Season 1, Episode 11: “Rôti”
Directed by Guillermo Navarro (D.P on Jackie Brown, Pacific Rim, Desperado & Cinematographer for Pan’s Labyrinth + many more)
Written by Bryan Fuller/Steve Lightfoot/Scott Nimerfro
* For a review of the previous episode, “Buffet Froid” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Relevés” – click here
Hannibal: “Once a patient is exposed to the method of manipulation, it becomes much less effective.”
Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and his old colleague Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raúl Esparza) are having dinner. Poor Chilton is having a rough time with the supposed, self-proclaimed Chesapeake Ripper – Dr. Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard). Of course, Frederick has used psychic driving, he has pushed Gideon into believing he is the Ripper; when already, he is bad enough.
Chilton and Lecter dine together, talking over curry, coconut, coriander. Elegant, no?
Meanwhile there’s also poor ole Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). He’s still seeing the totem of bodies from last episode, “Buffet Froid”, and he’s waking up to melting alarm clocks, the water of the ocean somehow filling up his room, his bed. One minute he’s watching the tide come in waves towards the beach, the next he’s back in bed, the water rushing. It’s clear the encephalitis is not just going to clear up on its own. He’s out of luck, naturally, when it comes to Hannibal helping. The bad doctor’s curiosity wants to know, wants to see what will happen observing Will in an unhindered, loose state.
Will: “I don’t know how to gauge who I am anymore. I don’t feel like myself. I feel like I’ve been gradually becoming different for a while. I just feel like somebody else.”
Hannibal: “What do you feel like?”
Will: “I feel crazy”
Hannibal: “And that is what you fear the most?”
Will: “I fear not knowing who I am”
On a transport from Chilton’s care at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, Abgel Gideon is able to wiggle his way out of custody, killing a guard, an orderly, and the driver.
Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) and his FBI team show up with Will Graham in town. We see a vicious recreation of Will showing how Gideon cracked his thumb, removed the handcuffs, then viciously fought his captors. It’s one of the messier, more frantic recreations Will has treated us to and it works wonders. You can see Will falling into the savage nature of the killers whose thinking he is recreating. There’s a more visceral nature to this one; as he fades back to reality, there’s this look of being truly disturbed in his eyes that doesn’t always come through.
Because Gideon believed himself to be the Ripper, now understanding he is not, one of his needs is to find the Ripper, to talk with him, anything. He just needs to do that. So Gideon heads off to do anything he can in the meantime.
Unfortunately for Dr. Chilton, what Gideon first feels necessary is a bit of good old fashioned revenge – something closer to Old Testament than the year 2013.
Using the ever eager Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) – to her dismay as a makeshift nurse – Gideon starts to take out some of Chilton’s organs. Brutal work. Gideon is mad at Chilton for getting into his head and making a mess of things, therefore he decides it’s only fair to make a mess of Chilton in his own way.
The thing I love most about this is that Chilton sort of gets what he deserves in a more present, observable way here than we ever get in the novels. With Thomas Harris, Chilton is most definitely arrogant, selfish (et cetera) yet here, with the introduction of Gideon, this becomes a way for us to see how Chilton injects himself into the lives of these psychopaths. Except with Chilton, there is not the care, the consciousness of Will Graham; though Will slips a bit
Chilton: “You are not the Chesapeake Ripper”
Abel Gideon: “You got inside my mind, Frederick. It’s only fair I get inside your belly.”
Jack: “You look like Hell, Will.”
Will: “I feel like Hell. Actually I feel fluid, like I’m spilling.”
Now Jack is pressing Will to not “take it all in“. He tells him straight out: “You’ve just gotta let go”
Will understands that, however, it’s easier said than just simply done. Right after this brief chat, Jack heads inside the observatory where Gideon has been leading them. All the while, Will is still going absolutely off the deep end in his own head.
Once again, the Nightmare Stag rears its graceful, dark head, and this time leads Will away, out into the woods, off to some other place, somewhere else.
It leads him to Abel Gideon.
Abel Gideon: “You are looking a little peaky, Mr. Graham, if you don’t mind my saying. I may be crazy, but you look ill.”
From there, Will, although sweating and shaking and clearly almost utterly broken to bits, takes Gideon to Hannibal. Or rather, Gideon takes Will to his doctor.
Will is seeing Garret Jacob Hobbs (Vladimir Jon Cubrt), but he wants to make sure who he is seeing. The ever tricky Dr. Lecter tells Will there is no one else there, except for the both of them.
Will: “I don’t care who I am! Just tell me, if he’s real.”
Hannibal: “Who do you see, Will?”
Will: “Garret Jacob Hobbs. Who do you see?”
Hannibal: “I don’t see anyone”
Then Will finally just cracks. Will has some kind of mild seizure according to Hannibal, his eyes rolling into the back of his skull, jaw shivering, the sweat pouring. He can’t hear anything, he’s not moving.
So Lecter sits across his table now, unbridled, in conversation with Dr. Gideon – the man posing as the Chesapeake Ripper, or at least he was posed by Chilton in a way to be him. Hannibal all but confirms himself as the Ripper to Gideon, before telling him something even nastier.
Hannibal: “Terrible thing, to have your identity taken from you.”
Gideon: “Well I’m taking it back. One piece at a time. Yo should see the pieces I got out of my psychiatrist.”
Hannibal: “Alana Bloom was one of your psychiatrists too, is that right?”
Gideon: “Yes, Dr. Bloom.”
Hannibal: “I can tell you where to find her”
Again, Hannibal pushes Will further. He didn’t even need to tell Will about the fact he was supposedly “worried about Alana“. He knew by saying so, then disappearing for a moment or two leaving keys, the gun on the table, that Will would take the opportunity, sick or not. And then of course, Graham is gone when Hannibal returns; the doctor slipping on his coat, a satisfied smile on his face.
We’re also seeing part of a medical ethics situation play out, constantly, with all the experiments Hannibal continues to conduct using his sturdy, though shaky at times, constant – the damaged Will Graham. It’s sick, yet that is Hannibal; the great manipulator. Think back to the first quote I included at the top of my review. It’s easy to see how Hannibal loves to be that sort of God-like figure, manipulating, controlling from up above with the marionette strings dangling, pulling, pricking. Devilish fun to watch Hannibal play good doctor/bad doctor with Graham’s brain.
Bedelia: “What value does Will Graham’s madness have for you?”
Hannibal: “Are you suggesting I’m more interested in the madness than the man?”
That’s ultimately what the end of Season 1 has been about, even though it started right from the first episode, is the increasing level of depravity which Hannibal enacts in his experiments with Will. On one side, Hannibal wants the friendship Will can provide. Across, on the other, much darker side, Hannibal needs to push Will to a particular place before he can truly embrace him as an actual friend, one with whom Hannibal can remove the human veil, step out from behind it, and show himself. Without some madness, or a lot of it, there is no true friendship which can exist.
Therefore, there’s a method to the madness Hannibal seems to be pressing on Will; while it hurts him, there’s a part of Hannibal doing so in order to bring them closer in the end.
Hannibal: “I see myself in Will”
Bedelia: “Do you see yourself in his madness?”
Hannibal: “Madness can be a medicine for the modern world”
Great, great episode. Another solid one, which makes the end of Season 1 extremely thorough in my opinion.
The next one up is titled “Relevés”, directed by series regular Michael Rymer.
Almost at the end of this first season, as far as my reviews are concerned. Stay tuned with me, fellow Fannibals! #SaveHannibal