Yes, just when Reba offered to develop his infrared film and teased that “privacy is guaranteed”, I caught a brief smile… mainly visible as a dimple forming, but I’m pretty sure it was there.
[SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 3.9 BELOW!]
So overall, I’m enjoying Hannibal. Not surprisingly, I have my favorite cast member, and I was really chuffed to read all the many reviews that seem to show the critics and TV buffs are as impressed with Richard Armitage’s Francis Dolarhyde as I am. I also continue to appreciate Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal, especially the sly humor he showed in this week’s episode, and Hugh Dancy, whose performance is also always really strong. Something I forgot to mention about the first Red Dragon episode that interested me was how it seemed Dancy was able to channel Richard’s way of moving up the stairs when he re-enacted the murders in his mind. Did anyone else notice that? These things being said, I was not a fan of yet more scenes with Abigail. I feel like I’ve been done with Abigail, and I was irritated to see her back. I don’t want to waste any more time on her, especially if that time comes at the expense of time with, well, Francis. LOL
I was really impressed with Rutina Wesley’s performance as Reba. She came across as likeable, kind, down-to-earth, and I loved her line about not feeling any sympathy from “Mr. D” (unfortunately, Reba, you may have picked up on no sympathy because he’s incapable of feeling sympathy… but we’ll see what he’s capable of soon enough!) and I especially liked when she said that sympathy feels like “spit on my cheek” as it illuminated for me some of her reasons for being so reckless as to accept a ride home from this virtual stranger and to invite him into her house when she’s alone and arguably defenseless. I mean, he could be a serial killer! =) But when she said that, I realized that she has probably had all she can take of people/men being helpful out of a sense of duty or obligation toward a blind person, and so finds Mr. D’s lack of pity refreshing.
In the few minutes of screen time that we had with Francis Dolarhyde, I was mesmerized once again. His scene in front of the movie projector, as he was apparently under the delusion that a dragon tail was sprouting, gave me creepy shudders. That neck work was quite a sight to behold, so extended and almost contorting. Definitely serpent-like. It always amazes me how he is able to make use of every unusual muscle in his body to evoke reactions in the audience… and my reaction here was terrible disquiet as I felt myself shrinking away from the screen.
While the earlier scenes with Dolarhyde gave me the freak vibes, Richard Armitage again brought out the little nuances in his scenes with Reba that make it all so interesting. One moment, the heebie-jeebies… the next moment, the little squeeze on my heart. Like when Reba first turns around in the dark room, before Francis realizes she has no sight, and he automatically brings his hand up to shield his disfigured upper lip. That moment tugged on the heart strings for me.
Again it happened when Reba brought up her interest in speech therapy, and we see him almost flinch… there was an awkward moment where I felt a momentary threatening vibe, but then it was as if shame overwhelmed him, and my heart broke once again.
There was certainly a lot of that back-and-forth between squirming apprehension and feeling the empathy for Francis. It’s what I’ve expected and hoped for, and Richard Armitage has delivered. I was right back to feeling scared when he delivered the “Trust me, I’m smiling” line… even more so right at the end, when we heard his voice become “THE GREAT. RED. DRAGON.” Chills! I glanced at Hubby just in time to see him shudder, too. I’m loving having all this new Richard Material once per week… Life is good. I hope Richard receives an Emmy nod. =)