"You called us 'Murder Husbands'."
This was such a brilliant way of subtly incorporating a wink at the fandom along with making it work within the context of canon. Because, you know, Freddie would. But also considering how Hannibal was arranging things for him and Will to run away together with Abigail and their entire relationship as a whole, it's not that far off from the truth.
Rutina Wesley as Reba McClane was absolutely perfect and wonderful, and I adored the way they're setting up the relationship between her and Francis. I knew the challenge would be balancing out the disturbing elements of Francis with the sympathetic and tender moments, and I think Richard has done an excellent job with that so far. Just the way Francis interacts with Reba is fascinating to watch, their chemistry is immediate, and you can tell instantly that there is an attraction to each other. One of my favorite moments in the episode is when Reba is explaining why she likes Francis. He doesn't show sympathy for her because she's blind, something she abhors from other people. And how Francis, kind of uncertain about himself but still very enamored by this woman who has invited him into her home and is treating him in such a way that I'm certain he has also never been treated like before, with kindness and a level of understanding. That whole scene is beautifully done because it's Francis and Reba kind of getting to know each other on a personal level, in such a different way too.
And it's so heartwarming yet heartbreaking because you know things are not going to end well, simply because of what will come later with Francis being at odds with the Dragon. But regardless, you can see a silver lining of the possibility of Francis redeeming himself because of this woman who he will grow closer to, and who has absolutely no idea who and what he is.
Another favorite thing about this episode is hearing Francis speak for the first time. I have watched interviews with Richard explaining the character and understanding that he has a difficulty with speaking (due to his cleft lip), so using visual storytelling through his physicality is hugely important to understanding his character and his actions. Although his speech will improve over the course of his arc. But what I loved is the scene we see him speaking for the first time is when he's talking to Reba. We see how difficult it is for him, but he makes the effort to speak with her. Even more so when he approaches her with his van offering her a ride home. The way he says, "Ms. McClane" holds so much vulnerability it almost takes you aback. It's such a sweet moment because he basically is psyching himself up to make this offer, and I can't help but think it cute.
Again, I know how this will end, but it's a testament to the actors and how they're able to convey this level of chemistry with just two scenes, both Richard and Rutina are magnificent.
On the other side of the spectrum with Francis, the scene with where he's watching the reel of the family he killed was especially terrifying and creepy. The physical acting here is important because words could not describe what Francis is going through, we see it through the way he watches the footage, the way he physically reacts to the transformation he is undergoing once again, and it's intense just watching him. Also, the dragon tail, the visual representation of him becoming the Dragon, was also very interesting. Of course this is Hannibal, the visual storytelling through these kinds of things is a way to show the characters and how they're feeling, psychologically and emotionally, and with Francis this is a manifestation of his transformation.
And then, of course, the last scene when he calls Hannibal in his cell. We don't see him but we hear his voice, and the way that he answers Hannibal's question about what he's becoming, "The Great...Red...Dragon." it's so chilling because his voice changes into something quite animalistic, low, deep and growling, as though channeling the Red Dragon in that moment. It's absolutely terrifying, yet captivating. Also you know that Hannibal is going to use this and it's going to be fantastic in the upcoming episodes.
As for the rest of the episode, I enjoyed it a lot.
I adored the flashbacks with Abigail, giving us more insight to what happened when Hannibal had her fake her death until the moments leading into the finale of last season. It made me very nostalgic. It really has me questioning, though, about everything surrounding Abigail, particularly since the beginning of this season we had Will imagining she was there with him as a way of coping with her death. But at the same time, are we certain? Why were we given these flashbacks, unless it was Hannibal reliving those moments because of that family he wanted to give Will, especially since Will now has a family of his own. Hannibal does mention that he gave Will a child, being Abigail, along with a promise of a life together as a family. So perhaps Hannibal was reminiscing of that preparation the same way that Will was imagining Abigail with him after the events that followed. It's so fascinating seeing how they both connect in that way.
I also loved confirmation that Alana and Margot are still together (♥), and how they are raising a Verger child. However, I am worried about what will happen to Alana. Her overseeing everything with Hannibal in keeping him locked up can only work for so long, and Hannibal does keep his promises. I suspect that Alana has resigned to this possibility of being killed by him, though, and is working hard to make sure that it doesn't happen, at least not under her watch over him. I did like the little moment of her entering his confinement cell and threatening to take away what he defines as his dignity. Though it's puzzling how he managed to have these things in the first place, considering the nature of his crimes.
And that Will adopted the dog. Of course he would adopt the dog, he is Will Graham. He doesn't leave any dog behind. ADOPT ALL THE DOGS is his mentality, and thank goodness for it, too. Plus, even though we've only briefly been introduced to her, I really like Molly and the relationship she and Will have. Just having that phone call with them talking, making him smile warmly, envisioning he's back with her, was a very lovely moment. Of course it was broken by the reality he's surrounded by and getting back into that dark mindset and back to the nightmares.
Overall, such a solid episode. I'm really savoring everything I can for the remaining episodes.
I don't know what is up with NBC, but they're no longer showing previews for the next episode, and it seems that they are shortening the Post-Mortem interviews with the cast and crew, never mind with the whole shifting the show to Saturdays (despite that it's still on Thursdays in Canada). The show may be cancelled, but that doesn't mean they should be stingy with at least trying to continue promoting what is left.