[Review] - Hannibal, Season 3 Episodes 9 And 10, "And The Woman Clothed With The Sun.../And The Woman Clothed In Sun"

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
For the similarities in their titles, you could not get two more different, yet oddly similar, episodes of Hannibal back to back. The former was an investigative episode that played with time to examine the still unknown aspects of Hannibal Lecter, and what make him an effective monster. The latter was an entirely character focused episode devoted to examining the difficulties of being an effective human. Unfortunately, the latter episode also fell a bit flat, feeling at times like an episode cobbled together out of things they desperately wanted to do before the season was over, but never really had an organic place to add them in. Which is sad, because it also contained two of the more definitive moments in the story of Francis Dolarhyde.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that would have slit your neck like you father did.

The more we see of her, the more I am of the opinion that Abigail Hobbs is not just one of the most important characters on this show, but one of the most interesting. It is regretful that her role in season two consisted of hallucinations and a brutal death. As we saw in episode 9, her existence as Hannibal Lecter's pseudo-sister seems like it would have been fascinating psychological material to cover. Her child-like willingness and borderline giddiness to take part in Hannibal's plot show a girl far more damaged than we had seen, and far more willing to embrace that damage than we had previously believed. If Hannibal had to go out of his way to convince Will that he was a killer, Abigail seems to be restraining herself at jumping at the chance. Like a kid in a toy store, she's keen to play with everything. This is far more than a daughter looking for a lost father figure, this is a pet looking for a master.

Of course, to have seen any of that during season two would have nullified the shock value of her sudden reappearance for Will. But I have questioned her reappearance's effectiveness since it happened, the lone sour note among the bouquet that was the Final Supper. And because Abigail is clearly a character that Fuller and his writers had more to say about, I question whether it was better to use her as a plot device than to further her relationship. That being said, season two is practically perfect, and leaving this material to be explored post script, much like the eternal returns of Abel Gideon, allow us moments of rediscovered joy. I suppose my criticism is that I find myself continuously engaged by Abigail, and wish the show has found more of a use for her, one way or another.

For about the last month's worth of episodes, a question has been recurring in my head: where is Zachery Quinto? Fuller teased his involvement pretty heavily before the season began, and with Bedelia being such a presence in the first half of the season, I expected him to play a part. And he didn't. He showed up for a brief cameo in the premiere, and then just didn't appear again. Chiyoh got a lot of screen time for some reason, and to very little result, but Quinto was meant to be portraying this huge linchpin in the relationship between Bedliea and Hannibal. Since so much of this season was meant to be examining that, Quinto's continued absence continued to be bizarre (I can't find the interview, but I swear Fuller at one point said Quinto was going to play a role in episode 7, which was the last episode before Red Dragon began). Well here he is, in episode 10. And... well, that just seems like a waste of talent. A single, largely nondescript and anticlimactic conversation with Gillian Anderson, and then he's dead and gone.

This show has a marvelous history of filling in details in ways that defy expectations, but that just seems lackluster. It seems so pedestrian and inelegant. There was no depth to that story, no sensuality. Even Franklin in season one was more interesting and compelling than this nothing. Another sacrifice, I assume, in favour of better ideas or the larger picture, which is the absolute shame of season three getting truncated by involving Red Dragon, because it disallows the opportunity for this show to do what it does best, which is delve into character to an obscene and pornographic level. The web entangling Bedelia, Hannibal and whatever Quinto's character was called, is the sort of dance that should have been a focus, should have informed and defined their relationship, and brought to light a new understanding of Hannibal's methods. Or at the very least, provided a legitimate reason why Quinto suddenly died and a much better explanation as to why Bedelia had her entire arm down his throat. As it stands, I would have much preferred them leaving it at the short, shocking discovery moment from the premiere. At least that way, it wasn't burdened with second-rate explanation.

Episode 10 felt, in several ways, like they were rushing to get past things, while checking certain boxes along the way. Like his going to eat the original Red Dragon painting, which suddenly happened and lacked the character development that the book presented the act as symbolizing. This episode also contained the single most important moment in Dolarhyde's story, the scene with the tiger, and I'll admit to being slightly disappointed that the show didn't go weirder with that scene. This is a show that regularly uses camera work and graphic effects to heighten experiences. In fact, they did so in the very next scene, in which Dolarhyde and Reba have sex. The lack of visual sexuality in the way that scene was shot and edited felt like the show was censoring itself. It certainly didn't live up to Dolarhyde's overwrought reaction. We're meant to have felt that scene as intensely as he did, but it lacked the sort of panache that we've come to expect from this show. It was fine, and passable, but not what I expected from a scene that meant so much.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


  1. I thought the tiger touching scene was just right. A perfect blend of sensuality that was overwhelming to witness. But, outside of that, Hannibal and Francis's conservation in the beginning, and Will and Francis meeting each other face-to-face, the episode did feel largely rushed.