In the sixth episode of Hannibal, Jack copes with impending loss while a current case exacerbates the matter. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Hannibal.
Sweet mother of god, I’m not gonna make it through this show.
I am still bewildered by the intensity of this narrative, the way that the villain/monster hides in plain site, and the fact that we are watching Hannibal Lecter manipulate those around him in real time. Even if there’s nothing supernatural to this narrative, it honestly feels like a horror movie. It’s unnerving, it’s unsettling, it’s extremely upsetting. I also can’t ignore how huge this show feels at times, especially when you’ve got a scene where Laurence Fishburne is acting opposite Eddie Izzard (who is terrifying here). Hannibal has a lot of cinematic qualities in the storytelling and the cinematography, and it lends itself to this all coming off as much larger than life.
It doesn’t really feel like a television show.
The Chesapeake Ripper, only mentioned in passing before, is now the main focus of the episode, “Entrée,” whose title is an indication that we’re moving on to something much bigger than before. We’re introduced to a couple of new and extremely vital characters here: Dr. Abel Gideon, the man suspected of being the Ripper after he murders a night nurse in the precise manner of the Ripper; and Dr. Frederick Chilton, played INCREDIBLY by Raúl Esparza, who is from the original canon. This is the first episode in a while to directly reference existing canon, and BY GODS, it does so in spades. That first shot in the hospital was haunting because it was both so similar to and a completely modernized version of the iconic first trip of Clarice Starling to Lecter’s cell. And Dr. Chilton is every bit as slimy as Anthony Heald’s version, but Hannibal and Esparza choose to tweak Dr. Chilton in subtle ways throughout “Entrée” to make him unique here.
At the center of this story is a tale of guilt and complicity, and I am so happy that the writers gave Jack Crawford yet another episode that’s mostly about him. It’s a perfect follow-up to “Coquilles” because we get to see the fallout of Jack learning about his wife’s cancer. As he struggles to deal with Bella shutting him out of her life, he can’t help but recall how he wasn’t able to save the Ripper’s last victim either. How much of that is Jack’s fault? How much of his wife’s death is his fault? Even if to us, these two events aren’t analogous, I understood why Jack felt that this was the case.
The show has shown a willingness to portray Jack as a complicated character, and here, through flashbacks, we witness an eerie propensity for selfishness. Jack is an ambitious career man in one sense, and we know that he has been willing to push Will Graham far beyond what is necessary in order to gain some benefit of his own. It’s a character flaw that’s openly discussed in “Entrée” through the character of Miriam Lass, who Jack aggressively pushed out into the field and then right into the arms of the Chesapeake Ripper. Of course, this is all made worse by the fact that no one ever found Miriam’s body, and the terrifying, disturbing implication of this is that Dr. Lecter intentionally manipulated Jack in order to give him the brief sensation of hope. It’s not lost on me that while Dr. Lecter ruins Jack, he’s there as a support system, and the whole thing is fucking mortifying to watch. I mean, I’ve brought this up before; the suspense of Hannibal works because the audience knows what the characters don’t know, and that means everything is a billion times scarier because HE IS RIGHT FUCKING THERE. THE KILLER YOU’RE TRYING TO CATCH IS RIGHT THERE.
So how does Dr. Gideon fit in with this? His character references The Silence of the Lambs, at least in how Dr. Chilton seeks to use Gideon as a way to gain fame and notoriety himself. Initially, I thought that Dr. Lecter had someone gotten to Gideon and passed him a message of some sort. I suppose that’s still possible, given that when Dr. Lecter said he would have used psychic driving, Dr. Chilton looked genuinely disturbed. But Chilton is a character motivated by personal greed, here and in canon. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he pressed Dr. Gideon to assume the identity of the Ripper for his own gain. We know for certain that Dr. Lecter is the Chesapeake Ripper (amidst being many other things, obviously). We know he’s going to keep feeding his friends and colleagues people. (HE FED DR. CHILTON TONGUE. DON’T THINK I DIDN’T NOTICE THE TERRIFYING IMPLICATIONS OF THIS.) We know he derives pleasure in putting people into situations that break down their psyche, and then acting as a rehabilitating force. Which is so awful because he is clearly very good at it. His comfort towards Jack at the end of the episode feels genuine to Jack. AND HE DID IT. MIRIAM FOUND EVIDENCE THAT HE WAS THE RIPPER AND HE KILLED HER AND… saved her body??? He saved her body all this time for what reason? To eventually torment Jack? Oh god, Dr. Lecter is now the Literal Worst Forever and Ever. THAT CARD HE LEFT. EVIL EVIL EVIL EVIL.
This show is too much for me to handle, y’all. On top of all of this, we’ve got Will’s worsening mental and physical state. Someone, please send this man on a vacation. PLEASE. I don’t understand his hallucinations at all, but I get that this CANNOT BE GOOD. It can’t, and even saying that this is only going to get worse is redundant at this point. Lord, WHY AM I WATCHING THIS.
The video for “Entrée” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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