Tobias giving violin lessons to a teenager who complains that the strings are strange. The student asks if the strings are really catgut and Tobias says not always and we see that his strings are made from human ‘gut’. Will and Alana walk around searching for a wounded animal that Will heard at night. Will asks if Alana thinks it’s a date and they discuss their love lives or lack thereof. Hannibal meets Franklin who says that he has been trying to analyse his friend Tobias, who he suspects of being a psychopath. Hannibal carefully brushes this aside but at the same time does not bring the conversation around to Franklin causing the latter to ask if he is boring Hannibal. Franklin wonders if he himself is a psychopath and Hannibal assures him that he is not – but he might be attracted to them.
Will and Jack find a dead man in the opera house. His vocal cords have been removed. Will imagines himself as the killer as usual but midway through it he sees Garett Jacob Hobbs in the audience. Hannibal visits Dr. Du Maurier and discusses Franklin and his own feelings of protectiveness towards Du Maurier, who is grateful but states flatly that Hannibal is her patient, not the other way around. Back at the BAU headquarters, Will hypothesizes that the killer has killed before though not in this same way. Hannibal offers some further insight regarding the murder and the use of things like olive oil to preserve the strings. They come to the conclusion that the killer (Tobias) is serenading someone, most probably another killer. Franklin mentions that Tobias has been making homicidal statements and suspects that he may be behind the opera house murder. Franklin realizes that Tobias told him about the murder because he knew that Franklin would tell Hannibal. Hannibal pays Tobias a visit. They have a very veiled conversation in which both acknowledge that they are killers though this is never overtly stated. Hannibal requests help with a harpsichord that has been making ‘strange’ noises – referring to Franklin.
Will continues to hear the sounds of a distressed animal, this time behind his wall. Alana drops by and after a short conversation, Will kisses her and they discuss the possibility of a relationship. Alana turns him down, however, stating that he is too unstable. Hannibal invites Tobias to dinner and asks him simply if he is the killer, which Tobias admits to openly. Tobias followed Hannibal on one night and knows what Hannibal does to the bodies. Tobias is interested in having a friend who understands him, a fellow serial killer like Hannibal. Dinner is interrupted when Will barges in, upset that he kissed Alana. Tobias makes a quick escape and Hannibal helps Will make sense of things. Will admits that there was no animal and Hannibal tells will that Franklin suspects Tobias of the murder. Hannibal sends Will after Tobias indirectly, knowing that Will would be in serious danger. Will visits Tobias, but steps out when he seems to hear an animal get run over. Will leaves momentarily and Tobias takes the time to murder the two agents. Will investigates the house finding Tobias’ human gut strings and is ambushed by Tobias. He escapes by firing his gun right next to Tobias’ ear startling him. Tobias escapes and interrupts Franklin’s therapy session with Dr. Lector. A brutal fight breaks out after Hannibal kills Franklin and Tobias, upset that Hannibal took his kill, attacks Hannibal. The fight ends when Hannibal gets the upper hand and kills Tobias after incapacitating him.
Jack and Will talk to Hannibal as the FBI investigate the crime scene and Hannibal is able to satisfactorily explain away their questions. Will notes that they are a little more alike now. He discusses the events with Dr. Du Maurier, who tells him he should not take responsibility for Franklin’s death. He asks if she took responsibility for the patient who attacked her. She says she did, but not for his death. Hannibal replies that nor should she, implying that he was responsible for the patient’s death.
This was the first time we’ve actually seen the Mikkelsen Lector fight and I’ll be damned thrice over if that wasn’t just plain brutal (my summary absolutely did not do it justice at all). Before this point in the series, Hannibal has been a mainly intellectual and emotional threat to the characters, manipulating them into doing his bidding but this episode revealed a totally different side to him. The man is lethal in every sense of the world and even though Tobias have him a solid run for his money, in the end there was never any question in my mind that Hannibal would win the fight and rather easily at that. In fact, I think his injuries helped clear any doubts that Jack and Will had over Hannibal’s involvement in the whole affair, which this episode never seemed to really follow up on. Jack seemed to be a little more ambivalent about it than Will was, but somehow neither of them seemed to find it surprising that Hannibal was able to take out a cold blooded killer. Since we’re already on the subject of Hannibal’s l33t fighting skills, I guess it’s only fair that I give major props to Mikkelsen for pulling off those moves because damn were they smooth. I think we would be hard pressed to pick the better actor between Darcy and Mikkelsen though I would actually give Mikkelsen a little bit of an edge just because of how menacing he makes the character appear.
I can’t really make sense of this whole Will-hearing-animals thing. Was it there in previous episodes? I honestly can’t remember though I think the motif of injured animals isn’t new – the startled stag has been a recurring image this season and I’m inclined to think that it’s representative of Will’s own inner mind telling him that he’s in danger. The trouble with this show is that there is so much going on that too often, I feel like I just can’t absorb the significance of everything I’m seeing. I don’t know if that means that the show is too dense, or if I’m just an idiot or if it’s all going to come together perfectly at end of the season/series and then I’ll just be saying “Ohhh, I get it know! Well done, Fuller!” Of course, I hope it’s the last of the lot but I suspect there might be a liberal dose of the second option involved too because I’m beginning to find the random homages to Garett Jacob Hobbs are becoming less and less meaningful. It’s like they’re sticking him into the episode just to remind us that this guy existed and still has some role to play – it seems ham-fisted and very unlike the sophistication that the rest of the show has. It’s either that or that it’s so next level that I can’t even appreciate how next level it is which, I would argue is really sad predicament to be in. In any event, coming back to the whole injured animal thing, my first thought was that this was Will’s empathy starting to run wild, but this episode seems to indicate that his super powers are working just fine.
His whole empathy thing however, leads me directly to my next point – Alana x Will. On one hand, it’s kind adorable and I want both of them to be happy since I like both characters, but having said that, I know that them being happy this early in the season is only going to end in tears later on. Alana’s whole position of Will being too unstable is perfectly logical and a very reasonable take on the matter. While it certainly sucks hearing that from someone you like, Will should be mature enough to realize that she’s absolutely right – and to his credit he does realize but of course that doesn’t make it all okay again. I found the whole incident rather comical frankly – Alana and Will can’t spend more than a minute as normal people before returning to analysing themselves and each other and then when Will has his wangsty moment, he goes running to Hannibal who then proceeds to offer more analysis to Will. The best part? It works. Will is no longer in a funk and Hannibal gets to think he’s being a friend.
The whole friendship aspect is, of course, rather quickly undercut by the fact that Hannibal more or less throws Will under the creep serial killer bus by offering him on a silver platter to Tobias. Did Hannibal think that Will could take Tobias? Was the trap for Tobias then instead of Will? Unlike Tobias, Will did have prior knowledge that he could be investigating a possible serial killer whereas Tobias didn’t know who he was going up against (not that Will is a particularly capable fighter though). I guess the one person who really got fucked over in all of this is Franklin – the poor guy just wanted a friend and even though I came away from the whole thing thinking he was kind of a loser who was in way over his head, I can’t help but feel bad for him. The dismissive way Hannibal walked over and killed him, like he was an annoying bird that wouldn’t shut up was very forceful in reminding us that Hannibal barely has any humanity in him. Of course, he might have slightly more humanity in him than Tobias who has screamed sinister from the second he first appeared on screen.
The really interesting thing in this episode that I would like to end off with, is that this is probably the closest someone has come to uncovering Hannibal’s secret since the pilot episode. Tobias does uncover it and though it’s not really highlighted in the episode, it meant that anything short of Hannibal killing Tobias, and Hannibal’s secret gets out when and if Tobias is captured. I felt like Tobias had a lot of leverage but did not really know how to use it properly – instead he got cocky that he could take Dr. Lector and ended getting smacked upside the head for his troubles.