Thursday, 27 August 2015

Hannibal - The Number of the Beast is 666


This show has come a long way from its comparatively simpler roots back in season one. Who remembers when Hannibal was a run-of-the-mill, case-of-the-week horror-drama with little to no huge risks or shocking moments? Don't get me wrong, Hannibal's premiere season was great, but it wasn't quite this great. This installment might not have lived entirely up to the seamless heights of the last couple of episodes, but The Number of the Beast is 666 demonstrates so wonderfully what Hannibal does so well. It can ricochet wildly between dialogue scenes and more frightening moments without either feeling smaller or weaker or less important than the other. Sometimes it even manages to combine them; I can't think of many other shows with dialogue as terrifying as Hannibal's. And that, among many many other reasons, is why I am going to miss this show as if it were my own when it leaves screens forever next week.

It's interesting that last week's best set piece was Will Graham's household, and this week it is Dolarhyde's. Everything that took place in Dolarhyde's home between Chilton and himself was so exquisitely framed and gorgeously written, yet so genuinely horrifying at the same time. Hannibal plays around with dialogue a lot, but this week they even began putting twists on regular phrases to make them seem more frightening. When holding someone hostage in one's house and a guest arrives, it's customary in film and TV to tell the hostage that should they make a sound, you will kill them. But no. In Hannibal, Francis Dolarhyde will kill his guest. The use of "her" rather than "you" was a startling moment, made even more ferocious by the coldness in which Richard Armitage delivered it. I had doubts about him joining the cast for this arc, but he has just gone from strength to strength. It's become difficult to imagine anyone else playing this interpretation of The Great Red Dragon this brilliantly, really.

This sequence was both preceded and followed by psychiatry sessions between Will and Bedelia, who both are so much fun to watch despite their gloomy conversational topics. However, 666 did finally demonstrates genuine recognition to a theme that has been running under Hannibal for quite some time now; Hannibal Lecter is in love with Will Graham. Maybe not quite in the traditional sense (then again, does this show ever do tradition?), but it is a bond between them. Does Will feel the same way, Bedelia asks, as cryptically as ever. I believe he does, but again, not in the traditional way. Will is in love with his wife, and he adores his son, but there is a connection between him and Lecter that transcends that of normal human interaction. They are two sides of a coin begging to be connected, but they can't. If both sides of a coin face each other, it means the coin has broken. Hannibal and Will may be in love with each other, but nothing could or would ever come of that, and I don't believe either of them would want that anyway. Like I said, they're aren't following tradition.

It was also nice to see Freddie Lounds back again, her near florescent ginger hair practically lights each scene for itself. Crawford and Bloom using her, Chilton and Will to create that article to lure the Dragon into their trap was smartly set up, but they ultimately failed. Or did they? As was soon made clear, Will intentionally misdirected Dolarhyde by placing his hand on Chilton's shoulder, changing the entire message of the article. Dolarhyde then uses his fake teeth to rip Chilton's lips off, burns him alive in a wheelchair, then sends his lips to Lecter. Love it or not, you can't label Hannibal conventional. This was another stellar episode, making Hannibal's current count three in a row. And next week is finale time. Both of Hannibal's previous season finales have almost unquestionably wound up the best episode of their respective seasons, so if season three follows that same trend for its big farewell, next week will be a frightening, funny, intense, dark, violent, mad descent to hell.

And I, for one, can't wait.

Notes - 

  • After last season's bloodbath of a finale, I'm genuinely scared about what emotional ordeals I'm going to be suffering next week. I'm going to be upset enough that the show is ending, I don't know how much more trauma I could take. 
  • "If you make a sound, I will kill her". God I really do love that line. 
  • "We are all making our way through the Inferno; Dante's pilgrims". I love the way Bedelia talks. I love the way Gillian Anderson plays her. I just really love Bedelia Du Maurier. 
  • NBC, please don't take this away from us. 
  • Please?

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