Episode eleven of Hannibal’s third season, “…And the Beast from the Sea” is another good episode of the show, though at times it strikes me as a bit of a funny episode. Namely because every new plot element, threat, and wrinkle is basically resolved by the end. It makes the whole episode feel rather one-and-done and disconnected from the rest of the show. That being said what happens is compelling and well put together, and will certainly change character dynamics going forward, which is good.
The biggest event this episode starts when Francis Dolarhyde gets into contact with Hannibal again. Dolarhyde is particularly expanded upon this episode. He’s standing at a crossroads, and is distressed. He’s worried he might hurt Reba, and this concern reveals something very important about his character – Dolarhyde and the Great Red Dragon are, to his mind, two separate entities. Francis Dolarhyde is suffering from a split personality. He’s worried that if the Great Red Dragon emerges at an inopportune time or the Dragon entirely subsumes his Dolarhyde personality Reba might die. He also talks to Hannibal about Will Graham. He says he saw an unexpected “purpose” in his eyes and isn’t sure how to deal with him. Hannibal smiles and conveys to the Great Red Dragon an ominous piece of information, “He has a family.” When Dolarhyde prods him for more, Hannibal elaborates, “Kill them all.”
Before Dolarhyde tries this, Will visits Hannibal and confronts him about the meeting with Dolarhyde at the gallery. He’s realized that Hannibal must have spoken to the Great Red Dragon. “I’m not luck’s fool, I’m yours.” Will tries to call on Hannibal’s sympathy, asking him to help them save Dolarhyde’s next family. Dramatic irony is on full display in this scene. “Is it your family you see?” Worst of all might be when Will asks Hannibal if he knows who Dolarhyde’s next target is and Hannibal says he does.
Jack Crawford and Alana appear later. They have called Hannibal’s lawyer and discovered that he hasn’t been contacting the imprisoned killer. They inform Hannibal they’re going to tap his phone line and expect his cooperation.
Francis Dolarhyde does his best to kill Will’s family. He poisons all their dogs, which they hide from Will so as not to stress him out. Then he creeps into their house at night with his silenced pistol. Will’s wife, Molly, is all too capable for Francis Dolarhyde however. The second she thinks she hears a sound she slides into her nearby boots and runs into her son’s room. Later she explains she’s been on edge ever since she saw the Freddie Lounds article about the Tooth Fairy. She creeps into her son’s room and sends him out the window, saying she’ll meet him by the car. She narrowly misses the searching Francis Dolarhyde as he hunts for his victims. Molly ends up hiding under the porch while Dolarhyde stands above her looking around. She gestures her son over from the car and then triggers the car’s alarm. Dolarhyde spins and shoots at the car. Will’s family takes the opportunity to run onto the road and flag down a passing car. The car’s driver gets shot in the head by Dolarhyde, and Molly gets hit in the shoulder as they drive away. She winds up unconscious in the hospital when Will gets there.
Will talks to Molly’s son, who’s found out about Will’s rather dramatic past from other tabloid articles Lounds wrote. He asks Will if he’ll kill the Tooth Fairy. Will says no, which isn’t the answer his adopted son wanted to hear. Will confronts Hannibal about the attempted murder too. Hannibal doesn’t hide anything; instead he conveys his conversation with Dolarhyde verbatim. “Then I told him to kill them all.” Will is fiercely angry with Hannibal.
Hannibal: “What do you see when you look at her now?”
Will Graham: “You know what I see.”
Hannibal has carefully sewn the seeds that could presumably grow to tear apart Will’s life. Will and Molly seem to be okay at the end of the episode. Molly acknowledges that she wanted Will to go back to this life, and that they both knew this would change Will.
After his failure, Francis Dolarhyde punishes himself. Or rather the Great Red Dragon punishes him. He imagines the figure of the Great Red Dragon beating him, when in actuality he’s writhing around on the floor hitting himself until he bleeds. It’s grim and the first time we’ve really been given an impression of just how far Dolarhyde’s split personality goes. Later the bruised and battered murderer lets himself into Reba’s dark room. He breaks it off with her (earlier in the episode they lounged on a couch together while Dolarhyde watched videos of Molly and her son) saying he’s afraid he’ll hurt her. They both seem fairly upset by this, but part ways.
Dolarhyde then calls Hannibal, unaware he’s being tracked and recorded by the FBI. He seems distressed about Reba and fairly broken up as he tries to communicate his choice to Hannibal. At one point the voice of the Great Red Dragon interrupts him talking about Reba, “You know she’d tear easily.” Dolarhyde seems like he’s spiralling out of control. Between his relationship with Reba and his failed attempt at killing Will’s family, the Dragon within him is growing displeased and he can no longer control it.
The conversation ends when Hannibal says, “They’re listening,” and snaps the phone down. The FBI follows the signal to Hannibal’s old office. Alana follows through on her promise to Hannibal. The killer is strapped to a dolly and has his face covered with a mask in the iconic fashion, while workers remove his seating, his shelves, his books, his desk, and his toilet.
Like I said, it’s a good episode, if surprisingly complete by the end. There aren’t many episodes left before the end of the season and I rather thought we’d be sliding towards endgame plot threads now, but apparently not quite yet.