Threesome

Warning: spoilers for Hannibal S3 finale, some gory bits, excess of caps – sorry i couldn’t stop myself.

keychest

You can imagine this to be whatever you like 🙂

Feeling a bit melancholic today.

It’s reporting week and that just makes me sooo tired every month. The reason I never wanted a job in Finance after trying it out once was the endless cycle of month end reports and stats and such. And guess what I have ended up doing? Yup. Though it could be worse, it could actually be monthly accounts, but it’s not, it’s just some other sort of monthly statistics. Still, it involves endless staring at and manipulating of figures and communicating to a long list of people who all expect error free reports. I wouldn’t mind it as much if it didn’t suck the life out of any writing impulse I have while it happens. I get home and I just can’t even look at the pc anymore and I just want some mind-numbing activity that doesn’t involve brain cells.

Which is why I have been struggling a lot with writing about the Hannibal finale. But since i fell into bed last night when I finally got home and then woke up at 4,30 in the morning I made myself  breakfast and then sat there with my tea and watched it for a second time in peace and quiet. And chomped quite happily on Cheshire cheese and plum tomatoes and then wholegrain toast and chocolate peanut-butter all throughout. And felt pretty similar about it as the first time I watched it…

You might think this is not how you’d like to start the day, watching blood and gore, but that is actually not what comes to mind first when I think about it. I found it relaxing in a strange way. Well, engaging is probably the more appropriate word. And stimulating visually and also mentally. It is anything but boring and interesting in so many ways. I realised watching the last episode that I will really miss it. There is precious little on TV which is really original and interesting these days. It is mostly one detective story after another and few are really good. I can count the ones I enjoyed last season on the fingers of one hand +1: Banished (BBC), Poldark (BBC), Fortitude (Sky), Our Girl (BBC), Blacklist (NBC via sky) and… Hannibal. There’s been others, but nothing particularly well done or just seasons which have been nowhere as good as the previous ones. There are probably others but there’s only so much TV one can watch 😉

Basically, even if parts of season 3 I was wondering ‘where they are going with all this’? and ‘what’s the point?’, I was still interested and enjoyed spending 1h a week with H. Last week I felt as if it had nowhere to go but end.  I still can’t imagine where it could go from here, but my imagination is a bit at a loss in this universe 🙂 Which is why I enjoyed the viewing experience I am sure, as it was less predictable than most other stuff I watched. I didn’t experience the rush to watch very often, it was more looking forward to siting down in peace and unrushed and seeing where it takes me and how I react to it.

I’m not a convert to the horror genre, I have to say. And I don’t think that was typical horror fare anyway. I still don’t enjoy being scared and most of the times this was not that kind of terror, it was mostly dissection after the fact or justification of upcoming deeds. We didn’t have many victims actually being chased around and I’m ok with that. To be fair, I was also much less put off by the gore than I thought I would be. On one hand I’ve watched crime drama all my life and on the other hand I have probably seen more blood and death on the opera stage than I have seen in 3 seasons of Hannibal put together. Opera is certainly not lacking in death, blood and crazies 😉 It’s all alternative realities and stories and they don’t pursue me in my dreams or make me question the way I lead my life and my universe has nothing in common with the various fantastical ones. So I’m sort of ok with watching quite bizzare and disturbing things, it seems more so than I thought, because it just isn’t reality.

I found dead bodies much less disgusting than other strange things, like Reba’s soup or Verger dying by swallowing a fish and things like that. Very puzzling what one finds icky, it is not always what your mind tells you it will be. I was grateful in season 3 for the lack of cooking of body parts! I like my food and in season 2 I really struggled with that. It is all just too revolting to me, even in fantasy land, which is why I never really warmed to Hannibal himself. Through absolutely no fault of Mads’ 🙂 I blame it on the food stylist! 😀

Strangely enough I even sort of reconciled myself with H in season 3, in that there were quite a few times when I actually felt sorry for him. Not that many though 😉

It is true that one big draw in the series were the actors. I didn’t know all that much about them, nor had I seen them a lot before, apart from Esperanza, Fishburne and Anderson of course and the other Brit ;-).

I’ve often battled with some holes in the logic, but at the same time what I liked best was that the characters had not much logic to them. You never knew what they were going to do or say next.

It has irritated me greatly at times, especially when the censorship reared its ugly head to high (that Botticelli!) or the women were just below par as characters. And I don’t think that really changed until the end… Alana just got more and more on my nerves and in the end Bedelia just got too fuzzy for my liking.

But oh the visuals… and the camera work… and the soundtrack… what a feast for eyes and ears! I will miss this tremendously. It has changed the way I view things forever I think. The lighting was original, even though on the dark side sometimes. The editing was flawless and the camera angles drool-worthy. There were fewer straight on head shots than you normally see on TV and instead you saw people through reflections, side angles, profiles and discovered the infinite variety of facets in human faces. And the close ups…. Oh, those amazing close ups! Visually it never once got boring and it has made usual TV where you pan from one character to another during a dialogue so old-fashioned. I think in some of these respects they have re-invented the ways in which a story can be told on screen and the depth you can lend to the image without going 3D and such. And for a horror show, where everything is OTT most of the time they went the other way, especially on the acting. It’s extremely subtle and underplayed, there are no grand gestures, no waving about of arms, no raising of voices. It is where having good actors made all the difference and allowed the visual innovation.

The writing was at times brilliant and funny and at times just self-indulgent and outlandish. But I thought the acting almost always delivered and made even the most outlandish phrases seem almost natural in the context. Most of the times I really got the black humour. Sometimes it was a bit too obvious, but it had an increasing insider feel which was a whole lot of fun in itself. Especially the 3rd series felt at times like fan-fiction almost 🙂 Which Fuller has also admitted in a way. I wonder if writing the series so much for fans is the best idea. I am undecided, as there is a great pleasure to be had from seeing your wishes come true on screen 😉 And that I am sure was certainly true in series 3 for the fans of the series. I would probably normally advocate for exactly the opposite: keep them guessing, keep them wanting and keep them watching 🙂 But when the possibility of the end draws nearer I think it is the right time to give the fans a bit of what they have wanted all along. I think the series finale certainly did that.

I have moved past all the arguments about the glamourisation of the criminal universe Hannibal lives in. The books have been out there for a while, serial killers are not new to TV. Not all creative ideas are fuzzy, comfortable, some are twisted, disturbing. I don’t think it is for everyone but I also don’t think it is something that shouldn’t be. With the right disclaimers it can certainly be enjoyed 🙂 And not taken too seriously as it is not meant to be in any way even a slight depiction of reality. Just like we accept the fictional universe in say Star Trek, or Game of Thrones or some superhero movie, we can accept this one too. I found myself to be a bit hypocritical being negative about the theme of it but at the same time enjoying watching it. I still maintain some of my critical points (see above) but I don’t have a problem with the universe itself as a fictional set up.

I am glad there is something different in the Tv panorama of today, it is always good to have innovation and change and Hannibal is a great part of a trend of increased quality on the small screen. In fact over the last years I’ve seen more interesting things on TV than in the cinema and certainly better written and better made.

So yes, I will miss it, TV will be much duller without it.

What about the finale? I had to watch it twice before expressing what I felt about it, to double check.  And the first word that comes to mind is still… romantic 🙂 And in a totally fanfic  kind of way to add to that. I would almost argue they went a bit too far with it as I had to giggle and smile more than once and it overrode the abundance of blood, fleshy parts and dead bodies by a mile!

They still played games, they like it too much, but I think ultimately they created a fitting end for the fans. In case we thought we managed to outplay them last time by looking away at the right times from lip-snagging and barbecuing they made sure they cheekily re-inserted the relevant highlights in the places where you just didn’t have time to look away. So there I was slapping my palm over my eyes and ewww-ing at the TV again. I guess with Hannibal still in prison for most of the ep and Dolarhyde doing most damage with a gun, so low on gore, they wanted to make that last point.

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‘I can’t stand to watch you burn’… oh that face of suffering… sniff, sniifff..

Afraid it didn’t distract me quite enough not to notice, like I did in the last ep already, that they got Chilton’s teeth wrong. Whatever happened to him, his teeth could not have changed and the lower mandible closes in most cases below the upper range of teeth. Ie the teeth overlap, they never close edge on edge the way he was shown. The devil really is in the detail 😀

Regardless of wrong teeth I was still happy Chilton survived (and how just like Hannibal to wish him not to be too ugly 😉 ).

The episodes proceeded to get rid step by step of all but the 3 male leads.

rejectedyou

Goodbye Hannibal… i rejected you (yeah, right….)

First on was poor Reba. I am impressed considering they had to integrated the Dolarhyde story into the overall series how much of the book material they covered and actually how faithfully. Thankfully Francis managed not to kill her, but the experience was utterly scary. All the ordering around and the fire 😦  There were flashes of Francis regretting the outcome and losing her because she ‘felt good’ but sadly, even he realises it is all over for him. Maybe I am just hanging on to some little positive thing, but I believe he showed her clearly where the key was and made sure she knew the way to the door and back not just to keep her under his control and deceive her about his death but at least subconsciously to also make sure she could make it out of there. And whether he is dead or not, their relationship could not go on 😦 😦 😦 I could barely stand it to hear the sounds of anguish when he flicked the match to the floor…

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Perspectives, lights, lines, glass, stances…. love everything about it!

I am glad they gave us the little scene with Reba and Will in the hospital. It was good to see she is resilient and will make it through and also good to see Will empathise and provide support. We’ve almost only seen him chase or interact with the bad guys and it was nice to see this side of him.  Maybe that is the side of him Molly saw…. Too bad we saw it too late and I didn’t believe him when he promised Reba to come back and see her. And I felt really touched at what Will told Molly about Dolarhyde and her relationship with him, that he wasn’t a monster but a ‘man with a freak on his back’. It is what we felt all along about their relationship and I was happy in spite of the sad ending that Fuller decided to remind viewers of the value in that relationship (remember episode for fans and all that ;-)).

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‘Meat is back on the menu’ 😀

This is where we left the book behind and we were on completely new territory. We knew the ending would somehow belong to Will and Hannibal and I never thought Hannibal inside the asylum would be it. I’m glad they decided to bring Dolarhyde into the finale. I’m taking it as a massive compliment to Armitage and his acting talents (and I don’t think it is just the fan in me speaking, or the fan in Fuller for that matter 😉 He’s a fan alright but the critics have praised Armitage’s Dolarhyde from his first appearance so it was not just the nice thing to do for fans but also the right thing to do for the series).

righteoustwitchyman

‘righteous twitchy little man’ and again those camera angles and shots to die for!

Also, while the last episode put me at odds with Will this one managed to reconciled me back again. Yes, it’s probably because they gave me enough sugar coating to swallow the bitter pill. I enjoyed the strength he managed to summon up, first to snub Hannibal when he thought a resolution had been reached and then to go back and really end it when it became obvious not taking action was no longer an option.

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Will says .. please

I’m slightly frustrated Alana got away, I always much preferred her to Chilton, but I can’t imagine her still being interesting or putting up a fight as character after a fire. At least we got to see Margot and the kid 🙂 I still think Margot had the better clothes, she always did! (Speaking of which I am prepared to forgive them that white number Hannibal wore in the church because they put him in some really nice clothes at the end).

goingmyway

want a ride? (doesn’t he looks just innocent sometimes?)

Bedelia’s anger and angst was quite funny, especially with Will dismissing it. Ah, how mean and petty of her to call him a twitchy little man 😀 And only after Will revealed he will be instrumental to Hannibal’s mock escape. I almost think there is more jealousy in her reaction than fear. Will telling her in that ironic voice ‘meat’s back on the menu’ was great! Some of the best lines in the show.

themoon

Let’s not forget the moon (what else are you looking at? tsk tsk tsk)

Speaking of lines, I’m actually not sure about Hannibal making reference to ‘mic drop’… Not that it didn’t fit the situation, but it doesn’t sound like something the smooth doctor would say. But he did say ‘he thought they called it a mic drop’ rather than owning the phrase.

cantsavemyself

cheekbones 🙂 and those looks in his eyes

It was quite a sad interchange between Will and H, as quite of few of them have been. Even though H succeeded in wounding him again through his family I did feel throughout the series that H was loosing ground with Will. Which is why H’s baits have been getting more aggressive as of late. I think when he turned himself in he was so sure of Will he thought he would always have him there. But Will has grown stronger and has overcome some of the trauma from the past and he is not quite so dependent on Hannibal as before, probably more dependent on his darker instincts than on Hannibal (to a point). He took quite some perverse pleasure in pointing out Hannibal would have been there had Will not rejected him first… outch! I almost felt sorry when Hannibal asked if it had been good to see him again. Unrequited love can be quite painful as both Hannibal and Bedelia seem to have found out. Twitchy little Will, eh? Who knew his tender charms could have them all so dependent on him, in different ways, but still. I did see the charm myself though, especially this episode.

layhislifeforfriend

‘I don’t know if i can save myself’

I felt from the point where Dolarhyde first catches him that all 3, D, Will and H were equals. And not only that but tied through weird and dark similarities. They really made for a strange sort of threesome. Each with their own weakness and insanity. None weaker than the other two, all intelligent but sadly broken, all needed something from the others and being incapable of breaking free. All on the search of some kind of freedom and staying trapped.

suicideenemy

all that play with perspectives… and light

I think each one is searching for an ending or senses the ending near, each thinking that the death of the other 2 would liberate him somehow. I think even Will considers of knows this ‘out’ but is secretly hoping Dolarhyde will take the decision out of his hands. It is why, unlike with everyone else, these is no fear in any of them. Why Will is neither very surprised to find Dolarhyde in front of him, nor surprised to be alive. And there is an undeniable attractiveness to all 3 characters when in these final acts they are each so self-assured. I am sure Jack knows Will is lying but this is not the Will that can be intimidated.

nolongeralone

Dolarhyde, finally not alone

Dolarhyde on the other hand wants to meet Lecter, I don’t think out of admiration. In all his insanity he is intelligent enough to have realised by now that Lecter has played him and that he has probably lost Reba due to the way Lecter baited the dragon and he probably thinks he can kill the dragon by killing Lecter. I am not sure he realises he is on the path of killing himself too, but it is quite possible he thinks of himself being changed rather than dead… As he himself admits, trusting Reba with some of the truth has liberated him in some way, he doesn’t feel he needs to hide any part of him anymore. This confidence and determination make him stand tall and appear more physically imposing than ever before. (Strange how there is a change in Will’s physicality as well, even he seems a notch taller than before and his posture certainly exudes more inner strength than before).

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Hannibal wounded waits for Will to act

Some, like Will and Dolarhyde have come to decisions more instinctively than consciously and some like Hannibal have been plotting all along. I feel Hannibal too has accepted the possibility of his own death, the temporary freedom only means something to him because it brings Will back not because of freedom per se. There is an almost a shrugging off attitude he has to his own death, evident when he speaks about the sea eroding his shore and the place disappearing soon, just as he thinks he will.

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the Dragon’s last flutter…

It is why he is waiting patiently and almost excitedly for the Red Dragon to catch up with them, because he expects Will to step up to the plate so to speak. He expects something from Will which he has been waiting for all along.

I don’t think I quite realised that the first time around, it was just all overwhelming, but it became clear when he dropped to the floor shot with Dolarhyde talking about changing him and the look in his eyes as he was watching Will. Dolarhyde was almost of no consequence to him in the situation, it was all about what Will would do.

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The man behind Dolarhyde. the one who managed to save Reba in the end, finally Fuller bathes his face in golden light so we can see all its beauty

In this weird world of theirs blood and death and killing people is how these broken men express their admiration, their love if you will. In spite our eyes taking in all the blood spatter and the body count growing in their path the undeniable feeling about it is one of romanticism.

fire2

Dolarhyde burns the dragon… what an incredibly beautiful image and silhouette

It is a good thing Will has enough sanity and connection to reality left to end it 😉 Meat may be back on the menu, but it really has to be to be a one off banquet.

And given how this world is upside down it couldn’t be clearer what the whole blood fest stands for. It is probably not how the fans wrote it in fanfic, but the feeling certainly was there. And the visuals were as much a feast for the eyes as possible. Each character was dressed perfectly for who they are but the best version of themselves. I couldn’t find fault in a dragon all in black, including a black leather jacket, in Will’s finally form fitting tailored trousers and white shirt and in H’s suits and elegant dark grey form fitting top. Thankfully no silly ties or suits in sight. I mean , let’s be really honest here, they couldn’t have shown more clearly how good looking all 3 are if they tried 🙂 There was at least 1 instance each where I smiled shaking my head at Fuller, but smiling in agreement nevertheless. I’ll freely admit Mads holding a glass of wine, with much shorter hair and smiling ever so slightly (looking nothing like a killer would thankfully) looked stunning too, in that instance I really got the appeal. So yeah, I didn’t mind those 3 men in one room at the same time at all 🙂

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Redemption for Dolarhyde? finally free of the dragon…

I was really sad Dolarhyde became the sacrificial lamb in a way, but while for H it was all about Will’s reaction I think for Will it quickly became obvious that D was physically capable of overpowering any of them 2. That was not how he had started this plan and it is something he couldn’t allow. And I think also when it came down to it although he said he would watch Dolarhyde kill Hannibal he couldn’t quite do it. While they other 2 killers may have been driven by their insanity I think Will make the only possible conscious choice, choice undoubtable allowed by his own darker instincts. This is probably the only he was able to do it, indulge.. how did Bedelia put it.. an extreme sense of compassion, because in that instance it was also the right decision to make for the only possible viable outcome. He could simply not let the dragon survive and the only way to prevent that was for him and H to act together.

As horrible as the killing actually was (agrr, bloody Hannibal and his bites) the choreography was beautiful and it managed to stay just shy of animalistic and just appalling. But at the same time show what each of them are, Dolarhyde just a man, just as Will in a way, and Hannibal something so much more unhinged and unnatural. There was an eerie beauty in the image of Dolarhyde splayed on the tiles with the blood fanning around him like wings, his blue eyes standing out. Interesting that they left his face untouched 🙂 And didn’t destroy the frame either with too much cut flesh showing or anything else that would make the image disgusting. Also, although bathed in quite a bit of blood the darkness kept it from being too revolting both on Will and Hannibal. Their eyes and foreheads and hair remained largely untouched and again the injuries remained hidden.

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It’s all Hannibal ever wanted for them…

(Compare this to what was done to Verger and to poor Chilton…. Nothing really to mar these 3 in these final moments).

I can’t say I am completely surprised by the end. As I was watching it for the first time I was actually expecting Will and H to kill each other, stabbing or something. The way it actually happened was poetic in comparison. I fully expected H to say what he did, that this is what he had wanted all along, he’s been pining for Will to become his ‘partner in crime’ for a really long time. I am not sure I like ‘my’ Will to go for it and say  ‘it was beautiful’. I admit I found it shocking when I first heard it, just because I never really wanted to have the admission of Will’s darker side (just like I mentally erase the fact that Dolarhyde has killed families before meeting Reba). But given his next gesture it made sense, this is the only was he would be able to admit to it, if while admitting he also puts an end to it. It is what keeps Will human, he knows it is wrong and can’t actually live with it.

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Will decides

Fuller has left it sort of open with the scene added and I guess this could be explored further but for me it is the satisfactory and right end. I need Will to remain on the positive side of the story. While the attraction and game might be interesting with all the ‘what ifs’ I couldn’t actually handle them as a pair of killers.

But Will and Hannibal in a light embrace dropping off the edge off the cliff into the dark sea… yeah that had a sort of beauty to it. The song sung by Siouxsie was the perfect soundtrack to this. I felt all my buttons being pushed in that scene, from beginning to end and I enjoyed it. I still feel sorry for Reba, but however much I wanted Dolarhyde redeemed I can’t wish a serial killer on her, there was truly only one way to redeem him.

Maybe it was all sorts of cheesy and obvious and indulgent, but why not, it was the end after all.

Well played Mr Fuller, I’m happy with that.

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Goodbye…

PS As an aside, I need to look at least for curiosity’s sake at  how H did here in the UK in viewing figures; it is prominent on Sky and it has always been on the channel promos/images between the shows and it has been this way for the last 2 seasons at least.

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Distracted or applying evasive maneuvres

Warning, spoilers ahead for Hannibal s3 ep 12  and talk about icky stuff, so if you have a sensitive stomach best to skip this 😉

Francis? (or is it the dragon at this point? ) carrying Reba .. bound :-(

Francis? (or is it the dragon at this point? ) carrying Reba .. bound 😦 My cap… easy to guess why.

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 😉

bitchyFreddie

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.

images NBC

images NBC

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.

see, told you! would you eat that??? yeah, i know, guy in mask big -distraction

see, told you! would you eat that??? yeah, i know, guy in mask big -distraction

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….).

The dragon showing off his 'art' .. i'm not showing you those shots though :-) Focus on the essentials, arms+Kimono

The dragon showing off his ‘art’ .. i’m not showing you those shots though 🙂 Focus on the essentials, arms+Kimono

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 ).

out of sequence, he's just listening to some music, fret not ;-) (yeah, right!)

out of sequence, he’s just listening to some music, fret not 😉 (yeah, right!)

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 😉

Look, he's brought some ice.. it was getting hot in here

Look, he’s brought some ice.. it was getting hot in here

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!).

my cap.. wish we could see on his face what he is thinking.. probably the point of no turning back

my cap.. wish we could see on his face what he is thinking.. probably the point of no turning back

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.

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.

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 😀

A new lady but definitely no sun

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR s3e9!!

Reba McClane /Rutina Wesley

Moving swiftly on, after this week we will be already mid way in this story line so i guess things will speed up a bit.

Overall this episode really felt much better put together; logical i guess since there was less catching up to do.  A few surprises and they still managed to trip me up once in a while although i should know by now not to expect things to go well.. ever.

But let’s start with the agreeable bites, er.. bits.  We suddenly had food that i can qualify as edible! Stuff that i could actually eat while watching the show without my stomach doing flips. I love Babybels and that was certainly a funny addition. Though how anyone could leave one unfinished is beyond me really.

Unfortunately nice food came with discovering Dolarhyde has, in spite of apparently strict education, pretty appalling table manners. First he puts chewed food back in the fridge and later on he devours a cherry pie as if he hadn’t seen food in years. He doesn’t even seem to know how to hold a fork properly. I get that Hannibal calls him a very shy ‘boy’ but did they really have to make him look that ‘raw’ to differentiate him from Hannibal? They seem to be trying almost forcefully to show us how different they are. And not very consistently. I don’t think FD and his detailed ‘becoming’ obsession fit somebody quite as unpolished as they are making him out to be.

Besides, he asks for the plum, offers to take her home in his van, i doubt even in front of somebody who can’t see him he’d give up control quite as spontaneously just over a pie.

I also wonder what the childhood flashback means? It didn’t show much else besides a highly orderly household, judging by the dinner table alone, dominated by elderly people and particularly a stern looking old woman. The visuals didn’t tell more and again i’m left wondering how much of the back-story is implied and i am expected to know and how much are they actually going to tell. Is this just another thread, barely started, which will run in parallel to the contemporary story, gradually expanding on DF’s personality? That would make sense to me as it would balance the apparent increasing madness with historic problems. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how much more we’ll get and how they will intertwine the timelines. I am still doubtful people who haven’t read the book can really makes sense of what has been shown so far.

Just to tie off the foodie thoughts: while at least this time round food was not tainted with blood (we even saw cake in the flashbacks Will was having of the murdered family) it was made to look creepy nevertheless. The literally blood red gooey pie Reba cut into with a big shiny knife was not your normal ‘mouth watering’ moment. The plums were red as well. but at least we didn’t see anyone actually take a bite.

You have to give it to the DOP (director of photography), he certainly knows his job. The most nurturing and innocent of images are turned quite blood curdling and scary with just a bit of lighting and camera work. Nothing is quite as it seems.

The camera work is incredibly creative and smooth. I’ve seen a film in the cinema recently and within 20 minutes i was nearly dizzy with the cuts back and forth and the views over the shoulder (made the mistake to waste money on 3D). Here you barely notice the change in perspective and you don’t necessarily switch between the participants; you see them mirrored, with the faces almost melding into each other or separating from each other, etc. It is creative and certainly pleasant to the eye. I hope these people will get really good jobs on other productions so we can enjoy their craft on other content too. Sometimes the blur of the background can be a bit too much, especially when the person in the background is actually talking, but generally they tend to make the right choice. Also, seen on the slightly bigger TV screen this didn’t feel nearly as dark.

The music certainly pushed our buttons, especially during the Hannibal+Will and Hannibal+Jack reunions. Those strings were really saaaaad and even i felt a tinge of pity for Hannibal being rejected: Will wouldn’t call him by his first name and you could see he was hurt and later on Hannibal mentioned he had given him a child (Abigail). Ok, it is very weird but in his warped way Hannibal feels very rejected and i think also very jealous. Of Will’s new family, which he dismisses as ‘ready made’, of his ability to not engage – apparently- of Will taking the moral high-ground ‘he is not to blame for anything’.

This strange protectiveness also comes across when he scolds Jack for using Will: how much room does he have left for new scars?

While i find Alana’s teasing and mundane threats nothing more than irritating, Hannibal’s protectiveness and jealousy  is dangerous  and his fixation with Will’s new family is i fear an indication of bad things to come.

In startling contrast to Hannibal’s keen insights into Will (and the reasons why he didn’t want to have children of his own for example) is Will’s interaction with Molly. It felt somewhat more natural than the first time around but they still live in parallel worlds. Even i jumped at her joking statement about having a criminal mind even as a young boy. I think the producers have now made it abundantly clear that she has no clue who Will is or what torments him. I suspect the series is trying to tell us Hannibal cares much more. Freddie certainly seems to think the same 😉

Again, i am not sure i agree with the choice. Why should we dislike Molly? Even if she doesn’t fully understand what is going on with Will, i’d think she would care about him enough to have more empathy. But they seem to be talking in parallel pretty much all the time and she doesn’t seem to sense the fact that Will is gradually falling to pieces again. This decomposition i thought was beautifully done with the shattering mirrors. However, i wish they hadn’t replicated the ‘bloody under the moonlight’ image with Will. It’s startling and powerful and it looses its value when overused and repeated like this. Or they could have gone back to the original one?

In a strange way, but so typical of this show, that very same moment provided some comic relief. I’ve watched it several times now and every time i found myself giggling at Hannibal explaining that the fenced garden would have been essential for Dolarhyde howling naked at the moon because ‘one must show consideration for the neighbours’. Some other puns were a bit bleh but this one made me laugh. Maybe because it is such a British thing to say? 😉

We finally got to know Reba and see her first encounter with Dolarhyde. She’s lucky she can’t see him as i think that intense stare would scare anyone away or at the very least make one apprehensive. I love the way she is so open and confident, a nice contrast to his restrained and guarded ways in public. You can almost see how he is drawn in by the openness. The ominous music that accompanies their encounters suggests some of his interest is definitely not safe for her. They seem to want to suggest with lighting and sound that his murderer instinct is the first one triggered and that he studies her in the same way he may have studied his victims. But while his stare is scary his voice is something very different.

My first reaction to his first words was an almost overwhelming sense of relief due to the instant recognition 🙂 That tone of voice and the deep, even if slightly raspy vibration can only be Armitage. And with such a scary series the very familiar becomes comforting 🙂 At least for an instant. In the next the ear perks up again and perceives both the masterful distortion of speech and the surprising accent. The speech defect is just prominent enough to match the facial scar, sometimes hidden and sometimes highlighted by the lighting depending on which character trait the director wanted to draw attention to. As to the accent it is the first time RA has really sounded startlingly foreign to me. I can only marvel at the incredible skill and hard work that must be behind such a consistent delivery of a different accent and speech pattern. And to still make it perfectly understandable and clear. I understood everything, which is why Reba’s assertions only made more sense. It doesn’t feel like she is paying compliments of any sort, she just speaks the truth as she hears it. It is this straightforwardness and truthfulness that made her instantly likeable for me.

I would say it is what fascinates Dolarhyde as well, he’s probably never been approach like this by a female before. He very likely doesn’t even realise she is flirting with him and that he is almost unconsciously flirting back. And i don’t mean the smiling scene but the one in the lab where she jokes he wants something in addition to the plum and then offers to develop the films for him with privacy guaranteed. In both instances we only hear him, we can’t really see his expression fully but his voice is smiling 🙂 Or i certainly thought i heard a smile in his voice. It is so far the moment he has been most human to me. It also seems a new experience for him to want her company for his ‘pleasure’. The ‘trust me, i’m smiling’ moment felt so dangerous however that i still wonder at this point if he is not seriously considering making her one of his victims, this last one certainly didn’t feel like a romantic or ‘soft’ moment of any kind. The sense of danger was for me even more acute since just a second earlier he had completely retreated within himself, all shy and conscious of his speech. And with her words of assurance i am not sure if what she brought out was not more ‘dragon’ than Dolarhyde.

He seems to be rather good at this chameleonic switch flicking between moods and personalities.

All this lovely jubbly business aside the episode also had a whole load of stuff i was really not expecting to see and certainly not to see that much of. I thought we’d done the murder scene walk through already but no, we revisited it.. again and again and again! And each time it was more and more bloody and horrendous… gratuitous gore and  violent imagery. Yes, Will’s mind spins out of control but why wait to show us a blood covered room only now? I found the repetition and escalation nearly unbearable. And it got downright horrendous when it turned out it was just the image of the female which was repeated so shockingly. The second even more unpleasant ‘surprise’ was that contrary to what i had been lead to believe by Fuller’s statements the actual act of murder was shown and not only that but the full implication of what Dolarhyde was doing. There really was no mistaking it and apart from showing the 2 bodies together nothing much else was left to the imagination.

There was also the shudder inducing tail of the dragon which was also very scary for me, but it really didn’t even come close to the above which invaded the episode several times and which i have a really hard time extricating from my visual memory. I don’t know what else they could have shown us that they decided not to, but to me this was pretty much showing us exactly what had happened in graphic detail.

I for one will have a mountain to climb to find any sympathy whatsoever after this, regardless of what they will show me next. They made perfectly sure that the act itself is burned into my memory.

There were a couple of things which i wasn’t quite sure why they were there.

I understand taking Hannibal out of his cell and letting him wonder around in his memories and an imaginary world he enjoys makes sense, especially visually, but i don’t care much about Abigail or bringing her back this way. Just fillers which i hope will take up less time in future episodes.

I don’t get why Dolarhyde strokes Will’s image with a finger and then licks the ink? Or was it Hannibal’s face he was licking? Either way that was in a way weirder even than the dragon tail.

All in all a good episode, for me the best of the season, or the first one that really gelled and worked in terms of dialogue as well, less psycho-babble and more actual interaction. If they had started the season like this i doubt they would be where they are now. But it is what it is. As far as horror shows go i guess this was spot on. Certainly creeped me out beyond my comfort zone. All i want to do is go grab Reba and drag her away from Dolarhyde et co as fast and as far away as possible.