So, Will Graham has met (rather unexpectedly) The Tooth Fairy, Francis Dolarhyde; of course, he still doesn’t know who he is, how he selects his victims, or the fact that Hannibal is in contact with him and may be manipulating him. Will, Crawford and Alana discuss this development, and the significance of Dolarhyde having eaten the Blake painting (they seem rather surprised by this act of madness, as though destroying art were somehow more shocking than killing families). Alana uses the word ‘docent’ to describe the museum guide Dolarhyde attacked; the Americanism seems chosen for its obscurity, in a typical trick of this series’ dialogue. Oddly, the ‘docent’ isn’t, as we assumed last week, dead, just stunned; why did Dolarhyde leave her alive? Is he trying to resist his urges, was the eating of the painting an attempt to subdue the Red Dragon?
Will resents Crawford’s smug pleasure in being proven right in his assumption that Will could find Dolarhyde; but he explains that he couldn’t have done this without Hannibal’s help, so he concludes that Hannibal knows who Dolarhyde is, and that he may have been a patient of Hannibal’s, an interesting twist which hadn’t previously been suggested.
We see Dolarhyde consulting Hannibal, in his imagination; in fact they’re speaking on the phone. Dolarhyde confesses that the Dragon is telling him to kill Reba , but Hannibal suggests he can rid himself of the Dragon by killing Will and his family. The moon is full, and Dolarhyde imagines his transformation.
Together with blind Reba, Dolarhyde watches home movies of Will’s family; we see that their dogs have been poisoned, a part of Dolarhyde’s MO.
Will accuses Hannibal of being in contact with Dolarhyde, and he doesn’t deny it, but he refuses to identify Dolarhyde and implies that Will’s family are at risk. Indeed they are, as Dolarhyde breaks into their house, but they escape, at the cost of Molly being shot and wounded.
Crawford and Alana confront Hannibal with their awareness that he is in contact with The Tooth Fairy, or The Great Red Dragon as he has now earned the right to be known; Dolarhyde is so incensed by his failure that he beats himself up. He breaks down in front of Reba, but manages to resist the urge to harm her when she orders him to leave.
Hannibal’s next call from Dolaryde is bugged, and the source is traced even though Hannibal warns him off; but of course the call number was spoofed, so the office location is found empty.
Hannibal, though, gets his comeuppance; his privileges removed along with his toilet, chained and gagged, he becomes the nightmarish, restrained figure familiar from the movies.
Molly wakes to find Will sitting over her; Wally (and the dogs) are safe, he tells her. She blames Crawford rather than Will for the situation, but Will blames Hannibal; he confronts him, but Hannibal’s unrepentant, and tells Will that The Great Red Dragon seek not to kill, but to change – a change Will might embrace.
Hannibal’s whacky insistence throughout the series that he is trying to help Will somehow understand himself, or transform, comes to a head here, and it’s all the more ridiculous that Will (whose relationship to Molly and Wally seems tenuous at best) doesn’t object more to the fact that Hannibal encouraged Dolarhyde to murder his family.
Had he succeeded, would Will have thanked Hannibal for helping him to change? Probably not. Yet Will seems as undisturbed at the prospect as everyone was by the murder of the passing motorist who helped Molly. Where’s his commemorative speech?
Things seem to be rather slipping away as we approach the denouement; who is going to be most changed in the conclusion – Dolarhyde, Hannibal, or Will? Or is it us, the tortured viewers?
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