‘Hannibal’ Season 3, Episode 8 ‘The Great Red Dragon’ Recap

Fannibals finally got to #BeholdTheRedDragon on Saturday’s Hannibal.

If we’re truly down to the final few episodes of Hannibal, at least we know the show will go out with a bang. Just one episode of the Red Dragon arc (taking place three years after Hannibal’s surrender) is enough to assure that Fannibals are in for something truly special. (No real surprise there.)

Fuller wastes no time introducing us to Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage) and the Great Red Dragon — within the first few minutes of the episode he’s discovered Blake’s painting, gotten the tattoo, and snagged a pair of dentures (all the better to bite with). Throughout the rest of the episode, we see him in his element — flexing and stretching in front of the mirror, examining his harelip with self-loathing, nude and bathed in blood and moonlight, and so on.

Meanwhile, Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) is spending a lot of time in his Memory Palace, hanging out there even when interacting with others. (Even if he didn’t have his Memory Palace to escape to, I imagine he’d be fine in his cell, which is nicer than my apartment.)

It seems Hannibal might be snagging special treatment by acting as Frederick Chilton’s (Raul Esparza) personal chef. They discuss the “Tooth Fairy” — the subject of Frederick’s next book — and all I can think is, Oh, Frederick, will you never learn? Hannibal might be under your lock and key but why must you continue taunting him?

At least Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), who has a fancy new job at the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane, still has a healthy respect for what Hannibal is capable of, and knows full well that someday he’ll keep his promise to kill her. Though it seems Frederick is playing a bit fast and loose with the cannibal, he issues to Alana a warning:

“I would be cautious. The young Turk may inspire the old Lithuanian to keep himself interesting.” (How about you take your own advice, Frederick? Hannibal will escape yet, and there’s no way he won’t eventually make a meal out of you.)

Though Hannibal might be feeling that competitive edge, he sees something else in Dolarhyde (who has a mutual interest in Hannibal): what he wanted but never had in Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).

So what has Will been up to for the past three years? Settling down. Finding his new life. As Hannibal predicts*, Jack visits Will to try to recruit him once again. He wants his protegé to help with the Tooth Fairy case and is willing to guilt Will — and his wife Molly — however he can. It works, of course — Molly knows Will well enough to know that she has to let him go, even if Will will be “different” when he gets back.

Examining the Leeds home, Will seems more affected than usual by what the Tooth Fairy has done. Is it because he’s been away from the game for so long? Because when he looks at the Leeds’ murder scene he sees his own perfect new life, threatened and vulnerable? Because he recognizes certain urges within the Tooth Fairy within himself and knows how painful they are? Probably all three.

Watching this scene, I, as I’m sure many Fannibals did, also found myself more affected than by past designs. It’s oddly painful to see overly empathetic Will Graham doing this again when he so clearly didn’t want to — especially having read the book and having an idea of where this story might go.

*Hannibal knows exactly what he was doing here. He doesn’t want Will to stay away from the Tooth Fairy, because if Will stays away from the Tooth Fairy he’ll have no reason to visit his old friend. Very sneaky, Dr. Lecter — you must be pleased to have gotten your way yet again.

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