I’d like to preface these weekly episode recaps by saying that they are written after a third or fourth watch. I intend them to be consumed (cannibal puns) with the hindsight of re-watching or at least watching along. Perhaps it will even inspire you to go view it again with fresh eyes while we wait for Season 4 news. I will try and recapture what was felt at first, alongside what I feel now I know everything. A mixture of recap, bad analysis and fangirling.
TL:DR ***SPOILERS*** and then some.
Hassun AKA The FBI Don’t Want None Unless You Got Proof, Will!
Fannibal Musical (shameless plug) jokes aside though, this episode really does play like a ‘straight’ drama version of Legally Blonde and Chicago. I fucking like it a lot.
The clock shows 12 and Will imagines himself in his suit at the hour of execution. He fries in the chair and then time reverses to reveal himself as the executioner too. The orderly wakes him from his fearful dream, with that very suit in his hand. We are then treated to this parallel sequence of Hannibal and Will dressing for the trial, which is all very Daddy, very ‘a good suit does for men what lingerie does for women’,
very post-coital but then reality hits and Will has handcuffs while Hannibal has cufflinks. He is free and Will is not. Bastard.
Even polished he is still soft with outrageously fluffy curls, as he tries to mostly not engage as the prosecution lady talks shit. She talks about GJH, how Will saved his daughter and the profile of him being too vivid to escape. Will squirms under the fact that a lot of that is actually true, but then she lists his other ‘victims’ including Abigail and it pains him. Hannibal is watching this and Will’s response, like a tennis match he is mildly into. She paints Will as someone who has created a ‘smol baby with encephalitis’ persona – another murderer – as an alibi, someone with “exceptional visual memory, a keen sense of the human condition, and is arguably the smartest person in the room.” Hannibal smiles like ‘he’s wonderful isn’t he?’ and Will doesn’t even look at anyone.
Jack paces outside and Kade comes up talking about the moment of truth, Jack isn’t so sure, but she tries for the 17th time to get him to see reason about Will. She is sure he’s playing them all and gets how hard that is for Jack to be objective enough to accept, which he doubts. She says he’s finding it easier to think of it as missing his friend being mad than of being the head of the BSU missing a killer in his ranks; and reminds him, “There’s a reason why you’re a witness for the prosecution.” Jack needs more info and she tells him, “If you can’t believe yourself then get behind the bureau…let yourself off the hook.” She is a jobsworth but fairly harmless.
Jack takes the stand and goes over his first impressions of Will, the man who thought ‘supervillain’ in the evil minds museum was undeserved mythologising of serial killers. He had thought he was “intelligent, arrogant and definitely on the spectrum.” She probes about Will not being real FBI due to the screening and how Jack put him in the field anyway. Jack grudgingly concedes both facts, since he was under his supervision, but she asks if it was because he can “think like a killer.” Jack corrects this to “think like anyone” and she thinks she’s fully winning by saying “sounds like a supervillain.” Jack is done as all hell, and Will is sat there like an actual puppy as always. Not a supervillain. Duh.
Prosecutor bitch points to “40 pieces of evidence” and says WIll can think like a killer because he is one. Jack doesn’t believe that and Kade’s reaction is like ‘wtf’. Jack is pressed about WIll not quitting when he had the chance but he’s adamant it was because he was saving lives. Hannibal smirks openly at this and I am almost certain it’s because he’s thinking ‘Whatever, Will just enjoyed living vicariously through psychos’. Jack goes on to say he was warned multiple times that he would break WIll, didn’t listen and now look. Kade literally cannot listen to him martyring himself and walks out, while Will’s lawyer smiles like ‘yassss’.
Brauer, his name is, wants to “send Jack a bottle” as they pack up for the day and Will is like ‘huh, he said they drove me insane’. He is reminded his defence IS unconsciousness and this paved the way, but he is of course banging on about being innocent again. Brauer explains there is no such thing, there is only not guilty and it’s just advertising. WIll says that “trivialises, manipulates…it’s vulgar” and he snaps back “boohoo so is the law….not guilty and a pretty package I can sell.” This is literally Both Reached For The Gun and maybe Razzle Dazzle from Chicago in a conversational form and I love it so much. He is handed a package, opens it, out falls a severed ear, and he says to Will. “I think I got your mail.” This guy.
Hannibal is giving Jack brandy and kudos for the “good and brave thing” he did in court. Jack reminds him it could cost him his job and Hannibal rightly points out he doesn’t seem to give a fuck. He says he never felt better and he is “content to let the chips fall” and get away from the noise. Hannibal is so nice and understanding and friendly and grrrrrrrr. He agrees the “magic door” and leaving your burdens behind is always tempting, which I guess he knows all too well, given his knack for getting away with murder in all his lives.
Jack is not doing too well, says he’s given his life to death, and Hannibal wisely finishes the thought “and now death has followed you home”. Ah Bella. Jack confides how much she keeps their house from looking like a hospital and that he was thinking of taking her to Italy to die. Oh god, my heart. Even Hannibal is moved. Still pragmatic though, he reminds Jack that he isn’t dying and the FBI will still be there when his wife is gone. Jack asks if he is telling him “not to commit professional suicide.” which is just tasteless foreshadowing. Hannibal simply says “Don’t force an issue for the short term satisfaction” and this is probably him sharing a lesson he has now learned after regretting framing his boyfriend.
On that topic, science bros are talking ear but Jack is barely paying attention. They have established the ear was cut from someone less than 48 hours ago so Will couldn’t have done it, and Hannibal points out Will has always maintained he was framed. All eyes do a comedy snap to him like are you serious?! If you have ever seen Juno, what I hear Z saying is ‘I heard that was you.’ but Hannibal sees nothing weird about him bringing this up because maybe Will is “half right”. Jack considers this and Z cannot even.
Hannibal goes to chat to Will in his cell about how he has an ear-sending “admirer”. Will is like ‘r u 4 rl?’ and Hannibal says some total crazy talk about the limits of normal getting narrower and something outwith that being helpful. I adore the pretentious dialogue in this show but this is like top 10 Things People Don’t Say. Will speaks weirdo though and asks how far Hannibal would go to help him. Hannibal says not as far as an ear but that he’s “grateful” someone did. We know it wasn’t actually him but still. Will is not impressed so Hannibal steps it up, telling him he has new thoughts about him now, i.e. that he might be innocent.
Will wants to play now and jumps on this statement but Hanni wants to remind him that he suspected him. He admits there is no evidence and accusing him makes him look insane, but he’s “not insane, not anymore” and gives him a shy little smile. Hannibal is drawn in and moves closer, to intimate that this ear is an opportunity, that Will may not be guilty and that the other killer may want to be seen. Will asks why now and Hannibal explains “He cares what happens to you.” I mean… Obviously they both do know he is innocent, and we all know they are bullshitting each other so much it’s laughable, but they have to consider Chilton listening in and the game at hand. They are also tentatively starting to flirt in that ‘so I know someone who likes you’ way.
Back in the
pantomime court Freddie Lounds has gone full Velma Kelly with a big hat and fake sincerity. She flat out says Abigail told her she was worried Will wanted to kill and eat her and starts to get emotional. This bitch. Will’s lawyer can smell her crap from his table and asks her how many times she’s been sued for libel and how many she settled. She hesitantly answers 6 to both. LOL.
Alana is on the stand now, giving her very clinical opinion of what went down, but she’s actually in the BSHCI being coached by Brauer. He is making her say all the hurtful things looking into Will’s sad eyes, so their first time enduring this isn’t in the court, and I am destroyed. She doesn’t want to but he points out they were romantically involved, and her bias will be scrutinised. He goes on that if she can’t be convincing it undermines them all. She is finding this understandably excruciating for a lot of reasons and weakly says it’s just her professional opinion. This next thing is one of my favourite bits. Brauer gets in her face like a teacher and says “You’re smitten with the accused…it’s adorable but they’ll smell it on you like you stepped in Young Adult and tracked in in…” Scream laughing.
He knows she will be asked about their romance and says the question again. Will looks away, waiting to see what she’ll say but pretending not to. She gives a good answer about having only a professional curiosity about Will, and Brauer says it’s good unless she’s lying but she doesn’t seem like she is. Will and Alana stare at each other. Her stoic compartmentalising has gotten the better of her crush. I mean good for her but…oh…poor babies.
The ear in the envelope was cut with WIll’s knife so the court bailiff must be to blame. Zeller is denied a fist bump from a stressed Jack and fun fact – Aaron Abrams said at RDC3 that this was real. The director forget to call cut and they just kept going, resulting in this very in-character improv which was kept in the show. I love them all so dearly. They head straight for the bailiff’s house and it’s been rigged as a firebomb, killing some cops and burning the bailiff’s already-dead-and-displayed-on-a-stag body.
Team Science assemble. Hannibal too and Z says the guy was shot, his face cut, ear removed, impaled on a stag head and burned i.e. “Will Graham’s greatest hits.” Jack wonders if they could have been that wrong and i could shatter a picture with how loud I want to scream ‘YES’. Zeller screams ‘No’ because of the whole coughing up Abigail’s ear thing, but Jack and Bev admit it seems gift wrapped – just like Will said of Cassie Boyle. They start bickering and Jack shuts them up like angry dad, while Hannibal asks (as if he doesn’t know) what this could mean for the trial.
What it means is Jack goes to nag at the judge about the doubts this casts, and he and Kade are like ‘but all that evidence tho’. She thinks this is Jack clutching at straws because of guilt but he notes the mutilations that weren’t public knowledge. DUH HANNIBAL. Kade is sick of this and reminds them that Will is using an unconsciousness defence. Jack counters that he never wanted to, that Will has always maintained his innocence, and this could be a new defence. The judge will only take that instruction from the lawyer himself so the trial continues.
Will is in his river happy place to deal with listening to Chilton on the stand. He is drawling theatrically and rocking his cane around like a comedy baddie while he says Will “presents as an introvert” and “claims an empathy disorder”. Amazingly the prosecution woman picks up on his careful word choice and he is petulant about not being allowed to test Will for sure, about his persona being “worn so well”. Again she indulges him, that he managed to see through it, and he preens smugly that it was because he could be objective about Will and his crimes. He goes full monologue and says the murders were measured and the man Will claims to be couldn’t have committed them because he “is a fiction”
In his serene river, Will smiles as he casts his line. His subconscious even thinks Chilton is a self-important halfwit. The lawyer asks about the encephalitis angle and he labels that more BS that Will cooked up with Dr. Sutcliffe and murdered him “for his trouble”. She asks if Will is an intelligent psychopath and he says there’s no name for him, that he would kill again. Will looks totally absent in order to tolerate this and no wonder. Brauer is like ‘but Will caught killers’ and Chilton is like ‘vanity and whims and a high opinion of himself. He says Will caught other murderers to prove he was smarter, and also “Saving lives can be just as arousing as ending them…he likes to play god.” Like 1. That is two types of killer. 2. Nobody is a sexual sadist here not even GJH. 3. YOU ARE DESCRIBING HANNIBAL GODDAMN IT.
Speak of the
actual devil he is here to see Will in the private room (the one where Chilton can’t record. I wonder who requested this meeting but they are both so nervous it might otherwise be cute. Important Hannigram Scene Alert. Real emotions or fake…you decide because this is probably when they stop knowing themselves. Hannibal toys with a photo from the folder, Will asks if it’s his admirer, meaning the bailiff crime scene, and he says yes. He gives him it and the report and asks what Will sees. They make so much eye contact now considering Will’s feeling on that matter, and then he does his thing.
Hannibal swallows a lot while Will is out of it – he is so anxious about the outcome of this. Will goes through the murder – he was shot, thought they were friends, is impaled on the stag impersonally etc. The most outrageous thing is Hugh Dancy throwing that dude onto the antlers…yeah right. He says the bailiff is “…the ink from which flows my poem…a tribute…this is my design.” accompanied by his blood pouring onto the rug. Ugh. A poem written in blood. Ugh, these two. He awakens and is disappointed to say it’s not the same killer, comparing it to the violent mutilations of the copycat killer (Hannibal) that took place with live victims.
Hannibal of course agrees that it’s “a blunt reproduction” and Will is not that dumb. “You knew that.” He accuses and Hannibal confirms it but says he wanted to be wrong. Will gets that, oh boy does he, “Occam’s broom…overlooked some facts…hoping no one would notice.” He says, hoping himself. Hannibal is so enamoured with his mind saying “You noticed” but Will is a little stung as he hums agreement. Of course he noticed, and he isn’t sure what is afoot now. Hannibal tells him it was to dispel his doubt and Will asks which ones, lip full-on trembling and afraid (or nervous about?) the answer. He is terrified of what Hannibal will tell him, and the conversation is not what he wanted.
Hannibal says “Me.” and then makes a choice to elaborate. He says “I want you to believe in the best of me, just as I do of you.” and I am 95% sure that is a genuine desire hidden in a bluster of BS. Hannibal notices his openness and gets back to the issue at hand, talking reasonable doubt and the ear being a path to freedom that “…even Jack is ready to believe.” Will sits back, eyes narrow and can’t believe this is Hannibal’s angle saying “It would be a lie.” The confusion is understandable like ‘you lied to put me here and now you want to lie to get me out, wtf?’ which Hannibal also gets as he says exactly that, “I don’t want you to be here.”. Will immediately says he doesn’t either and Hannibal goes for broke. This is why he came – he called this meeting I’ve decided – and he says “You have a choice to make…this killer wrote you a poem, are you going to let his love go to waste?” I wish to God we got a reaction shot of Will here but I think we don’t because of what I said before about this series being his view on Hannibal.
Love. The killer’s love. We know 1.5 of these killers is Hannibal. Some people don’t ship them and I just…This entire exchange can be analysed forever and seems big. Will wanted it to be the same killer i.e. Hannibal, but why? So he could have the ammo to indict him once and for all? Just to get out of jail and a death penalty? Or because then he would have actually killed for him, offering style?! As for Hannibal this is nothing more than a twisted, scenic route to an apology for the framing. He is telling Will he regrets it and wants to fix it…
I dare say the hopeless romantics will say they fell in love during Sorbet in Season 1. That was a crush. Some people will talk of the tragic romance of Mizumono and early Season 3. That was a more defined, explicit, labelled love. For me, and for us all as observers, this is it right here. Will didn’t perhaps know for certain but he went with his gut as always, as we will see at the last scene. Hannibal did though, he has sat missing WIll long enough, came and said his piece and Will accepted it. Whatever came after this I will deal with in due course, and there are many kinds of love out there, but come on…
Will must have accepted this token as Alana is like ‘say what now?!’ as he and Brauer explain they are indeed changing defense in the middle of the trial, exciting eh? He says “It’s fashionable…there is a killer on the loose with the hallmarks of Will’s crimes.” and I swear to god he is SURE he is Billy Flynn. If you haven’t seen Chicago, go do so and then come back. He has definitely seen it as there is a line near the end where Flynn literally says to Roxie AKA Will “You can’t beat fresh blood on the walls” Bryan Fuller…it’s one of my top 5 favourite musicals! Alana DGAF about any of this and is like ‘Yeah, but did you do it?’ OK so that is from Chicago too, sue me. Bruaer snaps at him not to answer in front of him. Will is aloof and fine with letting this guy talk for him. ‘Notice how his mouth never moves…almost.’
They argue reasonable doubt = win, mistrial does too and Alana is thinking she is the last sane person in this show. She is. She reminds him if they drop the unconsciousness plea they can’t go back to it and he just dismisses it as the “…best play at the time, now we have a better one.” He sweetens it by telling she won’t have to testify now and she demands to know who is doing it instead….
Cut to Hannibal swag Lecter, striding up to the witness stand full of shit and swearing on a bible without catching on fire. Will makes eye contact with him in what might be the first time he has looked up during the trial, and sees the Wendigo is his suit. His only reaction is a small nod of acceptance. This has to be done or maybe he doesn’t care now. Both probably, the former his head and the latter his heart. Hanners is feeling a little bit Velma himself.
He is asked about their relationship and says he was to monitor him but not officially, that he was meant to be his stability and he failed. Oh. The other thing before wasn’t The Grand Gesture, this is. That was asking permission to make it, and now he has that he’s not hanging about. He looks right at Will every time he says something meaningful. If you like, forget the entire context, it’s adorable. She asks how he failed and he expertly lies about not being sure if Will was mentally ill or if the FBI stress made him crazy. A dig at Jack too, what a bitch. I love him. He says he never considered Will’s innocence until the bailiff murder (totally crap for Will’s benefit) and she’s like ‘uhhh how do YOU know about that?’ Hannibal is all ‘lol I’m consulting of course’ and she wants to know his opinion. He pronounces it (falsely) similar.
She is pissed and brings up the whole ‘Will said you did this but now you’re sticking up for him’ conundrum. Hannibal has prepared his speech and rationalises it all away, says Will couldn’t accept he did it and found and AU to believe. Will is a tiny bit mad that Hannibal is using his grand gesture to postulate for his own innocence at the same time, maybe this is how he manages to ignore it later. She asks how he doesn’t resent Will for this and he says, hopefully, “Will Graham is and always will be, my friend.” before dropping his eyes in what can only be described as either incredibly convincing or real contrition. Both probably, the former his head and the latter his heart. Sigh.
Prosecution bitch is done with this shit – talk about Young Adult. She grills him: CoD? Bullet. And the others? Mutilation. And your boyfriend’s name is? Will….pardon me all killings are different even with one killer. ‘Elle Woods’ is done and exclaims that there are two killers. Hannibal mentally puts her in the rolodex as Brauer shouts back that they should consider their new defence. The judge says no and Will’s angry, scared tears start to well up. *Whimpers* I have an idle musing – did Hannibal deliberately NOT try very hard here so that this would happen, thus giving him the chance to kill for Will, as he so clearly wanted him to? Hmmm. Worth a thought.
Nope we’re not allowed to get distracted from our sadness – Chopin prelude 4 and 3-way mutual longing will see to that. Jack drinks and stares sadly at crime scene photos. Hannibal sits in his office and stares sadly (AGAIN) at Will’s empty chair, insanely close to tears, he does want Will back for real and he knows it. Something must be done…hmmm I WONDER WHAT? Will sits on his prison bed, so alone and hugging his legs and leaning his head on the wall in despair…
The courthouse janitor buffs the floor, goes through into that courtroom and finds the judge murder tableau! Woohoo not seen one for a while – heart and brain removed and placed on scales of justice, while his head skin covers his eyes. Team Sassy Science please. He was killed in his chamber and then displayed, no struggle, knew the killer. Hannibal clarifies “Justice is not only blind, it’s mindless and heartless.” in case we didn’t get that. He was shot though but they took the bullet. “A trophy” Hannibal says and they all gawk at him for a second before Jack leads him away. Bev watches them go…no, Beverly, don’t get notions about him pleaseeeeeee!
Jack talks about the implications of this, mistrial but Will would only be spared for now. Hannibal says it’s unlikely to be the same killer and also “I feel like St. Peter ready to deny Jesus a third time.” Oh fantastic I was right, but this is the musical episode now Hannibal, the religion stuff was last week! Kade rocks up, texting, but then sees the corpse and is almost sick like a normal person. She thought the trial was meant to stop all this and now “the circus just added another ring”. Hello more Chicago – Razzle Dazzle I presume?
Jack agrees that they are the clowns and she’s like ‘bro there ain’t no ‘we’ after that stunt on the stand’ going on to berate him for the trial going wrong because of him even before the judge was killed. She demands who Will is that he gives so many fucks and he answers “A cogent reminder of the pitfalls of having faith in my fellow man.” Kade has heard plenty and tell him to cut Will loose or else it’ll be his ass. He knows this and just stares at the crime scene from afar as she walks away. Poor Jack, and I don’t say that often.
Will dreams of laying, freaking out and rubbing his face, on his bed (which he probably is) and the Ravenstag leading him to freedom from his unlocked cell, before Hannibal ushers him back in. Well if that’s not blunt symbolism.
Alana has come to comfort him and commiserate about the mistrial verdict, since she had hoped a proper one would help him focus on getting better and moving on. The problem with Alana is she is always a little too sensible, too practical and ignores her feelings. Will is fine, or wants to appear as much, and dismisses faith in justice as “no better than a nightlight.” She is concerned he will be misdiagnosed now and he says he already has been. She tries to bolster him saying “not by the court” and he says “not yet.” Will is his feyest self in the wake of this – the mistrial and her denouncing their almost-affair.
Speaking of fey and indeed fae, he says that as he walked out of the court he heard his blood like “a drumming of wings” and that he felt the killer’s presence there. He announces “He’ll reach out to me.” He knows fine he sort of already has and judging by his face and tone, he is literally trying to make her jealous. She asks what the killer wants and he savours his response “He wants to know me…what do you want?” he says with pride and a snide smile. A tear falls as she says “I want to save you.” knowing her answer isn’t enough. Will condescending takes her hand like ‘oh honey, no.” Will knows he wants option 1 – to be understood and not fixed – and so does she. Wow. Do you believe me now?