Will lectures his class about the Ripper. He says that the Ripper kills in threes, ending with Miriam Lass as Jack watches from the doorway. Hannibal is at the opera, where other socialites complain that he no longer throws dinner parties. He says he will do so again when inspiration strike. He is interrupted by his patient Frankie. Hannibal does not want their doctor-patient relationship to be known but Frankie doesn’t mind. Frankie’s friend Tobias, a cold and menacing man, notes that Frankie seems infatuated with Dr. Lector, creating a slightly uncomfortable silence.
A new body has been found and Will and Jack go to take a look. Will warns Jack not to let Lass and the Ripper get to him. In this new body, surgery was performed then undone – sutures were ripped open. Will notes that the surgery was done elsewhere due to the lack of blood. Will thinks that the ‘killer’ wasn’t killing, he was trying to save the victims life. Will thinks this isn’t the Ripper’s work and Jack is disappointed. Frankie visits Hannibal and it is clear that Frankie is indeed infatuated with Hannibal. Hannibal, of course, does not reciprocate this feeling. Hannibal visits a psychiatrist of his own – a Dr. Du Maurier. She realizes she does not know Hannibal as well as he thinks she does – she knows a version of him and addresses that version and hopes that the real Hannibal gets to know what he wants. She says he wears a person suit, or a human veil. She thinks he is lonely, but Hannibal denies this, claiming that Du Maurier is a friend which she denies. Will visits later on and they discuss the latest body and Will dismisses the idea that the Ripper has a friend instantly. Hannibal recalls one of his newest victims, killed for being rude to him – he asks for a business card and ambushes the man later on a highway. We see him prepare a meal while Will and the forensics team discuss the murder.
Alana visits Hannibal and helps him prepare dinner. Alana and Hannibal discuss their past and Will. Hannibal is curious as to why Alana never brings him up and she says that she wants everyone to leave him alone. Jack begins having bad dreams – dreams in which Will has been mutilated like Miriam Lass. Meanwhile, Hannibal is preparing for his dinner party and he consults his collection of name cards when picking the meat. He has an extremely large collection of name cards and it promises to be an interesting dinner. The forensics mentions that new bodies are missing more and more odd organs – intestines, spleen, livers and each organ mention flashes to Hannibal preparing said organ for his dinner.
Frankie returns to see Hannibal – he has been stalking Hannibal but does not say so outright. Hannibal inquires about Frankie’s sexual orientation but he denies having feelings for Tobias. Hannibal realizes that Frankie is deeply lonely and seeks connection even with the likes of Tobias who clearly does not return his friendship. Hannibal’s next appointment is Will but Will is mysteriously late. Will is having strange visions of Abigail and himself sitting by Marissa’s mounted body. Abigail calls him ‘Dad’ until Hannibal rouses Will. Will wakes up in his FBI lecture theatre with Hannibal wondering why he had cancelled. They discuss the Ripper’s newest victims and Hannibal is inwardly impressed that Will has identified the Ripper’s motivation for the murders. Jack makes some progress at locating what he thinks is the Ripper, but as evidenced by Hannibal’s presence in the room, is actually just a student doing illegal surgeries in ambulances. Hannibal comes along when they make the arrest, getting inside knowledge on how the FBI operate. They find a rogue private ambulance and need Hannibal’s help in keeping the latest victim alive. They succeed and this killer is apprehended but Jack is devastated that it is not the Ripper he has caught. Meanwhile, Hannibal finally hosts his party and warns his guests ‘Nothing here is vegetarian’.
What I love, and to some degree hate, about these episodes of Hannibal is that they are so impossibly dense. I can’t capture all of it in the summary because I don’t know beforehand what is important and what is not. Almost everything that comes out of the characters’ mouths (especially Will and Hannibal) seems to hold some hidden second meaning or some foreshadowing that I can sense but cannot really describe. In Hannibal’s and Will’s cases, this is doubly so as the two characters always have conversations on multiple levels.
At first glance, this episode does not seem to contribute much to the overall storyline. Compared to the shocking revelations and highly tense ending of the previous episode, this one seems much more mundane. The crimes aren’t as horrifying and the killer is relatively harmless. Still, there is a great deal of character development are if we look closely enough. Furthermore, we are also reintroduced to Frankie, who I could have sworn we hadn’t seen before (the ‘Previously on’ segment tells me otherwise) and Tobias, his creepy friend. Let’s look at the character development first. We see a new side of Hannibal in this episode – he is indeed every bit as friendless as one would expect a sociopathic killer to be. Whether this is purely out of choice (since it would help him pursue his hobbies with greater ease) or because he cannot truly connect with anyone is unclear, but I suspect that there is a large part of both reasons involved. What is very clear though is that he suffers from loneliness every bit as much as he thinks Frankie does – the only difference is that Lector’s sophistication and nature always him to disguise the fact much better than Frankie can and keeps him from seeking unhealthy and potentially destructive relationships like Frankie’s relationship with Tobias. Or perhaps even that is not entirely true since I firmly believe that Lector’s friendship or blossoming connection with Will will eventually lead to his downfall. There is a nice symmetry between Hannibal rebuffing Frankie’s attempts at ‘friendship’ and Dr. Du Maurier rebuffing Hannibal. While the two men are really nothing alike they are fruitlessly searching for the same thing. Will, unsurprisingly enough, is the one who really gives us the scoop on Hannibal’s character or rather his motives. He punishes his victims for rudeness, almost as if he does not see them as being worthy of the life bestowed upon them. I have to say that I was shocked by the sheer size of Hannibal’s collection of business cards – I want to believe that now all of those were killed by Hannibal’s hands, but somehow, I think that within the show’s universe (which for a variety of reasons I hold to be similar but not identical to our own) it is indeed rather plausible.
In some ways, I thought this was almost like a ‘day in the life’ kind of episode for this show. Few references were made to the events of previous episodes, apart from Will’s odd vision of Abigail and himself. Apart from that single reference, we see the characters go through their lives as per normal – Will consults on a simple, rather uncomplicated case (though there are references to Miriam Lass, which we’ll get to in a minute), Hannibal consults his other patients and talks to Will and Jack continues chasing the Ripper. It’s a nice break from the tension of the previous episodes and sort of gives us a moment to appreciate the calm before the season moves into its final stretch. Will’s role in this episode is almost minimal and I feel like this is the most sane he has been in a long while. In fact, this episode is all about Hannibal and getting to really know the Chesapeake Ripper. Jack who is struggling to piece all this together continues to be portrayed sympathetically by projecting the guilt he feels for Miriam’s demise into protectiveness of Will. Unfortunately, I don’t think Jack is in any position to protect Will from Hannibal.
I have to say that while this is one of the more simple episodes in this season, the writing was once again absolutely phenomenal. There were just enough cheesy puns that only the audience (and possibly Hannibal) would appreciate and the visuals were vivid enough that the audience really began to appreciate the breadth of the Ripper’s menace. I don’t know what role Frankie and maybe Tobias will play in the story going forward, but Frankie was a great way to show Hannibal’s situation in a more sympathetic human form. Lastly, while I loved last week’s ending, I felt this week’s ending was just as good in its own – it leaves you pumped and with this morbid fascination to see what Hannibal would do next. I can understand if some people are put off by the seemingly out of character puns but I love them all the same because they bring this brilliant dark humor to the story.