Behind the Veil:

Hannibal Season Three Episode Ten

I do not consider either the just, or the wicked, to be in a supreme state, but to be, every one of them, states of the sleep which the soul may fall into in its deadly dreams of good and evil, when it leaves Paradise following the serpent.

— “A Vision of the Last Judgement” by William Blake

When the stars threw down their spears

And water’d heaven with their tears:

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

— “Tyger” by William Blake

[1] And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

[2] And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

[3] And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

[4] And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

[5] And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

[6] And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

[8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

[9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

— Book of Revelations

[1] And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

[2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

[3] And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

[4] And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

— Book of Revelations

Episode ten of the third season of Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal is a quiet and self-contained affair. It’s populated by quiet people having long, hushed conversations in dimly lit rooms. Hannibal is a show frequently prepared to catapult the audience into massive tense propulsive plots and to elegantly communicate violence, but these first few episodes of the Red Dragon plotline have contented themselves with subtler events, more gentle foundation laying than this season’s first half. The change is as noticeable as it is welcome. While generally the show’s cooled off in a few other ways (gone are some of the more prominent visual abstractions), there certainly hasn’t been any sort of drop in quality, and truthfully that’s all that really matters.

The opening of this episode nicely characterizes the show’s gentler pace. The opening follows the exact same events as the end of last week’s episode, albeit from the perspective of a different character. So we get a moodily shot opening depicting Francis Dolarhyde impersonating a telephone repair man, breaking into various places and rewiring phone lines in order to safely call Hannibal Lecter. However the show rewinds a bit further, showing us Dolarhyde’s psychological preparation for his meeting with his idol. He practices his annunciation, does his mirror ritual, and breaks down nervously when he actually calls Hannibal.

Their conversation extends past the end of the last episode, and is illustrated by showing them both in Hannibal’s psychiatric office. Their relationship is intriguing. It’s compared in this conversation to Jesus and John the Baptist. Hannibal is John the Baptist in this scenario, and The Great Red Dragon is going to subsume him and become the powerful being Hannibal was laying the way for. It’s an ominous statement that seems to imply that Hannibal isn’t exactly safe. But the brilliant cannibal seems more excited by Francis Dolarhyde’s mania than anything else. The conversation concludes with Hannibal quoting William Blake, “Did he who make the Lamb make thee?” It’s a cleverly chosen quote that references Christ and calls back to their conversation and uses Francis Dolarhyde’s idol to comment on The Great Red Dragon’s ferocity. The show illustrates this with a disturbing visual metaphor. Through some atmospheric computer graphics, the show depicts Francis Dolarhyde as The Great Red Dragon standing cliffside and flanked by leaping flames. It’s visually reminiscent of William Blake’s The Number of the Beast is 666. This painting shows the multi-headed Great Red Dragon cliffside. Under the cliff is a lamb, and in the foreground is another demonic figure seemingly heralding The Great Red Dragon (identified as the Devil).

The most iconic of William Blake’s paintings makes a dramatic and unexpected appearance at the end of the episode. Francis Dolarhyde and Will Graham, independently of one another, arrange to see the original copy of the The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun at a museum. Francis beats Will to the punch, then beats his tour guide unconscious and grabs Blake’s painting. He removes the painting from its protective sheath and begins to obsessively sniff it and rub it on his face, then he snaps and shoves the corner of the painting into his mouth and starts to bite. As he consumes the painting he worships, the man he knows is chasing him rides the elevator towards the same room. Dolarhyde and Will come face to face for a brief moment and Francis flees. Will gets picked up and smashed against the elevator wall.

Will starts the episode talking with Bedelia about their similar relationships with Hannibal. Bedelia is quick, however, to point out the chief difference between them. She was “behind the veil.” In a way that Will never was. The two speak softly but tensely, verbally sparring and comparing their times with Hannibal and their mental states. Will’s accusations make Bedelia recall one of the inciting moments in her relationship with Hannibal. It’s the murder of a patient Hannibal referred to her. A murder Hannibal deliberately orchestrated. It’s a moment that has been alluded to many times over the course of the show, but this is the first time we’ve seen it. It’s an expected scene, as news of Zachary Quinto’s casting came a while ago. He plays Bedelia and Hannibal’s mutual patient. A patient scared of what Hannibal did to him. He references something that we recognize as Hannibal’s druggy hypnosis, the same thing he did to trick Will into thinking he was suffering brain damage. It’s pretty clear Hannibal carefully programmed this patient, and then referred him to Bedelia for the express purpose of manipulating Bedelia. It’s what started their disturbing friendship, and it’s interesting to finally see it. The internal footage of Bedelia’s hand pushing down Zachary Quinto’s throat was particularly disturbing.

Bedelia also insightfully asks Will if he’s contacted Hannibal. She says that she hasn’t, although he does send her letters on Christian holidays and her birthday. He always includes a recipe. Will and Bedelia’s conversation culminates with an interesting psychological experiment. Bedelia asks Will what his first reaction to a fallen baby bird would be. Then she correctly identifies his response as a nurturing instinct. Then she explains that in that scenario she’d want to crush the bird. She defends her thought as being an equally natural instinct, and adds the caveat that she wouldn’t actually do it. But that as she sees it, is the reason she was let behind the veil. She challenges Will to think about crushing the bird next time.

The rest of the episode focuses on Francis Dolarhyde and his new friend. He’s seeing his blind colleague again, and the two are beginning to have an actual romance (I’m sorry I can’t remember her name and there’s a Biblical flood right now killing my wifi). Dolarhyde asks about when his lady friend lost her vision, and if she ever got to see a Tiger. She says no, and so Dolarhyde arranges a rather crazy opportunity. He takes her to a zoo while the tiger is having dental(!) surgery and is unconscious. The vets have agreed to let her touch the sleeping tiger. Dolarhyde describes it for her, saying the orange is so bright it “bleeds into the air.” The scene is slightly abstracted, showing the (slightly too obviously fake) tiger as a radiating light in a drab world. The camera follows her tentative fingers as she explores the contours of the sleeping tiger. They leave fairly ecstatic.

They go to Dolarhyde’s surprisingly lavish house and drink cocktails and talk. Dolarhyde’s tiger gift is described as being a stunningly “elegant and eloquent gesture.” The word eloquent is repeated, coming across as an attempt to dissuade Dolarhyde’s fears surrounding his vocal issues. Dolarhyde allows blind lady to take a big step and talk about his face and then feel his face. She tells him his other colleagues say he shouldn’t be so nervous about his face, and as she strokes his face Dolarhyde’s wigs out. But not murderously, instead the two have montage sex. It’s actually one of Hannibal’s least disturbing sex scenes, despite featuring a serial killer known as The Tooth Fairy (Dolarhyde actually bonds with Hannibal over terrible media monikers). The scene mainly consists of blurry overplayed footage of Dolarhyde’s writhing William Blake back tattoo.

That morning she leaves, and Francis Dolarhyde communes with his recreation of The Great Red Dragon.

[10] He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

[11] And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

[12] And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

[13] And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

[14] And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

[15] And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

[17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

[18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

— Book of Revelations

Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


Harry Edmundson-Cornell is obsessed with comics and film and writing, and he fancies himself a bit of an artist. He's dabbled in freelance video production, writing, design, 3D modelling, and artistic commissions. He mainly uses Tumblr to keep track of what he's watching and reading and listening to. Occasionally he uses it to post original works. You can find his email and junk there too, if you want to hire him or send him hate-mail.

See more, including free online content, on .

Leave a Reply