I would say this has been the most enjoyable episode to this point as it gives us the first look at how dangerous Hannibal is The episode involves a serial killer knows as The Chesapeake Ripper when a body is found in a hospital for the criminally insane. As many would have guessed, Dr. Gideon wasn't the Ripper but I was glad that it was Hannibal because now we have Will and Jack tracking him down once again but this time he is right under their noses.
This is exactly the kind of stuff I wanted from this wonderful show. Finally Dr Lecter gets to show a smidge of his colours on screen and finally let there be no doubt over his character, mind and abilities. Everything that went before feels all the colder following the final revelation (a pretty obvious one but not a wholly certain one).
It's a shame that all was tempered by the anemic Gideon.. the show has resisted obvious winking at the audience (with references to chianti and father beans) but Gideon was riddled with half references to SotL that I'm not sure Izzard (a decent if uneven actor) was capable of pulling off.. and yet i don't blame Izzard and I can't whole blame the writing, directing or editing.. it felt like it was sailing close to the wind and riding the parody line uncomfortably too well... the TV version of Uncanny Valley. I liked the knowing nods but at the same time didn't feel them earned.
This week's Hannibal got a lot done in terms of giving us some dastardly material for Lecter to dodge. We open on Dr. Gideon, a prisoner in a high security psychiatric firm who kills a nurse after faking a medical episode after having been a model patient for two years. The crime suggests, with several objects protruding from the body, that he is the Chesapeake Ripper. What sells the FBI on it is that the timeline matches the fact that the Ripper has been inactive for two years which could mean Gideon is the Ripper but we all know that Lecter is in fact the Ripper. This was a rather light episode in terms of Will's involvement beyond retracing Gideon's murder of the nurse. We also met Dr. Chilton, a key player in Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon and one whom Hannibal grows to despise for his arrogance. Chilton is intrigued by Will, saying he's "the talk of many psychiatric circles" in regards to his imagination. While interviewing Gideon Alana, Jack, and Will all seem offput by his demeanor but only Will believes that he isn't the Ripper because he doesn't "feel the RIpper" as a part of Gideon. Gideon had slaughtered his wife and mother in law in his home two Thanksgivings ago. Interestingly Jack devises a plan to draw the real Ripper out if Gideon is a fake by having Freddie Lounds publish a "confirmed" story of Gideon's identity as the Ripper being known. Jack also remembers bringing a young trainee in the FBI under his wing to investigate the Ripper two years ago and had ended badly. Jack's flashbacks played a nice parallel (also Miriam, the trainee's, body was never found) to the main story which saw Hannibal dining with Alan and Chilton over human flesh we can presume as well as discussing Gideon, who is also a Dr. coincidentally. Hannibal seems to have the idea that Chilton used unorthodox techniques which included auto-suggesting that Gideon was the Chesapeake Ripper through therapy because of his suspicions which makes Chilton responsible for the death of the nurse as much as Gideon in a more indirect way which is kinda sick in my opinion. Jack gets a phone call in the dead of night and a recording of Miriam (the dead trainee) saying her last words are played for him. Apparently no actual call was made and whoever it was would have had to use the local switchboard to avoid that detection. Jack gets another call later on from an actual number and find Miriam's arm holding the cell phone the call had been made from. This was all that they needed to know that Gideon was a poser, and that Will was right about it. Jack had a lot to handle this week, presuming that Miriam was in fact alive at least for a second, as well as dealing with his wife drifting away from him and Lecter's inability to tell him anything due to doctor patient confidentiality. The final scene where Hannibal is comforting Jack about his wife not thinking that he was the wrong man she ended up with was heavily contrasted by Miriam visiting Lecter two years ago about one of the Ripper's victims being a victim of a hunting accident back when he used to practice medicine. He says that he does not recall but excuses himself to grab a journal since he "kept very detailed accounts back then" and as Miriam looks on a table with a sketch of a nude woman she uncovers a drawing of a victim posed much like a victim of the Ripper. Hannibal then sneaks up behind her with no shoes on to cover his approach and chokes her to unconsciousness. I mean she could still be alive, not healthy, but alive nonetheless to be used as a tool. I mean that arm might've been dug up from a body but there is the slimmest of possibilities that Miriam is alive and imprisoned somewhere where Hannibal can get to her to do who knows what. But we finally got to see the killer incarnate without offscreen brutality at his hands. I just know that Will will uncover the that the Hobbs' copycat murder is in fact the Ripper, maybe not Hannibal exactly, but the Ripper's work entirely which will put him closer to discovering Hannibal as the actual Ripper. This was a fantastic episode as we saw a different side of Jack, Hannibal serving as a malicious killer and at the same time a good friend to Jack, and Will taking the sidelines for a great outing of Hannibal. I really do hope that this show gets a second season despite the ratings, it's the best show on NBC next to Parks and Rec and should get some love at least for another season to prove itself and get into the great stuff.
I liked the references to the original Manhunter and Red Dragon stories, complete with Lecter taking his shoes off to surprise agent-in-training Lass as she discovered the truth about him (originally it was Will, as I am sure you all know) but that would have been too much too soon... also liked the "having an old friend for dinner" remark. :) Can't wait for a Chianti wine reference, and oh, who else thinks there will be a mention of another trainee? :)
What I liked about this episode. Very nice to find out more about an old case. The flashbacks were great. Raul Esparza - always a pleasure seeing him!
What I didn't like. Please stop pretending that this bimbo dr. Bloom is actually a specialist that other psychiatrists know and respect. And I'm still kind of waiting for a more procedural type of show, but probably this is my fault.
Such a nice nod to the films, the interviews with Alana and Will. And holy crap, Izzard's brilliant. I haven't seen anything of his outside of his comedy acts. This episode also brought to you by DRUGS, a book on Lecter's shelves. This was a very involved episode, and a shaky start to a multi-part episode. If they're already onto Hannibal's trail, this series doesn't have much life left in it. It's a dangerous game they're playing, revealing that hand so soon. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.
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