This week opens with Will Graham in prison, dressed for court, imagining himself in the chair receiving the death penalty. He himself flips the switch. It’s all a dream. In reality, court day is here, the scene switches between Will and Hannibal suiting up and preparing for the trial.
The Prosecutor details the death of Abigail Hobbs and the eating of her ear, painting Will as a monster. Agent Crawford takes the stand, telling the court that Will hated what he was forced to do, taking responsibility for breaking Will Graham after pushing him too far in the field. Will is not pleased, even though his Lawyer is happy with Crawford’s testimony. Will doesn’t want to be seen as insane, but completely innocent. Discussing it after the room has cleared, the Lawyer opens an envelope, out falls an ear. The Defense Attorney simply states, “I think I opened your mail.”
Back in Lecter’s office Jack and Hannibal discuss the situation. Hannibal asks Jack if he plans to resign. Jack says he is content to let the chips fall as they may. He also tells Hannibal that he is thinking about taking his dying Wife Bella to Italy where they first met, they could let the cancer take it’s course, she could die there. Hannibal advises Jack not to commit career suicide, and give up his job for short term satisfaction.
Back in the crime lab Jimmy Price, Beverly Katz and the rest of the forensics team analyze the ear. There are no prints or traces that could lead to the sender so far. They agree that the ear could not have been sent by Will, perfectly timed to arrive at the beginning of the trial. The new evidence puts doubt in the FBI team’s minds about Will’s guilt.
Hannibal visits Will in the prison, telling him he seems to have an admirer. He tells him that the ear could be seen as a helpful gesture, but denies sending the ear. he says that he is grateful that someone did though. Hannibal asks Will if he still believes him to be the killer. Will replies that accusing Lecter makes him look insane, but he’s not insane, not anymore. Hannibal tells him that the ear is a sign that the killer wants to be seen, he says that the killer cares about what happens to Will.
In the courtroom Freddie Lounds is called to the stand. She tells the jury that Abigail Hobbs told her that she feared Will Graham would kill her and cannibalize her. The Prosecutor rests, pleased with this admission. the Defense asks her how many times she had been sued for liable and how many times she had settled. Freddie replies 6 times, denouncing her testimony as untrustworthy.
The Defense Attorney sits Alana down at the jail in front of Will and goes over the likely questions the Prosecutor will ask, including whether she and Will had a romantic relationship. Alana denies having any feelings for Will.
The FBI research team matches the knife to that of Will’s, which was checked out by the Bailiff in Will’s trial Andrew Sykes. The knife was never returned to evidence. They relate this to Jack Crawford, who then puts Sykes under surveillance. He sends FBI agents into Sykes home, as they open the door it triggers a bomb, setting the house ablaze. Inside they find the body of sykes impaled on a stag in the living room, like the other Garret Jacob Hobbs victims.
Jack asks the judge for a dismissal based on the new evidence, but agent Kade Prurnell contests it. She is adamant that Will Graham is still somehow guilty.
In the courtroom again, Chilton now takes the stand, he says that Will Graham claims an empathy disorder, but refuses to be tested. Chilton implies that Will Graham carefully constructed a persona to help him get away with murder. The Prosecuting Attorney asks if Will Graham is a psychopath. Chilton replies, “There is not yet a name for what Will Graham is.” He says that Will kills methodically and would kill again if given the opportunity. He tells the court that Will is a narcissist, he likes to play God.
In the prison, Hannibal shows Will the photos from the Andrew Sykes crime scene, he asks him what he sees. Will Graham sees the killer’s design as usual. He says the killer shot Sykes, and Sykes died believing they were friends. That the murder wasn’t personal, just a means to an end. He tells Lecter that it is not the same killer as the one that killed Cassie Boyle. This killer murdered Sykes first then mutilated him, in the other murders the torture and mutilation happened before the victims died. He says that Hannibal knew this already. Hannibal Lecter tells Will that he hoped to assuage Will’s doubts in him once and for all, he wanted Will to believe the best in him, just as he believes in the best of Will. He says that the killer offered them reasonable doubt, Will says that he offered them only a distraction. Lecter replies that his acolyte has given him a path to freedom, that even Jack is now believing that Will is innocent. Will says it would be a lie, he wants to be free through the truth.
The Defense Lawyer, Alana, and Will meet in the next scene. Will has decided to dismiss his entire defense strategy, in favor of taking advantage of the recent killings. Alana is upset, but the Attorney thinks this is the better move. He tells Alana that she will not be taking the stand, instead Hannibal is going in her place.
Though Hannibal tries to point out the similarities between Sykes’ murder and those Will is accused of, his testimony is stricken from the record when the Prosecutor points out that Sykes was killed by gun shot, not mutilation. The supposed plan to convince the court that Will is not guilty, because the killer is still out there currently committing murder, fails.
Later that night, Will back in his cell and Hannibal in his office, a Janitor enters the courtroom to clean. There he finds strung up in front of the stand the Judge, the top of his head removed and chest torn open, eyes blind folded. The body holds a sword in one hand and scales in the other. On the scales lay the judge’s heart on one side and his brain on the other. His body is suspended before a painting of Blind Justice.
Jack and Hannibal discuss what it means for Will’s trial, it will mean the process will start over again. Hannibal tells Jack that he is not convinced that it is the same killer. Hannibal Lecter has created a confused situation for all parties, and it is unclear what the end game he wants is at this point.
In the final scene of this week’s episode Alana talks to Will at the prison, she asks what the killer wants. Will says, “He wants to know me.” He then asks Alana Bloom what she wants. She replies, “I want to save you.” He places his hand on hers and the scene fades to black.
Egads, this episode was so frustrating! It’s a testament to show Creator Bryan Fuller’s ability to make the audience feel as confused as the characters in the story! In an ongoing series 2 walk through at A.V.Club, Bryan Fuller says about the episode, “No, it was very much about the false hopes, and it was also a way for Hannibal Lecter to be able to tell Will that he is worthy of love and admiration, and he is saying, “Here is this person out there that loves you enough to do this act.” We should absolutely think that it’s Hannibal at that stage of the plot, and Will should think it was Hannibal at that stage of the plot, and it was a way to express Hannibal’s affection for Will, regardless of everything that’s happened between them, regardless of Hannibal manipulating Will into incarceration. There is still affection for him, and it is a very tough, ugly love that Hannibal feels for Will. That felt like it was a great opportunity to express that, and then subvert it, and then two episodes later turn it inside out and throw it back.”
I often wonder if his ‘affection’ for Will Graham is strictly out of admiration of Will’s unique talent, or if in like so many portrayals in the books and movies not affection at all, merely a game to see how long it will take to truly break him. Mads Mikkelsen’s version of Hannibal Lecter is fascinating, he is less taunting than Anthony Hopkins, and harder to read when he is playing games or being a psychopath’s version of genuine. Fuller’s visuals are horrific and stunning as usual, the Blind Justice scene was eerie to say the least. Taking his almost whimsical imagination to new levels in every episode compels me as a watcher to keep coming back to see how he will top the last horror.