Mark Watches ‘Hannibal’: S03E12 – The Number of the Beast Is 666

In the twelfth and penultimate episode of the third season of Hannibal, I am almost glad that there’s only one episode left because I don’t think my spirit can handle anymore. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Hannibal.

Trigger Warning: For gore/body horror, fire/immolation, torture, and manipulation.

That was An Experience.

It was fascinating to see the show loop back around to its own canon, twisting the events so that Freddie Lounds’ fate was given to Chilton, despite that the show also once “killed off” Lounds, and now everything is a giant, fleshy mess, and my heart is still racing after that episode, and SOMEHOW THERE’S STILL ANOTHER ONE. There has to be, though, because the hubris of the team has come back to haunt them, immediately and viciously. Of course, Alana, Jack, and Will are not the recipients of Dolarhyde’s brand of revenge. It’s Chilton, who always sought out his own end, who always desired a front row seat to the circus, who got what he wanted in the most perverse way imaginable.

Jesus, I can barely think about that scene.


Build and destroy. That’s been Hannibal’s technique over and over again on this show, hasn’t it? He built up Abigail, only to destroy her once she served no purpose for him. He built up Alana and destroyed her, too. (Which he cruelly reminds her of in this episode.) The same for Jack, the same for Bedelia, and most assuredly the same for Will Graham. That process gets him off more than anything else. So, I found the therapy sessions throughout this episode to be a necessary chance for the writers to give us insight into this phenomenon.

No one escapes unscathed, either. Season three of Hannibal is no longer a procedural. It’s no longer a show where the killer walks upright and out in the open. It’s not a story of people unknowingly walking through Hell. No, as Bedelia puts it, they’re all aware of the Inferno, they all know they’re walking through it, and “The Number of the Beast Is 666” is evidence that they’ll all do whatever they can in order to escape it. All of these people are morally compromised, and Bedelia is a perfect example of that. She is somehow still practicing, despite that she was complicit in… how do you even quantify that anymore? She is not innocent. But neither is Will Graham, who calculated a way to keep himself safe for the moment while offering the Red Dragon their next victim.

Dr. Chilton

Who knew that the placement of one hand was enough? It seems such a tiny thing, and I certainly didn’t notice it when Will put his hand on Dr. Chilton’s shoulder. But in hindsight, the calculation is there. Will realizes he can offer someone else to the Red Dragon first. What kind of person does that make him? Again, the show calls back to the first episode. Are these people observing or participating? Has Hannibal manipulated everyone – and indeed, his entire world – so that they’re forced into these kind of situations? I think that’s important to ask, especially since this is also the first time the script brings up the issue of agency. Who has it anymore? If these characters are manipulated or strong-armed into these scenarios, are they just agents of Hannibal’s destructive chaos?

I don’t think the show has answered these questions quite yet, but it’s obvious that what Jack, Alana, and Will did in this episode directly resulted in Chilton’s capture and torment. God, is “torment” even a good enough word to describe what happens here? Seriously, WHAT HASN’T HAPPENED TO DR. CHILTON YET? The show even reminds us this in the final scenes of Chilton’s torture: we can see the scars from Dr. Gideon’s attack on his torso, just before Dolarhyde does THE WORST THING I EVER SAW IN THE WORLD. Sweet god, I thought “Tome-wan” was bad, but WHAT THE FUCK HANNIBAL. WHAT ARE YOU DOING, PLEASE STOP.

It’s such a long scene, y’all. It went on way longer than I expected, and I got to a point where Richard Armitage was completely unrecognizable. How was that him??? How does a person become someone else so completely?


In a tragic irony, Dolarhyde comes to realize how much he cares for Reba, so he opens himself up to her and reveals who he really is. BY KIDNAPPING HER AND TELLING HER HE’S THE RED DRAGON KILLER. Great. GREAT. But it’s such a thematic moment because within this same episode, Bedelia fosters a conversation about honesty and love, too. She postulates that Dr. Lecter loves Will Graham. (In his own perverted way, of course.) I was struck by how plainly this was stated in the script; the “murder husbands” line earlier felt more like a fandom joke, but this? You can’t just write it off as a joke.

So does Will Graham love Hannibal Lecter? JESUS, I DON’T KNOW. I COULDN’T EVEN THINK ABOUT THAT AFTER THE “LIPS” THING. Lord, how am I going to make it through this finale??? Maybe I should start praying again.

The video for “The Number of the Beast is 666” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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