Season 1, Episode 13: “Savoureux”
Directed by David Slade
Written by Bryan Fuller/Steve Lightfoot/Scott Nimerfro
* For a review of the previous episode, “Relevés” – click here
* For review of Season 2 starting with the opener, “Kaiseki” – click here
This is my favourite opening to any of the episodes – maybe even as far into Season 3 that’s aired currently. An amazingly dark dream sequence sees Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) chasing the Nightmare Stag once again. It stands in a clearing of the woods for a moment, Will following with a scoped rifle, and though it pauses there briefly, soon the stag runs away, quick. Will runs too and finds a dark creature feeding off a dead animal’s carcass. Blood is everywhere.
When Will gets closer he can see it is a man, one covered in a tar-like blackness, and his head is adorned with the antlers of the Nightmare Stag – in reality, it is the stag that has always been, all along, a stag that has forever been a man. It is that fleeting representation of Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), which lurks along the edges of Will’s unconscious. Only now, the man is becoming clearer and clearer. The evolution of Will and his understanding is coming to light. Unfortunately for Will, he seemingly can’t remember where Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) went after they were last together back in Minnesota, at the Hobbs cabin. Then in the morning, after his terrifying dream, Will wakes to his bed soaked with sweat. He drinks water from the tap, but then vomits: in it is an ear. When he calls Hannibal, of course the naughty doctor tells him they ought to tell Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), that they cannot run from it.
They do. Naturally, Will is taken into custody. The FBI Team – Brian (Aaron Abrams), Jimmy (Scott Thompson), and Beverly (Hettienne Park) – all have to work on Graham like he is any other suspect, though, Beverly is not a fan of the “silent treatment” and tries to reach out for his opinion, unlike the others who give him a bit of a cold shoulder.
Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) is upset with the way Jack has handled things with Will. We’ve seen this coming, because even as she was getting close to Will, trying to keep a professional distance though wanting not to, Alana has always been concerned about Will’s mental state. Especially seeing as how Garret Jacob Hobbs (Vladimir Jon Cubrt) visibly infected Will psychologically after the shooting.
This is an excellent scene between Alan and Jack. Then there’s a good shot or two of her in her car alone, she’s absolutely devastated with what has been happening, and what is going to happen, to Will.
“I could use a good scream. I can feel one perched under my chin.“
The scene with Alana and Will is an emotional one. I was always hoping that somehow, some way (even though I’ve read Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon and know to whom Will gets married), he and Alana might have an actual relationship. Even going forward into Season 2 – though I’ve seen every episode in the series and know how things play out the as well.
Here, I can feel how Alana truly does have feelings for Will, and certainly he has always liked her, or more than liked her. There’s a genuine thread of sadness between the two.
However, great stuff once Will lets slip Hannibal had him draw a clock a while prior to his arrest. When Alana has him draw one, it all starts to become a little more clear for her, and we hope for Jack Crawford; though, not likely.
Hannibal Lecter does feel a bond of friendship with Will Graham, ultimately Will is still an experiment for him. Just as Abigail is also an experiment. With Will, he is pushing him to a certain extent, all the while constantly curious about may or may not happen. Once to a certain point, as it seems clear was the same for Abigail, Hannibal will finally find himself able to reveal who he is truly is underneath the person suit, that human veil.
With Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), we do not know the exact full extent of her relationship with Hannibal. It’s clear that he’s still playing a part with her, even if she knows a bit more about who is under that person suit than anyone else. Hannibal lets some tears slip in front of Bedelia— true emotion, or an excellently executed emotion from a true sociopath? Regardless, it’s clear once we move further and further that Hannibal’s hiding things from everyone; nobody else, aside from him, knows the truth, nor the endgame, and certainly there is no way to predict what will come out in the wash.
The part with the fishing flies, all that, when the FBI Forensic Team lay out how Will Graham was supposedly using bits of human remains to make them – I loved it! So grim, macabre. There’s just this absolute dread about that whole segment I think was wonderful, especially going out in this finale. Makes things nice and nasty to end on a proper note for the end of a season.Jack has a nice little sit down Will. They try and talk together. Will is still seeing the stag man, the dark thing, creeping around in his mind’s peripherals, appearing just outside the two-way glass of the interrogation room where Will is sitting.
Crawford tells him about the fishing lures, the human remains weaved into them. Now, this gives Will more ammunition; he knows, for sure, there is something not quite right. He was not sick when Cassie Boyle or Marissa Schurr were murdered. Will starts to really see now how someone close to the cases, someone who knows forensics and so on, is pulling strings to make him look guilty for the murders. His paranoia begins to swarm, as Jack seems to lose faith in Will, more with each passing second. He officially places Graham under arrest for murder.
Then we find Will in much the same place he was while recreating the escape and murders of Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) not long ago. He snaps his thumb, takes off the cuffs, and escapes from the transport in exactly the same way; of course, he does not murder anyone like Gideon, only throws the guard and driver out of the vehicle.
What I really love about this episode, and the ending of this season over the past few episodes, is how it takes the character of Will Graham and, while still aiming at a lot of the same angles, brings him to different places. The stakes in the games between Hannibal Lecter and Graham are a whole lot higher than ever, in any of the adaptations of Harris’ work. There’s enough interesting material in the source to make things great, we’ve seen that time and time again now! However, Bryan Fuller and Co. makes things very fresh, very fun, and while us fans of the books can sometimes see events coming, it’s the way in which the events come that makes things innovative. It isn’t just a rehash of old characters, events, themes. We’re seeing the familiar and the fresh all at once.
“Someone is making sure no one believes me“
The end of the episode is wonderful. We see Will on the run basically, we’re seeing a man backed into a corner and pressured into the actions he takes. Hannibal is manipulating him so harshly that it’s no wonder Will has almost snapped.
I love the bits when Hannibal and Will sit in the chairs at Lecter’s office, like they’re back in therapy once more. All of a sudden, Will begins to see the artifacts around – the murders of the copycat – then, the dark stagman is lurking in the shadows of the room. On the wall, a girl is impaled, all covered in an oily blackness. He sees more and more the victims of the copycat. These visuals are absolutely and disturbingly beautiful! They speak volumes without having a totally expository round of dialogue come from Will and Hannibal; we get some, but not everything is spelled out through the words. Great, great stuff once again.
When they go back to Minnesota, Will with Hannibal in tow, it’s an excellent way to close out the season. First, Will experiences himself in Hobbs’ position, Abigail handing him the phone as the copycat called to warn him; the scene has this dreamy quality, everything light and feathery compared to so much of the darkness. Then, Will remembers that scene from when Abigail was brought home – as Abigail tells them all they’ll reenact that last day with her parents, stating coyly that Hannibal could be “the man on the phone“.
Best of all is the way in which those repeated words of Garret Jacob Hobbs come right out of Will’s mouth – “See? See?” – I just thought that was a perfect touch, perfect writing. It brought things full circle in such a devastating way; the look on Hannibal’s face, watching Will speak those words, it fit so well. Will laying in the corner, shot but not fatally, bleeding – so similar to the Minnesota Shrike Garret Jacob Hobbs.
“You have to be careful, Hannibal. They’re starting to see your pattern.”
“What pattern would that be?”
“You develop relationships with patients who are prone to violence. That pattern. Under scrutiny Jack Crawford’s beliefs about you might unravel.”
“Tell me, Dr. Du Maurier: have your beliefs in me begun to unravel?“
We’re seeing the relationship between Bedelia and Hannibal come out, further and further. She knows more about the man, the monster, the thing behind that person suit and the human veil than we can tell. Far more than she ever lets on. Also, it’s sort of as if Hannibal toys with her, so we’ll see what else comes to the forefront in their relationship next season.
The final scene, the last couple shots, this is all perfection!
To see Hannibal greeting Will, confined in his cell, is just beyond what I’d expected even halfway through Season 1. Nothing could be better than to see how Fuller and the other writers have made this adaptation their own, while still holding true to so much of the greatness Thomas Harris brought out in his novels. Season 2’s a whole new ballgame.