Hannibal – Recap: Will’s Wet Dream
Hannibal truly is in a league of its own, at this point. It’s a shame that the material often put up for display on this show isn’t readily digestible by all mature audiences. Meaning, this show appeals to a certain niche audience who can appreciate its sometimes-twisted nature as they soak up the amazing cast of characters, both good and evil. Hannibal might never be the ratings juggernaut it deserves to be, but does it have to get there? Hot off the heels of its first renewal, the show is here to stay, at least for now, and the core viewership is always hungry for more. Episode 11, “Rôti,” showcased exactly what this show does best; killer writing, cut-throat characterization, and a virtual feast of vivid imagery. I should note that writing these recaps and reviews has truly challenged me to drum up as many lush foodie descriptions as I possibly can. I say I’m doing pretty damn well! Now, we arrive at the main course. (See?)
Episode 11 opened as faux-Chesapeake Ripper, Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard), prepared for trial against Frederick Chilton (Raul Esparza), the doctor who’d used illegal techniques to psychologically pressure him into believing that he was, indeed, the notorious killer. The Gideon of this week’s episode was certainly different than the confident killer we’d become familiar with during Episode 6. That man was manipulated into a false state of confidence. This man, on the contrary, maintained a cool demeanor while still fully recognizing that his identity had been stripped away. As the guarded van took Gideon from the asylum for the criminally insane, we were treated to what was essentially a monologue from the man who’d murdered his family, awful wife included, as they sat around the dinner table. He attempted to speak to his guards regarding marriage to no response. Of course, they did respond as he moved to kill them both.
Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) would deduce the method to the man’s madness, realizing in a near instant that Gideon was crying out for the attention of the true Ripper, the man we know to be Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). The man left his victims’ organs hanging by their dead bodies, a move the true Ripper would never choose to make. Later, Crawford’s (Laurence Fishburne) crew would uncover that the victims’ brains had been scrambled, representing, symbolically so, what had been done to Gideon himself. Will, meanwhile, had begun, well, liquefying. Dreams and impossibly realistic visions of crime scenes from episodes past have begun to cloud Will’s sense of realism all together. Forget not knowing whether or not he’s awake or asleep. As the season winds to a close, Will Graham, like Abel Gideon, has no clue who he is anymore, dematerializing into a pool of water before waking up in a cold sweat as he so often does.
Confronting Frederick Chilton was an arduous task, as the smug doctor refused to admit any true wrongdoings on his part. Instead, the man harped on the brilliant nature of a crazy mind with Hannibal before ending up on the receiving end of a scolding from both Will and Alana (Caroline Dhavernas). Alana, of course, was one of several psychiatrists to speak with Gideon before his breakout. More specifically, she was the one who attempted to convince Gideon that he was absolutely unclear regarding who he was. She made him start to question his identity. Alana, unlike Frederick, seemed to grapple with her own guilt issues throughout the episode, admitting to Will that she felt uncomfortable with the idea of playing any small part in Gideon’s degradation at all. As Will continued to attempt to piece together his thoughts, like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle made out of water, Alana continued to share her sense of affection for him in her current vulnerable state.
Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) received a call from another published writer, a psychiatrist claiming to be on the search for a new literary partner, one who understood Abel Gideon. Freddie, taking the bait, arrived at the man’s office to find Gideon himself standing over the doctor’s corpse. The man’s tongue had been removed and strapped like a tie around his neck. Later, Crawford’s team, Will included, would discover a fresh article on Freddie’s gossip blog, conspicuously displayed on the latest victim’s laptop. It was clear… the article was written on the spot, with Gideon in the room, and Freddie Lounds had become his captive.
Meanwhile, Will and Hannibal continued to meet to analyze Will’s crumbling mental state. Hannibal did his best to hide Will’s ailment, a legitimate brain infection called encephalitis, while Will wrestled with the idea of becoming legitimately insane and forgetting who he truly is forever. Hannibal’s motives remained unclear, at this point. Was he looking to drive Will insane? Was he cleverly attempting to drive Will away from Jack in order to free his friend from the cause thereby curing the symptom? One thing we know for sure, thanks to the way this show brilliantly writes its titular star, is that Hannibal might be a psychopathic narcissist, but he isn’t entirely selfish. He’s an antihero, not a villain.
Shortly after Gideon’s latest murder, another of his former psychiatrists popped up dead. This time, though, the man’s arm had been severed. Will recognized the signs immediately. This was the actual Ripper’s work, and he was sending a sign to Crawford. In truth, Gideon had set up shot with Freddie Lounds in the same abandoned building Hannibal had left Crawford’s protégé, Miriam’s, severed arm a few episodes back. Frederick Chilton was drugged on an operating table but still perfectly aware of what was going on. Gideon, a former surgeon, had perhaps his most important future victim strapped down and ready to receive his vengeance. Freddie watched as Gideon slowly removed the man’s organs one by one. By the time Crawford’s team had arrived, Gideon was gone, and Freddie stood manually pumping oxygen into Chilton’s lungs as he clasped his own organs in his arms. Will Graham, who’d been instructed to wait outside, was lured into the nearby woods by the now infamous stag. The animal guided him straight to Gideon’s car, where a very sick Will held the man at gunpoint, pressuring him to drive. Funny enough, Will didn’t see him as Gideon, but as Garrett Jacob Hobbs.
The pair arrived at Lecter’s house with just enough time for Will to plead with Hannibal. Who did Lecter see sitting in the dining room chair? Was it truly Garrett Jacob Hobb’s held at Will’s gunpoint? Gideon sat quiet, but Lecter lied on the spot, claiming to see no one at all. The news drove an already deteriorating Will into a standing seizure. With Will unconscious, Hannibal informed Gideon that he knew where Alana Bloom resided, directing the killer straight to his next target’s home. When Will came to, Hannibal put him through a few health tests before “leaving” to rescue Alana. Interestingly enough, he left the gun and keys on his table. In fact, the intended plan was for Will to venture to Alana’s. Hannibal merely circled back, never leaving his home at all.
Outside of Alana’s home, Will and Gideon watched in the snow as she meandered around the room completely unaware and in plain sight. Is there anything scarier than knowing someone outside, in the dark, can see you crystal clear, while you can’t see anything but darkness? Gideon and Will were two men certainly in the same boat. As Gideon confided in Will that in killing Alana the way the Ripper murdered his victims, he might understand just a little bit more. Although, he also admitted to realizing that he might never know who he is again. Will, in no mental state to be holding a gun or conversing with a killer, still saw Hobbs staring back at him, coercing Will to kill Alana himself. In the end, a gunshot was fired. Alana peered outside to see Gideon’s bloody corpse dead in the snow, and Will Graham collapsing at his side. Hannibal Lecter had manipulated Will into destroying his imaginary demon. We don’t know whether or not Chilton will survive, but Crawford remained confident that Will’s illness would be cured. Hannibal, on the other hand, sat anxious.
The episode closed with Hannibal Lecter attending a session with his own psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson). There, they spoke of Will Graham and his “madness.” A little madness can change the world for the better. Too much madness can be absolutely detrimental to one’s life. Hannibal had hoped that Will’s madness would challenge him, driving Graham to become stronger and to fight. Did Hannibal ever want Will to become a psychopath? I’m not sure that was the case. Obviously, that isn’t how things turned out for Graham, at least not yet, but Hannibal’s quiet desperation for one true friend in Will continues.
What did you think of Hannibal Season 1 Episode 11, “Rôti”? As the season winds down, how pleased are you? Can Will Graham pull through, or will he inevitably unravel into a killer? Will he find the stability to be with Alana? Do you think Graham will discover Hannibal’s secret by the season finale?
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