The episode starts with Hannibal bound to a tree by Will Graham. The ropes pulled tighter by a stag when Will calls to it. He tells Hannibal, “I promised you a reckoning, here it is.” The ropes tighten until a wave of blood is all we see. Then Will wakes, up sweating in his bed.
The following scene Hannibal prepares an omelet in his kitchen, with liver and ‘sweetbreads’, then serves it to Jack Crawford at his dining room table. They talk of memories and forgetting. Lecter asks Crawford what he is trying to forget. Jack tells him doubt, about Will, not him.
A man walks away from a gas station to his semi truck in the snow, with hot coffee and donuts. He starts the engine, but it quickly sputters out. Something bounces on the roof, and he goes to investigate. He is pulled up from above and torn to bits, gored on the roof of his vehicle.
The credits roll, then we are in Will’s memory, back in the barn where Hannibal stopped him from killing the social worker in last week’s episode. He is relating his feelings of regret in a session with Dr. Lecter. He regrets not pulling the trigger. Lecter tells him that he needs to imagine a version of events he wouldn’t have regretted. He imagines following through and shooting him in the head. He wants to feel like he did when he killed Garret Jacob Hobbs, how he felt when he thought he killed Hannibal. A quiet sense of power. Hannibal says good, he should remember that feeling.
Margot Verger stops Will as he is leaving Hannibal’s office, she says he looks familiar. Will replies, “I’m the guy that didn’t kill all those people.”
Margot goes into her session, and they talk of her Brother. She doesn’t see humanity in her him. Hannibal says she dehumanizes him. She replies her Brother isn’t human. She mentions that she ran into Will Graham. Margot says that Hannibal is supportive of her killing her Brother, and she appreciates that support, but she is also curious of what he would support Will Graham in doing.
Next we are brought to the FBI at the crime scene. They determine that what ever animal did it, it isn’t scared of humans. They believe a killer is using an animal for blood sport, hunting humans.
In the prison, Will Graham shows pictures of the bite radius to Peter Bernardone. Peter amuses Will when he sees that he has found a friend inside, a pet mouse. Bernardone tells him that there is both a bear and a wolf. Will asks if they can hunt together. Peter says that with time they can be trained to. That animals and humans are alike, they can make friendships. He tells Will not to blame the animals, that man is the only creature that can choose to kill.
We enter on the workshop of our killer of the week. He is creating a mechanized jab from the skull of a predator. The jaws snap shut, and break a solid pole in half with little effort.
A couple’s romantic evening is ruined when the killer, wearing the contraption jumps them as they sit in front of a camp fire. He kills the man, and the woman runs, she doesn’t get far. His image is reflected in her eyes as her blood spatters across the snow.
The next morning, Will walks the crime scene, getting an image of the killer in his mind. He sees himself as the killer, ordering a stag to kill for him. The stag gores the man with his antlers, when it raises it’s head, it’s Will himself with horns on his head and a blood soaked face. Will tells Jack that it’s not an animal killing, it’s a man that wants to be an animal. He’s an engineer or understands engineering. He knows how to build, he built his beast. He is a student of predators.
Hannibal meets Jack in the FBI crime lab. He tells Jack that those with the type of inclinations of our killer often have other disorders, such as depression or schizophrenia. He seeks transformation. Jack Crawford asks if Lecter has ever seen anything like this before. Hannibal tells him that it threatens to be a violation of Doctor/Patient confidentiality, so he has to tread carefully. He relays that he once had a patient that fit the profile, he suffered from an identity disorder. In their sessions he would tell him that he had moments of clarity, in those moments he knew he was an animal, born in the body of a man. He didn’t believe that metamorphosis could physically take place, but it wouldn’t keep him from trying. Jack asks what his needs are, Hannibal replies, “Savagery.”
Hannibal approaches a young man in a museum, cleaning the bones of a predator on display. “Hello Randall.” He is the patient that he spoke of with Jack Crawford. He says that a Psychiatrist wonders when you set someone on a path, where that path will take them. That the path he set him on has taken him far. He has seen what Randall has done, and he is proud of him. Lecter warns him that they are looking for him. Randal says that he doesn’t think he can stop. Hannibal replies that he doesn’t want him to, but they will find him. That he must do exactly what he says when they do.
Later, Jack and Will approach Randal Tier to speak with him at the museum. He verifies that Randall has the knowledge to put together the bones and skulls that the killer used to kill. Randall tells them that he had a personality disorder, but now he is much better. He takes his medication and he is proof that mental illness is treatable.
Margot drops by Will Graham’s house, she asks to be invited inside for a drink. He asks what the heir to the Verger meat packing dynasty is doing at his door. Margot says that her Brother is the heir, not her. She tells Will that she tried to kill her Brother. Will replies, I assume he had it coming. Margot says, did he ever. She then asks him what his emotional garbage is, Will tells her that he tried to kill Dr. Lecter. She asks, surprised, “Did he have it coming?” She then says that I doubt Hannibal gave you the same advice on murder as he gave me. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
In Hannibal’s office, Will asks Hannibal what would happen if his patients started comparing notes. He then asks how many have there been, like Randall Tier, like him? Will lets him know that his psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, came to see him before his trial. She told him that she believed him. Bedelia knew that there were others like him. He asks Hannibal if he killed her. He says no. Will asks him what he thinks about when he thinks about killing. Hannibal replies, “I think about God”.
Will,”Good and evil?”
Hannibal, “Good and Evil has nothing to do with God.”
Will asks if Randall Tier believes in God? Hannibal suggest that he has a more personal conversation with Mr. Tier and asks him what he believes.
In the next scene Hannibal watches as Randall puts on the suit of bones. Hannibal says that it is your higher self that you are becoming, Randall. He tells him to revel in what he is. Together they stand in front of Will Graham’s house.
From inside, Will’s dogs bark frantically. Buster runs outside, but Will doesn’t follow immediately. He runs inside and grabs his shot gun, then runs out into the snow, towards Randall Tier. He finds Buster hurt and scared on the ground, as Randall stalks them. He lifts buster and prepares and runs toward the house, Randall pursues. Will closes the door and turns out the lights The dogs settle as he waits for him to arrive. Randall jumps through his living room window, as classical music plays.
The music continues as Hannibal arrives home, he finds Will at the head of his dining room table, Randall’s corpse laid out for him to see. Will’s gun is still in his hand. Will says, “I’d say that this makes us even. I send someone to kill you, you send someone to kill me. Even Steven.” Hannibal nods. Fade to black.
Damn! I didn’t want Will to succumb to Hannibal’s influence, or his own rage, but there it is. Though you could say it was merely self defense, I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to enjoy it. Look forward to it even. Aww Will, why’d you have to lower yourself to his level? I wanted you to exit the world with a relatively clean and noble slate (not a spoiler, remember the first episode?). Bahh! Ah well, the show must and will go on. I’ll just be waiting for some sort of mortified awakening on Mr. Graham’s part.