Friday, August 21, 2015

RECAP: Hannibal 3x11 - That Nightmare I Keep Having

Quick reminder that we have Kyla Furey of Feedback Force doing weekly Hannibal recaps for us right now because she is awesome.

Hannibal, it seems, has gotten vicious. The character, that is, although the show has as well.

The primary dramatic incident for this episode centers around the long-awaited next victims of the Red Dragon - in this case, Will’s family.

As Will and Jack and Alana scramble around trying to figure out where he’ll strike next and how to catch the man, Hannibal himself is catching up with the killer, whispering in his troubled ear as Hannibal is wont to do. Dolarhyde wants to quit, wants to stop himself for Reba’s sake, but Hannibal is doing his best to quash those softer instincts. 

Hannibal knows where the Dragon will strike next (he should, given that he’s the one who goaded Dolarhyde into going after Will’s family), but he refuses to tell Will, taunting him with a bitterness that really brings home the change in Hannibal since his incarceration. Hannibal’s always been devious, but it always left the impression that somehow, in Hannibal’s own mind at least, Hannibal was trying to help him, trying to mold Will into what he thought of as the “best” version of himself. 

But now it’s personal - now his machinations feel merely destructive, vengeful. Scorned, perhaps. He is upset with Will, and it shows. He outright tells Will that he knows who the next family will be, but refuses to say who.

Dolarhyde plots his approach, watching covert video of Will’s family while Reba rests on his knee unable to see the true nature of his film reel.* He even goes so far as to poison Will’s dogs, leading to a panicked (and somewhat hilarious) moment with Molly and her son Walter at the vet’s.**

Then comes a scene that is legitimately straight out of one of my nightmares. Have you ever had those dreams where you’re being chased? The ones where you hold your breath, knowing your pursuer is right around the corner? The ones where you bound down the stairs a flight at a time, knowing that you’re only one step ahead of the danger, knowing that maybe if you can just get out the door, you’ll be okay. Maybe if you can just get a ways down the road without them realizing, maybe if they don’t know which way you’re heading, maybe you can get away, if you could only manage to run just a little faster, just a little further...

Dolarhyde stalks Molly and Walter intending them to be the next victims of his massacre, but Molly is awake and hears him. She knows what’s coming. She goes straight to Walter’s room and gets him out of the house. Then she waits until Dolarhyde is in the boy’s room and sneaks out through the hall, mere feet away from where he stalks. Through the night she desperately taunts and distracts him, making a sound in one direction before quietly scurrying off in the other.

She gets Walter out to the main road, their pursuer just behind them, and flags down a car. Amid gunfire that kills the car’s original driver and significantly injures Molly, she peels away from the killer and high-tails it to the nearest hospital.***

Molly is a freaking badass in this sequence. Which is not to say that she’s powerful, or fearless. She’s in epic, intense danger that you can feel palpably in the air every single second of the pursuit. 

And she’s terrified, chock full of desperation at every moment. But she is a capable, competent woman. She rises to the occasion and gets them out of there, outsmarting a killer where two families before her failed. I was on the edge of my seat every second of this sequence, desperately worried for her, praying she would make it. A fantastically well-done scene. Just perfect.

Then comes a scene straight out of Will’s nightmares, where he rushes to the hospital to see what a killer has left of his family. Walter is alright, although he’s withdrawn and clearly angry. He doesn’t quite take it out on Will, but things are definitely awkward between them. It appears Walter has found one of Freddie Lounds’s articles, and has read about Will’s complicated past with death and mental illness. Walter, with the simplicity of a child, thinks that Will should kill Dolarhyde. Will clearly knows what that would do to his own mental health, but he’s also well-aware of how dangerous Dolarhyde is.

Given that Hannibal clearly had something to do with Dolarhyde coming after Will, Alana and Jack attempt to use his connections for insight. They decide to tap Hannibal’s phone lines, convince him to keep Dolarhyde on the line so they can trace the call and get some insight into the killer. Hannibal agrees, but only because they’re obviously on to him.

For his part, Dolarhyde, clearly distraught at his lack of a kill on the most recent full moon, lashes out at himself, flailing away with punches until he’s a bleeding mess, too weak to continue. He also breaks up with Reba, convinced he will harm her. She doesn’t take it lightly, clearly angry at what she thinks is a cop-out reason on his part. “I’m afraid I’ll hurt you” sounds like one of those things you say, one of those generic excuses. She doesn’t seem to realize that he means it quite literally - he could easily destroy her if he’s not careful.

Dolarhyde also tries to reach out to Hannibal for advice regarding his failure. Hannibal talks to him just as long as it takes for Dolarhyde to start mentioning specifics about his life and his problems - Reba’s name, in particular - before warning him that the authorities are listening in. In retribution, Alana takes away all of Hannibal’s luxuries from his cell, toilet included. But it’s too late; Dolarhyde’s been warned.

Although Molly is, thankfully, still alive, Will’s first stop after being there at her side when she wakes up at the hospital is to confront Hannibal. Will is pissed as hell, but Hannibal seems to take it in his own, angry stride. They’re a pair of quarreling exes, snapping at each other over old wounds. Hannibal is trying to do something, trying to instigate something, trying to bring something out in Will, but what exactly that is is unclear. He’s clearly stoking Will’s anger, feeding on it.**** There seems to be some hint of the Dragon’s presence, of its relationship to and affinity with Will. But the end of this path is as yet shrouded in uncertain darkness.

* How did he even get that footage? I’m a little fuzzy on the geography here, but I’m thinking Will’s house is a little too far away for simple day-trips back and forth to take creepy voyeur home movies. But then, I’m not sure where exactly it is that either Will or Dolarhyde lives, so. Whatever. The excellent podcast Digesting Hannibal (which I highly recommend) theorized that maybe Hannibal is teaching him his mystical time-and-space-bending Murder Powers over the phone. That’s probably accurate.

** Molly fretting over whether she accidentally poisoned Will’s dogs and trying to figure out how to avoid telling Will is one of the first times I felt genuine affection for the character, so that’s a good sign.

*** Presumably. We don’t actually see her get there, but that’s the next place she shows up, so.

**** And quoting Faust because, you know, it’s Hannibal.

Kyla Furey is an independent game designer and writer. She is also one of the hosts of the game-analysis podcast, Feedback Force, and hosts a weekly Saturday night game livestream on Twitch TV. She enjoys the surreal and the moody in her media, hence her great love of NBC’s Hannibal. You can follow her on Twitter @Kyla_Go where she livetweets Hannibal on Saturdays at 10pm Pacific, following which, she posts delirious stream-of-consciousness reaction videos on YouTube.

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