I'm burning the candle at both ends this week, putting in 60+ at the day job and watching my hockey teams of choice get eliminated from the playoffs one by one (I held off watching this week's episode for a night for a wasted overtime effort last night). So I will beg your pardon if this week lacks any clarity or focus. Sharpen your carving knives, here we go...
Part of the opening scene finds Hannibal attending a charity event. The great irony is that he is attending a 'Concert for Hunger Relief.' Top that off with dry humor at the end of his exchange with one of his patients, Franklin, and we start to see the foundation get laid down for this episode. Hannibal is encouraged by one of the other socialites to resume hosting his formal dinners. Thus begins the preparation for the grand feast and what turns out to be an episode with a strong focus, and, exploring more about Hannibal.
The team investigates a new body found in a hotel room. Characteristics of the wounds suggest the Ripper and Jack want to act fast because the Ripper's M.O. is to kill three times then disappear for months. Jack is particularly compelled to catch the Ripper since the discovery of the arm of FBI Trainee Lass in the last episode. But Graham warns, "The reason he left you Miriam Lass' arm is so he could poke you with it." Crawford has little presence in the episode, save for some horrific hallucinations, one which suggests that he fears that he might lose Graham to the Ripper. Hannibal is taking great pleasure in hearing that Crawford is going mad trying to catch him/The Ripper.
Gillian Anderson makes an albeit brief but poised appearance in the episode as Hannibal's psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier. Yes, the psychiatrist has his own psychiatrist. It would appear to be a mutual agreement. Hannibal sees her though she is retired. She knows that he is not as he appears though her hope is that their sessions will reach through to the real Hannibal. And they conclude each session with a glass of wine. She will appear in future episodes.
Standing behind the fourth wall, we know that Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper. To throw off the scent, Hannibal suggests to Graham that perhaps the killer is an organ harvester. Graham is convinced that the team is looking for two different killers. The other killer subplot merely serves as distraction and/or bridge for the real plot to move along. When the other killer is revealed it bears little relevance to the larger story; the exception being that it gives the opportunity for Hannibal to display his surgical skills without giving himself away.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, the showrunners are beginning to show Hannibal at work, and boy howdy does he get to work, harvesting different organs from each of his victims. There is a montage about two thirds of the way through the episode and the bodies quickly pile up, exceeding the expected three. What throws the team for a loop is that he is taking different organs from each of his victims. Hannibal plucks a card from this Rolodex and he's preparing dishes like 'Tastes Like' Chicken Liver Pate and Braised Beef Lungs. "We're looking for someone with short bowels. Or the Ripper's making sausage." Cue meat grinder.
The episode is certainly more playful with Hannibal's true nature, dropping dry jokes in throughout.
We also get more of glimpse into Hannibal himself. In his meeting with Du Maurier it is suggested that Hannibal might be lonely. He certainly does express a sense of loss when Graham does not show up for his evening session. He goes as far as to go to his classroom at the academy to find Graham. However, he is choosy. Franklin will return a couple more times for sessions with the doctor; expressing a strong desire to be Hannibal's friend, insofar as he shares with Hannibal a fantasy about being Michael Jackson's friend just so he can 'touch greatness.' (Suppress snicker here.) But clearly Franklin makes Hannibal uncomfortable and he keeps his patient at arm's length. Franklin just isn't his kind of people. Hannibal prefers people like Graham and Bloom; folk who can meet him on the intellectual and cultural level.
Speaking of which, the episode closes with a grand feast prepared by Hannibal himself, using the body parts of his victims. At the table, a collection of his peers, including Dr. Bloom, applaud the work of the chef. Hannibal closes the episode, "Before we begin, you must all be warned. Nothing here, is vegetarian."
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