Last week’s Hannibal was one for the books, let me tell you. There was genuine horror (so much so that I couldn’t even re-watch the episode in my room at night because I was so scared), there was genuine gore (like Joker-smiles on crack), and there was Hannibal himself finally being truly evil. Well, more evil. And a really bad friend.
We begin somewhere we’ve never seen before, with someone we’ve never seen before. Based on past experiences with the show it’s pretty safe to say we’re about to watch this girl die. She gets home late at night (home being an empty house in the middle of nothing and nowhere) and heads up to bed. Before she can fall asleep, though, she hears a small thud and the dripping of water coming from an apparent leak in her ceiling. She goes up to her attic to find a giant hole in the roof. The camera angle changes to a view from outside and we can see footprints in the snow on the roof leading to the hole. Yeah, when Bryan Fuller said that he wanted a traditional ghost story feel for this episode, he meant it. The camera shows the interior once again and the girl is stapling a piece of plastic over the hole. That’ll do in a pinch, I suppose. When she walks down the hall and back into her room, though, the girl notices wet footprints leading under her bed. She only gets a second to feel puzzled as she goes over to where the footprints end, though. Out from under her bed shoots a hand and she is dragged under the bed, screaming. We hear the slashing of a knife, and from our birds’ eye view of the room we see massive sprays of blood shooting out from under the bed.
Will is having one of his sessions with Dr. Lecter and it doesn’t sound like things are getting any easier for him, sanity-wise. Hannibal says that Will is grieving for the life that was taken from him – the one wherein he wasn’t a killer. He is also experiencing more hallucinations and lost periods of time. Hannibal has Will draw a clock, set to the time it is currently. What he hands back to the doctor is definitely not an accurate sketch of a clock. The use of space is completely skewed, although Will sees his drawing as accurate. Evidently this clock drawing test is a real psychological diagnoses tool (thanks for sharing, Bryan Fuller!). Hannibal, however, says nothing of it.
It looks like Will has been ice fishing, as he returns to his house with a whole bunch of fish. He lays one on his counter and slices it open…and it bleeds. Like, a lot. Wait, what? Fish don’t bleed. The image changes. Will is in the murdered girl’s room, on top of her, as she chokes on her own blood. Will gets up and runs out of the room, where the whole FBI team is waiting for him. It looks like Will’s “thing” isn’t working as well as it used to. He no longer simply imagines things from a murderer’s point of view, he feels like he is the murderer. As Will says, he “got lost in the reconstruction.” That’s an understatement, I would say, as he ended up contaminating the crime scene, having left the girl’s room covered in her blood.
The girl, as it happens, is named Beth LeBeau. The forensics team is already working on the scene and has determined that she choked to death on her own blood. Will re-enters and says that she wasn’t hiding under her bed; she had been dragged there. Bev finds a fingernail embedded in the floor, which would tend to support Will’s theory. There are pictures in the room with the faces scratched out, from which Will decides that the killer was someone who cared about Beth. A lot. Like, way too much. There is one set of fingerprints on the knife that killed Beth (Will says he’s sorry about it) but other than that it seems that the killer was too diseased to leave any fingerprints. Wait, what? Before we can ponder what that means Bev points out that Beth scratched her killer hard enough to pull skin under her nails, but not blood. Why didn’t the killer bleed? And before that can be contemplated Z points out that when the killer cut Beth’s face open he then tried to pull her skin back…like a mask. Oh yeah, this just keeps getting weirder (and more messed up).
Will is back in Dr. Lecter’s office talking about the, er, incident, wherein he lost time, hallucinated, and messed with the crime scene in Beth LeBeau’s bedroom. Hannibal says that Will must overcome these delusions (well, duh) and then asks what kind of “savage delusions” the real killer had. They weren’t savage, says Will; the killer was lonely, desperate, and sad. They get back to discussing Will’s problems, and while Hannibal urges Will to accept that he is, in fact, losing sanity, Will counters with, “I know what kind of crazy I am, and it isn’t this kind of crazy.” He knows that, yeah, he’s a little messed up, but there has to be a real explanation for how suddenly “a little messed up” became “completely and utterly off his rocker.” He posits that it could be a seizure disorder, a tumor, a blood clot, or something like that. But he won’t accept that it’s psychological. Hannibal says that he can recommend a good neurologist, but stresses the fact that if it proves to not be a physiological problem, Will has to accept that it’s mental illness.
Dr. Lecter has taken Will to his neurologist buddy, who says that Hannibal is one of the sanest men he knows. Ha. Anyway, Will goes in to get a CT scan. While he’s in there, Hannibal and the doctor have an interesting chat. Hannibal says immediately that it’s encephalitis. How does he know? Well, Hannibal says he could smell it. What. The. Fuck. Okay, well apparently the scent of the illness has a heat to it, and a “fevered sweetness.” Hannibal then takes out the drawing Will did of the clock an shows the doctor, who agrees that yeah, that kind of spatial neglect is another symptom of encephalitis. While Will is in the CT scanner he envisions himself under Beth’s bed, grabbing her, and then looking over to see her sliced face. Once the scans show up on the screen it turns out that Hannibal was right. It is, indeed, encephalitis. Then Hannibal does some really sneaky manipulation…to be specific, he, without explicitly saying it, convinces the doctor to hide the illness from Will in order to have the opportunity to study him. The doctor tells Will that he’s medically fine, but that he’d be willing to run some more tests.
Jack and Hannibal are talking about Will, Jack being defensive of his decision to put Will in the field. He says that Will can and will survive anything that he puts him through. He says that Will will always find his way back to himself. But as Hannibal points out, he’s only been able to so far. There’s no guarantee he always will. Hannibal explains how Will wanted there to be something medically wrong with him, but says that Will’s problem is that he has too many mirror neurons. Evidently we have them as children but are supposed to grow out of them, only Will never did. Designed to make socializing easier, having so many mirror neurons at Will’s age makes it harder to dissociate himself from the killers he studies. Could Hannibal be trying to get Jack to take Will out of the field? Hmm…
Will goes back at night to Beth LeBeau’s house. Armed with only a flashlight he walks up to Beth’s bedroom. He looks around and suddenly sees a face under the bed! Will ducks down to get a better look (oh my god why?!) and the bed flips over, onto him. As the girl (yes, it’s a girl) from under the bed runs by him he grabs her arm. The skin peels away, leaving Will with essentially a glove made out of human skin. Suddenly Will is in the middle of the forest. He lost time again (and also the skin-glove-thing). He starts yelling to the girl, who may or may not be there, that she’s alive.
Will seems to have called Bev to come help him search Beth LeBeau’s house. She wonders why he called her, instead of the police, and he says its because he isn’t really sure that what he saw was real. From Will’s description of what happened when he grabbed the girl’s arm Bev thinks that the girl has some kind of infection. Will goes on to describe the girl’s discolored eyes and says that she was…deranged. Suddenly Will understands that the girl cut Beth LeBeau’s face because she actually cannot see faces (ohmygod, someone else has to have made the connection to the new season of Arrested Development here, with the face-blindness). He says that she may not even know that she did it, which is why she came back – she wanted to prove that she hadn’t killed Beth.
Will is back in Hannibal’s office, where he’s drawing another clock (yeah, he still can’t do it). Hannibal asks Will if, in light of the lack of a medical diagnosis, he would allow Hannibal to run some tests on him. Hannibal then changes the subject to Cotard’s syndrome. He asks if Will has considered it for his killer. Evidently people with this disorder think they’re dead. Inability to identify other people is also associated with the disorder, hence the way the killer seemed to want to remove a mask from Beth’s face. Will posits that the killer went to Beth’s house, seeking her friend, but could not recognize Beth and thus became angry and violent.
That night Will is sleeping and in his yard there is a woman. Suddenly she’s looking through his window. This is the killer, and it seems that she’s found Will.
The FBI has found a suspect, or rather the mother of a suspect. Georgia Madchen was a close friend of Beth LeBeau’s and has been suffering from mental illness since she was a child. Evidently when she was nine she told her mom that she was going to kill her, and that she herself was already dead. Georgia’s mother talks about how her daughter would be in the hospital for months at a time, getting all kinds of blood and brain tests, but that everything was inconclusive. Will seems uncomfortable about this turn in discussion. Afterwards Will and Jack have a conversation about Jack’s expectations for Will. The summation of it is basically that Jack says that when Will doubts himself, he doesn’t have to doubt Jack, too.
Let it never be said that Hannibal Lector skimps on dinners for his friends. This time he has invited his doctor friend over for “jamon Iberico,” which I guess is some kind of super rare and expensive ham. But also it’s probably still people somehow. Anyway, they go through a little metaphorical conversation about pigs that ends with the question of how Hannibal got his “pig.” And why. Hannibal explains that he’s fascinated by Will’s personality. It’s pure empathy. And evidently Hannibal likes to set that imagination on fire, so to speak. When the doctor asks whether or not Hannibal plans on putting that fire out, Hannibal says that Will is his friend so he will put out the fire when it’s necessary. Yeah, you’re a REALLY great friend, Hannibal.
Will goes back for another CT scan. When he gets out of the machine, though, the doctor isn’t there. He’s not in the adjoining room with the (completely blank) monitors, either. Will gets dressed and goes to leave, when he sees a smudged bloody handprint on the handle of the door to the doctor’s office. He covers his hand with his coat, so as not to leave prints and opens the door. And holy-Jesus-motherfucking-christ the doctor’s head has almost been cut in half – it’s like a more extreme version of the so-called “Glasgow Grin” that Beth LeBeau got when she was murdered. The image is so gruesome, in fact, that NBC only allowed about a second of it to be shown on TV. Bryan Fuller, being the dutiful show runner that he is, tweeted a nice clear picture of it, though. So if you’re really morbidly curious, you can go check that out.
The forensics crew is there to do their thing, and Bev examines Will for any traces of blood. There’s nothing, so there’s no way it was him. One of the forensics guys says that the murder weapon actually has the same kind of diseased tissue on it that they found on Beth LeBeau’s murder weapon. Jack tries to figure out what the connection is between the doctor and Georgia Madchen, but the only thing connecting the two is Will. Hmmm…
That night Will is asleep in bed when he hears one of his (many) dogs growling. He seems to instantly wake up and know what he’s about to find under his bed. That doesn’t stop him from basically flinging himself out of it and onto the floor when he sees Georgia Madchen’s sick and diseased face peering out at him. He tells her that she isn’t alone, that they’re there together. And Georgia asks if she’s alive, reaching out her hand. Will holds it.
Next we see Georgia in a hyperbaric chamber (which I really only know because of my weakness for hospital shows – it’s actually basically a giant glass tube). Jack is in Hannibal’s office, asking if Georgia will recover. Hannibal says that she is basically being treated like a burn victim, but that’s not what Jack means. Will she recover psychologically? Hannibal says that most sufferers of Cotard’s syndrome do recover with treatment, but he’s more concerned about Will. Jack wonders how much Hannibal thinks Georgia will remember, and Hannibal says that he sincerely hopes it isn’t much. In the hyperbaric chamber Georgia is awake, and it looks like she remembers something…
…That “something” is probably what we see next - her walking into the doctor’s office while Hannibal, in a Patrick-Bateman-esque plastic suit, is slicing and pushing and breaking the doctor’s face. Yeah, of course it was Hannibal who did it. After a moment he smells Georgia (yup, he can smell her). When he turns to look at her we get to see Hannibal from Georgia’s point of view…and he doesn’t have a face. Actually, if you’re familiar with Doctor Who and saw the one where Billie Piper’s face gets stolen, that’s exactly what this looks like. But anyway, Hannibal walks over to Georgia and hands her the scissors he had been using on his “friend” and leaves. Georgia is left standing there with the murder weapon in her diseased (but this time innocent) hand.
Tune in for Hannibal tonight at 10 PM/EST only on NBC.