A quick review of tonight's “Hannibal” coming up just as soon as I tickle the tiger…
Press tour obligations are getting in the way of a full write-up of this one (and may prevent me from writing at all about next week's, but we'll see what happens), so let's straight to the bullets:
* Reba touching the tiger is my favorite scene in “Manhunter,” if not my favorite Michael Mann-directed scene, period, so the version here with these incarnations of Reba and Francis had a lot to live up to. Fortunately, this one didn't disappoint, as both Rutina Wesley and Richard Armitage conveyed the overwhelming emotions both were feeling in this unusual moment. Sensuality from unlikely sources has always been a “Hannibal” strength, so I didn't doubt they would do this moment right, but it was still great to see, hear, and feel. (And the emphasis on Dolarhyde's reaction to Reba touching the tiger's mouth, given his self-consciousness about his own, in some ways conveyed the point even better than the Mann version.)
* And as Dolarhyde gets closer to Reba, and realizes that a woman could actually find him something other than the monstrosity he's convinced he is, we got our deepest understanding yet of what's driving this guy. He has turned to serial killing out of a deep and twisted belief that he's incapable of finding love and happiness any other way, yet here is Reba, who may not be able to see his (perfectly normal) appearance, but who still desires him and suggests another way of life. It's not until after their night together that he travels to Brooklyn to consume the William Blake drawing that holds such sway over him, perhaps in the hopes of negating that control.
* Hannibal, meanwhile, is playing both sides of this chase against each other, communicating with Dolarhyde (and the teaser here did a good enough job of explaining away the issues I had last week with him being able to make an unmonitored call to Hannibal), tracking down Will's home address (though would the gum wrapper trick from the '80s still work today?), but also pointing Will towards the Blake painting and his first physical encounter with Dolarhyde. Will seeing the Tooth Fairy's face, even for a moment, certainly complicates Dolarhyde's life, but it doesn't necessarily bring Will any closer to catching him. We'll see what comes of that.
* This week in non-“Red Dragon” action, Will pays a visit to Bedelia, who's thriving from her association with Hannibal in the same way Alana and Chilton are, but without their physical scars. Zachary Quinto returns for some clarity on how his character died, as we learn that Bedelia had a chance to save poor Neal Frank from choking on his own tongue, and instead chose to be an active participant in Hannibal's murderous game. That knowledge certainly colors their time together in Italy. Like the Abigail scenes last week, it's on some level filler to stretch out the hunt for Dolarhyde, but Bedelia has become such a memorable part of the “Hannibal” tapestry that I was happy to have Gillian Anderson back.
What did everybody else think?