As a side note, if you enjoyed the recaps enough to read them a second time, sometimes I go back and link to conversations we end up having in the comments, because God knows I can't catch everything that's going on by myself. Sometimes those conversations are more interesting than anything in the recaps themselves, so I highly recommend browsing those if you are so inclined.
PREVIOUSLY ON: EMPATH AND CANNIBAL: We were given the non-Killer of the Week plot in "webisode" clips, so I cooked up (I'm sorry) an extra recap because good Cleo always helps, preciousss. We got some back story on both Will and Lecter's childhoods and finally found out who feeds Will's dogs (!!) while he's off Fighting Crime; Alana laid a precision-strike tongue-lashing on Lecter and it was glorious; and she did so because he stole Abigail from the hospital, took her home for dinner (!!!), and fried her brain on psychedelic mushroom tea (!!1!). AS YOU DO.
ALSO PREVIOUSLY ON: NBC then put the full episode up on Amazon and iTunes a week later (after this recap was posted). Molly Shannon and the Lost Boys committed some exceptionally festive murders; Hugh Dancy scared me and I wanted to go home; we discussed the Red Dragon book a little.
@BryanFuller: "COQUILLES" refers to a dish served in a shell, usually scallops. In the case of tonight's #HANNIBAL that shell refers to our physical body.
We open in the middle of the night with Will wandering down the road in his underwear, followed by the Dire Ravenstag. When he stops, the Ravenstag leans down, snuffles, and pushes at him with his hellbeast nose. You're not even entirely sure the whole thing's not a dream until the police car shows up. "You lost?" asks Nice Cop #1. Will's not even fully conscious yet, not to mention the fact that he's cold and barefoot God knows how far from home; he finally manages to mumble that he lives in Wolf Trap, Virginia. "We're in Wolf Trap... so that's good," says the cop, much the way you would to a five-year-old. "Is that yours?" he asks, looking down. "Thanks for finding my human, Officer--he got out again," says Winston. God bless his sweet puppy heart. So the two cops get a blanket and put Will and the dog into the back of the car. "Are you on any drugs? Medication? Prescription or otherwise?" Nope, just "two fingers of whiskey," which doesn't sound like nearly enough. For life in general, I mean. "Do you have a history of sleepwalking?" "I'm not even sure I'm awake now," says Will. Winston yawns sympathetically.
So Will shows up first thing in the morning chez Lecter for emergency therapy. "Although I may be, is it safe to assume you're not sleepwalking now?" deadpans Lecter, while making his fancy coffee because even cannibals can't face the day before they've had their caffeine. (The sugar is probably people.) The really hilarious thing is that, after "Hannibal Lecter does not sleep. HE KILLS," a speculative discussion of Lecter's sleepwear broke out in the comments of that recap, and now: an answer. That answer: windowpane check. Obviously.
"Never apologize for coming to me," he says, bleary-eyed snark notwithstanding. "Office hours are for patients. My kitchen is always open to friends." YEAH, I BET. His preliminary diagnosis is PTSD: "Jack Crawford has gotten your hands very dirty." Will protests that he wasn't forced back into the field-- "I wouldn't say forced. Manipulated would be the word I'd choose." Man, you just go from zero to conniving, don't you? Will insists that he can handle it, but Lecter suggests that maybe his sense of control is overwhelmed at the moment. "If my body is walking around without my permission, you'd say that's a loss of control?" Well, yes, Will, by definition, I would say that is what it is. "Sleepwalkers also have a difficulty handling aggression," says Lecter; are you having trouble with that? Well... "You said Jack sees me as fine china used for special guests... I'm beginning to feel more like an old mug," Will says bitterly. Lecter: "You entered into a devil's bargain with Jack Crawford. It takes a toll." So what we're saying is, it's Calling the Kettle Black Day here. Will's loyal defense of his boss: "Jack isn't the devil" (probably, most of the time, I guess). Lecter: "When it comes to how far he's willing to push you to get what he wants, he's certainly no saint." Will considers this.
The Welcome Inn, Trenton, NJ. A fairly clean-cut guy is scooping ice outside his motel room, barely suppressing his creepiness while watching people walk by. A family of three: eh. A man and a woman: FLAAAAAAMES.
You can also see imaginary firelight on Creepy Guy's face, like it's that real to him. The ice also glows with imaginary FLAAAAMES. HEED THE CALL OF THE MOTEL ICE, CREEPY GUY. THE MOTEL ICE COMMANDS YOU TO KILL.
Credits. Is the red wine to tell us we should be drinking for this? I think maybe we should be drinking for this.
Back at the Welcome Inn, Crawford tells Will that the room was registered to a "John Smith." "An appalling failure of imagination," grumps Will. John Smith paid in cash and there aren't any security cameras; the victims are a Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. "They were mutilated and displayed," says Crawford. "I thought it might be the Chesapeake Ripper"--how many serial killers do you people have running around this country?--"but there were no surgical trophies taken." (Hm, I wonder if this is in reference to the next episode, then.) "I'm gonna need you to prepare yourself for this one." Grumble grumble blink. "Well, prepare yourself some more. It's soup in there." It's so bad, in fact, that local law enforcement just backed away with their hands up all NOPE NOPE NOPE. But Will's too sleep-deprived to take any of this seriously. "Got just the thing to wake you up," Crawford says grimly.
Aaaaand... meat wings. With a clear view of all the exposed bones and dripping blood. So... that is yet another thing I saw on network TV. Also, we get to keep seeing it, from several different wide and close angles. The Andersons are posed, kneeling in prayer, at the foot of the motel bed; the skin and muscle of their backs are suspended by fishing line to look like angel wings. For some reason, blood doesn't scare or upset me per se, but exposed bone and muscle do. And I think it's because we don't like to think of ourselves as meat. (Is it hard for surgeons to come to terms with this?) We know what happens to meat; meat is not immortal. We want to think of ourselves as minds and souls and spirits, and even if you're an enthusiastic meat-eater--maybe especially if you are--just the simple fact of being shown otherwise is horrifying, whether a serial killer's involved or not.
"Okay," says Will. "I'm awake."
Whee, the Investigators Three are back! "At least we know he's a fisherman," says Beverly, referring to the fishing-line setup. "And/or a Viking," adds Jimmy: "Vikings used to execute Christians by breaking their ribs, bending them back, and draping the lungs over them to resemble wings. They used to call it a 'blood eagle.'" Oh. That's nice. "Pagans mocking the god-fearing?" Will says skeptically. "No, he isn't mocking them. He's transforming them." "I don't know if it was a good night's sleep," says Beverly, indicating the bed, "but he slept here." ("Madness slept here last night," whispers Will. Oh, dramatize.) Turns out that the sheets are damp with sweat, and the killer threw up all over the nightstand as well. "Couldn't stomach what he did," says Crawford: "Flop sweat and nervous indigestion." "Not nervous," corrects Will. "Righteous. Thinks he's... elevating them somehow." Then Will starts kind of twitching his fingers nervously: "I need a plastic sheet for the bed," because omg no, nooooooo. Dude, whatever they are paying you to profile, it is not enough.
So, as Will lies down and closes his eyes, we get a nice slow pan out from the pillows to the footboard and beyond, just in case you wanted to count some exposed vertebrae. "This is not who you are," he empaths. His mind metronome rewinds the scene, undoing the mutilations. "This is my gift to you." (I'm trying to remember where I've heard a serial killer character talking about his "gift" to his victims, but attempts at googling ended badly. P.S. That is the worst damn gift idea ever.) And then Will imagines the fishing lines pulling the skin flaps up into wing position because seriously, show? As the lines turn golden and the bodies begin to fade away, Will whispers, "I allow you to become angels. And now... I lay me down to sleep." And let's have one more wide shot for the road before dinner.
Speaking of which: Chez Lecter. Crawford has finally wrangled his wife (Gina Torres, if you missed her brief appearance in the previous episode) over for dinner, as previously requested. "A masterpiece foie gras au torchon," Lecter announces modestly. I'm sure it's people. (While we're here: this made me laugh way harder than it should have.) "Are you an Isabelle or an Annabelle?" he asks Mrs. Crawford. "I'm a Phyllis," says Bella. "Jack only calls me Phyllis when we disagree." "So, named Bella for your beauty," Lecter smooves. She got the name, Crawford explains, because they met in Italy: "I was Army, she was NATO staff. All of the Italian men kept calling her bella, bella, bella. Well, I wanted her to be my Bella." AWWWW, YOU GUYS. He also enthuses over the pairing of cold foie gras and warm figs; I don't know if it's just that the way to a man's heart is his stomach or what, but it cracks me up so bad, how giddy Crawford gets whenever he comes over for dinner.
Bella: not so enthusiastic. "Would I be a horrible guest if I skipped this course?" "Too rich?" "TOO CRUEL," she retorts. Ohhhhhh dear. ("Phyllis.") Diplomatically, Lecter notes that the "first and worst sign of sociopathy [is] cruelty to animals," after all. "That doesn't apply in the kitchen," says Crawford, who is here to eat the hell out of your animals. But! "I have no taste for animal cruelty," says Lecter, "which is why I employ an ethical butcher." "Be kind to animals and then eat them?" says Bella, somewhere between snark and amusement. Lecter: "I'm afraid I insist on it. No need for unnecessary suffering." (I'm guessing the emphasis here is on "unnecessary.") "Human emotions are a gift from our animal ancestors. Cruelty is a gift humanity has given itself." "The gift that keeps on giving," says Crawford, shaking his head. Yeah, let's hope you don't end up on his Christmas list.
Lecter goes around to fill Bella's wineglass and gives her (what ends up being) a significant sniff. "Your perfume is exquisite. Similar to the aroma on the air just after lightning strikes. Is it Jar?" "That is some nose you have there, doctor," says Bella, disbelieving and amazed and side-eyeing all at once. "He really is quite charming, isn't he?" says Crawford. Man, the Inevitable Betrayal, however far away it is, is gonna hit him like a brick.
(The superhuman sense of smell is a thing from the books and movies, by the way--aside from That One Scene in Silence of the Lambs, there's also some hilariously throwaway line about how "a waiter's watch leather offended him." The episode 3 recap was getting so long at the time that I didn't want to go into it--but I'm pretty sure Lecter referred to Nicholas Boyle as "unwashed" for exactly this reason.)
Lecter says he's been aware of his keen sense of smell since his youth: "I was aware one of my teachers had stomach cancer even before he was." And here's how clueless I am: I'm sitting there going, "Man, that is ironic given what happens to Bella later on in the series," completely not noticing the look he then gives her, nor her unease through the rest of the scene. Next course! "Roasted pork shank. And I assure you, Bella--it was an especially supercilious pig." Oh, you.
Forensics Lab. Ohhhh oh oh, it's our our best closeup of the back mutilations yet. "Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders, smooth as ravens’ claws," recites Beverly. "Robert Frost," Brian says wisely. "Jim Morrison," mutters Will. Heh. Jimmy muses, "God makes angels. Jesus was fond of fishermen"--augh closeup of fishhook coming out of AUGH--"are we talking about hardcore Judeo-Christian upsetting, or just upsetting in general?" "This is a very specific upsetting," says Will, who apparently has the secondary gift of understatement because no shit. "Increased serotonin in the wounds is much higher than the free histamines, so, uh... she lived for about fifteen minutes after she was skinned," says Brian, who seems to have the cheerful job of figuring out exactly how much misery someone endured every time a sociopath gets creative. "They weren't praying to him," empaths Will. "They were praying for him. He's afraid." "What is somebody who could do something like this afraid of?" asks Beverly (FOR REAL, Y'ALL). Well, for one, it turns out the killer's nightstand vomit reveals "steroids for inflammation, anticonvulsants for the seizures, radiation for the chemotherapy. Our guy has a brain tumor," says Brian. Will: "He's afraid of dying in his sleep. He's making angels to watch over him."
(How in THE FRESH HELL do MURDER ANGELS help you SLEEP BETTER?)
(... do you think someone will make, like, Murder Angel nightlights and put them on Etsy?)
The Best Office Ever. Bella has an appointment, awkwardly enough. "How often do you see him?" asks Lecter, without context for us. And I was still so not getting it that I was like, "I am shocked at you, Bella Crawford! Even though I also notice that this dialogue is curiously vague, I still totally believe we're talking about another man!" "Twice a week at first," she says. "Now usually just once." "You're satisfied, then?" "Enough to keep seeing him." (IN MY DEFENSE, Y'ALL.) "Your intention is not to tell Jack?" "Jack sees the world at its worst. Don't need him seeing me at mine. He already has too much to worry about." "He has room for one more worry," says Lecter. "I feel like you're protecting him." "I am," Bella says candidly. "I've had dinner at your home. You have a professional relationship with my husband--there's no conflict of interest with me being here?" (Which, in retrospect, makes me wonder if he asked her to come in for a talk, not the other way around.) "It's unorthodox, but not unheard of," he replies. "Given the nature of your problem, seeing someone who knows Jack removes some of the guesswork." Speaking of what Lecter knows, I was deeply afraid he would take advantage of seeing Bella privately to screw Jack over in some way. But, oddly enough, he seems pretty sincere with her--there's always been a seemingly chivalrous streak in his weird little cannibal moral code, who knows.
"This all started as some... misguided stab at maintaining my dignity," she says. "But I have indignity to look forward to, don't I?" Gina Torres is pretty amazing in all of her big emotional scenes--she's got about six different emotions playing over her face at any given time, with a firm, pleasant exterior trying to hold back anxiety, fear, and grief. "The only indignity I see is resentment," says Lecter. "Why do you resent your husband?" "I resent that Jack has too much to worry about... to worry about me." "But that's your choice [to keep him in the dark]. Not his." "Then maybe you should see us both for couples counseling," she says tartly. Also: holy shit this outfit is fabulous.
Probably symbolic with the whole "facade hiding a secret" black and white concept going on, but mostly fabulous. "I would recommend another psychiatrist for couples. I wouldn't want you to have the home couch advantage," says Lecter. Heh. "It's hard enough dealing with how I feel about all of this," she says. "Don't need to deal with how Jack feels about it." Lecter nods to himself. Stop thinking about being helpful, I know you're doing it.
Later that evening, Will comes over for help with the Angel Maker case. "There is no one and only spiritual center of the brain," Lecter says, going through books up in the Cannibal Library Paradise loft. Tossing a book down to Will: "Any idea of God comes from many different areas of the mind, working together in unison." Will: "How do you profile someone who has an anomaly in their head changing the way they think?" "A tumor can definitely affect brain function, even cause vivid hallucinations. However, what appears to be driving your Angel Maker to create heaven on earth is a simple issue of mortality," Lecter replies. "Can't beat God, become Him?" retorts Will. Lecter: "You said he was afraid." "He feels... abandoned." "Ever feel abandoned, Will?" I really wanted Will to snark back, "Do YOU ever feel abandoned?" as is his wont, but rather, he laughs ruefully: "Abandonment requires expectation." "What were your expectations of Jack Crawford and the FBI--" Will snaps the book shut: "Jack hasn't abandoned me." "Not in any discernible way. Perhaps in the way gods abandon their creations. You say he hasn't abandoned you, but at the same time you find yourself wandering around Wolf Trap in the middle of the night." "WELL," says Will, who knows some srs bsns psychiatrizing when he sees it. "This should be interesting. Please, doctor, proceed?"
"Jack gave you his word he would protect your headspace... yet he leaves you to your mental devices." No, he wanted Will to go into therapy with you so that he could cope with it, why is your psychiatry full of lies. "Are you trying to alienate me from Jack Crawford?" Will asks incredulously. Well, busted. I think you're a little off your game, sir. You've been a very busy cannibal lately, what with all the puppet-mastery and murderation, and it's always exhausting, being a new parent. (Where the fuck is Abigail, by the way?) "I'm trying to help you understand this Angel Maker you seek," Lecter backpedals. Yes, that's very nice, but how do we catch him? Lecter muses that if the Angel Maker were a classic paranoid schizophrenic, they could try to "scare him out into the daylight" (as Will puts it), or possibly even "get him to hurt himself, if he hasn't already." What, is provoking people your answer to everything? "If he were self-destructive--he wouldn't be so careful," argues Will. "Unless he's being careful about being self-destructive," Lecter counters. "Making angels to pray over him when he sleeps. Who prays over us when we sleep?" Given how terrifying I personally find Hannibal Lecter's Nihilistic Musings on God, I'm just relieved that question stays rhetorical.
Speaking of sleep, the Crawfords are back in their Marital Problem Formal Pajamas. "So do you wait until you think I'm asleep before you come to bed?" says Crawford. Bella insists that she's just been working late and overwhelmed at the moment. With things. You know. Overwhelming things that overwhelm. "It's outside your jurisdiction, Jack," she says. Crawford: "You know, I'm very good at sorting things out, and at the very least I can underwhelm you while you're being overwhelmed." ("You've never been able to underwhelm me." Awww.) "Is there anything I can offer you romantically or physically or spiritually that'll help?" he asks, so calmly that I laughed. "Nope." "So as your husband what I can do for you is, uh... leave you alone and not ask you any questions." Pretty much! "You can ask me anything you want to," she says, relenting. "I won't insult you by asking if there's someone else," Crawford says. "Thank you," she says solemnly. "You'll sort out whatever you have to sort out, we'll get back to being us," he finishes. But she doesn't look like she has any confidence in this. I'm not sure exactly when the penny dropped for me, but I think I realized what was really going on right about here. But we'll get to that.
Some Alley in Cleveland. Creepy Guy looks at a passing security guard and FLAAAAMES. After a break, we come back to find Will in that same alley with blue investigator gloves on, so you know that ended well. He's looking up--there's a new "angel," suspended from scaffolding. This seems to be directly inspired by a shot from Silence of the Lambs. Except that, as you may recall, that's actually something Lecter does as he escapes. And that's the thing--maybe they're hedging their bets and using that image now because it'll be years before they get to that book, if ever. If the show does run that long, they've already played that card--unless they decide to have Lecter do it as a reference to the Angel Maker case, a message to Crawford with some kind of added subtext. (Knowing Lecter, it would probably be WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW, who knows.) So the new story elements they make up actually ripple into the future, which is really interesting to me.
Back to the present. "Why angels?" asks Crawford, strolling up. "Well, it isn't Biblical," says Will. "His angels have wings--angels in sculptures and paintings can fly, but not in Scripture." (I wonder if they have a course on the Bible as literature at the Academy, given that killers--fictional ones, at least--seem to keep going back to that well.) "His mind has turned against him, and there's no one there to help."
"Uh, Jack?" calls Brian. "Look at this." Jimmy, squinting: "Are those--what are those?" Balls. They are balls, and they are on network TV. Did I mention that they're severed? "Somebody got an orchiectomy real cheap," says Brian, crouching down over Exhibit #2. I kind of wish there was a little chalk line around them. "Doesn't look like the victim," says Beverly, pointing her flashlight at the "angel's" crotch with magnificent nonchalance. Jimmy: "So they're the Angel Maker's?" Beverly: "He castrated HIMSELF?" "He isn't just making angels; he's getting ready to become one," says Will: "Angels don't have genitalia." Crawford points out that the Angel Maker killed the first two people because he was afraid of dying--"Now he's, what, getting used to the idea?" "He's accepting it, or he's bargaining," suggests Will. Brian, regarding a certain jar of evidence: "Heh. Bargaining chips!" OH STOP.
"So does this mean he's done making angels, or is he just getting started?" asks Crawford. "I don't know." "Well, he's not just killing them when he's sleepy, I mean, how is he choosing them?" "I DON'T KNOW. ASK HIM." "I'm asking you." "You're the head of the Behavioral Science Unit, Jack, why don't you come up with your own answers if you don't like mine?"
Aw, shit, son.
"I DID NOT HEAR THAT," Crawford booms. "DID I." The Investigators Three turn around and peace right the fuck out of there. "No, you didn't," Will says in a tiny voice, taking off his glasses. "I'm sorry." Y'all pointed out in the comments of a previous recap that, when Will and Crawford were arguing about the Marissa Schurr crime scene, Will kept looking over at Lecter for reassurance as he stood his ground, and I thought about that again here.
Crawford gives Will a sharp, sustained side-eye. Will gazes up at the angel. Crawford walks away noirishly into the shadows.
Now Will's in the morgue, gazing down at the patched-up Andersons, who still look pretty fucking awful. "I've never heard anyone talk to Jack the way you talked to Jack," says Investigator Beverly. "My ears rang like the first time I heard my mom use the F-word." But she also wants to know how he's holding up: "I know it's a stupid question considering that none of us could possibly be okay doing what we do, but... are you okay?" Aw, I love Beverly. "Do I seem different?" asks Will anxiously. "You're a little different," she says. "But you've always been a little different. Brilliant strategy--that way no one knows if something's up with you." "How would I know if something was up with you?" "You wouldn't. But I would tell you if you asked me. Return the favor?"
But before Will ever gets around to an answer, Jimmy arrives with the case files: "Meet Roger and Marilyn Brunner," because apparently they had slightly more imagination than John Smith. "You might recognize them from such lists as Most Wanted. He likes to rape and murder; she likes to watch." Well then. Between the false names and the stolen car they were driving, Jimmy says, it took a while to identify them. Will: "I wonder how long it took Angel Maker to identify them. He didn't choose them randomly." "He knows something about them," agrees Jimmy. "The murdered security guard wasn't actually a security guard--he was a convicted felon." "So he makes angels out of demons," concludes Beverly, but Jimmy brings up an excellent point: "How does he know they're demons?" "He doesn't have to know," says Will. "All he has to do is believe." So then... the power of his belief creates stolen cars and prison records? What?
The Best Office Ever. "Has Jack begun to suspect?" asks Lecter. "He's a behavioral specialist; he must know you're keeping something from him." "Oh, he knows," Bella says, smiling. "He asked me if I was having an affair--by reassuring me that he didn't have to ask." Lecter says it's clear that Bella loves her husband, but she replies that "women who love their husbands still find reasons to cheat on them." "Not you. Still, you seem more betrayed by Jack than by your own body." "I don't feel betrayed by Jack. And there's no point in being mad at cancer for being cancer." Yeahhhh. "Cancer isn't cruel. A tiny cell wanders off from my liver, gets lost, finds it way into my lung, where it's just trying to do its job and...grow a liver." Well, that's an interesting return to the lungs and liver pairing. And it's not "likely" that it'll kill her: "It will kill me. And no amount of blueberries or antioxidants can change that now." "But you hold Jack accountable for his inability to cure cancer." (She looks away, distressed.) "Should I have said 'his inability to save you'? Would that be more accurate?" "I am slowly... shrinking," she says, "while this tiny thing grows larger every day. And yet I feel fine." Lecter gives her a look of sympathy, or at least one remarkably free of guile: "You will feel fine. Right up until the precise moment you don't." "It's a... really very dull story, though, isn't it? The ending... is always the same, and that same... is that it ends." "So. You withdraw from your relationship with your husband, the man who strolled along the quays of Livorno, Italy, and called you Bella." She smiles, then looks down.
Another thing about storylines that ripple into the future--I only remember a couple of references to Bella Crawford in the first two books, very much in the background. Not to spoil you (SPOILER, I GUESS), but she dies offscreen (offpage?) in Silence of the Lambs; I'm pretty sure Lecter never meets her, but he finds out that she's died and sends Crawford a John Donne poem with a note: "I'm so sorry about Bella, Jack." (There's a lot of things about these books that have slipped my mind, but I remember this vividly.) Except that they're not friends (hoooo boy, are they not friends), so he's doing something ostensibly courteous to be an utter dick. Since he seems to be reasonably kind to Bella in this version, I'm curious to see if they'll do something completely different with that, or if Lecter really will send Crawford that note anyway because he is the absolute worst. Or might he even send it sincerely at that point? Or might Bella die in a completely different way (noooo, keep your oven mitts off Gina Torres)? Maybe we'll get to see.
The Nobark Home. Will keeps waking up in the middle of the night and looking at the clock. 11:35. 2:02. 5:03. REM-sleep eyelid fluttering. And then he wakes up on the roof.
Perilously close to the edge, in fact, with his dogs hanging out the window trying to wake him up. "No! Not the Foodbringer!!" "Well, there's also that guy with the sausages--" "No! Sausage Guy is weird! We must save the Foodbringer!" Bless.
The Best Office Ever, where Will is tossing down more aspirin."It's difficult to lie still and fear going to sleep when it's there to think about. You listen to your breathing in the dark and the tiny clicks of your blinking eyes," intones Lecter. Is this your idea of helping? Stop helping. You're the worst at it. "Your dreams were the one place you could be physically safe, relinquishing control. Not anymore." "Yeah, I thought about zipping myself up into a sleeping bag before I go to sleep, but it sounds like a poor man's straitjacket," says Will with a bitter laugh. Okay, see, then you'd continue to endanger yourself in your sleep, but it would also be hilarious. Might make it easier for the dogs to drag you home, though.
"Have you determined how this Angel Maker is choosing his victims?" asks Lecter. Will: "Well, he doesn't see people the way everyone else sees them. He can tell if you're naughty or nice. Or he thinks he can." "So God has given this person insight into the souls of men." "God didn't give him insight, God gave him a tumor. He's just a man whose brain is playing tricks on him," says Will, right as he notices a statuette of... a black stag. (I would accuse Lecter of trolling Will via his décor, but Fuller pointed out the statue when the first episode aired; it's been in the background ever since.) "You are not unlike this killer," says Lecter (that does seem to be the theme of this series, yes, thank you for playing). "Because my brain is playing tricks on me?" murmurs Will, running his fingers over the stag. "You want to feel such sweet and easy peace. The Angel Maker wants that same peace. He hopes to feel his way cautiously inside and then find it's endless, all around him." ("He's gonna be disappointed," Will says wryly.) "You accept the impossibility of such a feeling, whereas the Angel Maker is still chasing it. If he got close to it, that's why he will look for it again," Lecter says, adding, "You realize, you have a choice. The Angel Maker will be destroyed by what's happening inside his head; you don't have to be." I keep having to remind myself that Lecter may sincerely want to help Will at this point, even though he also seems to want to push him as far as he can go. Because otherwise, my knee-jerk reaction to that statement is, BUT IT SURE WOULD BE FUN IF YOU WERE! And then, so help me God, Lecter leans in and--
"Did you just... smell me?" Yes. Yes, he did. I might have had another "pause the video till I stop laughing" moment. "Difficult to avoid. I really must introduce you to a finer aftershave. That smells like something with a ship on the bottle." Old Spice, Will? Really? Actually, yeah, Captain Plaid would totally be an Old Spice guy. (Sorry--Isaiah Mustafa notwithstanding, I've just never liked it. Apparently there's a frankincense base note? Maybe that's why.) "Well, I keep getting it for Christmas." (Still better than the cruelty of mankind, I guess.) "Have your headaches been any worse lately? More frequent?" asks Lecter. Turns out they have, actually. "I'd change the aftershave." But the scene ends with Lecter giving Will a concerned, lingering look. OKAY, GUYS, THAT'S ENOUGH TUMORS FOR ONE EPISODE. There was already one show where a guy ate cancer, we don't need another one.
@BryanFuller: You'll have to wait until the episode BUFFET FROID to learn what #HANNIBAL smells on Will.
Meanwhile, Investigator Brian's got a match from the National Cancer Database: an Elliot Budish, a truck driver with a fishing license. "Married, two kids--they haven't seen him in four months; he was diagnosed five months ago." "Meet the Angel Maker," says Crawford. Or his wife, certainly--in the Crawffice, a trembling Mrs. Budish confesses that she left Elliot because of his cancer: "It makes me sound like a horrible wife." "I'm sure you had your reasons," Crawford says diplomatically. "I took a leave from work to be with him. I wanted to be there for him. But what he wanted was to be alone." And there goes the camera closing in on Crawford. "He just kept pulling away, and pulling away..." And there's the actual precise moment Crawford starts to realize what's going on with Bella; you can see it. "He made it clear he didn't want me there. And then it wasn't clear. And then it didn't matter why he was acting the way he was. It was... weird..." Crawford gets up and goes and sits at his desk while Mrs. Budish keeps talking. "I mean, what kind of mother exposes her children to someone who is losing their mind?" (Speaking of which, now we know why Bella said it was too late for her to have children.) Crawford's just going to go have a silent breakdown at his desk now, so Will takes over the questioning: "Was he ever violent, Mrs. Budish?" "He was angry," she says quietly. "But he never hit me or the boys. It was hardest on them. He lost himself, and they lost a father," she finishes, as Crawford sighs and wipes his eyes. "I thought that, as he got weaker, as the cancer got worse, that it would be less confusing for them. They could just see him as a sick man, instead of someone who was so terrified."
"And... did your husband's faith falter after he was told about the cancer?" Will asks, unaware of any dialogical subtext.
"Elliot wasn't ever religious," she says, confused.
"Your husband is dying, Mrs. Budish, and soon," Crawford finally manages to say. "We'd just like to... we'd like to find him before he hurts himself or anyone else." Well, she volunteers, Elliot had a near-death experience as a boy--he nearly suffocated in a fire, and a fireman told Elliot that he must have had a guardian angel. (Huh--I wonder if that's why Budish also sees Naughty Bad People as being on fire. Or, to him, does that mean they don't have guardian angels to save them from him, so that's what he's going to make them into?) Where did this happen? "A farm where he grew up," she says.
A Farm Where Elliot Grew Up. So, once upon a farmyard dreary, there's a rusty and abandoned barn, and... there's Budish hanging by the wrists from the barn ceiling, feet bound, and with meat wings of his very own. Now. Okay. I have questions. Mainly: HOW? Because he apparently never had any accomplices? I mean... I'm sure he could have wrangled some of this setup by himself, but... all of it? I maybe don't want to think about this hypothetical process too long, because it might start getting comical, and I really don't want to feel like a terrible person today.
"This'll be the last one," says Will. "He made himself into an angel." Please, could we not have--of the--with the mutilated--oh, look, it's a closeup of Budish hanging there swaying. "It wasn't God, it wasn't man. It was his choice to die... as much as he could make it." Yeah, I'm going to choose the most painful, outlandish, logistically difficult death I can possibly devise because I DO WHAT I WANT. Speaking of choice, though, "I don't know how much longer I can be all that useful to you, Jack," he says quietly. Crawford can't understand why Will isn't pleased with a job well done: "Really. You caught three. The last three we had, you caught. You caught three of them." MEAT WINGS, JACK!! "No, I didn't catch this one," says auuuughhh closeup of the guy's back really why is this happening. "Elliot Budish surrendered." And it's just really not all that fun, when you go through all this psychogenic agony and don't even get to chase anyone around with a gun.
"You know, I'm used to my wife not talking to me," says Crawford with surprising equanimity. "I don't have to get used to you not talking to me too."
"It's getting harder to make myself look!" Will protests. Crawford retorts that no one's asking Will to look alone (to be fair, Crawford does escort him everywhere and did get him a cannibal therapist and such). "What is it about this one?" "It isn't this one, it's all of them, it's the next one, it's the one that I know is coming after that," despairs Will, knowing that there are still eight episodes to go and ain't none of them gonna be a teddy bear picnic. Well, Will can go back and teach if he wants ("and read about this stuff on tattlecrime.com," ohhhhh), but knowing that "there's killing going on that you could've prevented [will] sour your classroom forever." But "this is BAD FOR ME," he insists. "Maybe I'll find a job as a diesel mechanic in a boatyard." Uh, good luck finding a houseboat big enough for All the Dogs, Will. "I'm not your father, Will. I'm not gonna tell you what to do. You wanna quit? Quit," says Crawford, with a certain "I have no more fucks left to give" pleasantness.
Oh, also, there's Budish staggering up to Will with a nice big closeup of his gooshy back. CUT TO COMMERCIALS.
After the break, Budish falls to his knees: "I see what you are," he gasps, knife in hand. Will's head is on fire, by the way. "What do you see?" whispers Will. "Inside," says Budish: "I can bring it out of you." "No--not all the way out," says Will. Budish coughs, struggling to breathe, as you might when you have no back, then says, "I can give you... the majesty... of your becoming." (AHHHHHHH!) I hear "your becoming"; the captions say "true becoming." What I don't hear is a thud when Budish falls over, because he's not actually there; Will hallucinated this whole thing. We weren't seeing Will from Budish's point of view--we were seeing Will imagining how Budish would see him. Which raises the question--are they both at least somewhat psychic? Budish because he can see if you're "naughty or nice," and Will because the whole ~flaming visage~ was way too specific a thing to just intuit?
(In actuality, Budish is still hanging up there in the rafters, in case you wanted one last look.)
The Best Office Ever. Outside the private entrance, Crawford is lying in wait for for Bella: "My wife and I need to talk." He asks to borrow the waiting room, but Lecter gallantly lets them have the whole office. "You know," says Bella, surprised. She herself found out twelve weeks ago: "Lung cancer." It's also Stage Four cancer--"and we know there's no Stage Five, don't we?" She says that she didn't mean to tell him until "far enough into the future that I'm really not prepared to have this conversation right now." "Neither am I, but we're having it, we're having it right now." It's kind of strange to see this painfully realistic conversation that I'm sure real people have actually had, but in, you know, Cannibal Library Paradise. "Were you just going to wait until you were in the middle of chemotherapy?" he asks. Well, no... because Bella doesn't want chemotherapy.
"Do you want to be alone?--I don't want you to answer that," says Crawford. "I just want you to think about your answer. I want you to know that I don't want you to be alone, not now and not ever." "'We'll beat this together'?" she says skeptically. "No, it's your fight, baby, but I'm in your corner. I'm not going anywhere." "I appreciate that, Jack," she says. "I do. But I'm not comforted by it. I know that's what you need, and... you need to comfort me. But I can't give you what you need." Again, it's strange to go from the surreal pulpy crime scenes and the "omg so haunted" psychological staring contests to this very real-world conversation. And I like that these two characters clearly love each other, but--speaking of alienation--she just can't connect right now, and that this is a legitimate aspect of what she's going through. "Don't worry about what I need," Crawford says, shaking his head. "Why wouldn't you tell me?" Finally, some tears breaking through: "I thought if I kept it to myself, our lives wouldn't change. I didn't count on changing as much as I did." She does take his hand, though.
Some time later, Will shows up at the Crawffice, taking a moment to steel himself before going in. Crawford's sitting there in the dim, chin in hand. "What do you want, Will?"
Will sits down in the chair adjacent. "I'm gonna sit here until you're ready to talk." (So someone must have told him what happened? It must have been Lecter, but that makes me wonder what his intentions in telling Will were.) (Alternately, he empathed it himself, as many of y'all are suggesting.) "You don't have to say a word until you're ready, but... I'm not going anywhere until you do."
I actually find it oddly heartwarming, in that Will is both standing up to Crawford but also refusing to be alienated from him, as well as pulling himself together. But maybe it's also supposed to be symbolic that they're not looking at each other, and there is ~something standing between them.~ I don't know.
An emerging theme with this show seems to be the idea of control vs. connection, and the idea that connection requires vulnerability; we've seen both mentioned separately a number of times, but I think they're actually, specifically opposed on this show. Bella's trying to maintain her dignity and her control, but in doing so, she's not letting herself be vulnerable enough to connect with her husband. Will's "pure empathy" leaves him vulnerable to constant connection, including connections he doesn't want, which in turn leaves him feeling unable to control his own life. The various killers seem to seek one and/or the other--Hobbs couldn't bear to let the connection with his daughter go, so he tried to regain control by killing and eating girls who looked like her; the Mushroom Whisperer explicitly wanted connection; the Angel Maker wanted to regain control over how he's going to die. Which then makes me wonder how this applies to Lecter (our title character, after all), who's always been sort of inscrutable. He's so famous for being an inhuman sociopath that the idea of both vulnerability and a need for human interaction is kind of odd on its face, but maybe even he wants to connect with people. Maybe he tries to connect with people by controlling them, wanting to have connection without vulnerability; is that what cannibalism is all about for him, connection with and control over both who he eats and who he serves food to? Is that why he's tried to get Will to be dependent on him but alienated from everyone else, out of a need for both connection and control? Is that need his weakness, his eventual downfall? We'll see, I guess.
NEXT WEEK: The show ups the "relevant to your interests" ante with Eddie Izzard. Get excited.
(Continue: 1x06: "Entrée" )