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Hannibal: The Number of the Beast is 666

Her ceiling looks like devil horns, by the way.
“If you play, you pay.”

As this season stampedes to a close (hey, never too late for a stag pun), the following things appear to be true: people in this universe have nine lives (Chilton uses two in this episode alone), no one has a chance in [this] Hell and Hannibal will always come out on top. Did I miss anything?

We are playing games in the dark of the moon.

The set-up to snag the Red Dragon has more flaws than anyone cares to admit and for the first time in this series, no one is even pretending to have the same goal anymore. (I blame Hannibal for this but more on that shortly.) I suspect that's one reason it goes to shite before it even gets underway. (Time didn't always move in a linear fashion though – which made for more trickery, too.) The meeting in Jack's office was so rote, the only reason anyone was even remotely engaged in anything was when an opportunity cropped up to sling some vengeful embittered quip at one another. Even the following get together with Freddie was full of that sticky sap of misplaced resentment. Hannibal has single-handedly WHILE INCARCERATED made everyone around him unruly amounts of hateful and paranoid. I mean seriously, they've all lost their joie de vivre. You just know Hannibal is thinking, 'turning myself in is the best thing I could have ever done – EVER. Yay, me!'

Remember when Chilton was Will's psychiatrist?
Man to man, I am scared.

It took some time for me to fall in love with Chilton. My love though, was anchored by last season's 'Futamono' at the moment when he vehemently refused an appetizer at Hannibal's famous non-people-food people party. (Hell, it might have even been in 'Roti' when he had that magnifying glass poised for Will and Alana's behalf when they entered his office.) It was me not him, because looking back, I'm not even sure why it took so long for me to recognize his singular greatness since he has been Frederick 'No Real Surprises Here' Chilton since day 1. Which is to say, perhaps he's always been a bit misunderstood. (I mean he visited everyone in the hospital in the wake of 'Mizumono'! And with flowers, too.) Raul Esparza took Chilton to a new level in 'The Number of the Beast is 666' and then to about 12 levels above that. His fear was real and upsetting. I kept thinking, weirdly enough he's had training for this, he's dealt with the most sinister motherfuckers on the planet and I actually think one reason Esparza killed was because all of Chilton's reactions appeared to be imbued with his psychiatric knowledge. Yes, he's a narcissist of the highest order but vanity was his only real shortcoming and frankly, in comparison to the others on this show, that pathology is nothing.

It's hard to predict when brittle materials will break.

Did you also get the sense that Bedelia is talking about herself as much as (if not more than!) Will when it comes to fragile shit breaking? Her obscure facial expressions, shivery phrasing and body language are beginning to betray her skills to obfuscate. If the levee in her left eye were to break, there would be a seismic waves of tears. She is the only support system Will has AND VICE VERSA. These are seriously dark times.

But her hair still looks flawless.
Will isn't doing so great, either. He stumbled through much of this episode one step away from catatonic. You are already dead, aren't you? Maybe that's just love. (Or the crushing emotional weight of finally letting it dawn on you that you're the object of Hannibal's strange and complex desires.) When I closely studied his head in hands anguish, I first thought it was just everything in his life collapsing in on itself in that moment but with further analysis, I think it was seeing the Dragon move and attack because if Will is seeing himself kill his wife (and god knows who else) over and over like Dolarhyde, even as the crack empath he is, he's still filling in some of the blanks but now he's seen that horrific serpentine movement in technicolor. Fear is the price of his imagination.

Was that the magisterial 'we'?
You owe me awe.

The Dragon won out after all. Francis did put up a good fight. (I mean because road trip to the Brooklyn Museum.) Those moments early on in the episode in the attic were, painfully, Francis' eleventh-hour objection to his 'othering.' He's here, he's fear, get used to it. It's been really so upsetting to watch his becoming.

Never rock the mic with the pantyhose
Also, oh dear.

Uhh, the Baltimore State Hospital for the
Criminally Insane is OVER THERE

Fate has a habit of not letting us choose our own endings.

Because lord knows I wouldn't have chosen for this show to be canceled. Where's my black lace veil, I'm officially in mourning. Who's with me? Because...  there's nothing like grief and trauma to pull people together.

Odds and Ends:

I came up with an article here about three prominent DPs working on television, Hannibal's James Hawkinson being one. He talks about his lighting choices in terms of the season as a whole. (He's the third one interviewed/written up so scroll down.)

Speaking of Hawkinson, I am remiss to not have mentioned him until now in three seasons of this show. His prowess is a huge part of what makes Hannibal so gorgeous (if dark, at times!). But his work with Hannibal behind glass is jaw-droppingly skillful. I cannot even fathom the amount of set-up and choreography it takes to work out everyone's mark (including the crew) in those scenes. And then to use the reflection, too, for visual metaphors on top of that? Qué rico!


This sequence was exquisite in every conceivable way.

Remind me one more time – in which circle of Hell is ceiling molding a prominent feature?

Odds and Ends: The Wall Sconce Edition

Every single wall sconce in this arc...

...looks like the Red Dragon.


Bedelia: “You have paid dearly. It excites him to know that you are marked in this particular way.”

Bedelia: “If I'm to be Bluebeard's wife, I would have preferred to be the last.” (She’ll be here all week. Maybe.)

Will: “Is Hannibal in love with me?”

Hannibal: “He is both free and damned to imagine anything.”

Hannibal: “The Lamb's wrath touches everyone who errs. His retribution is even more deadly than the Dragon's.”

Alana: “You once fooled yourselves into believing you were in control of what was happening. Are you still under that delusion?”

Will: “Someone to hide the wire on the snare. Are you volunteering?”
Alana: “No. I'd have to be a fool.” (I’m catnip for killers! And I’m a mom of the Vergerbaby!)

Chilton: “You refuted my entire book.”
Hannibal: “It didn't hold up to scrutiny.”

Hannibal: "Wood burns because it has the proper stuff in it; 'and a man becomes famous because he has the proper stuff in him.' You don't have the proper stuff, Frederick.” (But what about a man that burns? I kid.)

Will: “You sell T-shirts that say, ‘The Tooth Fairy is a One-Night Stand.’”

Chilton: “This is the child of a nightmare.”

Freddie: “I'd love something of you in a bathrobe sitting at a desk, poring over this artist's conception of the Fairy. Hmm?”
Will: I'll stand by the window.”

TGRD: “Would you like a blanket? I'll get you a blanket.”

TGRD: “Burned? Burned. Burned.” (Hmm, I have an idea)

Hannibal: “The tragedy of what's happened to Frederick has put me in an excellent humor.”

Will: “Damned if I will feel.”

Bedelia: “We are all making our way through the Inferno.”

Bedelia: “Hannibal Lecter does have agency in the world. He has you.”

Last thing, my hopes and dreams for the finale include a single image and two words:



  1. Interesting that unlike the source material, it was Chilton and not Freddy that was captured by the Dragon. It probably had something to do with Fuller's insistence to refrain from using torture/rape of women in his work.

    Unlike Francis, Will seems to have completed his becoming. What exactly was he trying to gain from putting Chilton in Dolarhyde's crosshairs? I seem to recall someone mentioning that the idea was to enrage him.

    Bedelia's therapy sessions with Will don't seem to be helping him much. Considering his previous experiences with therapy, he really need to choose his therapists more wisely. I wonder what Bedelia is gaining from them.

    I think i'm becoming desensitised to violence and gore in a lot of other media. (Possibly due to this show). I'm always amused by how easily people get squeamish when watching generic horror movies with uninventive gore. This show seems to be one the exceptions. Chilton's lip being pulled off is possibly one of the most gruesome things i've ever seen.

    1. FlopHairedWuss,
      Chilton losing his lips was among the most horrific images -- agreed!

  2. This discussion is freaking me out, to be honest.

  3. This episode was kind of a mixed bag for me. I liked the conversations between Will and Bedelia --- I'm endlessly entertained by her very slow and precise line delivery --- but some of the other conversations started veering a little too much into the sort of navel gazing and philosophizing that starts to become tedious for me on this show. (Although I did rather like the meta-ness of the "fate not letting us choose our own ends" discussion.) I think that if it wasn't for Chilton's overt terror, even the conversations with the Dragon about his "becoming" would have become a bit tiresome for me. I'm curious which flavor the show will give us for its final outing. Which part of the audience will it most satisfy? :)

    FlopHairedWuss, I hear you. It has to be some pretty high-level gore to phase me these days, and after the most upsetting thing for me in recent Hannibal episodes was the eating of the painting, I was starting to wonder just how desensitized I was becoming. But the lip-tearing was pretty damn horrific. It's funny, the fresh zombies with half their faces torn off in the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead had practically no effect on me at all, but Chilton in that condition had me covering my eyes in revulsion. And I couldn't even look at him all burned in the hospital. (Anyone ever wonder what that guy must have done in a past life to suffer the endless parade of increasingly horrific trauma he's enduring in this one?) Guess it's good to know I can still be phased.

  4. As always, thanks for the brilliant recap, Heather! Am still having nightmares over those bitten lips. And yes yes to the desensitizing. Speaking of which, perhaps Bedelia can get her own spinoff?

    Also, how is Hannibal's mail not being pre-screened? He never looked happier than when he popped that one lip right in his mouth.

  5. Poor Chilton. I felt his pain so clearly. Excellent acting by Raul Esparza. How is Chilton alive at this point? He must be at death's door at least.
    Next episode can't come soon enough. Who will live and who will die? If Bedelia makes it, I'll be happy. Oh Will, how could you not know the extent of Hannibal's obssession with you?

  6. CHILTON!!!!!!! The only thing worse than seeing his lips bitten off was seeing him survive the immolation! This goofball easily became the most haunting sight on the show just like that. I am so sad this happened in the penultimate episode of the series... it's just so scary and cool, I wanted a full season more of Punished Chilton :( As far as I care to know, Chilton was the one who comes closest to Bedelia's kind of prophecy about Will killing someone he loved because he thought he had to. Because I don't get what the point of that whole thing was except maybe to enrage Francis enough to move him into reckless action?

    Chilton: "I have seen a lot of hostility. But this was quantifiably bitchy! Do you think I am your nemesis?"
    Hannibal: "No, uh, nemesis, no."
    Loved Hannibal's laugh in that first 'no.' So funny. Less funny was: "You set me up. You knew it. You had your hand on me in the picture. Like a pet." :(
    The scariest context to see that scene with the lip-tearing is in the recap for the finale though, because it's so freaky to see out of nowhere without the scene-setting ambience that lets you prepare yourself with the overwhelming dread. Very upsetting to me lol.
    Loved the shot of Will and Chilton taking the photo. Smile a little, Will lol! But his grimness is suddenly so charming there.


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