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Hannibal “And the Woman Clothed with the Sun…” Review (3×09)

1 Aug

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“Like you, Will, he needs a family to escape what’s inside of him.” 

These Hannibal families are far from your conventional television families, but what this episode wants to make clear is that these are still relationships built on love and need and connection. Whether we’re talking about Will-Molly or Hannibal-Abigail or Margot-Alana or Will-Hannibal or even Dolarhyde-Reba, the one constant always seems to be the need for some type of family, some type of connection. And as Hannibal mentions to Abigail: “Every family loves differently. Every love is unique.” Even if your form of love consists of some nice throat-slashing and stabbing and murderous intent, there’s still familial instinct to be found beneath the blood.

Of course, this being Hannibal, it’s not all sunshine and roses regarding these families. This is an episode about how we can be influenced by “our basic affinity toward our family”, about how our need for one can cause anger, bitterness, and unhappiness all around, about how families can be destroyed. Hannibal, for example, had a small smile on his face as he headed toward his jail cell at the end of “Digestivo”, but what’s transpired recently is certainly not what he was expecting. He didn’t expect it to take this long for Will to return to him, he didn’t expect Will to act so distanced once he was back– “I’m more comfortable the less personal we are”–and he definitely didn’t expect Will to find a new family of his own (complete with some awesome dogs, I might add). Mikkelsen does an excellent job of portraying a Hannibal who’s trying to conceal his displeasure, who’s trying to act calm and collected amidst everything seemingly falling apart around him. When he takes shots at Will by telling him “you know better than to breed” and asking him how he chose his family, it’s clear that there’s something more here than just good ‘ol Hannibal ribbing.

That’s exactly what makes him so compelling to watch, especially now. He’s done a lot of truly awful things, but before now, he’s managed to stay above it all in some way, a god-like figure moving through our world as he checks out Will Graham. In this episode, we see him brought down a little bit, particularly during his excellent scenes with Alana. “I know what you’re afraid of,” she says to him. “It’s not pain or solitude. It’s indignity.” Sure, it’s not that Hannibal has somehow lost his power, as he wields a tremendous amount of influence over Alana’s newly formed family; however, his foundation with Will has crumbled a bit.

The episode also takes us back to fill in the blanks of the Hannibal-Abigail relationship, one that definitely has its place in an hour all about family. We’ve already seen a father-daughter dynamic surrounding Abigail, but here, we gain more insight into exactly what went on with her and Hannibal. It’s tender and twisted, lovely and gut-wrenching. It’s two people doing things with and for each other because they feel like family, and the fact that we know how it all turns out adds to the beauty and intensity of the scenes. It’s hard to watch, but it’s also hard to look away. And as Jack says, “we’re all in this stew together.” Here’s to an amazing final run.

GRADE: A-

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OTHER THOUGHTS:

-What an awesome ending.

-I didn’t fit the Dolarhyde storyline into the main review, but it’s pretty important both plot-wise and thematically. After all, he’s a family killer, but we see in this episode that he’s also driven by a desire for that type of connection (plus, he’s still emotionally scarred by his childhood and by the way his family treated him). He finds something of the sort with Reba McClane, played by a Rutina Wesley who has stomped all over her awful True Blood character and has left it in the dust. The kitchen table scene between them is brilliantly acted and written, and I’m looking forward to the two interacting more.

– “I covered your junk with a black box…a big black box. You’re welcome.”

-The episode does a great job of blurring the line between fantasy and reality, especially during the Will-Molly phone conversation. There’s a sense that even though they’re physically together, they may not be on the exact same wavelength emotionally. I really love how the visuals reflect this: when Molly refers to Will’s “criminal mind”, we cut to each of them alone in his or her bed.

In addition, if we’re talking about fantasy vs. reality, we’re also talking about the mind itself, something this show is certainly fascinated by (e.g. Hannibal’s mind palace). It’s interesting then to look at this quote in that psychological context: “What you need of your father is in your head. It’s subject to your judgment, not his.”

– “Even if you know the state of who you are today, you can’t predict who you’ll be tomorrow.”

– Murder Husbands, Manhunter, the teeth on the bus stop ad…Bryan Fuller is awesome. I love that he constantly nods to the fan base, but does so without making it seem forced or awkward. This show is funnier than a lot of comedies on television right now.

– “You deny your love for your father because of what it might mean about you.” This statement has certainly applied to the Will-Hannibal relationship before.

– “I love a good finger wagging.” “Yes, you do. How’s Margot?”

Photo credit: NBC, Hannibal

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