The design has returned and with it Will’s new test against a distinct villain engulfed by the painted entity known as The Great Red Dragon. In the midst of the landmark capture of Hannibal, his legacy has been dissolved to make room for the up and coming killer of families. Now Will’s been reintroduced to old methods of mind games knowing full well his investigation will bring him once more in the sights of Hannibal the Cannibal.
This marks the third on screen interpretation of Thomas Harris’s 1981 piece that introduced us to Will and Hannibal. But this time there’s a unique focus on their relationship that was built for two seasons before Francis Dolarhyde came to be known as The Toothfairy. Familiar themes mark their return including Will’s process with looking into the killer’s mind, something he hasn’t done in quite some time. There’s simplicity at work now, because at this point The Red Dragon storyline will be following the script as opposed to taking the characters and making their own stories from them. The visuals and close-ups excel as usual, but the time jump and fast introduction to the killer’s origin make the 8th episode slightly rushed in execution. Will and Hannibal have to share screen time with The Toothfairy, and there’s only so many ways to make the bad guy interesting before we’re left wanting more conversation time between Will and Hannibal. Still, it’s an impressive new take on old literature and the two biggest selling points thus far are knowing Will is headed down a dark path again, and Hannibal is essentially attempting to keep him from stepping into it. Or maybe reverse psychology works best to those who can’t stay clear from evil.
Three years have past since Hannibal’s surrender at Will’s home. Hannibal plead to insanity and everyone who knew of their part in Hannibal’s capture and release remain quiet about it. Meanwhile, a man is seen growing into his role as a new killer dubbed The Toothfairy who has a painting of William Blake’s Red Dragon tattooed on his back as part of his transformation into the beast. He murders two families each on a full moon. Jack eventually goes to Will for help and finds him with a mother and son who he has become a part of. Though a letter from Hannibal urges him to not pursue the murderer, Molly, his wife convinces him to investigate. Meanwhile, Dr. Bloom and Dr. Chilton both converse with Hannibal with Chilton attempting to capitalize on Hannibal’s opinion of The Toothfairy. Will goes to New York and interprets the crime scene once more getting into the mindset of the killer. After a partial print and teeth imprints are recovered from the scene Will decides he has to see Hannibal sooner rather than later to get intel on the new killer. The episode ends with Will and Hannibal once more in the same room.
One of the main aspects that’s been redesigned to fit Hannibal’s more romantic solitude is his current cell. It’s not the harsh and dull atmosphere that we’ve recognized in the past but a rather suave and spotless room befitting the man who couldn’t be named appropriately for the kind of killing he did. It works for the character, but I wonder if the man would have been better suited in the same line up as more mundane psychopaths. He’s enriched and likely kept alone due to Chilton’s hold on him. This Chilton doesn’t antagonize Hannibal and even more so, he dines with him even sampling a dessert that he apparently let Hannibal create for him. That part sill has me perplexed considering such an act would never be permitted under the authority of any real security. Still, in a way it’s almost as if Chilton is allowing him more privileges due to the arrangement of his capture and other extenuating circumstances. Hannibal is after all a rare speciman.
Will’s venture into the mind of the Toothfairy was a welcome sight through a savage one filled with relentless slaughter and a pension for putting broken glass on human faces. In the grand scheme of serial killers in the past two seasons, this one honestly feels a bit tame in the style. I mean, compare this to the plethora of bodies stitched together in a lucid form of human shading based on a color scheme and then there’s this. Different times and to be fair, this storyline has to stick to a script so if watchers have never read the book version, it might be give some extra insight on the murders at hand. In any case, Will slipped right back into the role of profiler and it didn’t take him long to feel the urge. Right now it’s not very defined, but you can gather that his hesitation stems from becoming the darkness again.
The Red Dragon himself, Francis is more or less what we’d come to expect both from the original interpretation and the stylized version we now see on TV. Without uttering a single word we understand he’s of two minds, one methodical and thorough, and the other almost childlike in the qualities of his day to day activities. There’s a monster in the background of his psyche and he intends to become it one piece at a time. He’s strong and on his own and he keeps a scrap book of his killings as well as the man known as Hannibal. Here’s where things get interesting fast.
The script jumps everyone into assuming that The Toothfairy is essentially the only killer in America that’s worthy of the attention of Chilton, Hannibal and furthermore the F.B.I. The whole feeling this episode rushed into the book plot was because Hannibal knows about the Toothfairy already and has little morsels of knowledge presuming to know that Francis doesn’t like being called the Toothfairy. I don’t know why, but I would have liked to have seen the machination behind how Hannibal discovered this killer and some relevance to why he cares about this new creature at all. Hannibal’s greatest selling point at this juncture is his prominent omniscience about what The Toothfairy will become and what he believes everyone is thinking during all points. He’ll play on that in many ways which is fantastic, I just think there could have been some more room to ease into it rather than just skip through 3 years. It wasn’t hard to believe that Will would settle into a family of his own, but this method makes me feel that the family is a band-aid and the real problem he has wasn’t going to be solved by trying to live a normal life in the woods and snow. I have a lot of respect for Molly in that she’s the one who convinced him to go which means she probably knows next to everything Will went through, but we’re not completely sure on that.
Will’s descent into the murder flashback. The light cascading across the screen and his face was monumental and almost creates this eerie atmosphere of transformation, making Will once more the pinnacle of superhuman qualities. He ran through each murder step by step and drew just enough to know he needs help from old acquaintances. I doubt we’ll get many more of this type of scene because there will be only one killer to focus on for the rest of the season and there’s only one more family to discover how they were killed. It was a well shot scene and the bloodspatter background was a creepy moment of transcendence for the profiler as he slips back into the old coat.
The Toothfairy has a lot of pressure to become a character worthy of his namesake. What I think worked best for him is his silence in telling his tragic story. He won’t be eloquent or jovial as Hannibal, but there’s respect for the man and he’ll want to reach out to him. Francis so far is integrating into the show at a descent pace, though he seems slightly too charismatic considering I don’t recall any other version of him being depicted that way. He’s smart and it shows, but he’s also controlled and that shows even more. I think he’ll do just fine with the time remaining this season.
Seeing Dr. Bloom engage with Hannibal is interesting. She still has a part to play but we don’t know if she’s still seeing Margot or what the status of that relationship is currently at. I can’t imagine she and Will have a lot of things to talk about, but it’ll be nice to see them have a few scenes together.
Speaking of Bloom, she and Bedelia have this strange visual acceptance that one day they’ll both be killed by Hannibal, and presumably eaten. It’s probably the most peculiar yet exotic personality trait they’ve both exhibited. We’ll never know for sure because the fates of TV deemed Hannibal won’t reach a 4th season, but still, I wonder if that’s the intention or if people just randomly see it that way.
I liked the scene interaction between reality and the landscapes that Hannibal puts himself in, even during conversations with characters like Bloom and Chilton. It’s a fascinating style that helps show us that Hannibal is forever resolute in his mind, never at the mercy of anything except his own desires. I didn’t get a good look at the audience with the child choir singer which led me to believe it was an actual flashback as opposed to a point he created in his mind. He usually doesn’t fill it with people, so to me the scene remains ambiguous which is fine.
The one person who’s likely going to become more of a minor character from here on out is Jack. He has little to do except direct Will, guide him from time to time, and play the concerned friend when he begins to recognize Will’s descent. To be honest, he may not have any more growing to do except to be that mentor to Will he always was.
No sign of Chiyo after three years. Is she close by or did she return to Lithuania? Hopefully she hasn’t disappeared forever, though a reunion with Will would probably be in bad spirits considering she threw him off a train when last they spoke.
8 out of 10. Falling back into the old formula is good for this show. The one main difference is we get several episodes dedicated to a substantial villain while Hannibal becomes the visceral psychopath behind a glass cell wall. Will’s back in the driver’s seat and will need to play all the roles of profiler, father, and friend to Hannibal considering their relationship is deeper than they’ll ever admit to anyone else. Tonight’s episode spent a great deal letting us know who the killer is instead of typically only viewing the aftermath of their killings. We know more than Will does and Hannibal knows more than anyone. Pacing, visuals, music, and acting were solid all around. The humorous pair of Price and Zeller are the only characters I consider to be outdated, but they only shared two small scenes so it wasn’t at all too distracting. I’m looking forward to the last run of Will and Hannibal, so make them count. Thanks for reading.
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