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TV Review: Hannibal 3.12 “The Number Of The Beast Is 666”
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Hannibal
Season 3 Episode 12 “The Number of the Beast Is 666”
Directed by Guillermo Navarro
Written by Jeff Vlaming & Angela LaManna and Bryan Fuller & Steve Lightfoot
Created by Bryan Fuller
Starring Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Gillian Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Scott Thompson, Aaron Abrams, Nina Arianda, Rutina Wesley, Richard Armitage
NBC
Air date: Saturday, August 22nd, 2015, 10pm

We spend a lot of time in “The Number of the Beast is 666,” thinking about or around the idea of religion; specifically around the concept of who is and isn’t the devil. Jack (Laurence Fishburne), and Will (Hugh Dancy) want to believe that they aren’t the executors of damnation, but Hannibal (Mads Mikkelson) knows his place. Hannibal is the Devil this show deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

That honor falls to Will Graham.

As Hannibal declares, all gods need sacrifices and after narrowly escaping with his life last year, doctor chilton get his opportunity to play patsy. “The Number of the Beast is 666” is very much the Richard Armitage variety hour, as Dolarhyde makes an explosive entrance into the nation’s Capitol. The Great Red Dragon is truly great, as Armitage uses this chance to build upon all of the work that’s come before; he’s presenting us with his own masterpiece. The thing that struck me the most is Armitage’s physicality: the way he moves, slinks, and ultimately flies around the room demands that he be noticed. His performance rendered me as helpless as Chilton (Raul Esparza); We were both glued to our seats as the Dragon snarled and spoke and burned us alive.

The back half of season three has been very clear about making the bad romance between Hannibal and Will much clearer than its been in the past. I personally enjoyed that area being a place where the audience could let their mind wander, but Bedelia (Gillian Anderson) takes pleasure in spelling things out for us this week. The relationship between Will and Hannibal has always struck me as the intersection of admiration and obsession: Will (despite claims to the contrary) views Hannibal as a mixture of father, brother, and friend. How proud Hannibal must have been to see his pupil serve up Chilton like a platter of fava beans and chianti. “Hannibal has agency in the world,” Bedelia states.

How ugly a realization for Will Graham must it be to realize he’s the Devil’s advocate.

Quick thoughts:

– The image of Dolarhyde ripping off Chilton’s lips is easily the most distrubing thing the show has ever done. I’m shocked NBC let it happen.

– On that same beat, the entire way that Mads Mikkelson plays that scene where he eats Chilton’s lips was so darkly twisted and haunting and the perfect amount of humor we needed for this episode.

– Fuller spoke earlier this year about how the writers room for Hannibal has a self-imposed ban on rape in their storylines and how rather than show that act, it would be implied. I’m glad to see the show once again subverted the book, redirecting Dolarhyde’s fire rage from Freddie Lounds to Chilton and in the meantime, sparing a female character from a gruesome end.

– “Fate has a habit of not letting us chose our own endings.” Part of me wants to wonder if this was a bit of preemptive winking from Fuller about the fate of this show, but more on that next week as we get into what is probably the series finale of Hannibal.

Video

Looking at Episode 312


Richard Armitage and Rutina Wesley preview the upcoming episode of Hannibal with Scott Thompso and director Guillermo Navarro.

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