'Hannibal' Recap: Will Graham on Trial
'Hannibal' Recap: Will Graham on Trial
Josie Rhodes Cook
Josie Rhodes Cook
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Will starts to have more people doubting his guilt, and a prominent figure in his court case is served up on display to send a message. 

But this particular individual isn't served up in Hannibal's usual way. In fact, there were no cannibalistic meals present in this entire third episode of the season! 

This episode of Hannibal is entitled "Hassun," which, in Japanese cuisine, is the second course of a traditional multi-course dinner. It is described as a course used to set the theme, with one kind of sushi and several smaller dishes. 

I bring this up because that's exactly how the episode played out. The main 'course,' or storyline, is still very prevalent, but we get a few side stories to keep things interesting too. Very clever, writers.

Not So Sweet Dreams

In the beginning of the episode, Will has a dream involving a suited version of himself pulling the lever for another Will that is seated in an electric chair. When he's pulled out of the dream, we get a sequence switching back and forth between both Will and Hannibal putting on suits for the trial. 

The comparison is compelling, though also confusing for me because I thought I was watching Will suit up and enjoyed it, and then felt weird about it when it switched over to Hannibal the Cannibal!

Will actually has several dreams during this episode. In another, he's lying in bed in his cell when the door creaks open. When he leaves the cell, he sees the familiar stag wandering through the prison (as stags do, duh!), but when he turns back to his cell, Hannibal is inviting him back into it. Symbolic of Hannibal keeping him falsely imprisoned? Or just a weird dream?

The Trial Begins

Will is put on trial for his crimes, and the prosecution argues that Will's insight and intelligence lent themselves well to him being able to create a murderer to get him off the hook for the whole thing. She is not convinced of his innocence.

Kade Prurnell is also unconvinced, and she and Jack Crawford have a chat in the hallway about how Crawford can't be impartial when it comes to Will. She urges him to represent the FBI, not necessarily himself or his own feelings on the matter, for the trial.

However, when Jack is put on the witness stand, he instead argues that Will hated every aspect of the job, and he doesn't believe the other man could have faked that so well. He's true to himself, and takes blame for pushing Will too hard when he was warned he had a breaking point.

Will's lawyer is pleased by this development, thinking he can absolutely sell the unconsciousness defense enough for Will to receive a verdict of 'not guilty.' While they're talking in the court room privately, however, the lawyer opens an envelope, and out falls another ear! 

A Revelation 

The ear is examined by the team, who I am now calling Beverly, Thing One, and Thing Two, in the lab, and they realize it was cut off less than 48 hours earlier. Ergo, there's no way Will could've sliced it off of a victim. Hannibal remarks that Will did in fact claim that someone else had committed the murders, and Jack reminds him that he had suggested Hannibal himself was the murderer. What if he was half right, Hannibal asks?

Speaking of Jack and Hannibal, they have a conversation near the beginning of the episode that features one of those smaller 'courses' I mentioned. They talk briefly about how sick Jack's wife is getting, and Hannibal implies that he shouldn't sabotage his duties with the FBI, because soon it might be all that he has left. 

Also, for the record, Hannibal's outfit is hideous in the scene. A huge misstep from his usual style. 


Hannibal goes to Will and explains that he seems to have an admirer. He also says that Will may not be guilty after all, that there may be another killer. The murderer, he says, may want to be 'seen' now, and this newest development is an opportunity for Will.

When the ear is further examined, it's determined that the marks indicate it was cut off with the same knife used in 'Will's' murder of Abigail. But again, that can't possibly be true if Will is the one committing the murders, since he's in a cell. Interesting tidbit? It was examined by the bailiff, Andrew Sykes, and was never sent back.

So Crawford sends a team to Sykes's house, which promptly bursts into flames when a few men go to open the door. After the blast, another body mounted on deer antlers is discovered, with the face slit open, and an ear missing. 

Freddie Returns

Freddie is called to the stand in the trial at one point in the episode, as a witness for the prosecution. She claims that Abigail confided in her that she was afraid Will could kill and cannibalize her. 

But the defense questions how many times she's been sued for libel (six), and how many times those cases were settled (six), so she is discredited very quickly. Still, it was great to see the ambitious redheaded writer back on the show. It'll be interesting to see what the writers do with her this season.

Visiting Hours

Alana is asked by Will's lawyer to practice what she'll say as a witness during the trial beforehand, in front of his cell. He questions her about their 'romantic' past, because the prosecution is sure to do the same. She has to state that she has no feelings for the man, just a professional curiosity, and it visibly distresses Will. 

Will later has another guest, when Hannibal visits yet again. This time, he brings the file on the latest murder. Will does his thing and goes into the scene in his mind, picturing how the murderer killed the victim first, then mutilated him, which was different from the other killings. It's an inaccurate reproduction, Hannibal suggests
He then goes on to say that he wants Will to believe the best of him, as he does of the imprisoned man. Jack, he also says, is starting to believe Will. Hopefully, this is all giving Will more hope that he can get out of this mess soon.

The Trial Continues

Kade and Crawford talk to the judge privately, and Crawford states that the latest murder has details to it that were not made public. He says that the evidence and occurrence change the course of the trial. But the judge argues that Will's lawyer has to make that call, not Jack. 

Chilton is called to the stand, and he is not there to help Will by any means. He explains to the court that Will has never been diagnosed as being anywhere on the Autism spectrum, or as having an empathy disorder as was suggested. 

Chilton believes Will's persona is a carefully constructed one, meant to throw people off his murderous trail. When questioned why Will would do the lifesaving work he did for the FBI if he's a cold-blooded killer, he states, "saving lives is just as arousing as ending them." What a creep. It doesn't help that he's fondling a cane the entire time.

Hannibal's Questioning 

As a result of the new evidence, Will's lawyer decides to drop the unconsciousness defense. He explains to Alana, who is incredulous about the decision, that all they need is to offer the jury reasonable doubt. 

Alana is no longer a witness to the defense, since her defense is being phased out, and Hannibal takes her place. He explains his role as Will's not-quite therapist, and Will pictures his creepy black stag head thing in his place the entire time.

Hannibal admits to the court that the killings and the most recent murder show similarities, and when he is reminded that Will accused him of being the murderer, he says he understands Will's need to find an alternative to the other possibility. 

But the prosecution lays into him, and makes him admit that there is a big difference with the newest death: the victim was shot and killed before being mutilated. She suggests that his personal connection with Will is getting in the way, and the judge strikes his testimony from the record. Rude.

A Reprieve 

This show can't go too long without another death, so another one is thrown in in the same episode. This time, a janitor finds the judge's body on display in the courtroom not long after his dismissal of Hannibal's testimony. Coincidence? I think not!

The judge's body is shown holding a scale, a common representation of law, with his heart and brain balancing on it. He was shot, but the bullet is missing. And thanks to his death, there can be no verdict in the current trial. Will is spared a guilty verdict another day.

Kade is upset by this latest development, and still angry at Jack for his testimony leaning towards believing Will. But Hannibal, interestingly enough, states that this recent death may not have been committed by the same killer after all, which adds a whole new complication to the evidence needed to prove Will's innocence.

Saving Will

When Alana and Will talk once more during the final scene, he makes a comment about being "misdiagnosed," and she reminds him that he hasn't been by the court. "Not yet," Will replies.

Whoever the killer is, Will says, he feels like they walked out of the court room with him. He also feels like whoever it is will reach out to him. Boy's got some good instincts, I gotta say.

When he asks what Alana Bloom wants, she says that her goal is to save him. Touching. He then grasps her hand, and they hold onto each other over the table as the episode concludes. 

What sort of exciting new developments will Hannibal serve up next week? We've only got thirteen "courses" to enjoy this season, and every one has to count. Luckily, so far, the show has delivered.

Hannibal airs every Friday night at 10pm on NBC.

(image courtesy of NBC)