As much as I love the scene in Hannibal’s kitchen after Will’s sleepwalking episode, there’s another bit I want to talk about today.
The dinner scene with Jack and his wife Bella, played by the fantastic Gina Torres, is practically the foreplay to a whole different kind of revelation from the one the Killer of the Week is searching for. Using the scene as exposition to introduce us to his keen sense of smell, it works on two levels.
At first, we might think the extent of this olfactory ability, plot-wise, is the revelation that Bella has an illness that she is hiding from Jack — which, surely, Hannibal was alluding to when he mentioned the professor with stomach cancer during dinner. But that’s not all.
“Are you trying to alienate me from Jack Crawford?”
Will is still being sarcastic towards Hannibal’s position as his psychiatrist. He says, “Please, Doctor. Proceed,” in a way that makes it clear that he’s resisting Hannibal’s presence in that same headspace Lecter was just talking about. He’s aware enough to realise that Hannibal is going exactly what he thinks he’s doing — alienating him from Jack Crawford. The problem is: Will phrases it as a question, as though it’s something he doesn’t really believe Hannibal intends, because why would Dr Lecter have sinister designs on him? That means that Will is starting to trust Hannibal — something he was set on not doing. And there will come a point where Will doesn’t ask these questions anymore. The seed of doubt has already been sown: Will’s outburst at the second crime scene makes that abundantly clear.
But then, there’s this:
“How do you profile someone who has an anomaly in their head changing the way they think?”
“It’s just a man whose brain is playing tricks on him.”
Short answer: by having one yourself. Plot structures that are procedural habitually use the week’s case/diagnosis/alien to draw parallels to the protagonist’s struggle. Here, it’s taken to the literal level: all of the conversations Hannibal and Will have about the Angelmaker might as well be about Will. The Angelmaker kills people and skins them — Will keeps a dozen dogs at his house and sleeps in the same room with them.
“Did you just smell me?”
Oh yes. Oh yes, he did.
The counterpoint of this threat looming larger and larger over Will is, once again, Beverly Katz. She offers him her friendship, offers to listen to him if something’s wrong with him. It’s short moment, easily overlooked, but by no means insignificant or futile. This tentative broship between them will decide how many people are going to be in Will’s corner when the shit hits the fan.
All images courtesy of NBC’s Hannibal Facebook page.