Hannibal: 310 “And the Woman Clothed in Sun” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
You know a television show is great when a scene of a character eating a painting is engrossing viewing. Yes, Francis Dolarhyde devouring The Great Red Dragon was somehow brilliant television. But before I go into that scene, that’s plenty more to talk about.
Picking up from the end of last week’s episode, we saw Dolarhyde phone Hannibal and the two share a short conversation. Hannibal continues its directorial trend of making it more visually interesting. Instead of just showing both sides of the phone call, we saw both characters together in an imaginary construct of Hannibal’s office ending with Hannibal seeing Dolarhyde morph into the Great Red Dragon itself. It was visually intoxicating and provided a unique way to show Hannibal’s insight into Dolarhyde’s mind. It was interesting to see these two minds play off each other, including the reveal of Dolarhyde’s idolisation of Hannibal, making him easy prey for Hannibal to manipulate. It’s going to be interesting to see Hannibal continue to manipulate Dolarhyde over the next few episodes. Is Hannibal shaping Dolarhyde up to be his next Mischa substitute? Does he Dolarhyde as a version of Will he can more easily corrupt? Perhaps, with his obtaining of Will’s address, he intends to play Dolarhyde and Will against each other and see who emerges on top? We’ll have to wait and see.
Bedelia made her welcome return this episode, giving a lecture on her time with Hannibal; painting herself as a manipulated victim of course. Will called her out on this, naming her the “bride of Frankenstein”. Bedelia however snaps back and points out that Will knew Hannibal much more intimately than she did, perhaps lending credence to the numerous theories that there was a romantic aspect to Will and Hannibal’s relationship. It’s not the first time Fuller has implied this and given a little nod to the fans who “ship” Will and Hannibal together. Remember Freddy Lounds’ “Murder Husbands” from last week?
We also slow the blossoming relationship between Dolarhyde and Reba, with Dolarhyde taking Reba to the Zoo allowing her to pet a sedated tiger in a surprisingly touching sequence. Armitage and Wesley showed great chemistry in this episode making their relationship incredibly believable. When the two had sex, it was nice of the episode to show us Dolarhyde’s vision of Reba showing her as “The Woman Clothed in Sun” from the title of the episode. Considering most of Red Dragon hinges on Reba and Dolarhyde’s relationship, it’s a relief that it’s been presented brilliantly. The scenes with Reba and Dolarhyde were touching, sweet and showed a much different side to Dolarhyde than we’ve seen previously helping him to come across as a stronger character. Armitage was able to show a more vulnerable side to Dolarhyde this week, thus alleviating my few remaining concerns about this version of the character. If things continue well, Armitage could just beat Ralph Fiennes as my favourite interpretation of the character.
We then returned to Will and Bedelia having a therapy session which was intercut with Bedelia’s session years ago which resulted in the death of one of her patients. Zachary Quinto appeared for this flashback and was, sadly, wasted. Quinto is a talented actor and he deserved a role that was much bigger than this. It’s baffling that a high profile actor would be cast in such a small role, especially since it seems incredibly unlikely that the character will return in the remaining three episodes. Regardless, Quinto did a great job as a former patient of Hannibal’s who it is quickly revealed has been hypnotised by Hannibal into swallowing his own tongue when he gets distressed. Bedelia attempts to save him from choking to death, but then apparently gives into her inner instincts and pushes her arm further into his throat, killing him. So it seems that the entire thing was a set up by Hannibal, he referred his patient to her apparently curious to see what she would do to him. It was an interesting scene and added quite a bit to Bedelia’s character but sadly came across as a bit of a waste of time, especially if Bedelia doesn’t appear again this season and I quite honestly don’t think she will as I struggle to see where she would fit. However the conversation she shared with Will was a great addition to the episode.
I must admit, the conclusion to the episode was thrilling. Dolarhyde devouring the original painting was disturbing stuff and was certainly enough to cause discomfort among any art lovers in the audience. The scene became even better once Will arrived allowing the tension to racket up. We got to see the first encounter between Will and Dolarhyde and it was thrilling as Dolarhyde showed himself as a force to be reckoned with. Showing his extreme strength and apparently vanishing into thin air helped Dolarhyde appear inhuman, carrying on the show’s theme that Dolarhyde actually is becoming the Dragon and it’s not inside his head. It adds an almost supernatural feel to Dolarhyde and makes him appear much more threatening. It’s an immensely different take on the character and one I think could work immensely well as we delve into much darker material in the next three episodes.
Overall, this episode was another good instalment in the show’s Red Dragon arc. The mystery thickens and the characters continue to develop well, even if some characters are underused (Jack and Alana seemed to have just vanished). Now the show enters the hard part. Three episodes remain and Hannibal will need to work hard to not only provide a satisfactory conclusion to the Red Dragon arc, but the show itself. But if the next three episodes deliver as many thrilling and wonderful sequences as this week’s, then the show could end perfectly. And one of the novel’s most iconic scenes is yet to come…