Just to remind readers, this review is scheduled alongside the Thursday night broadcast in Canada. This episode airs tonight in the U.S and Wednesday in the UK, so proceed at your own risk of spoilers...
The closing half of season 3 picks up three years after the events of "Digestivo", with a different story familiar to readers of Thomas Harris' Red Dragon novel—later made into a cult 1986 movie renamed Manhunter, then again 16-years later with Anthony Hopkins reprising Dr Lecter to complete his screen trilogy of diminishing returns. Chances are a lot of the show's audience will be familiar with the Red Dragon plot—either years before this series was conceived, or as research while it was off-air. And unlike adapting the novel Hannibal, it's unclear what deviations Bryan Fuller and his writers will be making over the course of these final six hours, because Harris's source material is great and doesn't require much tweaking.
This hour was very much setup, and as such there was a overriding feeling of starting afresh. For all intents and purposes, this is the fourth season we're possibly going to be denied now NBC have pulled out. But I'm glad we're back on U.S soil, with Will enjoying an active role that makes more sense—with a sequence of him mentally untangling one of the Tooth Fairy's home murders brought us right back to classic Hannibal from the pilot. I liked aspects of this year's grand guignol trip to Europe, but the show has more stability when its weirdness comes tethered to a crime procedural format. The writing challenge for this back-end of the season is very different, too; it's about sustaining one case over many weeks, digging deep into the psychology of a lone killer, while dealing with the fact Lecter's less of a rogue element in the outside world.
- This episode marks the Hannibal debut of British director Neil Marshall, who's best known for making the excellent cave monster horror The Descent. Marshall's since been making a name for himself on television, directing some of the large-scale episodes of Game of Thrones. I was very impressed by his handling of this hour, as I wouldn't have immediately thought of him as a good choice to direct such an artistic show like Hannibal.
- Interesting that Bloom's now the person in charge of the facility Lecter's in, which is off-book. I assumed the writers kept Esparza's Dr Chilton alive so he could fulfil his character's novel and film role as Lecter's keeper, but it seems not.
- It was great to see Jimmy (Scott Thompson) and Brian (Aaron Abrams) back on the show for the first time this season, as they manage to give Hannibal a much needed dose of gallows humour.