Re-Watching Hannibal 3/Red Dragon: Now We’re Talking [Part 3]

Ok, back to Hannibal. I watched the third instalment of the Red Dragon arc this week, and there is a good bit in there that is worth discussing.

1. Humour is in the detail

“Open Wide, Say Ahhhhhhh, See your Dentist

For starters, I do enjoy the little visual jokes that the makers continue to pepper the show with. It’s almost like an extra level inserted into the show, for those viewers who watch again and again, and for those who watch very attentively. Previously, for instance, there is the hilarious bus shelter ad for dental hygiene that adds some humour to the scene where Francis picks up Reba and gives her lift. Yep, as if the Tooth Fairy was getting ready to bite again…

This time, there is the uniform Francis has stolen in preparation to breaking into Hannibal Lecter’s solicitor’s office. Look closely at the screen shot below:

Sure Talk. LOL. Sure…

The fun continues later when Dolarhyde signs into the Brooklyn Museum as ‘John Crane’… Well, at least from the perspective of the Armitage Army. We are well-versed and familiar with RA’s body of work (*waves at Kate and winks*) and know that there is a bit of an insider joke of RA having played many a character who was called John… Whether that was a script decision or something RA himself made up as he went along, we don’t know. But maybe that is a question that should be asked at the next opportunity… RDC5 attendants note! However, it is noted – and appreciated!

2. Eyelash porn trumps everything

Anyway, let’s go back to that first scene in Hannibal 3×10, though. I have to admit that the best thing in that scene *for me* is the overwhelming eyelash porn.

And I find it noteworthy how expressive Francis suddenly becomes – for someone who has little opportunity and experience with expressing himself, he articulates himself really well. There is something old-fashioned and reverent when he expresses his admiration for Lecter, as if he has long studied and practiced what he wants to say. Well, in fact he has – as we saw in the intro where he is practicing words in front of his broken mirror.  – But otherwise I still amn’t a fan of this whole scene. Particularly the end of it. Sure, Lecter goads him on into disclosing his dragon kink, but the way Armitage says “Great – Red – Draaaaaagonnnnnn” just makes me scoff and laugh every time. Like a little boy playing a big old monster. “Catch me mummy, I am a great – red – draaaaaaagonnnn!!!!” Similar hilarity ensues when I see the image of the Red Dragon beast sitting inflamed on a mound and spreading his wings. I just don’t know whether that is deliberately meant to be funny, or whether it was meant in all seriousness. Because I think it is hilarious. That stout little imp is just weird in his cloak of gold-speckled velvet. The whole thing is obviously also not helped by the fact that someone circulated that BTS picture of RA in costume… (which I unfortunately can’t find right now. But unfortunately I cannot unsee it, either.) Cinematographically, however, the scene is done really well, panning out from Francis making that sneaky phone call, to a therapy session between Francis and Lecter, blurring the line between reality and wishful thinking. Again, an original way of realising the scene on film. And Armitage is great, making Francis truly scary in the scene – not in what he says, but in what he does. Those small little smiles in his monologue are the most terrifying thing… The physical details are where Armitage truly excels – the minute details of characterisation that are almost unnoticeable, and yet they are the cherry on the cake.

3. Elegant

Moving on to the Zoo scene.

Observe the puppy eyes in my screen shot,  the way Francis pleads with Reba that he would like to show her the tiger in the zoo – just adorable… honestly, if she could see him, could she resist him? In fact, the whole gesture is incredibly elegant, as Reba says herself. Allowing a blind person to “see” a tiger through her sense of touch, is an amazing gift. And once again he is extraordinarily expressive in his way of describing the whole scene for her. The radiance of the tiger, “almost bleeding into the air”. Where does this poetic, observant way of articulating himself come from? How can this repressed man/monster see and sense such lyrical beauty? Of course, Francis is doing it for ulterior motives. Or is he? I find it unclear. He is creepy in his intense observation of her reactions to the tiger. The way he stares and leans in to see exactly how her emotions play out on her face, is strange – a mixture of terrifying, naive, and plain weird. What is this weird obsession? Why does he want to see her reaction? How does it gratify him to do this? Through imagining that she is touching him, that much is clear. But is he already contemplating the “change”? Does he want to “change” her by killing her?

4. First-Time Feeling

In the zoo scenes, Francis appears human for the first time – soft, emotional, sad, loving? He is interested in someone else’s feeling – a new experience for him who has never experienced anyone being interested in him?

The elegance continues in Francis’ house where he has taken Reba after the zoo. I loved that he put Debussy on the record player. Straight from the book, btw – that was specified by Harris! Again, how interesting that Francis should like this melodious, romantic music! Is it a glimpse of his soul – if it were untainted?

In the shadow – but with nicely accentuated posterior…

The whole scene in the sitting room is very resonant. A lot of it, I think, appeals to women in particular. Such as the scene where Francis asks Reba whether the co-workers have described him to her. When she replies that she knows what he looks like, he retreats back into the shadows – a gesture so relatable for a lot of women, I think, who feel very much defined by their looks, and often react by consciously trying to blend into the background and *not be seen*. So does Francis here, but Reba draws him back out. But is this lack of self-confidence one of the reasons why I feel sympathy for Francis? – There is also the fact that Reba’s “attention” to him looks like an initiation, and watching Francis fight to keep control of his emotions, is quite touching to see. Especially because he fails – and the woman has won 💪🏻

I am still laughing about the fact that Bryan Fuller denied that this scene depicted Reba giving Francis a blow job. Right. Of course not. She just spoke to Little Francis and he started some heavy breathing because he was so annoyed. *snorts* Sure. But ok, the best bit is yet to come. Not just Francis sweeping Reba up and carrying her up to the bedroom *gulps*, but a truly beautifully staged sex scene. Very tastefully done, too, very sensual without showing the naked truth. Francis’ writhing back and Reba’s roaming hands provide enough evidence, and the visualisation of the Woman Clothed in the Sun, is just beautiful. So much feeling in this scene – not just of the instinctive, carnal type, but of sadness and possibly some kind of conclusion and realisation.

And yes, of course we all loved the morning-after scene, wandering tattoo, snug briefs, proper six-pack and all. By that time, I as a viewer felt fully invested in that character and in that pairing. Yep – Franba is my OTP.

5. The Museum Scene

Ha, if it had been me, we could have stopped the whole Red Dragon story arc here – and switched to a “And they lived happily ever after” Hallmark movie 😂. Who needs further complications when there is such a beautiful love story here where love overcomes the worst of instincts? Ok ok, that wouldn’t make for gritty, stylish TV (Message to all stylish TV directors: Maybe that is your challenge? Is it possible to create a non-tacky, uncompromisingly happy love story on film?). So instead the plot is now driven away from the Reba/Dolly storyline and instead intros the resolution of the season: Francis visits the Brooklyn Museum where the original water-colour of Blake’s “Great Red Dragon” is kept. Convincingly talking his way into the (closed) archive, Francis manages to get his hands on the artwork – and devours it.

Hands-on and under his very nose… Francis finally has the watercolour

I ‘ll spare you a picture of the actual eating scene, even though RA put so much effort in it – apparently he made his mouth bleed because he insisted on eating *real* paper rather than the edible paper that looked too artificial. And I applaud Richard for his fantastic acting, as always. The creepiness, the scary monster breaking out from under the unmoved exterior of the man – just spot on! Less on: the dentures.

Again, I thought there was something almost comical about those ill-fitting dentures. They completely change all of Armitage’s physiognomy – so much so that it would be rather unbelievable that no one has noticed Dolarhyde wearing these preposterous dentures… Again, probably not the effect they were going to, but I was laughing rather than feeling ‘in awe’…

But maybe the whole thing was tainted for me, anyway, knowing that this is basically the last scene before everything starts going downhill. With Will Graham hot on Francis’ heels, the plot is going to quickly propel towards the sorry end from here. Extra pity, imo, that they cut the chase scene short in the film. The book has an extensive scene where Will is on Francis’ tracks as he is trying to escape. And it is a really interesting scene – that gives insight in Francis’ meticulous planning and cunning mind. But well, I guess he was not really the main focus here anymore…

Anyway, those were my 2 cent on 3×10 – as usual leaving lots of interesting things out. What did you think? Leave your comments below.


44 thoughts on “Re-Watching Hannibal 3/Red Dragon: Now We’re Talking [Part 3]

    • OMG, Sparkhouse!!!! I had no idea, but you are right. I just looked it up. Crane was a Canadian maker of sanitary ware which later merged with the US company American standard. That is HILARIOUS!!! And I am convinced now that Armitage came up with the joke himself – a) the John as a reference to all the Johns he’s played before, and b) Crane in reference to his own name. And then there is of course “the John” meaning toilet 🤣. OMG, I love it… this is absolutely hilarious. Well done, Armitage, well done!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Forgive my comic neediness showing, but John Crane made me think he was referencing Dr. Jonathan Crane who is the Doctor at Arkham Asylum in Gotham. He eventually becomes, or rather reveals himself as the insane Scarecrow villain. Truly a dark creature parallel to The Tooth Fairy 🦷 if one only compares their abusive childhood and serial killing tendencies.


        • Ah, now, that also would make great sense. In that case, though, I just doubt that RA made that decision and reference. (I just don’t see him as a comic book expert.) I can’t remember, but there is of course a chance that this name was already mentioned in the original book…

          Liked by 1 person

        • Exactly. I can just imagine him finding out that the equivalent to Armitage Shanks in Canada is Crane. And he sniggers and thinks to himself – that’ll be the next pseudonym whenever the opportunity arises.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I watched this episode last week, but reading this was like experiencing it again. Thanks, Guylty.

    Little things I noticed myself – how swift and sure his movements are sometimes, in contrast with his social awkwardness — when he’s pasting the cuttings in the scrapbook for instance, or when he snatches Reba up and bears her off to his lair. I was so scared for her there, but obviously I needn’t have been. Yet!

    And the morning after, didn’t he echo how she touched the tiger, laying his head on her side while she was fast asleep? Another contrast with the way he devoured that painting. That tongue coming out was shocking, purely reptilian. The thought of it still gives me the creeps.

    Another thought… Maybe he got his smooth talk from film dialogue, given his place of work.

    And yes, they could have given that dragon on the hillock a miss. A bit too rooster on a dunghill IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rooster on a dunghill – LOL! That’s exactly it, Jenny. I just couldn’t take it seriously whatsoever, and was wondering why Francis would ever see himself like a stubby little imp…
      Very good point about his movements – he is quite sleek sometimes, and I think he develops from awkwardness to sleekness and from suppressed to confident over the course of the film. (I am already thinking ahead to the very end – the king of the dunghill is quite an swan then, rearing up to shake his wings…)
      The whole museum scene was truly repulsive – the way he sniffs, licks, eats that painting is just creepy, eerie and terrifying. RA really let loose there. So well characterised and acted.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Es ist interessant zu sehen, welche unterschiedlichen Gesichter Francis zeigt, je nachdem, welche Rolle er spielt, Anwalt, Fan, Kunstwissenschaftler, er selbst… Vielleicht hat es damit etwas zu tun, dass er mal einen Sprachfehler zu haben scheint und dann wieder nicht? Und ich muss dir recht geben, seine Klamottenwahl bessert sich, beim Ausflug mit Reba sieht er ganz normal aus. Die Szene mit dem Tiger ist wirklich gut gespielt. Wenn er ihren persönlichen Bereich missachtet und sie extrem nah beobachtet, ist das gruselig und gleichzeitig betrachtet er sie wie ein Wunder irgendwie. Nur als sich ihre Hand den Zähnen nähert, verändert sich sein Verhalten, finde ich. Da gewinnt vielleicht der Drache die Oberhand?
    Die Szene im Museum ist all das, was ihr hier schon geschrieben habt. Aber ich muss dabei trotzdem schmunzeln und zwar in dem Moment, als er den Fahrstuhl hört. Das Gesicht… einfach saukomisch.


    • Ich habe in der Museumszene auch immer wieder gegrinst, Nordlicht. Allein schon, weil das Gebiss einfach so unglaublich schlecht sitzt. Gleichzeitig fehlt da aber eine Szene, in der Francis sich das Gebiss einsetzt – ist vielleicht dem Schnitt zum Opfer gefallen. Und so ist es irgendwie besonders blöd, wenn urplötzlich das Gesicht wegen der Horrorzähne komplett verändert ist und Francis sich im Papier verbeißt…
      Du hast das sehr schön beschrieben – extrem nach beobachtet, aber gleichzeitig auf wie ein Wunder. Irgendwie wird ihm da vielleicht schon klar, dass die Frau etwas Besonderes für ihn sein wird?


      • Ja, dass er ein Gebiss trägt, hätten die Serienmacher wirklich mal erklären können und nicht als Grundwissen voraussetzen sollen.
        Das Reba was besonderes ist, ist Francis bestimmt klar. Ich kenne das Buch nicht, aber ich nehme mal an, mit Frauen hatte er bislang eher keine Erfahrungen? Es wäre schon schön gewesen, wenn durch seine Begegnung mit Reba das sich abzuzeichnende Ende abzuwenden gewesen wäre. Schmalzig und schnulzig, aber schön…


        • Naja, er hat mit *lebendigen* Frauen keine Erfahrung… *schluck* Genau das denkt er auch in der Blow Job Szene. Zitat aus dem Buch: “Reba has unzipped his trousers.
          A stab of fear in him; he has never been erect before in the presence of a LIVING WOMAN. He is the Dragon, he doesn’t have to be afraid.
          Busy fingers spring him free.” (Großschreibung ist meine.)
          Und ja – ich hätte das Ganze auch sehr gerne als Schnulzende gehabt, denn bis zu diesem Punkt hatte man sich wirklich (trotz der angedeuteten Mordgeschichten) an Francis rangetastet. Ich muss mal gucken, was da so an Fan Fiction rumschwirrt…


          • Das war mir bisher gar nicht so bewußt, ehrlich gesagt. Oh Mann, da bin ich ja nur froh, dass das Thema Leichenschändung im Fancut nicht gezeigt wird. Das wäre mir dann doch zuviel gewesen. Aber selbst wenn man das berücksichtigt, dürfte wenigstens der Blow Job der erste überhaupt gewesen sein.


            • Ja, da ist irgendwas mit Leichenschändung. (Wobei ich ja immer wieder sagen muss, dass ich das Buch insgesamt viel erträglich fand, als die Aktionen im Film umgesetzt zu sehen…)


  3. Hab das hier zufällig mitbekommen und liefere mal ein paar Worte ab.

    Der Name im Buch ist Paul Crane.

    Ich bin mir ziemlich sicher, dass Fuller nie gesagt hat, dass das kein Blowjob ist. Er sagte nur, dass Dolarhyde da keinen Orgasmus hat.

    Was den Gockel auf dem Misthaufen angeht: Wirf mal einen Blick zu einem weiteren Red-Dragon-Painting von Blake,,_Rosenbach_Museum_and_Library.jpg


    • Ah, danke für die Infos. Dann ist das mit dem Crane also original aus dem Buch – nur dass RA sich doch für den Namen John entschieden hat.
      Kann übrigens sein, dass ich da Fuller falsch verstanden habe, danke für die Berichtigung.
      Ich kenne das Bild. Ich finde aber die Umsetzung trotzdem albern. *shrugs*


      • Alberner, als die Bilder sowieso sind? Echt? Na denn.

        Wenn du mal irgendwann einen passenden Ersatz und zufällig Zeit hast, da herum zu basteln, könntest du übrigens gelegentlich Hedgehogess aus der Badger-Galerie entfernen. Der Anstecker ist, glaube ich, schon lange in der Tonne gelandet. Oder *sollte* da landen und liegt noch irgendwo herum und staubt ein, bis ich wieder über ihn stolpere und ihn dann wegwerfe,
        Jedenfalls wird man ihn an mir nicht mehr sehen, daher darf er auch aus der Galerie verschwinden. – Danke.


          • Auch alles Gute für dich und weiterhin schönes/gutes/lustiges/kreatives (Zutreffendes raussuchen oder einfach alles nehmen) Fangirlen. 🙂

            Vielleicht bekommen wir den gutesten Richiiiiiiiiie ja in absehbarer Zeit endlich mal wieder in irgendwas Lohnendem zu Gesicht. *hoff*


            • Danke dir. (Die Nachricht von dem Priester-Thriller hat dich nicht erfreut? Naja, du kennst mich ja, ich bin für immer Optimist! Mal sehen, was die Zukunft bringt.)


              • Doch, die Priester-Thriller-Info klingt sehr vielversprechend. 🙂
                *seufz* WENN was draus wird. WENN es dann auch zu sehen ist.
                Und selbst dann dauert es noch eine Ewigkeit …

                Der Mann strapaziert wirklich unsere Geduld.
                Er sollte sich schämen! (Aber wenn er in der Schäm-Ecke steht, kann er wieder nicht schauspielern, also ist das auch keine Lösung …) 😉


                • Ich weiß ich weiß, es geht ganz schön viel Energie dafür drauf, sich immer wieder darauf einzulassen, zu hoffen, nicht von vornherein schwarz zu sehen – und dann die Geduld zu haben, dass es endlich dann auch kommt.
                  Verfolgst du eigentlich Berlin Station? Da soll ja in der aktuellen Folge tatsächlich ein klitzekleiner Augenblick mit Daniel zu sehen sein…


                  • Naja, mein Lebensglück hängt nicht allein an einem Schauspieler, aber sooo eine Unmenge Hobbys habe ich dann auch wieder nicht, dass ich das Hobby Armitge so locker beiseite schieben wollte. Und es fangirlt sich halt wesentlich leichter, wenn man ab und zu was zu sehen bekommt, deshalb hoffe ich natürlich immer …

                    Die erste BS-Staffel ist jetzt auf DVD erhältlich, und ich werde sie bald kaufen. Das ist dann zumindest für mich neu. (Andere Wege will ich nicht gehen; bei meinem zuverlässigen Glück endet der Versuch damit, dass ich eine Anzeige am Hals habe. Murphy’s Law könnte auch Hedgehogess’ Law heißen.)

                    Schönen Tag dir noch, ich muss mal langsam was tun gehen.


                    • Ich finde, du hast das ganz richtig formuliert – Armitage ist ein Hobby, sonst nichts. Und da eben diese Energie reinzustecken (das Warten und Hoffen), ist manchmal etwas zu viel verlangt. Jedenfalls wenn ansonsten nichts zu sehen ist.
                      Oh, sorry, ich hatte keine Ahnung, dass du BS noch gar nicht gesehen hattest. Netflix war keine Option für dich? Dann wünsche ich mal noch viel Spaß damit – immerhin gibt es da ein bisschen mehr von Richard zu sehen.


                    • Nö, BS habe ich noch nicht gesehen. Baaaald … Erstmal muss ich fertig sein mit “Castle Hedgehog in Ordnung bringen”, dann bekommt der neue Fernseher (der alte wollte kürzlich nicht mehr) seinen Platz, und dann kann geguckt und gefangirlt werden, bis die Wände wackeln. Da muss Richiiiiie dann vorbeikommen, um sie zu stützen.


                      Bevor ich hier mein Schlusswort spreche, muss ich noch was fragen: Hab ich das richtig aufgeschnappt, dass du den Glimmstängelen entsagt hast? Falls ja:

                      *aufsteh und applaudier* Herzlichen Glückwunsch, dass du dein Leben nicht länger von ein blöden getrocketen Blättern beeinflussen lässt!!! SUPER!!! 🙂


                    • Klingt gut – so als ob du die TV-Erneuerung zum Anlass genommen hast, so richtig klar Schiff zu machen. Ich finde, so fängt ein Jahr richtig gut an! Und dann kannst du dich ja immer noch auf BS freuen.
                      Und ja, ich habe mit dem Rauchen aufgehört. Am 22. November. Und seit dem neuen Jahr geht es mir auch besser damit 🙂


                    • Erwischt! 😀

                      Ja, nötig war’s längst, hier einiges zu tun. Aber den Anschub hat der TV-Austausch gegeben.


  4. Here to add some of my ramblings on this episode. You’ve already recapped it wonderfully.

    I think this episode features a theme of empowerment for Francis. He relies on his technical skills and intricate planning to successfully make contact with the one person whose approval he craves. All his preparation is paying off. He is delighted that Hannibal is responding with such interest and is eager to share what he has kept to himself up to this point, that he is becoming The Great Red Dragon. I thought the scene was fascinating in how they mirror the phone conversation with Francis’s fantasy face to face meeting with Hannibal here. With encouragement and Hannibal’s praise, Francis reveals the Dragon in all his fiery magnificence …as he imagines himself. (I have to give Richard props here for donning that crazy dragon suit. It had to be either a bit awkward or hilarious to film) Poor star-struck Francis doesn’t pick up on the fact that Hannibal is merely toying with him at this point and only wants to gain his trust. 
    The visit to the zoo is totally choreographed by Francis. But I can’t tell if it is a sweet gesture because he is courting Reba and wants to please her or if he just wants to observe her interaction with a powerful (sleeping) beast for his own pleasure. He is both eloquent and creepy in this scene. The intensity in which he devours her every touch is almost unnerving especially when she moves to the tigers mouth. This gesture excites him (sexually?) but he is able to suppress his reaction to it.  He brings Reba back to his place.  I really like the way they filmed the seduction and love making scene. The way that Reba leans into his lap and we see Francis react and the martini glass crash to the floor there’s no doubt what’s going down here. Francis takes this very obvious signal and whisks her off to the bedroom. The way their lovemaking was presented was beautiful and tastefully done and also cleverly shows that within Francis’ fantasy Reba becomes Blake’s Woman Clothed in Sun.  I thought it was touching to show them post-sex with Francis listening to Reba’s heartbeat and taking her hand to caress his face (and mouth) while she sleeps.  It’s obvious that their intimacy has profoundly affected the direction their relationship has progressed. So much so that it’s causing Francis great distress to find The Dragon’s increasing displeasure in it. 
    The museum scene. Yikes. We finally get to see Francis in his full dental glory and it is super creepy to see him devour that painting. It seems that by his literally consuming the dragon he will shift its power over to himself. Again I have to give RA praise for his superb acting in this scene. His cold and calculating demeanor is subtle yet terrifying and he presents the obsession of Francis with this painting so believably. That chewing the painting with those dentures in his mouth was bonkers! (I think this is exactly the kind of acting challenge RA thrives on) Francis has obviously gone off the rails and is more tortured than ever. Having Will show up at the museum has spoiled his intricate plans and they’ve had a confrontation that is just the beginning of trouble ahead for Francis and his planned transformation.
    Going forward, I honestly think any glimmer of sympathy I have had for Francis is beginning to fade. 

    Liked by 2 people

    • So many interesting points in this, Donna – I had not thought about it but you are right: Francis is a meticulous preparer. He really has put a lot of thought into everything – communicating with Lecter, taking Reba on a date, his nocturnal activities – there is no fumbling there, no lack of confidence. I suppose that is just part and parcel of his schizophrenia?
      I loved everything you wrote about the zoo scene, from Francis “choreographing” the scene, to him “devouring her every touch”. So well put! As for his near-loss of control when Reba touches the tiger’s teeth – yep, I think there is a sexual element in that.
      All of the lovemaking scene is beautiful, and one of the most beautiful parts of it I almost missed when I watched it for the first time – the moment when a tear slips from Francis’ eye while he is making love with Reba. I missed it because a) that darn darkness that all of this series is shot in and b) I couldn’t quite tell whose eyes we were looking at. Or why Francis was crying. Maybe he didn’t know himself. But I see his tear as the realisation of regret – of understanding what could have been. (Which reminds me to go and look for some Reba/Francis fan fic again…)
      But yes, the sympathy is going to fade from now on… The next episode is going to be tough…


      • Oh yes the single tear! I’m glad you reminded me. My impression of that was the overwhelming emotion of his climax. But your take on the realization of regret is very perceptive. As much as he needed the physical and emotional connection that bonded him to Reba, he had to realize with regret that she could never be a part of his becoming.


        • Ah, interesting – I didn’t interpret that with a view to the future, but it would make sense if Francis simultaneously grieved for lost opportunities of the past, and the realisation that his future will not contain conventional love, either.


  5. haven’t got anything to add that hasn’t already been discussed tbh, just that Richard is damn good at expressing all the different emotions that Dolerhyde experiences-fear at the experience with a real woman and the fear when she’s not in bed the next morning. The joy when he can control her hand on his face when she’s asleep. The joy of talking to Hannibal and pride that Hannibal see who he is. The shame when she starts to talk about his appearance. The softness of watching Reba touching the tiger which then turns to a kind of sexual arousal when she touches the tigers mouth. It must be hard to be Francis when he’s experiencing such extremes of emotion.


    • That is such an interesting point – how hard it must be on Francis to always feel so intensely. And predominantly pain and very little pleasure. No wonder his mind is muddled.


  6. Now we’re talking – LOL! Thanks Guylty, your reviews are helping me see Hannibal with fresh eyes – and you’re right about the humour to be found, despite the po-facedness of the show. These are my thoughts for Ep 10, rather scatter-gun I’m afraid. I’m in awe at how different RA’s Dolarhyde is from his other roles. There are touches of Daniel Miller in the half-shadow shots when he is breaking into the circuitry etc at the solicitor’s office (and there is something pleasurably suggestive about the torch in his mouth!) but there are few traces of the others, e.g. John Thornton, Lucas, not even Guy – although I think he retained some of Dolarhyde in Raymond D. M. subsequently. Aside from the hair, the lighting, the prosthetics that alter him, there is a new look in the eyes, a craftiness, a deep gleam of sickness, e.g. when he is talking to Hannibal and in the penetrating stare he gives Will Graham in the lift.
    The imagined scenes with Hannibal are some of my favourites. RA looks chillingly handsome (we can actually see him for once!). He is not cowed and he spars provocatively with Hannibal, goading him that Freddie Lounds’ article was not falttering, which causes Hannibal to mock his speech impediment. I’m not sure why there is this antagonism as Dolarhyde is supposed to revere Hannibal unless, as two very bad men, they can’t help themselves.
    It is a visually beautiful episode. Like the dragon on the mound (and yes, that photo can’t be unseen!) the tail, the self-fight later, the CGI falling teeth later, there is something about the glowing tiger (burning bright, Blake again) that could be naff but just about works. Giving Reba the tiger experience was a remarkably thoughtful and kind gesture. I’m sure RA said somewhere that Francis claps his hand over his mouth, when Reba is feeling the tiger’s mouth, because he wants to vomit (as usual) but it seems obviously related to his disfigurement.
    The tender romance between Reba and Francis is touching. It’s all so civilised in his house with the beautiful Debussy and martinis, which makes Reba’s blow job so shocking and premature. Is it an act of gratitude for the trip to the zoo? Fuller’s denial of it was surely tongue in cheek to appease the censors? It makes more sense in the book, I think she feels his arousal because he is watching footage of the murders, but in the show most of the menace in the scene has been removed to, I suppose to provoke sympathy for their love affair. The way he seizes Reba and stomps off to the bedroom is hilarious! (Me Francis, you Reba!) – very Frankenstein’s monster, perhaps not the silent-film star RA meant. I’ve blathered on enough and don’t have any more to add about the museum scene, except the way RA portrayed D’s control, then derangement and power was glorious – and I love it when he bares those teeth!


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