Events progressed faster than I thought they would as we witness the beginning of Will's trial for the five murders he supposedly committed. Firmly grounded in the defense is Will's plea of unconsciousness or more that he wasn't aware of what he was doing when/if he committed the murders the prosecution said he was. It's a big gamble because those sorts of pleas often never work but with Dr. Bloom's testimony it could've worked. With the damning amount of physical evidence Hannibal mounted up against Will things didn't seem to be going his way at all, until a recently severed ear falls out of an envelope addressed Will in court. The BAU determine that it was dismembered with the same knife that took the ear off of Abigail Hobbs which had been checked out by a bailiff of the court. When the FBI raid the bailiff's house it goes up in flames and displayed on stag's antlers is the body of the bailiff with a Colombian necktie, a severed ear, and burned. The trademarks of several of Will's supposed victims, except the all those injuries were inflicted post-mortem (Hannibal always inflicts the mutilations while the victim is still alive) on the bailiff and the cause of death was a gunshot to the heart which doesn't fit Hannibal's MO of trying to help put reasonable doubt in his friend's court either with some extracurricular kills. It was intriguing to see the prosecution lay out the case against Will Graham and honestly if it were in a real court I would vote him guilty if I were serving on that jury with the amount of evidence the state has. Will's old pals Dr. Chilton and Freddie Lounds appear in court testifying for the prosecution. First off, why is Dr. Chilton allowed to testify when Will refused his care? Wouldn't that render his judgment in his diagnosis of Will as an intelligent psychopath very biased and ignorant since all he has to go off of Will's mental state is what he records from afar and what others tell him. Freddie is obviously lying through her teeth for the attention. Wouldn't it be better to just tell the truth rather than perjure yourself Freddie? Didn't Hannibal warn you last year about overstepping your boundaries as a writer? Also, the prosecution shouldn't use a witness that has been sued for libel even once that's pretty much all a defense attorney needs to point out in cross-examination to have their testimony thrown out in the eyes of the jury. The big turn of the episode was Jack's throwing caution to the wind and testifying against the wishes of the Inspector General (Cynthia Nixon) and possibly saving his job. He was the most truthful witness on the stand this week as he admits to having been warned by multiple parties about Will's mental state but keeping Will on because he was catching killers for the FBI. It was refreshing to see Jack do more than squirm under the pressures of the job and finally tell it how it is in front of the people of that courtroom. I hope Jack doesn't lose his job in the process, although his scene with Hannibal was touching when he gave us an update the Bella is still dying from her cancer but that he wants to take her to Italy where they met before it's too late. Hannibal's right that he shouldn't burn the bridge to the FBI if he can avoid it because his wife's days on Earth are sadly numbered. We got to see a more human side of Hannibal this week as he took the stand for his friend Will and play confidant to Jack in his time of need. His speech to Will about wanting to be his friend till he dies was touching and articulated much of what Bedelia had surmised given his Will Graham conversations with her last season. One thing that I believe Fuller and the writers have left ambiguous is did Hannibal set Will up as the Ripper because the FBI was getting too close? At one point did he decide to frame Will? Did he plan this from the start of his consultations with Will or only after Miriam Lass' arm was found? Because it could be easily read that he planned it all along but his remorse and tenderness of feeling towards Will contradict him being a pure psychopath without conscience in this instance which suggests that he did so out of necessity more than anything else to save himself from the FBI so that he could stay free. I'm theorizing here but I'm just giving voice to the intentional ambiguity on Hannibal's motives that I appreciate the writers have left in there for us to piece together in our subjective little ways. Too bad the bailiff murder is inadmissible in court seeing as it does cast some doubt on Will's guilt in the case. The bigger question is if the killer is in fact Hannibal or a true disciple as it was put by the BAU. Does Will truly have an admirer as Dr. Gideon was to the Chesapeake Ripper? That would make for an interesting turn of events seeing as Hannibal would be a bit of the obvious choice here to help his friend face a potential mistrial, especially as the judge is found without a scalp and posed as a picture of balancing justice on the proverbial scales. Will definitely got a mistrial which buys him more time at the hospital but it doesn't close the possibility of another trial under another not murdered judge. I'm hopeful they expand on Will's gunshot-to-the-heart admirer as an outside killer fixated on an innocent man can certainly bring some more macabre to the show. It was also nice to veer away from the killer of the week formula this week and just focus on the developments of Will's guilt and trial although surely there will be more field work ahead for our heroes.
So many levels of playing in this episode! It was interesting to see this drastic change in both setting and content, but I also had to keep remind myself that it's not a court show and hence shouldn't be held to the same standards that court shows are, mainly because its primary function is to tell a story, whereas court shows is to show off the cool things that happen in the legal system while also telling a story. Hannibal seems incredibly erratic in this episode, bouncing between wanting to frame Will but also to reclaim him as his friend. There are so many levels of playing going on, too. It's still doing a wonderful job, but especially with the move to Friday nights, I worry that Hannibal will lose grip on what made season one so awe-inspiring.
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