If last week introduced the Great Red Dragon, then Reba (Rutina Wesley) must be the titular Woman Clothed in Sun.
Let’s bitch it out…
“It takes two to catch one” – Hannibal, correcting Jack
Last week introduced a serial killer called the Tooth Fairy, a man who savagely murders happy families’ pets before murdering them on the night of the full moon. The man was a mystery, a near silent character whose transformation into a monster was evoked almost exclusively in visuals. This week we learn that his name is Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage) and we begin to get a glimpse of his backstory, mostly with regard to his struggle with a perceived speech impediment no doubt associated with his cleft lip.
While there is an entire act dedicated to Dolarhyde and his meet-cute with blind film processor Reba (and the fact that the episode is named after her), ‘…And the Woman Clothed In Sun’ is clearly more about Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) than anyone else. Last week we saw how the brilliant psychiatrist copes with his life behind bars, actively employing his mind palace in even the most mundane of interactions with Dr. Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas). Lecter keeps his mental agility up again this week, walking Will through the exterior of an early Tooth Fair crime scene and spending a great deal of his time reflecting on his relationship with former protégé, Abigail Hobb (Kacey Rohl).
In this way ‘…And the Woman Clothed In Sun’ is a passing of the torch episode. Lecter’s time with Abigail reinforces how charismatic he can be when he takes someone under his wing, even as he nurtures and encourages the worst in them. The scenes with Abigail confirm how their relationship developed as he helped to cut off her ear, fake her own death, embrace the murderous love of her father, Garret Jacob Hobbs (Vladimir Jon Cubrt) and eventually sacrifice herself to make way for Hannibal’s new favourite, Will (Hugh Dancy).
It’s clear that as Hannibal’s and Will’s relationship deepened and grew, Abigail was never going to make that flight to Europe. Hannibal is as fickle a mentor as he is a cannibal: he selects only those deemed worthy. The moment a better candidate comes around that piques Hannibal’s attention, anyone unlucky enough to still be around is cast aside. ‘…And the Woman Clothed In Sun’ explores how Abigail died for Will in an episode-long act of foreshadowing; the point isn’t simply to investigate how Hannibal turned Abigail to his side, it is to prepare us for the final scene when Francis Dolarhyde calls up Hannibal for a friendly chat. This passing of the torch as Hannibal embraces a new protégé can only spell doom for Will, whose injuries – both physical and psychological – we are constantly reminded of via his chats with Alana, Jack (Laurence Fishburne), wife Molly (Nina Arianda) and, surprisingly, Tattler hack Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki).
Freddie, of course, is on the case of the Tooth Fairy because the murders are sensational and gory. Her appearance here is a quick reminder of how vulgar she is, but also the lengths that she’ll steep to for a story, up to and including selling out Will and Hannibal’s clandestine meeting under the spotlight. Freddie argues that she can control the message, something she aptly demonstrates by suggesting the FBI is consulting with murderers (the implication being that both Will and Hannibal fit the bill). What Freddie doesn’t know, however, is that Francis isn’t so much fame hungry as he is lonely and confused. Sure, he’s found a potential friend/lover in Reba, whose blindness is attractive for multiple reasons but Francis isn’t a happy serial killer (his tortured physical reaction to the murder videos are evidence of that).
No, what Francis needs is someone who understands what he’s going through. That’s Hannibal, and Hannibal’s shifting interests mean bad things for Will. There are only four episodes left in the season so there’s plenty of time for shifting allegiances, but that phone call – after everything we just saw – portends likely doom for our favourite dog-loving protagonist. Hold on, folks…this could still be a blood bath.
- This is the first time we’ve really heard Armitage speak on Hannibal and it is seriously creepy. Francis refrains from speaking unnecessarily and when he does speak, it’s often very quiet and guarded with a slight undertone of menace and anger. After last week’s near-silent performance and this week’s vocal performance, I’ve got to say that Armitage is doing great work bringing Dolarhyde to life in a memorably frightening way.
- Considering Francis’ serial killing nom de plume, is the dentist ad in Reba’s bus stop a little too nose on the nose? “Open Wide. Say Ahhhhhh”?
- In case you were wondering, Alana confirms that she and Margot (an unseen Katharine Isabelle) did end up conceiving a Verger heir using Mason’s cattle-prodded sperm. Alana carried the child to term and earned herself a tidy sum – though this is more Freddie’s account than Alana’s so take that with a grain of salt.
- Methinks that Alana’s threat about acting on Hannibal’s fear of indignity is not the best card to play. Threatening to remove the toilet of someone who enjoys refinement and proper manners seems ill-advised. What I’m most intrigued by is Alana’s shift into the role traditionally occupied by Chilton in the other Lecter texts. She’s become cocky, treating Hannibal like a prized peacock that she mistakenly believes she understands. This is a big mistake.
- It’s nice to see Will use his projection abilities in the pursuit of happiness. During a phone conversation with Molly, he imagines himself back home on the bed with her. It’s brief, but important as Will investigates these increasing morbid family crime scenes. Considering how much time he spends putting himself in the naked, black blooded soles of killers, Will needs a little happy.
- Side bar: I cannot imagine how cold those naked scenes in the woods must have been to shoot in the Toronto winter. It’s not as cold as some other parts of Canada, but it’s not exactly warm, either…
- Scott Thompson’s Jimmy (when Brian complains he cares more about the dead cat than the children): “I’m particularly fond of cats. I’m not particularly fond of children.”
- Freddie (after Will reminds Freddie that she took pictures of his colonoscopy bag): “I covered your junk with a black box. A big black box. You’re welcome.”
- Will (after Molly informs him that Randy is their new dog): “Oh hell”
- Jack (chastising Hannibal for meeting with Will again): “You’ve taken up an old sport.”
- Hannibal (throwing it back at Jack): “You’ve put him back in the pot. You’re letting him stew.”
Your Turn: What did you think of Reba’s introduction? Were you excited to see Abigail again? Is Will in trouble now that Francis has reached out to Hannibal? Is Alana wrong to threaten Hannibal? Sound off below
Hannibal airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on City TV in Canada and Saturdays at 10pm EST on NBC