Hannibal – Recap: Plagiarism of the Palate
We’ve gotten little hints via dribs and drabs of conversations over the first five episodes, but “Entrée” saw Hannibal shift its focus squarely onto our show’s titular subject. Mr. Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) is, of course, the elusive Chesapeake Ripper. Still, we know our Hannibal is not one for asking for a pat on the back, but rather, is often one to dole out a pat on the head or a slap on the wrist. That is, Lecter is often one to push his friends(?) in the right direction or to offer sage advice. Other times he teaches lessons the hard way. If you’re rude, obnoxious, or generally unappealing as an individual, you don’t want to cross paths with the impossibly sharp Lecter for fear of losing your liver and your life. Could anything be more atrocious to Hannibal than someone taking credit for his impressive body of work? Well, probably someone mistakenly attaching a botched murder to his string of kills, but that’s another story.
The episode opened with a certain Dr. Gideon (Eddie Izzard) being rushed to the intensive care section of a hospital for the criminally insane. That is, he seemed to be in critical condition, only to pop up from the gurney with the intention of slaughtering the lone nurse watching over him. Just to clarify, Gideon was a patient at this hospital. Did someone mistakenly read his vital signs? Why on Earth would anyone leave a woman alone with a known murderer? These were questions that were most certainly floating through Will Graham’s (Hugh Dancy) mind as he and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) attempted to analyze the grizzly murder scene. Will’s analytical mind-scan scene this week proved to be one of the show’s most graphic moments yet, as he recreated Gideon’s murder of the nurse from the point of her eyes being gouged out to the moment she was first impaled. Seriously, NBC is pushing it, but I appreciate that!
The ridiculously smug head of the hospital was sure that he’d discovered this Chesapeake Ripper among his patients. The time frames certainly matched up, as did the visual effect of the woman’s displayed corpse. Two years prior, Gideon had been committed. The Ripper hadn’t killed since then, or so they thought. Alana (Caroline Dhavernas) and Will both took their turns questioning Gideon, who’d happily admitted to being the Chesapeake Ripper, although, something seemed entirely off, especially to Will. This nurse’s corpse was arranged posthumously. The Ripper always grotesquely, albeit intricately, formed his “piece” while his victim was still alive. Also, Gideon had no true explanation as to why trophy organs were ever carefully removed. Although the hospital’s head explained that Gideon had always been cooperative, he was very quick to conclude that he’d uncovered this killer.
Much of this week’s episode surrounded a flashback sequence for Jack, who’d been desperately trying to cope with the realization that his wife is on the brink of death by cancer. Desperate for answers, he would attempt to convince Hannibal to reveal some of Bella’s session confessions in hopes of finding answers as to how he could better support her. Hannibal’s one revelation was that Bella is not disappointed with her choice of husband, although, beyond that, he wouldn’t break his confidentiality agreement. Reeling at the thought of his impending loss, Jack drudged up the memory of a young agent in training, Miriam, whom he’d taken a special liking to. The girl was talented and ambitious, just the perfect recruit to work on the Chesapeake Ripper case with him. From the get-go, we knew this story was going to end grimly, but watching Jack walk her through, say, a murder scene surrounding a man who’d been brutally impaled in his garage, showed us how Jack was an inspired mentor. Today, we know him as Will’s cold handler, but Miriam and her peers regarded Jack as a hero of sorts. This made things all the more tragic when Jack received his first anonymous phone call; a recorded message of Miriam moments before her implied death. The next day, Beverly (Hettienne Park) would attempt to trace the call but to no avail. Most of the team seemed to think Jack dreamt up the eerie message from his past, as if anyone would ever confuse that message for leftover dreamtime haze. As Jack put it, you know when you’re awake… unless you’re Will. Sorry, Will! Was there any chance that Miriam was still alive, considering the fact that her body was never found? Later, he’d receive another phone call repeating the same message. This time, the call came from… his home telephone. Analysis of his bedroom revealed that someone had been lying on his wife’s pillow, as a long blond hair was left behind. Fingerprints on the phone revealed a match to Miriam. Someone wanted Jack to realize that the Chesapeake Ripper was, indeed, not Dr. Gideon.
Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) had run the initial story that prompted Jack and Will to investigate the nurse’s murder. Her gossip post was nothing more than a rumor, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t be useful. Will was revolted by the mere concept of working with Freddie, but Jack did conjure up a clever plan. If Freddie could post a more factual encounter with Gideon, one that verified him as the Ripper, they could essentially draw the actual Chesapeake Ripper to act. Will’s stomach churned at the idea of pressuring the sociopath to quite possibly kill again, but Jack was desperate for a lead. I did actually enjoy, much to my own dismay, Freddie’s commentary on sociopaths. According to a factual study, surgeons, journalists, and law enforcement officers were all top career paths for sociopaths. Maybe they’re all on the brink. She certainly seemed right at home interviewing Gideon. The mere thought of beating out the nation’s best news sources thrilled her. Hannibal, needless to say, was livid.
The thing about Hannibal is that he isn’t one to truly revel in his work. He’s not looking to be lauded, but rather, enjoys what he does with a sense of aesthetic responsibility. He’s articulate and artistic, but he has no intention of getting caught to claim credit. This episode posed an interesting predicament because he would have to reveal Gideon as a fraud, to protect his own credibility, while still maintaining his anonymity. He did this by manipulating Jack’s sense of devastation and guilt over Miriam’s death. After a dinner with Alana and the hospital’s head, Hannibal seemed to uncover that Gideon was perhaps enticed to believe he was the Chesapeake Ripper. Could the man have planted seeds in Gideon’s mind to create false memories? Of course, Gideon could simply have made everything up himself, taking into consideration that he’s locked away forever in any case. Gideon’s own claim to fame was that he brutally murdered his wife and her family on Thanksgiving. One thing that Hannibal exhibits is impeccable control. An act of violent passion such as that did not match with his repertoire of work in the slightest.
One more phone call would lead Jack Crawford and his team to a new location. Whoever was harassing Jack was looking for him to trace this specific number. There, Jack would continuously reverse dial the call, using the phone’s ring tone to lead himself, Will, and the others straight to a severed arm. A note attached read, “What do you see?”
The episode closed with Jack and Hannibal chatting by the fireside. Hannibal apologized for Bella’s terminal illness, noting that the world was a better place with her in it. He also expressed his condolences for Jack’s lost protégé. Jack admitted to feeling a slight pang of irrational hope. At this point, we witnessed our last flashback. Miriam had been snooping through medical records, much to Jack’s chagrin; however, tracking down surgeons who’d previously worked on the Ripper’s victims could lead to the killer himself. Remember, the medical field was highly enticing to a sociopath looking for some sort of power over others. Eventually, the records led her to Hannibal, who had merely been present the night Jeremy Olmstead, the garage victim she’d studied with Jack prior, had an arrow surgically removed from his leg following a freak hunting accident. Hannibal pretended not to recall the man, but offered to lend Miriam his medical journals to help in her search. While Lecter retrieved his book, Miriam simply glanced around his impressive office. A beautiful sketch of the Olmstead’s brutally slaughtered body blew Hannibal’s cover, presumably for the first time, and Miriam would subsequently pay the price. This was such a clever concept. Her body was never uncovered, so he could essentially use her parts as he pleased; i.e. using her hair or fingerprints as false evidence. When all was said and done, though, I believed Hannibal felt true remorse for this necessary death. As I said previously, Hannibal is not one to kill without intricate care and planning, not to mention a legitimate cause. He needs something to avenge.
What did you think of Hannibal Season 1 Episode 6, “Entrée”? Were you happy to see the show shift its focus onto Lecter as opposed to following the usual “killer of the week” format? Is Freddie paving the way to her own doom? Will Graham uncover Lecter’s secret, or will the show find a way of adequately dragging this out? Does the controversial gore-factor of this show draw you in or repel you?
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