I knew this would be a good episode not just from the previews but because earlier in the day when I misread a computer notification that read, “Commit Success,” as “Commit Suicide,” I thought, “But Hannibal is on tonight.”
I hope NBC doesn’t rob me of my will to live by cancelling the show. My husband could sue.
If they replace it with The Blacklist I may have to sue. Did you see the clips they put up as an example of how great this show would be? I love James Spader, but damn, what happened? And then the first clip, Assume the Position, is like a drawn out boring version of Se7en’s John Doe turning himself in which, in context probably is pretty interesting but as a clip for a show was a huge yawn.
And then the second clip, A Very Special Profiler, made me think of Craig Ferguson’s “awkward pause” schtick. Like, it’s a show meant to be similar to Silence of the Lambs, but it’s all NBCized, meaning that in spite of all that could be good, it’s devoid of all that makes Hannibal dark and interesting. Look at all of the trouble Hannibal went to for the dark, gothic look, the careful attention to detail. Then look at the set from The Blacklist that appears to have been set up with all the loving care of the DMV. Anyway. It’s targeted for Monday nights which would’ve been a smarter night for Hannibal all along, but whatever. No one’s accused NBC of being good at TV lately. And hell, doofy The Following got picked up, so who knows.
Anyway, where does that leave us? Oh right, with a show I enjoy. Did everyone #EatTheRude?
I did my part with the tweeting and it seems that there was a Trending Topic victory. Hooray. I don’t know if that does anything but I felt good about myself and pried the “I voted” sticker off of the fridge to wear around the house like it was election day.
Will has started hearing doggies in distress in his brain. Hallucinations rarely portend good things to come, but it’s worse when it’s a suffering doggy because what if you ignore it and a dog is in pain? So Will has to check the situation out, even if he kind of suspects the call is coming from inside the house, so to speak. And since Alana Bloom doesn’t hear it, it probably is.
We learn that Tobias is a master craftsman and that THOSE AREN’T CATGUTS which is sort of a relief because I like cats. People, not as much. We don’t really get to know what Tobias’s standards are for who would make good strings or not. I dunno if it’s #BowTheRude but Hannibal does imply that he understands the choice because someone fit would make for having better source guts.
The show isn’t called Tobias, so I tried not to get too invested.
Franklin. Oh Franklin. “Psychopaths aren’t crazy, they are fully aware of what they do and the consequences of those actions.” Okay, so I read The Psychopath Test which makes me kind of an expert on the topic and apparently they kind of aren’t really aware of the consequences. Like, per Robert Hare (inventor of the psychopath checklist) they can know a shock is coming and not have a bodily reaction to it, which is sort of the point. But whatever. Hannibal’s got more hands on experience.
So Franklin does this total passive aggressive thing that made me want to snap his neck right that minute. Hannibal, to his credit, waits for later. But Franklin invites conversation to talk about Tobias rather than himself and Hannibal says, “Yeah, okay, it’s your dime.”
Franklin, “Are you bored with me?”
I do not want to even count how many times I’ve fallen into that conversational trap. It’s less of a trap if you say, “Yeah, kinda.” Because then the person gets upset and leaves. But sometimes that person is your mom and after they realize that the silent treatment isn’t actually a punishment, they come back like nothing happened. Hannibal turns it back around in a way I’m going to use for later. “I will analyze your perception of him.” Smooth.
Tobias is apparently saying things like, “I’d love to shove a cello neck down someone’s throat and play their vocal chords like strings. J/K LOL.” And then it happened.
Will goes to check this thing out and Jack points out that Will isn’t having a hard time looking. Well of course he’s not. It’s fucking fascinating. Gross, yeah, but when you realize that the cello was catguts to start with you have to accept that the cello was a pretty morbid instrument anyway. And you all just totally did a ticky box on me in the psychopath checklist, didn’t you? Whatever.
Anyway. Will says it’s an intellectual exercise, then downs some pills. It’s how I deal with work, too, honey. I’m with you.
Will enters the mind of the killer enough to grok that he wanted to play the vocal chords for real and apparently gets the melody stuck in his head. So he’s got another serial killer’s song in his heart. Hobbs shows up in the audience again, a reminder that probably getting into psycho heads isn’t very good for him.
Hannibal needs help dealing with Franklin, so he talks to his psychiatrist. We learn that she had been attacked by an obsessive patient and that attacker wound up dead. And that Hannibal feels protective of her. There is more to this story. I’m sure we’ll hear it. She suggests Hannibal find Franklin a new home.
Hannibal gets to hear about Tobias again, this time through Will who explains the whole vocal chord cello thing. Hannibal gives a history lesson about flutes being made from human bone, which seems kind of creepy, especially when he knew there was olive oil used in the cello. Hannibal seems somewhat offended or aroused that Will is feeling other psychos behind his eyes. Also, Hannibal gets the insight from Will that this murder is a “serenade.” And Franklin fills in who the serenade was for.
This leads Hannibal to Tobias’s string shop. They bond over how much they both enjoy gut. And music. They’re feeling each other out and it seems to be going pretty well. They trade barbs about the dead trombonist and Hannibal invites him over to repair his harpsichord. If you know what I mean.
There are birds or something in Will’s chimney and then Alana Bloom shows up. Weird, huh? She shows up to check up on him and they wind up kissing. She says she’s confused. I am, too. She’s apparently been kind of dodging being alone with him, presumably because of an attraction but now she shows up out of nowhere. He takes it as a sign and she says, “Oh no, I can’t.” And then she goes.
A couple of things. Apparently next ep is about Will totally losing it and blaming someone. Others have noted the connection of Hannibal and the stag and it’s true, there’s a stag in Hannibal’s office. But I’ve noticed the stag coming before Alana’s appearances. Like in the hospital where she shows up to read to Abigail Hobbs. Maybe she’s making the crazy? But, I’m also rereading Red Dragon where I notice that Dr. Bloom is still happening. Just interesting to consider.
Hannibal has Tobias for dinner in the figurative sense. He asks directly about the trombonist and they discuss what Tobias’s rather reckless plans are for killing Franklin and making a mad dash into the future. Hannibal seems pretty amused with the whole thing until Tobias confesses to following Hannibal and seeing him in action. It’s one thing to have a sort of shitty plan to escape law enforcement. It’s another when you have leverage. Tobias wants a friend but again Hannibal isn’t interested in friendship with anyone who wants to be friends with him. Other than Will. He confesses that he invited Tobias over to kill him but didn’t poison dinner. “I wouldn’t do that to the food.”
Artist at work!
At that point, the conversation goes a little cold but they are saved by the bell when Will arrives to say, “I kissed Alana Bloom.”
Okay, so, Will hallucinates things outside, things in his chimney, kisses Alana Bloom and then rushes over to tell Hannibal about it. To which Hannibal says, “Well, come in,” to Will’s back as he’s already through the door and into the dining room. Interesting because I didn’t see Hannibal open the door. What is going on? Does Will have a key or was that just a cut?
It doesn’t even really slow Will down that he walked in on what was obviously a dinner for two. “You have a guest?” sounded more like an accusation than a question. Hannibal offers that dinner was with a colleague and that he had to run off unexpectedly. Apparently from the balcony which was open. In the snow. Without dessert. But whatever, Will hears struggling animals and is being stalked by a phantom stag. I guess vanishing guests is beyond his keen powers of perception.
Hannibal seems a little cold about the situation, but he’s got a lot on his mind. First, he’s got to have massive blue balls about not getting to kill Tobias right then AND he has to now worry that the dude’s gonna narc. He seems secretly pleased that Will came right over after a big event like kissing Dr. Bloom but last week he was teasing about hitting that, so maybe that’s concerning. But it does seem like he’s toying with the idea of being Will’s friend and wrestling with what having a friend might mean when your friend is working toward arresting you but just doesn’t know it yet. So yeah, a lot on his mind.
So then this happens. “You waited a long time to kiss her. Why now?”
“I heard an animal in my chimney.”
Hannibal waits. Because, you know, to some that may be a good reason to kiss someone, but even the psychopaths are kinda, “Gonna need a little more on that.”
Then I fixated on dessert some. The food porn on this show, OMG.
So then will acknowledges that his animals are in his head and that he’s unstable. Hannibal suggests that perhaps Will didn’t kiss Alana because of animals in his chimney but perhaps in the hopes of gaining some balance. That makes more sense which is why he’s paid the big bucks. Of course, that SHE knew he was hearing imaginary suffering animals and kissed him is kind of a big question. But it does explain why she doesn’t so much want to date him.
Hannibal changes the subject to the new killer and tattles on Tobias. Two birds, one stone.
Will goes to Tobias’s shop. After a question, Tobias gives himself away pretty quick. Subtlety isn’t his strong suit. When Will’s on, he’s on. But then he hears a mystery dog being hit by a mystery car. Then non mysteriously almost gets himself run over. This turns out to be good fortune on his part, but bad luck for the officers who had accompanied him to the store. His weird behavior gave Tobias enough time to kill both officers and then hide out in his Jame Gumb like basement. There Will sees that the strings, it’s people!
Tobias tries to kill Will with the strings but Will has already drawn his gun. The ensuing struggle results in Will shooting Tobias in the ear. Tobias manages to flee to Hannibal’s office where Hannibal is letting Franklin down easy. Time for a new doctor, buddy!
Franklin worries it’s because he didn’t turn Tobias in, which Hannibal says isn’t the point, but I assume is why when Tobias shows up bloodied from battle Franklin tries to get control of the situation. He pleads with Tobias to give himself up and that he’ll be there for him. Yay.
Hannibal, knowing that Tobias wants Franklin dead, tells him to leave. But this is Franklin and his self-preservation skills are like zero. So he continues on which just makes Tobias want to kill him more and he’s so totally about to until Hannibal cockblocks by breaking Franklin’s neck.
Okay you can tell Tobias you don’t want to be his friend. You can send police over. But you kill HIS victim? That’s it. Psycho on psycho violence and it is glorious! That beautiful office gets jacked up. There’s bow whipping, there’s ladders used to break arms and in the end, Hannibal’s big stag statue is employed to put an end to Tobias. I haz a sad. But really, this show had only one spot for a refined serial killer in a natty vest and his name is on the show.
On the bright side, the harpsichord is apparently well tuned. Hannibal plays a song for the dead.
Will looks chastened at how Hannibal got battered and Hannibal looks truly relieved that Will survived Tobias. This looks like a real bonding moment between them, even if it’s based on a lie.
The episode ends with Hannibal talking to his psychiatrist. He is returning to psychiatry. She seems amused that he is returning after only a few days. This kinda confirms her personsuit diagnosis but she’s used to that. They talk about her attack and it is heavily implied that perhaps he killed the person who attacked her. Hopefully there will be more on this later and not only because that means more Gillian Anderson, but also because we can see more of the softer side of the psychopath. There is humanity in there, peeking out. Maybe.
Next week, Trou Normand, which apparently involves Will Graham totally flipping out and a people totem pole.