This season of Hannibal has been almost like two separate seasons put together. The first part was a bit of ‘Hannibal on the run’, while this second part is taking on the Red Dragon storyline. While it hasn’t really impacted the show’s quality, it’s not entirely satisfying to see how easily everyone has settled back into a similar place as in seasons one and two. Fortunately, Richard Armitage continues to deliver a wonderfully creepy performance as Francis Dolarhyde that allows us to forgive the slight clumsiness found mid-season.
“And the Woman Clothed in Sun” brings back another Hannibal feature that had been missing for most of season three: the therapy session. While the Red Dragon continues to accept and hasten his “becoming”, Will Graham visits Dr Bedelia du Maurier, the only person he can talk to who can relate to his experiences with Hannibal Lecter. Three years on, Bedelia has made a name for herself by giving lectures about her time being “trapped” and “manipulated” by Hannibal. She offers insight into the mind of the psychopath and what it’s like to be under the control of someone so powerful. Of course Will knows this is almost entirely false. Bedelia was just as interested in the game as Hannibal was, only she lacked the courage (or rather she still had some morality) to go through with the violence.
Hannibal does a great job in how each episode plays with time through its editing. Putting together flashbacks amongst related present time conversations works really well. In Bedelia’s and Will’s ‘therapy session’, they describe how it felt to be under Hannibal’s spell and whether they have fully escaped it. Simultaneously, we get the full flashback to when Bedelia killed Neal Frank, a patient of hers which the show always stated had attacked Bedelia at Hannibal’s request. Guest starring Zachary Quinto, who once again plays an unhinged and volatile man, we see exactly what happened between Bedelia and Neal. We knew her story wasn’t entirely true but now we see just how fake it really was. While she tells Will sometimes it’s better to be destructive rather than empathetic for self-preservation, we realise Neal did not initiate the attack but rather was merely choking. Rather than be compassionate, Bedelia decided to avoid future problems and kill Neal (the scene is strangely erotic for Bedelia). It seems Hannibal had gotten to her much, much earlier than we expected. It’s a great revelation that makes Bedelia du Maurier a more sinister and clever character than originally thought.
Dolarhyde taking Reba to touch a live tiger (while it was under sedation) was perfect in two ways: 1) what it did for Reba, and 2) how it maintained the creepy endearing vibe in that relationship. Dolarhyde feels more comfortable with Reba because she can’t see what he believes to be his disfigurement. Whether he genuinely cares for her is not yet 100% but since his M.O. is to kill families, she might be safe. For now.
Lastly, Dolarhyde and Hannibal are a dangerous mix. People are getting over the Hannibal craze, just as Chilton told Dr Lecter. It’s now the Red Dragon’s turn. Dolarhyde admires what Hannibal did but believes he can surpass it. This of course is causing some ‘professional rivalry’ in Hannibal. Three years later, Hannibal is once again plotting. It seems to hint that Will’s new family is about to experience the horrors of the Tooth Fairy. This is the only way Hannibal can really take back full control of Will. At least Will has seen the Tooth Fairy’s face and he’ll be sure to put up a fight.