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Hannibal 3.11 “…And the Beast from the Sea” Review: Are We Having Fun Yet?

16 Aug

Hannibal is certainly enjoying himself even if no one else is as his “sophisticated intelligence” allows him to forecast many things such as the ‘chance’ encounter between Will Graham and Francis Dolarhyde at the end of last week’s episode. This meddling enters even more dangerous territory as he gives Will’s personal address to his new protege – which he also obtained through nefarious means – imploring him to “Save yourself. Kill them all.” Whispering it in his ear as if it is a sweet nothing.

This is what Hannibal does best; manipulate someone in crisis to kill and Dolarhyde has already crossed the murder threshold and really doesn’t need much convincing. Particularly now Reba is on the scene and he fears his impulses and the Great Red Dragon will turn their rage toward her.

Hannibal 3.11 Hannibal and DolarhydeSurrendering to Jack Crawford was Hannibal’s ultimate fuck you to Will; Will wanted Hannibal out of his life for good and this was his way of ensuring his location is known at all times. Jack is who brought Will back into Hannibal’s orbit and because of Will’s special investigative skills, Hannibal had to foresee that their paths would inevitably cross over a tableau of death. All he had to do was bide his time and there has been plenty to occupy Hannibal with papers to write, books to read, sketches to draw and places to hang out in his memory palace. But now is where the real fun is to be had. After all Will isn’t fortune’s fool, he’s Hannibal’s and Hannibal is more than up for wearing this crown.

Despite a change in living arrangements everyone is taking up their old mantles with Hannibal as chief antagonist and mischief maker. Jack is the “fisher of men” borrowing Will’s brain regardless of the consequences as he pushes to get results leaving a trail of misery to be cleaned up later. The Jack we saw in Italy was remorseful, but that was three years ago and he has a serial killer to catch so his priority has shifted. Alana has also resumed her former position of moral compass questioning Jack’s suggestion at pushing Dolarhyde to self-destruct (or rather kill himself). Not that suicide is something Dolarhyde will go for as Will posits that he will be too afraid of unleashing the beast even if he dies as the delusion is this strong.

Hannibal 3.11 Will and HannibalHannibal wants Dolarhyde to take an interest in Will and his brief interaction with him has done just this. Dolarhyde is somewhat scathing of his appearance – yes Will looks a little world weary but Hugh Dancy is still undeniably handsome no matter how hard they try – but he finds him interesting in how “purposeful” he looks. Will’s family is the perfect sacrificial lamb for both Hannibal and Dolarhyde as it saves Reba from the beast within while also destroying Will’s happiness. Something Hannibal views as disingenuous and as a temporary facade which Will hides his true self behind. It is why “…And the Beast from the Sea” ends with Hannibal asking Will “Don’t you crave change?” In the same way Dolarhyde is splitting his personality, Hannibal believes Will is doing the same, the difference being that Will is trying to suppress his beast.

This mischief making can only go on for so long before Alana delivers on her promise to remove pretty much everything from his cell. Yes even the toilet. Setting a serial killer on Will’s family doesn’t revoke his privileges, but they still need Hannibal’s help at this point. Alana plays a game with the phone getting his real lawyer on the other line and Hannibal is all ‘well you could have just asked me’ sassing off. Claiming he has always told her the truth in his own way is like saying “oops I thought you realized your beer had people in it” and there is something very Jaye Tyler about the way Caroline Dhavernas delivers some of her lines with Hannibal this week; she has no time for his bullshit. It is amazing and I wish there was more Wonderfalls in the world.

Hannibal 3.11 Alana Bloom Hannibal 3.11 AlanaExcept now she is wearing killer lady suits of which there are several amazing ones this week. All slightly toned down from previous bold stripe affairs and there is a subtle hint of Hannibal inspired plaid when she strips him of his dignity. Hannibal it would seem is probably even more inclined to keep his promise and even when he is completely incapacitated, face mask and all I still fear for her future. Right now she has all the power, but as we have seen he can get to someone even when he is locked up. And this look he gives her is terrifying.

Hannibal 3.11 maskReally, really terrifying.

But Hannibal was never going to give up his special shy boy and he gives them just enough time to find the location Dolarhyde has been ringing from while also letting Dolarhyde know they are onto him. That’s what will get your toilet taken away from you.

The sea and the moon are intrinsically linked and the Blake painting which gives this episode its title shows what could be both Dolarhyde as the Great Red Dragon with Hannibal as the Beast from the Sea. Hannibal is shown reaching for the sky after he has sent Dolarhyde on his new mission as Will enters his chamber suggesting his beastly motives even further.

Hannibal 3.11 Hannibal in cell Hannibal 3.11 the moonOnce again the use of space and place is incredible as the dome itself looks like a giant moon with the actual moon forming the center of the image, illuminating Hannibal in the process.

Here are a couple of other really great shots from Hannibal’s cell location from both sides of the glass:

Hannibal 3.11 Hannibal, Alana and Jack

Hannibal 3.11 empty cellThe second one really emphasizes how sparse it is without anything but a very uncomfortable looking bed.

Two romantic relationships are impacted this week because of the Great Red Dragon’s urges. Last week Dolarhyde  felt a living woman for the first time (let’s not dwell too long on the living part) and this has disrupted his relationship with the Dragon. Reba and D have a lovely date night with martinis and snuggling, but Dolarhyde has homework to do and by homework he means watch his stalker movie of Molly, Walter and the dogs.

Hannibal 3.11 Molly on filmWhen cute turns creepy in two frames.

Hannibal 3.11 Reba and D Hannibal 3.11 date nightAll is going swell between them until his botched murder night out and after beating himself up (like, actually beating himself up while envisioning the dragon is doing it a la Fight Club) he breaks things off with Reba because he is afraid what might happen if he doesn’t.

Dolarhyde’s night time venture doesn’t quite end the way Hannibal would have preferred, but it does lead to difficult conversations with Will’s wife and the boy who calls him dad. The sequence where Dolarhyde walks around the secluded cabin while Molly and Walter escape is full on slasher horror movie terrifying. His all black attire, special set of teeth and the way he pulls the stocking down over his face is super creepy; this is a version of Dolarhyde we have not previously seen as he switches to stalk and kill mode. And he’s gone all out on the leather badass look to top things off. I wonder if this is what he has worn for his previous excursions or if this is a new ensemble. It’s like a twisted version of Netflix’s Daredevil costume. Hannibal is right that Molly’s survival took “a pinch more than luck” and we see her being incredibly resourceful in their escape.

Hannibal 3.11 DolarhydeAt first I was annoyed at how Molly is put in a position where she walks past an FBI warning about pet mutilation and decides to keep the information regarding the dogs getting sick from Will, but she is later redeemed by her quick thinking regarding the intruder. Molly later tells Will that thanks to Freddie’s article she instinctively knew it was the Tooth Fairy (Hannibal will be so mad that I’m calling him by his tabloid name) and for once Freddie’s writing has helped Will out of a bind. When she chose to not follow her son out of the window I had a brief moment where I yelled “WHY?” at the screen and then realized she needed the car keys to provide a distraction (or perhaps to getaway was the original plan). Molly gets all the smart points, although I do feel bad for the random passerby who got shot in the process as we don’t get a report of what happened to them and on second watch he definitely got shot in the head.

Freddie’s article does open a whole can of worms between Will and Walter as Walter now knows he killed someone and ended up in a mental hospital. Walter also has strong feelings regarding Dolarhyde’s fate and he doesn’t agree with Will wanting to catch him rather than kill him. Hannibal might like Will’s son after all. Walter has just experienced a horrific ordeal so it is not surprising his mind has turned to vengeance rather than empathy.

Hannibal 3.11 Will and MollyThey do not survive their encounter completely unscathed and Molly is shot in the shoulder as they drive away. She is angry at how these circumstances and Will’s job almost resulted in the death of her son and she has a right to feel this fucked off. Molly lays some of the blame at her own feet as she told him to go, while putting the rest on Jack for coming to get Will in the first place. Really Hannibal is the one who is to blame but Jack, Hannibal and Will are all intrinsically linked in the cause and effect of this encounter.

Molly remarks how it is “tough to hold onto anything good. It’s all so slippery” and this pretty much applies to every relationship on Hannibal (and this is why I’m currently worry for the other happy family unit of Alana, Margot and their son). Hopefully Hannibal’s not done any permanent damage here because the Molly/Will dynamic includes a much lighter Will than we have previously seen. They even manage to have a laugh after this tragedy. Hannibal will of course do everything in his power and with his bag of tricks to disrupt and fracture what is good as he pokes and prods until something breaks. If he can’t have his teacup then Will sure as hell can’t play happy families with someone else.

Playing Happy Families on Hannibal

2 Aug

Family and the different kinds that exist has been rippling under the surface of Hannibal since season 1 with plenty of opportunity for ‘my two dads’ references and this comes into focus once again this week in “…And the Woman Clothed with the Sun.” Or rather this is a chance to explore Hannibal’s relationship with Abigail in the period of time between when he framed Will for her murder and when Hannibal did actually end her life.

The first half of this season dipped into Hannibal’s past; not too much so we feel like we know Hannibal, but enough to understand his desire to find a new Mischa through the connections he makes with people like Chiyo, Will and Abigail. The idea of family doesn’t just relate to Hannibal and instead it is a jumping off point to explore what these characters have been doing over the last three years while also reflecting the murders that are being investigated.

Hannibal 3.09 Will and HannibalFrancis Dolarhyde an accidental matchmaker as he has brought Will back into Hannibal’s orbit and immediately the game is afoot (oops wrong crime series) with Hannibal poking and prodding in the back of Will’s brain. He immediately gets under his skin by correctly assessing he has a child in his life by the smell of his aftershave – Hannibal tells Abigail “We have a basic affinity for our family. We can detect each other from smell alone” – and Hannibal has always been one for sniffing Will Graham. There is a touch of bitterness in Hannibal’s tone when he mentions how he gave Will a child; Freddie’s ‘murder husbands’ tag is pretty accurate when related to this conversation as Hannibal comes across as the ex who thinks they tried their hardest and was rejected nonetheless.

In an attempt to protect himself from Hannibal’s mind games Will attempts to stick to the case and only refers to him using the formal Dr Lecter (which also hurts his former friend). In fact Alana is the only one of the surviving house of horrors bunch who calls him by his first name to his face and her interactions with him continue to be dangerously playful (more on that below).

Hannibal taunts Will first with quips about whether he can see himself killing the families and then by making light of his ‘makeshift’ family and how this mirrors what their new killer is doing – “he needs a family to escape what’s inside him.’ Oh Hannibal, you are such a shitbag. Much of Hannibal’s tricks come from drawing out what a person is ashamed of and giving it legitimacy; generally this involves getting them to kill someone. We’ve seen the results of his time with Randall Tier, how he tried to push Margot into killing Mason (which she eventually did) and with Will Graham.Hannibal 3.09 abigail and hannibal The flashbacks to Abigail’s faked death and subsequent sessions focus on this notion of family love stripping away at the shame and hatred she feels toward her father and leaving her with an understanding of why he did those things. Using the ultimate prop to allow Abigail to exercise her demons by confronting her father, Hannibal digs up Garett Jacob Hobbs allowing Abigail to inflict the same wound on him.

This is one of two throat slashes this week; the faked Abigail one mirrors the manner in which both her father and Hannibal inflicted the real wounds and it is very intimate. Whereas Abigail’s turn with the knife is traumatic (and pretty gross) and she is left needing Hannibal’s calming hands on her head as he tells her “never be ashamed of who you are.” Hannibal’s just trying to make everyone feel good about their murderous impulses simmering beneath the surface.

Hannibal 3.09 GJHShame feeds into Francis Dolarhyde’s situation from the way he is looked upon at the dinner table in his brief flashback – maybe it is the eating with two forks thing that does it – to how he feels in the present about his hair lip and his voice. Don’t worry Francis, Hannibal is here to make you feel better about and the two get their first session at the end of the episode over the phone with Francis posing as Hannibal’s lawyer. After a week of no dialogue, Richard Armitage gets to flex his vocal muscles aside from guttural screaming and he continues to mesmerize in his performance of Dolarhyde nailing the ‘Great Red Dragon’ urges along with his crippling shyness.

Reba McClane the blind technician draws Francis out of his shell and this is the first real interaction we have seen between him and someone that isn’t a painting. She instantly likes him because he doesn’t pity her and he’s more comfortable with her because she can’t see what he wants to hide from the world. Don’t try and touch his face though Reba.

Hannibal 3.09 bus stopTheir meet cute goes from the dark room to a bus stop which features an ad for a dental product and the “Open Wide” is so on the nose, but also pretty damn funny. Good work art department. And so much snow! It wouldn’t be Hannibal without piles and piles of snow.

Plus it leads to spectacular shots like this one:

Hannibal 3.09 the moonHannibal’s mind palace is not the only way in which they are playing with location and whereas Will’s cell felt like the walls were closing in on him, Hannibal’s has endless possibilities. From the way they transport Will and Hannibal to the crime scene to discuss the files to the use of Hannibal’s office as a space for them to discuss the case it allows for plenty of settings and costume changes.

Hannibal 3.09 murder houseIt’s not just Hannibal who envisions himself elsewhere and when Will calls Molly he also pictures himself lying beside her chatting about the new dogs they have both taken in. Just look at how warm this setting is in comparison to the locations drained of color.

Hannibal 3.09 Will and MollyHugh Dancy appeared in a stage production of Venus in Fur with Nina Arianda and the relationship between Will and Molly already feels very lived in. Hannibal is trying to infect this happiness (it is lovely to hear Will laugh) with suggestions of impulses and so Molly’s joke about Will having a criminal mind doesn’t go down that well. The conversation ends pleasantly, however the kind of sweat drenched nightmares which plagued Will during season 1 are back and this time he can’t blame them on encephalitis. The lid has been cracked; can Will keep those other urges under control while also successfully cracking the case?

Photographs and mirrors reflect our image, but they don’t always reveal what is really there. Photographs are a snapshot of a moment in time and the emotions expressed from that single image don’t always tell the truth. Will is looking for a connection between the two murdered families who live four states apart and the only thing he can summarize is they were happy. Will watches home videos or rather digital footage on a tablet, which is more likely to capture real sentiment over a snapshot. But these too can lie and digital is far easier to manipulate than actual film. Francis is old school with his choice of filming equipment and we see flashes of the home movie he made.

Broken mirrors distort the image, but what Francis wants to see is how he looks in his victims eyes as if he is part of them. For Will there is one person hovering behind the face of Hannibal Lecter and just as Will didn’t die in the kitchen nor did the stag.

Hannibal 3.09 wendingoBlood also acts as a mirror when Hannibal is staging Abigail’s death. Oh and isn’t it adorable that Hannibal doesn’t want to cut off one of Abigail’s fingers because he wants to teach her the harpsichord. Such a considerate father figure. I kid of course because isn’t an ear also important when it comes to playing instruments? Plus he was also setting the scene to frame Will, which is not a good way to treat family.

Hannibal 3.09 reflectionReflections also appear on the glass of Hannibal’s cell and I can only imagine what a nightmare it is to light these scenes and avoid the crew appearing alongside the actors. But you do get stunning shots like this one and it looks like there is a specter of Hannibal leaving with Will.

Hannibal 3.09 WillWhile I’m on the subject of stunning let it be known that this is at least the sixth time I have yelped and clapped my hands with glee at the sight of Alana Bloom’s costuming and Christopher Haggard is killing it this season with the lady suits (Alana is so far queen of #ladysuitwatch2015).

Hanibal 3.09 Alana and WillYucking it up with Jay Gatsby could be on the cards for Alana in this getup; a martini and cigarette holder is all that is needed to complete that look. At the same time it is a nod to Hannibal’s Italian striped attired and Alana’s sartorial choices are influenced by her former boyfriend. The last time we saw Alana chatting with Will it was far from cordial and they clearly have not kept in touch. Concern lingers with Alana taking her standard ‘worried about Will’ position and the warmth that previously existed between the pair has returned. He asks if she is still with Margot (she is) and they have a baby son, the all important Verger heir and Alana carried the baby. While Hannibal notes that Will doesn’t want children of his own because certain aspects might get passed on, Alana does not seem concerned that they will end up with a mini Mason. Just don’t let Hannibal anywhere near him.

Will asks the magic question regarding Alana’s motives in working here with Hannibal as her patient and her response is “There are only five doors between Hannibal and the outside. And I have the keys to all of them.” Control is important here as are boundaries, which Alana notes is not Hannibal’s forte. She also knows that her name is top of his kill list if he ever gets out and there is an aspect of keeping close to protect herself. Alana levels of dread when she talks with Hannibal are low and while he claimed she could never understand him, she knows him well enough to pinpoint what he fears the most and that is indignity. This scene between the pair is an interesting look at their shifting power dynamic and he never turns around to look at her in an attempt to outwit her, but she doesn’t back down either. Hannibal, you’re really missing out on an excellent suit here.

Hannibal 3.09 Hannibal and Alana Hannibal 3.09 Alana and HannibalLike Mason he is crass when it comes to her relationship with Margot and once again I am amazed that they got something like “I love a good finger wagging” followed by a reference to Margot by Standards and Practices. The camera focus shifts between them as we see them both trying to psych the other out with Will as the object between them. Hannibal snarks about the “moral dignity pants” Alana has him wearing and how Will is always free from fault. He treats her like a teacher telling him off for being a bad influence on a good kid.

Alana gives no fucks to Hannibal’s petulance in this situation, it helps there is a protective wall between them even if that wall is not visible.

Hannibal 3.09 Dr B and Dr L Hannibal 3.09 Dr L and Dr BShe threatens to take away all of his comforts and it is wonderful; “I’ll take your books. I’ll take your drawings. I’ll take your toilet. You’ll have nothing but indignity and the company of the dead.” I’m glad they have stuck with a fearless Alana (and Hannibal’s drawing of Alana last week points to this) rather than a quivering wreck, even if I am concerned that he will get an opportunity to follow through with his promise. I am also happy she is still with Margot and I hope their family unit can escape the shadow looming over every relationship on the show.

One person who has questioned Hannibal’s set up and Alana’s relationship with Hannibal considering she escaped the massacre at Muskrat Farm is Freddie Lounds. Yes Freddie is back and Tattle Crime provides an important service in letting Francis Dolarhyde see Will Graham’s face in relation to his case.

Hannibal 3.09 Tattle CrimeWill’s glasses! They remain off for the majority of the episode when he is interacting with those who know him and they come back on as soon as he leaves the facility.

Hannibal 3.09 Will glassesFreddie is back with her devious methods, insinuations and as a reminder of a long ago plot to capture Hannibal. Thanks to inferences about Alana Bloom and the nickname ‘murder husbands’ Will has no time for her shit even if she is spot on when it comes to how much serial killers love to read about themselves in the press. Freddie would make a good partner in this case despite her lack of boundaries or sense of ethics. She does continue to have an excellent coat collection.

Hannibal 3.09 Freddie LoundsIn the same way Will saw turning to Hannibal as a necessary evil, can he come to the same conclusion with Freddie before it is too late? She gets under his skin, but not into the back of his skull as Hannibal does.

The lengths we go to form and protect our families vary; the unique qualities are similar to how Hannibal discusses love with Abigail. Hannibal discusses honesty as he manipulates the shit out of everyone around him by using strong emotionally charges notions of love and family to pivot into a position of power. Francis Dolarhyde is a different kind of beast and yet Hannibal is curious enough to reach out to him and recognize his desire for a happy family. Reaching out to Dr. Lecter can give some benefits as he has experience in evading capture and he is nothing if not honest, but he also has plenty of self interests. Everyone is coming to him, some reluctantly and even though they know he is self serving there is an inevitability to it all. Hannibal will play the game and things are about to get very messy all over again.

Julie Hammerle

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