The second half of season two often begins with one or more characters thoughtfully engaging in some personal activity. Since they’re often alone we can’t hear what they’re thinking and are left to makeup any story that we prefer.
I like to think the characters are pondering the events of the last episode. This time its Jack’s turn, as he sits, listening to Miriam Lass’ calls to his cellphone, interspersed with scenes of Jack’s forensic team, processing the evidence from Miriam’s body. We watch as she is being fitted with her new prosthetic arm, to replace the one Lecter gave to Jack. We’re left to speculate on Jack’s feelings during this interval, as surely he must be feeling a tremendous weight of guilt and shame, for having believed Miriam to be dead, and hence, never searching for her. (Outside of HannibalLand, we know a trainee would never have been sent to questions suspects or witnesses in such a case.)
Miriam tells Jack she was actually treated well by the Ripper (calling back to Lecter’s statement to Bella that he employs an ethical butcher and does not believe in unnecessary suffering of animals), when he kept her and even when he took her arm. (Remember, Cassie Boyle’s lungs were removed while she was still alive, which sounds horrific, except after hearing Lecter’s statement, we realize she probably never felt anything, if he drugged her before cutting them out.)
All of this must take place over the course of several weeks perhaps, as it takes time to be fitted with a prosthetic anything.
*Bedelia must have at some point heard, or read, Miriam’s testimony, or got the information from Lecter, because she uses this same claim that she was mentally manipulated, and heavily drugged, to avoid being arrested by the Italian Police, in season three.
Miriam claims not to remember the killer’s voice but she does remember his voice. So Jack, covering all his bases, (because I still don’t think he actually truly believes Lecter is the Chesapeake Ripper), calls Lecter in for an interview with Alana. This is also something that wouldn’t happen in real life, as she and Lecter have a personal relationship, and this would be seen as a serious conflict of interest, on Alana’s part. It matters not as Miriam points the finger away from Lecter during the interview. She doesn’t recognize his voice.
Will is quietly released from the hospital. Chilton confronts Will as he leaves and Will warns him that he is now on Lecter’s shitlist. Gideon has disappeared, so now he and Chilton are the only two people who suspect anything might ever have been done to Will, and Will is not in any particular danger anymore, because Lecter wants to be his friend. Will urges Chilton to confess all his sins to Jack, shine a light on his relationship to Lecter, and try to convince Jack that Lecter is guilty of being The Ripper.
The thing that most humanizes Lecter is his love and admiration for the very worthy Will Graham. The thing that dehumanizes Will Graham is his warm regard for Lecter or certainly that’s what Will thinks. He believes his regard for Hannibal lessens him and that is also one of the primary reasons Hannibal must be destroyed. In destroying Hannibal Will believes he can save himself. But he also understands that in destroying Hannibal he would also destroy himself, because as horrible as it sounds, Hannibal is also the source of Will’s greatest happiness. Hannibal fully accepts him. Contrast that with Jack, for whom his special skills are merely tools, Alana, who would rather analyze him, and Chilton, who’d like nothing more than to dissect him. Everyone in the show, except for Hannibal, treats Will as if he were a two headed bug.
Hannibal wants nothing more from Will than understanding and acceptance. He is very happy to let Will point his high powered perception at him. And, he wants Will to be at peace with the darkness inside him, instead of constantly fighting against it. Is this not the purpose of a good friend? To want whats best for you? That what’s best for Will is also what’s best for Hannibal is really beside the point.
Fuller has done such a tremendous job of humanizing Hannibal, that like Will, we often forget that Hannibal is a monster. It’s a testament to Fuller’s skills that he can put us fully in Will Graham’s shoes regarding his feelings for Hannibal. He can show us Hannibal committing his crimes and we’re still capable of forgetting what he is during the span of an episode.
On his way out of the hospital Will also encounters Jack, and Will is understandably bitter that Jack wouldn’t listen to him about Lecter, when Jack tries to apologize. But Jack seems willing to listen now, after he tells Will of the finding of Miriam Lass. Will explains that the finding of Miriam is not definitive, that any evidence found with her will point away from Hannibal. Jack tells him that Miriam has already stated that her kidnapper was not Lecter.
Jack takes Will to the place where Miriam was found and Will analyzes the scene. He tells Jack that he can’t simply accept Miriam’s word for what happened to her. His point is that he had Hannibal in his head for less than a year, and look what happened to him, so imagine having Hannibal in one’s head for two years. Will fires up his superpower and with almost no evidence, except his knowledge of how Hannibal thinks, discerns that The Ripper wanted Miriam to be found and that Jack can’t trust any of this to be what it seems.
Will goes home to find Alana and the dogs waiting for him. He has a few sassy words for her too. He knows she’s in a relationship with Hannibal. She seems worried that he’s going to try to have Hannibal killed again. Once again, Will impotently warns his “friends” that Hannibal is not to be trusted, and once again, they don’t listen.
Instead of doing what Will told him to do, which is confess his sins and throw himself on Jack’s mercy, Chilton chooses instead to offer his pro bono services to bring Hannibal to heel. He offers to help Miriam recover her memory, which is exactly what Hannibal wants. This is a design that is months in the making. Keeping Miriam alive, making her believe that Chilton is her kidnapper, and finally, contriving that all of the final pieces come together to put the two of them in each other’s orbit.
Will goes to visit Miriam . As the only surviving victims of The Chesapeake Ripper, they have much to commiserate on. Will suspects she has been as much mentally manipulated as he was.
Later that evening, Hannibal has an encounter with an intense Will, in his kitchen. (Once again he has to get in a dig at Will’s aftershave. He does this once per season, as a running personal joke.) This is the prefect opportunity to kill Hannibal, but Will abides within the law, and doesn’t murder him in front of the open door of his refrigerator. He says he’s there to finish their last kitchen confidential, interrupted by Jack’s bullet.
Will warns Hannibal that his memories have all returned, he’s no longer sick and Hannibal should watch his back. In other words, Will is letting him know, “Shit is on, bro’. Put on your game face!!” Will pulls the trigger but the chamber is empty.
Jack, as part of Miriam’s therapy, takes her to Hannibal so he can recover her memories. The evidence from Miriam, that the last thing she remembers is a picture of “Wound Man”, points to Hannibal because he fits the profile. But Alana throws Chilton under the bus (not the first time she will do this) by suggesting that Chilton also fits the profile. She states reasons why Chilton might want Hannibal to take the blame. (Yeah, thanks Alana. That’s not biased by your dislike of Chilton, at all.) In attempting to implicate Hannibal as The Ripper, Chilton only drew attention to himself.
Hannibal puts the final touches on his grand design. Chilton arrives home to find the legless, armless, body of Abel Gideon, breathing its last, in his basement office. He tries to escape but encounters Hannibal wearing his plastic suit. Hannibal drugs Chilton and kills the Federal agents who were sent to take him into custody. Chilton wakes to find himself coated in blood and a massacre.
Chilton runs to Will Graham for aid, while the forensic team finds evidence of “Wound Man” in his office. Instead of helpingChilton, Will calls Jack.He’s trying to tell Chilton, in a roundabout way, that he has a plan for taking down Hannibal and proving once and for all that he is The Chesapaeake Ripper. He just needs Chilton to be patient. Chilton still manages to be pretty funny, though. When Will says running would make him look guilty, Chilton has enough sass to reply that Will didn’t run and he still looked plenty guilty.
Chilton ain’t having any of that, though. When he finds that Will called Jack ,he holds Will at gunpoint, before running away. Will tries to tell Jack what’s really happening but Jack is seriously pissed that he’s lost two more agents and won’t listen to him. He chases Chilton down and apprehends him in the woods behind Will’s house.
We have conflict of interest again, as the same team that processed Beverly’s body, is the same team that gets to process evidence from the man they believed killed her. This is a serious breech of ethics in real life. This is how I know that Hannibal takes place in some alternate world, where crazed serial killers lurk around every corner, nobody owns a television, its always winter, and there’s only one forensic team for the entire nation. I’d also like to point out, once again, that psychological profilers do not participate in arrests and nether do forensic teams, as a general rule.
It is Alana who gets to interrogate Chilton. Once again a serious breech of ethics as she is known to have an antipathy towards him. As these are his colleagues, neither she, Will, or Hannibal would be called in to consult on his case. Miriam, finally put within orbit of Chilton, executes the final part of Hannibal’s plan. She is triggered by Chilton’s voice into grabbing Jacks gun and shooting Chilton.
Hannibal is delighted to find that Will has shown up for his former evening appointment, although he is wary that Will might try to shoot him again. He is unaware that this is part of Will’s new, more subtle, design to capture The Chesapeake Ripper, by cozying up to Hannibal, and getting him to incriminate himself. (Its interesting that Hannibal has Will’s old appointment slot still open.)
Music featured in the episode:
- Bach, Partita No. 2 in D minor BWV 1004 -IV- Gigue – In the interrogation room
- Bach, Suite for cello no. 2 in D minor, bwv 1008 I. Prélude – Hannibal having a glass of wine
Note the change in Will’s wardrobe after his release from the hospital. Previously seen only in rumpled beiges, denims and brown (earth tones), he is now seen dressing in much cooler colors, grays , blacks and very deep blues. Is this meant to indicate the greater darkness in his nature now? Is this supposed to match Hannibal’s darker wardrobe? Since it’s always winter, he wears a lot of high necked garments, and I wonder if this is in tribute to Abigail’s scarves from season one.
Also, note the change in his silhouette. It’s straighter, slimmer, more rectangular, with sharper angles in the shoulders and at the waist. It has the effect of making Will look noticeably taller and more refined and elegant, which is not a way he could’ve been described in the first season. This new style of dress is a reflection of the clarity and sharpness of his mind and purpose. This is man without fear, who is wholly confident in what he’s doing. We’ll see more of this confidence in the next episode.