Hannibal, Season 1, Episode 6: “Entrée”
Directed by Michael Rymer
Written by Kai Yu Wu and Bryan Fuller
Airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on NBC
The focus this week turns to the Chesapeake Ripper. Who exactly is the sociopath who continues to elude the F.B.I.? He hasn’t killed in over two years, and his last suspected victim, an agent-in-training named Miriam (played Anna Chlumsky), was never found. This is a fact that continues to haunt FBI special agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), and this week we see Jack dig up memories of the rookie investigator, whom he’d taken a special interest in. Myriam was clearly talented and intelligent, a prime candidate to investigate the Chesapeake Ripper case and technically the only investigator who’s uncovered the truth so far. It isn’t a big mystery to anyone who’s read the book Red Dragon, much less anyone paying close attention to the series so far – but for the unfamiliar and/or unsuspecting, episode 6 of Hannibal offers some much welcomed backstory through a series of flashbacks. As fans of Thomas Harris’ novels should already know, Hannibal Lecter is the man the FBI seeks, yet no one seems to have the slightest clue that Hannibal Lecter is anything but a friend and colleague.
Its nice to see the writers further fleshing out the character of Jack Crawford. Jack looks to Hannibal for comfort while trying to cope with the realization that his wife is slowly dying of cancer. Desperate for answers, he turns to Hannibal for advice. Hannibal may be a sociopath but he believes in patient confidentiality – and his only revelation is that Bella is not disappointed in Jack as a husband. But how cruel can Lecter be? He murders his favourite pupil and now taunts Jack with late night phone calls featuring a recording of her voice begging for help. In one moment he urges Jack not to give up hope for his wife and in the next he gives Crawford hope that Miriam is still alive. Lecter feeds false hope to Jack and his intentions are always cruel even when serving him a five course meal accompanied with human parts no less. He leaves a strand of Myriam’s hair in Crawford’s bedroom, a severed hand left in an observatory and a note asking: “What do you see?”
It isn’t a big surprise that episode 6 is titled “Entrée” considering it serves as an entrance to the darkest side of Hannibal the Cannibal. Up until now, the show runners have done nothing but tease the audience. We’ve seen Lecter interfere in investigations, manipulate everyone around him and taunt us with his taste for flesh. But “Entre” gives us the first onscreen look at Lecter the murderer. Myriam quickly realizes that the Chesapeake killer must be a surgeon of sorts and heads to Hannibal’s office for questioning as he had once worked in the operating room where one of the Ripper’s victims was treated. Proclaiming to not remember the man in question, Hannibal heads upstairs to retrieve his journals; meanwhile Miriam snoops around the office only to discover a diagram of the ‘Wounded Man.’ Just as she comes to a horrifying conclusion, Lecter sneaks up behind her and takes her out. Anyone who has read Red Dragon will notice that this scene is very similar to the way Will eventually catches Lecter in the book. From the start, we knew Myriam’s story would end horribly, and watching Jack mentor her in the flashback sequences makes his present day scenes even more devastating. Jack is often portrayed as a man with little sympathy, a hard nose detective whom his colleagues fear – but the flashbacks give us insight as to why Jack is considered one of the best. Today, we know him as Will’s cold hearted boss, but at one point Jack was known as ‘The Guru.’ and considered a hero to his peers.
This episode also offers shades of Silence of the Lambs, particularly in the scenes over at the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane – a psychiatric institute that is currently housing Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard), a former surgeon who was caught and imprisoned about two years ago for butchering his family on Thanksgiving. Gideon wants everyone to think that he’s the Ripper and so he conceives a plot which allows him to kill a nurse by gouging out her eyes and piercing various sharp objects through her body. While the actual murder is kept offscreen, Will’s analytical mind-scan of the crime might be the show’s most disturbing moment yet. Its hard to watch someone you like perform such terrible crimes and even harder to see the psychological effect it has on Graham each and every week. Crawford even warns both Will and us the viewers by saying, “Prepare yourself, it’s gruesome.” As Will Graham examines the evidence through his empathetic prism, he forms a suspicion: “This looks like the Ripper, but it doesn’t feel like the Ripper,” he says, “This is plagiarism.” Graham also points out that the nurse’s corpse was arranged posthumously but The Ripper always formed his “piece” while his victim was still alive, not to mention the fact that no organs were removed. Gideon’s clearly not the Chesapeake Ripper and Jack and co. know this. But how did Gideon acquire information describing the gruesome details of the Ripper murders, considering it was never publicly revealed? Enter Dr. Chilton (wonderfully played by Raúl Esparza) who might have subconsciously coaxed Gideon into believing he’s the Ripper. Its all wonderfully explained in yet another fine, wine and dining sequence featuring Hannibal, Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) and Dr. Chilton sitting down for supper. Bloom is already suspicious of the smug head of the hospital and who can blame her since he arrogant, sleazy and deeply incompetent. Notice how she looks at him in such a distrustful manner. It was great watching Hannibal play mind games with Chilton, manipulating him into believing they are on the same side. As Dr. Chilton smugly notes at one point, “The Chesapeake Ripper is a pure sociopath, so rare to find in captivity.” Clearly Chilton planted the idea in Gideon’s head in hopes of taking credit for catching the most notorious serial killer in North America. I see lots of money to be made in book deals, movie deals, interviews and so on. If this show teaches us one thing, its that doctors cannot be trusted, and Chilton is at the top of the list.
Tabloid blogger Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) is offered a deal to run a story telling the world that Gideon is in fact the Chesapeake Ripper. This is a brilliant plan on the part of Crawford since he knows very well that by getting Freddie to post the exclusive, it should draw the real killer out in the open. Will is revolted by the thought of working with Freddie and opposed to the idea of coaxing the sociopath to possibly kill again. But his reaction was nowhere as livid as Hannibal. The expression on Mads Mikkelsen face when reading the story published by Lounds is priceless. Hannibal has no intention of getting caught but now that someone is taking credit for his ‘art,’ it poses an interesting predicament for Hannibal who now has to find way to protect his credibility, while remaining inconspicuousness. The ruse seems to work, but just how far is Hannibal willing to go in chancing his safety?
Hannibal feels true remorse for both Myriam and Bela. He chooses his victims carefully and killing Myriam was never his intention; instead he was left with no choice. Hannibal also has a great deal of respect for Bela. The episode closes with Hannibal apologizing for Bella’s terminal illness, and stating that the world is a better place with her in it. We know Hannibal doesn’t like anyone who is rude, obnoxious, or generally unappealing but it still brings up questions as to why he is toying with Crawford. What is it about Jack that draws Hannibal to torture the man?
– Ricky D
Freddie’s commentary on sociopaths is also noteworthy, stating that surgeons, journalists, and law enforcement officers are all prime candidates to become sociopaths.
Those other inmates were so well-behaved, unlike the prisoners featured in Silence of the Lambs. I’m guessing NBC can get away with blood and gore but not with obscenities.
Jack quotes The Godfather, Part II – “In my house! In my bedroom, where my wife sleeps!”
Lounds: “Here we are, a bunch of psychopaths helping each other out.”
Did someone mistakenly diagnose Gidoen’s vital signs or is he somehow able to lower his heart rate much like Hannibal does in Silence of the Lambs?
In case viewers were wondering why they would leave a nurse alone with a killer, Will Graham ask Dr. Chilton the exact same question. Clearly it is part of Chilton’s plan to allow Gideon to perform the murder – which would technically make him an accomplice to the crime.
Hannibal hit a 1.0 rating and 2.51 million viewers, which is even with last week’s series low rating.
I can’t eat after watching this show but I always need a glass of wine when watching.