Some thoughts on what I want to write about. This is not a complete performance review.
Episode 9 was a good one overall but – not enough Richard Armitage, and not until halfway through the 42 minutes of play.
Flashbacks going back 3 years earlier were almost like a Peter Jackson “Extras,” edition. The scene in which Hannibal is preparing for his last dinner party, and readying to leave with Will and Abigail, was an AHA moment. Hannibal receives a call from Will, who says, They know.– that is, Jack Crawford and the FBI. These are precisely the words Hannibal spoke when he phoned Abigail’s, father, The Michigan Shrike, to warn him of the same threat.
Shocker! Will tipped off Hannibal. I guess he assumed Hannibal would escape before hand, and it would all go away. I should not have been so surprised, because most of what Will Graham revealed in season 3 supports his ambivalence, as does his final decision to let Hannibal go.
Other flashbacks seemed like a waste of minutes to me. The additional flashbacks with Hannibal and Abigail were of little interest to me, except to note some sexuality between Abigail and Hannibal that I must have missed in previous episodes. I didn’t find him fatherly, as much as seductive.
In the present, Will and Hannibal, imagine a joint visit to the second crime scene. A nice touch was Hannibal looking into a shard, and seeing himself as the young Wendigo of Will’s imagination. He sees the monster he is, just as Francis is looking for the Red Dragon in his own reflection.
The decision to give Hannibal an upscale cell, and also remove him from it, placing him back in the real world is smart, I think. It gives viewers more of what they want – the Hannibal they know, reacting with the Will they know.
And the Jack Crawford we know is back as well, conflicted between his need to have the best qualified person stop the killings but in spite of the potential damage to Will Graham. Hannibal gets it right when he suggests that Jack might as well eat out Will’s brain – Jack’s manipulation of Will can be so destructive.
But Will is a healthier, more whole person now, so it looks like he can stick to the mission without playing too many games – so far.
On to Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde. Overall, the shots, angles and lighting, showed off a better looking Richard Armitage – he was more himself, except for the very short hair ( so much ear). he was shot from the left ( his left) a number of times, completely obscuring the scar – and the scar anyway is of little consequence to his appearance. His facial expressions, when he’s with Reba, are normal ( though somber and Lucas-y), in contrast to some of the tortured expressions we saw in Episode 8 and in this one, when he’s becoming in the attic.
A handsome Dolarhyde is consistent with the book, but in this series, we also see a really unattractive Armitage at times. He wasn’t that attractive when he was growing a red tail in one scene. I assume this scene was part of those shot for the first episode. Richard Armitage, in interview, stated that he was given, more or less free reign to just keep moving, not unlike his description of how he filmed the scene in BOTFA, when Thorin hallucinates and is gripped and consumed by dragon sickness.
His voice, it’s tone and timber, varies depending on the situation, but generally, when Dolarhyde speaks, it’s in a deep voice the car scene was an exception), but gravelly, not the veloute version. I feel relieved and rewarded that despite the speech impediment and the dearth of words, it is the voice I know. Yet, something seemed different to me, and it wasn’t until the very end, when Dolarhyde called Hannibal Lecter, that I had that aha moment – it’s an American accent!
I went back and listened again. Except for a handful of isolated words – no sentences – just a word here or there ( believe was one of them) the American accent was good. The speech impediment and Dolarhyde’s overall creepiness may be forgiving if there are lapses, but by and large, I thought it was good, it explained why something seemed different to me.
Between Into the Storm, where there was mostly screaming, and this attempt, with a speech impediment, and intentionally slow, careful speech, I still feel that I’ve yet to hear the American accent in a way that I can conclusively judge it.
In the first Dolarhyde scene, quite brief, we’re shown dinner at his grandmother’s “care center” and the swinging legs of a boy, sitting warily at the end. He morphs into the grown Dolarhyde, sitting alone at the same table. I don’t know what those unfamiliar with the book will make of this.
Dolarhyde meets Reba on her own turf – a darkroom of sorts, where infra red light outlines and reflects off him, suggesting The Red Dragon. Red is everywhere in this episode. Not just blood, but some juicy red plums, and cherry pie. The plums made me think of a bowl of balls – not sure why. Big balls (testicles) have already made an appearance this episode via Will’s not the newest dog that Molly took in ( Randy’s giant balls are not long for this world, I am sure), while Will claimed the victim’s family dog.
Reba has not convinced me yet. This incarnation, by Rutina Wesley is different from those previously played. She’s a confident, forthright, humorous young woman and nothing about the very briefest glimpse of her personality so far, makes me think she would be interested in Francis Dolarhyde. There’s a heat about her not present in Emily Watson’s version. Nevertheless, the scene with Francis and Reba in her house, him eating pie like an animal, and flinching from her touch, was, I thought, really well done. Trust me, I’m smiling. may be a new favorite line.
As a Richard Armitage fan, I need more Richard Armitage in these episodes, and fewer two person conversations between the others. As a Hannibal viewer, who is becoming a fan, some of these conversations were amusing and satisfying. It seems Bryan Fuller can’t resist a lesbian sex joke ( Alana: I love a wagging finger. Hannibal Are you still with Margot? ) It’s good to have the gang back, solving crimes.