Hannibal: “And the Woman Clothed with the Sun…” Review

hannibal season 3Last week, after the conclusion of Will and Hannibal’s Most Excellent European Vacation, we jumped forward a few years and got a new antagonist, the Tooth Fairy. The episode left off on Will and Hannibal’s first reunion since Hannibal had been institutionalized three years previous. This week continued to fill in the gap of information left by that time jump, as well as hitting some satisfying emotional and storytelling notes.

Trigger warning for gore and murder, but surprisingly not cannibalism this time around. And of course, spoilers after the jump.

Hannibal is delighted to see Will, but Will is not so excited to disgrace his dramatic breakup speech of two episodes past by even talking to him. He refuses to show any sort of familiarity and only calls him Dr. Lecter. He does share the details of the case, but tries not to let Hannibal back into his head (probably unsuccessfully). Will struggles mostly this episode with the idea that, rather than just being able to empathize with the criminal minds he studies, he is a criminal mind himself. This is suggested to him by Hannibal and accidentally repeated by Will’s wife, who jokingly refers to him as such while they’re talking on the phone. This, combined with what we see from Will’s point of view, is pretty worrying—it’s clear that he is subconsciously over-empathizing with the Tooth Fairy. Even though he’s no longer in the initial “this is my design” mindset, he keeps referring to himself in the first person as the murderer, and he’s haunted by dreams of his wife murdered and displayed Tooth Fairy style.

Will’s wife, Molly, is not an unlikeable character so far—her interactions with Will are… nice, and they seem to share an interest in dog welfare, if nothing else. But Hannibal points out that Will’s relationship with both her and their stepson is pretty conveniently perfect for him—a wife with no ties to his past life, and a child with none of Will’s “biological baggage”; it’s the perfect happy life Will has always wanted. Hannibal points this out to prod at Will’s psyche, but he’s kind of right for the wrong reasons. We haven’t seen much of Molly or her son that makes us like them as characters outside of their tropes, and seeing Will’s nightmares makes me suspect that she’ll just be used as a way to hurt him. 

This episode also brings back the delightful terribleness of Freddie Lounds, who’s still hard at work sneaking into crime scenes and hospital rooms and being a generally awful person with no boundaries. Apparently her story about the aforementioned Most Excellent European Vacation referred to Will and Hannibal as “murder husbands”, and she later published a photo of an undressed and unconscious Will in his hospital bed. I’m not sure what will happen with her this season, because the “tied to a wheelchair and burned to death” death scene that they used to fake her death last season is actually something that happens for real in the Red Dragon book/movie.

Alana, meanwhile, maintains her new position of “hardass in defense of Will Graham”. She tells Will that she’s the only one who has personal access through all the doors from the outside to Hannibal’s cell, and warns Hannibal off messing with Will’s psyche. It’s good that at least one person has Will’s best interests at heart; I don’t see his mental state surviving this season particularly intact. Also, while I was concerned about losing our hard-won queer representation from the previous storyline, my fears were unfounded. In a brief conversation with Will, Alana confirms that she and Margot are still together, and that she (Alana) actually bore their son, the vaunted Verger heir.

To add to the exposition-ness of this episode, we also got several flashback scenes with Abigail, showing us what Hannibal was up to with her in between his staging her death and her actual death later on. He encouraged her to embrace the fact that she cared for her father and enjoyed her time with him, while also pushing her to be as bloodthirsty as possible in his own image. He even goes so far as to bring John Garrett Hobbs’s corpse into one of their sessions and allowing Abigail to do with the body as she sees fit (in this case, cutting its neck like hers had been cut, releasing a disgusting stream of embalming fluid out onto the body and chair). I’m not sure why we’re still learning more about Abigail, because I definitely believe she’s for-real dead at this point, but I suspect it’s to contrast Will’s kind of bland relationship with his stepson with Hannibal’s affectionate (albeit creepily manipulative) relationship with Abigail.

Hannibal-3-9-And-the-Woman-Clothed-with-Sun-3Finally, we got a great deal more from Francis Dolarhyde this episode. The Red Dragon hasn’t killed anyone else (yet), but he’s taken video of his crimes on old-school film—the sort that requires developing. His go-to developer, Reba, is blind—“privacy guaranteed,” she jokes when he visits her. She’s a friendly and welcoming person, and tries to get him to open up about himself (not realizing that he’s not just a quiet and awkward person and is actually a terrifying serial murderer). Also, she’s played by Rutina Wesley from True Blood, which means that both new characters we’ve got this half of the season come from huge fantasy franchises. Dolarhyde’s scenes on his own continue to be nearly wordless and generally terrifying, and at the end of the episode, he actually manages to call Hannibal in his cell, looking for vindication and support from the King Murderer, I guess. I know that Hannibal isn’t going to tattle on the guy, but I wonder if he’s more likely to manipulate him to failure as a gift to Will or out of satisfaction to his ego, or if he will actually help him in his transformative murder-quest. Time will tell, I guess.

Annnnd that’s all, folks – what did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!

Episode Tally:
New dogs adopted by Will: one
Pieces of pie I wanted to eat myself (or at least share with Richard Armitage): Also one
My slasher power level after hearing “murder husbands” canonically used: over 9000

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