Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter

Hannibal 3.12 Review, “The Number of the Beast is 666”

“Is this Art?”

There are many times I look back at the past three seasons of Hannibal and feel great pity for Will Graham. He bears an unwanted gift and a strong sense of morality that forces him to use it. Over the past several years he has been haunted by nightmares, betrayed by the man who provided a sense of family for him, and used by his supposed friends in their quest for justice. Now he has a family, a sense of purpose, but a man who enjoys playing God seeks to rip all that away from him. Though his family survived the attack prompted by Lecter, they will not be safe until the “Great Red Dragon” is dealt with permanently. Similar to how Will baited Hannibal with the burnt “corpse” of Freddie Lounds in a wheelchair, the “Great Red Dragon” is being baited with one of her articles. Insult the “Dragon” and surely he will come.

But not for Will. Instead he seeks out the coauthor of the article, Dr. Frederick Chilton.

Chilton has had quite a pitiable several years, but we tend to forget that when faced with his obnoxious personality. We usually focus on his desire to “collect” high profile killers, first by keeping them in his hospital and then writing books about them. When Hannibal publicly refutes all the lies in Chilton’s book, causing Chilton to go into a rage, you can smirk and feel that the he deserves it. But did he really? Several years ago he was framed for murdering and torturing several people, which resulted in him being shot in the face. It is easy to forget this because Chilton undergoes a strict beauty routine to hide this trauma. Makeup, contacts, and dentures reverse time so he looks as we remember him early in season one. Additionally his career had such a set of ups and downs it makes you wonder how hard he needed to fight for a decent reputation.

But then he was targeted by the “Great Red Dragon,” and all the work he had put into his appearance and everything he had worked for was burned away. After being emotionally tortured by his captor the “Dragon” but Chilton’s lips off, which were then neatly packaged and sent to Hannibal. (One of which was consumed immediately, and the other saved for Jack Crawford’s investigation.) Afterwards his body was put into a wheelchair, doused in gasoline, set on fire, and then rolled into the courtyard of the psychiatric hospital… And he survived. But a dab of liquid foundation is not going to be enough to fix this.

Will is distraught by this turn of events, because he was wholly expecting the “Dragon” to come after him… Or was he? In the photo attached to the bait article Will is seen with his hand on Chilton, “like a pet.” Similar to how Hannibal “suggested” that the “Dragon” attack Will’s family, Will had “suggested” Chilton to be the target. But there is no clear indication as to whether or not this was intentional. Chilton certainly thinks so, and so does Bedelia.

“Hannibal Lecter does have agency in the world,” Bedelia calmly states. “He has you.”

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