Hannibal’s episodes have been largely stand-alone so far; “killer of the week” plotlines dominating the slowcooking larger arcs. “Entrée” embraces a more serialised approach – along with the Hannibal backstory, filling the hour with re-appropriated quotes and visual quotes from the films.
It’s made very clear that this isn’t a straightforward prequel, but a reinterpretation; mixing and matching his quotes and characters. Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky) stands in for both Clarice in Silence of the Lambs (an inexperienced FBI trainee working with Crawford) and Will in Red Dragon, discovering Lecter’s identity as the Chesapeake Ripper in the same fashion he does – except with lethal consequences. Meanwhile, Clarice and Hannibal’s cell-side conversations are explicitly quoted, except with Alana Bloom and Eddie Izzard’s Gideon in their place.
It’s exciting to see this reinterpretation as Hannibal’s true identity comes to the fore, though the episode has its weak spots: Fishburne spent much of the episode stranded in a plot straight out of his last crime drama, CSI, but does show off his acting chops with a touching monologue about his wife’s mortality. There’s also less of the the brooding, grisly artistry that’s characterised earlier episodes, traded for the development of richer, more detailed storytelling.