This week’s Hannibal episode is appropriately titled, isn’t it? The “serial killer of the week” side-dishes we’ve been getting over the last few episodes have been delicious, for sure, but they’ve lacked a certain heft. Before tonight, you could almost be excused if you briefly forgot how dangerous and sociopathic the good doctor truly is. This episode, in contrast, is a weighty main course. In flashbacks, we actually see Hannibal attack Jack’s protegee (who bears a remarkable resemblance to a young Clarice Starling; could that be what draws Jack to her in the future?) and later we hear her terrified voice on a recording and see a dismembered piece of her body as a reminder of her eventual grisly fate.
The episode begins a mental hospital, where a patient (and former doctor) fakes an ailment, and then swiftly butchers a helpless nurse in the style of the famous, and still at large, serial killer The Chesapeake Ripper. After being recaptured, the inmate that he’s the Ripper, but Jack and Will know better. They plant a fake story in Freddie’s online tabloid that suggests the Ripper is indeed in custody. They don’t believe the story, of course, but they think that this provocation will force the real Ripper to come out of wherever he’s hiding and show himself.
As soon as we see the look on Hannibal’s face as he reads the story on his tablet, we instantly know that Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper. In that scene, for just a moment, his face breaks from its calm mask of serenity, and you can his violent rage bubble to the surface. It’s gone very quickly, but I think it’s the first time in the series so far that we’ve seen a true glimpse at the kind of monster that Hannibal really is. Hannibal’s secretive torture of Jack, through the recorded pleas of his former student and the eventual discovery of her severed arm, is Hannibal’s warning shot. Don’t toy with me. I’m smarter than you. I know your weakness.
Overall, a very good episode of Hannibal that advanced the overall plot, and showed us a chilling glimpse of the real Dr. Hannibal Lechter.
you can stream the episode below: