Steve Lightfoot and Bryan Fuller
Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne, Caroline Dhavernas, Nina Arianda, Rutina Wesley, Richard Armitage
NOTE: REVIEW CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS
An interesting thing about doing reviews is that it’s always much harder to write about something that’s good versus something that’s bad. Negative aspects are typically more glaring and conspicuous. I guess it goes back to the old Murphy’s Law adage: “Nobody notices when things go right.” With that said, I’ve got my work cut out for me this week because “…And the Beast from the Sea” is a dynamic reminder of why Hannibal has been a critical darling since its 2013 debut!
Fearing that the Red Dragon will force him to kill Reba, Dolarhyde goes to Hannibal for advice. Hannibal suggests that he should compromise by slaying Will Graham’s wife and stepson. Molly and Walter narrowly elude Dolarhyde. However, Molly is injured in the process. Shortly afterward, Jack and Alana figure out Dolarhyde has been contacting Hannibal. They ask Dr. Lecter to keep Dolarhyde on the line as long as possible next time, so they can try to identify him. Dolarhyde gets in touch Hannibal again after he has a falling out with Reba. At first Hannibal appears to be cooperating, but at the last moment he warns Dolarhyde.
Come on, Jack and Alana, I can’t believe you honestly thought Hannibal was going to cooperate! One, he’s Hannibal, and two… he’s Hannibal! But more importantly, although the good doctor can change teams on a dime, his loyalty lies first and foremost with other violent criminals. Think back to the first season. He gave Garret Jacob Hobbes a “courtesy call” and warned him that Will was coming. Hannibal is basically a patron of the arts, but for serial killers. He seeks out rising stars and helps them hone their talent. Since all his efforts with Will Graham were in vain, Francis Dolarhyde has become his new pet project.
Speaking of the correspondence between Hannibal and Dolarhyde, “…And the Beast from the Sea” includes the biggest deviation from the source material so far. In Harris’ novel, the police realize early on that Hannibal has shared Will’s home address with Dolarhyde. Molly and Walter (who’s named Willy in the book, oddly enough) are taken to safety before anything can happen. There is no late night home invasion and Molly doesn’t get shot. Now that I think about it, Hannibal and Dolarhyde never spoke on the phone either. They corresponded secretly using the classified ads in Freddie Lounds’ Tattler magazine… I’m curious if that particular element will ever come into play, or if the writers have excised it all together.
Many people get upset when adaptations take liberties. For me, it depends on the context: are the changes justifiable and do they improve or enrich the story? After all, if you’re just going to copy the original text verbatim, then what’s the point of even doing an adaptation? I think having Dolarhyde endanger Will’s family was smart writing. The scene is chilling, suspenseful and upsettingly realistic. You’ll want to check your doors and windows after this episode! It also heightens the central conflict, invigorates the story and raises the stakes even further. Now things are personal. If Will doesn’t catch Dolarhyde, he can never go home!
Will and Bedelia discussed compassion in the previous episode, and that theme persists in “…And the Beast from the Sea.” Most people would be out for bloody revenge if their family members were attacked, but not Will. He just wants to put the homicidal maniac into a mental hospital. Dolarhyde might be turning into a rapacious dragon, but Will continues to view him as a wounded bird. His forgiving attitude is certainly admirable, but as Bedelia cautioned it could also be self-destructive. If your opponent is willing to do whatever it takes to win, and you’re not, then they will always have the upper hand. It’s hard not to agree with young Walter when he says “…you shouldn’t put this guy in a hospital. You should kill him.” The episode ends on a cryptic note, with Hannibal asking Will if he—like Dolarhyde—also “craves change.”
OUT OF 5
The mark of a truly engaging episode is that magical moment when the credits roll and you think: “hold on, it’s over already?” Eventful without being overstuffed, rapid-fire without being exhausting, “…And the Beast from the Sea,” is masterfully composed.
+ External and internal drama
+ Smart adaptation choices
+ Game-changing plot points
+ Never a dull moment!