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Hannibal: Roti

“It’s hard to shake off something that's already under your skin.”

Especially when that something Will Graham refers to is actually a person named Hannibal Lecter. Psychic driving is front and center to compliment Will’s “somebody spoke and I went into a dream” existence.

In the midst of the long chained together teaser, Will has a dream. An avalanche triggers a tsunami that engulfs him. Let me repeat that. An avalanche or a tsunami was not enough on its own to properly convey what he feels is happening to him. Real talk: this iconography made me long for a simpler time when Will was mostly just losing time.

Someone who already doubts their own identity can be more susceptible to manipulation.

Hannibal is banking on it. For several episodes, he has been playing this game where he constructs the therapy sessions around Will uttering what he's really scared of in a ‘safe’ place. But instead of helping him relieve himself of his own fears, he's winding them around Will like a cocoon. Isolating him from those around him, removing him from what he knows to be true about himself and pushing him closer to Hannibal and more reliant on him. At the moment it seems Hannibal is still in the ‘curious to see what happens’ phase. Though for someone who meters out his facial reactions so precisely, the look of surprise on his face when delirious Will shows up on his doorstep with a gun trained on Gideon might be my favorite in all of season one. It’s Mads’ micro-expression version of “Holy hell! This has really advanced well beyond my wildest fantasies!” Though it was through his own murderous machinations that Jack and company were led to the observatory (where he was, yes, copycatting a copycat), and that took a bit of planning and effort, he is still content winding people up to see what they’ll bump into. And whereby Chilton’s psychic driving of Gideon, juxtaposed in ‘Roti’, is more clumsy, immoderate and obvious, Hannibal’s is smooth, continuous and frightening.

I feel like hell. Actually, no, I feel uh, fluid, like I'm spilling.

In the car ride to pick Gideon up, Jack comments to Will that he looks awful. Will courageously tries to reveal to Jack more insight into his own psyche which Jack, sadly, can’t even hear. He can’t hear the depth of fear and blackness Will is trying to communicate for his own reasons. Plus, when shit gets real with them, they talk in fuzzy figures of speech. David Lynch style. Will hopes he’s not contagious. Ha. Jack tells him what they do weakens the immune system. And that Will has to learn how let ‘things’ go. He’s telling a genetically anomalous empath who’s in therapy with a bored psychopath that he can’t hold on to what he sees. There are so many ironies to this conversation that I lost count. Someone like Jack will never understand someone like Will. Will knows it. He’s always known it. It adds to his loneliness like a cement blanket.

What’s happening to me? (part 1)

While Jack and the SWAT team storm the observatory, the dreamy stag calls to Will from the nearby field and he finds his way to the backseat of Gideon’s car to wait for him. Though he’s clearly hallucinating and enveloped in fever (he sees Garrett Jacob Hobbs instead of Gideon), Will is still threatening enough to Gideon that his orders to drive them to Hannibal’s are taken very seriously. Of course Will can only see Hobbs now--the person whose death caused this rip in Will’s psyche. He sees Gideon as Hobbs, I think, as a means to give him permission to shoot Gideon in front of Alana’s. Hobbs represents the totality of Will’s struggle to put right and wrong in their proper place. Whatever that means.

It's hard to be with another person when you can't get out of your own head.

Will is dispatched to tell Alana that she’s officially on the to do list of Gideon’s revenge rampage. She jokes but not really jokes that it’s too bad she’s not his detail. He laments his continued lack of stability. They share another soft moment when she strokes his cheek (her way of noticing he doesn’t look well but not knowing what to do about it). If Will could have melted into her hand forever in that touch, I’m sure he would have. As Gideon’s story continues to pose a cautionary tale, he tells Will, matter-of-fact, outside of Alana’s house while they watch her through the window that he’ll never have her--that he and Will are alike, and already committed. To their own twisted mind. Don’t count Will Graham out though. His response to this analysis (right before he collapses in Alana’s yard) is to shoot Gideon. He has not lost his agency yet as Jack gently reminds Hannibal in one of ‘Roti’s’ final scenes.

Side effects can be temporary. They can be a boost to our psychological immune systems to help fight the existential crises of normal life.

Oh, by the way, Hannibal is referring to the side effects of madness. He further examines his attraction to Will with Dr. Bedelia at ‘Roti’s’ end. (Interestingly, this scene was, at one point, the opening scene in the next episode ‘Releves’ script.) He all but tells her that he’s close to Will because he’s convinced Will is worthy of his consideration. And because watching and listening to Hannibal gives us a possible explanation of how his circuitry is askew, Hannibal seeing himself in Will shows this darker side of narcissism. Hannibal’s recognition of Will as simpatico is the hinge to his compulsion to wind him up like a plastic toy, after all.

C'est la vie, c'est la guerre.

Odds and Ends

*The teaser (Gideon being transferred) reminded me of something: Until things can go sideways with Hannibal in the series’ narrative, Gideon is a wonderful emblem of that Thomas Harris idea that you can be immersed in your everyday life when you are suddenly plucked out and subjected to horror.

*Lots of SotL stuff here actually. The manhunt for Gideon had several moments that were an homage to looking for Buffalo Bill. I.E. The task force meeting led by Jack held with all hands on deck.

*I realized something very subversive, very smart and totally crafty the show does to push, pull and hustle the audience along this INSANE narrative: Also in the teaser, there’s a moment where Gideon asks the orderly how does he get his whites so white? A moment later, we see an image--a deep red stain starts spreading across those white whites. We all make the right jump to what happened next. Visually, the show is saying, “See! You did it! You just made that leap with us. You can do this! Now… make this one—“ Fill in the blank here with any outrageous plotline that has challenged the very fibers of our beings. Fucking hell, right?

*Sometimes I wonder what Will’s dogs must think about their troubled owner who wakes up, gasping for air, drenched in sweat, oh pretty much every night.

*While Will’s sense of self decreases his access to his superhuman empathy increases. He susses out Gideon’s crime scene like it was nothing, in eerie detached perfect detail.

*The scene at the BSH with Chilton, Will and Alana must have been amazing fun to film. For instance, they walk in to his office and he’s reading a book with a magnifying glass. Lol.

*I’ve thought a lot about why they chose to rep Will’s hallucinations primarily through water. Aside from what he was able to articulate to Jack about feeling fluid, I think that water symbolizes something can be in one moment totally benign and in the very next a devastating force. I think that’s ultimately how Will experiences his own empathy.

*Aw, did the academy have Alana take over Will’s classes because he's taken complete leave of his senses?

*Two of our favorite characters we love to hate went down a really hard road in ‘Roti.’ Freddie became an unwitting accomplice to Gideon’s tear. Chilton had his insides re-arranged while he lay there watching. The writing was so sophisticated that in both cases it was impossible not to have sympathy for them.

*I’m not sure if this was intended in the script but on the verge of a seizure, cracked out as hell, with Gideon in tow, Will STILL shows up (albeit this time at Hannibal's house) for what has been and will be their regular therapy time week after week. That’s at least what I inferred. Heh.

*Huge was the sigh of relief I breathed once Will was in the hospital!


Chilton: “It feels like a last supper.”

Hannibal: “Deny everything.”

Hannibal: “Psychic driving fails because its methods are too obvious.”

Will (empathing Gideon's escape): “All I need is one hand free.”

Will: “You did dodge a bullet. Gideon's escape foregoes a trial and a very public humiliation for you.”
Chilton: “And now you are hosting a private one.”

Alana: “Too bad. Would have been fun to cozy up with your dogs in front of a space heater.”
Will: “You don't need protective custody to cozy up with my dogs. Or me, for that matter.”

Gideon: “It's like remembering something from your childhood, and you're not sure if it's your memory or a friend's memory, and then you realize sadly it's just some photo in an old book.”

Hannibal: “Will, Will, Will, you're having an episode. I want you to hand me over the gun. Will, I want you to hand me your Will? Will. He's had a mild seizure.”
Gideon: “That doesn't seem to bother you.”
Hannibal: “I said it was mild. Are you the man who claimed to be the Chesapeake Ripper?”

Jack: “Even with a temperature of 105 degrees, Will was able to bring Gideon down. I told you, he'll be fine.”

Hannibal: “I know who Will is. Will knows who he is.”
Jack: “Yes.”
Hannibal: “But our experiences shape us, Jack. How is this experience going to shape Will?”


  1. Amazing review of an amazing show. Bravo!

  2. You ask why they choose to represent Will's hallucinations through water--

    Actually, if you notice, Hannibal is usually associated with fire. Mads Mikkelsen is playing him as if Hannibal were Lucifer. To juxtapose the fire association, Will is usually represented by water:

    Will is a fisherman who builds boats
    He sweats a lot

    Both fire and water can be both beautiful and dangerous at the same time. Both can destroy. And they can cancel each other out. (When water gets too hot, it evaporates into steam/gas. But water can dose many types of fire.)

    This is one level of the contrast between Hannibal and Will.

    (These ideas aren't all mine. I've read several interviews with Bryan Fuller where he discusses the fire and water imagery.)

  3. Heather1: Thank you so much! I love that you're enjoying the show along with me. :)

    Kathy: I love that. Makes so much sense with the art direction, too. Hannibal and Jack are often shot sitting next to his (roaring) office fireplace! Thank you for sharing that. :)

  4. I struggled with this episode and got through it by half watching it while I did some other things. I'm finding it very, very difficult to watch Will descend to such a degree. But, as you say, at least he is finally in the hospital.

    What a fantastic point, Kathy. It gave me an a ha moment and reminded me of many scenes in this first season.

    As always, Heather, astonishing review.


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