Just to remind readers, this review is scheduled alongside the Thursday night broadcast in Canada. This episode airs tonight in the U.S, and Wednesday in the UK, so proceed at your own risk of spoilers...
I love how season 3's developing the Red Dragon arc with utmost respect to the source material (it's so great hearing the book's memorable lines quoted by this cast), and the writers have found a way to keep things fresh by virtue of the added complexities they've brought to proceedings, thanks to their more elaborate background for Hannibal Lecter.
"And the Woman Clothes With the Sun..." was all about human bonding, which can have a positive or negative effect on those pairing. There were some unexpected and excellent flashbacks to scenes with Lecter tutoring Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl), which plugged a few gaps in their storyline (primarily how they faked her death), while stirring the idea that Lecter once desired the "perfect family" and may find Dolarhyde's destruction of them a little unsavoury, too. Or perhaps not, because his mind's so twisted it's difficult to fathom.
The other half of the episode focused on Dolarhyde and introduced a significant person into his tortured, lonely life: Reba McClane (Rutina Wesley), a blind co-worker who develops photographs. Dolarhyde feels moderately comfortable around Reba because she can't see the (relatively minor) disfigurement to his mouth (which he still hides with his hand through force of habit), and speaks to him with a compassion he's clearly unaccustomed to. Hannibal has crafted a lot of crazy killers over its three years, but Dolarhyde's the only one who feels nuanced and believable to me—although Abel Gideon was also rather good, admittedly. Not that I'd say the show has done a poor job writing its villains, just that they've mainly existed as freakish sideshows to the Lecter/Graham dynamic it's tough to rationalise. It's refreshing to now have a character you actually feel sympathy for, and just want to find peace by giving himself up and getting therapy before it's too late. The chances of that, now he has a direct line to Lecter's cell, posing as his attorney? Zero. I'm sure Lecter's going to screw with the poor man's mind even further, to help him achieve his transformation into The Great Red Dragon.
- Great to see Freddie Lounds (Lara Chorostecki) of Tattle Crime back on the show this season, which was to be expected because her character has a significant role in the novel. I'm interested to see what happens to her on TV, however, as the writers already visualised Freddie's fate from the books as a winking in-joke during season 2.
- Loved the scene where Alana exercised her power over Lecter, by threatening to remove his cell's books, drawings, and toilet. She's dead on the money about the way to control Hannibal: threaten to remove his dignity.
- Speaking of Alana, interesting to note she's still with Margot Verger three years later, and they have a son, the "Verger heir" that she carried to term. I wonder if we'll ever see Margot again. It would seem likely, as they're a family unit I'm guessing Lecter will be helping Dolarhyde ruin.
- I wasn't a fan of Rutina Wesley during her six years on HBO's True Blood, but that was down to her character Tara being a gigantic pain in the neck and she was a victim of weak writing. Wesley was a lot better here as sweet Reba, and I look forward to seeing her ill-fated romance with "Mr D" continue into heartbreaking tragedy.