It’s easy to pick my single favourite scene from this episode: aside from the revelation that Hannibal Lecter is the Chesapeake Ripper. Aside from the fact that not only Will comes to Hannibal for comfort, but Jack does, too. Aside from the fact that the serial killer who broke Jack’s first pony, Miriam Regina Lass*, is now comforting him and revelling in Jack’s pain. Aside from Will, Jack, and Alana meeting with Freddie Lounds to enlist her help, and Freddie’s astute observation of “just a bunch of psychopaths helping each other out.” I love all of that. But that’s not it.
It’s Will’s first encounter with Dr. Chilton. Every single line of that carefully crafted dialogue, a scene of not even twenty seconds, is pointing to the future with a huge, fat neon-light, a blinking arrow, telling you, THIS IS WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. Literally. So many of the lines on this show do this, of course, but I hadn’t made the connection back to this scene when watching the finale. So, rewatching this now gave me a great moment of, ‘Oh my stars.’
“He’s not here to be analysed.”
“Perhaps he should be.”
All of this will one day lay the foundation for Will’s incarceration in this very institution, the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, several episodes from now. Will has a gift that no-one can explain, not even he himself. And what people can’t explain, they fear. They doubt. And there’s a lot of debate going on about Will’s particular brand of crazy, we know that.
In the first episode, Jack says to Will, “You make leaps you can’t explain,” and Will counters, “The evidence explains.”
Beverly reiterates this in this episode, when they’re on the way to find Miriam Lass’ severed arm. Will insists that what he does isn’t dark magic, just pure empathy and very good observational and forensic skills. But believing that he’s insane, that he’s the one who murdered all these people and that’s how he knows… that’s just so much easier, isn’t it?
“We are woefully short on material on your sort of thing, Mr Graham, would you mind speaking to some of the staff—”
“No, no, no, not this trip. Maybe a special visit?”
Of course. Next time. When he’s arrested and committed and charged with murder. That’s going to be a very special visit. Bryan Fuller, you crafty bastard.
What’s also fun is that Hannibal is obviously assessing whether Dr Chilton is a potential helper monkey, as he’s proved himself to be a gifted manipulator — or a threat to either himself, the Chesapeake Ripper… or to Will. Since, you know. “We’ve already established it’s nice to have an old friend for dinner.” I love how Hannibal basically tells people once or twice per episode who he is. If only they listened.
Interaction between Will and Hannibal is actually non-existent in this episode, and the question we have to ask ourselves at this juncture is… is he doing better for it? Or worse?
* Miriam Regina Lass is here played by Anna Chlumsky, who played Georgia Lass’s sister Reggie (short for Regina) on Bryan Fuller’s show Dead Like Me. If you haven’t seen it, go get it, it’s brilliant. Well, the two seasons are. The movie shot after FOX cancelled it was… I’m looking for a kinder word than disastrous.
All images courtesy of NBC’s Hannibal Facebook page.