Saturday, 15 August 2015

HANNIBAL, 3.11 – '… and the Beast From the Sea'

Saturday, 15 August 2015


Another quick reminder that this review is scheduled alongside Thursday's broadcast in Canada. This episode airs tonight in the U.S on NBC, and Wednesday in the UK on Sky Living, so proceed at your own risk of spoilers...

It's been a treat watching Hannibal tackle one killer's storyline for such a long period of time, as the show's first two seasons concerned more episodic cases—with the possible exception of Garrett Jacob Hobbs, whose death in the pilot nevertheless reverberated around the first two seasons via his orphaned daughter Abigail. But I'm loving seeing the show get under the skin of Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage), in ways the previous two film versions of this story just didn't have time for. The beauty of longform television, when it comes to fleshing out stories focused on character. "... and the Beast From the Sea" was another strong instalment from this half of season 3, as everything got very personal and tensions rose...

This was the episode where Lecter's (Mads Mikkelsen) deception about his contact with Dolarhyde was revealed to the FBI, thanks to Dr Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) simply checking that his attorney hadn't been calling the hospital since Lecter was deemed insane. I'd be (mildly) impressed by her, were it not for the fact Alana only bothered to check after Will's wife and adopted son were attacked in their home by the Tooth Fairy—ordered there by Lecter himself during one of their phone chats. Unassuming Molly (Nina Arianda) showed a commendable presence of mind to evade the armed Dolarhyde, who's not exactly a novice when it comes to home invasion, and that extended sequence was a definite highlight of this hour. I particularly enjoyed seeing Dolarhyde in his half-mask disguise I always associate with Tom Noonan's version of the character from Manhunter.

Putting Molly and her son in danger didn't come as a surprise to me, or anyone else who knows the Red Dragon plot's twists and turns, but it worked very well and puts Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) into a much more engaging role on the show. The Tooth Fairy case just got uncomfortable close and, for once, he risked losing people he's genuinely close to—who feels more real to me, compared to the slightly weird situation of Abigail coming to feel like 'the daughter he never had'.

Seeing Will march up to Lecter in his glass prison, venomously branding him a "psycho", also made me smile with a combination of amusement and relief—because, while his odd infatuation with Lecter has been compelling for the most part, there's always been a part of me crying out for Will to just treat Lecter as the crazy multiple murderer he truly is. It felt like a line was being drawn under their screwy relationship here, with Will finding some clarity and heartfelt hatred for the fiend he sometimes treats as a friend. I wonder how Lecter will behave around Will now; as his plan to eliminate Will's "other family", by secretly manipulating Dolarhyde from afar, didn't work out and he's been exposed to full blame.

As for Dolarhyde, this episode continued to make us feel a very real sympathy for him: a man clearly going through a frightening mental delusion who needs professional help. He spent this hour conflicted about his romantic feelings for Reba (Rutina Wesley), which have awoken his caring human side that's laid dormant for so long, but is ultimately powerless to stop his Great Red Dragon personality from dominating his actions—best demonstrated in the scene where he beats himself black-and-blue, imagining the Dragon punching and kicking him around the room.

  • It had to happen sooner or later, and here we finally got to see Mads Mikkelsen in the iconic Hannibal Lecter look made famous by Silence of the Lambs: strapped to a sack-trolley wearing a muzzle. And now that his luxuries are being taken away by Alana (including—gasp!—his toilet), maybe we'll begin to see Lecter in a more depressing abode... asking for the return of his home comforts in exchange for vital information and assistance.
written by Steve Lightfoot & Bryan Fuller • directed by Michael Rymer • 15 August 2015 • NBC