The 12th episode of Hannibal, titled “The Number of the Beast is 666”, was quite simply phenomenal and represented the exquisite quality of the series by upping the ante and deviating from canon in such a horrific and smart way. This episode’s shining, or flaming (is that too cruel to say?), star was Dr. Fredrick Chilton, who went out in a blaze of glory, quite literally. Chilton has suffered in each season of Hannibal; in the first, his guts were out on display for the FBI to see and in the second he was shot in the face. So, what unfortunate fate awaited Chilton this episode? Let’s see: the poor guy was stripped naked, superglued to a wheelchair, had his lips bitten off and oh, he was also set on fire! And he still seems to be alive and even had enough energy to blame his predicament on Will who used him as bait for The Tooth Fairy. Let’s rewind the sequence of events and look at some of this episode’s key moments and what led to Chilton being tortured by The Great Red Dragon himself.
Will desperately needs to lure Dolarhyde out and at first considers having Alana volunteer for the job, who says she would be “a fool” to accept a life-threatening task such as that; cue the entry of Chilton, who is eager to help Will basically for his own self-centered and self-beneficial reasons. Ms. Freddie Lounds also gracefully reappears to help with the task and I must say, the humorous interactions between Will, Chilton, Freddie and Jack were surprising and absolutely priceless, making these particular scenes one of the highlights of the episode. Will just barely suppresses his growing disdain for Freddie, who immensely enjoys pestering him even more so in reaction to his evident loathing. Chilton’s facial expressions to Will’s dramatized words were ones of pure gold and made for perfect reaction gifs. Unfortunately, the unexpected humor present doesn’t last long whatsoever and things take a darker turn.
This season introduces and expands upon quite a few biblical references and this episode, specifically, reaches its peak for these references by saying Will is Christ, Hannibal is the Devil and Jack is God. Dolarhyde’s role, in terms of biblical references, remains to be seen because as much as Dolarhyde wants to be the Devil, we all know who the true Devil of the series really is. Hannibal and Jack have a conversation in regards to Will being “the lamb of God” and the dialogue present is laced with ominous foreshadowing as Hannibal states, “Hide us from the wrath of the Lamb.” When Jack asks Hannibal to elaborate of who’s “us”, Hannibal replies with, “You, me and The Great Red Dragon.” This scene poses the question: exactly how will Will Graham exact his wrath and will he finally cross over to the dark side (for good this time)? Fannibals have already begun theorizing and a common observation is that since Will is dubbed “the lamb” and compared to Christ quite often that he’ll possibly be sacrificed or be doing the sacrifice. The sacrifice could be of himself or of another individual by his hands. My bet is on Dolarhyde biting the dust. It would be quite ironic if Will does indeed kill Dolarhyde because Hannibal views him as a version of Will that’s easier to shape.
Yet another big moment, other than Chilton’s torture, occurred in the episode and that is of Hannibal’s feelings for Will finally being confronted and recognized as something other than friendship. That’s right folks, the show has made the pairing canon and has confirmed Hannibal is indeed in love with Will. This is not a drill Hannigraham fans, I repeat: this is not a drill! While conversing and venting to Bedelia, Will out rightly asks if Hannibal is in love with him. To which Bedelia basically responds yes and comments, “could he daily feel a stab of hunger for you and find nourishment at the very sight of you…yes.” Will seems genuinely shocked by her answer and even more so when she questions if he aches for Hannibal in return. I’m honestly stunned that the show actually decided to have Hannibal’s feelings be bluntly stated instead of keeping them unsaid. Hannibal’s feelings for Will have been clear since the beginning as his fascination with the empath quickly morphed into a twisted obsession that more often than not comes across as “pure” love. Will’s feelings for Hannibal, on the other hand, aren’t quite so easy to define as the audience really doesn’t know what he’s thinking half of the time. I love the interactions between Bedelia and Will and I could honestly go on forever about the dialogue exchanged between the two and the meaning behind it.
One piece of such dialogue is when Bedelia confidently states that Hannibal is in “no position to eat her now.” I feel as though these words may have jinxed Bedelia and are signaling the end of her 9 lives. Nothing is said on the show without reason and this line uttered in a moment of sheer security could be foreshadowing Bedelia’s less than pleasant fate. Another interesting tidbit about Bedelia and Will’s conversation is when Will calls Bedelia “bluebeard’s wife” and Bedelia states “if I am to be Bluebeard’s wife, then I would have preferred to be the last.” Bluebeard is a French folktale that tells the horrifying tale of the wealthy Bluebeard, who has married numerous times yet not a soul knows what became of his wives. Bluebeard gives his current wife a key and tells her she’s allowed to go anywhere, but to the room that’s opened by the key. The wife, naturally, gives into her curiosity and discovers the mutilated corpses of all his wives. Despite this fact, she ends up living and Bluebeard is killed. Bedelia is essentially calling Will Bluebeard’s last wife and it’s this piece of dialogue that leads to Will confronting Hannibal’s love for him.
Alright, enough about Will and Bedelia: let’s go right to Dolarhyde, Chilton and Reba. The gruesome torture inflicted upon Chilton was actually meant to happen to Freddie; at least that’s how it played out in the book. The sequence of Dolarhyde holding Chilton hostage was intense and insane. The atmosphere became even tenser with the appearance of Reba who could feel the presence of another individual in the room. Chilton is often described as a selfish scum bag or even just a flat out asshole, but in this moment Chilton actually took someone else’s life into consideration. He had the option of speaking up and shouting for help because after all, he had no idea Reba was blind (initially). Instead, Chilton remains quiet despite being aware of the danger that faces him. Richard Armitage and Raul Esparza delivered truly magnificent performances and I simply could not tear my eyes away from the television screen (even when Chilton got his lips ripped off). That being said, as much as I enjoyed the performances and the intensity of the scene, I couldn’t help but wish it wasn’t Chilton who was dealt the shitty end of the stick because he is quite a fascinating character. Chilton does indeed survive (I swear, nothing can bring this man down; not even fire) and Reba is faced with Dolarhyde’s true self. Dolarhyde kidnaps Reba and I pray to the old gods and the new that Reba makes it through the finale. Oh and Hannibal eats Chilton’s lip; he straight up slurps it up likes he’s having a bowl of spaghetti. In that moment, Hannibal is truly delighted and the cards have been set up for next week’s finale which is bound to be bloody and heart-wrenching.
“The Number Of The Beast Is 666” is one of this season’s best episode’s and is a heart stopping watch from start to finish. I simply cannot wait for what’s to come!
What were your thoughts on episode 12 and what are your predictions for the finale? Let us know in the comments below!