Richard Armitage Continues To Impress With His ‘Red Dragon’ Portrayal In ‘Hannibal’

Richard Armitage continues to impress with his performance as serial killer Francis Dolarhyde, a.k.a. the Red Dragon in the NBC horror series, Hannibal.

Viewers met the Red Dragon last week, in the second part of the cancelled series, and even though the British actor didn’t use his deep baritone voice at all, one could say he stole the show. His heartbreaking introduction left his fans in awe of his physical strength, displayed in the difficult movements his body was able to perform as part of his transformation.

For those who haven’t read the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon, Dolarhyde is as wicked as they come because of the circumstances in his youth. Born with a cleft palate, he was always inadequate due to the ensuing speech impediment and was bullied by his step-siblings and grandmother. His circumstances created a monster, and now, he wants the power.

Richard Armitage finally spoke on Saturday night’s episode, called “And The Woman Clothed With the Sun.” The lisp Harris describes in his novel was done perfectly, and it was actually painful to watch him struggle with his words. That is one of the things Armitage said he wanted to do, make Dolarhyde an empathetic character, despite the horrible crimes he commits.

Along with Richard Armitage’s first words, we were also introduced to Reba McClane, played by True Blood star Rutina Wesley. Reba is interesting to Dolarhyde because she is blind, and so, since she cannot see his disfigured face like everyone else does, she can’t judge him.

Dolarhyde is shy, but Reba doesn’t seem to mind his awkwardness and actually explains that he doesn’t have to be uncomfortable around her because she understands his words. However, he is reluctant when she asks to touch his face.

“I want to see if you’re smiling,” she asks to put him at ease.

“Trust me, I’m smiling.” Francis responds as he holds her arm at bay. Dolarhyde hasn’t been around many women. In fact, Reba is the first adult woman he has ever interacted with in his life, and he is conflicted.

Earlier in the episode, we see Richard Armitage in the beginning of his “Becoming” into the “Red Dragon,” as he watches the horror he inflicted upon the Leeds family on his video projector. But the question is: how will his fascination with Reba affect his perfectly laid out plans to complete his transformation?

Richard Armitage is proving he is a force to be reckoned with when he’s on-screen, and with all that was going on in Hannibal episode 309, it’s not an easy task. We also saw Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) reunited, as the former is desperate for help in stopping the serial killer. Freddie Lounds is back, as was Abigail in a freaky flashback to Season 1.

We were left with the first interaction between Dolarhyde and Lecter, when the Doctor receives a call from who he is told is his attorney. The serial killer is a fan of Hannibal and tells him he is honored that he has taken an interest in his doings. Hannibal asks Dolarhyde what he is becoming and we hear Richard Armitage’s distinctive voice saying, “The Great Red Dragon.”

[Image via De Laurentiis Co.]