“…And the Beast from the Sea” revolves around one major event. Francis Dolarhyde attempts to make the Grahams the latest offering to the Red Dragon, poisoning their dogs, breaking into their house, and attempting to kill them on the full moon. Molly is able to thwart him with quick thinking and a well-placed car-alarm, though she does take a (non-lethal) bullet for her efforts.
The rest of the episode is spent dealing with the fallout. The Red Dragon went after the Grahams at Hannibal’s suggestion, and Alana, Jack, and Will immediately recognize his design. They attempt to use him to set a trap, though Hannibal warns Dolarhyde as soon as he mention’s Reba’s name. As punishment, Alana follows through on an earlier threat and takes Hannibal’s desk and dignity. His once lavish cell is barren, stripped of everything up to and including the toilet.
“The Great Red Dragon” marks the beginning of a new phase for Hannibal, shifting back to the show’s procedural roots as it prepares to unravel the mystery of the Dragon. It makes for a welcome change of pace. The high wire psychology that played out in Italy was extraordinary, but that balancing act becomes more difficult to maintain the longer it goes on. “The Great Red Dragon” gives the show the opportunity to regain its bearings, serving as a nostalgic reminder that Hannibal, Will, and Jack first came together to help solve crimes.
The episode is primarily exposition, although it covers the ground with far more panache than most other shows. After a three-year jump in time, we learn that Jack is back in charge at the FBI, while Alana is running the institution where Hannibal is a prisoner. Chilton is on the celebrity doctor circuit penning books about serial killers. He occasionally visits Hannibal to gloat, though it’s unclear if he’ll get his comeuppance before the show runs out of episodes.
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