There’s a reason De Laurentiis Co. settled on #SwallowedWhole as tonight’s Hannibal hashtag…
The latest episode of Hannibal had a lot of… swallowing in it. We find out exactly how Francis (Richard Armitage) managed to get through to Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen), and just how difficult it was for him to screw up the courage to speak to him. It’s interesting to see the two men face each other, especially since the characters have never been onscreen together before.
Bedelia (Gillian Anderson), meanwhile, is on a lecture tour, discussing her experiences with Hannibal and how he “brainwashed” her into believing she was really Lydia Fell. Will (Hugh Dancy) continues to disbelieve Bedelia’s story, resulting in what might be the greatest catfight of all time. They meet up again later to talk about Hannibal on her terms. She reveals the cannibal sends her greeting cards with recipes on “Christian holidays” and her birthday, because of course he does.
At one point, Bedelia tells Will, “My relationship with Hannibal is not as passionate as yours. You are here visiting an old flame. Is your wife aware of how intimately you and Hannibal know each other?” (It was basically the best line of the episode.)
During their meeting, we see glimpses of Bedelia’s appointments with Hannibal’s former patient, Neal Frank (Zachary Quinto), who tells her something is wrong with Hannibal — and that while under his care, he nearly choked on his own tongue. (I guess that’s where Bedelia got the idea from…)
“Of course he would refer me to you,” says Neal, frustrated that Bedelia won’t do anything to help him if it means going against Hannibal. “You’re as twisted as he is.”
Watching him lose his cool and then start to choke on his tongue again reveals what might be the biggest surprise of this episode: that Neal’s death really was (sort of) an accident (as much of an accident it could be, when Hannibal essentially brainwashed him into choking on his own tongue).
Meanwhile, Francis and Reba (Rutina Wesley) reach a new level in their relationship. He takes Reba to the zoo so she can pet a sleeping tiger, and listening to Francis describe the beast while Reba touches it somehow feels more intimate than their sex scene. (I also like the parallels of Reba moving her hand toward the tiger’s mouth, as she did with Francis.)
After leaving the zoo, the pair head back to the Dolarhyde home for cocktails, where Reba tells Francis, “I don’t think anyone at Gateway knows you at all.” Francis asks her if people have spoken about him and she says yes, telling him everything they’ve said before, ahem, shocking him.
He carries her into the bedroom, where they proceed to shock each other. When he wakes after a night of restless dreaming, he finds his bed empty, and fearing the worst, he races through the house and finds her waiting in the living room. He seems genuinely terrified that the Dragon could have taken her as he slept.
To protect her, he goes straight to the source — the original Great Red Dragon painting by William Blake, kept at the Brooklyn Museum. After knocking out Paula (poor Paula), he proceeds to eat the painting, just as none other than Will Graham is being brought up to see it as well.
Will and the Dragon at last come face to face, and Francis wastes no time throwing Will on his butt and racing off into the… afternoon.