Jamie Harsip Staff Writer
If you’re not watching NBC’s Hannibal by now, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. In fact, I would say that you should look at your life right now, because this is one incredible show you’re missing out on. Last night’s episode brought it in a big way, and I’m not just saying that.
If you haven’t seen it, stop reading now; there are spoilers ahead…but I suggest you go watch all five aired episodes of Hannibal right now on NBC.com.
To begin, we have special guest star Eddie Izzard laying facedown on the floor of what appears to be a super high-tech cell in a mental hospital. He appears unconscious, as police officers order him to get up. When he doesn’t, they come in, check his pulse, and call for a gurney. The man is taken to a small and secluded medical bay, where a nurse begins to treat him. She turns away from him for a second, and the sound of the heart monitor flat lining alerts her. When she turns around, the man is awake, upright, and decidedly insane-looking.
Cut to Jack driving up to the Baltimore Memorial Hospital with Will in tow. Evidently the wonderfully hate-able tabloid journalist Freddie Lounds has already heard about what happened there – and published a story saying that the Chesapeake Ripper did it. The Ripper is a supposedly-at-large serial killer, who has been referenced on the show before. As it turns out, perhaps the killer was behind bars the whole time.
We are introduced to Dr. Chilton, played by guest star Raul Esparza, who runs the psych department of the hospital. Dr. Bloom called ahead and said Jack and Will would be coming. Apparently the patient in question had been a model patient until that day, according to Dr. Chilton. It was completely unexpected. It also seems that the doctor is particularly interested in Will, actually – apparently he’s quite the hot topic amongst psychiatrists. He wants to see if Will would consent to talking to some of his staff. Jack, however, steers things in the right direction. They’re at the hospital to investigate a murder, and they need to see the scene of the crime. When they get there, it’s clear exactly why Dr. Chilton believes that his patient is, in fact, the Chesapeake Ripper.
Immediately we go into Will doing his “thing”. He’s placed himself in Dr. Gideon’s, the patient’s, place and is mentally acting out the crime. But it’s abundantly clear that Will is not handling things as well as he used to – when he comes back to himself he’s almost in tears and completely freaked out.
Now we get a flash back of Jack Crawford meeting with a young woman who is a student at the FBI Academy. Jack has called Miriam Lass to his office to discuss an opportunity with her. He would like to hear what Miriam has to say about whether or not the Chesapeake Ripper is, in fact a sociopath; and it seems that he gets the answer he wants. Jack invites Miriam to join the Chesapeake Ripper task force.
Dr. Bloom and Will have arrived to do separate interviews with Dr. Gideon. They meet with Dr. Chilton when they get there, and it is revealed that this isn’t Alana’s first time meeting with the patient. She has interviewed him multiple times in the past, and evidently he’s taken quite a liking to her. They interview Gideon, who confidently claims that he’s the Chesapeake Ripper. However, Will is not convinced. The brutalization of the nurse’s body was done posthumously, while the Chesapeake Ripper enjoyed putting his “works of art” together while his victim was still alive. This leads Will to wonder just who it is that wants to make sure Gideon takes the blame. Is Gideon telling the truth, or could someone else just need him to think he is?
Up next, Jack shows up at Dr. Lecter’s office after hours. Now, if you haven’t been overly impressed by Laurence Fishburne’s acting thus far, this scene will probably change that. It seems that his wife’s cancer is weighing heavily on his mind, and she isn’t talking to him about it. Unfortunately for Jack, Hannibal just can’t help keep him in the loop – doctor-patient confidentially, and all that. What he will tell Jack, though, is that Bella does think she married the right guy, so she’s not distancing herself out of lack of love. Even so, Jack can’t stop thinking about when and where she might die. This is not the only loss weighing on the agent’s mind. If his flashback that immediately follows is any indication, things for Miriam Lass do not end well. The flashback includes Jack having taken Miriam to the site of one of the Ripper’s killings to get her insight on what she sees. She guesses that he’s a surgeon, who may be white but is exotic somehow. Do you see where she probably ended up, going with this line of thinking?
Now we’re in the lab, examining the night nurse’s body. She has the same exact wound pattern as the last known Ripper victim (aside from Miriam, as Jack is sure to point out), but something isn’t quite right. Will says that he “see” the Ripper, but he doesn’t “feel” the Ripper. His instinct says that it’s a copycat. Although, he says, if this is indeed a plagiarist, the real killer will make it very clear that it’s a sham. And that he does.
At 2:46 AM Jack Crawford receives a phonecall, but the voice on the other end is one he thought he’d never hear again. It’s Miriam Lass, terrified and begging for help. She says she “was so wrong”. It’s chilling, yes, but how is it possible?
At FBI headquarters the next day a trace is run, searching for the phone number that called Jack. There are zero results. This means that the phone call must have been made from very close to his house. The question is, is Jack sure it was her? He says he is; the Ripper must have been playing a recording of Miriam, moments before he killed her. Will’s preoccupation, however, is making sure everyone realizes that yeah, he was right, Dr. Gideon could not be the Chesapeake Ripper because they would have been able to trace a call from where he is institutionalized. He is, additionally, unconvinced that Miriam Lass is dead. Jack himself said that no body had been found.
It looks like Will dozed off in his classroom because he’s seeing a massive elk approach him, as usual. He’s made conscious again when Alana and Jack come in to speak with him. They’ve decided that the best course of action would be to push the Ripper into revealing himself. As Will logically points out, the flaw in this plan is that they very well may push the guy to kill again….but Jack and Alana seem to be okay with taking that risk. How do they plan to do this? Why, by talking to Freddie Lounds, of course.
The trio meets with Ms. Lounds to discuss their proposition. Freddie published an unconfirmed story about Dr. Gideon being the Chesapeake Ripper, and what Jack wants her to do is to confirm it. She would get to see her work featured in papers like the LA Times, and even the New York Times. After a small bit of hemming and hawing, she agrees to write it up. Thus, she gets to go into the facility and interview Dr. Gideon. Cut to Dr. Lecter, who appears to be reading Freddie’s article on an iPad. It’s almost hard to tell, behind his dead and expressionless eyes, but the guy is pissed. Hannibal Lecter, it seems, does not want anyone else to take credit for his work.
Jack takes his turn talking to Gideon as well. He questions the murderer (and supposed Ripper) on why he did some of the things he did. For example, when he killed his wife and family at a Thanksgiving dinner (which is, by the way, the reason he was locked up in the first place), Dr. Gideon did not take any “trophies” – which in this case would be, well, human organs. The Chesapeake Ripper, however, always did. Interestingly enough, however, the guy does know about Miriam Lass. He says he didn’t mean to kill her, though. When Jack asks why he didn’t put Miriam on display, like the other victims, Gideon says “What makes you think I didn’t?” Just then, Jack receives a phone call from home. Once again it is the recording of Miriam Lass…only this time the call came from Jack’s own bedroom. The Ripper, it would seem, was there.
And that’s not the most chilling thing about it. On the phone there are fingerprints, and on the pillow there are hairs – both of which match Miriam Lass. Jack refuses to believe she could be alive, so Will asks if maybe she could have told the Ripper where Jack lives before he killed her. Evidently whoever did the set up, according to Will, did it because they were under the impression that Jack and Miriam were close, and that the latter feels responsible for her death. Based on the upcoming flashback, that would seem to be correct.
Miriam skips out of class to come talk to Jack about the direction she would like to take with the Ripper case. She thinks that, given the man’s surgical precision, it is likely that he had treated at least one of his victims in the past. It seems that what she is proposing, though, is trying to access medical records of his victims – which is, of course, illegal.
It looks like Dr. Lecter is having some of his friends over for dinner. Dr. Chilton is there, as is Alana. Chilton is equally smug and excited by the idea that he has had the Ripper in his clutches all along, and that he therefore gets to study a real, live sociopath. Dinner, by the way, is tongue of lamb. Well, supposedly of lamb. A particularly chatty one, according to Hannibal. Dr. Chilton rattles off a fact about Romans killing flamingoes just to eat their tongues, to which Dr. Lecter says not to give him any ideas. Evidently he finds Chilton’s tongue to be “quite feisty”…followed by the sentiment that it’s “nice to have an old friend for dinner”. A pretty funny (and, yeah, scary) line, if I do say so myself. Watch your back, Dr. Chilton! Later on during dinner it seems that Hannibal has got Dr. Chilton all figured out. He knows that he more or less planted the thought that he was the Ripper into Gideon’s head.
Jack once again gets an incoming call, although this time it’s from a number he doesn’t recognize. It’s not hidden, it’s not from his home, it’s a traceable number. It is, of course, the recording of Miriam Lass, though. They are able to trace this call to within a hundred feet, to an observatory. Jack decides to call the number back, and they can hear a cellphone ringing from inside the observatory. They enter, and at the base of the massive telescope is the phone…held in a detatched arm. There is a note next to it that reads “What do you see?”
Later that night Jack is talking with Hannibal, wondering out loud why the Ripper would want to make him believe Miriam were still alive. Hope, Dr. Lecter says. And then he apologizes for Bella’s illness, as well as Jack’s former trainee. He asks Jack to tell him about Miriam, which leads to another flashback…only this time it is not Jack’s.
It seems that Miriam’s detective work led her to none other than Dr. Hannibal Lecter himself. She asks about a particular patient of someone Dr. Lecter was working with at one time. Evidently Hannibal’s name appeared on the intake form from when the patient was admitted. He claims he does not remember the patient, but just as Miriam gets up to leave he mentions that he kept detailed journals back then. He offers to get them for her. While he’s gone she walks around the office, looking at the things he has on his desk. One such item is a drawing of a man with wounds that almost replicate those of the most recent Chesapeake Ripper victim. However, before she can even react, Hannibal is back. He sneaks up on her quietly and chokes her. She tries to resist, kicking over a table in the process, but eventually passes out.
Be sure to tune in to NBC tonight at 10pm EST to find out what happens next on Hannibal!