Already seen Episode 9? Read on at the bottom for spoilers.
As this strange season of a generally strange series continues, it is becoming harder to fall in love with. Not for the reason you might think, but for the simple reason that we’ve just had too much heartbreak from shows cut down in their prime. Getting too close to Season 3 of Hannibal, we feel, is dangerous, just as getting too close to the man himself is increasingly dangerous for Will, regardless of how well locked-up he is. But just like Hannibal for Will, the show will always have a strange but special place in our hearts.
Loss, loved ones and the new faces we try to fill the gaps with are this episode’s biggest themes, running parallel to the group’s new case of the mysterious Great Red Dragon. Richard Armitage again delivers a powerful visual performance, his body language conveying what his words supposedly can’t and his impressive contortions giving wings to the Red Dragon beautifully. He is the anti-Hannibal in so many ways – unabashedly unpleasant and aggressive in his demeanour and mood, he is the archetypal psychopath. Will Hannibal be able to get inside the head of a man like this?
With Lecter safely behind bars (or Perspex), the cast that have families left can get on with tending to them and building normal lives away from the madness that sits safely within the four walls of Hannibal’s cell – or does it? With increasing connections being forged between Hannibal and the Young Turk on the mass murder scene, it seems even Alana’s efforts to keep a tight hold on all five keys keeping Hannibal locked up might not be up to the task. (Although if she’s half as good at locking cages as she is at picking trouser suits, we’re not worried – her new sartorial direction is getting two thumbs up from us.)
With Hannibal and the plot that has revolved around him for the past few seasons dying away, what does that new family Will is building for himself look like? The episode is heavy with flashbacks of Hannibal and Abigail Hobbs, the surrogate daughter Will never had, but it’s Will’s absence in these scenes that’s most poignant, as Hannibal offers Abigail up as an example of the family he and Will could have had, dangles her in front of him as a prize, then removes that prize even while it still remains lodged in his heart. Try as he might, it seems, Will can’t shake Hannibal’s hold. He may have built himself a new family (and a growing clutch of dogs) but will anything ever fill the complex gap the old one left? Will he ever be able to be a part of the perfect family, as opposed to standing on the periphery, observing the inevitable damage to it?
While Lecter has never been a family man in the conventional sense, without Will and Abigail he is bereft too. And with Alana turned into a vaguely sadistic gatekeeper, Hannibal’s solitude in his beautiful cell is writ large. For him, family is not the right word – protégé is a better fit. And by the sounds of things, he is set to have one soon; a pair of shape-shifting multi-faceted beasts set to imprison their prey against the wall of Hannibal’s cage.
Hannibal Season 3 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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Photo ©2014 NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Spoilers and further consideration
– The more we think about it the more we’re unsure if Alana’s transition from passive love interest to aggressive gaoler with a penchant for trouser suits and a lesbian relationship is a positive or a negative – it certainly gives the writers a rich scope for innuendo that they have been employing long after the lecherous Mason’s death. But we do like her new dismissive nature after so long being a background character, casually dropping the fact she did indeed become the Verger baby surrogate into a conversation with Will (or ‘will-they-won’t-they’) as if it’s no big deal.
– While we’re happy to see Rutina Wesley get deserved screen time given her poor treatment towards the end of True Blood, we wonder if her inevitable (spoiler-free, this is just a prediction) death will be more or less gory than her end in True Blood…