The key exchange of “…And The Woman Clothed in Sun” comes about midway, when Bedelia and Will discuss a wounded bird and what to do with it. It’s a discussion about how one presents one’s humanity, whether to show mercy to the weak or to destroy all lesser beings and bask in one’s own power as an advanced species. The director, Guillermo Navarro, one of Hannibal Season 3’s MVPs, cuts the scene sharply between this discussion, in which Bedelia is wearing an onyx ensemble, and a flashback to when she killed an angry, suspicious client (Zachary Quinto), in which she is wearing a peerless white blouse. Bedelia has clearly passed through to Hannibal’s philosophy of human behavior, even if she doesn’t indulge in destruction and murder as often as her former patient, and the question continues to be if Will has the ability, or want, to do the same.
Bedelia’s transformation is nicely foreshadowed when she first reconnects with Will, at a seminar where she points out that, before Dante, the entrance of hell was not a gate but rather a mouth, of the same sort she rams her arm down when she disposes of Quinto’s character. And there was a similar feeling when Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage) brought Reba (Rutina Wesley) to see a sleeping tiger, which she adventurously scaled her hands over and went as far as to venture into its open mouth. As the episode’s special effects made clear, amidst their carnal tryst, Reba is meant to be the titular witness to Dolarhyde’s becoming, much like one could perceive Bedelia as the same for Hannibal, and Reba’s moment with the tiger showed both a fondness for, and acceptance of, beasts.
One could argue that, even though he has murdered and maimed, Will hasn’t fully transformed into a similar beast, but that turn may be imminent. As Hannibal is seemingly working to continue to ensnare Will, what with that phone call to Dr. Chilton’s office and his encouragement of Dolarhyde, he’s also waiting to see what these two men tease out of one another, and who will ultimately become the dominant “student.” When Hannibal and Dolarhyde have their conversation early in the episode, a quote from “The Tiger” by William Blake hints at a confusion and possible misunderstanding for the would-be Great Red Dragon: “Did he who made the lamb make thee?” Dolarhyde might have very well seen Will as the lamb until that last encounter in the museum, after he had his million-dollar paper snack, but even the fact that Will is so close to him so quickly must make him wonder if Will is the more docile creature he originally perceived him to be.
The entire episode belonged to Armitage and Wesley, who play out the intimate connection between these two wounded creatures with tremendous care, though both performers make their more animalistic attractions to each other’s character more than clear. Not unlike Dolarhyde, Hannibal Season 3 seems to be going through a final transformation, with only two episodes left of what looks to be its final season, and though Dolarhyde’s relation to Hannibal doesn’t have the history and personal involvement that Will’s did, these last handful of episodes detailing his creation have proved enthralling and just as visually sumptuous as the rest of the series. As Hannibal points out, the symbol that Dolarhyde carved into the tree means, essentially, “your turn” and one could see that last moment between Will and the Great Red Dragon as his response to that call. That would also mean that Dolarhyde is preparing his own sanguine response, one that will almost certainly leave more bodies on the floor than Will’s did.
★★★★ Very good — Damn fine television