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TV Review: Hannibal 3.8 “The Great Red Dragon”
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Season 3 Episode 8 “The Great Red Dragon”
Directed by Neil Marshall
Written by Steve Lightfoot, Nick Antosca
Created by Bryan Fuller
Starring Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Gillian Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Scott Thompson, Aaron Abrams, Nina Arianda and Richard Armitage
Air date: Saturday, July 25th, 2015, 10pm

Hannibal has been so steeped in building out its epic mythology that it’s sometimes hard for me to remember that the show began as a twisted take on the typical crime procedural, enhanced by Bryan Fuller and company’s impressive dialogue and the show’s inventive visuals. However, with the hunt for Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) now complete, the show can return to its roots – which proves surprisingly effective as we begin to dig into the mystery of the Tooth Fairy.

Brought to life through an already mesmerizing performance by Richard Armitage, Francis Dolarhyde makes his grand entrance into the stage created by Fuller and company. Armitage’s physicality is such that he can express volumes without having to say a single line and this week’s script gives him plenty of material for him to dig his teeth into, but already the former Hobbit actor has proved himself a worthy addition to the Hannibal universe and a threat that’s a worthy successor to Hannibal’s abdicated throne.

While returning to the start of the show’s roots makes “The Great Red Dragon” feel a bit familiar, there’s been enough time away from that structure to make the old new again, especially as familiar dances are repeated, albeit with slightly new steps: Jack (Laurence Fishburne) still needs Will’s (Hugh Dancy) expertise to hunt down an evil. Will’s desire to do good can’t keep him away from trying to make a difference, especially when his empathy for the murdered families can now extend to a personal level; Having a wife (Nina Arianda) and child will do that.

And while we only get a few glimpses of Hannibal’s life behind bars, he seems to be doing surprisingly well, all things considered. His memory palace allows him the fortitude to stay sharp (his insight into the nickname ‘The Tooth Fairy’ is particularly interesting), which is something that will come in handy when we see his conversation with Will next week. More so than this, I’m curious as to what game Hannibal is playing at – we all know he’s at his most dangerous when others don’t think he has the upper hand. Placing Hannibal in a cage only gives him more time to plot and to scheme, let alone the fact he willingly put himself there.

There’s already larger sense of dread in “The Great Red Dragon,” as if already our characters are rapidly throwing themselves into an early grave. And for once, it appears that Hannibal’s role will be to observe, while the others so willingly participate.

Quick Thoughts:

Game of Thrones fans might recognize episode director Neil Marshall’s name, as he directed the fantastic “Blackwater” back in Season 2 of that show.

– I’ve not read any of Thomas Harris’ books, but I understand we’re really getting into beloved territory with the introduction of Dolarhyde. I’ll be sure to see how Fuller approaches him and if that ruffles any feathers. Or wings in this case.

– Can I just say how excited I am for the return of Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams? I am very excited for the return of Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams.

– Also a welcome return are Will’s design sequences, as brutal and gruesome as they are.

What did you think of “The Great Red Dragon?” Sound off in our comments.


Hannibal – Next: Behold the Red Dragon (Promo)

Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) has been under lock and key for three years at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, when a new villain arises in Francis Dolarhyde (guest star Richard Armitage), also known as ‘The Tooth Fairy.’ As the investigation unfolds Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) approaches Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) to help catch this vicious serial killer who is targeting families. Caroline Dhavernas, Aaron Abrams and Scott Thompson also star.

1 Comment »

  1. Nicely summarised. Will be interesting to see Hannibal working with the FBI to track down Dollarhyde…

    Comment by RJ Bland — July 30, 2015 @ 6:48 am

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