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 😀