Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) goes off the deep end in the latest episode of Hannibal as escaped serial killer Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) tries to woo the Chesapeake Ripper. Grab your umbrellas because this trip to crazy town involves liberal doses of water!
Let’s bitch it out…
Poor Will. After being led to believe that his problems are entirely psychological last week, his condition takes a turn for the worse as he begins to have difficulty determining what is real and what he is hallucinating. Of course, making that distinction is easier said than done when Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) is actively “pushing” him in certain directions and refusing to tell Will the truth about his illness.
Naturally there’s a parallel to be drawn between Will’s deteriorating (mental) health and escaped killer Abel Gideon. After being introduced in 1×06 ‘Entrée’ – the episode that most closely hews to Silence Of The Lambs – Gideon has come a long way towards self-actualization. Unfortunately this means that he has realized that Dr. Chilton (Raúl Esparza) has been doing his own “pushing” to make Gideon believe he is the Chesapeake Ripper (whom we really know to be Hannibal). Gideon’s solution: make a daring escape and go on a bloody rampage against the doctors that misdiagnosed and “scrambled” your brain, all the while using the murders as flowers and chocolates calling cards to woo the real Chesapeake.
The connections between Gideon’s confused identity and Will’s increasing fears that he’s becoming unhinged lead to a dramatic non-confrontation. Once again Hannibal demonstrates why it is not to be confused with Criminal Minds or CSI – in lieu of a chase scene or bloody shoot-out, Will disintegrates when confronted with Gideon, first confusing him for Garret Jacob Hobbs (Vladimir Cubrt) before suffering a mild seizure when they arrive at Hannibal’s.
Playing off the storyline introduced last week, Hannibal once again confuses manipulation for friendship. He may tell his doctor, Bedelia DuMaurier (last glimpsed in 1×07 ‘Sorbet’ and 1×08 ‘Fromage’) that he envisions Will as a friend, but he clearly also regards him as an opportunity. Here Will is little more than a gun. Hannibal sponfeeds Will the information he needs to find and eliminate Gideon, even going so far as to use Will’s relationship with Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) to ensure the job is accomplished.
And yet the scene with Gideon and Will standing in the snow is nothing more than a conversation. Yes, ultimately Will does pull the trigger (notably when Gideon threatens Alana), but before then the pair talk and bond. Both Will and Gideon recognize that they’ve lost control of their identities and reality. Whether Gideon knows he’s pushing Will to kill him, or if Will’s continued substitution of Hobbs in Gideon’s place plays a part in the outcome is uncertain, but the similarities between Will and Gideon sets the stage nicely for next week’s episode when Will comes under suspicion.
- I love the push and pull between Hannibal and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) regarding Will. Hannibal believes that Will’s high temperature and doubled white cell count means he needs to rest, while Jack celebrates that Will was still able to nab Gideon under those conditions. Although their perspectives often seem to contrast each other, there’s an alarming similarity between the two men. Both believe that they are responsible for Will’s mental health, and yet they both continue to use him for their personal gain. For Jack, Will is both the success Jack never achieved with Miriam Lass (because she disappeared) as well as someone that Jack cannot allow to fail (since he has already lost one protegé)
- A dissection of graphic content in two scenes: the absolutely gorgeous shot of the prison orderly’s white shirt as the red wound blossoms, signifying Gideon’s attack. Contrast this with Hannibal (Ridley Scott, 2001) levels of over-the-top gore as Gideon gleefully forces Dr. Chilton to hold his own organs while a surprisingly calm Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) plays nurse. The switch from art-horror to exploitation shocker is nearly enough to cause whip-lash
- So now we all know what a Colombian neck-tie is. Can we collectively scrub our brains with bleach to erase it? Is this image less or more disturbing than the exposed vocal cords from ‘Fromage’?
- For a moment during Will’s nightmare I thought that the crumbling ice wall was meant to metaphorically represent Will’s first step in identifying Hannibal as a killer. Instead the gorgeous scene offer us a visual representation of Will’s identity being washed away (Note the key inclusion of the human totem pole from 1×09 ‘Trou Normand’ which was tied to identity and legacy)
- Finally, this is the first time that an episode title has actually been featured in the episode. Roti is, of course, a South Asian bread traditionally served with curry and Lecter serves Dr. Chilton some early in the episode
- Will (discussing Alana’s protective detail): “You don’t need protective custody to cozy up to my dogs…or me, for that matter.”
- Gideon (when Freddie inquires if he is the Chesapeake Ripper): “Mrs. Lounds I may be slightly fuzzy in this area but there’s no need to patronize me.”
Your turn: do you really think Lecter wants friendship with Will, or is he too interested in using him a play-thing? Is Jack blind to the danger he’s placing Will in by continuing to expose him to this line of work? Is there any romantic hope for Will and Alana? And, finally, with only two episodes left in the season, where do you hope Hannibal will go? Comment away below
Hannibal airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on NBC