“Where shall we begin?” In Japanese cuisine, “Yakimono” refers to grilled foods. Whether or not Gideon was cooked in the manner (“Abel Gideon was half eaten on my table…”) remains unknown, but certainly many people were grilled over the course of this episode. From the moment of her rescue, Jack prodded Miriam Lass, hoping for answers expertly hidden in her own brain. Will and a reluctant Alana each go after Hannibal separately, and Will pushes Chilton to reveal what he knows about Hannibal to Jack. In yet another emotional turnaround, we’re pushed to the point of nearly feeling pity for the ridiculous and terrible Dr. Frederick; he sees his end coming, but it’s the how that takes him utterly by surprise. And Hannibal, oh Hannibal, his machinations know no boundaries or limits. As Lecter’s unfathomably complicated pieces of the Chesapeake Ripper puzzle came together, it was hard not to admire what he had accomplished. Intelligent design indeed…this is Hannibal’s world, and we’re all as helpless as his victims to escape Lecter’s clutches.
After last week’s reveal of Miriam at the bottom of a dark pit, we knew there were only a couple of options that would leave her alive and unable to identify her abductor. So it was no big surprise to find Hannibal had messed with her mind, but seeing the depths of psychosis he’d manage to inflict on Miriam was impressive. Anna Chlumsky gave a performance on par with her fellow acting company, and there’s a haunted quality she projects that reminds me quite a lot of Jodie Foster’s Clarice. (If Miriam is the replacement Clarice due to character rights, she’s an excellent one.) Calmly, yet clearly affected, Miriam describes how the Ripper told her he’d take her arm to send to Jack. Once again, Jack realizes his own failings, but he still hasn’t entirely come around to anyone’s “Hannibal is the Ripper” claims. Will asserts that Hannibal had a reason to save Miriam for last, and realizes the theatrics behind everything the Ripper has done; Jack remains a step behind. Of course Will has been playing the Hannibal games quite some time, and he reminds Jack that even what Miriam says or believes can’t be trusted. “Two years is a long time to be inside someone’s head.” It may be small consolation, but Miriam’s new bionic arm (we really do have the technology), is sure to come in handy (though she didn’t need it to take her misplaced revenge).
Hannibal spends the hour expertly playing the downtrodden victim of misplaced accusations. He tolerates Alana’s embarrassed set-up, and knows exactly what’s happening behind mirrored glass. Unphased by Will’s appearance in his very dark kitchen (it’s still a pet peeve for me when people walk around unlit houses—who does that?), Lecter is always ready for a verbal dance. Will tries accusation and intimidation—and though Lecter momentarily looks hurt when Will draws a weapon— even the barrel of a gun to Hannibal’s head provides no satisfaction; Lecter nervously (?!) backs away, then closes his eyes and waits. Hannibal isn’t the type to just lie down and die, but at the same time, he’s quite calm under duress. “You still didn’t answer my question—how would killing me make you feel? Ask yourself, why you? Why Miriam Lass?” Then a tease even Will couldn’t resist: “If I’m not the Ripper, you’ll kill an innocent man? If I am the Ripper, who will answer your questions? Don’t you want to know how this ends?”
Lecter’s psychiatric manipulations hold up even at his office where Miriam first went through his drawings; the Wounded Man trigger awaits elsewhere, conveniently misplaced in her mixed-up mind. When Jimmy and Zeller find a flower petal with Hannibal’s print, Jack repeats Will’s assertion that evidence would point away from Lecter. Zeller brings up the drugs found in Miriam’s blood, sending everyone’s suspicions toward Chilton instead. With all we’ve seen Hannibal do thus far, even setting up Will and getting him thrown into Baltimore’s Psychiatric Hospital, still nothing prepared for the brilliant plan as it played out before us. Poor Jimmy is confused: “Who are we saying is the Ripper—Dr. Lecter or Dr. Chilton?” Jack: “Bring them both in.” But they’re already miles behind Hannibal, who set up a surgery center in Chilton’s wine cellar. And yes, it was beyond elaborate, and yes, we all wanted to slap Chilton for walking down those stairs. Didn’t he just tell Will and Jack he knew he was next? Still, down, down, down toward Gideon’s beeping (then flatlining) heart monitor Chilton went. (Looks like maybe Dr. Lecter and American Horror Story: Asylum’s Dr. Arden went to the same medical school. ) The scene only grew more horrific, as Chilton ran back upstairs to meet the elegant, plastic-suited Lecter, who chloroforms Chilton just after telling him “That will be the FBI. Your only choice when you wake up is to run.” And so it was. The devil knows how Hannibal quickly overpowered a couple of agents, but he sure as heck did—then disemboweled, and Rippered them, setting up Chilton for the biggest fall. It was another heart-pounding crazy-brilliant scene that played out for us and a blood-soaked Chilton, who regained consciousness holding a knife in one hand, a gun by the other. Realizing what Hannibal has done, and that of course, no one would ever believe him (well, no one but Will), Chilton wisely decides to run to Will. Even though he sees the truth, Graham won’t let Chilton go. Next thing we know, another wrongly accused person is wearing a prison jumpsuit, and Hannibal hasn’t even (seemingly) broken a sweat. Lecter finally gets that glass of wine he wanted, but he’s interrupted by Will…again. Though he seems prepared—“Are you expecting someone?” “Only you.”—there’s just a hint Hannibal is shaken…a look in his eye, a slight cheek twitch. We leave the hour with another familiar scene, Will and Hannibal sitting chair to chair, all of us waiting for Will’s next move.
Will is clearly ready to take on Hannibal, and from the look of next week’s previews, Jack has finally come round. “You just reel him in and I’ll catch him.” It is no less exciting to see the tables turning, nor is the anticipation of events we know will happen in any way a hindrance, for Fuller and his writers adeptly manipulate us as easily as Lecter himself.
Sort of book spoiler ahead—though anyone who has seen The Silence of the Lambs knows Chilton stays alive a while longer—it’s not until Hannibal that Lecter intimates he killed the doctor. Still, I think it’s fine Fuller offed him early (though I’ll truly miss Esparza). As with The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, the series needs to be able to take creative license even as it pays homage to the original writer.
“The Chesapeake Ripper has set you free. Mazel tov.” RIP Chilton…
Kudos (again) to Anna Chulmsky for her lip-trembling, clearly traumatized moment of (mis)recognizing her captor and tormenter.
“Catch a fish once and it gets away; it’s a lot harder to catch a second time.” Indeed. I can’t wait to see how Jack and Will set their trap.
I want a dog named “Applesauce.”