Will is dream-fishing with Abigail again. He often has these idealized dreams of what their life might have been like if she were still alive. I’ve figured out that these dreams are not about their actual relationship, but the relationship Will wished they had. Its not that he didn’t care about her when she was alive. He did love her and was desperate to save her because he was the one who changed her life by killing her father, but her behavior in Will’s dreams, doesn’t match up to how she actually behaved towards him, when she was alive.
Abigail was a severely traumatized, lying, manipulative , and intelligent young woman, and Will’s dreams are his idealization of her. In his dreams, Abigail can do no wrong and understands everything, including him, whereas in the real world the two of them butted heads more often than not and I never got the feeling that she cared very deeply about Will. (This may be the reason I dislike her.) Her most important scenes happened in the presence of Lecter, and when she finally confided her big secret, it was to Lecter. Later, she questioned Lecter about whether or not Will knew her secret, and Lecter had to reassure her that Will would keep her it. To me this points to a certain lack of trust on Abigail’s part.
Lecter knew about Will’s idealization of her and his need to save her, because of Will’s reaction to the kidnapped boys in the episode “Oeuf”, in season one. In a sense, Will handed Lecter the keys to manipulate him through his idealization of Abigail. It was easy for Lecter to pretend that Abigail was dead all through the second season because, in a sense, Will wasn’t actually mourning Abigail. He was mourning a potential Abigail, that had never been real. Notice how he and Abigail are almost never seen engaging in any other activity beyond fishing and they are always happy, calm, and content. In the real world, Abigail was rarely happy, or content. Fishing is Will’s perfect escape, and in his dream, he shares his perfect escape with his perfect daughter-who-might-have-been.
The discussions Will has with Abigail, throughout all of season two and three, are discussions that Will is having with himself. Even in his dreams, Will just can’t seem to keep that big brain of his from working his cases (or rather the enigma of Hannibal Lecter.)
After the circus of Will’s trial, Beverly discusses with Will how she can determine Lecter’s guilt. Will says not to look for Lecter’s guilt, just revisit all the evidence for signs that not everything is what it seems. After Beverly’s statements in the last episode, about the manner of evidence found against Will, she is somewhat primed to do this.
Next we’re introduced to the case and theme for this episode. In the forest a man’s body is found who has been turned into what Jimmy Price called a “Human Apiary”, a bee’s nest. The case of who did it and why isn’t much of a case, as the mystery is dispensed with rather quickly, and is kind of secondary to the episodes theme of euthanasia.
Euthanasia: is the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering. This episode is about people trying to relieve themselves of pain and indignity. On the one hand you have the killer, played wonderfully by Amanda Plummer, an acupuncturist who is trying to relieve the pain of her patients by giving them lobotomies. Not that the lobotomies don’t work, its just what she’s doing is overkill.
Then you have Bella Crawford, who wishes to take her own life rather than go through the pain and indignity of dying, screaming, in a hospital bed. And there’s Lecter who, with a flip of a coin, decides for reasons known only to God, the Devil and small children, to resuscitate her when she overdoses on morphine in his office.
I initially thought it was because he didn’t want Jack to think he hadn’t done everything in his power to save her. After all, he still needs Jack in his position of power. He needs Jack to think of them as friends, also with Bella dead, Jack might decide to retire and that would be unacceptable to Lecter. My second thought was that he didn’t want anyone else dying in his office after Tobias Budge (Fromage), because he can’t afford any more scrutiny. People will ask a lot of questions about the wife of an FBI supervisor dying in his office.
But I’ve come to the conclusion that its, more likely, sheer whimsy on his part. Lecter often chooses a course of behavior based on curiosity and that may well be the case here.
In the meantime, Will, embarking on the rest of his plan to out Lecter, tells Chilton not to discuss anything he says or does with Lecter, and that he is now exclusively under Chilton’s care. I think the purpose of this part of the plan is to make Lecter suspicious of Chilton for taking away access to his patient. This backfires because Chilton simply can’t keep his mouth shut around Lecter, and informs him that Will made the request. Will is attempting to play these two doctors off each other but this ploy is undermined by Chilton always wanting to impress and/or gloat, when he’s around Lecter, a dynamic Will hadn’t seen, and didn’t know about. However, Will does succeed in getting Chilton to take his side, (by appealing to his ego), and be suspicious of Lecter. How much of Chilton’s suspicion is believing in Will’s innocence vs. wanting to think the worst of Lecter, is anyone’s guess.
Chilton hypnotizes Will and discovers that Lecter used unethical tactics, the same tactics he was accused of using with Abel Gideon, on Will. He confronts Lecter about this, in an effort to form some kind of comradery with Lecter, not understanding that Lecter neither needs, nor wants, any comradery but that of Will Graham. I think, Lecter, for his part, begins eyeing Chilton as a possible recipient of future scandal involving The Chesapeake Ripper, just after this conversation. He does not like his professional decisions to be questioned, as he considers that to be rude, and also he doesn’t need Chilton insinuating to people that something might be wrong.
Bella meets with Lecter and they discuss suicide as an alternative to her coming death by lung cancer. He leads her to believe that he is a proponent of euthanasia, which is why she chooses his office for her death scene. Earlier, there’s a charming scene of Bella and Jack, in support of his wife, smoking weed (Purple Kush, she calls it) in their bedroom. It’s a beautifully touching scene, between two PoC, showing a deep love for each other. Jack wants her to be with him as long as possible because he loves her, but Bella is afraid of her imminent death and doesn’t want Jack to experience what she did, when her mother was dying of of the same disease.
She makes Lecter promise to make Jack take care of himself after she’s gone and he agrees to this.
A lot of people saw her not telling Jack about her disease as disrespectful to him but I was more positive about her deception. She withholds this knowledge because as soon as she tells him, he will have to directly deal with the idea of her dying, and she wants to put that off as long as possible. She says it’s because Jack has enough to worry about and she doesn’t need him worrying about her, too but I think that’s just marriage-speak, the shorthand that two people develop when they have lived with each other’s feelings for so many years. She loves Jack and doesn’t want t o cause him pain. She knows, that sooner or later her death will cause him pain. If she can die easily, causing as little pain to Jack as possible, she will do that.
Notice how, as Bella comes to accept her imminent death, the colors she wears switches to all white. She was already wearing a mix of off-whites, blacks, grays, and pastels, but now that she has accepted that she is going to die, her wardrobe consists entirely of white, the two times she comes to visit Lecter in his office.
Zeller and Price’s investigation of the Bee Killer’s patients, gives Beverly an idea about her own investigation of the evidence in Will’s case, about looking beneath the surface of things. How the evidence on top can often mask greater evidence underneath.She discovers that the Eye of God killer had his kidneys removed. She takes this information to Will, who chastises her for consulting with Lecter about it, and warns her away from him, saying she has found what he wanted her to find.
Zeller, Price and Jack confront the Bee Killer, an acupuncturist named Katherine Pimms, who immediately confesses to her crimes. (Once again, Fuller presents us with a serial killer who is not sexually oriented, in keeping with his mandate not to show the sexual victimization of women, as so many movies about serial killers, regularly engage.) Katherine, like the Mushroom Killer from season one, believes she was helping her victims. She’s very gleeful about this actually. She asks if any of them tried to eat the honey made by the bees who took up residence in the man’s head. (Ewww!) She says she was quieting their minds to relieve their pain. The entire time I’m watching this, I’m wondering if Jack is connecting what Pimms is saying, to his wife Bella. If he isn’t, then he should, because what Pimms is saying, is about to have a direct effect on his life.
Will’s mind, stimulated by Chilton’s activities, pulls up the memory of Will and Abel Gideon in Lecter’s home, the night he tried to kill Gideon. He asks Chilton to transfer Gideon to the hospital with him, as Gideon is a witness to Lecter’s unethical activities with him. Later, he warns Beverly that she should take whatever evidence she found to Jack. But what she tells him spurs Will to recognize that The Chesapeake Ripper committed that particular crime and that he is eating his victims.
Jack is called away to Bella’s side in the hospital after Lecter revives her after she dies in his office. She is not grateful for this and pulls up enough strength to give him a good, sharp slap, for going against her express wishes, especially after he agreed with her about how ,”Death is not a defeat.” But I enjoyed that slap because Lecter lies to Jack about his reason for saving her, saying that all life is precious, when we know what he is. Beverly takes Lecter’s absence as an opportunity to gather more evidence against him. Instead of taking her evidence to Jack, who is at the hospital, she goes to Lecters home. Lecter leaves early, though, and catches Beverly in his home. She fires her gun several times but it is not enough to save her.
I was going to write on the reasons why Beverly’s death is, or is not, fridging and how women of color are treated on the show. (There are two women of color on the show and one is killed and the other is dying.) But there are people who are much more eloquent about these views online. I feel that the situation is complicated by the needs of the story, so this is about more than Bryan Fuller being a misogynist or a racist. For the record, I don’t believe he is, at least not consciously, but people are capable of perpetuating racist concepts, when they don’t think deeply enough about what they’re doing. A lot of arguments can be made both for, and against, Bryan Fuller for making these story decisions, and though I’m a WoC, I still don’t know how to feel about them.
Since Beverly is an unorthodox character, who is Asian, there are things about the killing of Beverly that I, as a black woman, just didn’t see, until it was pointed out to me by Asian writers. So what I will do is let Hetienne Park , (whom I absolutely love, btw,) speak about this in her own words:
And the Counterpoint, which I completely understand:
And this article here, which falls somewhere in the middle:
What do you think about Beverly Katz’s death in the show? Please, keep in mind that Asian women may have a very different point of view and that their opinion of her death is just as valid, as they are the ones who get to speak on those issues that most directly affect their lives.