The most notable thing about “…And the Woman Clothed in Sun,” this week’s installation of the now William Blake themed Hannibal, is the degree to which the show and its characters have become unmoored from time and space. Because the two main characters both have mind palaces and those mind palaces overlap with and incorporate flashbacks, it’s increasingly difficult to tell what happens when and where — and also increasingly irrelevant. The show is now using the new “Red Dragon” narrative to provide a through line while getting increasingly experimental in structure.
Will, Hannibal, and the miserable crew did less moving forward this week than filling in. We find out that the Abigail Hobbes murder was fake, that Alana Bloom is now part of the Verger family and kind of nuts, and the show provides a bit more characterization of Francis Dolarhyde, who might have a crush on a blind woman and would be lovable if it weren’t for the slaughtering families thing. Everyone involved has their acting pants on and it’s pure psychodrama to the near exclusion of traditional staging. This has become a show about conditions and flaws bouncing off of each other in some sort of platonic cave. It’s all shadows.
And the show’s best shadow is back. Freddy Lounds, a role so universal it can be played by the lumpen Philip Seymour Hoffman or the decidedly not Lara Jean Chorostecki, is an amazing narrative device: Whatever she touches turns to bullshit. She’s touching Will and that’s good news because she’s funny and cocky and he’s kind of a downer. There is actually a degree to which one can’t help but think of Sherlock and Lestrad while watching Lounds talk murder with Will. She likes puzzles and solutions and games and is generally having a really great time, while he is just trying to do a job. He wears his obligation like a barn coat — while also wearing a ton of barn coats.
But is Lounds Sherlock? Not exactly. She’s more of a composite of Watson and Holmes, less brilliant and more interested in writing. The fact that she lacks that Holmes-ain infallibility actually makes her more interesting because she’s not striving for truth so much as scandal. Her priorities are, in short, entirely different than the show’s. Hannibal wants to make you think and Freddy wants to entertain you with blood.
Long live Freddy (spoiler: that’s not gonna happen).