A new case involving what at first appears to be an animal attack is featured in this episode, and Will struggles with his dark side.
The first scene on this episode of Hannibal is one taking place in Will’s head; he has a bizarre dream involving Hannibal tied to a tree while he slowly chokes the doctor with some sort of pulley system he has rigged up.
Or rather, the often seen stag is the one doing the choking, as it’s pulling the rope tight for Will in the end, but the whole strangulation is very slow and occurs while Will and Hannibal have a nice chat. Hannibal says Will won’t accept the monster growing inside himself, and talks quite a bit about love and really knowing someone if you love them — can you hear the shippers squirm?
“I promised you a reckoning,” Will states, “here it is.” Then Hannibal turns into the creepy stag man as he’s being killed, and a burst of blood is the last we see of the dreamscape as Will wakes up.
Hannibal gets to cooking up his latest concoction early on in this episode, and Jack is the guest he’s cooking for. I don’t really understand why the guy would ever eat meat prepared by Hannibal ever again, but okay.
They talk of memory, and of trying to forget, and of doubt. Jack admits his doubt regarding Will in the past. Hannibal says he can no longer tell Jack about his sessions with Will, since the other man is officially his patient now; Jack doesn’t get to have a glimpse into his little helper anymore under the FBI’s flag, he’ll have to figure him out for himself.
The case of the week involves some sort of mauling of a trucker just outside of a gas station, but it’s unclear what sort of animal made the kill. He’s found by the team on top of the truck, frozen, his esophagus destroyed, but with no sign of rutting or gnawing. Whatever attacked the guy, it wasn’t doing so out of hunger — it was blood sport.
Apparently, there were similar livestock attacks in the area recently, so it’s concluded that whatever killed the trucker has moved on from animals to humans. In other words, it’s adapting.
Will goes to Peter about the case, and Peter introduces him to Kevin, the little rat friend he’s made and that he’s hiding from the staff attending to him. It’s freaking adorable, for the record. Peter asks Will not to blame whatever animal attacked the victim, stating that man is the only creature that kills just to kill. That comment helps Will to draw conclusions about the killer as he continues to investigate the case.
Will continues therapy with Hannibal Lecter, and in the first therapy scene this episode, he flashes back to the scene in the previous episode in the stable when he almost committed murder. He talks of regret, and how he’s “riddled” with them; but when he admits that he regrets what happened in the stable and Hannibal inquires as to what he means, Will says he regrets letting Hannibal stop him from killing Ingram.
Hannibal tells him he needs to adapt so he doesn’t feel that way again, and tells his patient to imagine a version he wouldn’t have regretted. So of course, Will imagines himself going through with shooting Ingram in the head.
Will confesses that the whole thing felt like a missed opportunity — one where he could have felt the way he did when he killed Garret Jacob Hobbs, or when he thought he had killed Hannibal. He admits that those incidents gave him a quiet sense of power, and Hannibal tells him to remember that feeling. That seems like really crappy advice from a psychiatrist.
Inside the Attacks
After a quick scene showing someone piecing together bones, a couple is attacked by the mysterious creature by a bonfire at night. It becomes clear that the creature is actually a person wearing a sort of “suit” of a creature, so that whole thing about only humans killing for the sake of killing makes sense here.
Will does his thing at the crime scene, and in his mind he tells his stag to attack the couple and watches as they are killed. Notably, the stag has his face during the second kill. Will concludes that it’s not an animal performing these attacks, but instead a man who wants to be an animal, someone who built the animal armor themselves.
Hannibal and Will discuss the case in their next therapy session, and Hannibal asks whether Will can imagine tearing someone apart that way, or if he’d prefer a gun. You know, usual therapy talk.
A gun lacks intimacy, Will says, and Hannibal brings up the fact that Will has admitted to wanting to kill Hannibal with his bare hands. Hannibal encourages him to be “intimate” with his instincts and, again, super crappy advice, man!
We also see Margot again this episode, and she approaches Will briefly after his session with Hannibal and before hers. She brings up meeting Will to Hannibal, and they somehow turn to the topic of “painful but supportive treatment,” and Margot asks what treatment of that sort Hannibal used on Will. She knows Hannibal is supportive of her killing her brother, and wonders what exactly the doctor would be supportive of Will doing.
Later, Margot goes to Will’s house, and they talk over glasses of whiskey. She tells Will that she tried to kill her brother, and he quips that he must have had it coming. He admits to her that he tried to kill Hannibal, and she asks whether the doctor also had it coming. When he asks whether she thinks so, they both admit that they don’t know.
I do want to note that Will has some excellent communication going on during the whiskey scene with Margot. He’s focused, and makes great eye contact, in a way that he hasn’t always with relatively new people in the past. It’s an interesting development on his part.
Tracking Down the Killer
The team determines that the wounds seem to have been caused by a cave bear, which is impossible since they are extinct and were vegetarians when they did exist. Hannibal is present, and brings up species dysphoria to Jack, which I guess is when someone believes they are truly a different species. Hannibal thinks the killer in question is seeking a transformation for himself.
He then leads Jack away and admits that he once had a patient with an identity disorder — a teenage boy who believed he was an animal in the body of a man. Now that he’s grown, Hannibal suggests, he needs savagery.
Hannibal then goes to the Museum of Natural History, where his former patient, Randall, is employed. Hannibal says he’s seen what the man has done, and Randall basically admits to the killings. Hannibal then tells him he doesn’t want him to stop what he’s doing, but that the FBI is going to find him, so he has to do exactly as Hannibal says. Because that always turns out well.
The team goes to the museum to talk to Randall, and Jack notes the cave bear fossil on display. He tells Randall about the recent attacks, and says that they know Randall has had “trouble” mentally in the past.
Randall says they don’t know what it’s like when the skin you’re wearing doesn’t “fit,” but doesn’t admit to the murders. Will gets it, and Randall tells him that his illness is “treatable” with meds, which gives Will pause.
Will brings up talking to Randall in his next therapy session with Hannibal, and how the other man is a success story. When he asks how many like him there have been, Hannibal dodges the question, and Will brings up Dr. Du Maurier visiting him in the hospital and telling him she believed him, that she believed he didn’t commit the murders he was accused of.
Will then asks if Hannibal killed the doctor, and Hannibal says no, but I worry that he might consider doing so now.
Will asks Hannibal what he thinks about when he thinks about killing, and Hannibal admits that he thinks about God. This is kind of a running theme with Hannibal, and I like that the writers have continued with it. Hannibal implies that maybe God actually enjoys when bad or evil things happen, stating that “typhoid and swans come from the same place.” I do find that idea very interesting.
Threatening Will (And His Little Dogs Too)
Later, Hannibal encourages a “suited up” Randall, telling him the beast is his higher self. We then see that they are standing outside of Will’s house, in some trees on or near his property.
Here is where I started to really freak out. Will opens the front door, and one dog, Buster, rushes out towards the trees. There’s a lot I can handle in my tv and movies, but seeing animals get hurt or killed is not one of those things!
Will rushes out with a gun and finds Buster, who is injured but alive. That little dog did some good acting there, by the way — all the awards for Buster!
Then the “creature” emerges, and Will runs back to his house, Buster in one hand and the gun in the other, and the entire time I was yelling at him for not actually using his weapon. But I spoke too soon, because after we see Will lock up and darken his house just before the “creature” smashed through the front window, apparently he did use it.
The final scene in the episode shows Hannibal walking into a room to find Will Graham standing over Randall’s body on a table. “I sent someone to kill you,” he tells the doctor, “you sent someone to kill me. Even Steven.”
That might be the creepiest we’ve seen Will be yet, and I worry about just how dark the guy is going to get by the end of the season.
Hannibal airs every Friday night at 10pm on NBC.
(image courtesy of NBC)