This Hannibal review contains spoilers.
How do you solve a problem like Will Graham’s shiny new family? Well, if you’re Hannibal Lecter, you send a serial killer to take them out. But Molly and Walter aren’t so easy to kill — especially Molly. Will’s wife may not be so good at making dog food from scratch (seriously, Will?) or saying no to Jack Crawford when it counts, but she does know how to outwit a serial killer. Here’s everything that went down in Season 3, Episode 11 (“…And the Beast From the Sea”).
Fresh off his Blake snack, Francis Dolarhyde is more confused than ever. The Red Dragon inside of him grows, but Dolarhyde’s blossoming love for Reba makes him fight against that madness. Unfortunately for anyone who doesn’t like serial killers, Dolarhyde goes to Hannibal Lecter for advice, whose #1 hobby is pushing on-the-cusp killers (and, sometimes, on-the-cusp not-killers) over the edge. Hannibal advises Dolarhyde to “Save yourself. Kill them all,” and saves Dolarhyde the trouble of doing some Google searching by giving him Will’s home address.
What results is one of the most suspenseful scenes Hannibal has ever done — all shadow and hesitation-less violence, punctuated by tiny Walter’s frightened counting. Hannibal is literally a dark show, and this is never more apparent in scenes like this one, that has both Dolarhyde and Molly creeping quietly through the house in an obscured game of cat-and-mouse. This show doesn’t usually embrace the “less is more” philosophy, so — when it does — it seriously stacks on the suspense.
This episode only clarifies what we already knew about Molly: that she may very well be the most competent and mentally stolid character on this show (which, granted, isn’t a very tough competition). Though Hannibal is competent in his own ways, he has a certain self-destructive obsession with Will that has been his downfall. This is no more apparent than in his conversation with Will after he has sicced Dolarhyde on Will’s family, but before Will knows about it.
“And you’re willing to let them die?”
“They’re not my family, Will.”
Hannibal still sees Will as his family. Molly and Walter are just obstacles to that concise unit, and the Red Dragon is a convenient way to remove them.
Following Molly and Walter’s escape, Hannibal’s relationship with Dolarhyde becomes convenient for the FBI. Jack, Alanna, and Will figure out that Hannibal has been having conversations with Dolarhyde and listen into Hannibal next call from his “lawyer.” If they were hoping for details about where Dolarhyde might be, they were mostly out of luck. Francis couldn’t stop talking about his recent break-up with Reba. Eventually, Hannibal ends the call with his signature tip off to serial killer acquaintances: this time, “they’re listening,” other times, “they know.”
Hannibal no doubt still has plans for Dolarhyde. By not cooperating with the FBI, he loses the amenities and frills that made his prison cell “comfortable.” What would he risk that for? While Will is “just about worn out with you crazy sons of bitches,” Hannibal, too, seems to be growing tired of the current rules of this game. With only two episodes left of this season and show, something tells me those rules are about to be changed.