A woman is killed in her own home by a person hiding under her bed. Will talks to Hannibal, discussing his deteriorating stability and Abigail’s murder of Nicholas Boyle. Hannibal asks Will to draw a clock showing the current time – Will draws the clock and it seems normal from his perspective, but when Hannibal sees it, it is shown as skewed and messy, indicating there is indeed something wrong with Will’s brain.
Will visits the crime scene but loses himself to a hallucination and ends up tampering with the crime scene. Jack is furious at Will and asks again if Will is ready to work. Will does not take too kindly too Jack’s curiosity and says he’s not totally fine but that he wants to continue working. Will returns to Hannibal and tells him that he knows his kind of crazy but these recent episodes are different in nature – there might be a physiological cause behind it. At the hospital, Dr. Sutcliffe meets Hannibal and Will about the brain scan. The scan clearly shows that Will has encephalitis but Hannibal coaxes Sutcliffe into not telling Will this since the neurological effects are so rare to observe. Sutcliffe lies to Will and tells him that there is nothing wrong with him. Hannibal talks to Jack about Will’s condition, telling Jack that Will is mentally ill but not mentioning the physiological condition behind it.
Will’s hallucinations are worsening though – he revisits the crime scenes and a dead looking girl runs past run and suddenly he is lost in the woods in the middle of the night. He calls Kat and they discuss who the dead girl could be and Will admits that he lost the evidence and doesn’t know where. Will theorizes that the girl can’t see faces and thinks that the girl believes she is dead and returned to the crime scene to ensure that she did not actually kill her first victim. Will says that the killer cannot ‘accept her reality’ and sympathizes with her over their similar situations. Will returns to Hannibal’s office and Hannibal makes him repeat the sanity check – repeating his name, location and time and makes him draw another clock. The clock is disfigured again, but Hannibal does not remark on it. Will asks that Hannibal not publish anything about him except posthumously.
That night, as Will has a nightmare in his bed, Georgia Madchen stands outside his house window and watches him. At Quantico, Will and Jack speak with the suspect’s mother. The woman is relieved to hear she’s alive more than anything; her daughter’s suffered from mental illness her entire life and is definitely capable of violence. As the mother speaks on her frustrations with mental health rehabilitation, how doctors just offer vague generalities instead of concrete solutions, Will empathizes greatly, having recently experienced the exact same thing.
Hannibal and Dr. Sutcliffe have dinner and Sutcliffe asks Hannibal why Will is special. Hannibal says it’s because Will has a vivid imagination and pure empathy. Sutcliffe is wondering how long they should keep Will in the dark but Hannibal reassures him that when the time is right he will make things right.
Will returns to the hospital, looking for more information from Stucliffe. Sutcliffe does another MRI but when Will leaves the machine, the hospital is worryingly empty. He goes to Sutcliffe’s office and sees that the office has turned into a crime scene with Sutcliffe’s head severed at the jaw. The FBI arrive later and Will feels responsible for the murder. The FBI team notes that the only common links between the murders are Will himself – and he thinks that she thought Will was Sutcliffe since she can’t see faces.
That night, as Will sleeps, he awakens from a dream and checks under his bed only to find Georgia under his bed. Will falls to the floor and attempts to bring her into the present moment. Later, Georgia is taken to ICU and treated for her loss of vital fluids. It’s revealed that Hannibal was the one who killed Dr. Sutcliffe, not Georgi. She wandered into the room that night, and Hannibal handed her the weapon.
That was, without a doubt, one of the creepiest episodes of Hannibal I’ve seen. This show regularly draws a line between outright horror and psychological thriller but this episode had strong elements of both about it – there was the mental manipulation that has become a staple of this show, but beyond that there was also the added tension of Georgia not being a crazed killer, but just a really sick, disturbed woman and the way she is manipulated into killing an innocent man. Visually, Georgia’s modus operandi (so to speak) of lying under a bed is extremely discomforting as well, as is her skin, but both those take a distinct back seat to the psychological horror of your friend and doctor lying to you about your debilitating mental illness. It’s a testament to Hannibal’s characterization that the sight of him in a full body containment suit is much scarier than Georgia’s diseased skin or her habit on stalking people from under their beds.
I think this is where Hannibal (the character, not the show) crosses a line in my book – I had wanted to think that he and Will would have some sort of mutual lines that they wouldn’t cross when their eventual confrontation ultimately comes, but Hannibal here is pulling no punches – he sees Will’s madness and moves to make immediate use of it. Killing Sutcliffe was brutal, but extremely pragmatic – he’s the only one who knows of the falsified test results apart from Hannibal. I know it seems ridiculous to talk about friendship in a show with characters as warped as Hannibal and Will, but I had really hoped that Hannibal would have fought fair and the fact that he didn’t doesn’t surprise me, but it does disappoint me. Hannibal is a serial killer by nature and so his actions here cannot really be said to be out of character but Sutcliffe is a scumbag for caving in to Hannibal so easily. He sees the opportunity for advancement in his field and that blinded all his personal judgement. I won’t say that he deserved his end but at the same time, I would certainly say that it’s fitting that the monster he helped came back to get him.
There are some plot issues in this episode which still bother me – how did Georgia get to the hospital? How did she know where Will lives? Will’s encephalitis is becoming this convenient plot device that allows things to happen that otherwise should not have and while I don’t really mind too much, I feel that there should be some effort made to explain these things once all is said and done. Maybe Georgia can elaborate on what exactly happened in the hours that Will lost in between, but somehow I don’t things will be that simple. Beyond that though, the MVP of this show continues to be its nuanced, layered dialogue. Check out this exchange:
Hannibal: “After whose death? Yours or mine?”
Will: “Whichever comes first.”
Lines like those aren’t great prose per se, but they are short and impactful to the audience and just jam packed with dramatic irony. I would say that there is a strong case to be made that the combination of Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen along with the writers are the three cornerstones of this show – without any one of those three, the show just begins to fall flat. It is the chemistry that Dancy and Mikkelsen share that makes the show so very gripping and draws the strong emotional responses from the audience. The underappreciated aspect of the show though is its music. There is this jarring, grating sound that accompanies the show’s most tense moments and it never fails to make the scenes infinitely more terrifying.
I seem to say this every episode but this was another excellent episode in a season that just seems relentless in them. I would say that my only real criticism of this episode last week was that I wanted the conflict between Will and Hannibal to escalate even further, but this episode took it in a new, unexpected direction and I can’t wait to see what will happen next.