You know there’s something gloriously artistic going on in Bryan Fuller’s brain when this week’s two best Hannibal scenes had no dialogue. Not that he isn’t a brilliant writer — that we already know — but that his mind can so beautifully and powerfully communicate entire sections of Thomas Harris’ books with no words is a feat beyond compare.
1. Richard Armitage’s Francis Dolarhyde Becomes the Great Red Dragon.
The episode’s opening minutes were a master class in sound and visuals. Dolarhyde’s transformation, perfectly set against the beat of thumping drums heralding the Dragon’s becoming, set a new standard for television. Armitage — with body and mind only — communicated Dolarhyde’s tortured psyche, and his need to evolve. Where Mikkelsen and Dancy play Fuller’s words in concert, like the finest instruments, Armitage is the instrument.
“He knew who spoke and he was frightened. From the beginning, he and the Dragon had been one. He was Becoming and the Dragon was his higher self. Their bodies, voices, wills were one.”
—Red Dragon, Thomas Harris
3 Years Later…
2. Chilton Visits Hannibal’s Cell; Is Still No Competition for Hannibal.
Hannibal serves Frederick his second round of sanguinaccio dolce (blood and chocolate — an amusing shoutout to Hugh Dancy, not only because Armitage’s changing reminded of 80 werewolves films*), while Chilton tries to keep up with the mind games.” Poor Frederick is writing a book about the Tooth Fairy (aka Dolarhyde), while Hannibal has already discredited the not so good doctor in the American Journal of Psychiatry. “Colons lose their novelty when they’re overused.” Still it’s fun to watch the people pieces (Frederick, Alana) fall at Hannibal’s feet (even when he’s promised to kill them).
3. Hannibal and Dolarhyde Keep Tabs on Each Other.
Dolarhyde scrapbooks Hannibal’s newspaper mentions, and Hannibal is similarly fascinated with the Tooth Fairy.
4. Will Steps Back Into the Mind of a Killer.
Against Hannibal’s advice, Will heads to the scene of the Leeds’ murders. In what’s arguably (I can’t decide between this and the opener!) the hour’s best scene, we’re reminded how powerful these backwards unfoldings can be. Stepping into the Dragon’s…
shoes mind, Will shows us that the family was killed, then posed — so the Dragon could see his powerful self — then put back where he killed them. This was another phenomenal performance by Dancy, who sometimes takes a back seat to Mikkelsen — but, not this time.
5. The Return of “Agent(s) Special, Price and Zeller.
The boys are back in town! And doing a fine job of collecting and analyzing the Dragon-evidence.
6. Will Goes to Hannibal.
Sure, Fuller’s playing the drag-it-out game with
our their affections, but even just the peek in that final moment — the perfect play on reflections — was delicious enough that we’ll be drooling until next week’s “And the Woman Clothed with Sun…” airs.
*And indeed, this morning I discovered Dolarhyde’s transformation was inspired by An American Werewolf in London!
Can I get whatever anti-aging serum Mads is using, because a simple trip to the BHCI barber has effectively left Hannibal a young lad again.
Fishburne’s greybeard is scrumptious.
I love how Will is always thinking of the dogs. (His wife Molly is played by Nina Arianda; stepson Walter, byGabriel Browning Rodriguez.)
“TGRD” was directed by Neil Marshall, and featured stunning cinematography by James Hawkinson, and a glorious musical backdrop by the consistently great Brian Reitzell.