“It’s like remembering something from your childhood…and you don’t know if it’s your memory or a friend’s memory. Then you realize, sadly, that it was just a photo in an old book…”
–Dr. Abel Gideon
If you’ve been paying attention: You’ll notice that Guillermo Navarro directed the only two Hannibal episodes that I had anything significantly negative to say about: “Coquilles” and “Trou Normand”.
In both cases, an interesting KOTW was introduced, but could not be integrated into the continuing story line all that well. The killer felt tacked on to the adventures of Hannibal and his Super Friends.
The solution? Bring in a “Killer of the Week” that was already an established character:
That’s Eddie Izzard as Dr. Abel Gideon once again. Just to recap: Dr. Gideon was a patient at the Baltimore State Hospital For The Criminally Insane. He murdered his wife and her family–was a model prisoner for several years, and then, seemingly out of the blue, savagely murdered a nurse in the hospital in the manner of the legendary, still at large Chesapeake Ripper. This made the monumentally idiotic and egocentric Dr. Frederick Chilton (Raul Esparza) believe that his patient, Dr. Gideon, was indeed the Ripper…and he had no qualms about “suggesting” to his patient that this might be the case.
But WE know who the Ripper is, don’t we kiddies?
And I’ll tell you right now, there is probably less Hannibal Lecter in this ep than in any this season…So be prepared for that. He has a convo with Will early on, then disappears until almost the end.
This episode is almost exclusively the story of Dr. Gideon’s escape from confinement, and the merry kiling spree he goes on. See, Gideon is so utterly confused as to who he really is anymore, that he’s decided to whack every psychiatrist who ever examined, analyzed, profiled, or treated him….In his mind, they stole his identity–and he’ll get it back when the REAL Cheaspeake Ripper sees his work and seeks him out.
Meanwhile, Will’s encephalitis (a secret still known only to Lecter) continues to worsen. He’s hallucinating more and more…which culminates in him actually capturing Gideon–only he doesn’t KNOW it’s Gideon: Will sees Garrett Jacob Hobbs–the serial killer from the pilot Will shot, and who has been haunting first his nightmares, and now his delusions ever since. He actually takes Gideon, at gunpoint, to Lecter–he wants his trusty psychiatrist to confirm that he really is seeing Hobbs. Hannibal lies to him, tells Will that there is no one there–which confuses the hell out of Gideon, though he’s smart enough to keep his mouth shut.
Confused by what he is seeing, and what Lecter is telling him, Will suffers a mild seizure and loses consciousness. Now the Drs. Lecter and Gideon have a chance to talk in “private”.
Lecter sics Gideon on Dr. Alana Bloom, another shrink that once treated him…which is where Will finds him–and shoots him dead before passing out again.
Will is REALLY fucked up, folks…but he’s in better shape than Dr. Chilton–follow me to “STRONG POINTS”:
My girl Freddie (Lara Jean Chorostecki) is back. Remember that article that she was supposed to write for her blog at the behest of the FBI to help draw out the Chesapeake Ripper? Well, it got Gideon’s attention, and she got a front row seat to a bit of improvised surgical theatre where Gideon cut open the still conscious Dr. Chilton, and began removing a few not quite vital organs.
Freddie was unharmed, but the scene lead me to wonder if they were REALLY going to violate Thomas Harris canon and let Gideon kill either Chilton or Lounds. That’s one of my favorite aspects to this series: All the little details designed solely to appeal to the hardcore Harris readers. By canon, Lounds is killed by Francis Dolarhyde, AKA the Red Dragon…and Chilton is assumed to have been murdered by Lecter sometime after his escape at the end of Silence of the Lambs, though this is never confirmed.
Hannibal constantly approaches the edge of making drastic changes to Harris’ story, and then pulls back–it’s very cleverly done.
This is definitely Guillermo Navarro’s best episode. Navarro is better known as the cinematographer for another Guillermo: del Toro. He’s shot nearly every Guillermo del Toro film–including the upcoming Pacific Rim. Navarro has a magnificent eye, but was weak in storytelling–until now.
I love Eddie Izzard, please don’t mistake me–but there’s nothing so awesome that can’t become tedious with overexposure (except maybe Bruce Campbell). It’s not so much that there’s too much Izzard, it’s more that there wasn’t enough of everybody else…
Furthermore, Will was so zonked out in this ep that he didn’t get much meaningful interaction with the rest of the cast beyond everyone asking him if he’s okay…that tends to get a little old, too.
Anyhoo, “Rôti” was a worthwhile episode solely for being Navarro‘s best effort, if nothing else. Next week they seem to be playing with the idea of making Will the KOTW…I doubt that’s how it’s gonna turn out, but we’ll see.
Oh, and I’ll be bringing the food metaphors back for the last two episodes of the season–in case anyone missed them.