Oh my, this episode was CRAZY. Read at your own risk, HUGE SPOILERS for a HUGE PLOT THING below.
(photo courtesy of NBC.com)
We open on a slow pan up a harpsichord, and we see Hannibal playing a tune, it appears he’s composing himself. He looks good, dressed down as he writes in nothing but a button-up shirt. We don’t really tarry long at Chez Lecter, though, because Jack Crawford is angry.
Will and Jack need to have a conversation due to Lecter’s near-death experience. Jack accuses Will, and Will turns it back on Jack, trying to get him to understand that Hannibal is, in fact, the Chesapeake Ripper, and a cannibal, and that nothing he did from within his cell got Matthew Brown to try to kill Hannibal. He discusses the Ripper’s motivations and makes some very convincing points to Jack about the Ripper being a cannibal, and states that “if the Ripper’s killing again, Hannibal Lecter is going to have a dinner party.” Jack seems conflicted, obviously. Does he trust a man he considered his friend who is currently in prison for multiple murders? Or does he trust the man who saved his wife’s life and whose life he recently saved?
Back at Chez Lecter, Hannibal gives a speech about the heart to Alana Bloom as he cuts one up for skewers for a dinner. She helps him skewer the meat as he confides in her that he’s been having nightmares due to his near death experience. She offers to listen to his problems, since she knows how bad being her own psychiatrist is. He counters by saying he’s composing a new piece and tells her he needs to get his appetite back as loudly implied cannibalism runs rife across the screen.
He picks a name from his large rolodex of business cards, a city councilman, and through a strange flower blooming montage, we are taken to the scene of the councilman’s body, expertly posed as the trunk of a tree, his chest cavity filled with flowers in the shape and location of where his organs should be. Zeller and Price tell us that the victim is literally grafted into the tree, the roots are running throughout the victim’s body. Jack notes that whoever this man is, he’s toxic, as the flower-organs are all composed of poisonous flowers.
It’s evening, Jack comes to check on his friend, and Lecter pours the brandy as they sit in front of the fireplace. Jack talks about a pattern in the Ripper cases, and Hannibal confides that he has realized he can’t help or trust Will, that it’s not safe to stand with him anymore. He interrupts Jack talking about the Ripper to tell him that he has to let this all go, he can no longer dwell on death after his experience. He says that they both have to transform their misfortunes into life enhancing events. When asked how he intends to do that, Hannibal says he’s going to be hosting a dinner party. The look of suspicion on Jack’s face is high, but he says he’ll attend.
At the hospital, it appears that Abel Gideon and Will Graham are cellmates, both leaning against the wall talking to each other. Will has an almost predatory vibe about him as he speaks, but Gideon isn’t deterred or afraid. Will tells Gideon that he’s been stamped with an expiration date. It seems like Will is being almost a little too blatant. Gideon seems fed up and done with Will’s little game, describing Hannibal’s dining room and the events of his meeting with Lecter last season, saying that he’ll tell Jack everything if Will tells him why Hannibal did it. Again we hear the oft-uttered line, “Because he wanted to see what would happen.”
Cut to Jack’s office, and Chilton playing a recording of the conversation we just saw to Jack. Jack, of course, says that Abel Gideon is a lunatic, that Will could have told him what Hannibal’s dining room looked like, but Chilton, recorder of everything, says that no such conversation took place. He seems to be the first one starting to suspect that Hannibal is a cannibal, bringing up the dinner of tongue he shared where Hannibal made a joke about eating his. Jack is still skeptical, that Will is delusional, but he does say that the Ripper’s killing again, and Hannibal’s having a dinner party. In rare form, we see Chilton actually flex his intelligence and psychiatric degree, telling Jack he fits the profile, that cannibalism is an act of dominance.
Back at his home, Hannibal is still working on the piece of music he’s composing, it appears that he’s having a little trouble, there’s concern on his face, he hesitates, and he even crosses out a note or two on his composition. An odd transition, where cherry blossoms bloom on the notes of his paper transition us into the BAU where Zeller and Price are cutting the tree off the body.
Zeller lists off how the body is indicative of the Ripper, the organs were cut out pre-mortem, and the posing done before rigor set in. The clue that tree man gives them is in the diatoms. Before death, the victim was standing in water for quite a long while, perhaps to water the tree. Price tells us that the diatoms–single celled organisms–in the water can be traced back to the source, that no two water sources have the same diatom population.
Jack’s decided to take a walk in the woods with Alana and Will’s dogs. The dogs run happily through the fallen leaves as Alana talks about conspiracy theories. She notes that she’s known Hannibal longer than anyone else in the show before talking about Will. That he’s manipulating, he’s not scared anymore, and he’s dangerous.
Will has another hallucination of growing a large set of antlers from his back, but he isn’t scared as he was the last time we saw this happen, he simply allows it to happen. His hallucination is cut short when he opens his eyes and bids Dr. Lecter hello. Hannibal says he feels like he’s been watching their friendship on a split-screen, what he perceived, and the truth on the other. Will strikes back, the barbs and sarcasm are high. He counters Hannibal’s accusation of lying with sarcasm and the mention that he had a role in Beverly Katz’s death and should be angry at himself by saying no, he is only angry at the one who caused her death. Hannibal says that he thinks Will is more in control now than he has ever been, and he wonders how many more people will be hurt. He leaves saying he’ll give Alana his best, and Will seems a bit unsure of what to do, he didn’t end with the upper hand.
A classical montage with business cards, hearts, and beautiful presentation of heart tartare, beef roulade, wagyu beef and prosciutto roses follows as Hannibal prepares for his dinner party. As horrible as we’re all feeling for this, we can’t help but think it looks beautiful and delicious. Everything looks that way, until we see the four new bodies in the BAU labs.
Abel Gideon trudges back to his cell where Chilton is waiting for him. He prods him, wondering if everything was put back where he found it. Chilton lets him know that the nurse he’d killed was well liked, and that Jack wants to have a word with him. Up in the therapy cases, Frederick describes him as a pure sociopath. Gideon says that that term hasn’t been used since 1968. Jack asks if he has any information about the Ripper, why he was at Hannibal’s home as he told Will. Ever playing the game, Abel says he never set foot in Lecter’s home, that he only met the man a week ago, and that Dr. Chilton told him what his dining room looked like. He goes on to say that Will is keen to believe that Hannibal is the Ripper, that Dr. Chilton did little to dissuade him, and that Chilton encouraged him to do the same.
Time apparently wasted, Jack is led out by Chilton, but not before Gideon mentions that he hired a nurse who had experience in hospitals as a patient. This patient/nurse went to kill Hannibal at Will’s request, and Gideon makes it known that he’s got the “right box” but he’s looking in the wrong corner for the true killer. While being led back to his cell, Gideon makes the mistake of running his mouth to the guards, who proceed to beat him and throw him off the staircase. He lands hard on the security cage, and it doesn’t look good for his survival.
Chez Lecter is beginning his party, and it’s much bigger than the banquet from last season, we’re treated to a view of his living room, outfitted with wait staff and a trio of string players. Jack walks in, suspicious, watching everyone eat the meaty(potentially people-y) hors d’oeuvres. Everyone including Alana Bloom. Chilton seems out of place with the food. He and Jack have a bit of a conversation about the suspicions surrounding Hannibal. In true Chilton fashion, he’s only shown up to avoid suspicion on himself. He doesn’t do a very good job of hiding it. Jack takes a to-go plate of food to the BAU and asks Zeller and Price to test it, garnering confused looks from them both.
Back in the Beautiful Living Room, Alana has stayed after and is playing chopsticks on Hannibal’s harpsichord. He jests that she’s solved the end of his composition. The fact that Jack is treating Hannibal like a suspect bothers Alana, and they both speak about having walked away from Will, that she can’t forgive what he did to Hannibal. He asks “What does walking away leave us?” and Alana says “each other.” She makes the first move, and we see Hannibal be romantic for one of the first times ever. They kiss, and before we know it, we’re in bed with them. It seems to be post, and as Hannibal snaps over her face to see if she’s indeed out like a light, he gets up, rubs the glass clean, and goes about the work he’s set for himself. But not before tucking Alana in to make sure she sleeps soundly.
We go to a real hospital now, and Abel Gideon is alive, but he doesn’t look very good, hooked up to a bunch of stuff. The curtains around him blow in an unforeseen breeze as a doctor opens them. It’s Hannibal, oh goody. This doesn’t bode well for our second favorite serial killer. The guard has been eviscerated and Gideon is nowhere to be seen. It appears that the Ripper found Gideon. We don’t know what he found him for yet, though.
Alana wakes up, and it appears that Hannibal is awake. She offers a morbid thought about funerals and how they make people want sex. Hannibal agrees that it was funeral sex, even though no one has died, they buried Will. She says it’s liberating to have finally let him go. The doorbell rings, and Hannibal jokingly mentions the last time someone rang it that early it was a census taker. As he goes to check who it is, we see a Hannibal Rising mention in the Japanese armor having a place of honor towards the exit to his bedroom. It appears that Jack needs to talk to Hannibal. Jack talks about Gideon’s “escape,” and that he couldn’t have left on his own, his back was broken. He accuses Hannibal by asking his whereabouts, and if there was anyone else who could verify. Alana pops in at the right time to be his alibi, and Hannibal looks a bit offended at Jack’s accusations.
Cue another cooking montage. It’s big this time, looks like a leg loin, probably supposed to be pork, but it’s obviously human. We’re not sure whose it is as he seasons, stuffs, wraps, and covers it in clay before putting it in the oven. “Rôti de cuisse”(I believe I got the pronunciation right.) Clay roasted thigh. It appears Gideon is his guest, on an IV, and he refuses to look at the dish while Hannibal gives a speech about coming from clay and returning to clay. He asks if he should cut, Gideon says he already has. The camera pans and we see that Dr. Gideon is missing one of his legs. He’s on the menu. Gideon has a T4 fracture of the vertebrae, which means his limbs are useless.
Lecter intends Gideon to be his own last supper, and he asks how one politely refuses a dish like this in circumstances such as these. Hannibal simply says “one doesn’t.” Gideon takes a bite, ominous music plays as he swallows, albeit a bit unhappily. “My compliments to the chef…”
Back at the BAU, the food from Lecter’s home aren’t people! But the lures are filled with people-bits, people-bits from all of the murders Will was accused of. And one other bit. Medrona bark. It appears that the ripper has left a piece of that specifically so Jack et al will go looking where these trees are kept. Jack shows up, at night, alone, but we’re treated to the end of Hannibal’s composition, so it doesn’t appear that anything terrible is going to happen to the head of the BAU. Jack explores the dilapidated cabin, finding two large well-like structures. He pulls open the first one to find it empty, but he knows he has to keep looking. Hannibal’s composition–both harpsichord and circumstantial, is coming to a climax. the second well is opened, and as Hannibal satisfyingly hits the final note, Jack uncovers Miriam Lass, alive and looking well–except for her missing arm.
Who knows what we’re in for next week? All we know is that this exonerates Will and frees him, and things are about to get a whole lot more interesting for everyone involved.