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23 August 2015 @ 07:00 pm
Hannibal: "The Number Of The Beast Is 666..." Episode Review  
Hannibal 3.12 "The Number Of The Beast Is 666..."

This was by far the creepiest episode of Hannibal, and perhaps the best episode of the entire season so far, and all of this is due to everything that Richard Armitage does with his performance as the Red Dragon.

And this episode was entirely about the Red Dragon. Not Francis Dolarhyde that we've been introduced to throughout these last few episodes, with all his vulnerability and humanity, but what Francis has been becoming with his transformation as the Dragon. Jack Crawford and Will Graham wanted to devise a plan to illicit a strong reaction from Francis in order to draw him out, and a strong reaction is what they got. But it was the Dragon that they got, which of course targeted the one person that he could from the article that brought him out: Fredrick Chilton. And let me just say, everything that followed after the kidnapping was absolutely terrifying and chilling. The scenes with Dolarhyde and Chilton were probably the most unnerving moments of the entire series. Raúl Esparza was able to convey Chilton's fear and helplessness of his situation, being completely at the mercy of Dolarhyde. And Richard Armitage, goodness, there aren't enough words to describe his performance. We've seen how unnerving he could be from his first episode, where his entire introduction was wordless yet still managed to unsettle us. But this was something completely different, this was Francis Dolarhyde completely embodying the Dragon, from his physical movements to the deep, low register of his voice, powerful. Richard as Francis Dolarhyde in this episode was utterly intimidating and frightening. Dare I say, his performance is certainly Emmy-worthy? He deserves all the awards, IMHO.

Like everyone else, I wasn't opposed to Richard and Raúl having a scene together (especially with everyone saying that they look alike), and I certainly wasn't opposed of them having a kissing scene (for reasons), but I'm pretty sure that wasn't what most people meant, lol. Regardless, while I knew it was coming, that was quite disturbing. I also still find it ironic that NBC (and other networks as well) is completely okay with showing violence and graphic scenes, such as biting off someone's lips and showing the aftermath of it in several different shots, while being such prudes when it comes to showing even the tiniest bit of ass shots. Oh, America.

I know some people are confused why the switch of having Chilton being the victim instead of Freddie as it was in the books, but it actually makes sense given how Bryan Fuller is quite adamant about not showing any kind of horrific violence, especially sexual violence, against women. What happens to Chilton can definitely be considered sexual violence in a way, since he was stripped naked and then was forced a brief kiss before his lips were bitten and torn off. Never mind that in the books Freddy Lounds is actually a male character, and has been depicted as male in other adaptations. So the trade-off makes even more sense for this confrontation between two males, one who doesn't understand who Francis is and his becoming. Plus, Fuller did say that something bad happens to Chilton every season, so that just goes with that theme, as unfortunately as his outcome is in the second to last episode.

While I know what happens with Reba, I'm still terrified for her. I'm so conflicted because the way the Reba and Francis relationship has been formed in such a short time I feel an attachment to how deeply emotional and sensual they were with each other, except that Francis is a serial killer. He commits horrific crimes. I shouldn't feel horrible for him, and yet I do, because Francis doesn't want to hurt Reba, he tried to stop himself. But it failed. Seeing what happens in the finale is going to be quite a doozy, for many reasons.

Other moments I loved about the episode:

"Is Hannibal...in love with me?"

Well, then. The subtext has finally become text.

This is something that I don't consider queerbaiting, though. I have always considered the relationship between Hannibal and Will to be quite homoromantic, and it wasn't so much subtext as their actual relationship throughout the show. Hannibal showed a lot of affection for Will, in his own way. Him wanting to organize his own Murder Family getaway with himself, Will and Abagail, for example. There was certainly a love between them in the earlier seasons that was palpable, even after the "breakup" between them there is still that connection. Whether or not it was sexual, that is for one's own interpretation, but there is no denying that there was a certain level of love between them that wasn't your typical Hollywoodized "bromance". To have it said out loud is perhaps the most confirmation we'll be getting before the series ends.

I also loved everything about the conversation between Hannibal and Chilton, especially the line, "quantifiably bitchy." That is forever my favorite, lol.

Plus, when Hannibal was gifted Chilton's lips and we have that little scene, after Jack asks him where the other one was, we have a brief flash of him slurping one of them up. And Hannibal's cheeky grin. He was having too much fun fucking around with them. Those little moments is something that gives this show some needed humor, and who better than to provide that than Hannibal who always has some sort of subtle pun about cannibalism.

It appears that the moment when the crew actually got terrified by Richard's performance was when Francis was putting in those false teeth and climbed over the furniture towards Chilton before biting off his lips. One of the crew had to walk off the set during that scene.

Oh, and speaking of, someone pointed out that what Francis put over Chilton's eyes (and mouth I think?) was actually a pad. Like, a maxi pad. I don't know, little details like that are so fascinating to me.

Overall: This episode was simply amazing. Absolutely horrifying and disturbing in all the right places with interpreting one of the most infamous Red Dragon scenes. Richard once again proves just how a magnificent actor he is by immersing and transforming himself into this role, bringing a new element of terrifying to Francis Dolarhyde that wasn't previously seen with his rendition. While we have wonderful performances with every actor on this show, Richard literally outdid himself and practially outshined everyone else with his scenes, giving a bone-chilling performance. With only one episode left, of the season and the entire series (insert all the sadfaces here), we have one grand finale to look forward to in seeing how it all ends for not just Francis Dolarhyde, but the rest of the characters.
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
Current Music: Lindsey Stirling - Eclipse
Julie: AoS ★ empty placesragnarok_08 on August 24th, 2015 02:10 am (UTC)
It was soooo creepy, you're right about that.
orangerfulorangerful on August 24th, 2015 02:35 am (UTC)
LOL I just emailed my friend and said they should just give Richard the Emmy now. That scene when he hopped onto the desk to attack, he WAS the dragon. SO TERRIFYING!!!!!!

I love how they made it all work, that they were able to crib from the novel and use it in an earlier season then make it all tie back together in this episode, making it all that much worse, because now it's not just the crazy serial killer lighting someone on fire for no reason, it is the Red Dragon, by command of Hannibal Lector, MOCKING Will Graham with Chilton's charred body.

This show. Amazing.

the finale is going to be intense, I just wish it wasn't the last one.
Renée: John Thornton.rogueslayer452 on August 24th, 2015 07:30 am (UTC)
Seriously though. I know I'm going to sound like a broken record in saying that Richard deserves pretty much all the awards for practically most of the things he does, but it is absolutely true. His work on Hannibal is no exception, considering how well he manages to balance out the humanity and the menacing aspects of Dolarhyde. The way he embodied the monstrous side of the Dragon in this episode was absolutely frightening that I was completely taken aback at several moments. Bravo, Richard. Just, wow.

I also love how things have come full circle now, as well. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I have loved seeing what the show does in their own interpretation from the books, adding their own twists and flavors to it while still managing to make it all work. It makes me sad that NBC cancelled the show because I want to know what Bryan Fuller had in store for a fourth season, especially in terms of the relationship between Hannibal and Will.

(Still crossing my fingers that they'll continue making more content for the universe of the show, even if it's not with another network; a possible crowdfunded film could definitely be the next level, surely.)
orangerfulorangerful on August 25th, 2015 02:08 am (UTC)
I completely agree with your Armitage evaluation for this season, he is just hitting it so far out of the park. As my friend said to me today, THAT is an episode you watch and then sit there going "How could they cancel this??"

I keep waiting and hoping that Fuller will announce some kind of crowd funding or some other ray of hope.
goldenusagigoldenusagi on August 26th, 2015 04:54 am (UTC)
Yeah, apparently this was the episode where Richard actually freaked out the crew. He was SO creepy. And the scene between him and Chilton was terrifying. Raul was also excellent. Man, though, I really feel bad for Chilton. I almost think I would have preferred his death. But I really have no idea how next episode is going to go. We've got the house scene with Reba and Francis coming up, but I'm wondering what's beyond that, given that we already had Francis attack Will's house. Francis dying seems a given, though in the book, it's Molly that shoots him. Given that we've already had their confrontation, I wonder if Reba will end up doing it somehow?

The subtext has finally become text.

I don't even ship them, and I'm really giddy over this. I definitely agree that it's not queerbaiting, because there's nothing jokey or wink-wink-nudge-nudge about it. It's organic to the story, and there's plenty to support it. Will's question was genuine and obviously something he's been thinking about. While I don't expect him to return Hannibal's feelings, one-sided love is pretty much canon. Though how much Will feels is definitely up for debate. Whether or not he feels actually romantic love for Hannibal, I think he's been dangerously close at points to coming around to Hannibal's world view. And he still could. Fuller mentioned that his plans for S4 were still pre-SotL so the show had somewhere to go even without them having the rights to Clarice, and that a fourth season would be directed by something that happens in the S3 finale. I wonder if it could be something like that.

Part of me would love to see the show go on (obviously), and if they couldn't get the rights to Clarice, just give Will Clarice's book ending. It's definitely more full circle. I mean, actually running away with Hannibal would not be good for WILL, but I almost feel like it would be a good series ending, if that makes any sense. Hannibal is happy and everyone else is dead or along for the ride.
Renéerogueslayer452 on August 27th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC)
Francis dying seems a given, though in the book, it's Molly that shoots him. Given that we've already had their confrontation, I wonder if Reba will end up doing it somehow?

I've had this thought, as well, since it would be rather fitting for their relationship. I know that in the book it is Molly who kills him, and in the film adaptations it's either her or her and Will who do the deed in killing him, but I would find it even more interesting if it was Reba who killed him. Maybe Francis begs her to do it, in his one moment of sanity when refusing to harm her, and at first she doesn't want to, but then somehow actually ends up doing it.

I mean, I don't know if this is what we'll be getting, for all we know it's going to be Will, but I would love it to be Reba who initially does it perhaps during a fight with Will and Francis.

Part of me would love to see the show go on (obviously), and if they couldn't get the rights to Clarice, just give Will Clarice's book ending. It's definitely more full circle.

I completely agree. I think it would be perfect of a way to end the series. :)