WARNING: SPOILERS FOR SEASON 2, EPISODE 3 OF HANNIBAL
Hold onto your butts, this is a long one.
So far, we’ve seen a lot of stuff go down on NBC’s Hannibal, but this week was one of the most intense. If you all thought that Episode 1 fight scene was bad… Well. Okay, so that was horrible, but this is a whole new sort of feels trip.
The Trial Of the Hannibal-verse Century begins, and we might as well call it like it is: this episode is full of fan-service. Loyal fannibals are treated to an opening scene of both Will and Doctor Lecter putting on their suits to go to court. Tumblr exploded with gifs of said suit-donning (anywhere in the #Hannibal tag, they’re all over, in forward and reverse) as we then had to sit through Will’s daymare. It’s really surprising just how much graphic imagery NBC can get away with. We’re not spared any details of the shocking event, but thankfully, it doesn’t last long, and it’s only a dream.
Mr. Brauer, Will’s attorney, seems like a nice enough guy, but he’s got a lot of work to do up against this intense prosecutor, Marion Vega. She is out for blood–just as any good prosecutor should be–for the fitting punishment for what Will allegedly did to these five people. As she goes on her tirade, the camera eloquently focuses on Hannibal’s face every time the prosecutor mentions anything related to cannibalism (we see what you’re doing there, and we like it.) The first witness is Jack Crawford. He looks a little leaner, perhaps from the stress of dealing with his wife’s condition. Fuller tweeted that Mrs. Crawford will make an appearance next week, so maybe we’ll find out.
Before he can take the stand, FBI gatekeeper Kade Prurnell corners him and scolds him, attempting to put him in his place before he testifies. She walks out what we can only assume is midway through. After the day’s session is over, Brauer gets mail. As a freshly severed ear is poured out of the envelop, all Brauer can say is “I think I got your mail,” prompting twitter to explode with the hashtag “dEARwill.”
One of the most heartbreaking scenes is up next. Hannibal and Jack share cognac and talk about his testimony and his wife’s impending death. Red Dragon quotes are rife through the scene, and as Jack tears up, Hannibal looks genuinely empathetic. He also appears more relaxed than we’ve seen him thus far: leaning on his desk, cradling the glass at his knees, and even unbuttoning his jacket. Hannibal does his best to comfort Jack before heading off to see Will.
This whole ear thing is a blessing wrapped in a nightmare. It casts doubt on Will’s guilt, which is great, but who sent it? Was it Hannibal? Is that what we’re meant to believe? The episode throws that into doubt after Freddie gives her rather damning testimonial, putting words into the presumed late Abigail Hobbs’ mouth. Thankfully, Brauer shuts that down pretty quickly by letting it be known that she was charged with libel six times and that her words should be taken with a grain of salt.
Back at BSHCI, Brauer tries to prep Alana, knowing that their romantic involvement will probably come up, and will be a big problem. Will shuts off as she forces herself to say she has nothing but a professional curiosity about him while staring him in the face. Either she’s a good liar, or that was meant to hurt. Either way, Brauer doesn’t buy it.
It appears Will has an “avid fan,” to steal a phrase from Red Dragon. Team Sassy Science is able to quickly reveal that the ear was cut off with the same knife that cut off Abigail Hobbs’ ear: Will’s knife. As Will was incarcerated, this makes it a little hard for him to have done it himself. It looks like this trial may just have gotten a lot more complicated. The last person to have touched Will’s knife, which was in evidence, was the bailiff. It’s time for an FBI field trip to check up on him, as he hasn’t been seen since.
As Jack gives the go ahead, the door opens and an explosion rips through the home of our bailiff. In the charred aftermath of the fire, we find a body trussed up in an amalgam of all the murders Will is accused of – Glasgow grin a la Madchen, flambe also a la Madchen, earless a la Hobbs, all on a stag head a la Boyle. When Hannibal walks in, he looks genuinely surprised. Either that’s good acting, or Will does have an avid fan. Team Sassy Science bickers like children about whether or not they should have taken Will’s stool sample (which somehow ended up trending on twitter during the East coast broadcast) to make sure he was the one who’d actually consumed the ear while Hannibal ignores them and Jack has to play dad and tell them to knock it off.
Next up on the witness stand is Dr. Smarm–er–Chilton. Raúl Esparza does a fantastic job of capturing what we all loved to hate about Anthony Heald’s portrayal of Chilton in Silence of the Lambs and elevating it to a whole new level. He’s examined by the prosecutor and does a lovely job of painting Will in the worst light possible. Things look a bit grim.
Hannibal, in his new role as Will Graham v2.0, brings Will crime scene photos of the deceased bailiff. What follows is one of the most humanizing moments we’ve had thus far for Hannibal. It’s obvious to Will that the copycat Shrike and whoever killed the bailiff are not the same person, and Hannibal all but pleads with Will to believe in the best of him, telling Will that even Jack is ready to believe. “This killer wrote you a poem… are you going to let this love go to waste?” Hannibal asks, thus breaking thousands of fannibal hearts. We know that Hannibal didn’t kill this bailiff, but the profession of love is all but there (although love is a much more complicated thing to a man like Hannibal).
Will abandons his “I was unconscious” defense, which doesn’t make Alana happy at all. Due to the conflict in the meeting between her, Brauer and Will, Brauer elects to have Hannibal take the stand in her place. The questions from Brauer are rather routine, and it looks rather good. When the prosecutor gets to him, however, she cuts him off (earning her quite the look from the good Doctor) as the judge tells the jury to disregard the testimony as he rules the defense inadmissible.
It’s time once again for Lonely Cannibal Introspection Hour™ at Hannibal’s office, as he sits and stares at the chair he wishes Will was sitting in. Will sits in his cell doing an approximation of the same, and then we’re taken to the courtroom, where the janitor buffs the floor. As he turns around, he’s shocked to see the judge hung up with his brain and heart removed (more poetry: the organs balance the justice scales in the corpse’s hand). Because this judge has died, the trial needs to start over again, and everyone gets a clean slate, like the trial never even happened. Hannibal quips “Not only is justice blind, it’s mindless and heartless,” as we hear that this judge was killed much the same way as the bailiff. This fan of Will’s wanted a mistrial.
Will has a strange dream, and the Ravenstag graces our screens once more, though this time opposite Hannibal in the strangely empty hallway of his cell block. This is important, but we’re not sure what it means yet. Perhaps the ravenstag is meant to show that Hannibal is not the killer (at least not this time). Fuller tweeted that the ravenstag gives us a clue about the killer, but we won’t find anything else out until next week.
We close seeing Alana visiting Will once more, saddened about the death of the judge and the restarting of the trial. They speak their first words to each other since the beginning of an episode, and Alana lets the fact bomb drop that Will could have been misdiagnosed. She wonders what this fan killer wants from Will, which prompts him to ask what she wants. She says “I want to save you.”
Now the fannibals begin the oh-so-long seven days wait before the fourth episode. Will we make it? Gosh, we hope so.