Hannibal: 311 “…And the Beast From the Sea” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
With only three episodes left before Hannibal departs from our television screens seemingly for good, it’s time for the pace to quicken in the show’s Red Dragon storyline. And boy did it this week.
Will, Alana and Jack continued their search for the “tooth fairy” as they discussed the events last week where Dolarhyde ate the painting The Great Red Dragon. Will then realised that Hannibal knows more than he’s letting on. Dolarhyde and Hannibal continued their over the phone therapy sessions. These sessions simply provide an easy way to convey what Dolarhyde is thinking to the audience, in the absence of Dolarhyde’s inner monologue from the book. Plus it provides a great opportunity for Richard Armitage and Mads Mikkleson to play off each other, two actors who otherwise would not have shared a scene together. Hannibal, using his manipulation, convinced Dolarhyde that he had to kill the family of Will Graham, kicking off this week’s action.
The first half of the episode was devoted to this event. The building sense of dread was incredible as the slow realisation that Dolarhyde was about to attack became clear. Dolarhyde calmly sitting down with Reba to watch his recordings of Will’s family and Molly and Walter discovering the dogs had been poisoned all helped build up that dread. This then lead to an incredibly tense scene as Dolarhyde attacked. I must admit, I was on the edge of my seat during this sequence. It was expertly done; Dolarhyde was incredibly threatening and actually quite frightening. Dolarhyde felt more like a monster than a man. Armitage did an amazing job here; especially Dolarhyde’s inhuman like screech.
In the aftermath, Will gets to share a few moments with his family which helped to flesh them out a bit more. It was sad to see Walter be almost resentful towards Will because of his past, hopefully it’s just a phase and Walter will come around (he was referring to Will as “Dad” earlier in the episode at least). Molly meanwhile seems aware that even if Dolarhyde tried to kill her, it was Hannibal who was really responsible. We also seemed to see that Molly blames herself for it and it might be implied that the marriage might even be in danger.
Alana meanwhile does some digging and realises that Hannibal’s long phone conversations with his lawyer, are not with his lawyer. So Alana and Jack make a deal with Hannibal, he will keep his luxuries inside his cell, if he helps them track the Red Dragon through the phone calls. Hannibal seemingly agrees. Meanwhile Dolarhyde, not wishing to lose her to the “red dragon”, breaks up with Reba in a touching scene. Dolarhyde’s despair drives him to contact Hannibal again and the two talk again, this time with Jack and Alana listening in. And of course, Hannibal warned Dolarhyde by saying “They’re listening”. Exactly what game Hannibal is playing is uncertain. It’s clear he’s pushing Will and Dolarhyde together, but for what reason? He most likely wants one of the two to eliminate the other. I’m willing to bet he hopes Will can kill Dolarhyde to prove that Will is just like Hannibal.
While there was very little action in the second half of this episode, it did allow some much needed time to reflect. It allowed the characters to breathe a little before we delve into the craziness yet to come. The ending scene of Hannibal and Will was particularly chilling however, as Will seemed to quickly get over his anger at Hannibal and began to calmly address him again, apparently drawn into Hannibal’s games again. What this bodes for the future of Will’s character is uncertain, but it’s not good.
I do have to give a shout out to the behind the scenes crew for the production design of this episode. Hannibal has always looked fantastic and this episode was no exception. The scene where Dolarhyde breaks up with Reba was perfectly lit. Notice how the scene took place in a darkroom thus Dolarhyde was lit with red? Red for red dragon? A clever touch.
Overall, this episode was a great entry in the Red Dragon arc, possibly one of the better ones. As Hannibal draws to its conclusion, the show remains dedicated to delivering an excellent job on all fronts. Acting, writing, directing, editing, music, production design, all of it is fantastic and this episode was a showcase of nearly all of those. As we enter the final two episodes, it’s great to see that Hannibal can continue to thrill.