Remember when Francis Dolarhyde ate the original watercolor of William Blake’s The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed In Sun? Jack Crawford is aghast: “He ATE it?!?” At least they got two partial thumbprints off of the plastic pass he used at the Brooklyn Museum. They aren’t in the system, but they do match the print Jimmy Price pulled from Mrs. Leeds’s eye.
Yet Dolarhyde didn’t kill that museum docent and Alana thinks that maybe the Red Dragon is trying to stop. Jack: “You must know something about him, otherwise you wouldn’t have found him.” Will gets sassy fast: “Jack Crawford, fisher of men. You got me… again. Hannibal told me where to find him.” Jack smirks and looks away. Will’s not finished. “He knows who the Dragon is; he probably treated him.”
At Hannibal’s office, Dolarhyde is talking to the Fancy Cannibal, telling him that seeing Blake’s painting for the first time “stunned me.” Hannibal: “Like Blake peeked in your ear and saw the Dragon there.” I like how Fuller has taken Dolarhyde’s internal thoughts and made them into conversations that he has with Hannibal Lecter. This particular line is from page 94 of Red Dragon. Dolarhyde tells Hannibal that the Dragon had never spoken to him before and “it was frightening. It called my name; it wants her.” Hannibal reminds him he could never have had her (Reba) without the Dragon. “I don’t want to give her to the Dragon,” Dolarhyde pleads.
In an eerie scene, Hannibal is both sitting across from Dolarhyde and also whispering in his ear. He tells Dolarhyde that he “can always toss the Dragon to someone else.” Dolarhyde: “Will Graham interests me.” Then we see Hannibal in his cell, obviously on the phone with Dolarhyde: “He has a family. Save yourself. Kill them all.”
In a nod to the episode’s title, which is from a Blake painting and Revelations 13.1, we see the ocean in the moonlight, with waves crashing onto the shore. Dolarhyde is cutting the Red Dragon symbol in the bark of a tree, and then he’s in his attic gazing at his painting. Wings and a tail unfurl out of him.
He and Reba are then in the parlor, listening to music and drinking martinis. He tells her he has some film to check. She snuggles next to him on the couch as he watches home movies of Molly and Walter Graham. This is… not good. “Are these your nocturnal animals?” Reba asks, “Think they know they’re being filmed?” Dolarhyde: “No.” Then the real Molly is on the porch drinking coffee when Walter alerts her that, “Something is wrong with the dogs.” They go to the vet who asks if there have been any changes in the dogs’ diet lately. Molly admits to feeding them canned food while Will is away. The vet says the dogs won’t die but they will keep them there overnight. As they leave, the camera pans to a close up of an FBI warning bulletin about injured pets.
Will is talking to Hannibal in his cell again. He says, quoting Shakespeare, that he’s not “fortune’s fool, but Hannibal’s.” Hannibal asks if Will has beheld the Great Red Dragon and Will, irritated, says that Hannibal knew the museum was closed to the public on Tuesdays and “that’s when we’d both be going.” Will asks: “He’s contacted you?” Hannibal smirks, “How do you suppose he’s contacted me? Personals ad?” Will is getting angry: “There’s a family out there who don’t know he’s coming. We can save them. Tell me who he is.” Knowing that it’s Will’s family makes this scene stressful to watch.
Hannibal, shot from below, looks terrifying. “I don’t know who he is. When you close your eyes, Will, is it your family who you see?” (Hannibal, you are the worst at helping.) Will keeps at him, asking how he’s choosing them, but Hannibal says something about how you can’t be too careful on social media these days. (OMG, Hannibal Lecter might have had a Twitter account. Mind = Blown) Will: “You know who they are?” Hannibal, not lying at all, replies yes. “And you’re willing to let them die?” Hannibal: “They’re not my family, Will. And I’m not letting them die; you are.” HANNIBAL LECTER, THE ABSOLUTE WORST PERSON EVER.
Dolarhyde, next to his tree carving, puts in his nasty dentures and hisses, looking not entirely unlike Pazuzu from The Exorcist. He covers his face with a thin sock cap. It’s a full moon and Molly Graham hears that someone is on the porch. The cross cutting in this scene is incredibly well done and unbearably tense. Although he’s in the house, Molly and the Dragon keep missing each other, which vexes him greatly. She tells Walter to escape through the window and wait by the car: “Count to 100 and if you see anyone else but me, run for the road.”
Molly hides under the porch and when Dolarhyde goes back inside to look for her, she motions for Walter to come under there with her. She activates the car alarm with the key fob and Dolarhyde shoots at it to shut off the noise. Molly and Walter run down the road and she flags down a passing car. She hustles Walter inside and urges the driver to get back in the car, but it’s too late: Dolarhyde has shot him in the head. She gets behind the driver’s seat as Dolarhyde runs after them, shooting at the car, shattering windows, and nabbing Molly in the shoulder. He screams with rage as they escape.
Will is running down the hallway of a hospital and sees Jack talking to Walter in the waiting room. He leaves and Will sits. “Your Mom is in surgery now.” Walter asks if there’s anything he needs to know and Will says that they’re both safe now. He also tries to reassure Walter that “the crazy guy” doesn’t want to kill him but then admits, “we don’t know what he wants.” Walter: “You gonna kill him?” Will: “No, I’m going to catch him.” And then put him in a mental hospital so he can be treated. Walter says he read in a newspaper that Will killed a guy once and was put in a mental hospital himself. Will looks sad as he acknowledges that painful truth. He asks Walter if that bothers him but the reply is troubling: “You should kill him. I want to watch baseball.”
Will approaches Jack in the hallway, silently seething: “I had to justify myself to an 11-year-old.” He asks if Jack thought maybe he’d go back to his family but then “you realized what I realized… I can’t go home and neither can Molly and Walter… not until the Red Dragon is out of the way.” In Molly’s hospital room he sits on the bed.
Hannibal is also sitting on a bed and Alana brings him the phone, asking if he’d like to take a call from his lawyer. Hannibal, reading, glances up and asks if she knows what his lawyer wants. Alana then reveals that she is the one who called him, “to confirm that he hasn’t called you.” Hannibal: “I could have told you that.” Jack comes in the room and Alana confronts Hannibal directly. “You’ve been talking to The Tooth Fairy.” Hannibal sits up and smiles. “He’s the Great Red Dragon.” “You have hubbed hell,” Jack grits out. (On page 184 of Red Dragon, Jack says this to Freddy Lounds after he impersonates Dolarhyde and phones Will Graham.) Jack and Alana have a standing trace order on Hannibal’s phone: “When he calls you, keep him on the line.” Hannibal appears to be pondering this, but no doubt he already knows what he’s going to do.
Dolarhyde is doing handstands in his attic until the Dragon’s tail knocks him down. The Dragon beats him with his wings but it’s just Dolarhyde beating the crap out of himself, Fight Club-style. Later, his wings unfurl as he sits in Reba’s darkroom at work, waiting. She knows he’s there. “What are you doing sitting here in the dark?” He asks if it’s worse for her to have seen the light and lost it (another repurposing of inner thoughts from Red Dragon, this time Reba’s own). She thinks Dolarhyde “sounds strange” and he begins to cry. “I don’t know what’s happening to me.” She touches him but he flinches. She says it’s OK to be confused and touches his face. “I can’t be with you,” he whispers, pained. She looks sad. He doesn’t think she’s a burden: “I’m afraid I’ll hurt you.” Reba has clearly heard this kind of bad excuse before. “It was nice to spend time with someone who had the courage to get his hat or stay as he damn well pleased,” she responds, hurt and upset. “Get your hat, Francis. Then you can go.”
Denise is bringing Hannibal the phone again, but this time Jack and Alana are listening in. Hannibal tells Dolarhyde, “You are the Dragon; you don’t have to be afraid. You are becoming and the Dragon is your higher self.” A distraught Dolarhyde says, “If I am not as strong as the Dragon, she will die.” Hannibal asks, “Do you know how you feel about her?” Dolarhyde does, but he’s afraid of “what will happen if she comes to the house.” Then, in a different voice, he says, “You know how easily she will tear.” Hannibal informs him, “They are listening” and hangs up. Jack is pissed.
Team Sassy Science is doing their forensic workup at Hannibal’s office and Zeller says that Dolarhyde used some phone spoofing to get to Hannibal. Jack says “Hannibal is having his fun,” but we then see him in the Silence of the Lambs style restraints, complete with facemask and dolly, so I don’t know how much fun he’s actually having. Alana informs him “you’re not the only one who keeps their promises.” Hannibal’s books and drawings have been removed. “The toilet, too” instructs Alana.
Molly wakes up in the hospital; Will is asleep beside her. Molly says he looks different. “You said you wouldn’t be the same when you came home.” “You said you would.” Molly laughs ruefully: “Boy, was I wrong about that.” Molly says she told him to go so she has no one to blame but herself and Jack Crawford. Will informs her that it was Hannibal who suggested that the Dragon go after her and Walter. “Wally almost died. I almost died. I knew it was him.” Another rueful laugh. “Hell, I got mad there for a second.” Will is about to lose it and his voice trembles. “I hate this, Molly. I’m sorry.” She hopes that they’ll be back home soon and he says yes. “It’s tough to hold onto anything good,” she muses. This doesn’t seem to comfort Will.
He leaves and goes to Hannibal’s cell, clearly furious. “I’m just about worn out with you crazy sons of bitches,” but Hannibal insists, “ugliness is found in the faces of the crowd.” He admits exactly what he told the Dragon and asks, “How’s the wife?” If Will Graham could kill him right now, he would. “She’s lucky.” Hannibal keeps twisting the knife, asserting that it takes “a pinch more than luck to survive the Great Red Dragon.” (Foreshadowing?) Hannibal queries, “When you look at her now what do you see?” Will: “You know what I see… is this a competition?” Hannibal quotes Goethe’s Faust, the character who infamously made a pact with Mephistopheles: “Two souls, alas, are dwelling in my breast and one is striving to forsake its brother.”
Hannibal continues: “The Great Red Dragon is freedom to him… he craves change.” Will: “He didn’t murder those families; he changed them.” Hannibal wonders, “Don’t you crave change, Will?”