Will hunts in the forest, searching for a stag. He gets a shot at it, but when he reaches it, a human figurine with antlers stares back at him and he wakes. He wakes up and finds blood all over himself and vomits up an ear. He sits outside, desolate, as Hannibal arrives. Hannibal takes Will back to his office and Will recalls that he remembers going to bed the night before and that he last saw Abigail at her father’s cabin and recounts the events of their last meeting to Hannibal. Hannibal sees the ear in the sink and smells Will. He tells him that they have to go to Jack and that they cannot run from this.
An FBI team investigates Will’s house looking for evidence as Jack arrests Will. Will stands in a stupor as the usual BAU team goes through his belongings. Beverly checks Will for tissue samples but she cannot stand the silence and they talk about her findings. She asks him to interpret the evidence, especially the blood under his fingernails. Jack finds that the ear in the sink belongs to Abigail Hobbs and later tells Alana that the blood and tissue samples match as well. Alana is upset that Jack did not do enough to protect Will. Jack insists that everything he did, he did under Hannibal’s advice and Alana cannot argue this but is puzzled that Hannibal did not see the signs. Alana tries to find a way out for Will but she cannot. She goes to meet Will later and asks him to let his feelings out. He remarks that she dodged a bullet with regards to him but she says she feels wounded. She offers to take care of his dogs for him. She insists she’ll find out what’s wrong with him and he is derisive of more ‘clock-drawing’. Puzzled, Alana asks him to draw a clock and he does – the clock is still skewed and mutilated. Will doesn’t see the issue with the clock, but says telling the time isn’t his problem. Alana concurs but she sees there is a problem.
Hannibal meets Dr. Du Maurier and tries to get over his grief over Abigail’s death. He cries crocodile tears for Du Maurier’s sake and talks about his regret at having failed both Abigail and Will. Back at the BAU, the team finds that Will’s fly-fishing lures have bits of human flesh as lure from each of the copycat’s victims. Jack finds the evidence hard to believe – it’s one think that Will might have killed Abigail but Will as a serial killer is a whole new idea. Jack visits Will and tells him that he’s sick and they’re going to find out what is wrong with him. Will is surprised by the reveal about the fishing hooks and protests that his episodes started long after the Boyle murder. Jack does not want to hear it – if Will’s episodes began afterwards, then that makes Will a psychopath. Will agrees but warns him to watch out for whoever is actually behind all this. Jack places Will under official arrest.
Will is to be transferred to Chilton’s hospital but he escapes on the way. Jack consults Alana and Hannibal and Alana tries to use the skewed clock drawing as proof that something is wrong with Will. Hannibal however has a perfectly drawn clock that now implies that Will is faking his illness. Jack asks Hannibal to recount the events of Hobb’s arrest. Hannibal does so, but switches his actions with Will’s so that Will is thought to be alone in the office while Hannibal helped move the boxes. It all points to Will’s guilt and worse, that he is an intelligent, aware, psychopath.
A while later, Will appears at Hannibal’s office. Will says that if it was just Abigail, he could have believed he had done it. However, the five other cases have convinced him he didn’t. Hannibal discusses all the murders with Will, suggesting ways that Will could have committed the crimes. Hannibal talks about the various killers’ minds but is in fact talking about himself. Will is beginning to picture the antlered creature from his dreams but needs to go back to Minnesota to recreate Hobbs in his mind. Jack and Alana visit Du Maurier and she tells them that Hannibal missed his session, which is unlike him. Jack realizes that Hannibal is in Minnesota with Will. In Minnesota, Will is recreating himself as Hobbs on the day of his death, complete with the phone call. The figure next to him assumed a shape of a man full of darkness and swarming with flies. Will is putting the puzzle together despite Hannibal’s attempt to divert them. However, as he begins, Will visualizes the murders and the same antlered figure from his dreams appears as Hannibal talks and Will finally begins to connect the dots as Hannibal talks about the murderers but is in fact talking about himself. He realizes that one of them killed Abigail and Hannibal agrees saying that whoever did it, killed the others. Will figures it all out and is about to kill Hannibal, but Jack intervenes just in time and shoots Will in the shoulder before Will can kill Hannibal. As Will fades into unconsciousness, in Hannibal’s place stands the antlered creature.
Jack visits Will in the hospital, where Hannibal is by his bedside. Hannibal tells Jack that Will’s brain was inflamed and that he is being treated for it and is expected to make a full recovery. Jack is upset – he has never seen anyone broken by the world Will was and he feels responsible. Hannibal meets Dr. Du Maurier and they talk about Will and Hannibal. He tells her that he will say goodbye to Will soon. She warns him to be careful since ‘they’ are starting to see his pattern. He asks what pattern that is and she says he forms close relationships with patients prone to extreme violence and that under scrutiny, Jack’s beliefs about Hannibal might start to unravel. Hannibal asks if her beliefs are unravelling.
The season ends with Hannibal visiting Will in a secure mental ward and Will greets him politely but distantly, as if meeting him for the first time.
I’ve never been so unhappy about being proven right. So it all happened exactly the way that I did not want it to. Will finally figures it all out (even though Hannibal has to walk him through some of it) but then just as Will is about to go full vigilante, Jack saves Hannibal. It was an excellent episode though, every minute of it. In fact, I would go so far as to call it a rather self-contained episode. The last episode setup a lot of the story for this one, sure, but this episode had a clear, concise storyline for itself and though it wrapped that storyline up more than satisfactorily, it left just enough dangling to draw people back for season two.
There was a lot to process in this episode, so let’s handle it chronologically. The episode begins with Will puking up an ear, which by all means is a rather extreme way of opening an episode, but brutally effective nonetheless. Now I have a ton of questions and my hopes that it would all be answered this season were cruelly dashed so I will throw it out there for now – how the fuck did Abigail’s ear end up inside Will? Also, who would eat a ear? I can understand if flesh or tissue was found inside him, but an ear? That’s just an odd choice of meat. Now, I’m assuming in all of this that Will is innocent of killing Abigail since the last we say her she was with Hannibal and we know Hannibal killed her. So, since the ear matches, how did Hannibal get the ear into Will? I guess we’ll have to find out.
I also remember being thoroughly creeped out earlier in the season that Hannibal was alone in Will’s house – was that when he put the meat on the fishing lures? It can’t have been then, because the Sutcliffe and Madchen murders were very much later. The only explanation was that he went back to Will’s house at some point to plant the evidence – possibly the same time he put the ear into Will. Still though, that was a particularly low blow – taking the one thing Will loved doing and turning it against him. Yeah, I get that he’s a cruel psychopath, but that’s just tasteless (or, you know, flesh-flavoured). Still, I think he might have overplayed his hand in doing so though because it was his decision to pin all the copycat’s murders on Will that lead to Will suspecting that it was not himself. In any case, Will is behind bars and I guess in the end that can serve as sufficient vindication for Lector’s plans.
Is it weird that I was happy that Will was behind bars? At least he would get the treatment he needs and more importantly he would be largely safe from Lector’s influence. Of course, Hannibal seems to be free to visit him whenever he wants, so maybe he won’t be totally free of it but I think that now that he knows exactly what Hannibal is, he will be able to better defend himself. That and his improve physical and mental health leaves me oddly optimistic for the next season though there can be no two opinions about it – Will’s current situation is very dire. He stands accused of at least five counts of murder and one charge of attempted murder. Jack doesn’t believe him, Hannibal is obviously not interested in Will’s innocence and Alana seems powerless to do anything. On a side note, Alana’s offer to take care of Will’s dogs was really, really sweet (aww).
Next up is the symbolism – the stag returns but this time, there’s this weird human seeming creature associated with it. I didn’t mention it in the summary but it seems to be made of the same ebony or dark stone as the stag in Lector’s office and in my head the imagery is perfect, but I’m having a tricky time trying to put it into the right words. Still, there were some great moments of symbolism in this episode – Will trying to figure out what the strange creature from his dreams represent while in the background, the antler horns from Hannibal’s trophy happened to right above his head just as the camera cut away. The confrontation scene ending with Hannibal turning into the creature in Will’s mind was just perfect. There was also the usual fire vs water imagery – Will’s fishing rods and Hannibal’s celebration dinner with Dr. Du Maurier being a roasted veal (burned innocent calf, wow, real subtle there) whose fragrance would fill the room.
There were some amazing lines as well with some great double meanings, which I am a total sucker for. There was this:
“You catch these killers by getting into their heads, but you also allow them into your own.”
I thought this was a great line because Hannibal is talking generally, about how the killers continue to affect Will even long after the case, but it has a more literal meaning in that Will has allowed the killer (Hannibal) quite literally into his head by opening up to him so much. More than the lines themselves though, I feel like everyone brought their best performances to this finale. Laurence Fishburne captured the scepticism and reluctant acceptance that his former partner may in fact be guilty but as always the stars are Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen. Dancy in particular, knocked it out of the park, with a measured, deliberate performance that just felt like the perfect fit for what Will Graham would have been going through.
I’ll end this season with some quick thoughts about the next one. Dr. Du Maurier mentioned specifically that the FBI is beginning to detect a pattern and while Jack is currently far too preoccupied to think about Hannibal’s role in things, I’m sure that he will soon and if he does not decide to do this of his own accord, Will will definitely encourage him to do so. Can’t wait for season 2!