The episode starts in familiar territory. Before we meet Dr. Chilton, he’s already in charge of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane where there are, in fact, other criminally insane people. What’s interesting about this episode and this series in general is how it echoes or foreshadows events that we know will eventually take place at least in the books. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Gideon fakes an injury and has taken up deep breathing techniques that I guess Hannibal uses later in order to seem like his pulse is low. Seems pretty legit out of it, so they chain him to the bed and leave him with the nurse. Since Gideon was just faking, he snaps out of it, uses a piece of metal he’d snuck in using his body as a pocket and is free to walk about the cabin.
We know it can’t be good because we go to commercial. Once we’re back, we see Will Graham and Jack Crawford. Poor nurse.
And poor Will Graham. The actor portraying Chilton is doing an awesome job of both being a smarmy above-it-all guy who knows fuck all and a great imitation of one of my coworkers. This makes me happy because the actor is doing a great job and it spawns in me the hope that someday someone may eat my coworker.
Anyway. Chilton seems pretty happy that maybe he’s got the Chesapeake Ripper and feels like he’s somehow busted this guy himself, though Gideon has pretty much been just chilling in the institution for two years getting interviewed by Chilton. Will and Alana Bloom both interview Gideon and don’t seem convinced, though there is the implication that maybe Chilton, through his interviews, gave some heavy hints to Gideon what it would take to be The Ripper and maybe this acting out is for attention.
To get a real feel for the action, Will goes into meditation and we see him attack the nurse in one of the more viscerally disturbing bits of action I’ve seen on network television. And I watch American Horror Story. It was some real Game of Thrones shit. But it wasn’t as sexy as that stabby “Criminal Minds” scene. You know what I’m talking about.
The nurse, in the end, had the distinctive organ “trophies” removed and was stabbed in an imitation of Wound Man which is an illustration for medical texts of wounds a person could suffer. This is the way The Chesapeake Ripper has left his victims so it all seems to check out. At least on the surface.
In previous episodes, Hannibal has needled Jack Crawford about special agents he may have lost in the past. In a move that we see later in the storyline in “Silence of the Lambs,” Jack Crawford recruits a student named Miriam Lass to help him track down The Ripper.
Sadly, this arrangement does not work out so well as it does for Starling.
Now, in the books, it is Will Graham who tracks down Hannibal Lecter through his work in the ER as having treated a man who he would later murder. And it is Will who finds the image of the Wound Man and who Hannibal sneaks up on and assaults. History may repeat itself, though it seems unlikely that Hannibal would be that clumsy around Will now. This is interesting because it could be a way of telling us to put some of that canon out of our heads. I don’t mind this because it’s more fun to have Hannibal in play than locked up, of course.
Jack Crawford has much to angst over. His wife is dying of cancer and he’s going to lose her, but the Chesapeake Ripper case comes alive again and he can’t help but think of Miriam. Especially when the killer uses a recording of her voice, presumably the last recording of her alive, to taunt Jack, calling from various untraceable locations.
This serves two purposes: torment Jack, but also makes a definite statement that Gideon is most certainly NOT the Chesapeake Ripper and that he is still at large. This seems like an extraordinarily dangerous game. We don’t know Hannibal or his motivations well enough yet to know why it would matter so much to him to be known, but unknown.
It makes me even more curious to know what game he’s playing with Will. Is Hannibal just a straight up sadist, or is he attempting to reach out? In the third novel, differing from the movie version, Hannibal reaches out and successfully conditions Starling to accept him as family and as a lover. We see shades of this in the TV show with Abigail Hobbs in the pulled episode of Ceuf that you can now get from iTunes (Or just watch it on the webisodes on the NBC site for free.) It would definitely make for interesting television to see the very broken Will in a mental battle with Hannibal for his own free will. But we will see.
While Jack is definitely haunted by his memories of Miriam, or perhaps because of them, Jack pressures Freddie Lounds to write an article about Gideon being the Chesapeake Ripper to flush the real one out. He receives another recorded message while he’s interviewing Gideon that comes from his home. Miriam’s prints and hair are found in his bedroom which, while Will and Jack seem pretty sure she’s well and truly dead, causes Will to ask some interesting questions about what happened to her. They never found a body.
In the end, they find her disembodied arm holding her phone at an observatory. The message, “What do you see?”
I see me looking forward to next Thursday!
And Monday. Don’t forget, hunties, #TEAMALASKA