Warning, spoilers ahead for Hannibal s3 ep 12 and talk about icky stuff, so if you have a sensitive stomach best to skip this 😉
I’m ready for this to end. I’m getting tired of all the cat and mouse games and i am starting to feel with the ongoing series characters that we are running in a bit of a circle. At times during this episode i asked myself why i did like it enough to watch 3 series of it or rather what was it about similar scenes for nearly 3 years that i found interesting and now seems to grate on my nerves? When did i fall out of love with the slow, chatty, spiralling dialogue?
I think it was Reba’s normality and very human aspirations that put the whole bunch of nutters into perspective… Her and Francis, or at least his attempts at humanity. For a short amount of time we were given the hope that the gravitational pull of her love could put him on a different path as well and disrupt his own cyclical spin around a dark center. Maybe one could consider Hannibal to be the dark star pulling them all towards hell and that his force is strong enough that nobody can escape his orbit…But it is hard to lay the blame solely at his feet. In addition to his pulling force they each spin in their own dark little circles around their own axis. It’s like a mysterious constellation of poisonous planets within a universe governed by its own twisted, crazy but inescapable laws of physics. And while at the beginning this was fun to explore for the novelty and the strange, alien quality of it all it has now become familiar and the discomfort far outweighs curiosity.
While Bedelia’s cleverness and slippery elegance used to be fascinating now she’s revealed herself to be like a female Hannibal, minus the cannibalistic appetite. But she does for and to Will what Hannibal used to do and now does to the dragon because Will is somewhat out of reach. We see and hear the exact same questions bounced back, reinforcing Will’s confused feelings and general fuzziness of comprehension and moral balance. And she’s made the point about Hannibal only killing her if he could eat her one too many times. That particular conversation has come up again and again and again during this series and it makes you want to say:’oh, serve her up already!’.
I’m tired of Jack’s chase as i don’t feel a sound reason behind it, he wants the killer eliminated, stopped but you feel little concern or consideration for potential victims (or for the actual ones as a matter of fact), no strong sense of justice.
I never liked Alana much but she’s a real pain lately. I don’t like her fancy hairdo and her deep red pouty lips. I’ll give her points for survival, but i’d give Margot many more. And i just don’t see any purpose to her. Yes, she is holding H in his cell, but it hasn’t really stopped his actions or his influence. She doesn’t protect people from him or care about the greater good, she’s only concerned with keeping him physically away from her. And it is a cause i care little for.
But mostly, who the h**l is Will???? i felt sympathetic towards him, well, i even routed for him in series 1 when he was poor, sick, abused Will. I wondered what that kind of psychological abuse had done to him when he aimed to kill H in season 2 and then managed to get out of prison. There was a certain evolution and a dark kind of resilience of fighting back and he kept being knocked down. There was a sense of purpose to what he was doing. But this series he seems to have lost a couple of points off his IQ…. he doesn’t seem to get hints from H that are obvious to us, he seems to forgive the unforgivable and chase H around Europe with a sick kind of addiction. He tells Bedelia what she is but then keeps going back to her.. for what????? And then acts shocked when Bedelia implies Hannibal feels some kind of jealous love for him.(This was definitely also on my most-funny list of the episode as well 🙂 BF finally got that one in, ok it didn’t come from Hannibal’s own mouth, but nearly as good as, surely that must count? And there was a dizzying collective fan eye-rolling at Will’s reaction – you know like the moon rolling in the last ep? Just as spectacular 😀 ) I thought that reaction was too out of character for its own good. Nobody expected Will to get all starry eyed or something (only in fanfics 😉 ), but a little bit of empathy or some other reaction than uncomfortable surprise would have been a welcome signal that Will still had brains.
(Aside – did anyone else think the wall above in Bedelia’s office looked quite a bit like dragon wings in a cubist sort of interpretation? )
This dumbed down version of Will does not make much sense. He also seems to have taken on a very drifting kind of personality: he seems almost normal and domestic around Molly, he fights Jack but then acts without any restraint even more callously than him, he seems to fall for the webs Bedelia is spinning at each encounter, he neither listens carefully to what Hannibal says, nor does he seem to take the time and really understand his reactions. He seems to want to catch Dolarhyde and try and save him but then descends onto a path of revenge when his anger is really directed at Hannibal. Does he lash out around him because he can’t really reach Hannibal? Will seems to have become a strange sort of creature which does no longer have a strong sense of self but instead seems to take on traits from everyone who surrounds him, and not the good ones. There is a brief flash of conscience once he’s set the wheels in motion and there is again talk of the Dragon maybe being able to stop, but it is all too late (maybe it is an attempt to explain his other behaviours as impulses in range and confusion?).
It is an interesting contrast between the dragon who knows itself and has a firm purpose and sense of self and Will, who seems to be loosing himself or getting ever more confused.
The problem is i am not really buying this confused back and forth with Will and the lack of direction and conviction after season 1 and season2. Why would the Will who fought back his mind to sanity and himself out of the asylum in season 2 crumble like this now? The new family bonds just weren’t told strongly enough to explain this.
Like everyone else he seems to just be repeating a pattern of movement that is circular and has no firm purpose. And everyone just seems to indulge in ever more far fetched considerations and explanations of why this world is a confusing place where we have all sorts of instincts to which we fall prey, acting like the animals within. And there seems to be only one type of instinct with this bunch, sorry 2: kill and eat.
Or get famous, in the case of Freddie and Chilton 😉 Her t-shirts are a hoot (‘The tooth fairy is a one night stand’) as is the way she measures Will up to ‘small’. Nasty, nasty and a way too obvious pun. No need to get that bitchy dahhhlings, Hannibal is the only one who seems to be able to pull off bitchy with some class 😉
Some things just made little practical sense and i had to shake my head at them. Hannibal and those darned articles! In which universe would that ever happen? And when Chilton turned up to rant about them i just rolled my eyes. It turns out of course it is repetitive for a purpose, we need to be reminded of his infinite vanity, thirst of fame and of the fact that Hannibal can best him, even from behind a glass wall. But it was still illogical and all to predictable. As soon as one saw Chilton ranting and furious for the lack of attention it was clear who would be the psychiatrist who would be dangled as bait in front of the Red Dragon. Oh Chilton, Chilton, how silly you are. I thought his survival instinct was better than that. Considering his biggest sin is vanity – compared to the rest of the lot – i felt really sorry for him and his suffering, he didn’t deserve it. Which makes me despise Alana even more. And Will has sunk even further in my sympathy because of the way he used Chilton.
The whole talk about protection and the reminder the Dragon shoots first was again just an announcement in big bold letters of what would happen next, which is why i didn’t even flinch when Chilton’s ‘protection’ was gunned down in a splatter of blood (again, silly silly Chilton! you frustrate me!).
But of course it had to be him, since he is the only other male shrink in the series and one could hardly have a naked female glued to that chair… predictable much? Also, of the two who made it into the article Will would never have been the first victim as no series would eat up its main character an episode before the last one! That surely will be left for the end.
It is only one of the reasons why what happened to Chilton didn’t feel as scary to me as it seems to have been for many.
Then there were those chomped off lips! And lookie here, when they come via mail to Hannibal they are pristine.. come on! Really? The Dragon is certainly dexterous but not even he would be able to do that… It just didn’t look believable and for a show that does human bits so well, it wasn’t good enough, it didn’t make my stomach flinch one bit. Speaking of that mail!! What possible reason can anyone give me for the fact that the packag made it to Hannibal unopened???? You telling me the scan did not show biological material? That Alana thought Hannibal deserved a prize of some sort? Why would she enjoy letting him open his own mail? No reason whatsoever other than it was the only way we could indulge (yum, eh?) in a last bit of cannibalism in this series. Fair enough, but it still doesn’t make it a sound story device.
I was glad poor Chilton survived the ordeal in some way, but that is more like sci-fi than any real possibility. Somebody with 3rd degree burns all over his body + the rest wouldn’t have survived it, and even if, in the extremely unlikely event, would never be conscious enough to say anything to anyone. Or is that supposed to be another sign of both Will and Jack’s cruelty in having the doctors keep him conscious so they could have a chat? Too much of a stretch for me to take any of it seriously.
However, there was one thing which was cleverly done. Since they already burned a body in a wheelchair they had to have a good reason to be able to do it again. And it actually made sense for the Dragon to be inspired by the fake burning of Freddie Lounds in his own actions. Ties in well with his scrapbooking hobby (he would have known about Will and Freedie’s ploy to trip Hannibal with this trick) and it is sort of homage to Hannibal again. It gave them the perfect excuse to play it out exactly like in the book. That was an instance of well done continuity.
All the incongruous bits kept switching me out of the gloom and doom atmosphere, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The scare wasn’t nearly as bad as it otherwise might have been and the gore was less stomach churning than i expected it to be. Though this episode certainly was ‘gore galore’! Some it of was more horrifying than revolting, like Dolarhyde clawing his back to bone and flesh (spine-tingly shudders) and covering that painting with his own blood.
Some was definitely up there with the worst of the worst in the series; of course i mean the lip smacking, er.. ripping? Triple ewwww! But ever since that moment when Verger ate his own face i’ve gotten a sense of when the worst is coming and since i never want to have such an imagine in my mind again my head turned quicker than that flesh flew…. evidently not quite fast enough though since i still caught some of it from the corner of my eye. Still wonder how both Armitage and Esperanza managed to have their eyes open while acting it.. but maybe the flying-flesh was CGIed after? That is a comforting thought.
But the worst yuck moment came from where i least expected it… food. Reba brought Francis some soup for his flu and it was easily the most disgusting soup i’ve ever seen: greyish, murky liquid with white and pink looking bits floating at the bottom. Just remembering it is making me gag! Whoever came up with that dish really did a number on the classic chicken soup. Looked more like scrapings from the bottom of a dirty aquarium or something. Shudders! And of course it was intentional, as it came in a nice big transparent tank like container! And Francis was wobbling it about to make sure we notice the content, which i did; it certainly distracted me from looking at his masked face.
But there were gory instances which were also funny at the same time. Like Hannibal almost aspiring a piece of his meaty gift from Dolarhyde, together with his explanation that one piece would do the job just as well as two. LOL and yuck at the same time! Same with poor barbecued dr Chilton and his white teeth, which were pretty awful to look at and yet he was having a rant at Will for basically handing him over to Dolarhyde. The way Will was translating the conversation to Jack was horrendously funny. I almost felt bad for laughing at it. But as i’ve said above it was too surreal and unrealistic anyway so i guess it is ok.
Dolarhyde’s props and get ups are so unusual and surprising they also end up having at least an ironic element to them. I mean how about a panty liner as a means to cover the kidnapped doctor’s eyes?? Very…effective? LOL Makes one wonder where he got it from and what else he’s got in his home stash.. if it was from his gran, boy the quality today certainly isn’t what it used to be! Wish stuff we buy in the shop would stick like that. And i am still wondering in this context what it was that he used to gag him… but maybe better not to know? 😉 I also have to give the guy/girl who came up with that idea for the series brownie points, it is usually bind the eyes and gag the mouth with yer usual kidnappers. Not with Dolarhyde though, original to the end this one… it was stick the eyes and bind the mouth 😉 No wonder the guy gets irritated when the media does not recognise his ‘special’ talents.
I am also not entirely sure going by the book with Dolarhyde’s home dress code was the best idea for the scary impact. The silk flowing kimono and the loosely knitted cap used as a balaclava paired together were a bit strange and the contrasting effect also made me giggle quite a few times. Don’t get me wrong, Dolly in undies exudes a sheer physical force that is truly menacing and the balaclava should be frightening. And it was when he was dressed all in black in the last episode. But hiding Dolarhyde’s breath-taking and chilling facial expressions is not the best option. Behind the knit the face softens, you end up admiring the prominent shape of the nose behind it and because they have to shed more light to show some features his eyes appeared for the first time what they are, a light shade of blue’grey rather than the deep dark pits they have been under less light so far. And hiding the muscle behind the silk took some of the apparent bulk away and showed how tall and lithe he actually is. Instead of ripples of muscle you were drawn to the elegance of the movement in the arms and hands, especially when he extended them and they made the fabric flow so elegantly. Sorry, made me think of a poised geisha 🙂 I can’t help it if the man moves like a flowing elegant feline and not a stompy ape 🙂 It turned into a sort of kinky peek-a-boo get up which made you wonder what was beneath it and distracted me out of context. It just seemed as if he’d dressed for a completely different activity, if you know what i mean 😉 (Even if i wondered when that mustardy-yellow kimono had last seen a wash….).
But once the silky sheets and knits were off the skin tight beast was back and the face told a very scary horror story indeed, as did the few firm words in no uncertain terms. I just wasn’t scared out of my mind because once Chilton started whining in his chair that he was stuck it was clear what would happen next as they were back with the book. And everything is less scary when you know about it beforehand. Even with the insidious music doing its job of trying to get even further under your skin.
It being Chilton in the chair helped to lighten up the mood. I feel sorry for Chilton, he’s far from an exemplary human being himself, but he was likeable 🙂 Too bad his own vanity ended up being his downfall. His ebullient way makes him entertaining even in this situation, the way he tries to talk himself out of a ..erm.. sticky situation is frightening but also a bit ironic. Poor sod even brings the idea of his final punishment to the Dragon’s mind, Chilton talks of ‘burned’ and the Dragon just laps it up… eeeeeek! (flexing his fingers pleasurably while sitting in his armchair..). And when he saw himself in the pictures he was shown he was so utterly terrified (by the way, Dolarhyde’s repeated ‘lies’ ‘lies’ that were a bit Proctor-ish ).
And there are other light touches even in this chilling scene, like Dolarhyde covering Chilton up with a towel and patting him reassuringly on his shoulder. These things ran chills down my back (as the book did exactly that, gave a false sense of security and maybe hope when in fact you knew Dolarhyde was going to punish him) but also made me smile. The things Dolarhyde says and the way he questions Chilton are aggressive and you can just feel we are headed for trouble, but the voice saying them is close to the deep theatre voice RA used for Proctor and partially also in his reading of Hamlet. So my brain instantly triggers flashbacks at the audio stimuli. Can’t say these mental evasive maneuvers were unwelcome 😉
And although i knew what he would do next, when he dropped the kimono and the mask i just engaged in visual feasting and the fear was just something in the background. As soon as he turned the camera on the good doctor i thought: ‘ poor bugger, he’s done with and he knows it :-(‘ But it didn’t really stop me from admiring the way he slithered and crawled, like a tiger smelling his prey, over the furniture towards him. At the same time i was trying to gage the exact moment the beast would leap to look away from the bite itself, yikes! (however mesmerising the movements, believe me , you do not want to see any caps of that and i don’t want to have anything here that would prevent me from looking at my own posts!).
The one i really do fear for is Reba. While all the rest have it coming for more than one reason each, she is the innocent and generous one. Unfortunately for her, there is very little left of Francis inside the Dragon… The last battle is probably done behind the mask and behind the glass in the intricate ironwork which unfortunately does not really let us see what is going on with Dolarhyde at that moment. We are left to imagine it in those instances of uncertainty and then the door is opened and the sinking feeling in your stomach tells you there will be no going back from this.
It felt strange when Dolarhyde warns Chilton to stay silent lest he kill the woman… I didn’t think that argument would really be convincing enough for Chilton, but maybe he was hoping if he showed obedience there was still hope to survive?
Maybe there would have been a chance for Reba to get away had she not sensed another presence in the room… but her repeated turning around in that direction just sealed her fate i think. And Dolarhyde was sadly not really listening to her kind words, he was too focused on the task at hand 😦
The similarities between how he brings in Reba and how he brought Chilton in i found much much scarier than everything he did to Chilton. Maybe because one couldn’t help thinking with every similar gesture that a similar fate awaited her 😦 My heart nearly stopped in pain when we saw Reba bound and gagged in his van and he patted her… reassuringly.. chills… on her head. There is maybe a flash of Francis in the way he carries her in and looks at her (which is why the cap above), at least i’d like to think/hope so… but his actions are those of the Dragon. The Dragon clearly thinks he is much more worthy of her admiration than the man and tries to hammer that point home with her. He expects awe from her too at his revelation…. And all i want is to magically get her away so she would never hear what he has to say and leave at least her illusion intact. I fear for her physical safety but at this point i can’t imagine what kind of devastation she would feel realising who/what he is. At least she can’t see the look of madness and anger on his face, though the cold and precise control certainly fills his voice and his strong grip of her chin.
I fear for what he will do to her next but this moment in itself was a moment of death already, the death of any illusion she might have had, of any positive experience she was holding on to in spite of the break up and ultimately it is the death of Francis too. His actions and his revelations have finally killed and buried his human side. Yes, hope was but a glimmer, but it is still sad when it is lost.