Synopsis for 3×12: The Red Dragon solidifies his becoming. Frederick Chilton gets burned by Will Graham. Everything is tipping out of control as we descend into the season finale.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Hello, episode before the finale. Will dove deeper into the dragon’s mind, and after the events of last week’s episode, saw himself killing Molly and putting mirrors in her eyes. After he stepped out of his vision, he had a nice little chat with Bedelia about being one of the wives of Hannibal. The story of Bluebeard was mentioned, and Bedelia pointed out that she wanted to be the last wife. The one that got away. With all this talk of wives, Will finally asked if Hannibal was in love with him. Get a clue, dude.

There was a nice little conversation between Jack and Hannibal regarding God, the devil, and the lamb. This seemed to solidify what the titles of the episodes had been pointing toward all along. The show had taken on a symbolic approach to the final confrontation between Will and Hannibal, to epic proportions worthy of the book of Revelation and other apocalyptic literature. Hannibal was the devil, and he was going to go head to head with Will who was the lamb (the Christ-figure).

In other news, poor Francis continued to struggle with his life and the dragon.

Will, Jack, and Alana had a little pow wow regarding the Red Dragon. Their scheme came straight out of the book: they wanted to bait him. What would be the best bait? Insulting him, of course. Insult the Red Dragon publicly in a journal and paint a tantalizing target on Will’s back. Unfortunately for them, there wasn’t necessarily an easy way to do it until Will came up with the solution. They’d post the story in Tattle Crime, and in order to do it, they’d need someone to legitimize it.

Poor Frederick Chilton got offered that job. We caught up with him berating Hannibal, who had just put out an article refuting everything in Chilton’s book. Chilton’s book had been the very thing to get Hannibal an insanity defense, therefore landing him in a hospital instead of on death row. Instead of accepting it, Hannibal refuted every single notion, and not only nixed his own insanity defense by embarrassed the heck out of Chilton. Angry, he stomped out of the room after giving Hannibal a picture of his future as an old man in an insane asylum.

He ran into Alana on the way out who posed to him their scheme. Of course he agreed. It would be in his favor and give him something more to write about in his newest book. For everything he said about the Dragon, Will spun a half truth and used vulgar language set to insult the Dragon and provoke him to action. They took a picture together, and Will’s touch (almost a bit like Judas’ kiss) turned the target over to Frederick. As he made his way out to his car with body guards in tow, his guards were killed and he was yanked out of the car.

In a scene that left me nearly in tears, and should earn Richard Armitage and Raul Esparza some serious cred, the Red Dragon revealed himself to Chilton. He was upset by the lies that had been told, even more so when he realized it was Will who had really said those terrible things. A very frightened Chilton insisted that as long as he didn’t see the Dragon’s face, he could be released. He’d say what he needed to say and then he’d leave. Right in the middle of their conversation, Reba arrived and the Red Dragon was momentarily distracted.

While Frederick could have called out to her for help, he didn’t. He remained silent, because Francis had threatened to kill her if he tried to utter a single word. She wanted to talk about the breakup, but Francis was able to assuage her and get her out of the house. His attentions turned back to Chilton and he forced him to listen to a powerpoint presentation about his becoming. Afterward, he turned Chilton around, and in a famous and well known scene originally involving Freddie Lounds, he prowled forward and attacked.

They kissed, in a very unconventional way, as Francis bit off Chilton’s lips. Gross. He then proceeded to set him on fire, glued to a wheelchair, and pushed him on his way. Chilton’s only saving grace (if you could really call it that) was the fact at the end of his path he was able to crash into a fountain and extinguish the flames.

The lips that had been bitten off were sent to Hannibal, and of course the dude ate one of them. After they bound him and had another talk about the Dragon, Hannibal turned their accusations back around on them. While they all blamed him for the harm that had come to Chilton, Hannibal reminded them that they were not innocent in it either. They had set him up, specifically Will had set him up, and it was probably clear to Will exactly what he’d done when they watched the tape of Chilton’s unfortunate event.

Will talked to Bedelia about it, and she told him essentially what Hannibal had told the rest. In a way, Will had participated. He’d put Chilton at risk the way Hannibal would have done it. He’d played a part, much like Bedelia had played a part in the first half of the season with Hannibal’s murders. Observation gave way to participation, and Will had definitely participated in this one. Hannibal has agency in the world, through Will.

Of course at the end, Will went to visit Chilton as the other man had asked for him. Chilton explicitly blamed Will for it. He set Chilton up, and they both knew it. To be fair, I’d be pretty salty too if someone bit off my face and set me on fire because some dude made me the target of a psychopath.

Finally, they began their search for Reba who had been taken by the Dragon.

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