The Proverbs of Hell 39/39: The Wrath of the Lamb
THE WRATH OF THE LAMB: Reframing the title scheme for the back half of the season away from “Blake paintings” and towards “lines from Revelation,” and not entirely honestly. The title drop in the proceeding episode forces single vision, such that it can only refer to Will’s vengeance against Hannibal, although it’s not as though it would have been long on ambiguity without that.
I complained on Twitter a while back that there are no good instances of the deceptive edit, in which information is withheld from the audience purely by selectively editing around it so as to obscure it. The general problem with this is that it depends on selectively and covertly breaking the basic narrative codes of the medium, which state that editing is for communicating information, not for casual lying without any hints to this effect. Hannibal likely comes closer than most to being able to get away with it by the simple virtue of its editing never really suggesting a directly communicated reality in the first place. But the real reason it just about gets away with having an unseen cadaver in the room for this entire scene is just that the deception is mercifully short-lived.
It’s also worth noting that fully six minutes of this episode are pulled forward from “The Number of the Beast is 666.” To my knowledge the full details of the production of “The Wrath of the Lamb” have not yet been shared, but it’s evident that it was a troubled production, a fact that particularly affects the final fight scene, and the amount that had to get moved into it to get it up to its length seems to speak to that.
REBA MCCLANE: I drew a freak.
WILL GRAHAM: You didn’t draw a freak. You drew a man with a freak on his back. Nothing wrong with you, don’t let yourself believe there is.
REBA MCCLANE: I know there’s nothing wrong with me. In making friends, I try to be wary of people who foster dependency and feed on it. I’ve been with a few. The blind attract them.
WILL GRAHAM: Not just the blind.
It’s probably not the show’s deftest handling of blindness to use it as a basis for equating Reba and Will, but equally, the moment of shared empathy is important, especially as it’s the one opportunity to interact with someone other than Dolarhyde that Reba gets. The more interesting line, however, is Will’s defense of Dolarhyde, which grants the reality of his split personality in a way that leaves Dolarhyde himself oddly blameless.
WILL GRAHAM: Molly and I want it to be the same.
HANNIBAL: When life becomes maddeningly polite, think about me. Think about me, Will, don’t worry about me.
There’s a cut to Hannibal’s line, which is scripted to begin “Mutual assurances you try to exchange in the dark and in the day will pass through some refraction, making them miss their mark.” One assumes it’s for pacing reasons so as to get to the punchline faster, and in turn set up Will’s retaliation, but its a pity, as it’s a good line.…