“Save yourself. Kill them all.”
“…And the Beast from the Sea” revolves around fear, around that all-encompassing, claustrophobic emotion that breeds resentment and separation and a desire for change. Hannibal Lecter is a master manipulator of those emotions, a constant voice in Dolarhyde’s mind advising and controlling him: “Don’t let fear leech your strength.” His Devil status is represented in this episode when we see his face above Dolarhyde’s shoulder, and we see him as both conscience and temptation, concerned human and callous monster. Hannibal’s playing off of Dolarhyde’s fear about “[giving Reba] the dragon”, and after he tells him that he “can always toss the dragon to someone else”, he sits back and watches his design unfold before him. And later on, whatever care he may actually exhibit toward Dolarhyde–with his “sympathetic ear”–is a two-pronged attack: in the ultimate dick move, he drops a “They’re listening” as Jack and Alana are listening, and it’s a moment that solidifies my love for how big of an asshole Hannibal is.
Several episodes ago, we saw a Dr. Lecter in his cell who was clearly frustrated about the recent lack of Will action, and when Alana came to speak with him, it seemed like she had the upper hand. After the phone call in this episode, though, Alana having Hannibal strapped up in his most famous image–and taking away his toilet–doesn’t really have the power it’s supposed to have. As Alana says, Hannibal’s now “relevant”, and we know that him saying that he’s always told her the truth in his own way is essentially “I was always in control”.
Even as Hannibal’s locked away, he plays a big part in facilitating Dolarhyde’s attack of the Graham house. Prior to this moment, Dolarhyde’s actually been a fairly sympathetic character, someone who’s clearly broken and in need of some form of connection. He’s literally been beating himself–or rather, the Red Dragon–up, and he’s recently been overcome with fear for Reba. And so, there are connections to be found here between the Will-Hannibal and Francis-Hannibal interactions. Early on, Hannibal says the following to Will: “They’re not my family, and I’m not letting them die. You are.” With Francis, he gives the aforementioned advice about tossing the dragon to someone else. By zeroing in on fear for people they care about and placing the onus of alleviating that fear on them, he pits them against each other in a twisted “competition” of sorts.
That brings Dolarhyde to Will’s home and Will back to Hannibal’s cell. This is a big moment for Hannibal, who clearly wants Will to go after Dolarhyde and revert to old patterns. He constantly turns the conversation back on Will, stating that “the dragon likely thinks you are as much a monster as you think he is.” He then goes into this monologue: “The Great Red Dragon is freedom to him. Shedding his skin, the sound of his voice, his own reflection…the building of a new body and the othering of himself–the splitting of his personality–all seem active and deliberate. He craves change.” We end the episode with him asking whether Will craves change, and what’s interesting about this question is that it nudges Will back to his situation pre-new life, pre-change. Maybe Molly’s right when she says that “it’s tough to hold onto anything good. It’s also slippery.” Maybe Will is slipping back into old patterns, and it’s certainly fascinating to watch. He may be worn out with all of this, but I definitely am not. Give me more of these crazy sons of bitches.
-The Graham house attack scene is definitely one of the more intense scenes the show has produced. We see Dolarhyde in a state that we know he’s capable of, but haven’t really seen yet, and it’s pretty terrifying to watch him go after Molly and Wally. Also, brilliantly directed scene, as expected.
– “How do you imagine he’s contacting me? Personal ads in the paper? Writing notes of admiration on toilet paper?” This entire episode is pretty much Bryan Fuller saying “I don’t need you, book.”
– “I had to justify myself to an 11 year old.” “Resentment’s raising a blister in you, Will.”
– “It’s okay to be confused. We spend most of our lives confused. It’s rare to actually figure things out.” What a wonderful scene between Francis and Reba. Rutina Wesley and Richard Armitage continue to do fantastic jobs with their characters.
-Damn it, only two more episodes left of this amazing show.
Photo credit: Hannibal, NBC