Hannibal: ‘The Number of the Beast Is 666’ Review – S03E12
“You once fooled yourself into thinking you were in control of what was happening”.
The penultimate weekend of the month. The penultimate episode of HANNIBAL. Episode 12, ‘The Number of the Beast Is 666’. We are nearly there now and I don’t like it at all. My woes concerning the series fate aside (for now), this was another excellent episode of HANNIBAL as we lay witness to the moves that will take our heroes closer to the Dragon and whatever fate awaits them there.
This episode was all about the chase, the chase for Francis led by Will, Jack and Alana and the pursuit for Will, led by, well… I guess Hannibal mostly but really just everybody. Fresh from the attack on his family, Will deduces the best way to capture the Dragon is to lure him closer, putting himself at risk — as bait — in order to throw the net. Along with Jack, Alana and a rather disgruntled Chilton — it was great seeing Hannibal wind him up so, amused at his frustrations — they concoct a plan to have Will and Chilton bad mouth Francis to Freddy, who will then of course publish an article for all the world to see, along with an accompanying photo of the two. From the get-go it seemed like a risky plan, but playing with fire has worked for them before… sort of.
“Is Hannibal in love with me?”
After more intense back and forth’s between Will and Bedelia, discussing the nature of Hannibal and his relationship with them both, all acting as perpetual subtext to the scenes to follow, we see the plan enacted and fall apart almost immediately. Francis, instead of going for Will, went after the accomplice, capturing Chilton in a parking garage and whisking him back to his lair — I love how everything leads back to Hannibal in this arc, not only is Francis renting villain real estate from Lecter, he is inhabiting his home as well. Hannibal’s shadow really is all encompassing, like an event horizon, nothing escapes him.
“From my own lips you will learn to dread”.
Once Chilton was stripped and seated, Francis began to torment both him and us. It was a truly terrifying scene; the intensity of his voice, the physicality of his movement, the framing of the shots. It was immaculately constructed. The simple mask that he wore to hide his features was also horrifying to behold, there was something about it that was so chilling, the way he looked within the scene, looming over a petrified Chilton, he truly looked like he had become “more than a man”. No show does horror better than HANNIBAL.
Before anything truly disturbing could take place however, the doorbell rang, signalling the arrival of Francis’ discarded lover. His ex girlfriend turning up seems like it would be an obvious trope, but it was actually not, and really kind of funny given the intensity of the scene. Once she was shooed off however, Francis turned his attention back to Chilton and after filming Fredrick’s confession of mendacity, something awful happened. He inserted his crooked dentures and ripped the lips straight from Chilton’s face. Not a frame of gore was hidden from us as the screams rang out. HANNIBAL is known for unsettling visuals but this… this was abhorrent. It was great.
“The tragedy of what happened to Fredrick has put me in an excellent humour”.
After receiving Chilton’s lips in the post — a strange sentence to type out — Hannibal decided to consume one before the possy arrived. And arrive they did, all to his amusement of course, at the situation, at them, at the plan they tried to execute. Hannibal is really having a ball in the second half of this season. I’m glad he’s happy. Chilton’s fate wasn’t to end with a scarred face however. It turns out — in order to get back at Will — Francis burned Chilton in a similar fashion to how Will and Jack tried to fake Freddy’s death all those episodes ago. Chilton didn’t perish however and wasn’t afraid to place the blame on Mr Graham. And his accusations, it would turn, were not without weight. It is revealed to us that Will had subconsciously (kind of) endangered Chilton’s life. Remember that seemingly innocent photo they took? Well, Will’s simple gesture of placing his hand on Fredrick’s shoulder had a more sinister intention. As Bedelia brought to light, Will — like Hannibal might — just wanted to see what would happen, what would come to pass if he made Chilton out to be his pet in the eyes of Francis, if he made him seem like a possession that could be exterminated. If Francis is a substitute for Hannibal’s monster in this arc then Will is acting as Lecter’s conduit while he is incarcerated, remaining free through the misdeeds of his friend. There is depth everywhere you look in this show, depth that will be missed all too soon.
“Fate has a habit of not letting us choose our own ending”.
As mentioned at the top, we are nearly there now. One episode to go and unfortunately it doesn’t look like we will get a series finale, only a season finale, and that’s fine because they weren’t to know. They could expect, but they weren’t to know and it is unfortunate that perhaps we won’t receive the grandiose accumulation we all are hoping for, but I am not without confidence that the season 3 finale will be an excellent one, if not an exceptional one. I don’t seek closure in HANNIBAL’S final moments, but just something to fit the scale of the shows might. There doesn’t seem the time for such a thing to happen but I guess we will have to wait and see. Will I enjoy the finale? For that I am without doubt. Will it be everything I hoped the last episode of Hannibal would be? Unfortunately, I think the shows cancellation has robbed us of such a possibility.
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