You know those moments in life when you’re like really engaged in a story (a tv show, book, movie) and all of the sudden something in your brain clicks that the author(s) know exactly what they’re doing? I had one of those at the end of ‘Mukozuke.’
Well, we’ve crossed the threshold alright. Gone is badass member of the Forensic Three (RIP, Beverly Katz), Will has successfully created the most fuckery from a place of incarceration ever and someone actually manages to get the jump on Hannibal. As for that last part--it’s a lovely day.
She knows me. And I know her.
When Will is at Beverly’s crime scene, it takes him a long moment to steel himself before he can do the thing. He knows Beverly. He knows Hannibal. The line between theoretical, that which is self-evident and the utterly personal has completely dissolved. After a few words from a vision of Beverly to coach him up, he’s able to approach her to re-enact her demise. He starts with a caress to her cheek and neck. At first I thought this was a gesture from Will to say “I’m so sorry. In some way, I did this. Shit. You were my only ally. Holy hell.” Then it dawned on me. Hannibal caresses his victims. It’s so jarring (and frequent) that it even has a name in certain circles: the murder caress. Will knows what it feels like to be touched like that. Exactly like that. That alone makes this walk into the swingy light much more devastating for him. And kudos to the creative team for making Beverly’s death and the subsequent grieving of it almost totally visual. Watching Jack discover Beverly in the observatory after a call from Freddie Lounds, all the way to the muted press conference was effectively heartbreaking. The weight of her death, like the dark bottomless emptiness it truly is, was felt. Beverly Katz was an incredible character played by a fantastic actress and, simply said, her absence will always be a presence going forward.
You said you just interpret the evidence. So interpret the evidence.
And, WOW. What a crime scene that was. Oh, I got your nod to 'Bodies -- the exhibition', Bryan Fuller, because even though I saw it years ago, it’s still very much with me. (There's the presence of a paradox about life there that I've never forgotten.) For my memory, this is most elaborate presentation for any of the Chesapeake Ripper’s victims. Given Hannibal’s proclivity for theatrics and aesthetics, there was the standard cocktail of wonder and horror, but this time, given the personal nature, there was grief, too. Will tells Jack that while re-imagining this crime, Beverly showed him that the Chesapeake Ripper (who is also the copycat) wears “two masks”, just as she stands in front of him, herself bisected. But Will already knows this. He even knows exactly who wears these two masks. And even though he’s vowed not to speak Hannibal’s name again in this context, there’s no way he is going to let Beverly die in vain. I just love how that duplicity he’s practicing is another technique he’s zoned in on (as an empath) when it comes to disseminating information. Who gets what piece to look at more closely matters.
You are the pretender to the throne.
Once Will is able to refocus himself, he manipulates Chilton to bring Dr. Abel Gideon back to the Baltimore State Hospital. By the way, watching Will play Chilton again and again is so delicious. (I love you, dramatic irony!) You get the impression that it’s so effortless for him as to almost be tedious. Dr. Gideon comes back into the fold, his tongue like a whip. He has no incentive to help out, in a friendly murderer type of way, therefore he uses this as an opportunity to at the very least taunt Will, Hannibal and Alana, respectively. (Oh, psychopaths.) He holds court in his therapy cage like a disinterested king. But when Hannibal visits, it’s the most interesting. He doesn’t know what cards Gideon is holding until the moment Gideon speaks. With Chilton recording every word and Gideon seated in a position of power, Hannibal is taking a huge risk by coming to see him at all. You almost see a flash of relief on his stone-cut face when Gideon infers he will keep their secret. For now. They of course have already met on this very knotty path, re-remembered to us through Will’s now-clear eyes in ‘Takiawase’.
Imagine if the hawks started working together.
After Will convinces Freddie to use Tattle Crime to contact his avid fan (aka the bailiff killer), the devotee is revealed to be a BSH orderly named Matthew Brown. In private, after Brown has dismantled Chilton’s microphones, he murmurs to Will his admiration and ideology. The directing, set design and lighting are so super creepy. It bolsters the idea that Matthew manages to impress upon Will -- just how dangerous, and earnest, he really is. Wait, did I mention devoted? Those moments between them were so potent, I never questioned that Brown could be capable of getting Hannibal into that very compromising position, even as inconceivable as that sounds given the level of Hannibal's skills.
You have it ‘in you’ as they say.
Speaking of that, dear Will goes on vacation to visit a new land of darkness. He even sports antlers in his daydream. Reminds me of Lady Macbeth trying to wash her hands in an ocean of blood, never to be clean. I mean there's that whole by proxy idea that's so tricky and messy.
So -- at the worst attended swimming pool on the planet (only second to the worst observatory on the planet), Brown subdues Hannibal with a tranquilizer dart in order to string him up (very Christ-like) and torment then kill him on Will’s behalf. It's all going as planned until Jack saves the day and shoots Brown and rescues his new favorite psychiatrist/profiler/friend. But what stuck with me was that in a supremely vulnerable position, Hannibal is cracking wise. I guess I can speculate his state of mind in those moments but really, I have no idea what possible conclusion is even remotely right. Is he showing such little regard for his survival as a reverse-psychology? Or maybe his life is so precarious, his walking on the razor’s edge so intoxicating, that he’s always one step from this kind of jeopardy on some level? He refers here to an acceptance that life is precious but fleeting. Dare I say a flash in the pan? (Oh my god, I am so sorry.)
Odds and Ends
*Um, that observatory? TERRIBLE. After the most insane crazy has gone down there MORE THAN ONCE BEFORE, no less, it's apparently still wide open for all kinds of murder wizardry. (That term is as good as trademarked by Cleolinda Jones. Bless.)
*Brian Reitzell, you are taking this show to another level, and then to 52 levels above that. The sound design / music score in this episode rearranged my nervous system.
*Hannibal is making Jack crawfish for breakfast at him home in the teaser. Heh.
*Freddie Lounds is a person, you guys! She actually uses empathy when she first sees Jack outside the observatory.
*A vision of Beverly appears twice to Will. It’s extremely effective for a show that doesn’t really do ghostly visions, per se.
*My note (in my notebook) about Jack, Brian and Jimmy standing in front of Beverly’s remains in the forensics lab just says: Autopsy of Sadness.
*Was it me or did Dr. Bloom look more seductive 1940s silver screen glamour than usual?
*Interesting that there’s a reference to Dr. Chilton not being able to “legally” record the conversations in the BSH ‘privacy room.’ I think Will quips what we’re all thinking: Ummm, and that whole legal thing actually stops you?
*Between Gideon’s power plays and Will’s massive collective manipulation, it looks like Team Incarceration is a winner.
*Will has now given Chilton the power to assign him a definitive diagnosis and Freddie Lounds the rights to his life story. Wonderful!
*There are a thousand patterns of symbolism happening these days on this show. I mean, entire dissertations are made of way less. And these patterns are crossing over from the book/film canon, as well. Some of my favorites: THAT mask, vertical lines, very artful scene dissolves, water, blood and mirrors are people.
Jack: “…She will be memorialized at FBI Headquarters and field offices so that her ultimate sacrifice will always be remembered.”
Will: “You discussed my therapy with Hannibal Lecter, Frederick. Counter to our agreement.”
Dr. Chilton: “I gave him a peek before I snapped down the shades.”
Will: “I have appearances to maintain.”
Dr. Abel Gideon: “Mr. Graham. You always did look like the boy next door.”
Dr. Gideon (to Hannibal Lecter from his therapy cage): “You don’t need to stand way over there. I’m a cutter, not a pisser.”
(Oh, Eddie Izzard.)
Freddie Lounds: “I am interviewing Will Graham. At his request. Imagine that.”
Hannibal: “I’m trying.”
Will: “I want you to kill Hannibal Lecter.”
Dr. Chilton: “What is it about you, Dr. Bloom? The most sinister neurochemistry in the field cannot help percolating in your presence. The interesting ones all fall at your feet.”
Alana (to Dr. Abel Gideon): “Been wondering about that night. How did you know where I live?”
Dr. Gideon: “A little birdie wanted me to kill you or a little birdie wanted Mr. Graham to have reason to kill me. But either way, you and I are equally expendable.”
Hannibal: “You’re a nurse at the hospital. You’re setting a new standard of care.”
Matthew Brown: “Maybe your murders will become my murders. I’ll become the Chesapeake Ripper.”
Hannibal: “Only if you eat me.”
(From Coquilles) Beverly (quoting Jim Morrison): "Death makes angels of us all."