Hannibal Season One: Roti/Releves

Roti

I’m going to combine these two episodes into one long review because they both deal with themes covered in previous episodes from another angle, they are  both Abel Gideon intensive, and I’m eager to review the finale.

These particular episodes both deal in foreshadowing, meaning they contain elements that will come back to haunt us and the characters in season two and beyond. As I write these re- watch/reviews, I’ll be throwing in a lot of  spoilers for seasons two and three. I don’t recommend you read these without having watched all three seasons, as what I’m trying to do is thematically connect all three seasons into a kind of overview of the entire series.

Roti deals with the aftermath of Dr. Chilton’s Psychic Driving of Abel Gideon. There are parallels and echoes all over this show and in and through all the characters. Abel Gideon’s story is an echo of Will Graham’s story, about the mental manipulation between a therapist and their patient. All season long, Bryan Fuller has been introducing various concepts and themes that will play out through the next two seasons,  without a basic understanding of these concepts, it will be  difficult to understand the characters motivations later. So what happens in seasons two and three shouldn’t be a surprise for us if we closely watch the story arcs of other characters.

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Abel Gideon, while on his way to court, to testify against Chilton for mentally manipulating him into killing people, (from now on I’m going to call “Psychic Driving”, “Mental Manipulation” and “Gaslighting”. I looked up the definition and what Chilton and Lecter are doing isn’t actually Psychic Driving, which is more like  brainwashing. What they’re doing seems more like Planting/Suggestion), escapes custody and seeks revenge on all the therapists he felt manipulated or abused him somehow.  Actually, his motivations are not entirely clear, as  another one of his reasons for escaping custody was to find out if he is the Chesapeake Ripper, by drawing out the real Ripper.

This is foreshadowing for Will Graham’s  story line of seeking revenge on Lecter for what Will thinks was done to him. The difference between the two is that, in season two, Will knows exactly who he is and what he’s doing.

Chilton, while having dinner with Lecter, admits that he manipulated Gideon for narcissistic reasons. Lecter tells Chilton that his approach was too heavy handed. That once the victim knows what has happened to them, they will rebel against their programming, so Gideon’s enmity towards him is to be expected. Lecter should know this as he has done an excellent job on Will Graham. In season two, seemingly forgetting this conversation with Chilton, he will express a certain amount of puzzlement over Will’s anger at him. At some point he is convinced that he means Will no harm, and wants what’s best for him.

Chilton doesn’t seem to know enough to ask the question of how Lecter knows all this, and who he’s done it to, until well into season two. With the exception of Bedelia, most of the characters never bother to ask Lecter follow up questions about any of his assertions. Many of the things Lecter says, provide insight into his motives and mindset, even when he is discussing seemingly unrelated subjects.

Will dreams of breaking glaciers. Of some strong and stable thing breaking down. Could this be Lecter’s programming?  Does this represent Will’s mind? He has many images and daydreams of water and drowning in this episode. He feels like he’s melting, blurring into something or someone else. At least part of this is because he’s deeply ill and feverish throughout most of the episode.

Will and Alana confront Chilton about what he did to Gideon and his escape. To avoid blame, Chilton turns the discussion into what Alana did to Gideon instead, which pisses her off. During the briefing to capture Gideon, Will hallucinates that the room is full of antlers and that Jack is screaming at him. He looks ill. When Jack asks him about it,  he says its just a cold or flu. Later, he tells Lecter what happened at the briefing in a rather poetic way, which sounds lovely, but anyone hearing him say it would think he was just speaking gibberish. (I know I did.) Lecter’s breakdown of Will Graham is almost complete, as he offers himself as Will’s  mental gauge of stability, the way Jack did once.

Gideon kills two of his old Doctors by lobotomizing them. Alana is also on his list of therapists. Jack provides her with an FBI protection detail.

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Freddie Lounds gets a call from Gideon masquerading as one of his old Doctors. He tells her he wants an interview and where to meet him. She arrives at the Doctor’s office to find Dr. Carruthers is already dead, having been given a “Colombian Necktie’ by Abel Gideon.  The Corte Corbata, as it was called was practiced by the Colombian cartels, to psychologically terrorize during the political uprising period of what became know as La Violencia, during the Guatemalan Civil War, from 1978-1984. But I don’t think Gideon is making a political statement here. I think he chose this method because he thought the doctor flapped his tongue too much.

Gideon takes Lounds hostage and goes hunting for his next victim, Dr. Frederick Chilton.

Will is doing that thing where he talks to the corpse in the voice of the killer, when they find Dr. Carruther’s body. This time none of his colleagues blink an eye. I guess they’ve gotten used to him doing that. They also discover that Lounds has written about the murder before its discovery and know that Lounds is in danger.

Gideon kills Dr. Carson (Why do all the last names of the  doctors he’s after,  begin with the letter “C”?) and removes his arm. This is a message for Jack telling him where to be found. Or Lecter kills Dr. Carson. I’m unsure on that point, but the Doctor’s arm is missing, and the last place Jack saw an arm was when he found Miriam Lass’ arm at the observatory.

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Gideon has, by this time, found and kidnapped Chilton, who he intends to surgically reduce by several pounds, with Lounds as nurse and witness. He begins removing Chilton’s internal organs, starting with his kidney.

At the observatory, Will starts to follow Jack and his team, but is distracted by The Stag, standing in the forest outside. For some reason, he follows it into the woods and finds Abel Gideon. He is hallucinating badly and believes Gideon is Garrett Jacob Hobbes.

Jack and the team find Freddie Lounds alone, barely keeping Chilton alive, as he holds his innards in his arms.

Gideon is confused to be captured by Will Graham, as he was expecting The Ripper.Will takes Gideon to Lecter’s home, to confirm that its Hobbes. Lecter is somewhat nonplussed to see Will at his door with Gideon. He wants Gideon but he wasn’t expecting this. He tells Will there’s no one there because Will is totally unpredictable. If he tells Will its Hobbes, Will may shoot him, and Lecter can’t have the FBI investigating a murder in the home of The Chesapeake Ripper. The alternatives  are: Tell Will that no one is there and disarm him and get them both away, kill Will if he shoots Gideon and then hide both bodies, or tell Will its Abel Gideon and get the first result again.

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One of the most heartbreaking moments is Will pleading with Lecter not to lie to him while Lecter lies to him. Lecter has no choice if he is going to protect his interests, which always come first. I’ve noticed that Lecter most often touches Will in his most vulnerable moments, as if to reinforce his calm authority over him., in the midst of some crisis. He touches Will’s face and hands far more often than Will touches anyone in the show, except Alana.

Lecter has a few choice questions for Gideon, who has a few questions of his own. He tells Gideon where to find Alana and sends him after her. He lies to Will about going to check on Alana, while leaving Will with his car keys and his gun. There! He’s gotten both Will and Gideon away from his home, and if Will is as good as Hannibal thinks he is, Gideon will soon be dead.

Will catches up to Gideon outside Alana’s home and shoots him, which Alana witnesses. She calls for help and Will and Gideon are taken to the hospital. Jack finds Lecter sitting at Will’s bedside and he gives Jack the official diagnosis of extreme fever. Lecter believes Will is recovering well but he still asks Jack to take away Will’s licence to carry firearms. Jack disagrees with this direct request, so Lecter tries something more oblique, planting the idea in Jack’s mind, that Will is mentally unstable.

Bedelia, ever the Truth Teller, believes Lecter is more interested in how Will’s mind works than in Will as a person. She cautions him again about becoming emotionally entangled with Will. She is starting to suspect something.

 

 

Releves

 

Its been a few days and Will is visiting Georgia Madchen in the same hospital. She looks better, healthier and so does he. This is not the first time the two of them have spoken. Will can’t seem to help collecting strays, dogs or people. She is pessimistic about her recovery and his. She thinks she dreamed the death of Dr. Sutcliffe, but can’t remember the face of the person who did it, although she believes it was Will. I would say, she shouldn’t remember Will’s face, but he’s been coming to talk to her for several days, and she probably recognizes him by now.

Lecter brings Will Chicken Soup. (Remember when we talked about “Courtship Feeding” among predatory animals.) Will passingly mentions that Georgia doesn’t want to remember what happened. This is the same discussion that other characters will have about Will, in season two, about his lack of memory for his crimes.

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That evening Georgia, still in her oxygen chamber finds a plastic comb. Having taken off her grounding bracelet, she begins to comb her hair, which causes a static charge resulting in one of the more horrific deaths this season, and that’s saying something, in a season full of awful deaths. The forensic team can’t figure out what caused the fire and think its suicide but Will knows it wasn’t. Will’s compulsion to emotionally connect with the killers he captures,  is something that Will come back to bite him in the ass, in season two.

Oh look, there’s another Abigail scene I’d like to ignore, but can’t, because it might be important later. Abigail discusses her book deal with Freddie. I think Freddie suspects  Abigail might have killed Nicholas Boyle. Freddie isn’t dumb and her instincts are often very good. They just point in the wrong direction sometimes. Every time Abigail  shows up, I feel like she’s a distraction from the “real” plot. Everything slows down so we can deal with her emotional issues. I know I’m supposed to care about this traumatized young woman but the feeling  just isn’t there. (We can argue about whether or not I’m a psychopath after this review.)

Will dreams about Georgia. His dream connects her death to Hannibal Lecter, when The RavenStag impales her on its horns, after she bursts into flames. One of the most striking visuals this season, is the sight of the RavenStag, shaking the fire off its antlers.

Will prematurely checks himself out of the hospital just to confront Jack about Georgia’s death, insistent that it was not a suicide ,and that she is a victim of the Copycat Killer. Yes, she suffered from mental illness, but that doesn’t mean the forensic team should slack off and dismiss her death as part of her illness. Now that his fever has broken, and his head is relatively clear, Will’s empathy superpower seems to be working overtime to catch up to Lecter. (I sometimes think of Will’s pendulum as a kind of Geiger Counter, that oscillates faster and faster, the closer he gets to the answers to his questions, or the perpetrator of a crime.)

Jack is worried about Will’s mental state. Worries that have been planted by Lecter over time. He goes to Lecter to discuss it and Lecter is greatly interested in Will’s new theory that all the Copycat Killers are one person. Will has picked up Lecter’s scent but doesn’t know it yet. Jack thinks Abigail killed Nicholas Boyle and that Will is covering for her.  Apparently,  all the acting Abigail did, when she went to view Boyle’s body, didn’t impress Jack. Unsatisfied with Lecter’s vague answers, Jack goes to speak to Bedelia. (And can I just Squeeee! quietly here for just a moment. Its Lawrence Fishburne and Gillian Anderson in the same scene! How awesome is that!)

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Jack is beginning to question why Lecter seems to have so many complicated relationships with his patients. Something is starting to form in his mind about Lecter but it is in its nascent stages and unclear. Jack tells his forensic team to go over the Hobbes case again, looking  for every tiny detail.

Will talks to Abigail about her father…NOPE! I still don’t care about her and must resist the urge to fast forward through all of her scenes. Will says he needs her help to catch the Copycat.

Lecter and Bedelia discuss Jack’s meeting with her. Lecter insists he’s just trying to be Will’s friend and Bedelia tells him he can’t be friends when he doesn’t know what that means or with someone else who doesn’t either. This sounds unnecessarily harsh but she is right. I don’t think Lecter’s  ever had a friend. What a profoundly lonely creature. I think he’s seen other people be friends, admires it, is curious about it, and wants it. Unfortunately, he has no idea how to be friends or what that entails. I think, as he begins to learn what it means, it  changes him, but this feeling is in its infancy. His  transformation (and Will’s too) won’t reach its full flower until season three.

Will figures out that when Georgia witnessed Sutcliffe’s murder, she was framed for it, but the killer was really there to frame Will for it, and if that is true, then the killer is someone who works for the Bureau. Lecter needs to discredit Will as quickly as possible.

Will takes Abigail back to Minnesota to start at the beginning, with the phone call to Hobbes.

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A number of pieces begin to fall into place for jack too. He discovers Abigail’s secret and that Will spirited her out of the hospital. Jack  is primed by Hannibal to think of Will as dangerous to Abigail when he plays a recording of Will reconstructing Marissa Schurr’s murder.

 

At the cabin in Minnesota, Abigail gets scared and runs away from Will, believing him to be sick. Will finds himself on a plane back home having lost more time. He doesn’t know where Abigail has gone. Abigail runs into the arms of Hannibal and correctly guesses that he is the instigator of all these events, the caller on the phone ,the killer of Cassie Boyle, Marissa Schurr and the orchestrator of Nicholas Boyle’s death.

He says he did all of these things, and more, because he was curious about what would happen. For the first time, Lecter opens his ” meticulously constructed “person suit” so we can glimpse the face underneath, which is deeply terrifying. He is so dispassionate about the things he’s done, its like looking into the eyes of a giant predatory insect.

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I’m reminded of a quote from the 1986 version of The Fly:

Seth Brundle: You have to leave now, and never come back here. Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects… don’t have politics. They’re very… brutal. No compassion, no compromise. We can’t trust the insect. I’d like to become the first… insect politician. Y’see, I’d like to, but… I’m afraid, uh…

Ronnie: I don’t know what you’re trying to say.

Seth Brundle: I’m saying… I’m saying I – I’m an insect who dreamed he was a man…but now the insect is awake…

 

MUSIC:

Roti – Debussy’s Les Sons Et Les Parfums Tourment Dans L’air Du Soir

Releves – Beethoven’s Ghost Trio Op. 70 No.1

 

SPOTLIGHT:  Bedelia Du’Maurier

 

Bedelia is entirely original to the series. I like to call Bedelia “The Truth Teller, as she is the only character, at least in the first season, who is capable of telling Hannibal the truth about himself, to his face, saying that he is  wearing a “people suit”. She is the only character, outside of Will Graham who”sees” into the nature of the creature she is dealing with, on her own, and is fearless enough to confront Hannibal about it.

It’s interesting that she is one of the few characters that Lecter looks up to. He mimics her behavior at times, wishes to be her friend, and attempts to be as honest as possible with her. She is beautiful, graceful and sophisticated and  I believe he covets her, like a rare vintage of wine or a piece of fine jewelry. The only time he directly intends to harm her is in the second season, when he believes her  to be a threat to his freedom, but his threats are  implied long before that, and Bedelia is smart enough to run from him. For a while.

She is not smart enough to remain entirely out of Lecter’s clutches indefinitely, and soon finds herself back in his orbit in season three. Lecter holds her to him using a combination of coercion, professional curiosity and overt threat. She is mart enough to never completely let down her guard around him, although like most people who wind up under Lecter’s power, she comes to regret it.

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In season two, she finally admits the hold Lecter has over her, and in return for immunity from prosecution, confesses to Jack that she killed one of Lecter’s patients, when he tried to attack her. She falls even further into the rabbit hole in season three, when she becomes complicit in Lecter’s crimes, while gallivanting around Europe, posing as his wife.

Gillian Anderson is absolute perfection as Bedelia. She says everything in the slow, measured tones of someone who is thinking deeply about what she is about to say, and by season three she has reached such a pure level of sophisticated camp that its unbearable. One of the most hilarious moments is when she’s speaking to the police after Lecter has fled, thoroughly maxxed out on a drug cocktail of heroin and other pharmaceuticals.

Her excuse for staying with Lecter is that he has kept her drugged and she know longer knows who she is. I didn’t think it was possible for her to speak more slowly, or be more languid than she was before. One of the highlights of season three is watching her and Will bickering at each other like a couple of Lecter’s ex-wives. She calls the two of them “The Brides of Hannibal” and the highest form of insult she can give to Will Graham, after he tells her to prepare to be eaten by Lecter, is that he is a “righteous, reckless, twitchy, little man”.

I really did love this character. It  seems like she’s in another, more Hitchcockian series, than everyone else, and its easy to see why Lecter would be reluctant to kill her.

His world is a much more interesting place with her in it.

But for the record, that is Bedelia ready to eat her own leg in the epilogue  of season three and the dinner table is set for three. So,you make of that what you can.

 

 

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