Hannibal last week gave us a look at the continued duality of characters in this world. That show touched on Bedelia’s ability to separate herself from her own crimes as well as those of Lector. The two parter also looked at the women in Hannibal’s life, including Alana Bloom; who threatened Lector with the loss of his dignity if he did not protect Will Graham. These threads were on top of the duality of Francis Dolarhyde.
This week sees Dr. Bloom making good on her previous threat. Before the end credits roll, Dolarhyde breaks up with Reba, The Great Red Dragon attempts to kill Molly and Wally (and later “beats” Francis severely for messing that assassination up), Hannibal warns The Great Red Dragon, Alana does take away all of Hannibal’s luxuries, Will confronts Lector and Jack Crawford is furious with his pet serial killer.
On the periphery; a reluctant good samaritan is killed, Will’s dogs are poisoned, and Wally learns of Will’s past. Graham himself is angry that he had to “justify” himself to his step son.
The dreamlike sequences of this episode continue to draw us into this somnambulistic netherworld full of human monsters. Director Michael Rhymer (Queen of the Damned, Battlestar Galactica) does a brilliant job matching the slow-motion surreal world of Hannibal as it appears in this final season. This should come as no surprise since he has directed a total of 9 episodes. His deft touch this week resulted in a particularly disturbing opening sequence where Francis is talking to (Being treated by?) Lector.
Following the theme of duality, as Francis and Hannibal discuss The Great Red Dragon, Dolarhyde brings up the topic of Will Graham. After dismissing Will’s looks, the subject of beauty or at least above average looks is a major part of Dolarhyde’s psyche, Hannibal reveals to his patient that Will, “has a family.” As he says this, Hannibal turns to look at the camera, thereby looking at himself as doctor treating patient, two places at once. While this conversation is taking place on the phone, the projections of Dolarhyde and Lector are all in Francis’ mind…and perhaps also in Hannibal’s.
It follows that Dolarhyde will suffer from a duality of self. He is, after all, being possessed by The Great Red Dragon and that entity wants him to destroy Reba because she dilutes his (the dragon’s) purpose. However, this imagery is not just in Dolarhyde’s head, but in Hannibal’s as well and he too is suffering a split purpose, a duality. He loves Will but also wants to destroy his family and ultimately Graham himself. So he has much in common with Francis and this opening pre-credit scene shows this.
More importantly, in the introductory sequence, Hannibal tells Dolarhyde, “Save yourself.” (Long pause for effect.) “Kill them all.” While this is taken to mean Will and his family, it could also include Reba. Keeping in mind that Lector specializes in cultivating his fellow monsters, it makes sense that he would advise Francis to kill the one true distraction that is keeping him from “becoming.” Hannibal senses that Dolarhyde cannot and will not contemplate abandoning The Great Red Dragon. It is also during this exchange that Lector tells Francis he can pass the dragon on to someone else, Dolarhyde’s expression reveals that this idea is repugnant to him.
The episode moves forward to Dolarhyde studying Will’s home and “becoming” the dragon. Later as he watches his Graham home movie, Reba is told that he is doing “homework,” and the film is of Molly, Walter and the dogs at the Graham residence. Reba asks if these are his “nocturnal animals” and he replies in the affirmative. She then raises the question of whether they know that he is filming them. “No,” Dolarhyde says.
*Sidenote* While Francis watches his movie of the Graham family, the silent film footage is accompanied by the sounds of a piano, reminiscent of the old silent movie days where a pianist played tunes to the footage displayed on the screen.
The dogs are drugged/poisoned and removed from the premises by Graham’s wife. Molly believes she has inadvertently made the dogs ill by substituting Will’s homemake dog food with canned Chinese dog food. The dogs are kept at the vets for an overnight observation. Will approaches Hannibal and asks him to reveal who The Tooth Fairy is, Lector lies and says he does not know who he is. He then goes on to mention Will’s family. “Who do you see when you close your eyes, Will? Is it your family you see?” Lector is giving Graham a hint as to who the killer’s next target is. He will not, however, tell Graham which family is meant to die.
“They are not my family, Will,” Lector says, “And I am not letting them die, you are.”
Francis puts in his “teeth” and sneaks into the house. He is masked and armed with a silenced automatic pistol. Cue some tense, and pretty white knuckle, hide and seek where Molly gets Walter out of the house and she sets off the family car alarm. Dolarhyde shoots the car and the Grahams run down the snowy street. Molly flags down (stands in front of) a car and after it stops, the driver exits and is shot mid-complaint. Molly and Walter leave in the vehicle and she is shot by Francis as she drives away.
At the hospital later, Molly is recovering and Will is angry. His conversation with Jack Crawford is full of irritated references to his family almost dying and not being able to go home. Alana reveals to Hannibal that she knows Dolarhyde has been talking to the him posing as his lawyer. After reminding Lector of her threat, Alana allows Crawford to tell Lector to help trap the killer. The next time Dolarhyde calls, Hannibal is to keep him on the line so they can track him.
Dolarhyde literally beats himself up for missing his opportunity to kill Graham’s family. Although in his mind it is the Great Red Dragon who is meting out the punishment. He then breaks up with Reba, who reacts badly to his expressed fears of hurting her. She tells him to get his hat and go. A distraught Francis calls Hannibal. After telling Lector that he could not hear Reba’s heart, Hannibal tells Dolarhyde, “They’re listening,” and hangs up the phone.
Crawford is furious, Francis collects his things and leaves Dr. Lector’s old office. The FBI search the place as Alana removes everything from Hannibal’s cell. “You’re not the only one who keeps their promises Hannibal,” she tells the bound and muzzled Lector. “Take the toilet too.” As she warned the doctor earlier, she has removed his dignity.
Will visits Molly and he explains to her that the Tooth Fairy went after them because Hannibal told him to. She reveals a duality of her own. This brave and normally easy going woman gets angry at the whole thing. She admits that it may take a while for them to recover from this.
Graham then confronts Hannibal is his “empty” cell. “I’m just about worn out with you crazy sons of b*tches.” Lector replies, “The essence of the worst in the human spirit is not found in the crazy sons of b*tches.” “Ugliness,” he continues, “is found in the faces of the crowd.” Will asks Hannibal what he said to Francis. “Save yourself. Kill them all,” Lector replies, “Then I gave him your home address.”
Hannibal stares blankly at Will, “How’s the wife?” “How’s my wife?” Will is furious. They talk further and Lector quotes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust: First Part, “Two souls, alas, are dwelling in my breast, And one is striving to forsake its brother.” It shows the duality of Dolarhyde and his internal struggle. The dragon is freedom Lector tells Will and it is change.
Graham realizes that Dolarhyde is not killing the families, he is “changing” them. Hannibal asks Will if he craves change.
As this season rushes to its finale, one cannot help but wonder if Freddie Lounds will be punished, or changed, by Dolarhyde. Her name was brought up again in this episode, by Molly, and it is surely about time that the ghoulish reporter get her just deserts.
Hannibal having his items taken away by Alana ties in nicely with the verse created by Thomas Harris. In The Silence of the Lambs, Lector bargains with Clarice Starling for items to be returned. There are two episodes left in the last season of Hannibal. The show airs Saturdays on NBC.