Hannibal 3.09 Review
HANNIBAL -- "...and the Woman Clothed with the Sun" Episode 309 -- Pictured: (l-r) Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds, Hugh Dancy as Will Graham -- (Photo by: Ian Watson/NBC)

Hannibal 3.09 Review: “And the Woman Clothed with the Sun”

‘The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun’ is the second in a series of paintings known as the “Great Red Dragon Paintings” depicting the creature in various scenes from the Book of Revelation It is similar to the first painting in the series, ‘The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun,’ but shown from a different viewpoint. The woman is seen with arms outstretched, gazing up at the dragon that looks down at her. This painting by William Blake is part of a larger commission to illustrate the books of the Bible.

Three years ago Hannibal Lecter turned himself in so that Will would always know where to find him. And this is the first time Will has visited him.

When Will walks into Hannibal’s holding room to profile the killer, he has suddenly entered Hannibal’s office. Yet they do not remain there for long, transporting from place to place as they speak about the crime scene. First they are in the bedroom with the murdered bodies, then inside the kitchen, and then outside the home staring at an extremely close full moon. As they speak Hannibal moves around, guiding the conversation while Will remains stock still, moving his head and arms only when necessary. Will tries to be as distant as possible, trying to keep a strict barrier between himself and “Dr. Lecter,” especially since Hannibal wants to pry out information regarding Will’s personal life.

Through smell Hannibal is able to deduce that Will is now living with a wife and child, but that information alone is not enough. He seeks to compare Will to the killer, not only to gain information Will is withholding but also to kick start the skill Will has emphasizing with the killer. Hannibal comments that Will’s family is “ready-made,” something the killer was looking for. Will found himself the wife and son package where he can be free of any biological blame for how the kid turns out. And Will knows better than to “breed,” given his “condition.” It is a sharp knife that the viewer feels, because you know how deeply Will cares because it is often shown through his desire to save dogs. This is the first mention of why Will would not want kids, and knowing Will sees his ability as something along the lines of a deformity, is heartbreaking.

Alana Bloom plays a prominent part in this episode, and I feel it is important to make note of her clothing. When speaking to Will she explains she has the position at the hospital because there are five doors blocking Hannibal from the outside world, and she holds the key to every one of them. Clearly she is motivated by a sense of duty, but there is a sense of fear underneath all of that. During this scene she is lounging comfortably on a couch in a black-and-white jacket. At the time I found it very suiting, because unlike Will who sees things in shades of grey she has a very clear-cut view of the world. She has grown so much after being tricked by Hannibal, and will not easily be fooled again.

But then there is a scene in which she is speaking to Hannibal about Will’s visit. When she enters the room, still wearing that smart jacket, I saw a different meaning behind the clothing. The jacket is striped, and though the stripes are vertical there is a clear parallel to a classic prison uniform. Despite being the warden she is just as trapped there as Hannibal is, and the keys she holds can offer no freedom. There is peace she needs that cannot be found in locked doors.

On the bright side of things she and Margot are still together, living happily. They had their “Verger baby,” with Alana being the surrogate mother. Luckily they had a bouncing baby boy, and Margot is able to maintain her hold on the Verger estate. Though it is thoroughly creepy that Alana got pregnant using the sperm they extracted from Mason’s unconscious body through a method involving a cattle prod, at least the two women are living peacefully enough.

Now, one thing that has always interested me about this series is that the director never seems to use the same cinematographic element twice. This episode features scenes where the background dissolves to black around a character, and suddenly they are in another place. Though the transition looks like an edit someone could make in Photoshop, it is an interesting way to show how a person’s mind is in another place. It happens generally to Hannibal, or in the presence of Hannibal in Will’s case. The first time we see it is when Hannibal remembers how he helped Abigail fake her death, and a second time when we see him giving her therapy.

I feel like I need to go back through the past three seasons of this show and make a list called “Strange Things Hannibal Does to Prove a Point.” Generally these things involve him killing someone, and occasionally tricking someone into killing someone else. But this episode feature Hannibal going through the trouble of digging up the body of Abigail Hobbes’ father. He does this so he can blindfold her, bring her into a room, and then remove the blindfold so she can find him, all dressed up to meet his maker, sitting across from her in Hannibal’s office. Now this was done so that Abigail could understand, by slitting her father’s throat like he did hers, that he was no longer a threat to her. Which makes sense, of course, but is certainly a strange way to do it.

While the hunt for the “Tooth Fairy” is on we get to briefly catch up with Freddie Lounds, everyone’s favorite investigative reporter. After revealing her death was faked in order to help catch a serial killer she went back to invading people’s privacy and exaggerating stories. Apparently while Will was unconscious in the hospital after the “Red Dinner,” she snuck into his room, pulled his gown away, and took pictures of his injury. Of course she was kind enough to cover Will’s genitals with a “large” black box. Despite her methods being slightly on the verge of blackmail, she thinks she can help out with the “Tooth Fairy” investigation. All serial killers are narcissists and love to read about their crimes in the papers, so wording a story just right may have the killer playing into their hands.

But Will wants nothing to do with Freddie, per usual, and seems fairly reluctant to stay part of the investigation. While on the phone with his wife he returns to his peaceful life, and the camera even shows him lying next to his wife back home. But when she mentions the investigation and his “criminal mind,” suddenly he is isolated in the cold, unfamiliar hotel room. He does not want to connect with the killer. All he wants is to go back to being normal.

Yet why can he not go back? It was Jack Crawford who pulled him in. Did he not have Will’s best interests at heart before? Did something change? Well, arguably what changed was Will admitting that he wanted to leave with Hannibal three years ago, and therefore wanted to give into his primal desires. Since that happened Jack seems to treat Will differently. Back then Jack was in the dark while Hannibal and Will pulled the strings around him, but everything is different now. This is shown in a beautifully directed shot when Jack visits Hannibal’s holding cell. When he walks into the room we can see Hannibal’s reflection in the glass consumed by Jack, showing how Jack may have more control over Hannibal than he realizes. Jack is open about wanting to use both Will and Hannibal to catch the killer, and does not seem to care about what happens to either of them in the process.

And what of this killer? Where has he been during this episode? Well, no one else has died, but he continues his quest to become more like the “Great Red Dragon.” He befriends a blind woman who handles film, and it is clear to the viewer he is looking to film or photograph his upcoming murders. Also there is quite the strange scene of him eating at a table full of elderly people, which flickered between past and present. Last episode we saw him take an interest in Hannibal through newspaper articles, but this episode we see him focusing more on Will in those same articles.

At the very end of the episode Hannibal receives a call from the killer, who happily states that Hannibal is one of the few people who would be able to understand him. It is possible that the killer also sees Will as someone able to understand him and what he is becoming. But what is he becoming you ask? The Great Red Dragon.

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