Synopsis for 3×08: Three years after Hannibal’s arrest, everyone seems to have moved on. Except a new serial killer on the loose may pull them all back into a life they were almost clear of.

Rating: ★★★★☆

This week’s episode began by speeding through the events of three years. From the time Hannibal was arrested, to the second Tooth Fairy killing, a lot happened. The episode opened with a quick introduction to the Tooth Fairy, also known as the Red Dragon. Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage) is introduced to the audience through a series of scenes that quickly build up the character. First, looking rather tortured, he engaged in a series of workouts. Following that, after seeing the Red Dragon painting in a magazine, he decided to get the damned thing tattooed on his back. As if that weren’t enough, as he slowly became the dragon, he purchased the infamous dentures that he would later use to bite his victims.

As one serial killer began to bud, another was pruned. Hannibal, after claiming an insanity defense (though he will insist he is not insane) had taken up residence at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. In other words, he was in Chilton’s territory now. What began in his memory palace, where he was tucked away in his previous cathedral, ended in a face to face discussion with Alana Bloom. They talked about his incarceration, his insanity plea, and Hannibal reminded her that he planned to keep his promise to kill her. What a lovely man.

Meanwhile, the Red Dragon continued to grow. Dolarhyde continued to seek out the will of the Red Dragon and in the light of the full moon decided to go and kill for the very first time. Richard Armitage gets all my love for the way he portrays the killer, as he had barely any dialogue at all the entire episode but managed to express so much. The first murder was complete, and it wouldn’t be long before he completed another.

Chilton and Hannibal decided to relive old times as the former visited the latter in the prison. It was confirmed that Chilton had written a book about Hannibal, and now had a more interesting subject to write about. A man who was called the Tooth Fairy, also known as the Red Dragon, or Francis Dolarhyde, had been murdering perfect American families and leaving a disturbing blood bath in his wake. Of course Chilton wanted to latch onto it. After all, he’d made so much money off of Hannibal. Why not do it again with another serial killer? The amount of book material covered in this single episode was fantastic, as Hannibal uttered the famous “shy boy” line regarding the Tooth Fairy killer.

After speaking with Hannibal, Chilton returned to what was once his office. In a surprise twist, it was revealed that Alana actually oversaw the hospital. Chilton was no longer the administrator. He came with some sass, but also a warning: Francis may inspire Hannibal to keep himself interesting. Oh how perceptive our little sleezeball was.

The view switched back to Dolarhyde, who seemed to be enjoying a movie of some sort through a projector. However, it did not end well as the visuals took a turn to the intense. He became wrapped up in the film, shining a light out of his eyes and mouth, and the audience was left wondering whether or not what they had just seen was truth or fiction. Probably fiction. Hopefully fiction. Dear Lord.

Then there was a parallel. As Hannibal cut out an article about the Tooth Fairy, so did Dolarhyde. One added it to a letter, the other a book.

For the next scene, in my notes I wrote “meanwhile, somewhere Will and his dogs are happy.” Never had a truer sentence be written. The audience was shown Will’s new life. He lived tucked away in the wilderness, appearing to have left Wolf Trap behind. Surrounded by his dogs and his work, he finally looked content, until Jack showed up. Of course Jack came with a plea: help him with the Tooth Fairy case. Do what Will used to do. They had to catch the man before another family became his next victims. Will was reluctant, and it was quickly revealed why: he had married a beautiful woman, and in the process became step dad to a young man. Molly and Walter, Will’s family, were keeping him from wanting to pursue the case.

I couldn’t blame him for wanting to keep his distance.

A few key pieces of the case were revealed, the most important being the fact that Dolarhyde appeared to be killing on a lunar schedule. If he stuck to it, then they had a couple of weeks before the next supposed killing. The clock was ticking to stop the next murder, but Will still seemed reluctant until he and Molly had a heart to heart later that night. She convinced him that it was the right thing to do, and that he needed to do it. As she slept, he crept over to the dresser and opened a letter from Hannibal. The very same letter the good doctor had been seen writing earlier, telling Will to stay away from the case. Warning him. It no doubt sealed the deal that Will would help.

He went to investigate the house. Will put on the skin of the killer, as his empathy allows, and walked through the scene of the crime. He understood the design, and just like that the team was called back together after he signed onto the case. Zeller and Price came back on the scene to help with forensics in a rather touching reunion, and everything seemed to be moving forward.

Francis was seen repairing a projector, though the Red Dragon appeared to be calling to him. It was telling him to act, and he seemed genuinely distressed. In what might be considered a parallel, while Dolarhyde dealt with his monster, Will dealt with his own. With a drink in hand, and a call to Molly that didn’t go through, Will laid back in bed only to sit and visualize the case. He was back in that world now, stepping into an old life, and there was no turning back.

When he returned to Jack the next morning, he said there was something else he could do. The only thing, really: see Hannibal.

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