Hannibal Episode 102
Written By: Jim Danger Gray
Directed By: Michael Rymer
Original Airdate: 11 April 2013
In This Episode...
Will accompanies the FBI to investigate the Shrike’s nest - aka Hobbs’s mountain cabin. Inside, along with plenty of taxidermy, they find the entire attic/loft/second story hung floor to ceiling with antlers. They cannot find any other bodies or pieces of bodies. Will reminds Jack that there isn’t any part of the human body that you can’t eat; Jack starts to wonder if Hobbs had an accomplice - and if that accomplice could be his daughter Abigail. This makes Will uncomfortable for, as Hannibal will later diagnose Will, he feels a certain responsibility for Abigail.
Jack wants Will back in the field permanently. Will just needs a psych eval to show the bosses, and one to help him sleep at night - he is worried that he has broken Will. Naturally, Will goes to Hannibal, who happily “rubber stamps” him back into duty. Not a moment too soon, for Will is called out on another case. And this one is damned fucked up.
Some kids are hiking in the woods when they find something weird. It turns out to be nine people in very shallow graves. They are all lined up in a neat row - and they all have mushrooms and various fungi growing out of them. It seems the unsub has been burying these people in shallow graves made of a nutrient-rich mulch. The victims went into the ground alive, but unconscious (none show signs of being restrained), hooked up to crude respirators and force fed a sugar solution to keep the bodies alive. They are, for all intents and purposes, there to be fertilizer for fungus. In fact, one of the victims is actually alive - he reaches out for Will’s ankle, knocking him from his killer’s POV reverie. The victim dies on the way to the hospital. It is Will who figures out that every victim is a diabetic, forced into diabetic comas after having their insulin monkeyed with. From there is is a quick journey to identifying the perp: he has to be a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist - someone with easy access to insulin. Ten diabetics have gone missing after visiting one particular pharmacy chain, where all were helped by the same pharmacist: Eldin Stannis.
The FBI just misses Eldin, though they do rescue his next victim from the trunk of his car, already coated in mulch and fitted with a respirator. It looks like Eldin had been inadvertently tipped off by tabloid reporter Freddie Lounds. As one might expect from a tabloid reporter, she ranks very low on the ethics scale. Freddie lied about being the mother of one of the boys who found the bodies so that she could get a local detective to give her the dirt on the crime scene. She arranged an appointment with Dr. Lecter immediately after his appointment with Will. She records their session through the door, something that Hannibal picks up on immediately. She then writes a “tell-all” article about Will on her website, which is what spooked Eldin. He realized that Will was looking to make connections like he was. Jack and a few agents later storm Freddie’s hotel room and threaten to arrest her for obstruction. She left a hair behind in the Shrike’s nest, which means she trespassed on a crime scene. She agrees not to write another word about Will.
The next morning, on the way to her car, Freddie is confronted by the detective she deceived. She promises him a cushy private security job when he was inevitably fired, but that promise is interrupted with a gunshot to the head. Eldin is there, and has shot the detective’s brain matter all over Freddie. He wants information on Will Graham. Fearing for her life, Freddie tells Eldin about Will’s obsession with Abigail Hobbs.
Jack calls Will to warn him about Eldin. Will is just arriving at the hospital, so he pulls his gun. Abigail is not in her room; she was “taken for tests,” by Eldin. Will finds him pushing Abigail’s gurney and shoots him without warning. It goes through Eldin’s shoulder, dropping him but not killing him. Will hovers over the injured man, gun pointed at his head. Eldin insists he should have let him bury Abigail - that way, she could reach out and connect with Will in a real and tangible way.
Dig It or Bury It?
I love the method of “murder” here. I put “murder” in quotes because clearly murder is not Stanis’s motive. He is using people as fertilizer to connect. It is very poetic, but it also makes me wonder if he was eating the mushrooms. This is a show about cannibalism, after all. Frankly, it is inventive and horrifying.
I am fascinated by Will Graham. He is such a complex character. Television has gotten continually smarter over the last decade or so, but Will seems to be the first true character that is painted in shades of gray. He isn’t the pure-of-heart cop (or even the dirty cop with good intentions), nor is he the cold-blooded killer. He is all of this. I cannot recall a TV character who has been so conflicted over killing because he liked it.
I have one complaint about this episode: we did not get to see Will’s dogs.
Throughout the episode, Will has been haunted by visions of Hobbs, dead. He admits to Hannibal that when he shot Eldin, he did not see Hobbs - he just saw a perp who needed to be stopped. Hannibal believes that Will continues to see him (despite Will’s insistence that he cannot be analyzed) because he is concerned that the “sprig of zest” he felt when killing Hobbs was because he saved Abigail, not because he killed Hobbs. He liked killing Hobbs.
Hannibal has Jack over for dinner, and serves him “loin.” “What kind of loin?” Beat. “Pork.”
Abigail wakes from her coma. Will does not want to believe that she could have been her father’s accomplice. Hannibal promises to keep Abigail’s secret - and she promises to keep his.