Hannibal, Season 3 Episode 9: And the Woman Clothed with the Sun...

"Family values have declined over the last half century but we still help our families when we can. You are family, Will."

Whether Will Graham wants it or not, Hannibal has become his twisted brother. In the early meetings between the two men, they discuss the murders committed by the Red Dragon and even though they remain civil, they relate to one another like brothers who purposefully haven't spoken in years. No one knows them better than the other and it almost feels like a waste that the two remain so reserved with one another now. Though Will is certainly the more guilty of the two. It's ironic that Will, consistently portrayed as a singular man through the entire show is now reaching out to Hannibal when he actually has a family of his own. There are plenty of narrative, expository reasons why Will visits Hannibal but ultimately it is because he needs him. Will has built a family member out of Hannibal and he seeks him even now that he has a real alternative. Hannibal takes Will's appearance with joyful malice, making it clear that he knows of Will's new life and that he certainly does not approve. On the contrary. Hannibal mocks Will's new life and even compares him to the Red Dragon. "Like you Will, he needs a family to escape what's inside him."

The family motif of the episode is compounded with the reappearance of Abigail Hobbes. She arrives after the mention that, in a way, Will has already had a child and it doesn't take much to remember how true this is. The entire first season of the show is motivated by Will's guilt over killing Abigail's father even though he was a psychopath. But here we see another angle of Abigail's upbringing. Hannibal as father. Strange flashbacks which ride a thin line between real and imaginary tell a story of the kind of twisted love that Lecter showed Abigail in private moments. He cleans and dresses her wounds. He teaches her the tricks of his trade (blood splatter, of course) and eventually he murders her and Abigail dies yet again. Hannibal reminds Will that families all have their own versions of love. To an outsider things might appear bizarre or cruel but to those inside the circle they are the purest acts of affection they may ever know. 

Enter Francis Dolarhyde. The Red Dragon grew from a boy raised by an incredibly cruel grandmother. Even though he despises her and the way he was raised, he still fears her and holds many of her values close to his heart. His method of killing has him place mirrors in his victim's eyes. He wants these families to see him and embrace him. He wants to belong somewhere. So much so in fact that he reaches out to a coworker, Reba McClane, a blind woman. He takes comfort in the fact that she cannot see his face as he is disgusted by his appearance. The irony is not lost on us that two people who are visually impaired in their own ways both work at a film processing plant where images are developed and human faces are everywhere. 

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