Though Will Graham’s family have escaped death at the hands of the Red Dragon, the deranged killer is still a threat, all the more because he has become the pawn of an even greater force, Hannibal; Francis Dolarhyde has become Hannibal’s ‘agency in the world’. With Hannibal unwilling to reveal what he knows of Dolarhyde – was he in fact Hannibal’s patient? – Will has no choice but to turn to DuMaurier for some insight into Hannibal’s mind. DuMaurier is rather smug in her assertion that Hannibal won’t kill her, unless he can eat her – and he can’t do that from a cell. But we all know that he could escape any time he wanted to.
Will feels that Hannibal has achieved what he wanted to, in giving Will a family only to take them away again; if not terminally, at least by making it impossible for Will to be with them, or to think of them without thoughts of murder in his mind.
They talk of the love Hannibal feels for Will – ‘a stab of hunger’ as she describes it – and she questions whether Will feels the same way. Homoerotic subtext abounds.
Crawford toys with Hannibal, who describes Will as ‘the lamb of God’ – and claims that an apocalyptic day will come in which the wrath of the lamb will be greater even that that of the dragon. Does that make Hannibal the Devil, and Crawford, God? Crawford seems to think so. Is this hubris, the pride that cometh before a fall? It certainly seems that Crawford is tempting fate. Dolarhyde, meanwhile, imagines himself coming closer to his transformation.
Will reluctantly agrees with Crawford that their best chance of capturing Dolarhyde is to make Will his target. They plan to use Tattle Crime magazine to ‘badmouth’ the Red Dragon (ooh dear, that plan didn’t work out too well for Patrick Jane in The Mentalist, did it?). Alana volunteers Chilton, who is furious that Hannibal has refuted the insanity defence in his book. He’s working on a sequel, Blood & Chocolate. Clever Alana – she knows that Chilton will be for the chop.
Chilton is goading Hannibal as to his likely fate as part of the general population in the mental hospital – ‘The old ones cry when they do not like the stewed apricots’ he says, a line which probably hasn’t ever been uttered before in human history.
In a hilarious scene, Will and Chilton concoct a psychological workup designed to goad the Tooth Fairy, depicting him as an ugly, impotent, incestuous, homosexual animal; they then create a posed photographed designed to give away their location. Dolarhyde falls for it, but doesn’t go after Will, but Chilton, killing his bodyguards and taking him from his car.
Chilton wakes to find himself Dolarhyde’s captive, and pleads for his life; but just as Dolarhyde is about to reveal his face, the point from which there is no return, Reba comes to the door with what looks like the most disgusting soup ever. Dolarhyde lets her in, and of course now Chilton must die as he has seen her.
Dolarhyde reveals his face and his tattoos, and forces Chilton to record a refutation of his statements about the Tooth Fairy; he’s told he will then be set free, but as a parting demonstration, Dolarhyde bites his lips off and mails them to Hannibal.
Now, it doesn’t make much sense that this package would be delivered unopened to Hannibal, giving him the chance to gobble down one of the morsels, but there we are. Hannibal is of course thrilled that Chilton has had his comeuppance, and tells Alana that she’s as much to blame as he is. The Dragon’s tape of Chilton’s refutation turns up, and it’s made clear that Will is also to suffer punishment for the sin of blaspheming against the Red Dragon.
DuMaurier tells Will that they are all making their way through a Dantesque inferno; and that Will is guilty of putting Chilton at risk. Hannibal Lecter does have agency in the world, she tells him – through Will, as much as through the Red Dragon.
Chilton has been punished in the same way Will faked the death of Freddie Lounds; strapped to a wheelchair and set alight. He still lives, but he’s a cinder; implausibly, he speaks, accusing Will of setting him up, and describing the blind black woman he saw, whose name, Reba, they know from Dolarhyde’s phone calls to Hannibal. Reba is being held captive in Dolarhyde’s home as he raves to her about his transformation.
About the only thing this episode achieves is that it brings about the long delayed downfall of Chilton, and makes it explicit that both Will and Alana are complicit in it. Would either of them actually feel enough malice to have done this deliberately? In Alana’s case, it was more through self-preservation; but Will really has a case to answer. In putting has hand on Chilton’s shoulder as if in trust, he sealed his fate.
What we’ve failed to reveal in this second half of the season has been any real character arc for Dolarhyde; so he had a miserable childhood, boo-hoo. He’s been boring us with his transmogrification for six episodes now, and we’re no nearer him changing. Maybe it’s Will who will finally make a change; but into what? We may have only one episode left to find out.
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