scene was extremely well done, pure thriller material and enjoyable in a sick-ish way 😉 I’d have enjoyed it more if it was part of a normal action move because then i would have known mother and son would very likely get away. But with them mixing up the book material you never know which way things will go. The semi transparent cap Dolarhyde wore and the black leathers were a good choice, if only he wasn’t the bad guy! But out of context i very much enjoyed the view of black leather jacket, jeans and big leather boots 🙂 Not so much those horrible dentures! (howling at the moon again in frustration and all that)

Image NBC

When he fails to capture Molly his fate is sealed as he believes it to be the confirmation of his weakness in front of the dragon. Insert the other horrible scene in this episode, much worse than the chase that preceded it. Dolarhyde being punished by the dragon (in his mind) and in reality, punishing himself. It’s a visually stunning execution of the dragon’s force, including the dragon holding Dolarhyde up by his neck and choking him. And then there are the flashes of Francis actually hitting himself. It was excruciating to watch and it is painful to write about. Never mind if R actually did the handstands unassisted or not, or how they lifted him by a harness to simulate the dragon manhandling him. The images that made my stomach clench were of R gripping his own throat and then hitting himself quite obviously for real and quite viscously too and then collapsing convincingly into a heap, all streaked with fake blood. I really wasn’t prepared for that.

Image NBC

Following this defeat, a bruised and battered Francis goes to Reba and finally decides to break up with her ‘because he doesn’t want to hurt her’. It’s a disturbing scene as Dolarhyde shifts between the dragon and the human persona from one minute to the next confusing Reba even more. His voice goes from very deep and aggressive (asking Reba how it feels to not see the light) to collapsing tearfully against her and then dragging himself away, having resolved to leave her. The question about the light is however not necessarily meant to hurt her, but to understand ‘ is to worse to have seen it and lost it?’ Is it worse to have experienced love, even briefly and loose it than to never have felt it at all?She replies initially there is always something to enjoy but he feels threatened by the intensity of his feelings for her (and the perceived danger from the dragon). She tries to reassure him that the feeling of confusion is normal and tries to soothe him by caressing his face. I love Reba’s lines here, there are wise in some way, or at least borne out of experience but not resentment, in spite of everything she has such a positive view of life. What a contrast to poor Dolarhyde… as soon as she touches his scar he seems to be instantly reminded that (in his mind) he can never have her if he can’t protect her so it almost bursts out of him: “i can’t be with you”.

Image NBC

She is understandably confused and hurt and thinks he is just looking for excuses to break up with her. He however feels almost relieved he’s managed to make that decision and sad and frightened at the same time.He tries to reassure her that he is only afraid he will hurt her, which she doesn’t believe (how could she imagine what is really going on with him?). I am glad they let the music be sad and soft in this scene to give us a last glimpse of what we hoped for in the last episode and what could have been but now can’t.

It’s clear how much he hurts for loosing her and you have to wonder what will happen next since he’s now lost his fragile link to humanity…The fear is justified as he unravels further when he turns to H  for advice over the phone, only to be fed more b******t about his becoming and is split again between dragon (‘do you know how easily she would tear?’) and Francis (‘she called me a man, a sweet sweet man..’).

It is fascinating to watch R’s acting in this downward spiral. From buttoned up, tightly controlled murderer to gradually opening up to some human feelings, the amazement of the world that seems to be out there, almost in his grasp, to the way H uses this vulnerability and the world of hurt he plunges in. And then also listen to the unique voice he gives Francis, with all its quirks and slippages and hurdles, its almost hushed tone. And at the same time act the emergence of the dragon, with the other-worldly viciousness about it, with its completely different voice, its coldness of tone. And the world of sound between the two: the rumble of the dragon in the background,Dolarhyde’s grunts and mumbles, the desperate tearful breaths, the animalistic howls of the dragon. He may not speak very many words, but between the looks and sounds two very different and completely distinct personalities emerge. And the fine tuning is so precise that across 3 episodes we’ve come to instantly know if we’re looking at the dragon or Francis.

We’ve all been struck initially by the physicality of the portrayal, but although it still is a significant component of the character it has certainly taken a secondary place to the subtleties of his emotions and conflicts. And in somebody with such a striking physique it is impressive when it gets outweighed so quickly and decisively by the strength of artistic personality and creativity.

It has all been quite a tormenting and dark episode, but i still laughed out loud in one instance: Hannibal blaming the choice of murdered families on…. social media! ‘Can’t be too careful with those privacy settings!’ The show likes to tip its hat to the fans and this was a simply hilarious waving of hands in a gesture of hello 🙂 It did frustrate me that Will did not catch H’s innuendo about seeing his own family in his dreams… about the targets not being Hannibal’s family and Will being the one to let them die… come on!! How many more clues do you need Will???? It’s season 3 ep 11 not s1e1!

Image NBC

The famous H mask finally makes an appearance but for me it is too late to make a true impact, i still think D’s crooked teeth are far scarier!

I also giggled at the poke at the original book material in terms of ways of communication between H and Dolaryde (personal adds, toilet paper ;-)) and at Will saying with emphasis ‘i’m just about worn out with you crazy son’s of bi***es’. Yes, me too 🙂

I guess in the end they were right, everything and everyone changed in this episode.

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19 thoughts on “The split

  1. Great review, Hari! It was such a heartbreaking episode for me, too. I was so disappointed in Francis for watching his film footage when he could have been reveling in Reba. And the battle in the attic was amazing to watch, but incredibly difficult to see him damage and defeat himself. The breakup with Reba made me ineffably sad. And I have no idea where they’ll go next. I’ve made up my mind not to watch the post-mortem, though I did break down and look at the preview. =)

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    • thanks but i don’t feel i had much to add/even say this time around without actually repeating it scene by scene.. but i guess it as almost somewhat unusual in as the dialogue and the action was more straightforward ‘what you see is what you get’. It was pretty much all very well executed so there is much less guess work going on.
      I like the fact that they have gone away from the book a bit so we don’t know what to expect 🙂
      I think that battle with the dragon scene will be one we’ll remember and come back to for a very very long time, some of his best work for sure 🙂
      Oh, restraint in this case comes easy for me as i enjoy it so much more without all the spoilers 🙂 Trailers are meant to entice one to watch but i know i want to watch so why spoil the excitement? 😉

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  2. Wir sind inzwischen ganz schön verwöhnt, was? Ich erinnere mich an Zeiten, als wir in Deutschland Filme oder Serien erst zu sehen bekamen, wenn sie in den USA fast schon vergessen waren. 😀
    Aber zu der Zeit gab es auch keine Blogger, und es war viel einfacher, Spoiler zu umgehen. 😉

    Als ich fürchtete, Folge 3.11 gar nicht sehen zu können, bevor sie auf DVD rauskommt, habe ich die Reviews gelesen etc., damit ich weiß, worum es geht. Der Punkt ist: Ich werde *nicht* zusätzlich für ein Streaming zahlen, wenn ich den Kauf von DVDs schon fest eingeplant habe, und ich bin andererseits nicht bereit, die Grenze zum illegalen Ansehen weiter zu überschreiten, als YT es möglich macht.

    Ansonsten versuche ich auch, möglichst wenig vorher zu wissen. Erst selbst sehen, dann wirken lassen, dann zumindest einige der viel zu vielen Reviews lesen – so mache ich es, wenn möglich. 🙂

    Übrigens: Deine Meinung ist gar nicht “unnötig”, sondern trägt auch was zum Gesamtbild bei. Auch wenn du glaubst, dass “alles” schon gesagt ist. Jeder Reviewer bemerkt andere Details oder deutet eine Szene anders als andere. Ich habe es jedenfalls gern gelesen. 🙂

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    • Ja wenn man bedenkt wie lange man fruher warten musste 🙂 Aber man hat auch wenig druber gewusst, ausser man hat Magazine durchstobert usw, aber generell hat man etwas erst gesehen und aufgenommen als es im Fernsehen lief. Heutzutage weiss man fast alles schon uber eine show bevor man sie gesehen hat. Deshalb mag ich zB sehr wie Moffat mit Sherlock und Dr Who umgeht 🙂 uzw Null und Nichts 🙂 Und die trailer sind dann auch so kurz dass sie wirklich nur teaser sind und man sich nichts zusammenreimen kann ausser ein paar Bildern. macht es doch tausendmal interessanter wenn man es dann eeeeendlich sieht! 🙂
      Ich muss auch sagen fur mich war das auch alles neu, weil ich sonst kaum TV Magazine lese, ausser wenn es um die Arbeit geht usw, fur das was ich sehe gucke und lese ich nichts im Voraus, auch weil mich typischerweise weder die Leute noch die Sache vorher interessieren, es interessiert mich bloss was auf dem Bildschirm kommt, sei es gross oder klein. Ist mir also neu wenn es mich doch mal interessiert und man plotzlich die Info nicht mehr loswerden kann LOL Man lernt halt immer dazu, fur mich habe ich also gelernt dass ich es viel mehr geniesse wenn ich unwissend bin 🙂
      Danke sehr, freue mich dass es dich nicht gelangweilt hat, ist ja auch etwas lang ;-))) Ist halt eine schriftliche Weise sich Gedanken uber das Gesehene zu machen, Ich finde es auch interessant andere zu lesen wenn ich mal weiss was ich denke um Neues zu entdecken, zu sehen wie andere druber denken, usw Und oft entdeckt man Sachen voruber man sich keine Gedanken gemacht hat oder sie man nichtmal gesehen hat.
      Ich konnte mir ehrlich gesagt Fernsehen nicht so ansehen als Regel! meine Gute, standig druber analysieren und spalten usw, ich mag einfach nur gucken und mich bespassen lassen und mich emotional bewegen lassen, ich muss mir nicht selber alles erklaren usw. Aus dem Gesichtspunkt konnte ich glaube ich nicht jahrelang Ep fur Ep durchschreiben… aber wer weiss, vielleicht haben wir mal die Gelegenheit das mit einer seiner Rollen zu tun und ich empfinde dann anders. 😉

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      • Die Trailer für die einzelnen Hannibal-Folgen sind auch nur Teaser, die nicht viel verraten. Die kann man sich ruhig angucken. 😉

        Übrigens; was ich schon längst mal sagen wollte: Dein Deutsch ist super! 🙂

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        • Danke sehr, lieb von dir… aber nicht so gut wie es mal war, es war wie meine 2 Muttersprache und ich war bei Deutscholympiaden dabei wo man in Deutsch kreativ schreiben musste .. 😦 Im Vergleich dazu heute.. ehem.. es kommt von leider limitiertem Kontakt mit der Sprache, aber ich kriege wenigstens ab und zu mal Ubung 🙂

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  3. Ja, ich habe schon öfter gehört, dass man selbst die eigene Muttersprache ziemlich schnell verlernt, wenn man kaum Kontakt dazu hat.

    Wenn du es als gute Übung siehst, wenn wir auf Deutsch schreiben und du auch so antwortest, um so besser. 🙂

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  4. Endlich bin ich auch durch mit dem Lesen, und die nächste Folge war ja auch schon in den Medien (Horror pur)…… Gut, nochmal zu dieser hier: am gruseligsten fand ich, wie Du ja offensichtlich auch wie er mit Reba auf dem Sofa sitzt und heiles Beziehungsleben simuliert, dabei sich aber schon die neuen Opfer auf dem Film ansieht. Hier merkt man, dass es zu keiner Zeit ein normales Beziehungsleben gegeben hat. Nur der ansatzweise Versuch 😦
    Will ist entweder selten doof oder steht völlig unter Hannibals Fuchtel, er müsste H inzwischen doch besser kennen und wissen wie er tickt, da hast Du völlig recht. Er kommt ja noch nicht mal ansatzweise auf die Idee seine Familie zu schützen, wir leben schließlich in zeiten wo man eine Adresse ratz fatz rausfinden kann, v.a. mit H Fähigkeiten. Wie naiv ist das denn? Und wo ist eigentlich die junge Dame aus dem Kerker geblieben, die auch schon ein paarmal H zu Hilfe geeilt ist?
    Und nochmal generell, v.a. zu Igelchen, Youtube finde ich genausowenig legal wie alles andere. In D finde ich es sehr angenehm, dass viele Serien quasi mit der letzten Ausstrahlung auch direkt auf DVD zu erwerben sind. So kann jeder, der von der Serie begeistert war, den legalen Weg gehen und direkt die DVD bestellen. Wenn die Produzenten schlau sind, bieten sie dem Konsumenten das genauso an, denn ich glaube wenn den Fans eine Serie, ein Film wirklich gefällt kauft man ihn auch gerne auf DVD…… aber warten bis das Ding dann irgendwann in 100 Jahren erscheint, das hält auch kein Fan wirklich aus 🙂

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    • ich denke die DVD wird es bald geben denn die Serie lauft ja auch international zur gleichen Zeit, da wo es halt Interesse daran gibt es zu senden.
      Und ja die Damen aus dem Kerker haben wir vergessen, vielleicht kommt sie auf Besuch und der Kerl kommt wieder raus, alles ist moglich am Ende…
      Und ich fand es echt ein bisschen an den Haaren gezogen dass Will total nicht mitbekommt was da vor sich geht… und ja leider sind die romantischen Vorstellungen wegen Dolly auch schnell vorbei… Ich hoffe nur er kann es doch verhindern sie zu morden, das irgendwas in ihm noch menschlich bleibt… Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt 😉

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  5. I understand your plight in wanting to take time and absorb the episodes at your own pace, and feeling isolated if you then have to miss out on the immediacy of the online discussion. This seems like a case where spoilers could significantly diminish your enjoyment, but one way or another you have to give up something pleasurable.
    How sad that Francis had to break up with Reba, but of course seen from a different perspective, it is fortunate for her, as serial killers do not make good life partners, LOL. It’s food for thought. Makes me look back on certain men who broke up with me and think: Maybe I should be thankful I did not get to know them better 🙂

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    • Lol, yes those things happen for a reason 🙂 I think deep down we know it can’t work out, i mean his horrific acts are not that far behind and whatever happens next those can’t be erased. It’s just a temporary bubble she gets caught up in and i believe if it was anyone else playing Francis we’d be shouting at the telly the whole time: get away from him, get away from him! 🙂 I certainly was when i was reading the book. I think the best outcome would be for her to come away alive and hopefully with not too many scars… and thinking that she did nothing wrong nor did the misjudge the situation, she just sense the humanity that was left in him. He belongs locked up, but i guess one could hope the experience with Reba could have shown him that not everyone in the world is bad? That he could have been accepted too. It’s a strange thing to navigate watching this, between suspending disbelief but looking at it as some strange, fantastical and unreal construct and the bits of possible reality woven into it and the thoughts one can have about real relationships. I find that in my case realism ultimately always kicks in.
      And yes, i’ve had to make choices about watching and ultimately it has to be through my own eyes, because enjoying his work is important to me and i would loose some of it if i ended up doing it by proxy.

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      • I’m the same way–I realize it is a fantasy, but I keep thinking, well, what is his diagnosis? Is he capable of love, and could he be helped somehow? So yes, being with Reba was good for him, but not that good for her. Except that maybe she had some really great sex 🙂 I hope so 🙂
        The other thing is that being a fan does affect one’s perception of the story–as you noted, you have a lot more sympathy for the character of Francis than the non-fan does. Given what he goes through, and the strength of Richard’s acting, I’m sure non-fans have empathy with the character’s agony, but not to the degree of a fan. The same happened to me–when I learned that My Guy was playing the King in Hamlet, I saw the play in a whole different light.

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        • yes i’m with Guylty here on being grateful for expanding horizons and thinking about things afresh. Always a good thing 🙂
          As to Reba having fun, ehem… Francis is supposed to be completely inexperienced where live women are concerned.. so probably more fun on his side than on hers, but she’s done it all out of sentiment which i am sure counts and this excited reaction probably was nice for her too. We’ll try not to think about how it must feel for her retrospectively when she finds out who or rather what he is 😉 No reason why we can’t enjoy scenes in isolation 🙂

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        • spoilers!! don’t read if you don’t want to know 😉 In the next ep he kidnaps her and tells her he is the dragon 😦 The next ep ends with that, it is the most horrific thing, much worse than the killings and the gore for me, emotional disaster 😦 It was coming, but it is hard to take nonetheless.
          And ok, in return i’ll accept to think Francis was naturally gifted in bed 😉 Let’s Reba have at least that 🙂

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