Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

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Hannibal 1x10: "Buffet Froid"


‏@DireRavenstag: So Will and the fancy fleshmeat will continue their dance for another season, huh? JUST. AS. PLANNED


I can't really take credit for being one of the Twitterers in question--as much as I love the show, I don't livetweet, generally to spare y'all both the tweetspam and the spoilers. Any ~contributions~ I make are mostly here afterwards, I guess. Fandom as you see it on Twitter and Tumblr is incredibly dedicated, though, and spearheaded a campaign or two to convince NBC to keep the show on the air. In fact, you're not imagining things: Meet The #HANNIBAL Fannibals, TV’s Newest And Most Intense Fandom.

@Ceilidhann: @cleolinda Now you have to keep your promise to recap Dracula even though you were going to do it anyway probably.

Yeah... I did say that, didn't I? MAKE IT GOOD.

@cleolinda: Wait, so I guess this means I have to shelve the legendary shit fit? I was prepared to tweet down hellfire, y'all.

@bogo_lode: just wait til it's canceled after part of season two


MEANWHILE: Not to be outdone by the show's food stylist, the Alamo Drafthouse now has a Silence of the Lambs-themed menu, posters, and wines. ALSO: I want all y'all to thank me for not inflicting a full Hannibal/Twilight crossover fic on you.

By the way, I have to warn you--IMO, this episode ended up being even more viscerally disturbing than Meat Wings and Throat Cello. I mean that as a compliment (... I think?). I'm just also going to make you click through to the pictures a bit more than usual.

PREVIOUSLY ON: EMPATH AND CANNIBAL: Lance Henriksen made a murder pole out of people and irony; Abigail decided to write a tell-all book with Miss Freddie despite admitting that she helped her father by luring victims (!) oh and also she DUG UP NICHOLAS BOYLE'S BODY (!!) because she was last week's Worst at Helping; Lecter, on the other hand, is... the best at hugging (?!?); Will and the brain raccoons are disappointed in ALL OF YOU.

A terrifying house in the terrifying woods, Greenwood, Delaware. There's a terrifying creaking shed and a scary wolf statue out front and the welcome mat says DO NOT WANT and when a young woman comes home late one night (she lives alone, obviously) and whistles to her pet canary, the canary's like "CHEEP CHEEP, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE." Honey, I know People in Hannibal Don't Know They're in Hannibal, but for God's sake.

@BryanFuller: Our Goal with Tonight's #HANNIBAL was to do an unconventional ghost story that embraced more traditional horror elements.

Such as the terrifying now-open shed, and the water dripping ominously from the ceiling onto the girl's bed, and the standard-issue horror attic with a giant hole in the roof. Listen, holes that big don't just come out of nowhere, and those ain't Santa's footprints. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. But she doesn't run screaming through the snow (TAKE THE CANARY WITH YOU) and burn rubber to a Holiday Inn. Instead, she follows a trail of wet footprints back to her bed (GET OUT OF THE HOUUUUSE), where a hand reaches out, grabs her by the ankle, and drags her screaming under the bed. And you know it ended extra-well when jets of blood spray out.

@BryanFuller: That horrifying spurt of blood was much debated with Broadcast S&P [Standards & Practices]. @NBC ultimately allowed us to use it after trims.

This whole episode is one long So That's a Thing I Saw on Network TV, but I've come to appreciate the go-hard-or-go-home spirit here.

The Best Office Ever. "I can feel my nerves clicking like roller coaster cogs... pulling up to the inevitable long plunge." I feel you, Will. "Quick sounds, quickly ended," says Lecter (thanks). "Abigail Hobbs ended Nicholas Boyle," Will free-associates bitterly. "Like a burst balloon." (He flashes back to Nicholas running into her knife in episode three--something he wasn't present for, but he flinches now like he's empathing it.) "She took a life." "You've taken a life," says Lecter, and yeah, let's talk about why that ended up happening, HELPER. "Yeah. Yeah, so have you," says Will, who has noooo ideaaaaa. Lecter tells him, "You're grieving, Will. Not for the life you have taken, but for the life that was taken from you. If Abigail could have started over, left the horror of her father behind, so could have you. You could untangle yourself from the madness and the murder." Will cuts through the Deep Thoughts with, "We LIED for her." "We both know the unreality of taking a life. The people who die when we have no other choice, we know in those moments--they are not flesh, but light, and air, and color." And tasty. Will: "Isn't that what it is to be alive?" "Do you feel alive, Will?" "I feel like I'm fading," he says.

"Have you experienced any further loss of time? Or hallucinations?" (Will sort of nods with only his eyebrows: YEAH.) "I'd like you to draw a clock face," says Lecter, handing him a notebook (I'm assuming it's a limited edition Moleskine bound in people). "Numbered. Small hand indicating the hour, large hand the minute." "WHY?" asks Will in this hilariously dismissive tone. Fuck your notebook and fuck your clock, okay. "An exercise. I want you to focus on the present moment. The now. Often as you can, think of where you are, and when. Think of who you are." Okay, fine: "Seven sixteen PM. I'm in Baltimore, Maryland. And my name is Will Graham."

"A simple reminder. The handle to reality for you to hold on to. And know you're alive." As opposed to when you're dead, which you will be, because he is the worst at helping. And then we see what Will's clock actually looks like:

Oh dear.

Since "mental vs. physical illness" is sort of a theme for this episode, I'll go ahead and lay my cards on the table: as longtime readers know, I have a very closely-managed bipolar II disorder, which I have always been very open about. The hypomanic side of the cycle consists mostly of energy, super focus, productivity, hypergraphia, and often increased irritability. Can't get to sleep, can't stay asleep, don't want to sleep. I've actually been in a mild but sustained upswing for a couple of months now. As I mentioned in an entry just before I started recapping the show, my grandmother had just passed away, and I was recovering from a mild back injury and my usual winter-based depression; this came along as an opportunity not just to get back into posting but to also start interacting with y'all again after a long, long hiatus: a happy confluence of spring sunlight. This is what mental illness can look like, is what I'm saying. It's illness, and it's mental, the way that my back injury was physical; it can look just like everybody else, and it does look like everybody else because "everybody else" has their own mental health issues to deal with from time to time, the way sometimes we have mild colds, or maybe some people have diabetes, and at other, more urgent times, we need treatment for pneumonia or a broken leg. It's just harder to figure out what's going on and why when it's your mind, and harder to figure out what to do about it. And one of the reasons my bipolar cycle is fairly well-managed is because both my psychiatrist and my family are supportive; I'm very open about it with them, and I actively keep an eye on the various mood fluctuations, generally doing cognitive therapy techniques on my own and reporting back for quarterly doctor visits. I've been on medication since I was 19 (fifteen years now), and the reason that medication has worked so well for me personally is that I have a doctor who listens to me when I have concerns and side effects and problems. Which is a very long-winded way of saying, it's fun to watch this show and be like "oh fancy cannibal, you so baaad (*chin hands*)," but start fucking with your patients and I will beat your fictional ass down with your own appointment book.

(By the way, I would have no problem joking that "my brain raccoons currently have a sad" or "sorry, can't concentrate, brain raccoons jumping on the bed right now," and in fact may begin doing so ASAP.)

Meanwhile, back at the Nobark Home for Emotionally Available Strays, Will's taken the raccoons out fishing and brought back some nice big... fish-type... fish. And then he starts to gut one and a pool of blood pours out, which is generally not how that's supposed to work. (Way to ruin fish, show. It was just about all we had left.) So we look up at Will and he looks down at his own reflection in the blood, then we look up at him and there's blood on his face, and then he's looking down at the victim with HER MOUTH CARVED UP AND CHOKING ON BLOOD and she's weakly sort of struggling with him and he looks up and he's covered in blood in the Terror House, sliding around in even more blood and throwing a knife away and scrambling for the door and--

Uh. Yeah.

Down in the Terror Kitchen, Will washes his hands (uh, hey, you might should get all that blood at your elbow--?). Crawford's fedora glares at him passing through on the way out.

"What happened in there?" Crawford asks him on the snowy doorstep. "I've seen you confused and I've seen you upset, but I've never seen you afraid like this." Will tries to brazen it out: "Well, I'm an old hand at fear. I can manage this one. I just got disoriented. I can go back in," he says, insisting that he can "see and hear better afraid." Walk it off! It's a good fear! But "I saw the look on your face when you came out of that room. Will, you contaminated the crime scene. You've never done that before." Will admits that for a moment, he thought... he was the one responsible for the murder. "Sometimes with, uh, what I do--" "What you do is you take all of the evidence available at a crime scene. You extrapolate. You reconstruct the thinking of a killer. You don't think of yourself as the killer." What would you call it when someone at work tells you what it is you do every day? Bossplaining? "I got lost in the reconstruction. Just for a second, just a blink," insists Will. "I know you don't like to be the cause for concern, but I am officially concerned about you," Crawford says quietly. Will is Officially Offended: "I thought the reason you had me seeing Dr. Lecter and not an FBI psychiatrist is so my mental wellbeing stays ~unofficial.~" "I just want to be careful with you. We don't want to break you here. Is that what's happening? Have I broken you?" Are you a broken pony? Is your cutie mark a teacup? Did he finally chip your mug? Can we just not ever have nice things? "Do you have anyone that does this better unbroken than I do broken?" retorts Will. "Fear makes you rude, Will," Crawford says very softly, which is an entirely new kind of srs bsns coming from him.

Will summons the fortitude to return to the crime scene, though. Also, HEY GUYS if you're using the recaps as a pre-show squick guide then YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN'T WATCH THIS SCENE. Like, just listen to the dialogue, maybe? You don't want to look. "Her name was Beth LeBeau," Brian tells him. "She drowned on her own blood." Jimmy points here and there: "And what she didn't drown on is all over the floor and under the bed and on Will. She was trying to hide from him." "He dragged her there," Will empathically confirms: "He was waiting under the bed for her." "Fought to claw her way out," says Beverly, tweezing up what I really hope is not an entire fingernail. "He knew her," says Will, glancing over framed photographs with the glass broken and the faces scratched out: "Someone who cared about her. Or thought he did." "So, we're looking for boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, coworkers, the guy who bags her groceries," says Crawford. (This would have been more effective misdirection if the previews hadn't given away who the killer was.) "I've got a clean set of prints on the knife handle," says Jimmy, looking over at Will: "I assume they're yours." "Sorry," mumbles Will; Jimmy nods, not unkindly. "There's other dermal tissue, presumably from the killer's, but the skin is so diseased or damaged... it didn't leave any useful prints." "The victim scratched her killer deep enough to pile tissue under the fingernails, but never drew blood," says Beverly, which has Crawford wondering: "Why didn't he bleed?" And then Brian observes that, after the killer slashed the victim's mouth open all the way back, "it looks like he was trying to pull her skin back." Will, struck by the idea: "Like he was removing a mask?"

The Best Office Ever. "I still have the coppery smell of blood on my hands," says Will, wandering around the room rather dramatically. (Well, that's because you missed a fairly damned spot by your elbow.) "I can't remember seeing the crime scene before I saw myself killing her." "Those memories sank out of sight, yet you're aware of their absence," observes Lecter. "There's a grandiosity to the violence that I imagined that feels more real than what I know is true," says Will. "I know I didn't kill her--I couldn't have--but I remember cutting into her, I remember watching her die." "You must GET A BRAIN SCAN overcome these delusions that are disguising your reality," says Lecter. "What kind of savage delusions does this killer have?" "It wasn't savage, it was lonely. It was desperate, sad. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror... and I looked right through me... past me, as if I was just a stranger." "You have to honestly SCAN YOUR BRAIN confront your limitations with what you do," says Lecter, walking over to Will, who sort of ~swoons~ back against the library ladder and that hurt/comfort fic really does nearly break out. What Will actually says is, "If by limitations you mean the difference between sanity and insanity, I don't accept that." "What do you accept?" A BRAAAAIN SCAAAAN "I know what kind of crazy I am, and this isn't that kind of crazy. This could be seizures, this could be a tumor, a blood clot..." Lecter finally gives in: "I can recommend a neurologist" [IMMEDIATE SIDE-EYE] "but if it isn't physiological, then you have to accept what you're struggling with is mental illness." Will gives him a shaky little begrudging nod.

Noble Hills Health Care Center for Physicians Endorsed by Hannibal Lecter. "You're in very good hands. Dr. Lecter here is one of the sanest men I know," says a Dr. Sutcliffe (well, now I'm just suspicious that you felt the need to volunteer that opinion). Apparently he and Lecter were residents together-- "Another life ago, back when you weren't afraid to get your hands a little dirty." As we found out in "Sorbet," Lecter quit working as an ER surgeon after he "killed someone," or at least (he claims) felt like he had when he couldn't save them. Also: dude, what the fuck is wrong with you, saying something like that in front of a patient? Lecter, on the other hand, says, "I was always drawn to how the mind works. I found it much more dynamic than how the brain works." "The projected image is more interesting than the projector, until, of course, the projector breaks down," replies Sutcliffe. "So, Will, these headaches. When did they begin in earnest?" Apparently "two to three months" have passed since the show started with the Minnesota Shrike case: "About the time Will went back into the field, which is when I met him," says Lecter. As for the hallucinations, Will isn't sure: "I just slowly became aware that I might not be dreaming."

YAAAAY, A BRAIN SCAN! But before Will's even in the machine, Lecter says to Sutcliffe, "It's encephalitis." You fucker. He's not even the least bit uncertain, either. "I could smell it." YEAH, BACK IN EPISODE FIVE, YOU SUPERLATIVE ASS. "So your sense of smell has gone from calling out a nurse's perfume to diagnosing autoimmune disease," Sutcliffe says skeptically. 1) Wait, is the perfume thing just a standard in Lecter's charm repertoire? 2) Yes, and also cancer, I thought you knew him. "He started sleepwalking, and I noticed a very specific scent," Lecter explains. TO REVIEW:

What DOES encephalitis smell like? "It has heat... a fevered sweetness," he says. Okay, even Sutcliffe's a little weirded out now. "If you suspected, why didn't you say something?" YES WHY. "Had to be sure," says Lecter. "Symptoms began slowly and gradually worsened. And yesterday, I asked him to draw a clock. This is what he drew." Yeah... turns out that wasn't just an exercise to help Will locate himself in spacetime:

@BryanFuller: The Clock Test for Psychiatric Impairment is a thing!

And Sutcliffe knows exactly what it means: "Spatial neglect... headaches, disorientation, hallucinations, altered consciousness. It's all the telltale signs." Indeed, says Lecter, "It is so rare to be able to study the psychological effect of this type of malady on a person's mind." Wait, you're not... Sutcliffe: "It's more rare still to be able to study the neurological effects." YOU ARE NOT. Lecter: "A doctor has to weigh the ultimate benefit of scientific study. Even in these times, we know so little about the brain. There are great discoveries to be made." THIS IS A THING YOU ARE DOING? Not to get all Capslock Harry Potter on you, but HE WAS YOUR FRIEND!!!! Chilton and his "so rare to get a pure sociopath in captivity" bullshit? I HOPE CHILTON STUDIES THE SHIT OUT OF YOU.


@BryanFuller: The horrible feeling of a Doctor conspiring against you was one of my favorite moments from #ROSEMARYSBABY

(The interesting thing is that Sutcliffe sort of nods to himself, and we see the wheels turning in his head as he thinks this over. Despite the callous "get your hands dirty" line, it's entirely possible that this is not the kind of thing he'd ever done before... until he was tempted. Tested, if you will.)

As Will slides into the MRI, he imagines sliding under Beth LeBeau's bed, the drips of water hitting the wooden floor, turning in the machine's head rest to look as Beth's slippered feet walk into the room, grabbing her ankle as she screams, and then turning to look at her corpse, the mouth slashed open all the way back to the ears. (I RECOMMEND YOU DON'T LOOK AT THIS.) And then he starts twitching and struggling in the scanner, possibly empathing the rest of us flailing at home--and flashes back to various crime scenes from the earlier episodes (I saw Dr. Gizzard's eyeless nurse, Mushroom People, Meat Wings, Throat Cello, and Murder Pole for sure).

Yeah, it's totally encephalitis. "The right side of his brain is completely inflamed. It's anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. The symptoms are only going to get worse." "I know," Lecter says calmly. "It's unfortunate for Will." (YOUR FRIEND!!!!!!!!) Even Sutcliffe gives him an uneasy look: "What do you smell on me?" "Opportunity." And then they look at each other and smile.

I am gonna slap the plaid off this man. And YOU, Sutcliffe! This guy eats people. His evil is a demonstrated pre-existing condition. What's your excuse?

@Tattle_Crime: Peter Sutcliffe, aka the Yorkshire Ripper. Google him.

@BryanFuller: And that's who we named Dr. Sutcliffe after!


"We didn't find anything abnormal," says Dr. Sutcliffe, showing Will a brain scan of lies. "No vascular malformations, no tumors, no swelling or bleeding, no evidence of stroke. Nothing. There's nothing wrong with you neurologically." And then I neurologically threw things. "Look, we'll run some more fake tests. We'll take some more blood samples and ignore them, but I imagine they'll prove to be just as FULL OF LIES inconclusive." And Will gives him a tiny heartbreaking nod.

The Best Fireplace Ever: Crawford's dropped by for some more firelight booze therapy. Could be brandy; could be cognac; probably Miriam. "You knew from the moment you walked into his classroom that you were putting him in a potentially destructive environment," says Lecter (fair enough). Also to be fair: "I had eight college girls dead in Minnesota. Will caught their killer for me." Yeah, here's me feeling much more generous towards Crawford today because at least he's not AN UTTER INTENTIONAL SHIT--who, by the way, feels compelled to add, "He also caught their killer's disease. He can't stop thinking about what it is to take a life after I warned a serial killer that we were coming to get him." Why are you the most terrible. "I'd rather he go a little mad than other innocents lose their lives, and I think he would feel the same way," says Crawford, but Lecter counters, "Will is an innocent." And it hurts my heart, you guys. Crawford sighs: "Yes. He is. I mean, Will is genuine. He'll survive anything I could put him through. He will always fight his way back to himself." "Not always," says Lecter. "So far." (Wait, was that an eyeroll from Crawford?) And then Lecter tells him the results of the brain scan, because he has zero ethics, in case you were the least bit unclear about that, and how upset Will was to discover that his illness must be LIES mental. "You think he's mentally ill," says Crawford, deeply concerned.

See, I get that this is pulpy horror fun, but I wish there weren't a slight "He may be... MENTALLY ILL (*THUNDERCLAP*)" undertone to this exchange. Guys, Will's already got mental health concerns or he wouldn't be seeing a therapist, as so many people do when they need help coping with something, including Crawford and his wife. We're not talking about an on/off Crazy Switch. Even Freddie knows that. And maybe, to be generous, it's an in-story problem that Crawford thinks of it this way--and therefore, as long as he can convince himself that it's a binary yes/no crazy/go situation, everything's fine--whereas Lecter knows better? The way I think of this whole Sutcliffe storyline, it's more that a mental health professional and a physical health professional are colluding to lie to their patient about which one of them really ought to be treating him. Also, I hope they step on all the Legos. Physically.

"The problem Will has is too many mirror neurons," says Lecter (Crawford nods to himself). "Our heads are filled with them when we are children--supposed to help us socialize and then melt away. But Will held on to his, which makes knowing who he is a challenge. When you take him to a crime scene, Jack, the very air has screams smeared on it. In those places, he doesn't just reflect; he absorbs."


The role of mirror neurons at all levels of social interaction is even greater than had been realized, according to convenor of the ESF conference Riccardo Viale, president of Rosselli Foundation in Turin, Italy and professor of Cognitive Science (University of Milan). "Most of the speakers highlighted how the mirror mechanism is crucial for both more basic forms of emotional recognition and also higher aspects of empathy," said Viale. Just as the same mirror neurons fire when observing and doing certain tasks, so other mirror neurons may be triggered both when experiencing a particularly emotion and when observing someone else with that emotion.

Meanwhile, over in Delaware (note: this is two hours away, as the Ravenstag flies), Will has decided that his next life choice needs to be "creep around the Terror House, which is now abandoned and without electricity, in the middle of the night." Like, even the brain raccoons want nothing to do with this. And the first thing his flashlight catches is an empty birdcage--omg what did they do with the canary? (I'm going to pretend that Jimmy took it home. Now they drink G&Ts together on the weekends while he catches up on his Netflix queue. Coco really enjoys Game of Thrones; she feels that Daenerys is her spirit person.) Then Will ventures upstairs, in the dark, flicks at the useless light switch, in the dark, and sweeps his flashlight over the gigantic bloodstains on the floor (which, like he didn't feel bad enough about all this, include his own shoe prints) (in the dark). Checking his watch, he murmurs, "It's 10:36. I'm in Greenwood, Delaware. My name is Will Graham," the flashlight moving over Beth's bedroom until finally the beam reaches the floor and SOMEONE UNDER THE BED?!!1? who scrambles away from the light and you know I really have to applaud Will for not falling over dead right here. MY GOD, he got himself some nerves of steel from somewhere, because he just cautiously stands there a moment and then CROUCHES DOWN TO LOOK UNDER THE BED and honestly it's kind of a relief when the bed flips over onto him--it's a girl who runs past him, and though he grabs her hand as she passes, he's left standing there just holding a glove.

Yeah, that's the moment Will realizes that the glove is her skin.

So he staggers from grabbing at the girl and then he's out in the woods with shrieking metals on the soundtrack? But he pulls himself together! "It's 1:17 AM! We're in--Greenwood, Delaware! And my name is Will Graham. And you're alive! If you can hear me--you're alive!"

How did that just turn on its heel from "terrifying" to "touching," exactly?

Same house, same night--you know what, Will? Forget Lecter. Give the friendship bracelet to Beverly, who just drove two hours in the middle of the night to the Terror House to sort your ass out. "Why did you call me? Why not Jack, why not the police?" BECAUSE YOU'RE THE ONLY PERSON WHO SEEMS TO CARE IF WILL'S ACTUALLY OKAY and also your jacket is super cute. "I called you because... I'm not entirely sure what I saw was real," says Will, and he gives her the saddest little smile. "Then let's prove it," she says. Beverly, will you accept a friendship bracelet from me? So Will walks her back through what happened: "I grabbed her arm, and an entire layer of dead skin separated from the underlying tissue" (we get to see the raw arm again) "like--like she was wearing a glove." And now Beverly understands: "That's why she doesn't bleed." "Right, there's no circulation, and there's nothing alive in the tissue to bind it." (Should I hold my questions for later? I have a lot of them.) So where did the zombie glove go, since that would be some really useful evidence? "I don't know." "You can't remember?" Beverly sighs and shakes her head: "Could be a staphylococcal infection... that, or leprosy." "Her eyes were discolored, she was malnourished, jaundiced, her liver was shutting down. She was--deranged," says Will, looking sympathetic and sad. (We never do get an explanation for why this girl's clinical delusion, as it turns out to be, has such dire physical symptoms.) "So she mutilated a woman's face... because she thought it was a mask," Beverly suggests, leading Will to an epiphany: "She can't see faces. If she did kill Beth LeBeau, she might not even know she did it." In fact, she might have even returned to the house "to convince herself she didn't." And then Beverly asks if that's why Will came back. Uh. "If I wasn't clear on that issue,"he says, "I know I didn't kill Beth LeBeau. I just want to know who did." "Me too." "Yeah." Well... this is getting a little bit awkward. Particularly when Beverly reveals that everyone at the Bureau is talking about him (you are not helping), speculating "that Jack pushed you right up to the edge... and now you're pushing yourself over." "This killer... can't accept her reality. I can occasionally identify with that," Will says, as dryly as he can manage. "That said, I feel... relatively sane."

@MrAaronAbrams [Brian]: "I invited you over to talk about dead skin." Will is the WORST CLOSER EVER. Zeller woulda had a "The Notebook" DVD ready to go.

At The Best Office Ever, Will is gamely drawing another clock. He is also sitting at the desk in Lecter's very own chair, which must be a signal honor to have been allowed by someone so persnickety. (His clock-drawing has not improved.) "I feel like I'm seeing a ghost," says Will--and admits that he means both the killer and himself. "You know she's real," Lecter tells him. "There's evidence. When you found her, your sanity did not leave you." "Time did." "You lost time again?" Will is beyond nodding even with his eyebrows at this point. We're down to "affirmative eyelid movement" now. Lecter offers to discuss the particulars of the Sutcliffe visit, but "there are no particulars," says Will. "He didn't find anything wrong." "Then we keep looking for answers. Perhaps you would permit me to run some tests of my own." (TESTS OF LIES?) "You wouldn't publish anything about me, would you, Dr. Lecter?" (Interesting that Will doesn't call him by his first name, even though we've been through "I was worried you were dead" and "I'm your friend, Will, I care about your life." Given that Will was perfectly willing to flail over to Lecter's house at any hour of the day or night with his sleepwalking and girl problems, I wonder if it's more of an authority-figure power imbalance than Will still being wary of him.) Lecter replies, "If there were ever anything that might be of therapeutic value to others, I'd abstract it in a form that would be totally unrecognizable." Fine, but you best publish it posthumously. "After your death or mine?" "Whichever comes first," says Will.

"Have you considered Cotard's Syndrome?" says Lecter, changing that particular subject. "It's a rare delusional disorder in which a person believes he or she is dead."


The man, identified only as Graham in an interview with New Scientist, said he awoke from a suicide attempt feeling as though his brain were dead. Graham was diagnosed with Cotard’s syndrome, a mysterious psychiatric condition marked by "the fixed and unshakable belief that one has lost organs, blood or body parts" or has no soul. [...] So while Graham’s brain was intact, his brain activity looked like that of someone in a coma. [...] "I just felt really damn low," he said, recalling his desire to lurk in graveyards. "I just felt I might as well stay there. It was the closest I could get to death."

"She couldn't see the victim's face--or she was trying to uncover it," says Will, which turns out to be highly relevant: "The inability to identify others is associated with Cotard's. It's a misfiring in the areas of the brain which recognize faces, and also in the amygdala, which adds emotion to those recognitions. Even those closest to her would seem like impostors," Lecter explains. Will: "So she reached out to someone she loved, someone she trusted... she felt betrayed, became violent." "She can't trust anything or anyone she once knew to be trustworthy. Her mental illness won't let her." And Will, perhaps sensing the convergence of storylines, looks away.

I swear to God, fancy cannibal, if Will catches on to your many, many shenanigans and you try to gaslight him with some "omg you caught her madness" bullshit, I will reach through this screen and choke you out with that fictional tie.

The Nobark Home for Empaths Who Could Really Use a Therapeutic Dogpile Right Now. So here's poor Will shaking and muttering in his sleep.. and there's the scary-sad zombie girl peering in through his window. To be honest, I just feel bad for her at this point, unfortunate tendency to knife up people's faces aside.

@DireRavenstag: OK YOU CRAZY DEAD CHICK, GET OUT OF MY TERRITORY. THE WINDOWS ARE MINE! *stomps and rattles antlers*

(I'll mention that this is the window over the table where Will works on his flies, because Martha De Laurentiis tweeted, "Fishing lures are so key to what tells the story of Will. And the great thing is you guys don't know half of it!")

The next day, Crawford's located the girl's mother, having found medical records matching the tissue samples; he and Will are meeting with her in a conference room. "I was almost relieved when I got that phone call," she says. "I thought that you had found her and she was, um.... would be at peace." She laughs nervously: "I tried to be a good mom. I tried to do everything that I could. I just don't want her to be in pain." "No one's doubting your dedication to your daughter, Mrs. Madchen," says Will.

@BryanFuller: Madchen is German for Girl. Lass is a synonym for Girl. Georgia Madchen/Lass is a reinterpretation of @EllenAMuth's #DEADLIKEME character.

@EllenAMuth: To those saying they didn't recognize me last night you must realize that I had a 4 hour prosthetics & make-up ordeal on my face everyday.

It turns out that Georgia and Beth LeBeau were best friends... "until it was unsafe for Georgia to go to school." Mrs. Madchen first discovered Georgia's illness "when she was nine and she told me that she was thinking about killing me and said that she was already dead." Yeah... that'll do it. "She had seizures, hallucinations, psychotic depression. I was grateful when she was catatonic," she says, with another sad, nervous laugh. Crawford: "Was she ever violent?" "Sometimes. She spent months at a time in the hospital. Blood tests and brain scans" (yeah, Will looks up at her now) "and all of them inconclusive. [The doctors] could never tell me what was wrong." "And you still don't know?" asks Will, dismayed. Georgia's mother: "They would just say it was this or it was that. You know, they were just... they were just always guessing." (Given how quickly Lecter pegged it as Cotard's Syndrome, I kept expecting her to say, "That nice Dr. Sutcliffe just kept trying and trying...") "And I did my own research. I wrote down every word that the doctors said, the different terminology, learned a lot. But mostly what I learned is... how little is actually known about mental illness. All they know, it's rarely about finding solutions. It's just more about managing expectations."

And now you see why we went into My Thoughts on Mental Illness, Let Me Show You Them. I don't know--it's like saying "how little is actually known about cancer." What kind of cancer? Some cancers are treatable if you catch them early enough--others are more rare and less understood. It's not a perfect metaphor, obviously, but I just don't think you can view mental or physical illness as a single monolithic condition. So I appreciate the sympathy (empathy?) here, but it's also kind of weird to see it jostling up against the creative B-movie-style horror. I don't really know what to say except to acknowledge the strangeness of it--maybe the incongruity of the show attempting this kind of real-world nuance up against the very broad Grand Guignol strokes. Better than not attempting it at all, I guess?

Afterwards, Will walks into the Crawffice proper and snarks, "Managing your expectations?" "Changing my expectations," says Crawford. "You know, when Miriam Lass died, I had to come back here to this office to pack up, but... that got to be too overwhelming. I thought I should just leave, seeing as how I had gotten a trainee killed. That lack of leadership on my part, that was my responsibility." Will points out that it was actually the Chesapeake Lecter Ripper who killed her, but "it didn't feel that way to me," says Crawford (unknowingly echoing Lecter's "I couldn't save someone, but it felt like killing them"). "I pulled her out of a classroom, like I pulled you out of a classroom." "She was a student, I am a teacher--" "I'm still just as responsible for you as I was for her--" "I'll take my own responsibility--" "WELL NOT FROM ME YOU WON'T," says Crawford, who will SUPPORT THE LIVING HELL OUT OF YOU. "We can do it together. I broke the rules with Miriam, I encouraged her to break the rules, I am breaking the rules with you now." "By letting an unstable agent do field work?" says Will, who is, once again, Officially Offended when Crawford reminds him that he's a special agent who just represents the FBI: "Have I misrepresented you, Jack?!" "No, but you have me curious. Why are you still here when the both of us know that this is bad for you? Let me tell you what I think." And, interestingly, it's not the "saving the lives of the innocents" explanation: Crawford thinks that routinely empathing horrific crime scenes has... created a sense of stability for Will? "Stability requires strong foundations, Jack," says Will, "my moorings are built on sand--" "I'm not sand. I AM BEDROCK. When you doubt yourself, you don't have to doubt me too." I guess Will is somewhat heartened by this, because he works himself back up to Tiny Nod.

You know, at first I was wondering why Crawford seems to run hot and cold--sometimes ignoring Will's distress and sometimes trying to help him--until I realized that Crawford has once again talked Will right back around to "don't leave even though this is bad for you." He tends to go with "the opinion that best serves his agenda," or ignores "any opinion but his own," which sounds ruthless, but it's because he's so bent on solving these cases, insists that he knows best, and believes that he can keep everything under control. (Unfortunately, as we keep discussing, the show's running theme seems to be that you have to give up control to really connect with someone.) What's bedrock to him may be a plunging cliff for someone like Will, and Crawford just refuses to see that, I guess.

And now, Chez Lecter.

@BryanFuller: DURING DINNER WITH DR. SUTCLIFFE, #HANNIBAL IS PLAYING #BACH's "The Well Tempered Clavier" Prelude in C Major

There's sort of a tapas theme, with octopus, olives, manchego cheese, Spanish ham--the "cold buffet," I guess. Quoth Wikipedia, "A buffet (from French: sideboard) is a system of serving meals in which food is placed in a public area where the diners generally serve themselves. Buffets usually have some hot dishes, so the term 'cold buffet' (see Smörgåsbord) has been developed." But! Buffet froid is also the name of "a 1979 French film written and directed by Bertrand Blier, starring Gérard Depardieu, Carole Bouquet, Bernard Blier and Jean Carmet. The film is a crime thriller but displays a high degree of black humour as contemporary urban life is depicted as alienating and having a dehumanizing effect on city dwellers." The English title? Cold Cuts.

Speaking of which: the centerpiece tonight is jamón ibérico, which Lecter shaves off a giant ham in paper-thin slices. "Still love your little rare treats, don't you, Hannibal? The more expensive and difficult they are to obtain, the better." Having been pointed again to Wikipedia, we discover that "until recently, jamón ibérico [Iberian ham] was not available in the United States (a fact referenced in the movie Perdita Durango, where the ham of Jabugo is praised as 'illegal, but delicious'). The basic jamón ibérico is priced upwards of $52 a pound, and the bellota [free-range acorn-fed] is priced upwards of $96 a pound, making these hams some of the most expensive in the world." HOLY HELL. However, I daresay jamón ibérico, by definition, no es persona in any way. Unless it was fed on people. Goddammit.

"Is the pig, once fattened and slaughtered and air-cured, really superior to any other pig?" muses Lecter. "Or is it simply a matter of reputation preceding product?" "It's irrelevant," says Sutcliffe, who is here to eat the hell out of your hundred-dollar ham. "If the meat-eater thinks it's superior, then belief determines value." "A case of psychology overriding neurology," Lecter concludes. As with so many of the dinner conversations--there must be a subtext here, and I'm guessing it's that Sutcliffe's only value as Lecter's recommended neurologist is that Will believes he's a good, upstanding doctor. AND HE IS TOTALLY NOT. In light of what eventually happens, it's almost like Lecter is warning Sutcliffe: you're only any use to me as long as I say you are. (Let's not even get into the issue of whether malpractice is rude.) "So, we know how Ibérico gets his pigs," says Sutcliffe (it's an adjective, not a person, I hope he eats your smug face). "How did you get yours?" (Lecter gives him an odd look, possibly because he has heard Will refer [unwittingly] to his victims as "pigs" a number of times. But Will himself is the jamón empático, of course.) "We know you're fond of the rarified. What makes him so rare?" "Will has a remarkably vivid imagination... beautiful," he replies. "Pure empathy. Nothing he can't understand, and that terrifies him." "So you set his mind on fire," says Sutcliffe, to which Lecter replies, "Imagination is an interesting accelerant for a fever." (I'm suddenly reminded of the John Donne poem that shows up in Silence of the Lambs. Also, Will's head being on fire has a new meaning now.) "So... how far does this go? Do you put out the fire... or do you let him burn?" "Will is my friend," says Lecter (¡¡¡¡YOUR FRIEEEENNNNND!!!!). "We will put out the fire... when it's necessary. Now that we have confirmed what it is, it'll be easier to hide from him."

For dessert, I HATE EVERYONE.

At Noble Hills Health Center for Lying Liars, Sutcliffe is doing Will's second brain scan after hours, by himself. But this time, when Will emerges from the MRI... no one's there at all. No one's in the back room with the monitors (which show zero brain scannage at all, by the way), and no one's in the hall. After he's gotten dressed (Will is at least smart enough to not go creeping around in his hospital smock), he goes to Sutcliffe's office and... finds a bloody door handle. Yeah. My first thought was that Lecter had slipped in and killed Sutcliffe to set Will up, so that Will would call him in a panic all like I DON'T KNOW HOW THE BRAIN RACCOONS GOT ME OUT OF THE SCANNER BUT I THINK WE DID A BAD BAD THING and Lecter would be all I'll help you hide the body! à la Abigail--but no, even murder wizardry sometimes has its limits. "Dr. Sutcliffe?" Yeah... he's not... he's not doing so well right now. I'll go ahead and tell you that Sutcliffe's sitting at his desk, head thrown back and sawn open at the mouth, I mean, like, completely open, hinged all the way back at the ears.





LOOK AT THAT SHIT (don't look at that shit)


Actually, that bear is a pretty good representation of me right now, because the whole thing is so bad that it goes past "horrific" and all the way back around to "I can't stop looking at this, what am I even looking at."

@HettiennePark [Beverly]: Poor Dr. Pez Head #FeedYourFear

Will is also pretty traumatized; Beverly scans his sweater for blood and says gently, "You couldn't have done this without getting something on you, and there's nothing on you." Oh, thank God, at least Will's spared that turn of the screw. "The murder weapon has the same sort of diseased or damaged tissues that we found at Beth LeBeau's house," Jimmy observes, surprised. The murder weapon, by the way, is a pair of scissors. What, were there not any dull spoons lying around? Damn. It's just 24/7, 360° side-eye with Crawford now, by the way. What in the world could Dr. Sutcliffe have had in common with Beth LeBeau? Will clears his throat: "Just me." He remembers getting the scan, getting out, and, uh, voilà. But at least there was no confusion ("...not that I'm aware of"). "Georgia Madchen followed you here, and while you're ticking away in the MRI, she does this to your doctor," says Crawford. "Why him?" "She can't see faces. Maybe she thought he was me." True, but... this seems less like "I want to get this mask off your face" and more "I want to go spelunking down your throat"? "All right, while we're at it, why you?" presses Crawford. "I don't know. I have a habit of collecting strays," says Will (I guess Georgia and Abigail can share the big pillow). "I told her, tried to tell her the night I saw her, I tried to tell her--she was alive. Maybe she heard me. Maybe that hadn't occurred to her in a while."

That night, at the Nobark Home for Strays Who REALLY NEED TO START BARKING,

@DireRavenstag: Look, lady. He's MINE to stalk. MINE. *snorts and stomps*

Will wakes up to find All the Dogs growling in the general direction of the underbed.

I like how it's one of the little dogs who gets up in front all like YOU BETTER NOT. Wait--how did Georgia get past them to the bed in the first place?

@winston_graham: questioning my guard dog skills is pretty rude. don't make me get hannibal

And then Will actually leans over and peers under the bed and somehow does not liquefy in terror and then executes a really magnificent sideways roll-jump to the floor. "I see you, Georgia," he says. "Think of who you are. It's midnight. You're in Wolf Trap, Virginia. Your name is Georgia Madchen. You're not alone. We are here together." "Am I alive?" she whispers. And then she reaches out to him and their fingertips touch, and it's actually really sweet.

By the time Will goes to visit her in her hyperbaric burn unit chamber, Georgia looks a lot better (her arm is still kinda raw, though). At The Best Office Ever, Crawford asks, "She'll recover?" "Risk of infection is high," Lecter tells him. "She's lost most of her vital fluids. Even some bone mass." (Wait, from what--just wandering around uncared for? How was she surviving on her own?) "She's being treated like a burn victim." But will she recover mentally? "She has Cotard's Syndrome. Almost all sufferers of this delusion recover with treatment-- in extreme cases like this one, electroconvulsive therapy." (Oh, really? Which health-care professional are you recommending for THAT?) "I'm more concerned about Will," adds Lecter. "I thought you'd be more concerned about your colleague, Dr. Sutcliffe," says Crawford. Oh. Okay. I took notes on this. Grief, what is grief supposed to look like... "I am grieving Dr. Sutcliffe, but Will is very much alive," says Lecter. "He's still desperate for an explanation that can make everything right again."

"I'm, uh... pretty desperate for some explanations myself," says Crawford. "How much do you think she'll remember?" "Well, I sincerely hope, for her sake, she doesn't remember much."

Yeaaahhhh. Here's what Georgia remembers: she did follow Will to Sutcliffe's office, where she found SOMEBODY ELSE ALREADY THERE WHAAAAAAAAAT



"limits of murder wizardry" MY ASS

Jesus, I have so many questions. Like where do you get a plastic Patrick Bateman suit? Do you just have the one, and you very carefully clean it between murderizings, or you acquire a fresh one each time, or do you have particular murder suits for particular kinds of murderings? (Oh, I see.) How in the world did this murderation start, conversationally speaking? "Can I borrow those scissors? I need to cut a tag off my murder suit"? Am I allowed to I hope that you just started cracking this guy's head open like a walnut rather than render him one iota unconscious? Why am I so joyful that you turned on this guy after all even though that really doesn't make you any less of a comprehensive fucker for handing Will over to him in the first place? I mean, malpractice is rude when Sutcliffe does it but not when you do it? Why did I start clapping really hard when we saw who was really sawing his head open? How are you so absolutely the worst. How.

Oh, and also, apparently this is a show that said, "I don't think Hannibal Lecter is actually scary enough on his own, what can we do about that?" So I guess I'll have you click through to see what the "Georgia can't recognize faces" effect looked like. (I need you to understand what a truly heroic effort it required on my part to actually make that second screencap and look at it long enough to correct the brightness/contrast. F minus minus minus, would not cap again.) Here is the non-terrifying version:

@BryanFuller: BEHIND THE SCENES FILMING #HANNIBAL's DISTORTED FACE (hence the tracking dots)

And then he hands Georgia the scissors, having murderized the only person who could ever reveal that together they prevented his friend (HIS FRIEND!!!) from getting actual medical treatment, and then successfully framed the scared runaway zombie girl for it. Congratulations! You are the Worst at Helping Forever and I am retiring the trophy! No one will ever be as bad at helping as you are right now so it is all yours.

(I kind of wish the handkerchief had its own separate plastic wrap.)


Well, Countdown to Something Terrible Happening to This Girl, then.

@winston_graham: well that episode fed my fears and fueled my nightmares #feedyourfear

@DireRavenstag: You guys are so close to the ground, tho. Surely not knowing what is under the bed isn't a problem.

@winston_graham: nope fuck that. we're sleeping on the bed tonight

NEXT WEEK: Moar Eddie Izzard, yay! I hope Generic Off-Brand Hannibal Lecter DIES SPECTACULARLY.

(Continue: 1x11: "Rôti")

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    I have not checked in for a while! Also I'm so used to Twitter that I totally forgot about comments here and I NEED TO CHECK THOSE OMG. I saw a…

  • Quick updates

    Finally recovering from my probably convention-induced sinus infection. Even after I fought off a tickle of a cough that only lasted a day or two, I…

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