The first half of Hannibal season three has drawn criticism from some (though not this critic) for its artistic, avant-garde approach to exploring the psychology and relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. With “The Great Red Dragon”, the series opens a new chapter, returning to its stylistic roots and introducing a new key figure: Francis Dolarhyde. Fans of Thomas Harris’ work have been eagerly anticipating Dolarhyde’s debut and the start of the show’s Red Dragon arc/adaptation, and after this episode, it’s easy to see why. Being unfamiliar with Hannibal’s source material, this critic can’t speak to the faithfulness of showrunner Bryan Fuller and co.’s take on the character, but the glimpses shown here are certainly compelling. Without any dialog, Richard Armitage conveys uncertainty, confusion, compulsion, fear, and power, his animalistic physicality telling viewers all they need to know—for now—about the battle raging within Francis Dolarhyde. Armitage’s intense performance is complemented by fantastic work from composer and music supervisor Brian Reitzell (more on this in Kate’s Classical Corner) and the patient, scrutinizing eye of director Neil Marshall. The episode opens with a closeup on Dolarhyde’s fingers, his skin taking on the texture of scales and, as the camera pulls back, his hand the shape of a claw. As Armitage writhes, Dolarhyde exploring his musculature and connecting to something decidedly less human within, Marshall scans his body, sweeping up and down and displaying the strength and flexibility that allow these contortions. If Hannibal is defined by his mind and Will by his heart, Dolarhyde would appear to be a primarily physical being and seeing how he responds to overtures from both should be intriguing.