There are only two episodes left in this retelling of the story of Hannibal Lecter, but things seemed to slow down a bit in this eleventh entry of the NBC series, “And the Beast from the Sea.” There was definitely a lot less action and a bit less story progression in this week’s episode, but it still sets up a lot of places for the story to go in the coming concluding chapters. Relationships were definitely put to the test, with some holding up better than others in extreme situations.
The pre-credits sequence of “And the Beast from the Sea” first shows Will Graham, Alana Bloom, and Jack Crawford discussing Will’s run-in with the Red Dragon at the end of last week’s episode. Will shows a bit of disdain for Jack for getting him involved with all of this again, and for bringing Hannibal back into his life. Will reveals that Hannibal is the one who told him how to find the Red Dragon, and infers that he perhaps treated him during his time as a psychiatrist. Of course this is not true, but it segues into a great scene between Francis Dolarhyde and Hannibal where their phone conversation plays out as if it is taking place during a session in Hannibal’s office. Francis is worried that the Dragon’s continuing influence over him will make him hurt Reba, so Hannibal suggests that he channel those energies into killing another family–Will’s.It doesn’t take long for Francis to go forward with this idea, even if he has to have a date night with Reba first. She is still just as sweet and compassionate as always, with no idea as to the kind of person with whom she is involved. During this scene between the two of them, Francis says he has to check out a film that ends up being surveillance footage he shot of Molly Graham and her son Walter. It’s hard to hold onto too much sympathy for Francis after seeing something like that, and it’s especially hard to do that in the coming moments of the episode. It’s implied that he is the one who poisoned Molly and Will’s dogs probably so that they would not make noise when he comes after them later that night. Thankfully, Will married a smart lady and she is able to get herself and her son out of the house before anything can happen. However, in their ensuing escape, one good Samaritan is killed and Molly is shot in the shoulder.
First up on the relationship chopping block is Reba and Francis. After Francis’s attack on the Grahams and the advice from Hannibal to save himself, he’s confused and severely distressed over what’s happening with Reba and the constant feeling that the Dragon wants to kill her. Eventually in this episode, he expresses this to her and breaks up with her, but Reba takes the idea of him hurting her more metaphorically than literally so she doesn’t understand the bullet that she may be dodging–we’ll see. Will and Walter also share an uncomfortable moment at the hospital when Molly isn’t there to be the go-between. Walter is old enough to learn some of Will’s history, which definitely seems to make him second-guess his relationship with this guy. He also blames Will for his mother getting hurt. The audience is expecting a similar reaction from Molly about Will putting her son in danger. She does him grief about it and expresses her anger but ultimately seems to forgive him by the time the scene is over. It’s surprising that this would be the one relationship to survive what happens this week, considering Molly was the one hurt, but they obviously have a strong bond and understanding.
Other people are not so lucky. The tiny sliver of trust that Alana and Jack had in Hannibal is also gone by the end of this episode. Alana finally finds out that Hannibal has not bee talking to his lawyer on the phone so much lately, but rather the Red Dragon, and she and Jack approach him about recording their next conversation so that they can find him. I have to admit that I don’t envy the position that these characters are put into against Hannibal because you never know what he’s going to do or what his real motivations are for anybody. Which is why I was surprised that I was surprised when he double-crosses them. He goes along with their plan for a while and allows them to listen to the Red Dragon talking about his distress over Reba. However, Hannibal suddenly ends the conversation by saying “They’re listening.”
Of course, the new (and not exactly improved) Alana is wicked angry over this and immediately goes about punishing Hannibal in the only way she knows how. She clears out all the artwork and books from his cell, and makes good on a previous promise to also take away his toilet, which would leave him completely without his dignity–something he has still relatively been able to keep while incarcerated. This quick scene is also noteworthy, though, because the audience gets the joy of seeing Hannibal in an updated and newer version of his classic look involving the straight jacket and mask. This should bring a smile to the face of any Hannibal fan.
The last scene of the episode shows Hannibal and Will both defiantly approaching each other at the hospital. Will makes it clear in no uncertain terms that he’s tired of Hannibal’s bullshit and the way he keeps messing with him and putting his family in danger. But even here, Hannibal sucks Will back into his world for a brief moment when he offers his analysis of the Red Dragon–which also suspiciously sounds like an analysis of Will, as well. These two guys together create some of the best scenes of the entire show, and I know I for one am going to miss seeing Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen beautifully play out their relationship drama.
Two episodes left, Fannibals! This new version of The Red Dragon story has so far been very faithful to the source material and previous film versions, but can we expect the same for the conclusion? How far forward in the Hannibal Lecter saga will we get and get to see? We’ll find out next Saturday!