Through the first two episodes of “Hannibal’s” journey into the Red Dragon story, we have not enjoyed it on the same level as we have the first part. Is there a definitive reason for that? More than anything, we cite the fact that for the most part, the story has been very slow-moving as we start to learn a thing or two about Francis Dolarhyde, his new love Reba, and also what he really wants to become.
Tonight, the story picked up somewhat thanks to the first meeting between Will and Francis directly. It was a short-violent meeting within the research area of a museum, and it culminated with Will being tossed to the floor while Francis escaped via the elevator. This came following Francis’ thorough investigation into the Red Dragon work, including him deciding that apparently, eating the art is the best way to become the art. Him shoving it into his mouth may be the strangest and yet most enjoyable moment of this part of the story so far.
This violence at the end of the episode was in some contrast to him taking a step forward with Reba, though there was a disturbing undertone to most of their love-making, almost as though the Dragon could awaken and breathe his fire across her at any moment. The best moment of their sequence was a visual one, the illumination of the tiger that the two spent time with as a part of their date.
We don’t know what we are meant to feel yet about Reba. Does she humanize him? Not entirely. Instead, it just shows how he can be accepting at least to another’s perception. He is desperate for understanding, judging from how far he went to seek out Hannibal and his approval.
Tonight’s weak point is a double-edged sword. From one vantage point, we appreciated Bedelia du Maurier’s backstory, and seeing more of how the death of a previous patient (Zachary Quinto) informed her rules about life, death, and survival. However, at the same time we still are trying to figure out what her ultimate purpose here will be. We feel like she and Alana Bloom were meant to be almost two different ways to make up for the looming absence of Clarice Starling coming up … though we’re not sure we are really going to be getting to the “Silence of the Lambs” era anyway.
This episode was strong, emotional, and stunning, easily the finest despite our minor complains since we entered Red Dragon territory. Grade: A-.