WHAT JUST HAPPENED
This episode is a thing of beauty and delight once you realize what they're doing. But since I'm largely staying away from spoilers, I didn't know, and thus I spent much of it shouting at the TV in a fit of fangirl pique. Bear with me, then.
PREVIOUSLY ON: EMPATH AND CANNIBAL: Murder angels and meat wings (but not made by the Chesapeake Ripper); everyone has tumors; All the Dogs went beyond the bark of duty to save Will from his self-destructive sleepwalking; "Did you just... smell me?"
cupcakery: Alert alert: there is eye gouging in Entrée. Just so you're warned.
I love how half a dozen of y'all who saw it in Canada the night before came straight over to warn me about My Personal Squick. Like, y'all just know by now.
So. We open with Eddie Izzard face down, dripping sweat and bleeding from the mouth, in a prison cell (technically, as we discover, a certain psychiatric institution) and a whole posse of guards and orderlies (is that Barney in the background?) outside it. They're trying to figure out 1) what's wrong with him, 2) if he can get up, and 3) if he will kill them all. And I started getting kind of upset, because I was like OH FUCK YOU, I KNOW THIS SCENE! YOU'RE USING IT NOW?! LEAVE SOMETHING FOR LATER, GODDAMMIT!! (I... I have feelings about this.) So they manage to get Eddie Izzard onto a gurney and into the infirmary, where the night nurse--totally alone--is sticking electrodes on his chest for an EKG and setting up an IV, and then she turns around. And there's Eddie Izzard behind her, and he's got a This Is Going to End Well gleam in his eyes.
The setting, properly introduced: The Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, which is where you go if you plead not guilty by reason of insanity (and a jury buys it). Remember how Crawford said that he thought, at first, that the Angel Maker's first murder was possibly the Chesapeake Ripper, but "there were no surgical trophies taken"? Well, now, "thanks to Freddie Lounds, there's an unconfirmed story floating out there that the Chesapeake Ripper's already in custody." "Am I confirming? Fact-checking for Freddie Lounds..." Will says in a very Shaking My Head tone, adding, "I always feel a little nervous going into these places... afraid they won't let me out." "Don't worry. I won't leave you here," says Crawford. "Yeah," says Will. "Not today." Bless his tormented heart.
And here's Dr. Chilton, a character who seemed to walk straight out of the books as the embodiment of oily smarm when he was played by Anthony Heald. Which is to say, it takes you a minute to adjust to the lower-key, pace-yourself-for-the-long-run version. Raúl Esparza is very good, though--reminds me a little of Jonathan Pryce, for some reason. He starts off by condescending all over Will ("Should I call you Dr. Graham? Ah, a teacher") and then assuring Crawford that, "for something so disturbing, [the crime scene] is quite undisturbed." Will asks why, exactly, a nurse would be left alone with A CONVICTED MURDERER IN A HIGH-SECURITY INSTITUTION. Chilton explains that Gideon--Dr. Abel Gideon--has "behaved perfectly, and gave every appearance of cooperating with attempts at therapy" in the two years he's been in residence, and thus security was "slightly... relaxed." Yeah, it's all fun and games until someone gets et. Crawford asks that they give Will some privacy to go empath the scene, and here's where Chilton shows his oily colors: "Oh, yes, that thing you do. You're quite the topic of conversation in psychiatric circles, Mr. Graham." "Am I?" Will asks softly. "Yes--a unique cocktail of personality disorders and neuroses that make you a highly skilled profiler." "He's not here to be analyzed," says Crawford, smiling (oh shit)--"Perhaps he should be," Chilton says quickly. "We are woefully short of material on your sort of--thing, Mr. Graham. Would you mind speaking to some of the staff?" ("DOCTOR") "--No, no, no. Not this trip. Maybe a special visit." Ladies and gentlemen: a man who needs a facepunch every day of his life.
So! Let's move it on out to the crime scene. Yes, yes, I know, he ate her tongue, and his pulse didn't go over 85 the whole time, because can't we just leave that for later like we're suppohhhhh... that's not what happened.
It's the Wound Man pattern. You guys. The Wound Man murder is how Lecter gets busted in the books. Because he was the Chesapeake Ripper. Oh shit, y'all.
And, significantly--Chilton (who, we are told, consulted on a previous, unsuccessful hunt for the killer) insists that this proves the imprisoned Gideon is, in fact, said Ripper. Crawford is equally certain that the killer is still at large. "The reason you failed and kept failing to capture the Chesapeake Ripper," Chilton says dramatically, "was I already had him."
CLOSEUP OF EYELESS NURSE WITH BLACK ABYSSAL SOCKETS
*red wine scaryface credits that I whimpered through*
So. EMPATHING IN PROGRESS, whether we like it or not. Will imagines himself being hurried into the infirmary on the gurney; again, the nurse sets up the EKG. When the nurse turns away--Chilton mentioned that Gideon hid a fork tine in the palm of his hand, but I didn't realize that he meant Gideon hid a fork tine inside his actual hand, nor that we would see it sliding out in bloody closeup. With calm stealth, Will uses this to unlock each set of handcuffs; the heart monitor flatlines as he pulls off the electrodes and the oxygen mask. He's standing when the nurse turns around, promptly punching her in the throat and throwing her against the wall and then to the ground. And then he starts gouging her eyes out with his thumbs and I DON'T LIKE THIS SHOW ANYMORE. Gasping, she crawls for the door, dark blood streaming from her eyes while I'm sitting there wailing "NOT OKAY NOT OKAY THIS IS NOT OKAY THIS IS NEVER OKAY" and Will calmly detaches an IV pole, letting her grope her way to his feet right before he impales her.
(You know, if I were a guest Killer of the Week on this show, I would be so pissed that my character had all these, uh, interesting things to do and then they were like, NOPE! Hugh Dancy gets to do that, thank you for your time!)
Back in the present, Will comes out of the empath trance with tears in his eyes. This may be the most shaken he's ever looked. He pulls himself together long enough to clarify with Crawford that the Chesapeake Ripper hasn't been active in two years... which is about the time Gideon himself was put away.
TWO YEARS EARLIER: noirish grey tones (the reverse passage of time is indicated by slightly more facial hair on Laurence Fishburne). "Lass, Miriam. Come in," Crawford says to Anna Chlumsky--wait, what the fuck is this Wannabe Clarice bullshit? "Sorry to pull you out of class. Your instructors tell me that you are in the top 10%?" "Top five, sir." "You're gonna have to stop correcting me if we're gonna get along, Lass," he says. Heh. He expositions that she wrote him a letter when she qualified for the Academy, specifically hoping to work for him in the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program--and boy, does he have an opportunity for her. "I'm assuming that you're familiar with the Chesapeake Ripper. Ripper's very hot right now. Killed his last two victims in six days." And then my ears perked up because this is very close to a line in Red Dragon (I just reread it). "There'll be at least one more body and then nothing for months." "They say he's a true sociopath," says Miriam. Crawford: "What do you say?" "I say they don't know what else to label him. He has some of the characteristics of what they call a sociopath--no remorse or guilt at all," she says, because she has also read Red Dragon. "He won't have any of the other marks. He won't be a drifter. He'll have no history of trouble with the law. He'll be hard to catch." Guess who that actually refers to. Guess.
So Crawford is assigning her to the Ripper task force under his direct supervision. Miriam
Which is an interesting way to phrase it, given that I'm pretty sure we should start the Terrible Things Happening to This Girl countdown. In the present, Crawford confirms this with a sad, wistful look.
@BryanFuller: .@AnnaChlumsky on #HANNIBAL is named Miriam Regina Lass. George Lass' sister on #DEADLIKEME was Redgy Lass. Redgy is short for Regina.
Uh. Hope you guys weren't that attached to her.
Back at Baltimore State Hospital, Will has returned with Alana in tow. "The volume of Abel Gideon's mail is becoming a nuisance," grumps Chilton. "Sometimes I feel like his secretary rather than his keeper." And I started bristling again, because all of this is from Lecter's later imprisonment, not Random J. Sociopath--you use up lines like this now and they're gone. "Mostly researchers or PhD candidates requesting interviews. A scattered dozen lonely hearts seeking his hand in marriage." (In the wake of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev capture and subsequent online woobification, I find myself linking to The Killer Crush: The Horror Of Teen Girls, From Columbiners To Beliebers a lot these days. I daresay it applies to more than just teenagers.) "He butchered his last wife," Alana says with a certain disgusted incredulity. "And her family, on Thanksgiving." Chilton: "There's no accounting for taste" (drink!) "--or intelligence" (heh). Will argues, "Murdering his wife was impulsive. The Chesapeake Ripper is methodical, meticulous--that's why he's so hard to catch." "Was... so hard to catch," says Chilton, who seems really, really invested in the idea that he's already got the Ripper. In a nutshell, this guy is a very
Alana explains that she and Will mean to interview Gideon separately, to "compare and contrast" his answers. Chilton notes that Alana has a previous acquaintance with Gideon; she says that she had two sessions when he was first institutionalized, but "I saw him mainly in court... I wrote an article about him in the Journal of Criminal Psychology." Ah, but "he is very familiar with you. He has given you a lot of thought." Gross, Chilton. (This originally referred to Lecter's very different fixation on Will--the man who caught him--and now we're also throwing a brunette in there to interview Dr. Gizzard in his cell? More fangirl bristling.) "I've read your notes, of course. They were more or less helpful... as I conducted my own interviews with Dr. Gideon over the years," smarms Chilton. "Well, I'm glad I was helpful," says Alana, with the patience of a saint. ("More or less," mutters Will. Alana grins.) So now, the lady having called dibs, we cut back and forth between the two interviews:
Alana walks down the scary scary hall (nobody flings anything at her) and greets the prisoner graciously; Gideon, surprised, leaves his bunk to peer through the bars in the cell door. Given that the entire cell is fronted with villain-proof glass, pacing back and forth behind the one section with bars is more coy than anything. "Why, Dr. Bloom," he says (in an American accent). "How wonderful to see you again. I've met a lot of psychiatrists in the last two years. It's hard to forget one so... sublime." But why exactly is she here? "I was caught red-handed... I mean, literally. There's no mystery as to whodunit. I did it."
Will stands against the wall rather than take a chair as Alana did, because if you thought he was going to start socializing now, you are wrong: "The mystery is whether you are who you say you are... or not."
Gideon: "Never liked being called the Chesapeake Rrripper. Maybe something with a little more wit." See, this is why it's so important to have a name that rhymes with how you're evil; you gotta give these people more to work with than "Abel the Unstable."
Alana: "Is that why you didn't take credit for the Ripper murders before now?"
Gideon: "Just watching the goose chase from the box seats."
"Two years of goose chasing," says Will, even though I swear these are two separate interviews. "You must be a very patient man."
Gideon: "Are you just gonna run the psychopathic checklist here? I have had my personality inventoried by the Minnesota Multiphasic." "Would you prefer a Rorschach test?" Alana asks pleasantly. "Well, if you're gonna show me those pictures, maybe you should put a blood pressure cuff to my genitals. I find it gives a much truer gauge of reaction." That is an absolutely terrible pickup line, sir.
Will: "What effect were you hoping to have by killing the night nurse?" "The effect I was hoping to have was her DEATH," says Gideon in the most wonderful DUH tone. "Mission accomplished."
"Brutalization of the body was done posthumously," notes Alana.
"The Chesapeake Ripper usually does that sort of thing during," Will hammers home, "not after."
"I do not have to convince you that I am the Chesapeake Ripper," says Gideon, finally sitting down.
"Seems that's what you need to do," says Alana.
"It's certainly what somebody needs," Will mutters to himself.
Back when they first announced that they were doing this show last year, I had a total "WHAT? WHY?" freakout, gradually progressing through the Not Sure If Want stage to Your Cast Has Won Me Over. Basically, taken at face value, this scene is what I was afraid the entire series would be like. Good for what it is, but just kind of... watered-down and imitative? And then they're using up the asylum material on some random Killer of the Week who isn't even our title character? Who is this third-rate wannabe biting his style?
@BryanFuller: EARLY DRAFTS OF SILENCE OF THE LAMBS SCRIPT CALLED #HANNIBAL DR. GIDEON BECAUSE MGM INITIALLY DIDN'T HAVE RIGHTS TO THE NAME
GENERIC OFF-BRAND HANNIBAL LECTER.
THIS IS A THING YOU ARE DOING.
It was only later that I realized that they were doing this--I think--on purpose.
Meanwhile, Actual Brand-Name Hannibal Lecter is leaving The Best Office Ever for the n...oooo, no he's not, there's Crawford in his waiting room. "I'm sorry... I was just, uh..." Lecter: "In the neighborhood." "Something like that." (And there's the black stag statuette as he walks in.) Crawford says that Bella's fine--"Well, she tells me that she's fine and she tells me when she's not." "You expect me to tell you more?" asks Lecter. Crawford says that she's off at a NATO conference, busy working, but "I doubt I could talk to her if she was here." "About her condition?" "Yeah, about her CANCER, about her DYING. She doesn't want to talk to me about it." Lecter cites the rule of doctor-patient confidentiality, but Crawford reminds him, "You talk to me about Will Graham." Yeah, and that's why I don't want to hear another word from Fancy Cannibal about how Crawford supposedly left Will "to his own devices." Ah, but Will is not technically his patient: "We have conversations." (Well, I hope you don't charge him full price, then.) So what would he call Crawford bittering in his general direction right now? "Desperate coping." "You don't think I have a right to know what's happening with my wife?" snaps Crawford (Laurence Fishburne is kind of heartbreaking in this scene). "Well, I'm not just gonna stand outside my marriage and watch this happen. If that's what she wants, TOO BAD. She married the wrong guy for that." Lecter relents: "I'll offer one insight. She doesn't think she married the wrong guy." Crawford sighs, his voice thick with tears: "I can't stop thinking about when my wife is gonna die. I look at her side of the bed and I think, 'Is she gonna die there?' I can't stop thinking about it, you understand? I can't stop." Crawford admits that he's dreading the loss of his wife--but thinking about other losses as well, as he gets even closer to tears. Lecter replies, "Jack, you can't save her. She won't let you. The cancer won't let you. Who else couldn't you save?"
In retrospect? That's a knife, and Lecter just twisted it. You are a terrible person, sir.
In the black-and-white past, here's Crawford and Who Else He Couldn't Save. Ah, it's the original Wound Man murder, a Jeremy Olmstead pinned to his work table with a shit-ton of pointy tools.
Crawford wants Miriam's opinion on the scene: "Tell me what you see." (Wait, is that, like...a handsaw in the guy's leg?) "[The Ripper] did it all here," she says. "Did it while he was alive. He struck the throat so he couldn't call for help. He'd want him awake. Organs were removed. Not all of them... he was choosy. He took the liver... thymus... but left the heart." "What's he doing with the organs?" asks Crawford. "Surgical trophies," says Miriam, not quite hitting the mark. "He's a medical doctor, isn't he? That's why you call him the Ripper?" (No, we... call him the Ripper because he... rips people? Jack the Ripper was never proven to be anyone, much less a doctor.) "Psychopaths are attracted to surgical fields," she continues. "They offer power. They require the ability to make objective clinical decisions without feeling." Crawford: "White male? Forties? Fifties?" Miriam: "I don't know that he's white. He's exotic somehow" (perhaps ~Lithuanian nobility?~) "which is why you're gonna catch him." "I'm gonna catch him?" says Crawford, because that is some kind of unfortunate implication the whole "exotic, not white" thing just tripped and fell into, wow. No, no, explains Miriam: "We call you the guru. You have a peculiar cleverness." I'm not entirely sure I'd say that to my boss, but it's interesting that the trainees may view Crawford the way Crawford views Will. "You'll probably spot him before anybody else." "Or you will," says Crawford. DUNNNNN. "Now, I want you to take a look at this," he says--
--but Crawford's back in the present now, in Forensics. "There's no detectable consistency with the Ripper victims," says Beverly (indeed, one might even say that the Ripper is an intelligent hard-to-catch sadist doesn't kill the same way twice). "He doesn't hunt exclusively within his own ethnic group--he's killed all creeds, colors, men and women." (nnnngaahhhhh it's the empty black eye sockets again) "She has the exact same wound pattern as the last-known victim of the Chesapeake Ripper, I mean exact," counters Brian. "We never found a body for his last known victim," Crawford says carefully (if you haven't guessed that Miriam isn't getting out of this episode alive, you know it now). Jimmy and Beverly shoot Brian a significant look. "Then... the victim before that," he backpedals. "I see the Ripper, but I don't... feel... the Ripper," says Will. "This is plagiarism." But they never made the wound patterns public, says Crawford--shouldn't the Ripper be the only person who knows? Well, maybe, says Will, but "if [Gideon's] a plagiarist, the real Chesapeake Ripper is gonna make sure eeeverybody knows it," with a sort of and you will be soooo fucked laugh there in the middle.
That night, Crawford's awakened by a phone call--and a familiar voice gasping, "Jack--Jack! Jack--it's Miriam--I don't know where I am--I can't--see anything--" "Miriam?" "I was so wrong--I was so wrong--" "Miriam?" "Please--Jack--please--" BEEP.
(Am I the only person who started thinking about the last time someone said they were so wrong?)
At Forensics the next morning, Beverly is "hooked into every carrier database and telephone provider in the United States," but: nothing. "Look again." "I did my agains. And my again and again and agains--I can't find any electronic trace of any call made to your home at 2:46 am." "I am telling you that the PHONE RANG." "You're sure it was Miriam Lass?" she asks. "You haven't heard her voice in two years, Jack," says the foolhardy Brian (whose last name is Zeller, FYI). "YOU GONNA CONTINUE TO QUESTION ME ON THIS, Z? IF SO, MAYBE I SHOULD ASK YOU TO LEAVE THE ROOM WHILE IT'S STILL SAFE FOR YOU TO BE HERE." Allow Jack Crawford to drop some science on your skeptical ass: "The Chesapeake Ripper recorded Miriam Lass two years ago as he was killing her. Last night, he called my house at 2:46 am. He played that recording for me." If so, Will says, that means that Gideon isn't the Ripper, because they would have been able to trace a call made from the hospital. Then, he ventures, "Are you certain... it was a recording?" Well, that suggests two years of dire possibilities. "Jack, you said yourself... there's no body." "MIRIAM LASS IS DEAD!" Crawford insists, AND IF SHE WASN'T DEAD BEFORE, SO SHALL IT BE NOW. "The Chesapeake Ripper is making it very clear that someone is plagiarizing his work!" Yes, like Will TOLD YOU. Brian tries to argue that Crawford might have just been half-roused from a deep sleep and maybe the call didn't even really happen; Crawford, in return, side-eyes him doomfully. "I know when I'm awake," he says. He took the red pill, okay? He knows.
Empty Academy lecture hall, Quantico. Will's sitting at his desk, rubbing his eyes, when the Dire Ravenstag clops in, accompanied by unusually threatening music. We had an interesting discussion about this a few days ago--Bryan Fuller's said that the Ravenstag's a combination of imagery from the Cassie Boyle crime scene (the stag head and the pecking ravens). Give how the Ravenstag started showing up Will's dreams when he began empathing killers and feeling really disturbed by his ability to identify with them, I thought, okay, it represents something inside Will that he's afraid will come out ("I can bring it out of you"). Even when he found the statuette in Lecter's office, I thought it could mean something in his own personality that he wanted to resist--something Lecter, in turn, might want to bring out. But then y'all started telling me that it very well might represent Lecter himself, the shadow he casts over Will, and/or Will's subconscious struggling to recognize it; the fact that the Ravenstag was sort of snuffling at Will's arm in the same episode as "Did you just smell me?" weighs pretty strongly in favor of that theory. And, of course... the Cassie Boyle murder was the one Lecter committed. And this time, Will hasn't really focused on what he empathed from the Gideon crime scene; he's become more concerned about the actual Chesapeake Ripper. And the Ravenstag may be trying to tell him something.
But he's awakened by Crawford and Alana (I'm not sure if it's significant that the tapping of Alana's heels has translated twice now into the Ravenstag), because Crawford has an idea: "We have a direct way of communicating with the Chesapeake Ripper, and we'd like to see if we can push him." "Push him toward what?" "We might be able to influence him to become visible," says Alana--"If we can enrage him," adds Crawford. Wait, is this a thing they let you do in the FBI? Let's see which violent criminals we can piss off today? Will doesn't quite get how this is supposed to work, either. He argues that the Ripper's already focusing on Gideon as an adversary--"Don't fool around." But "Gideon is just a tabloid rumor right now," says Crawford. "We need to make him the truth." "You might push the Ripper to kill again just to prove he isn't in a hospital for the criminally insane," says Will, who is apparently the only voice of reason in this entire room. Crawford: "I HAVE TO PUSH, WILL."
And then Will realizes: "Are you thinking about getting into bed with Freddie Lounds?" No, not like that (can you even imagine the wardrobe, though?)--Crawford wants to provoke the Chesapeake Ripper with her awfulness. It was at this point that I yelled out "WHAT THE FUCK, THIS IS FROM THE PLOT OF RED DRAGON!" More bristles than a hairbrush, y'all. Except that this actually works out pretty well--the way they use tattlecrime.com ends up being so low-key that it's more of a precedent, a well the team can keep going back to. You know, right up until it goes terribly, terribly wrong. The fake exclusive was a whole huge runaround in the book, and the male Freddy was hilariously, pitifully sleazy in his eagerness to get ahead--but Miss Freddie has a lot more sangfroid, so give that shit the boot, sure.
So here's Freddie, fabulously awful and ready to play ball. Crawford introduces Alana as a psychiatric consultant, adding, "I believe you know Will Graham." "Mr. Graham, so good to see you," Freddie smooves, extending her hand. Will totally leaves her hanging (snerk). Crawford lays out the possibilities: "You ran an unconfirmed story about the Chesapeake Ripper. What I want is for you to confirm it. And you would get the satisfaction of seeing the Los Angeles Times, the sanctified Washington Post, and even the holy New York Times run copyrighted material under your byline. With a picture credit." Alana even promises to use her influence with Dr. Chilton to get Freddie an interview with Gideon. "What's against you, and by association us," Mr. Graham breaks in, "is that your brand of journalism is obnoxious."
Miss Lounds remains serene. "Not to snap bubblegum and crack wise, but what's my angle?" LOL FREDDIE. "Is he the Chesapeake Ripper, or do you just want me to tell everybody that he is?" Well, he totally could be! "Do you know what profession psychopaths disproportionately gravitate to?" Crawford asks rhetorically." "CEOs, lawyers, the clergy," says Freddie--and #5 is surgeons. "I know the list." "Well, then you know what number six is," snarks Will: journalists. "Know what number seven is, Mr. Graham?" I guessed the punchline--"Law enforcement"--about a second before Will said it, because he needed time to work up the proper tone of deathless loathing.
"Here we are," says Freddie, smiling. "A bunch of psychopaths helping each other out."
@ScottThompson_: I want that top L.J. is sporting. She looks like the missing member of the X-Men.
@LaraJeanC: which one? I look like a superhero with the gloves- its why i wear the gloves. Or supervillain.
@MrAaronAbrams: Her superpower is her ability to flirt with being horribly murdered.
@BryanFuller: What is @LaraJeanC's super power?
@LaraJeanC: aaron abrams covered that question. #flirtingwithdangerinanimalprintawesomene
In voiceover, the story she posts, as Lecter reads it on his iPad:
His name is Dr. Abel Gideon, and strong evidence has surfaced that he's far more than a mild-mannered surgeon who cruelly murdered his wife. Maybe, just maybe, Gideon is the most sought-after serial killer at large, a killer who's eluded the FBI for years and has baffled their most gifted profilers. That serial killer? None other than the Chesapeake Ripper.
HE MAD NOW.
And Freddie? You are real, real lucky you live to blog another day. That's all I'm going to say about that.
(The funny thing is, at first I thought the nurse's murder was, figuratively speaking, a team effort--that Lecter had somehow somehow convinced Gideon through correspondence to make it look like the Chesapeake Ripper was clearly already in prison, so you can just stop looking for him, guys. Yes. You can totally stop noticing that tons of very tasty people are disappearing in the general Baltimore area. But it seems more like Chilton is driving this for his own fame-seeking purposes, although I tend to think he didn't actually mean for Gideon to actually kill someone to prove it. Who knows, maybe he did. What we do know now is that Lecter is Not Happy about any of it.)
"So are you enjoying reading my mail?" asks Gideon; Crawford is the visitor this time. "Looking for something instructional? Diagrams? Don't believe I can recreate one of my own murders from memory?" (There's the correspondence idea.) "You wouldn't be recreating them from your memory, Doctor. You're not the Chesapeake Ripper," says Crawford. "Ooooh, have to agree to disagree," Gideon, like, actually purrs. But--if you are the Ripper--why do you take surgical trophies? "Agent Crawford, there are just some things you're not allowed to do in a state-certified operating room." Eeeeeee. But then why didn't he take any trophies or display his victims when he killed his wife and her family--the murders he's actually been committed for? "Crime of passion. You know how stressful the holidays can get." Point for you, off-brand sociopath. "Anyway, you didn't come here to talk about my wife... or the little nursey." Crawford: "Oh? What am I here to talk about?" "Your trainee," murmurs Gideon. Aw hell, y'all. "Miriam... somebody." "You're telling me you killed Miriam Lass." "Yes," says Gideon, very, very quietly (okay, now we are getting into some serious creepery). "Didn't mean to kill her--don't get mad at me." Amazingly, Crawford is not actually hulk-smashing through the barrier to rip Gideon in half, even for daring to pretend he killed Miriam--he looks more perplexed than anything. "I'm not mad at you" (he sounds a little surprised himself at this). "I know where you are, I know how you got here, I read your file. I'm curious, why are you being so forthcoming all of a sudden?" "Well, what have I got to lose?" cracks Gideon. "You know where I am"--institutionalized for life regardless--"and you know how I got here." But then, why didn't Gizzard the Ripper put Miriam's body on display somewhere to be found? "What makes you think I didn't?" he replies. But before we can figure out what the hell that suggests, here's Crawford's cell phone ringing, and the caller ID says HOME; he excuses himself.
"The polite thing to do is to ask them to call back," Gideon calls after him (Crawford's already not giving a fuck halfway down the corridor). "Unless it's not an option..." I kind of love that he's trying to do the DEATH TO THE RUDE thing but can't really commit to it. Which is what I came to like about what Eddie Izzard does here--I first read these scenes as "weak Silence of the Lambs imitation" (although not an Anthony Hopkins impression pe se), which seemed strange, because you know he can do better than that. But as the episode wore on, I started to think it was something a lot more subtle. It's almost like Gideon's seen a Brilliant Imprisoned Sociopath movie, and this is the show he thinks he's supposed to put on. But... he isn't one. He's an impulsive crime-of-passion killer, maybe intelligent and snarky but not an actual stone-cold murder genius; he wants the attention, but he can't quite pull off the persona. And that, in turn, highlights how terrifying the real Hannibal Lecter actually is later on. If that's what's really going on, it's fantastically meta.
Out in the hall, Crawford assumes it's Bella calling. It's not. "Jack, it's Miriam. I don't know where I am" starts up again, and this time, we hear a bit more of it: "I was so wrong. Please--Jack--I don't want to die like this--"
"IN MY HOUSE. IN MY BEDROOM," says Crawford (now in his house, in his bedroom) to the Investigators Three. "WHERE MY WIFE SLEEPS." Man, when Lecter gets mad, he don't play. Jimmy says he's got "three distinct beauties" off the house phone: fingerprints from Jack, Bella, and--presumably--the Chesapeake Ripper, although Brian expresses skepticism that said Ripper would traipse on into the home of the Head of Behavioral Sciences and leave fingerprints now. Oh, but even better: "The Ripper put his head on your wife's pillow," announces Beverly. "AND NOW SOMEBODY'S SLEEPING IN MY BED." AND IT IS IN NO WAY JUST RIGHT. "Was Miriam Lass a blonde?" she asks, pulling out a long strand of hair. Ohhhhh no. "I pulled her fingerprints from the VICAP database," says Jimmy, "and I got a match." "SHE'S DEAD," insists Crawford. "SHE WASN'T HERE."
See, here's what I'm trying to figure out. Clearly, the "Ripper" left a hair from Miriam's head. He made sure there were impressions of someone having laid on the bed. Her fingerprints were left on the phone. Did Lecter take Miriam's body in there with him?
(Wait, where has Miriam's body been for two years?)
What am I talking about, of course Lecter hauled Crawford's dead trainee's body into the house to stage a ghost phone call. The man can teleport from Minnesota to Baltimore and back again overnight with a girl's lungs. A murder wizard did it.
"Did Miriam Lass know where you live?" Will asks him quietly. Crawford says she was smart enough to find out if she wanted to, and thus, Will says, "she could've told the Chesapeake Ripper before he killed her." Orrrrr maybe Bella just paid for her therapy with a check. "Did you know... you were sending her after him?" "I sent her after information," Crawford insists. Well, says Will, "whoever made that call thinks you were close to Miriam Lass and... feel responsible for her death." Crawford, shaken by this, flashes back to...
...the grey days of yore at the Crawffice, where Miriam pops by to see if he's read the report she left. "Don't you have classes today?" "Yes, sir. I thought this might be more important than Exclusionary Rules of Search and Seizure." After busting her chops a little, Crawford tells her that his "assessment" of her report is that "instead of being here you should be in a lecture hall boning up on Good Faith Warrant Exceptions. What you're proposing in your report breaks confidentiality laws. You know that. You shouldn't be so dismissive of what you're learning here." But, says Miriam, "if the Chesapeake Ripper is a surgeon, we should check medical records for all of the known victims--I knew we couldn't get a warrant if we didn't have something substantial." "It's one thing for a trainee to go poking around in private medical records without a warrant; very different if the guru did it." Wait... Miriam steps closer and lowers her voice: "Better for a trainee to ask for forgiveness than an FBI agent to ask for permission?" "In my experience." Oh, CRAWFORD. "Then I hope you forgive me for skipping class today," Miriam says, brightening.
Back at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Hammy, Alana says gently, "If someone were using manipulative methods to subvert your sense of control, you may not realize it until those methods are pointed out to you." "Which may be a manipulative method in itself, " counters Dr. Gizzard. "You were a model patient. You behaved yourself for two years," says Alana. "Well," says Gideon, "no opportunity to be naughty." "You could have been pushed." "Well, that would be unethical," he says. Dude, this is Chilton we're talking about; I thought you were perceptive and shit. Alana: "I can help you find out. But I need your trust to do that." "Oh, I trust you, Dr. Bloom," he says. I have a feeling we have not seen the last of this guy.
Chez Lecter. Chilton toasts his candidate for Chesapeake Rippery: "Dr. Gideon is going to provide us with a singular opportunity to analyze a pure sociopath. It is so rare to find one in captivity." Man, is the future waiting for you. Alana is not impressed--until dinner arrives, at any rate. "Inspired by Auguste Escoffier," they are having lamb tongues in an origami lotus, as you do, "served with a sauce of duxelles and oyster mushrooms. Picked myself," says Lecter. (Uh, guys? Have y'all checked on that confiscated Mushroom Whisperer farm lately?) "I don't think I've ever had tongue," she says. Lecter: "It was a particularly chatty lamb." And then I missed the entire next minute of show and had to go back because I was laughing so hard. (I was going to say it would make a great band name, but actually, I think The Chatty Lamb would be a better tavern.) "The Romans used to kill flamingos just to eat their tongues," says Chilton, because... what, they didn't even want the super long drumsticks? I bet those would have been pretty fun. "Don't give me ideas," says Lecter (yeah, Eddie Izzard didn't run off with that part of the scene, did he?). "Your tongue is very feisty. And as this evening has already proven... it's nice to have an old friend for dinner." Oh God, please let this show be renewed forever and ever. Let me live to see the day they get to that scene.
"I see three possibilities," says Alana. "Gideon is the Chesapeake Ripper... or he just thinks he is... or he knows he isn't." "He is," replies Chilton, "he knows he is, so do I." Well, of course, only the Ripper could know the wound patterns. Unless... "Did you discuss the Chesapeake Ripper's crimes with Dr. Gideon before he murdered the night nurse?" asks Lecter. Chilton: "Yes... when I began to suspect what he was." Oh, you dumbass. "Fearing he might be exposed may have, uh... spurred him into action," he admits. Alana: "Is it possible you inadvertently planted the suggestion in Gideon's mind that he was the Ripper?" "You're not suggesting coercive persuasion." "No, I said inadvertently," says Alana, because you are a dumbass. "Psychic driving is unethical," says Chilton--"But reasonable in certain circumstances," adds Lecter. Uh, Alana would like to know what the hell circumstances those might be. "It may have been useful trying to remind Gideon he's the Chesapeake Ripper," he says ("Mm-hmm," Chilton breaks in, because WE KNOW, you dumbass). "If he repressed those memories. But he seems to have come to that awareness all by himself," Lecter concludes. Chilton gives him an uneasy look. To Alana, he says that if Gideon has been "unethically manipulated somehow, I need to know" (WELL YOU'RE THE ONE WHO DID IT!). "I would love your insight." Um, no, kthnx. Lecter deftly pries Chilton away by asking him to help with dessert in the kitchen, where he talks about how he loves Norton grapes, which are the same color inside and out, even when you PEEL THEM WITH A VERY SHARP KNIFE. "A grape with nothing to hide," says Chilton. Yeah. MEDITATE UPON THAT.
@BryanFuller: A PURE GELATIN OF CONCORD GRAPES. @CHEFJOSEANDRES SAYS: "Gelatin would be made out of the bone of a human." pic.twitter.com/baBsU3sA6k
I salute you, fancy cannibal, in your quest to think of ever more imaginative ways to be just really the worst person ever.
Oh, and a word to the wise, Dr. Chilton: "Were I in your position, I would have attempted psychic driving. Perhaps you already have," says Lecter. SIGNIFICANT LOOKS ALL AROUND. "I promise I am much more forgiving of the unorthodox than Dr. Bloom. Shall we?"
At the Crawffice, one more ghost call from poor Miriam--but this time, caller ID displays a number. As Bevelry and Will walk-and-talk towards an abandoned observatory, she explains that they've traced the call to a disposable phone within a hundred feet of that location. Miriam was looking into medical records, Beverly tells him: "If the Ripper was a surgeon, she thought he might've treated one of his victims," "Have they retraced her steps?" Nah, they just said fuck it, we got a lot more trainees where that one came from--YES OF COURSE THEY DID. "The ones they could find. She made a jump somewhere they couldn't explain. You make those jumps," adds Beverly. "The evidence has to be there," Will replies. Yeah, I think maybe that was the problem, actually. Beverly: "Every surgeon that came into contact with any of the Ripper victims has been thoroughly vetted or currently under observation" (o rly?). Including Dr. Gideon, then? "Dr. Gideon wasn't in my bedroom," insists Crawford, meeting them at the front steps. "The Chesapeake Ripper was." So Crawford is going to call that number back... and now they can actually hear it ringing. Behind them. In the observatory. Ohhhh no.
There's a phone. The phone is in a hand. The hand is attached to an arm. The arm is attached to nothing. It looks a bit fresher than one might expect after two years... but it's all they're going to get. Well, except for a handwritten note: What do you see?
The Best Fireplace Ever, where Crawford is drowning his sorrows in a brandy snifter in the firelit darkness (the brandy is probably people). "What would be the benefit of making you believe your trainee was alive?" Lecter asks him. Well, I don't know, why don't you tell us. "Hope," says Crawford. "The Ripper wanted to cloud my vision with hope." Cheer up, emo profiler: "It can sometimes be brave to allow yourself hope," says Lecter. Crawford: "Not the false kind." "Don't give up hope for your wife," Lecter insists. "Not yet. She's lost hope, which means you can't." "I don't have any control over that--" "TAKE control!" WHOA OKAY! (Well. I guess Lecter really does think of connection as something that's achieved by gaining control rather than by giving it up.) After a moment of silence, he says, "I'm sorry about your wife, Jack. I truly am. I believe the world is a better place with her in it... I am sorry about your trainee." He sounds really, really sincere, but I have got the side-eye so bad right now, y'all don't even know. "Whatever the Ripper was doing, it worked," Crawford says heavily. "I mean, I thought she was alive. For a moment, anyway. I actually let myself believe something that I knew was impossible." "Talk to me about her," says Lecter. "What was her name?"
The Best Office Ever, back in the days of grey. "My name is Miriam Lass--I'm with the FBI. I would show you my credentials, but I'm actually just a trainee." "Never just a trainee," Lecter says kindly. "An agent in training." This is when the Miriam thing shifted from "imitation" to "precedent" for me--assuming we ever get to Silence of the Lambs, it can reverberate as a layer of memory rather than "stuff they already used up" (fangirl placation achieved). Because now, the danger of sending Clarice in would be all the more present to everyone involved, given that they'll all remember a time when that didn't... turn out so well.
"I was hoping to talk to you about a former patient," says Miriam, from the days when he was a practicing physician. Well, "I haven't practiced medicine for some time, but fortunately for you, I have a very good memory." "His name was Jeremy Olmstead..." Suddenly, Lecter's memory is not quite as good as previously advertised. "He was recently found murdered in his workshop. We think he may be a victim of the Chesapeake Ripper," says Miriam. "He had two old scars on his thigh. Pathology checked with the local hospital--he had fallen out of a tree blind five years ago while bow hunting, stuck an arrow through his leg. The doctor of record was a resident surgeon, but you were on duty in the ER that night." O rly? You don't say. "Your name was on the admissions log," says Miriam. "It's been a long time since the accident, but I thought you may remember if anything was fishy with the arrow wound." Oh, well, maybe, sort of, vaguely, not really? Hunters show up at Baltimore ERs stuck with arrows all the time, you must really forgive him for letting that one blend in with all the others. But! "I did keep detailed journals during those days. If you like, I can get them for you," says Lecter, although this offer cannot possibly be sincere. Nonetheless, he climbs into the Cannibal Library Paradise loft while Miriam wanders around the office.
We had actually just been discussing when in the series we might get to the part when Shit Goes Down, which was my non-spoiler shorthand for the scene where Will's investigating the Wound Man murder, and he meets Lecter for the first time, just to make an innocent inquiry, and then Bad Things Happen with a linoleum knife (he lives, since it's a back story and he's telling it), and that is how Lecter ends up getting caught. It's just so fantastic, that two-page flashback in Red Dragon, and I was dying for the show to someday get to this part, probably as a season finale, when Will would see the picture--
and quietly excuse himself to go call for backup on a pay phone, because this was written in 1981, but Lecter knows that he knows--
and then Lecter sneaks up behind him in his socks--
and then I started squeaking "oh my God oh my God oh Jesus oh Jesus oh Jesus"
the whole time he strangles Miriam.
(And meanwhile, my sister must have wondered why I was in the room next door shrieking "IT'S THE SOCKS!!!")
So! That's the first time we've actually seen Lecter kill anyone. (Wait, no--attack anyone? I no longer know what's up or down or even dead at all.) Man, did they make it count. And I think this is where it gets interesting--there's a lot of different expressions going on here. He enjoys killing generally, so a little of that; are we seeing relief that he's grabbed her in time? Anger, even fear, that he nearly got caught? Is he relatively gentle (no, he is, really weirdly--he kisses the top of her head afterwards) because of the chivalrous ("chivalrous") streak, or because he's just trying to accomplish this as quietly as possible, or because he genuinely, in some way, regrets having to kill her for just politely doing her job? (Well, he introduced Alana's head to a stone wall pretty cheerfully, even though he clearly liiii~iiiikes her, so maybe not so much with the "regret.")
You know what this also means?
We now have no idea how Will's going to find out, or how Lecter's going to get caught, or what's going to happen when he is. Now, ALL BETS ARE FUCKING OFF.
Wait. Wait wait wait. Step back. So what you mean to tell me is--you are saying that--Lecter is sitting here in front of his fireplace pensively thinking about how he's genuinely sorry about Bella Crawford, and sorry for Jack because he's losing her, because even cannibals sometimes get the feels, and he felt fairly wistful, indeed, as he was sneaking around Crawford's house TRYING TO GASLIGHT HIM INTO THINKING HIS TRAINEE WAS STILL ALIVE? "Yes," he said to himself, as he set up a phone call to relay Miriam's last words to Crawford (the second time), "I feel such sympathy for this brave, suffering woman--now, should I lay a single blonde hair across her pillow, or should I actually lay Dead Miriam out in the bed for the full effect"? ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT IS WHAT HE DID?
You are literally the absolute worst, sir.
"She was a very brave young woman," Crawford says quietly. Lecter drinks to that.
SO BASICALLY THAT JUST WENT COMPLETELY OFF THE RAILS INTO AWESOME.
@akathorne: But what the hell, though?! Did I just watch a SotL remake with My Girl and Eddie Izzard? What is even happening!
@cleolinda: I--I am kind of overwhelmed right now. I think on Tumblr they call these "feels."
See, that's what I ended up loving about this the more I thought about it--it's like they had all these scenes that felt vaguely derivative of the originals--so they could knock you over and sweep them out of the way like YEAH, WE ARE DONE WITH THAT NOW. Game on.
Hannibal Boss Talks Casting Lee Pace and Kristin Chenoweth—and a Pushing Daisies Kickstarter Campaign! More to the point: "So our viewers will be screwed if we don't have a second season." YOU GUYS, I WILL FLIP A FUCKING TABLE right after I make sure nothing breakable is on it. PRAYER CIRCLE FOR MAY 12 ANNOUNCEMENT.
@MrAaronAbrams: Well I dunno how this show can get any betterWAITGILLIANANDERSONISCOMINGOHMYGOD.
(Continue: 1x07: "Sorbet" )