“This is why Scientologists hate psychology”.
This week’s episode of HANNIBAL, the tenth episode of season three, an episode titled ‘And the Woman Clothed In Sun”, was a big episode for two characters that weren’t Hannibal or Will Graham. Bedelia and Francis (The Tooth Fairy) really took centre stage this week, as we learnt a lot about The Dragon and uncovered some new things about Bedelia, things that weren’t quite so obvious in her previous appearances, but looking back, have always been hiding under the surface, waiting to reveal themselves.
Bedelia returned to the show as Will paid a visit to a talk she was leading, a talk regarding her time spent with the infamous Hannibal Lecter, still spinning her lies about those dark days spent in Europe and how she was convinced by him that she wasn’t herself, that her mind was compromised by a dark force out of her control. It was a fantastic scene as she prowled around, barely breaking stride as she spotted Will’s late attendance, directing the latter part of her spiel at him, bringing up Dante for the second time this season and how she didn’t enter the gates of hell, that she was consumed by the “mouth of the beast”. Later on in the episode, the two of them would engage in a one on one, a little — not so cosy — chat as they discussed Hannibal and their relationship with both him and the truth. It turns out Hannibal has been sending her cards over the years, along with — in typical Hannibal fashion (his sense of humour is magnificent) — recipes for certain dishes, letting her know that he still plans to eat her one day.
“My relationship with Hannibal is not as passionate as yours”.
There is an undercurrent — well kind of — to the Hannibal and Will relationship, and Bedelia has become the first person on the show to really acknowledge it, the first person to recognise the romance between the two men. It was a great moment when she brought it up to Will, beating around zero bushes as she did so. The look on Will’s face was great as she asked if his wife knows the extent of his relationship with his ‘friend’.
“The alchemy of lies and truths”.
The biggest moments for Bedelia this week, while coming from these moments with Will, also came from the scene that accompanied it, the one that took the form of a flash black, cut up and fused with her conversation with Will. We were treated to finally seeing the moment in time we have heard so much about, the one we have only seen snippets of before, the incident in her office where her patient died and she gave in wholly to Hannibal’s influence. Played by Zachary Quinto, her patient is seen coming to her fresh from Hannibal’s therapy, distraught and upset by Lecter’s ‘care’. But as we soon see, Bedelia isn’t exactly jumping at the chance to help this poor and fragile young man.
It is revealed that Hannibal had played with him, much like he had toyed with Will, but unlike Mr Graham he was discarded and sent off to Bedelia. Revealed to Will in the parallel scene, her first instinct isn’t to help a needy individual; her impulse is something much darker, something much more terrifying. Her patient begins to choke, clawing at his throat for air, and as it looks like she is about to help him… she suddenly doesn’t. With her hand down his throat to clear his airwaves, her true nature is revealed as she simply continues to slide her arm further inside him, killing him dead. Just like that. “Next time you have an instinct of helping someone, you might consider crushing them instead” she tells Will. This was a scary scene. Not just the action that was revealed to have taken place, but her body language and cadence as she spoke.
This was really Bedelia’s coming out party as a monster in her own right. Whether this was always her nature or was helped and nurtured by Hannibal’s presence in her life, is up for debate. Whatever the case, I won’t be looking at her the same way again.
Jumping over to Francis and a equally twisted tale, we first see The Tooth Fairy breaking into Hannibal’s old home and enacting the call to him that we saw at the end of last week’s installment. Richard Armitage certainly gives an interesting performance in this role. It’s certainly a hard one to play and can easily come off as cartoony, but he balances the nuances well, delivering to us a depiction of a very tortured and unfortunate soul. He’s a stark contrast to everything that Doctor Lecter is.
HANNIBAL is an impressive show, its visuals being right at the top of its accomplishments, none more so than Francis watching a conversation between himself and Hannibal that never really happened in person (I think) and how he inexplicably transforms into an artistic depiction of the dragon himself — tails and all. It was really quite the site, matched in grandeur by a later scene as he took his new girlfriend to the zoo, treating her to some time with a sedated tiger. Her blindness countered by a superb visual of the animal’s skin glowing bright like the sun as she stroked it.
Episode ten really served as a vehicle to flesh out Francis’ character. He took up a great deal of screen time this week as we got to know him more, as we got inside his head further and further, as the inner working of his deranged psyche were uncovered little by little. This is a good thing, no doubt about it and as the season was originally conceived — with a fourth hopefully coming after — this all makes perfect sense. This is something more shows and movies need to do, to flesh out there villains to become more than scenery chewing monsters, to attempt to make us feel something for them. But knowing that these last handful of episodes will be the shows last, that the swan song is coming, I kind of want the show to spend more time with its core dynamic, to concentrate these last minutes with Hannibal and Will.
I am sure the season will end on a big note (going by season two) and I trust the shows creative’s to bring Will and Lecter’s third season arc to a fitting end, but there is a little part of me that worries we will be left longing for a satisfying conclusion to their story. Not resolution per say, that’s not mandatory, but something… I don’t know. Hell, I’m just going to miss them. I really am.
The episode ended with a bang this week, a climax that came pretty much from nowhere, setting up some surely exciting moments to come. Francis and Will found themselves face to face in the final scene after both going to visit the infamous Red Dragon painting, the former consuming the art and then throwing Will across the room like the demon he has become. It was a great moment because it wasn’t telegraphed. A lot of shows would have saved a moment like this for the finale, the first meeting between hero and bad guy is normally something that comes later, so I appreciated this slight subversion of expectation.
‘And the Woman Clothed In Sun’ was another step towards our final destination, another fantastic chapter of storytelling logged away and another example that HANNIBAL has become one of the greatest book to TV adaptations around. It’s hard to explain HANNIBAL to someone who hasn’t watched it. It’s not enough to say it’s a show about Hannibal Lecter. It is a show that has to be experienced to be appreciated, you have to allow it to wash over you, it’s a sensory experience like none other on TV. But alas, it’s too late to convince those that stayed away, HANNIBAL is for me and you now. It’s our show and the fact that it’s fan base is small, kind of makes it all the more special.
SIDE NOTE: Hannibal’s tampered phone call in order get to Will was a scene worth mentioning. There was something about his delivery of the words that reminded me of Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of the character. I don’t know if it was a nod to him in anyway but I found something there and enjoyed it greatly.