HANNIBAL Review: 3.09 “...And The Woman Clothed With The Sun”

Meet Reba McClane.

It takes one to catch one. 

It takes TWO to catch one. 

"...And The Woman Clothed with the Sun" is a bit of an uneven episode of Hannibal, jumping between Francis Dolarhyde and Hannibal Lecter, two serial killers who have very little in common other than, soon, Will Graham. For all of last week's episode and much of this week's, Francis is isolated by his deep insanity, the Great Red Dragon creating a moat between him and the humans who surround him - save his victims, with whom Francis forces a violent connection. 

But this week he meets Reba McClane, played wonderfully by True Blood's Rutina Wesley. Reba is a blind woman working in the dark room of the film development office that also employs Francis. The relationship between Francis and Reba is one of the best things Thomas Harris has ever written: fraught with danger, sometimes very uncomfortable, but also, somehow, romantic. Reba appreciates that Francis doesn't pity her, and though she can hear the speech impediment caused by his cleft palate - a small, barely noticeable disfigurement that has haunted Francis his entire life - she feels no pity for him either. Their flirtation is the first honest, human connection Francis has ever had in his life, and that is powerful. 

Bryan Fuller (and episode director John Dahl) allow the beginnings of Reba and Francis' relationship to play out exactly as they do in the book, with nearly identical dialogue and story beats, and the casting is really working here. The strangest and best thing about Red Dragon is that, knowing what we do about Francis Dolarhyde, the horrible things he's done to entire families, when he meets Reba, we find ourselves rooting for him. This is a man who has lived without love his entire life, and suddenly, in this beautiful, blind, open-hearted woman, he has found the potential for love. And that threatens everything that the Great Red Dragon wants for him. 

On the other side of the coin, we have the inarguably sane Hannibal Lecter, a man who has had no trouble making connections and securing love from those he meets, and who has finally secured his prize in a visit from Will Graham to learn what he can about the so-called Tooth Fairy. Hannibal is living in surprising dignity for a man imprisoned in an institution for the criminally insane, a dignity maintained through the generosity of Alana Bloom - a generosity that she will quickly recant if Hannibal does not "behave." Alana has moved on (she and Margot are still together and they are raising the Verger heir! So happy about this), but she is still and always looking out for Will, because Will doesn't seem to know how to look after himself. 

We are also, at long last, treated to a glimpse of Hannibal's life with Abigail Hobbs in the months between her supposed death and her actual death, and though we always knew what a betrayal to Will it was for Hannibal to slice her throat, we see now how much more of a betrayal it was to Abigail, who trusted Hannibal as a father figure, only to have it end in the same, yet more final, way.

And in between these two men we see Will Graham, who hasn't moved on as much as he'd like to believe, who is so easily once again seduced by the Wendigo, standing naked and covered in blood in the moonlight in his mind after a few brief lines from Hannibal. He keeps his cool with the doctor during the meeting ("Are we no longer on a first name basis?"), but it rattles him profoundly, and he's only just begun what we know will be a hard path for Will Graham. He's got Molly, and he's got the kid, and he's got the Leeds' dog, and Alana is looking out for him and so is Jack Crawford, but in his heart, Will Graham is already completely alone. 

Well, that's not true. He's got his "murder husband" (welcome back, Freddie Lounds!) Hannibal on his side. Probably.

"We still help our families when we can. You're family, Will." 

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