This week’s episode of NBC’s Hannibal was originally slated to be the show’s fifth episode, but as we all know by now episode four was scratched. The episode was cut due to potentially insensitive or triggering material, although shows up in mini “webisodes” on NBC.com and Hulu.com.
The episode begins with Will, wandering a highway in the middle of the night. There is an elk behind him, or so it would seem. A police car stops by him, and it’s clear that he’s been sleep-walking. One of his dogs, Winston, followed him there. The police question him, and then drive him and Winston home.
The next day we see Will visiting Dr. Lecter in his home. They discuss Will’s mental health, and potential causes for the sleepwalking (which is new for him). Dr. Lecter is still his therapist, but makes it clear that they are meeting as friends, more or less.
Cut to a man at a motel getting ice from an ice box He spots a family of three going into a room, and then he spots a young couple…only through his eyes their heads are covered in fire. I think it’s safe to say we know who our new killer is. After the commercial break Will and Jack are in the parking lot of the same motel. As it turns out, the aforementioned couple was, in fact, murdered and mutilated. Not only that, but their corpses have been arranged meticulously…in the form of pair of angels, kneeling at the foot of the bed. Their backs are partially flayed, the skin held up by string to create “wings”. The image is horrific, one that might make even the biggest gory horror fan squirm a bit. It is deduced by Will that the killer arranged his “angels” to watch over him as he slept. Will says that the killer thought he was elevating his victims, somehow, by turning them into these macabre angels.
Next, Hannibal has dinner guests! Jack and his wife have come over, but the latter doesn’t seem to be a fan of the first course of Dr. Lecter’s cooking. When asked if it was too rich, she replied with “too cruel.” In a darkly amusing response, Hannibal says, “First and worst sign of sociopathy: cruelty to animals.” Of course, he says, he has no interest in being cruel to animals. He has an “ethical butcher” whom he uses. No comment on that irony.
During the autopsies of the bodies, Will concludes that the killer didn’t create his “angels” to worship him. He created them to pray for him. Based on what was found in the killer’s stomach, it is concluded that he has a brain tumor. As Will says, he’s afraid of dying in his sleep. He invented his own angels to watch over him.
After the commercial break, Mrs. Crawford has an appointment with Dr. Lecter. Based on conversation, it sounds like she’s having an affair. There’s a man that she sees once a week, although it used to be twice. Jack doesn’t know, and she doesn’t want to tell him. She doesn’t want to worry Jack. It sounds pretty suspicious.
Next Will and Hannibal are doing research in the latter’s office, trying to figure out the motives of their killer. Suddenly, Hannibal turns the tables and begins analyzing Will, particularly regarding his relationship with Jack. But Will isn’t having any of it, asking Hannibal if he’s trying to turn him against Jack. The conversation switches topics then, but might Hannibal have planted some kind of seed in Will’s mind? We shall see….
Jack and Bella are getting into bed, when Jack decides it’s time to try to address Bella’s increasing distance from him. He says he won’t insult her by asking if there’s someone else, but that he knows that there is something she isn’t telling him.
The killer once again sees someone’s head aflame, this time a guy who passes him walking down an alleyway. We know this poor guy’s fate already. This time the guy’s body is hung on a high scaffolding, outside. This time the killer has gone a bit further – he left part of himself at the scene. He castrated himself and left the by-product there, in preparation for becoming an angel himself. Angels, after all, are asexual and don’t have genitalia. Jack wants to know how the killer is choosing his victims, and it seems that Will is fed up with being questioned about it. He doesn’t know, and why doesn’t Jack come up with his own ideas if he doesn’t like Will’s? At that, everyone around them leaves It seems that Will crossed a line. Is this the result of Hannibal subtly making Will question Jack’s respect for him?
One of the forensic analysts comes up to Will and comments on how no one talks to Jack like that. She asks if he’s okay, knowing that there’s no way anyone who does their jobs could actually be okay. One of the other forensics guys comes over with news – there is, in fact, something connecting all three of the victims together: they’re all felons.
Bella is having another session with Dr. Lecter. This time it becomes clear that she isn’t having an affair, there’s something else that she feels compelled to keep from her husband. She has cancer, and she is dying. Hannibal questions whether she could be keeping it all from Jack because she resents him for being unable to save her.
Once again, Will is havig trouble sleeping. He glances at his clock, which reads 2:02 AM. Then 5:03 AM. Then, after being asleep for what could only have been minutes, he wakes up on his roof, having sleepwalked his way there.
In his meeting with Dr. Lecter Will once again confides his sleep problems. Hannibal seems to sense his reluctance to discuss the subject at length and changes the topic to their killer. His tumor is telling him to do these things, although he thinks he’s on a mission from God himself.
Back at the FBI database, the identity of the Angel Maker has been found. He’s a 35-year-old trucker and fishing enthusiast with a family that hasn’t seen him in four months. Jack meets with the man’s wife, who explains that she left him. She says he had become distant, making it clear that he didn’t want her there. And suddenly Jack seems to be having an epiphany. Meanwhile it is revealed that, while the Angel Maker was never a religious man before his tumor, he did have a near death experience as a child. He suffocated in a fire, and a fireman told him that he must have had a guardian angel. It happened in a farm, so it looks like we know where to look for him now.
Sure enough, there he is. Dead, and strung up as an angel. He did this to himself. He made himself into an angel. How did he manage to do that by himself? We can’t even begin to guess. Will turns to Jack and says that he doesn’t know how much longer he can be of use to him and the FBI. It’s getting more and more difficult for him to do what he does, viewing murders through the eyes of murderers. Will seems convinced that Jack is going to try to force him to keep working, but he doesn’t. Jack says that if Will wants to quit, he should, and then he walks off. Clearly this is not what Will was expecting. Will starts to have a vision in which the murderer comes down from the ceiling he’s hung from and tells him that he sees what Will is – and Will has flames covering his head. Evidently Will considers himself to be on par with the people the Angel Maker killed.
Jack is waiting outside after Bella’s appointment with Dr. Lecter. Instantly she knows that he knows about her illness. They have a much-needed conversation about their life together, and how they’re going to handle things. When Jack asks Bella why she didn’t tell him, she says that she thought if she didn’t then their lives wouldn’t change. But she hadn’t counted on changing personally as much as she did.
Will comes by Jack’s office, and it’s clear that he’s still thinking about his wife’s illness. Will says that Jack doesn’t need to talk right away, but that he won’t leave until he does. They sit there in silence for the final seconds of the episode.
Tune in next week for Hannibal, 10pm EST only on NBC.