Hannibal: “The Great Red Dragon” Review

hannibal season 3Well, we’ve scarcely had time to digest last week’s intense conclusion to the Verger saga, and now we’re off to the next (and final?) serving of Hannibal—the show’s take on what started it all: Red Dragon. We meet some new faces, and also see the returns of some old ones we haven’t seen in quite some time, namely Agents Price and Zeller of Team Science (sans one B. Katz *moment of silence*). Body horror and spoilers after the jump as always, kids.

Baby got back.

Baby got back.

The episode wastes no time in introducing us, via uncomfortably wordless montage, to the man who will steal our hearts and kill our families in the next few weeks—the one and only Great Red Dragon, a.k.a. the Tooth Fairy, Francis Dolarhyde (portrayed by Richard Armitage of The Hobbit film franchise fame). After the title credits, we continue in the Season of Sloppy Time-Jumps, at least this time treated to a “Three Years Later” card to give us an inkling of when we are. Alana now works with Chilton at The Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where they get to visit and reminisce with their favorite inmate/patient, Hannibal Lecter, whenever they want. Seriously, Alana, why would you work there? Why not move across the country or to another country altogether?

Someone else has made the good decision of distancing himself, metaphorically at least, from all the Chesapeake Ripper madness—in the three years since, Will has found himself a wife and stepson and no longer tries to put himself in the minds of psychopathic serial killers. I’d say that progress in the right direction. However, due to the recent killings attributed to “the Tooth Fairy”, Jack Crawford comes a-calling, trying to get Will Graham back into the fray. Apparently Will has a limited number of good decisions, and he ends up at the latest crime scene, and does his ol’ “This is my design” spiel. He’s baaack. Good for the FBI, not so good for Will. Thus does mean, however he’s reunited with his old co-workers, Agents Price and Zeller, with one more big reunion on the way: at the end of the episode, Will tells Jack that to get back into the mindset he needs to help on the case, he must see Hannibal again.

Hannibal was starting to do not horribly with the ladies, don't throw it all away now!

Hannibal was starting to do not horribly with the ladies, don’t throw it all away now!

If that synopsis seems short, that’s cuz, well, not a lot happened. This was definitely more just laying the groundwork for the second half of the season and catching up with folks after the time jump. Unfortunately, it’s all the stuff that we didn’t see that really interests me: most of all, where are Bedelia, Chiyoh, and Margot? Will we see any of them the rest of the season? I certainly hope so. I in particular was looking to see the development of Alana and Margot’s relationship, so I’m praying they haven’t forgotten Ms. Verger entirely. Let’s hope their relationship isn’t like Alana’s cane, just something she’s apparently gotten over in the past three years. As for Bedelia and Chiyoh, these women are two of the people who have walked the closest with the Beast—there is so much more that could be explored with them.

I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up something else that really bothered me while watching the episode: why are they doing this to Will? He clearly has been trying to do his best to take care of himself and move on by starting a new life, and Jack is bringing him back into the world he worked so hard to escape from, a world he barely managed to survive. They are absolutely not respecting Will’s mental health and the steps he has taken to heal and protect it, and that infuriates me. Will is not some prophesied “Chosen One”—he is not the only profiler that works/has worked for the FBI; surely someone else could handle this case. Isn’t Jack Crawford himself head of the Behavioral Sciences Division? Surely he can’t have gotten to that point if he was a terrible profiler. Frankly, the Tooth Fairy seems fairly run-of-the-mill and mundane compared to many of the serial killers seen on the show so far, why bring Will back into all this just for this one guy?

"...Woman Clothed in Sun" or "...Woman Clothed with the Sun"?? I swear they purposely made that vague on this cover. Clear up the confusion here.

“…Woman Clothed in Sun” or “…Woman Clothed with the Sun”?? I know they purposely made that vague on this cover. Clear up the confusion here.

Speaking of the Tooth Fairy, I am definitely looking forward to Richard Armitage bringing Francis Dolarhyde to life. The opening sequence was more or less the visual equivalent of an info dump, but the show has five more episodes to really delve into the character. Despite the fact that his appearances in this episode were more a spooky teaser than anything else, it was evident that he is bringing a highly nuanced physicality to the role that will fit in great with the visuals of this show. Never have I ever seen someone make exercising look so… creepy. Here’s to seeing the Great Red Dragon come to life in the next few weeks! Stay scared, Fannibals!

Episode Tally:
Boy sopranos: one
Familiar forensic scientists: two
Shirtless Richard Armitage scenes: two
Intelligible words uttered by Richard Armitage: zero

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