Published on August 26th, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart0
Hannibal Season 3 Episode 12 “And The Number Of The Beast is 666” Review
“Is Hannibal in love with me?” And thus, the penultimate episode of Hannibal begins with Will Graham asking the most obvious question imaginable. A great many things happen during episode 12 of season 3, some of them expected and some of them not, but Will asking Bedelia this question really sets the tone. The audience know how Hannibal feels,we can predict the inevitable outcomes of that, but the characters seem blind to it all. Will is still suffering with the visions of himself as the Great Red Dragon and Molly as his victim. Both Bedelia and Will know that this is Hannibal’s doing – he gave Will the time to build a family just to take them away again. Bedelia is confident that she won’t be punished in the same way as Hannibal won’t allow her any death but being eaten by him. A threat he cannot fulfil whilst he is in prison. Frankly an incredibly unwise assumption considering how much mayhem he’s creating already. There are further references to the two of them being Hannibal’s wives but – whilst Bedelia states that she’d rather have been the last – Will is unable to articulate his own feelings regarding Dr Lecter. Meanwhile the eponymous cannibal is meeting with Jack Crawford to discuss Will’s own transformation. Hannibal feels that Will is the Lamb of God in this scenario and as such his wrath is more deadly that the dragon. Jack declares that Hannibal is Satan bound in the pit, which would make Jack God. Gods demand sacrifices. Will volunteers to be used as bait. They’ll use Freddie Lounds and Tattle Crime to provoke the Tooth Fairy/Great Red Dragon into attacking Will directly. None of this is looking good for poor old Will Graham until Alana Bloom suggests that they need a professional voice to distract the target from the trap. Of course Dr Bloom won’t do it, you’d have to be a fool to agree to something so dangerous!
And wouldn’t you know it, here’s a convenient fool – one who’s quite literally poking aggravating things into the cell of the beast. That’s right, Frederick Chilton is arguing with Hannibal again. Now you would think a man who’d previously been gutted and shot by two separate mentally unstable individuals would know better. But Chilton never learns. Raúl Esparza does a fantastic job as the egotistical and rather gullible psychiatrist in this episode. He’s done really well since the beginning making his character completely unsympathetic, but he really pulls the stops out this week. You actually end up feeling sorry for him, even as he’s being completely awful. Chilton is visiting Hannibal to complain about the cannibal’s “quantifiably bitchy” article refuting Chilton’s work. Lecter stands calmly in the middle of his cell – Mads Mikkelsen channeling Hopkin’s at his most terrifying – whilst Chilton rants and raves. Hannibal points out that Chilton’s work didn’t stand up to scrutiny and Chilton screams that of course it didn’t. “I was lying! On your behalf! To save your life! You refuted your insanity defence. I went out on a limb for you and you climbed up there and sawed it off.” Unimpressed Hannibal suggests that he did it all for fame and recognition but Chilton lacks the proper stuff for fame. Enraged, Chilton lashes out at Hannibal’s own fame, insisting that he will be overshadowed by the Dragon and forgotten. No one will fear him any more, he’ll be put into the general hospital population to be abused by the younger residents and end up crying over the bad food. Of course Hannibal doesn’t react to any of this rant, not even when Chilton shoves the rolled up magazine containing Lecter’s article into his cell. Or when Chilton superciliously leaves him a signed copy of the book about him. In the Silence of the Lambs novel, Hannibal eventually escapes custody using part of a pen Chilton accidentally leaves in his room. The magazine appears to be the kind with staples, so the fandom consensus is that this might be the material he uses this time around. Either way giving Hannibal anything is a bad idea, as we’ll see again later in the episode.
When he leaves Hannibal’s room, Chilton is intercepted by Alana and Jack. He meets with Freddie Lounds and Will Graham to create an article specifically designed to upset the Tooth Fairy. It seems he’s already annoyed with the magazine for selling t-shirts with the legend “The Tooth Fairy is a One-Night Stand”. The plan is that Dr Chilton will analyse the Dragon and then Will translates that analysis into the most offensive form possible. They start by deciding that they will only call him the Tooth Fairy because of the homosexual connotations of the name, and ignore the killer’s wish to be known as the Great Red Dragon. Things rapidly get nastier with Will describing the murderer as an ugly, impotent, vicious, perverted, sexual failure; a product of an incestuous home; the child of a nightmare. The unexpected maliciousness of this coming from the usually meek Will Graham leaves even Chilton and Lounds with their jaws on the floor. They need a photograph of Will in front of a recognisable landmark in order to draw the Dragon to their location. Lounds asks for a picture of Will in a dressing gown looking at an artist’s impression of the killer. She gets a photograph of Will by the window, with his hand resting companionably on Chilton’s shoulder.
The magazine is soon in Dolarhyde’s hands and, as Jack explains the plan to Will, we see the killer driving somewhere. Jack tries to reassure Will with the promise of body armour and snipers on the rooftops. Graham reminds him that in seven out of his eleven murders the Dragon has gone for a headshot. Actually, make that thirteen murders as an oblivious Chilton fails to notice his bodyguards being shot before he is snatched from his own car. What follows was originally the fate of (the male) Freddy Lounds in the original Red Dragon book and movie adaptations. Frederick Chilton wakes up, naked and glued to a wheelchair, with what appears to be a sanitary pad in place of a blindfold. A masked Dolarhyde removes the cover from his eyes and gives him a blanket. Chilton admits to being terrified but still tries to twist the situation to his own benefit. He says that he wants to better understand what the Dragon does, in order to share it with his readers. But he can’t concentrate when he’s scared and it’s not necessary to use fear to impress him ‘man to man’. Dolarhyde states that he is not a man any more and questions Chilton on his relationship with God. The killer is preparing to show Chilton the real Great Red Dragon, even threatening to staple his eyes open to force him to see, when Reba comes to the door. It seems that Dolarhyde told his employers that he was unwell and she has brought him soup. As Chilton sits silently in the corner she explains that knows Dolarhyde has withdrawn from her in order to avoid pain. Although she has been injured by life she not so scarred that she doesn’t know love. She likes him and with that she leaves. Chilton’s reprieve doesn’t last long and he’s soon forced to view slides of Dragon’s murder scenes. “Do you see?!” This leads Chilton to admitting the whole plan involving Will Graham’s lies and agrees to tell the truth about the Dragon’s ‘art’ now. He’s shown the William Blake painting and Dolarhyde’s tattoo. The killer states that- “Fear is not what you owe me. You owe me awe.” He then gives Chilton some ice, telling him he’ll need it for the journey home and asks him to record a statement for him. Once the recording is done he seems about to release his captive when he remembers a better way to help Chilton understand. And so our poor egomaniacal psychiatrist gets his lips bitten off by the Great Red Dragon. The whole grisly process being added to the end of his recorded statement.
Hannibal Lecter receives a parcel. It is carefully x-rayed and when it’s considered safe, Alana Bloom hand-delivers it to his cell. It hasn’t been opened yet and so it on his side of the glass when Hannibal discovers that it contains part of Frederick Chilton’s face. In the next shot a very cheerful cannibal is strapped to a trolley in a straight jacket again. It appears that the parcel contained a handwritten note stating “with these he offended me” and Jack Crawford is holding one of Chilton’s lips, more than enough to run forensic tests on. Because, of course, Hannibal ate the other one. Frederick’s fate has left him in excellent humour. Lecter takes the opportunity to remind Alana that she was perfectly capable of playing the role Chilton was given and is therefore a little responsible for what has happened. The parcel also contains the video of the Dragon’s statement. Chilton is forced to describe Will Graham’s fate in detail, down to the precise place that his back will be broken. Will doesn’t react until the Dragon attacks Chilton when he becomes very distressed at seeing the entity in the flesh. He meets with Bedelia and they discuss the way that the punishments reflect the sins –Chilton wanted his face to be known and now he doesn’t have one. Bedelia perceives that Chilton was set up. The Great Red Dragon kills the pets first and when Will rested his hand on Frederick’s shoulder to ‘build authenticity’ it put the psychiatrist into the role of the pet. Interestingly the tactic of shoulder touching is one that Hannibal has used on Will throughout their relationship and this is another example of the influence the cannibal has on Will Graham. Will admits to being curious about the potential outcome of his actions, and its clear that no one else cared about what might happen to Chilton if he became involved. Bedelia states that in that case, Will might as well have lit the match. HE is Hannibal’s agency in the outside world, just as much as the Dragon might be. Unfortunately for Dr Chilton, whilst Will may have lit the figurative match it is Dolarhyde who lights the literal match. For the second time in two seasons a flaming person rolls down a hill in a wheelchair. In the original book this was the death of (the male) Freddy Lounds. In season 2 episode 11 “Kō No Mono” it was used by Will Graham to fake the death of Freddie Lounds in order to gain Hannibal’s trust. Doing this to Frederick Chilton is clearly a reference to Will Graham’s deception. Once again Chilton can’t catch a break and his burning wheelchair crashes into a fountain, allowing him to survive despite horrific burns. He too confronts Will for setting him up and treating him like a pet. But he still gives the FBI a description of the blind woman who interrupted his meeting with the Dragon and they connect it to the name that the Tooth Fairy mentioned on his call to Hannibal Lecter. This might be enough information for them to trace Reba but the episode ends with her tied up in Dolarhyde’s house. He has told her that he is responsible for the people being ‘changed’ in Buffalo and Chicago. She in turn has correctly identified him and at last the Great Red Dragon stands before the Woman Clothed with the Sun.
As you can probably tell from the ridiculous amount of writing above I absolutely loved this episode. The acting was superb. I’ve already mentioned Raúl Esparza as Frederick Chilton. He’s so adorably repellant and pathetic. Everyone hates him. He’s irredeemably unlikable. I mean even Jack Crawford seems to be gleefully shoving him into the line of fire and yet, when he’s actually in the Dragon’s clutches you still end up feeling sorry for him. Give this man a supporting actor Emmy, he absolutely deserves it. Similarly, whilst Hannibal didn’t have a lot to do in this episode, Mads Mikkelsen does brilliant work with the role. We’ve already seen that like Anthony Hopkins, he can pull of being terrifying by simply standing perfectly still and wearing a jumpsuit. But I don’t think even Hopkins managed to portray quite that much unadulterated glee while strapped to a board. Just the smug cat-that-got-the-cream look that Hannibal gives Jack when the FBI agent realises where the rest of Chilton’s face had gone. It makes you want to reach into the screen and slap him! The whole episode you just know what about to happen. Its telegraphed through characters expressions and some pretty unsubtle cuts, and it pulls you into Hannibal’s plot right along side him. Chilton is so rude in his confrontation with Lecter you practically cheer when Will gets him involved in the magazine article. Making the viewer side with the cannibalistic mass murderer is what Hannibaldoes best and the show is finally back on track with the last half of season 2. I don’t have a single complaint about any part of this episode (though I will be disappointed if Freddie Lounds survives the end of the series). Shipping (the bringing together of characters in romantic relationships) is a huge part of most fandoms for popular shows these days. How many times has John Watson shouted “I’m not actually gay!” in the course of the last three seasons of Sherlock? Well, its now officially canon that Hannibal Lecter is in love with his male adversary. Not many other fandoms can say that. Sadly though, a lot of other shows CAN say that have another season in works. Whilst this season of Hannibal was slow at the start and spotty in places, I’m really going to miss this show if it doesn’t get picked up by somewhere else. It infuriates me and occasionally makes me throw the remote at the screen, but it’s still one of the most beautiful shows around.