Giffing Berlin Station, or… PreoccupiedOnceAgain?

Confession: I have not been overly PreoccupiedWithArmitage for months. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t jump in and arrange to see Love, Love, Love before Love, Love, Love was even guaranteed… or that I didn’t immediately follow Richard when he made the jumps to Instagram and Facebook… and it’s not to say that I don’t still keep tabs on the Richarding world… but as anyone checking the blog this summer can attest, I just haven’t had any bloggerly motivation. Granted, it’s been a busy summer at work and I continue to spend much of my free time in the quilting room… but I really haven’t wanted or needed to express myself here in this space for quite some time.  I have hopes, at least, that my flagging fandom energy will be revived shortly, between Berlin Station airing in a couple of months, and Richard’s performances off Broadway starting even sooner than that!

 

BS interview hands

There is some nice thumb action here.

Today I got around to watching the new promotional material for Berlin Station, and I was struck with what has become, lately, an unusual urge: to have a closer look and really study the man himself, and the man as Daniel Miller’s character. I really liked what I saw, and decided to put some of it on continuous loop… but sadly, it had been so long since I used my Giffing Tool, that I opened it up, captured some Richard… and then couldn’t remember even the first thing about how to edit it! After fumbling around for several fruitless minutes, I resorted to YouTube to relearn the giffing process… and I hope you enjoy the results. =)

 

 

BS calculations

So yeah… I experienced my first *ooof* after many months of no *ooofs* right here.

So the first thing that really made me sit up and take notice while watching the promotional footage was this shot. I absolutely love everything about it. I love the collar of his coat- he looks like a proper spy, here. I love the shadow of his cheek and jawline as he turns, and while I’m at it, I love the length of that sideburn! But what struck me the most was the moment of calculation on his face, the small furrow in his brow as he processes something, and seems to draw his breath, blinking. Moments like these are what I love most about Richard’s acting.

 

 

BS lips

And when I replayed it, damned if another *ooof* didn’t magically happen!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because the opening footage was actually rather breathtaking as well. Oh, how the light just barley glimmers on that fantastic mouth. And his nose, in all its profile glory, is also thrown into beautiful relief by the lighting. Last but not least… we have the briefest glimpse of Daniel’s downcast eye for a quick, but thorough, eyelashgasm.

 

 

BS blink

And the eyelashgasms keep coming…

BS danial turns

I like how the light briefly illuminates the tendons in his elegant hand.

And a couple more… because once I got started, it was hard to stop giffing.

 

 

 

BS climbI almost mistook this for Francis Dolarhyde. Maybe it’s the black gloves, or the fact that he’s rising out of a crouch as he steps onto the rooftop. Or maybe just the focused, almost sinister determination on his face.

 

 

BS paranoiaAnd that impression (along with another eyelashgasm) was only reinforced here. Because he seems to be skulking in a corridor, and he has a touch of paranoia in his eyes.

 

 

BS shrug and smileBut right here… this is no Francis Dolarhyde. More of a Lucas North vibe… a strong and charming one. I LOVE the little  quirk of his head as he shrugs. And I hope we’ll see more of those slightly conspiratorial smiles. Dayum.

 

 

BS smile1Speaking of smiles… here’s a bit of a lopsided smile as he hands her his ID. It was dark, so I lightened it to better see that dimple in action. Though I hate that the giffing tool only has one setting for the lightening effect.

 

 

BS startledAnd another one that I lightened. Just to see the smile again, and have a closer look at the funny startled face when Daniel is grabbed. Giffing is really rewarding sometimes.

 

 

BS crouchingAnd here was another rewarding moment. I guess I didn’t expect Daniel Miller to crouch behind another person’s back when shit starts to go down! But I suppose we were told he was more of an analyst. LOL

 

 

 

BS bike riderMake that a bike-riding analyst.

 

 

 

BS stridingStride 1But he certainly has some mojo in this shot. There’s that characteristic manly stride that I love so well. Reminds me just a bit of Thornton. With different sideburns, of course. But the stern intensity is there.

 

 

 

And that about wraps up my post for August! I really did enjoy getting back into the swing of actively Richarding… and we can hope that there is plenty more to come!

 

Richard Armitage, White-Shirted

2016b

I mean, who wouldn’t sit up and take notice?

It has been rather a long stretch since I posted anything remotely related to Richard Armitage. (In fact, you might almost wonder whether I was no longer preoccupiedwitharmitage!) And that’s a fair question, because if I’m honest, I do find it hard to be half so obsessive about the man when Nothing Much Is Happening. For all those who waited it out while he was off filming The Hobbit: kudos to you! I’m having a hard time of it with not much news on the Armitage front.

Have I lost interest entirely? Apparently not. But I do have to say it was an enormous relief the other day when Richard Armitage, White-Shirted, filming in the Canary Islands for Berlin Station, came across my radar.

So yes! Inspired! Finally!

I do believe I became quite breathless when first I saw the image above.

 

 

probablynotwhite

OK, so maybe it’s not absolutely a white shirt… but dayum. The man still has it.

And who could blame me? =)

 

With all the talk about how much Daniel reminds us all of Lucas North, I couldn’t help but think he also bears a bit of a resemblance to a different operative… one John Porter… in the image above.

 

Mmmmm hmmmm.

 

 

 

 

 

2016a

Aw, an eyebrow furrow! I’ve missed that!

This look really does it for me. There is just something about a man in a casual white button-down shirt.

 

With heavy stubble as a nice contrast.

 

(Perry even thought it was a beard from a distance!)

 

 

 

 

wet hair

Whew. The stubble, the knowing look in his eyes, the barest hint of a smile. And add wet hair into the mix? Stunning.

Yes, I think we can all agree that this man has always rocked the white shirt and heavy stubble.

*Excuse me while I dash water on myself*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016c

He looks pensive about something here. Inner conflict?

I confess… this type of shirt on a handsome man does make me want to unbutton it.

Hubby, I hope you’re not reading this… but if you are… take notes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

younger

Here’s a young one. Where has all his chest hair gone?

Yes, a white button-down shirt is just begging to be opened further.

Down to where one might stumble across a little chest hair, maybe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

shirt open

No, seriously! I know he has chest hair!

Or a belly button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

withdarkjeans

I wonder… why are you sitting on your hands?

We’d better get you buttoned back up, sir.

Before we all collapse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

open_collar1

Wasn’t there a great hashtag for this on tumblr? Something along the lines of #acollarsituation ?

Maybe we should even add a coat.

I don’t believe I would have survived this look without that coat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

thekiss

Because I never tire of seeing this one moment.

I’m still not sure how Margaret was able to actually stand up and walk after this.

And the man was wearing his waistcoat.

 

 

 

 

esquire

Because… dayum.

And finally, well… there can’t be a compilation of Richard Armitage, White-Shirted that didn’t include this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, I think it never hurts to revisit this type of White Shirt Situation.

 

Or maybe it does hurt. But it hurts so good! =)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thrilling, Touching, Fitting: My Impressions of Hannibal S.3 Episode 13

Vision7

The Great Red Dragon has met his destiny.

Well, as far as mic drops go… this one was worthy. But oh! For the first time since Hannibal started airing the Red Dragon arc, I find myself having trouble getting motivated to blog about it. It wasn’t that the series finale didn’t inspire me. It’s just that I’m feeling rather devastated that it’s over.

So, Spoilers ahead, of course. And toward the end, some graphic images. Be forewarned. The first time I watched the finale, I was gripped with suspense. The final battle scene exhilarated me, even as my heart shrieked in denial. A series of gorgeous final images of Francis Dolarhyde left me breathless. The music was beautiful, the embrace between Will and Hannibal somehow moved me, and then the plunge over the abyss… perfect!

I watched the entire episode again immediately, and then watched Ep. 12 and Ep. 13 together with Hubby, who was behind by a week, later that evening. Again on Saturday, live-tweeting. So obviously I was into it. Yet still I find it hard to write about. I suppose it’s because in my mind, the summer of The Dragon is really over, and I just don’t want it to be done yet!

grasp

According to the source material, when Francis ordered her to feel his neck, a thought of gouging at his eyes went through Reba’s head. When she reaches for his face, he stops her with a rapid grip on her jugular area.

The opening scene begins immediately where Episode 12 left off… Dolarhyde has abducted Reba, and revealed to her that He. Is. THE. DRAGON. In previous episodes, I have had little difficulty determining which persona- Francis or The Dragon- was in the driver’s seat at the moment. During this scene, I believe that the two have reformed into one, for the most part. Francis is in control, and he doesn’t intend to kill Reba, yet there is enough Dragon present to willingly subjugate and terrify her.

 

key

Reba is directed to locate a key around his neck, and remove it. The intimacy here, and the unspoken menace of the pressure he applies to her neck, had me very much on the edge of my seat.

I was very emotional during this scene, especially on the re-watch with Hubby, because we had just watched Episode 12 and I noticed a few things about the way Francis carries her through the house that I hadn’t picked up on last week. He almost slows down as he passes close to certain reference points, allowing her time to assimilate the ticking clock, the vase of fresh flowers. I loved that. Now he proceeds with his carefully laid plans, directing Reba to stand up and approach him. He isn’t rough with her, but he doesn’t spare her the implicit threat of violence, either. He speaks calmly and slowly, and every word he says is deliberate, intended to both scare her and reassure her, to build her foreboding and expectation of disaster, yet to keep her calm enough so that she is able to navigate herself out of her hellish predicament, all the time unaware that he has his own devious objectives. Her achievement, will be his achievement. She is to survive, but because her name is known to the FBI, she is to serve a very specific, premeditated purpose. In these early moments, he displays very little emotion, though his intensity is formidable. I loved how his voice would change from harsh to gentler tones, continually keeping her guessing without causing her to completely panic and lose her head. “Get up. Stand by the bed. Do you know where you are in the room? And you know where you are in the house? Then you know… where the front door is, don’t you.” He directs her to take a key from around his neck, and go down to the front door, and lock it. He indicates that he is testing whether he can trust her, and he lies, saying he’ll wait for her in the room.

Poor Reba. She does as he commands, but upon reaching the front door, she pauses for a moment, listens over her shoulder, then decides to make a break for it. Opening the door, she rushes through, and headlong into his arms, where he has circled around and waited for her on the outside.

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No matter the menace, I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly gorgeous he looks in this doorway scene. And the velvety low tone as he backs her through the door, saying only, “Oh, Reba.” Although she’s proven that she’s not to be trusted, he remains completely calm. Repeating his directive to lock the door, he tells her to put the key around his neck, and go back to the bedroom. “You know the way.” (OK, I know this is totally inappropriate, but in a different context, this whole scene could be very, very hot. Fanfic writers, are you paying attention?)

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Now the scare factor increases exponentially, as they return to the bedroom and he seats her on the bed, looming over her. “Sit down. And sit still. Or I can’t keep him off you.” A shotgun muzzle appears in front of her face, and he directs her to feel it, ensuring that she forms a picture and an expectation for exactly what is about to happen. He begins to allow her fear and despair to get to him, and emotion enters his voice, as if he is about to become tearful himself. “You know what it will do? Take your hand down.” Reba releases the weapon, and he withdraws it. “I wish I could have trusted you. I wanted to trust you. Y-you… felt so good!” He backs away, telling her it’s all over for him, and she hears and smells the sounds of him splashing lighter fluid around the room. “I can’t give you to him. You know what he will do? He will BITE you! Better you go with me.” Reba does now panic, as he lights a match and flames whoosh across the floor.  He looks on with distress, a tear running down his cheek, and as the flames go higher, he cries, “Oh, Reba. I can’t bear to watch you burn!”

Reba Released

Ew. A bit of brain splattered on her forehead.

The shotgun fires, she is splattered with gore, hears a body hit the floor, and screams. Wonderful acting on the part of Rutina Wesley. But he has prepared her with careful forethought for what she must do next, and she rises to the challenge, launches into action, finding the body, removing the key from his neck, and crawling through the house, past the flowers and the clock and back down to the door, making a safe escape.

Will visits Reba in her hospital room, where she tells her story, visibly heartbroken. He attempts to comfort her. “In the end, he couldn’t kill you, and he couldn’t watch you die.” She begins to cry, shaking her head, distraught. She feels as if something must be wrong with her for having fallen in love with, and drawn to her, a freak.  “You didn’t draw a freak. You drew a man, with a freak on his back.”

Failed Mic Drop

Will lets Hannibal know was played.

Will’s next stop is Hannibal, where he updates his old “friend” about The Dragon’s death. Hannibal asks, “Are congratulations in order?” Hannibal is sorry to hear that The Dragon evidently committed suicide, telling Will that he was rooting for him. “It’s a shame. You came all this way and you didn’t get to kill anybody. Only consolation is Dr. Chilton. Congratulations for the job you did on him. I admired it enormously. What a cunning boy you are.”  Will denies, annoyed, and Hannibal goads him further, asking him if there’s any point to going home, and implying that his life of normalcy will never be the same. Will becomes fed up with these mind games, and approaches the plexiglass, placing his hand on the glass, and leaning toward Hannibal, he tells him, “You turned yourself in, so I would always know where you were. But you would only do that… if I rejected you. Goodbye.”

FD Will

Surprise! Guess who faked his own death?

Back in his hotel room, Will is blindsided by… Francis Dolarhyde! Not dead! We have seen before that he is cagey, and now we see just how cagey he has been. Every moment with Reba was choreographed to stage a suicide that never occurred. And now he has the jump on Will. In his video message through the hapless Chilton, The Dragon had promised to snap Will’s spine, so upon regaining consciousness in the hotel room, Will’s first words to Dolarhyde are, “You didn’t break my back.” Dolarhyde cocks his head, staring at Graham. “Your face… is closed to me.” A short exchange ensues, in which Dolarhyde patiently allows Will enough of an opportunity to establish some level of rapport, which has always been Will’s strong suit in his ability to empathize with deranged thought patterns, and Will successfully directs Dolarhyde’s attention toward Hannibal Lecter. Will says, and we hear his voice echoed and overlaid with Hannibal’s voice, ” ‘I understand that blood and breath are only elements undergoing change to fuel your radiance’… Hannibal said those words… to me.”

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FD: I wanted to share with Lecter. And Lecter betrayed me.

Will: He betrayed me, too.

FD: I would like to… share.

Will: You shared… with Reba.

FD: I shared with Reba, a little… in a way that she could… survive.

Will: But you didn’t change her.

FD: I chose not to change her. I am… stronger than The Dragon now.

Will: Hannibal Lecter… is who you need to change.

FD, leaning forward, eyes sparking with intensity: I want to meet Lecter…. How would I manage that?

FD Will5

Ah, Francis. You impress me, and distress me.

I must point out that this was the point where it became really clear to me that there was no longer such a distinctive separation between “Francis” and “The Dragon”… While I’d noticed it before, as he interacted with Reba, he confirms it here. It’s Francis speaking, but he’s very much in tune with his Dragon. In some ways this pleased me; I was glad that Francis had enough of a foothold that he made a decision not to “change”/murder Reba, and I was almost proud of him for coming up with a plan that was good enough to fool the FBI.  And I can admit that the notion of a meeting between Graham, Lecter and Dolarhyde did give me an immediate thrill of equal parts delight and terror. On the other hand, my romantic side was disappointed that even when “Francis” has apparently won this internal battle, his love for Reba and her love in return was nowhere near strong enough to give him the desire to stop his quest, or to seek normalcy. He is as driven as ever to transform himself, and has chosen to continue this transformation by “changing” others. He was never capable of understanding that another powerful force might transform his life, and I admit, I always wanted that for him. Sigh. Alas, this is Hannibal. And the Hannibal finale, no less. Francis Dolarhyde must seek his glory in the goriest way possible.

Comedy Relief

These two always bring a smile to my face. Too bad they didn’t get to find any victims blindfolded with panty liners….

The next scene establishes how the FBI learns The Great Red Dragon is not dead, after all. And it’s not by any mention from Will concerning his discourse with Dolarhyde at his hotel! No, Will is to be seen in the background, listening along with Crawford as if this is all news to him. Further testing of the remains from Dolarhyde’s burned down home are related to Crawford and Will in a comedic routine that I very much enjoyed between forensics techs Price and Zeller. They eagerly detail their discovery of two pairs of dentures on the body that Reba had mistaken for Dolarhyde, a newly manufactured pair in the pocket, and “Grandma’s old yucky pair” was found in the mouth. Oh, and I admit I was sincerely delighted to hear Dolly had left those ugly things behind, and this fact no doubt made his final scenes far more visually appealing.

Let's Free Hannibal

Graham and Crawford discuss using Hannibal himself as bait. Who else thinks this might be a bad plan?

Later, Will plays out his deception with Crawford. His goal, evidently worked out with Dolarhyde in return for his release with spine intact, is to set up a way for Dolarhyde to meet with Hannibal. Will suggests to Crawford that the one “bait” that might be an even more tempting draw for The Dragon than Will himself, would be Hannibal.  He suggests that they take Hannibal into federal custody, and fake an escape, providing Dolarhyde his target. Crawford is skeptical. “Why in God’s name would anyone want to meet Hannibal Lecter?” But as it turns out, Will has an answer that turns out to be absolutely true. “Why, to kill him, Jack. The Dragon could absorb him that way, engulf him, become more than he is.” The more they talk about it, the more they begin to like this idea, and I believe they intend to let the killers battle it out, and then kill whoever is left standing. However, the viewer is not sure, from this point forward, where Will’s loyalties really are. After all, it seems reasonable that he could have told Crawford about his hotel room ambush, the bargain with Dolarhyde. As willing to play outside the rules as Crawford has always shown himself to be, I would imagine that Crawford could have been convinced. So why does Will keep Crawford out of the loop? His motivation, perhaps, can only be understood by Bedelia.

Bedelia Jittery

I never expected to see Bedelia so discombobulated.

When Will makes his final visit to Bedelia’s office and relays the plan, Bedelia is incredulous, and visibly nauseated at the very idea. As well she might be. She knows that she has long been on the menu. As she pours herself a strong drink, her usual composure is tested to the limits. Her hand jitters at her side.  “What you propose is…. so thoughtless!” She returns to her seat, warns Will that “Who holds the devil, let him hold him well! He will hardly be caught a second time.” Will now whispers that he does not intend Hannibal to be caught a second time. She stares at Will with dawning horror. “Can’t live with him, can’t live without him. Is that what this is?” Disgusted, Bedelia is unable to sit still and begins to pace the room again. Will’s words echo the desires of The Dragon, when he tells her, “This… is My Becoming.” This caused me to wonder just how much passed between Will and Dolarhyde in that motel room. How much of an understanding passed between them? Does Dolarhyde know he is being used to solve Will’s Hannibal problem, or does he care?

Alana Hannibal

“Your wife. Your child. They belong to me.”

After a visit with Chilton in his hyperbaric chamber, to remind herself what Hannibal is capable of, Alana eventually comes around to Hannibal to offer him the deal with the FBI. In return for his cooperation in Crawford’s plan, Hannibal’s privileges will be restored. Hannibal knows intuitively that this is not Crawford’s plan, but Will’s idea. “Yes, and that worked out so well for Frederick Chilton,” he says sarcastically.  “You trust Will with my well-being?” She pauses, then says, quite candidly, “As much as I trust you with his.” Hannibal returns her candor with candor. He muses that he might escape in earnest, and come to kill her. “You made a bargain for Will’s life. And then I spun you gold.” A reference to The Brothers Grimm, in this dark fairy tale.

I Need You Hannibal

So it was not goodbye, after all.

All that remains to gain Hannibal’s consent is for Will to ask him in person. Politely. With a “Please”. When Will arrives, Hannibal eggs him a bit about their previous parting, telling him he believed it was a parting worthy of a “mic drop” exit. Except, it turned out that The Dragon was not dead after all, and now Will must return, and pick up the mic. “To the devil his due.” Will complies, and runs the plan past Hannibal, who points out, “It sounds weak to you, even as you say it.” Will ignores these jabs, and steps closer. “You’re our best shot, Hannibal. Please.” Hannibal only smiles.

 

The best laid plans… well, what follows is certainly a clusterf**k for everyone involved in Hannibal’s “Federal Custody” adventure except for Will and Hannibal. Instead of a staged escape, Francis Dolarhyde ambushes the FBI transport van using a stolen police cruiser. Lights and sirens blaring, he pulls up along side the lead cruiser, efficiently shoots the driver, and maneuvers the transport van off of the road. While everyone is still dazed from the impact, he shoots every member of law enforcement, leaving only Graham and Lecter alive in the back of the van, then drives away. Now Lecter is a free man, and The Dragon will pay him a visit at a time and place of his own choosing.

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I loved the way they shot this scene. In Episodes 11 and 12, Dolarhyde impressed me despite myself with his confidence and deadly accuracy with firearms, presumably gained from his time in the military, and although it was a brutal scene, I couldn’t help but be impressed with his methods in this episode, as well. As Hannibal predicted when he made the comment about the FBI’s plans not working out so well for Chilton, Dolarhyde once again proves himself to be one step ahead, and a highly effective operative. Shades of Lucas North, or rather, John Bateman, I suppose. I loved how when Will is thrown forward and bashes his head, we see a flash of Dolarhyde’s face in the elevator in his vision, and then all is blurry. I’d recognise that tall, lean silhouette of Dolarhyde opening the back of the van anywhere.  Hannibal and then Will climb out of the van, and I loved Hannibal’s cheerful attitude as he divests himself of the straight jacket, enjoying the sun on his face and the wind ruffling his hair for the first time in years. Hannibal wastes no time commandeering the other police car, and pulling up to Will, he opens the passenger door, shoves out a body, and asks Will, “Going my way?”

Rapid Departure

Alana, Margot, and child make haste to get out of dodge.

We see a few shots of Jack Crawford, looking helplessly about at the chaotic wreckage of the FBI transport detail, now a crime scene. Jack’s troubled visage fades out as the whir of helicopter blades is shown, and we see that Alana and Margot have wasted no time, and are preparing to board a helicopter in front of the Verger estate with their little Verger child. And finally, we see footage of tall, scenic cliffs, waves crashing at their base, and Will and Hannibal standing side by side in front of Hannibal’s gorgeous, modern, remote getaway home atop the bluff, overlooking the ocean.

 

FDglass2

The Dragon materializes.

Later that evening, inside, Will stands looking out the plate-glass window toward the ocean at the moon. Hannibal is now sharply dressed, and busies himself opening a bottle of wine and pouring for the two of them. As usual, Hannibal understands more about what has brought them here than Will has given him credit for. “It wasn’t surprising that I heard from The Great Red Dragon. Was it surprising when you heard from him?” Hannibal asks if Will intends to watch The Dragon kill him, and Will now admits that “I intend to watch him change you.” Hannibal’s feathers are not overly ruffled even by this admission. Conveniently forgetting the time he gutted Will, and the other time he started to saw into his skull, Hannibal tells Will that his compassion for Will is inconvenient. “No greater love hath man, than to lay down his life for a friend.” Will sighs, and warns Hannibal that The Dragon is probably watching them as they speak. A split second after Hannibal responds that he is well aware of this, a bullet penetrates the plate-glass window behind Hannibal, the bottle of wine he is holding explodes, and as he crumples over, it becomes apparent that the bullet went through Hannibal before striking the wine bottle. As Hannibal falls in slow motion, the glass window shatters, and the figure of The Dragon walks in from the darkness.

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Oh, after such an entrance, I’d have liked to have seen it go differently. Dolarhyde has the weapon, Hannibal is down, and the ball is in Dolarhyde’s court. For whatever reason, he doesn’t incapacitate Will right off the bat, merely warns him not to run. Will is absolutely calm, giving no indication to either Hannibal or Dolarhyde that he will step in to help either of them. He appears to be an impartial observer. Hannibal, with his customary politeness, says “Hello, Francis” from his position on the floor. Dolarhyde stands over him, and replies, in the softer tones of Francis, “Hello, Dr. Lecter.” This moment brings back their first telephone conversation, and I was fascinated to see whether Hannibal would endeavor to manipulate Dolarhyde again. He does. Of course he does! Panting and holding his abdominal wound, Hannibal begins by complimenting Francis on choosing not to commit suicide. “You were seized by a fantasy world, with the brilliance and freshness and immediacy of childhood.” Francis stares down at him with that fantastic gleam in his eye, and Will merely sips his wine. Soon Dolarhyde kneels down and places his weapon on the ground. I immediately began to fret that this was a mistake! He doesn’t reply to Hannibal’s rather esoteric abstractions, merely sets up his camera, and says, “I’m gonna film your death, Dr. Lecter. As dying, you meld… with the strength of The Dragon.”

Hannibal continues to converse with Dolarhyde, but as the filming begins, he glances up at Will. Their eyes meet, but Will continues to placidly observe. Hannibal catches a subtle motion, the glint of a blade in Dolarhyde’s hand, and again he looks at Will, with more urgency. Whether Will is responding to Hannibal’s cue, or to his own perceptions, I was not sure, but he starts to reach for a weapon, a moment too late. With stunning violence, Dolarhyde is upon Will, simultaneously plunging his blade into Will’s cheek and lifting him off his feet. From a vantage outside the home, we see Dolarhyde once again throw Will like a rag doll out into the night.

[Warning: gallery below contains image of the battle between Will, Hannibal and Dolarhyde, and though I did not include the goriest sights, several images are upsetting.]

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What follows is a tremendous battle scene. First Will and Dolarhyde trade vicious stabs, and then just as Dolarhyde is about to deliver a fatal slash across Will’s neck, Hannibal leaps onto his back from behind. I won’t go into every gory detail, but for quite some time, The Dragon holds his own, throwing first Will, then Hannibal, great distances. At one point, Will is starting to become delirious from blood loss, and looks up to see The Dragon, wings gloriously unfurled, stalking after Hannibal, who has been thrown across the patio and is struggling to lift his head. Now it is Will’s turn to attack him from behind, and as the beautiful song “Love Crime” begins, it becomes apparent that Will and Hannibal will finally succumb to the battle euphoria, for lack of a better word, that killing together brings them. Although it was so very graphically violent, the choreography was fantastic, and as I learned during the live tweeting on Saturday night, the stage directions for the battle called for Dolarhyde to rampage around like a wounded beast, a bull or a bear, too powerful for either Will or Hannibal alone, but ultimately falling when their attacks converge in concert.

FD Death

The Dragon is fallen.

I especially loved the Dragon’s outspread wings when he finally went to his knees. Armitage was absolutely tragically beautiful, and magnificent in that moment. Coming as I did into the finale with such mixed feelings for the character, strong empathy tempered by resignation that he must be stopped, I found the moment of his death to be both moving, and somehow fitting. As he falls for the final time, we see images of flames, Dolarhyde’s face in the attic as he watches his painting and his scrapbook consumed by fire.

Just gorgeous, these shots. His face by firelight. His profile. His form outlined with fire wings, and then the shot of his blood spreading out in a radial pattern as he dies,  slowly pooling into the shape of his Dragon wings. The only thing I could have wished different in these final images as Dolarhyde breathes his last, was maybe a vision of Reba. But that’s just me. Ever the hopeless romantic. So, for my own enjoyment, I’ve added that vision of her to the “Goodbye, Dolarhyde” gallery below. =)

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Hannigram Embrace

The climax all Hannigram shippers have been waiting for.

The Great Red Dragon is slain, and all that is left is the final moments between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. Whatever Will’s motives have been, there can be no doubt that a consummation of the dark bond between these men has just occurred. Between the haunting music, the looks of awareness that passed between them as they converged on Dolarhyde, and all of the foreshadowing that has prepared us in recent scenes… “Is Hannibal… in love with me?” …. “Will! Was it good to see me?”… it seemed inevitable to me that Hannibal should now go to Will, who appears quite mortally wounded near the cliff’s edge, and gently help him to stand. Will remains, breathing raggedly, in his arms. “This is all I ever wanted for you, Will. For both of us.” Will lifts his head, with effort, and whispers, “It’s beautiful.” Will then collapses forward, his hand kneading Hannibal’s shoulder as he buries his face in his neck. Hannibal’s face is awash in ecstasy for one moment, and in the next, Graham uses his remaining strength to throw them together over the side of the cliff. Loved that! It was somehow romantic, and shattering, and a perfect climax to both end the series, and leave the smallest possibility of a continuance with the knowledge that the ocean roils below. I thought it was beautiful, and if I would call myself a Fannibal, it would have satisfied me, whatever the future may hold for the show. I hope this was the general consensus, though I’ve not read any reviews just yet.

OMG Bedelia

Ready or not, here he comes….

After the credits have rolled, there is one final moment for the fans… a teaser that hints of their fate. It’s Bedelia, looking at once beautiful and seductive and overwhelmed, seated alone at a beautifully set table. And upon the table, a long leg prepared with every gourmet flourish. Bedelia slowly removes a fork from her table setting, concealing it in her lap, and as the camera pans down, we see that her lap is disfigured with a stump.

As everyone who has read my reviews of the Red Dragon Arc, and prior to my reviews, my eager speculations and discussions of NBC’s Hannibal surely are aware, I’ve had a pretty thrilling ride. I may have had my issues with some aspects of the production, and disliked some major characters along the way, and I’m not a fan of gore or horror in general, but the overall aesthetics, the gorgeous cinematography, and even the character arcs drew me in despite myself, and by the end of Season 2, I was eager for Season 3, with Armitage’s eventual appearance the proverbial icing on the cake. I also read and enjoyed the Red Dragon book, and was drawn to the antagonist from the start. All this to say that I was pretty invested in both the Red Dragon arc and the NBC Series Finale. And it did not disappoint.

Doorway1

Damned if I won’t miss this beautiful, scarred face.

And most importantly, Richard Armitage did not disappoint. His Francis Dolarhyde was one of the most compelling characters I’ve ever watched, and his performance was stunning.

Everything I could have wished for, and then some.

I’ll be watching the final 6 episodes in one sitting at my earliest opportunity.

 

#Hannibal Episode 10: Affected Me Profoundly [Spoilers Abound!]

Pleasure

Confession time… the entire episode had me feeling just about like this. Painfully close to climax.

This week’s episode, as Perry has already pointed out, was so chock full of material that felt like a gift to the fans, that I hardly know where to start, or how to frame my “review”… if review is even an appropriate word for the gushing that I feel is about to proceed forth from my buzzing brain and my heightened sense of arousal and my almost overwhelming sense of pride in the accomplishments of my favorite actor.

Yes, this episode delivered all of that and more for me, and was so rewarding that immediately upon viewing it during my new 2 hour lunch break with the Do Not Disturb sign implied by my firmly closed office door Friday lunch hour, where I blocked off an extra hour so I’d have time to jot some initial impressions after watching, I discovered not the slightest available self-discipline and instead consumed it twice back-to-back and even then found myself at a loss to form coherent thoughts, so I fell back on musing about why it was I was suddenly inundated with desire to touch and trace the hitherto somewhat ignored scar on Francis Dolarhyde’s face.

Puppy Dog Eyes1

Yes, this is exactly how I’m starting to stare at Francis Dolarhyde…

Now I’ve watched the entire episode 5 times, enthralled and probably displaying the same level of intensity and big puppy-dog eyes as Francis Dolarhyde displayed as he stared at Reba in what is sure to become a classic Armitage scene, The Tiger Scene. It was Just That Good. Perhaps another measure of how good it was can be taken by the fact that Hubby, who is decidedly NOT an avid fan of Hannibal due to its disturbing content and general “sick as shit”tedness (his words), also watched it twice, despite himself.

The final moments of the previous episode lead directly into the first of many incredible sequences in episode 10. To review, in S03E09, this was the telephone conversation we heard just before the credits rolled:

Hannibal: Hello.

FD: Hello, Dr. Lecter. I wanted to tell you that I am… delighted… that you have taken an interest in me. I don’t believe you would tell them… who I am… even if you knew. The important thing… is what I am Becoming. And you… you alone… would understand this.

Hannibal: What are you Becoming?

FD: The Great. Red. DRAGON!

lucasFD

Francis does channel a bit of Lucas North…

In S03E10, the opening sequence is a gift to both the Fannibals and the Armitage fandom. How shall I count the ways? For anyone critical of the somewhat unrealistic nature of simply picking up the phone and getting through to the incarcerated celebrity psychopath, the creators gave us a plausible sequence of events that not only satisfies how it was done, but gives any Armitage fan a gorgeous flashback to characters past, channelling Lucas North in a way that was probably lost on the average Fannibal. However, for the purposes of this show, it illuminated for me just how crafty, competent, and deliberate Francis Dolarhyde is capable of being, adding a new dimension to the character that has only been touched upon previously. Yes, we know that his atrocities have so far confounded the FBI, indicating that they were carefully planned and executed… but much of the footage we’ve had up to now has shown him in the grips of his delusions, while this sequence shows him in coldly calculating, methodical mode, which heightens our respect for him as an adversary. He ruthlessly practices every syllable of the name of Byron Metcalf, Dr. Lecter’s lawyer, in the mirror. He changes his licence plates, drives to the lawyer’s building, breaks in and reroutes the exchange like a covert operative so as to hijack the caller ID for his purposes.

phone exhilaration

Hannibal’s assertion that what body he occupies is irrelevant clearly exhilarates Mr. D.

What follows was a feast for Fannibals and Armitage Admirers alike. After successfully connecting to Dr. Lecter himself, an extended version of the conversation ensues, and to be honest, I’m still not completely sure how to interpret the conversation between Francis Dolarhyde and Dr. Lecter. Was it in Francis’ head, Hannibal’s mind palace, or some supersensory amalgamation of the two? Whatever it was, it gifted everyone with a scene that could only be fantasized about, given the source material: a physical scene between Mads and Richard… and it was absolute performance perfection from both of them. Suddenly, the one-sided conversation from the previous episode becomes an exchange that seems to feed the egos of both killers:

Hannibal: Hello.

FD: Hello, Dr. Lecter. As an avid fan, I wanted to tell you that I am… delighted… that you have taken an interest in me. I don’t believe you would tell them… who I am… even if you knew.

Hannibal: What particular body you currently occupy is trivial.

FD: (gasps with relief and triumph): I knew!… that you alone… would understand this. The important thing… is what I am Becoming.

Hannibal: Tell me…. what are you Becoming?

FD: The Great. Red. DRAGON!……

I’ve admired you… for years. And I have a complete collection of your… press notices. Actually…. I think of them as… unfair… reviews.

Hannibal: As unfair as yours? They like to sling demeaning nicknames, don’t they?

FD: “Tooth Fairy.”

Hannibal: What could be more inappropriate?

FD: It would shame me… for you to see that… if I didn’t know that you… have suffered the same distortions in the press.

Hannibal: You’ve read Freddie Lounds’ latest?

FD: It’s not a good picture of you.

Hannibal: Your speech is bent and pruned by disabilities, real and imagined, but… your words are startling.

FD: I want… to be recognized by you.

Hannibal: As John the Baptist recognized the One who came after?

FD: I want… to sit before you, as the Dragon sat before 666 in Revelation. I have… things… I would love to show you. Some day… if circumstances permit… I would like to meet you… and watch you… MELD… with the strength of The Dragon.

Hannibal: See how magnificent you are. Did He Who Made The Lamb, make Thee?

tooth fairy

The expression of mortification when the words “Tooth Fairy” are spoken.

This exchange was brilliantly conceived, and fascinating. After the revelation of who he is Becoming, The Great Red Dragon suddenly sits across from Hannibal in Hannibal’s office, composed and sophisticated to a degree that seems to astonish the Francis still seated at the desk, who looks on in silence, and I felt he was experiencing a bit of a break in his psyche here, almost gaping as he finds himself watching his Red Dragon persona converse intelligently with Hannibal, who as always, seems to tailor his responses in such a way as to draw forth exactly what he most likes to explore… the killer’s ego. Armitage’s performance here was so beautifully nuanced… with my personal favorite moment being the Dragon’s reaction to mention of his press moniker, “Tooth Fairy”… It causes the Dragon to flinch, avert his gaze in shame, and visibly collect himself before responding to Hannibal. I loved the voice that Armitage used in this entire exchange, especially the sinister and gravelly tones he used on certain words… Dragon… Meld….

See, here is where I don’t know where to go next! I don’t really want to go scene by scene, but maybe a quick break from Richard’s incredible performance to touch on the other main player in this episode, Bedelia, as she has the first scene after the opening credits. Unlike last week, when I certainly did not welcome the return of Abigail Hobbs, this week saw the return of a character we haven’t seen for several episodes now… the lovely and mysterious Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, played by the exquisite Gillian Anderson. She’s been a source of confusion for me for a very long time… is she on the side of good, or is she just perhaps the smartest villain on the entire show? This episode illuminates her in a series of sequences… we learn that her well-designed method for covering her tracks to explain her time in Europe with Hannibal has profited her, and she is now giving lectures describing her journey into the belly of the beast, implying that she was abducted, drugged and induced to lose her very identity by Dr. Lecter, and now she uses this experience to explore the concepts of “self” and “identity” with her audiences.

Through a couple of conversations with Will and some flashback sequences, we finally learn that Bedelia is, indeed, a villain. In a rather illuminating exercise with Will in which she asks him to describe his reactions to the idea of an injured bird he happens upon in the grass, she reveals that her own initial impulse, when confronting such vulnerability, is to crush it. Perhaps this is a truth about herself that she has recognized from childhood, and has endeavored to suppress through the intellectual knowledge that to pursue it would undoubtedly result in eventual consequences. Yet, when Dr. Hannibal Lecter became her patient, and she recognized an essential likeness between them… two highly cerebral individuals, each with a streak of cruelty, though one has endeavored to suppress it, and one has turned it into a lifestyle and an art form… despite the inherent danger, she could not help but finally indulge herself by observing and making an in-depth study of Hannibal, who covertly and elegantly pursues his deviant urges. Clearly she has enjoyed her access to Hannibal, using their doctor-patient relationship to explore her own identity, without ever desiring to make any effort to assist him in overcoming his tendencies, and at times taking steps to protect Hannibal and shield him from potential consequences of his fascinating actions.

In this way, Bedelia is exactly like Hannibal, coolly facilitating the exploration of the dark impulses of each patient. Although I don’t think Bedelia is the predator that Hannibal is, she undoubtedly is capable of a crime of opportunity… when that fragile, vulnerable bird crashes to the floor in her office, evidently choking on his own tongue… she watches raptly, shocked but unable to stop observing his death throes, never making any move to call for an ambulance… and then she falls upon him and finishes him off in a moment of ecstasy that was chilling to watch. As we know from earlier episodes, Hannibal helped her to hide this crime, and their strange relationship has progressed from there. One thing is very clear, as Bedelia says… she has been “behind the veil” all along, with Hannibal, because she and Hannibal are essentially variations of the same psyche. Not a moment of time with Gillian Anderson as Bedelia was a wasted moment in this episode, even if she was competing with one such as Richard Armitage. And that is saying something.

Pet the tiger

Do you want to do it? (Please, please, please say you’ll touch it!)

Without further deviations, then, I’ll return to my impressions of the rest of this episode with emphasis on the performance of RA as Francis Dolarhyde. And, heavens, was it an episode. The long-anticipated Tiger Scene was next, and I was captivated. It met every expectation. I loved Richard’s handling of the combination of fumbling suitor and disturbing fixation in those early moments in the van, when Francis shyly asks Reba if she’s ever seen a tiger, and awkwardly explains his planned surprise… “Did you ever… see… a tiger? They’re working on its tooth… and they have to put him to sleep…. if you want, you can touch him.” This tugged on my heartstrings, to be sure… but then suddenly he is overcome with the intensity of his desire, his face suddenly reflecting an infatuated and eager anticipation, as he  waits to see if she would be interested in touching the tiger. Just before he adds, “Do you want to do it?” it’s absolutely clear that the idea of Reba touching the tiger is of utmost interest to him, and we realize that Francis is now exploring whether she might be interested in touching another beast… in touching him. And it is equally clear, from the small smile that crosses her face, that Reba intuits the underlying question.

radiant

She seems to “see” it exactly as he has described it.

In the next sequence, which required multiple re-watches to catch all the nuances of performance, Reba does indeed touch and explore the tiger. There was an interesting choice of cinematography here. When we first see the tiger, it looks decently realistic. There is a moment when the veterinarian interrupts Francis and Reba, and Francis clearly resents the other man for drawing Reba’s attention away from Francis and the tiger, and he turns away, brooding. (Brooding! We all know nobody gets his brood on quite like Armitage!) Then Reba, as if she senses his discontent with the intrusion into their intimacy, asks Francis, not the veterinarian, to describe the tiger for her. Here is where it gets interesting in terms of cinematography, because as Francis gives a description of the tiger, (“He’s… striking. Orange. Black Stripes. The orange… so bright… is almost bleeding into the air around him… it’s… radiant.”) and they begin to show nothing but Reba’s hand caressing the tiger’s coat, the coat changes from its formerly realistic appearance to an exaggerated, radiant orange hue that is indeed so bright that it bleeds into the air around them, almost as if they are showing what Reba “sees” in her mind as she strokes the tiger.

The Tiger's Mouth

Francis is overwhelmed as Reba’s hand approaches the tiger’s maw.

The idea that Francis is imagining himself as the beast under her fingertips becomes very clear as we see how he hones in on her, fixating with a slightly ominous intensity on every stroke; his breathing becomes agitated, he shivers, his immersion culminating as he gasps and covers his own mouth, overcome with a potent mixture of captivation and repulsion as he imagines her hand approaching his own mouth. Armitage absolutely could not have captured the essence of this scene any better… I loved it. It was the perfect mixture of romantic gestures, both on Francis’ part in having this idea to provide his date with something so unique and so intimate, and on Reba’s part in recognizing the undercurrents, and lovingly exploring then laying her head against the tiger to listen to its heartbeat. I believe she wants to show him that the tiger does, indeed, attract and draw her in. And yet the courtship continues to have an underlying sense of foreboding… one can’t help but realize that, however enthralled he appears to be, gazing at Reba with a look of innocent wonder on his face as the tears slide down her cheek, there does remain a risk. However beautiful he might be, all bets are off… should the tiger awaken.

Fear of Touch

He looks entirely sexy, appealing, and vulnerable in this moment.

Richard Armitage totally brings sexy back in the next scene, which takes place in Francis’ living room. Here is where I became aware of my attraction to the scar, but really the whole package is enticing. The snug, stylish shirt and jeans. The sharpness of his features, the muscular frame. Although we’re intimately acquainted with his beautiful body from previous episodes, here he is presented in a very alluring atmosphere, with intimate lighting and classical music, and its effect on me was an immediate quickening. Reba tells him that he has a “kind of hard, clean, neatness that they like” and I couldn’t help but think, Yes, Yes, Yes! at this description. But then as she approaches him, I was struck by the beautiful vulnerability, the muscles working in his amazing neck, as he waits for her approach. It’s clear that he’s torn between wanting to be touched, and completely fearing to be touched, and I became simultaneously choked up and turned on by this incongruity. He initially flinches, but submits to his first kiss, his breathing irregular with the force of his emotions, then I found myself completely aroused just by imagining what comes next, as she lays her cheek against his thigh and reaches across to stroke his other thigh. I found that moment incredibly hot, my heartbeat racing as I imagined initiating this incredibly attractive man to the pleasures of intimacy. He’s so overwhelmed with sensations and competing emotions that he drops his martini, the glass shattering on the floor, and soon after, the beast emerges and he grabs her up and clomps off with her in a way that at least to Hubby, who doesn’t have any familiarity with the storyline, feared was indicative that the monster had taken over.

Tender Moments

This moment affected me profoundly.

Thankfully, rather than whisking her clumsily away to do violence, instead they next make love in a very intense and artistically rendered love scene, in which I couldn’t help but admire the rhythms of his body and the contours of his muscles as he takes his pleasure over her. I especially loved the transformation of Reba in his vision of her as The Woman Cloaked In The Sun… stunning visuals. But what took my breath away the most was the incredible sweetness of the aftermath, as Reba sleeps next to him, and Francis gently explores her, listening now to her heartbeat, and taking her hand, using it to caress his head, and his disfigured, sensitive mouth.

Neck Snuggle

This is tenderness.

Then he lays his head on her shoulder, looking so much bigger than her, yet somehow so vulnerable. I definitely choked up here, and it’s a scene I can watch again and again for all the subtleties of performance by Richard Armitage, who despite being right there in bed with his lover, is alone in his discoveries of these new, tender impulses coursing through him. As for me, I believe this scene almost rivals the amazingly tender train station kiss, at least when measured by my own wish to insert myself into the scene in place of the actress. And speaking of the actress, I bet it has been fun for Rutina Wesley to see these scenes, as she had to act with that blank stare or with her eyes closed, so she probably hasn’t had the opportunity of seeing her co-star in action even in the scenes they performed together.

Protective Embrace

He knows The Dragon is onto them….

Gosh, this is getting long.  There are so many moments to comment upon- no wonder I was so overwhelmed after the first viewing. How can I review Episode 10 without commenting upon the very exciting pleasure of watching Richard Armitage Francis Dolarhyde run so athletically through the house, and charge up long staircases in his glorious boxer briefs? Whew! But in all seriousness, I did love the hunted look on his face as he finally finds Reba, holds her protectively as he listens to The Dragon rattling around “upstairs”, and breathlessly tells her he’ll take her home, all the while looking around with watchful wariness as if That Other One could be lurking anywhere, ready to destroy her. Loved it, and hope to see more of that as the separation between Francis, who is falling in love with Reba, and The Great Red Dragon, who demands that she be offered up in sacrifice to His Becoming, begin to wrestle with one another inside our character.

Devouring The Masterpiece

And may I just say that all previous thoughts of his alluring sexiness go right out the window when he wears Grandmother’s dentures?

Which brings me to the final scene… at the Brooklyn Museum, which I also just adored every moment of. From Dolarhyde’s entrance, dressed sharply in a long-coated suit and tie, where he alertly watches every aspect of his surroundings, taking note of the armed guard, using his own pen to sign the register, speaking brusquely with the curator. I couldn’t help but become almost giddy with amusement at the absurdity of his next behavior. The curator warns him that he’s not allowed to touch the painting, but, oops… he accidentally went and rubbed his face all over it then stuffed it in his mouth. I don’t know why that tickled my funny bone, but I was overcome with hilarity when he did that. I saw a live tweet Saturday night from one of the Fannibals that made me laugh out loud: “As a museum professional this may be the most horrific scene ever to appear on #Hannibal #SwallowedWhole Nightmares, @BryanFuller”… LOL. Of all the horrific material to be seen on this show, and the devouring of a priceless painting was the worst!

Manhandling Will

How much do I love this? Let me count the ways….

And of course, that wasn’t the only ridiculous moment… for who should arrive to interrupt Francis’ feast, but Will Graham, there to view the painting but just a moment too late. The painting is down the hatch, Will… you’ll have to make do with a reproduction! *Snickers* I loved the expression on both Will’s and Francis’ faces when they made eye contact and recognized one another in the elevator. Then… the coup de grace… though it seems there was quite a bit of indignation on Twitter amongst the Fannibals when their hero was bodily lifted and slammed into the wall of the elevator then tossed like a lightweight out the door… I loved it! I guess that confirms it… I’ve gone to the dark side because I was clapping and cheering inside to see Francis so easily dispatch his adversary.

All in all, this episode was hands-down my favorite episode to date. It simply had everything. I’d be hard-pressed to pick my favorite moment.