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GIDEON: He’s the Devil, Mr. Graham. He’s smoke. You can’t “catch” the Ripper–he won’t be caught…if you want him, you’re going to have to kill him.

GRAHAM: Fair enough.

WARNING! BIG DAMN SPOILERS AHEAD!

In all seriousness–if you haven’t seen this episode, but plan to in the near future (on the web, on TiVo, on OnDemand, etc…), I STRONGLY suggest you postpone reading this review until after you do.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Oh, before I begin I’d like to apologize for my absence last week: I was prevented from writing a review of Episode 204: “Takiawase” by an illness.

To sum up last week’s festivities: Following the courtroom murders that lead to his mistrial, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) has decided to cooperate with Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raul Esparza) in his attempt at “treating” him, with the ulterior motive of convincing him of Hannibal Lecter’s (Mads Mikkelsen) murderous nature. Meanwhile, one of my favorite actresses: Amanda Plummer guest starred as the “Killer Of The Week”–a psycho who turns her victims into human beehives. And Beverly Katz (Hetienne Park) finds herself face to face with Lecter while investigating the murder of the Mural Killer from the beginning of the season.

Also, Bella Crawford (Gina Torres)–wife of Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) attempts suicide to spare herself a slow death from cancer, but is saved by Hannibal.

As we begin “Mukozuke”, Lecter is sharing a meal with Crawford and discussing his wife’s condition. The Doctor’s actions–deliberately or not–seem to have assuaged any doubts Crawford may have had about Hannibal.

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The fabulous Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) is back. After receiving an anonymous tip, the unscrupulous internet journalist finds…well, see for yourself:

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Yes, I’m afraid that’s dear Beverly–sliced up like pastrami at a deli counter.

I’ll have more to say about what this move by the writers portends shortly. After receiving the news, Graham insists on seeing the crime scene (the image at the head of this review is of Will in his “traveling clothes”) and, doing that voodoo that he do so well, he reconstructs the crime. Poor Beverly was strangled, frozen solid, and sliced into sections.

WE know who did it….GRAHAM knows who did it…but Will declines to directly accuse anyone.

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Back at the hospital, Will and Frederick are continuing to get chummy: Chilton is now more or less certain that Will is innocent, and that Hannibal Lecter is guilty of the murders he is accused of…

But it’s not that simple: Not only is there no evidence against Lecter, but Dr. Chilton has been down this road before–last season when he became convinced that his patient: Dr. Abel Gideon (the magnificent Eddie Izzard, below) was the infamous, still at large serial killer known only as the “Chesapeake Ripper”. This mistake utterly mortified Chilton, and made him seem even more of a fool than usual….Ergo, it is understandable if he is not anxious to point fingers yet again–not without real proof.

But despite Chilton’s misgivings, Will convinces him to bring Gideon back to the asylum. He is convinced Gideon knows that Lecter is the Ripper, and wants to talk to him.

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Later, Graham throws everyone a curve ball when he invites Freddie Lounds–whom he detests–to interview him at the hospital. In a re-working of a scene from Red Dragon, Graham wants to use Lounds and her website to draw out whoever killed the Bailiff and the judge at his trial. She agrees to help, in return for exclusive rights to Graham’s “story”.

Turns out, Will’s secret admirer was conveniently close at hand:

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Meet Matthew Brown (according to IMDb–his name is never stated out loud in the episode). Horror fans will recognize the actor as Johnathan Tucker, best known for co-starring alongside Jessica Biel’s breasts in the 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot. Brown is a mental patient turned psychiatric orderly–and he’s just ga-ga for Graham. He murdered the Bailiff in the hopes doing so would exonerate Will, but he insists he did NOT kill the Judge.

Will decided to put the young killer’s talent and enthusiasm to good use:

He instructs Brown to murder Hannibal Lecter. Beverly’s death was the last straw for Will–he decided that one way or another, Lecter MUST be stopped. Plus he feels responsible for Beverly’s murder, since it was his insistence that lead her to investigate Lecter.

He likely would have killed (or tried to kill) Hannibal himself were that an option.

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Above we see the mechanism by which Brown attempted to kill the cannibalistic psychiatrist…

It’s kinda sad: Hannibal was saved by Brown’s need for theatrics. When Brown found the good Doctor enjoying a nighttime swim at an indoor pool, he shot him with a tranquilizer dart. Lecter passed out and began to sink. Had Brown simply LEFT him like that, he would have drowned, and Bryan Fuller would need a new title for his show.

But NO…he had to pull him up, and create the elaborate scene you see above. This is why psychotics make terrible assassins.

Still, it may have worked–had Gideon not overheard Graham putting the “hit” on Lecter, and subsequently informed Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas).

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STRONG POINTS:

This is one of the best episodes of the season, and there is very little about it that I would want changed, added or removed. Director Michael Rymer hits one out of the park again–it’s easy to see why his work on Battlestar Galactica earned him an Emmy nomination. A few more like this, and Hannibal will score Rymer the win.

I love what they are doing with the character of Frederick Chilton. As presented in Thomas Harris‘ novels, Chilton is a morally repugnant and supremely unlikable buffoon. Fuller and his writers have made the wise decision to make him more than just an absurd blackguard. He’s just as despicable as Harris intended–but he’s crafty and clever in a way that’s almost endearing. I would guess a lot of this has to do with the performance of Raul Esparza–who makes me wish I’d seen the other Bryan Fuller show he was on: Pushing Daisies.

Always good to see Eddie Izzard again…I’m curious to know where the writers are going with him.

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WEAK POINTS:

I’m definitely going to miss Hetienne Park–I hope she finds work on another show….that’s really the only thing resembling a complaint I have today: This was an excellent episode.

It DOES get me thinking, though: Up until now, no “Harris-Canon” character has died, except for Garett Jacob Hobbs–and he died exactly the same way he did in the book. Thus I have been watching this show under the assumption that any character that survived Red Dragon would be essentially unkillable.

Granted, Beverly Katz was a much more important character on the show than she ever was in the book–and he presence or absence will not make all that significant of a difference to the overall story.

BUT, it sets a precedent. Sure–Hannibal, Will, and Crawford are indispensable, but Fuller has shown here that just because a character is alive and well in the books, that’s no reason to assume they’re going to survive his show.

So who’s next?

Probably no one else for a little while–you gotta space out things like this…at least there should be time to get the “Hannibal Dead Pool” started 😉

Until next time, Hannimaniacs!

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