Television Review: HANNIBAL, Season 3, Episode 8 “The Great Red Dragon” written by Robert Reineke July 28, 2015 “Hello Doctor Lecter.” “Hello Will.” Every episode of HANNIBAL starts with the note that the show is based on characters from Red Dragon, so after two and a half seasons of buildup, it feels totally rewarding to dive into that book for the last hurrah for the series on NBC. Judging from the first episode of the arc, it’s going to cap off the series in grand style. The first episode really feels like the kickoff to an entirely new season. There’s a time jump as the series jumps ahead three years and even though it’s only been a week, it feels like a big change has occurred. And we’re introduced to Francis Dolarhyde / the Tooth Fairy / the Red Dragon and we catch up with Hannibal Lecter in a familiar surroundings and slowly catch up with the rest of the cast as the Dolarhyde transforms himself into the Red Dragon. Neil Marshall direct this episode and he does it with great style making sure that every scene with Dolarhyde is unsettling in some way. After THE DESCENT, you’d like to see some studio just hand him a blank check to make horror features, but if studios aren’t going to take advantage of his availability, I’m glad Bryan Fuller is. Dolarhyde doesn’t utter an intelligible word in this episode. He doesn’t have to as the combination of Neil Marshall’s direction and Richard Armitage’s performance make him both a scary nemesis for Will Graham but also someone that you can see is conscious of his cleft palate and who has been left utterly alone. He’s not an innocent, but he’s also a human being who has been dealt a bad hand. In other words, he’s what Thomas Harris described in Red Dragon and I expect as we get to know him better we’ll be split between wanting to see him brought to justice and some level of sympathy, but not forgiveness, for him as a human being. As for Hannibal, we get to see him imprisoned in familiar surroundings and interviewed by a familiar female character. In this case, it’s not Clarice Starling, but Alanna Bloom, dressed in striking red to represent her changed character. The two spar with each other, but it’s clear that Alanna doesn’t believe that she’s in any way safe. In contrast, Chilton is so oblivious that he’s playing with fire that it’s beyond amusing. The movies never really had the opportunity to really get to know Chilton, so it’s obvious that everyone involved is having a blast. There’s really no doubt that Chilton will eventually meet his just desserts at the hands of Hannibal, and we’re not unsympathetic to Hannibal as far as having to deal with a fraud who thinks he knows a lot more than he actually does. Finally, we get around to Will who looks like he’s finally at peace with a wife, an adopted son, a nice home in the woods, and a ton of strays. Will has been through hell in this series and seeing him get rewarded with a family is something welcome and earned as his humanity has reasserted itself. The tragedy, of course, is that it can’t last. Will has to come out of retirement to help, especially as it’s families like his that are being killed. Hannibal warns Will away, but he knows that Will will do the opposite. Will has to. Which, of course, leads Will to the scene of the crime and the welcome return of the pendulum from season 1. Neil Marshall does a great job of bringing the crime to life and of the final image of Will at the crime scene becoming the Red Dragon without realizing it. And, that all leads to Will and Hannibal coming face to face again. Inevitably, there’s no escaping Hannibal’s machinations. We’ll have to see how closely they track with Red Dragon, I think Bryan Fuller and company have a trick or two up their sleeve, but it’s hard to see this ending well for Will. In many ways, this is the kind of episode that would have played better with the broader audience. That they withheld this, probably didn’t help their ratings any, although the digressions were certainly welcomed by me. This is the reward for everyone’s patience though as it’s been meticulously set up since episode 1 and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. Review: HANNIBAL, Season 3, Episode 8 “The Great Red Dragon” was last modified: February 21st, 2016 by Robert Reineke Related HannibalRed Dragon 1 comment 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Robert Reineke previous post BATMAN V SUPERMAN – Three New Images Released next post Making Mine Marvel ANT-MAN Q&A You may also like Weekly Ratings Roundup: March 29th to April... April 2, 2015 Weekly Ratings Roundup: April 2 to 15,... April 16, 2017 Weekly Ratings Roundup: April 30 to May... May 14, 2017 Weekly Ratings Roundup: February 1 to February... February 10, 2015 More THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR Promos... 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In any event, it’s a good episode, although Hannibal’s cell is a bit posh, despite being behind glass. I assume his meals are as imagined as his proximity with his visitors are, but there’s a lot of Art Deco in that cell. I already have pity for Armitage’s Dolarhyde. And I think this performance is on par with the freakishly towering Noonan. I generally don’t count Ratners version. But Armitage is going in a even more physiologically as well as mentally disturbed direction, as if this could be the product of a brain tumor or severe chemical imbalance. I’m sure this weeks episode has the recreation of the famous first confrontation with Hannibal, but I can’t help but think it won’t be as tense since in this version Will didn’t “catch” Hannibal. Will: I’d like to see if you’re smarter than the man we’re looking for. Hannibal: Then by implication you think you’re smarter than me since you caught me. Will: No. I know I’m not smarter than you. HL: Then how did you catch me, Will? Will: You had disadvantages. HL: What disadvantages? Will: You’re insane.