Season 1, Episode 10: “Buffet Froid”
Directed by John Dahl (Rounders)
Written by Andrew Black/Chris Brancato/Bryan Fuller
* For a review of the previous episode, “Trou Normand” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Rôti” – click here
This episode begins with a woman who comes home, then later begins to suspect someone is inside.
All of a sudden she’s pulled under and a jet of blood squirts out across the floor, splashed like a Jackson Pollock.
“I can feel my nerves clicking like rollercoaster cogs, pulling up to the inevitable long plunge.“
We cut to Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) discussing their recent lie: keeping their surrogate daughter Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) out of the grasp of Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) and the FBI. While there is still not a full release on Will’s part over to the criminality of it all, Hannibal is still goading him on, pushing further and further towards the steep edge which comes on faster each episode.
“Do you feel alive, Will?”
“I feel like I’m fading“
The disturbing part here is when Hannibal requests Will draw a clock on a piece of paper in his notepad. Graham does so; we see it from his point-of-view, and the clock looks perfect, the hands correct and numbers all around in the right places. When passing it back over to Hannibal, we see it from the doctor’s point-of-view now: the hands are completely out of whack, the numbers drawn on one side and all down the inside of the clock’s face, some out.When Will heads into the crime scene this time, we don’t see it. Because even Will himself doesn’t remember it. Will goes from fishing, gutting a fish – or at least that’s what we see: could be another dream of his – to being on top of the victim, looking down, envisioning the blood pumping out of her wounds.
He snaps out of it, slipping backward, all over the crime scene. Busting through the door, he meets Jack, Beverly (Hettienne Park), Brian (Aaron Abrams), and Jimmy (Scott Thompson) – all of whom look equally as astonished as him. Although Jack says it wasn’t confusion he saw on Will’s face; it was fear.
Talking to Hannibal, Will tells him he “knows what kind of crazy” he is, and that what he is experiencing doesn’t feel like that sort of thing. He thinks there is a physical problem. However, ole Hannibal tries to tell him that if it isn’t physical, Will must face the fact it is more than probably mental illness. As the episode goes by, we see that Hannibal is reluctant to tell Will the truth about what’s really going on inside his head, and convinces a specialist friend of his to keep a dangerously inflamed brain – encephalitis – from Graham. All in the name of professional curiosity. Though this other doctor is not a killer like Hannibal, he’s clearly not an ethical man. This plays into Hannibal’s claws.
The Killer of the Week is yet another one whose story links up with that of Will Graham. Here, it is a woman who has a severe infection, not only that she believes in fact that she is dead; afflicted with a terrible mental illness, it destroyed her life. Now faces to her look disoriented and mangled, she can’t tell who anyone is – even those who love her, whom she loved before the infection took her life over. This is why she cuts the face of her victims into a Glasgow Smile.
Will’s loss of time, becoming more frequent as the episode wears on, is troubling him to the point where he can’t distinguish between dream and reality any longer, at certain times. He starts to sort of bond with this killer because she is suffering from such a severe mental illness that it has affected her physically. Just like the trauma Will Graham deals with daily, going to crime scenes, putting himself in the shoes of psychopathic killers; the encephalitis has flamed up and begins to wreak havoc on him, not only through a troubled mind but physically he’s going places and not remembering, waking up in crime scenes with a ton of lost time.
So again, we see how the crimes of the Killer of the Week(s) continually hone in on the themes present through the series. Another great reason why I love Hannibal.
Something else that comes out of Will’s trouble is a realization for him: Jack Crawford does care. He pushes and presses for results, however, underneath it all he cares and does not want to drive Will into another situation like came to be with his former trainee, Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky).
If, for some reason, it was not obvious before now, Hannibal has begun the most extreme of all his manipulations thus far.
Hiding Will’s condition is a way for Hannibal to basically observe Will in a natural state. Furthermore, having Hannibal use then dispose of his doctor friend after Will’s diagnosis is confirmed, it makes things so slippery. We truly see the greasiest, most villainous side of Hannibal come out so clear and vibrant here in “Buffet Froid”, that you can almost picture him in a lab, having Will pushed into a maze, and watching above with his control over the variables – again, the only constant remaining, always and forever, Will Graham.
This subplot with Will’s encephalitis is an incredible touch, in my mind, for Bryan Fuller & Co to use. I think it plays great with both the character of Graham, as well as Hannibal. It serves purposes towards both their characters’ development. Love where this is headed.
Then there’s the murder of Hannibal’s friend, the doctor, which ends up being blamed on the sick girl – the one with whom Will begins to bond. Hannibal is caught, by her, in the act. Although luckily for him she cannot interpret anyone’s face anymore, they’re all mangled and blurry.
So, like any smooth sociopath might do in this case, Hannibal walks towards her, clad in his nice body-length raincoat to catch any droppings or squirting, then hands her the scissors with which he’d been working.
He has a perfect situation with this girl, as she can’t readily identify him anyways. Though, I’m sure Dr. Lecter will be devising some twisted plan to silence her in the next episode.
This was a fantastic episode, another of my tops from Season 1. “Rôti” is next, in which the infamous, devious Dr. Abel Gideon played by the fantastic Eddie Izzard makes his return! In epic fashion.
Stay tuned for another one, my fellow Fannibals!