Digesting Hannibal – Season 1, Ep12

Episode 12 – Relevés

Will walks through a hospital in a robe, pulling his IV line along on a cart.  He enters Georgia’s room, with her still in the hyperbaric chamber.  She looks close to normal.  They talk for a bit, and it’s clear they’ve been talking regularly.  She now seems able to recognize him, somehow.  Will reports that they’ve only found that he has a fever, but not why.  She gets pessimistic about what’ll happen — they won’t find a real cause, just give wrong meds and wrong diagnoses.  Well that was her experience, after all.  She also says she’s going to get ECT.  “Shock treatment sounds nicer.”  Does it?  The convulsive part of electroconvulsive therapy means they will put her under anesthesia (unconscious) then induce a seizure briefly.  It’s especially effective for depression that has failed every other intervention.  We’re talking severe not shower/eat/get out of bed for weeks depression.  Side effects can involve some memory loss.  She’s skeptical, since she’s been many-a-times that she could recover, and remember what she did.  “But I don’t want to remember.”  She doesn’t remember killing the doctor, and thinks it might have been Will, “but I couldn’t see your face.”

Hannibal stands in Will’s hospital room, uncovering a meal he made for him — a chinese recipe chicken soup, with healing herbs.  They sit to eat together.  They discuss his visiting Georgia, and how it helps him to feel supported.  Will asks if all his symptoms could be caused by the fever.  Hannibal responds with a completely inaccurate statement.  “Fevers can be symptoms of dementia.  Dementia can be a symptom of many things happening in your body or mind that can no longer be ignored.”  So let’s parse that out.  Dementia refers to a degree of cognitive impairment, such as impairment in concentration, memory, verbal fluency.  There are causes of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Lewy Body dementia.  What Will had is almost certainly delirium, which many non-psychiatrists mix up with dementia.  Dementia is usually non-reversible.  Delirium is a temporary brainstate caused by a medical condition, like an infection.  Clear up the infection, and the delirium improves.  So dementia doesn’t cause fever, nor does delirium.  Fever can cause delirium, though.  Aside from all of that, there are few solely mental illnesses that cause dementia or anything that looks like dementia.  The primary one is pseudodementia, which is someone so depressed that they can’t think or speak well, and so look like they have dementia.  Treating the depression improves this. 

That’s all a long-winded way of saying Hannibal is wrong.  I suspect this is an issue of the medical technical advisor for the episode.  Other types of physicians don’t always understand these differences.  Neurologists and psychiatrists usually do.

Will inquires if Jack knows of the rest of the symptoms.  Hannibal says he hasn’t told him, and won’t until they know what this is.  So the implications that are trying to be made here is that this is a chronic or permanent condition.  Hannibal would be obligated to report to Jack since confidentiality has never seemed to be part of their relationship, with this so loosely defined as a therapeutic relationship, and their relationship being initiated to keep an eye on him for Jack.  It’s a bit more like a work-mandated therapy, where confidentiality wouldn’t be expected to apply.  So Hannibal is again bending the rules.  They pivot to talking about Georgia, and Will thinks she doesn’t want to get better.

Georgia lays in her hyperbaric chamber.  She hears a noise.  In reality she wouldn’t be living in the chamber, but getting treatment for a couple of hours a day for weeks.  She combs her hair, lights a spark of static, and an explosion ignites which burns her alive.  This kind of thing actually happens.  What isn’t clear is how Hannibal could have rigged this, since she is a loose end.  

The team reviews the body and crime scene.  Georgia’s body is a scorched mess.  Much worse than death by toilet seat.  She wasn’t wearing her grounding bracelet.  They postulate if she was suicidal, but Will doesn’t think so.  He admits he talked to her, which perks everyone’s eyebrows.  Could compromise the case — but it doesn’t matter anymore.  This just adds another question mark to Will’s judgment.  

Abigail Hobbs meets with Freddie Lounds, discussing their upcoming book.  Chapters for each of the girls her father murdered.  Abigail asks about the title.  Her body language suggests she’s still conflicted about the whole process and doesn’t trust Lounds.  Justifiably.  They play with the title “The Last Victim,” which opens up the conversation as to who was the Last Victim.  Abigail thinks the last victim was Marissa Schuur, who was killed by the copycat killer. She still holds her father responsible.  They debate if Nick killed Marissa.  Lounds doesn’t think he did.  “I’ve interviewed enough killers to know one when I see one.”  Well, that sounds like definitive proof.  That line also of course applies to Abigail.  Does she know that Abigail killed Nick?  Lounds claims they give themselves away by “a very specific brand of hostility.”  Her messages seem to be – “If you’re a killer, I don’t care.  If you don’t want me to think you’re a killer, stop being so hostile towards me.”  But I could be overly reading into that one.  Lounds sees these characteristics in Will, and that she believes Will is the copycat.  She really doesn’t understand severe psychopaths very well, or her own role in provoking people.  Or this is all about her own endgame — to get Abigail to confess to murdering Boyle.  “Whoever killed Nicholas Boyle killed an innocent man.”  We see how conflicted this makes Abigail.  If that’s Lounds’ endgame, it’s working.  

Will dreams he’s at home.  He sees Georgia walk into his bedroom and out.  He follows her outside.  She says “See?” twice.  She’s then skewered on antlers (like Marissa Schuur) and bursts into flames.  All that’s left is the stag.  The message seems to be that whoever killed Marissa also killed Georgia.  And the stag is that killer.  

Of course the stag has also led Will to many clues, including when he walked to Gideon’s car.  So the stag has multiple roles, and doesn’t seem to just represent Hannibal.  

Will shows up in Jack’s office, having checked himself out of the hospital.  The fever broke.  Interesting that this happened after the dream.  Perhaps because of the dream?  Could the fever and the auto-immune condition be symbolic in some ways, as Will turning against himself (because of Hannibal)?  If so, as he undoes this his condition would get better.  Will proffers that Georgia didn’t kill herself, and was in fact murdered by whoever killed Sutcliffe.  The evidence doesn’t support that, though we know different.  Jack thinks he’s not thinking clearly on the subject, looking for an theory to explain what doesn’t need an explanation.  Will just thinks she was misunderstood.

Jack and Will review the evidence with Zeller and Price.  They discuss the remnants of plastic, which Will guesses was a comb.  Sutcliffe was killed similarly to Georgia’s victim, which Will believes was the copycat.  This is a jump. Just because there’s two copycats, doesn’t mean they’d be the same killer.  Except his dream told him so, so it must be true!  😉  The debate leads Will to conclude that Boyle wasn’t the copycat.

Jack sits with Hannibal to discuss Will, and if Will’s thoughts could be valid or evidence of his illness.  Hannibal needs to play it very carefully here, so as not to tip his hat to Jack.  Jack asks about Will’s relationship to Abigail.  Hannibal elicits that Jack suspects Will is protecting Abigail.  Hannibal defends Will, that he wouldn’t hide anything criminal.  Hannibal is playing the good guy, seeing that Jack is going down the road of suspecting Will all on his own.  He doesn’t need to plant a whole lot of seeds here.  Hannibal offers that Will needs their support, whether or not mental illness is involved.  A subtle planting that Will could be mentally ill still.  An alternative interpretation would be that Hannibal does care about Will as a friend, and so wants to loosely speak up for him, while not incriminating himself.  Jack questions if Will is mentally ill, or if he’s just so unique we don’t have a name for it.  There are clear ways to define mental illness, and one of the criteria is an impairment in functioning.  Some wouldn’t even diagnose hallucinations as part of an illness if it doesn’t impair the person.  

Jack shows up at Du Maurier’s front door, in the middle of the night, wanting to discuss Hannibal.  She asks him for a court order.  She susses out that it’s unofficial at this point, but that Jack thinks Hannibal is withholding important info about a murder.  She invokes confidentiality.  He pivots to talking about her being attacked by a patient previously, who had been referred by Hannibal.  He then raises the recent deaths.  She points out his strategy, making subtle accusations about the deaths of Tobias/Franklin and thus her in the position of needing to defend Hannibal.  She’s a bit too savvy for Jack’s pressure, but she also secretly wants to talk.  

Jack raises that he’s had “complicated” relationships with patients, which she sidesteps as being related to complicated patients.  She admits that Hannibal calls Will more of a friend than a patient.  This is already disclosing too much.  I’m a little surprised they didn’t talk hypotheticals about hypothetical people.  That would have been in line with their usual dialogue on the show of double entendres.  She offers that he doesn’t have many friends, so he’d probably be loyal and try to help him.

Jack talks out the copycat with Zeller and Price, remembering that Will believed the copycat had insight into Hobbs.  Zeller and Price banter about theories vs. hypotheses.  Scientifically this is absolutely correct.  Jack tasks them to dig up all the travel and any extra information about Hobbs.

Abigail and Will chat in her hospital.  Abigail confesses that she felt good when she killed Boyle.  Challenging this a little bit, she seemed pretty shocked and upset in the moment.  She digs at how Will felt when he killed her father — terrified, and then powerful.  “I don’t think either of us have gotten away from your father.”  Certainly.  “It feels like my dad is still out there.”  This is probably her approach of attempting to elicit from Will if he’s the killer, trying to get him to confide in her by confiding in him.  Will conveys that he thinks he can catch the copycat, but he’ll need her help.  This probably confuses her, because she’s buying into Lounds’ hypothesis that Will is the copycat.  

Du Maurier tells Hannibal that Jack visited her to try to get information.  Hannibal conveys Jack’s belief that Abigail was involved with her father’s crimes, Will’s protecting her, and that Hannibal is protecting Will.  “I’m stepping out of my role as your psychiatrist, and talking to you as your colleague… Whatever you’re doing with Will Graham, stop.”  Most likely, she presumes he’s emotionally involved with Will, rather than the real truth.  Few could really anticipate the depths of what Hannibal has been doing, and he’s been protecting her from having enough information to even guess such a thing.  And Jack didn’t reveal much more, aside from the deaths.  But as his “colleague” she’s advising that he’s pushing outside of traditional boundaries, rather than this being dangerous to his personal well being.  He rationalizes (justifies) that Will needs his help.  She challenges this — he can’t help someone as a friend when neither of you knows what friends are.  She butting up on a big issue in therapy, which is dual relationships.  It’s difficult to have a therapy relationship when also having another kind.  An example might be having a therapist and being in business with them.  Someone might feel obligated to behave in the business deals a certain way because of the therapeutic relationship, and vice versa.  Ideally relationships have one mode.  Some people do transition from therapy relationship to a “friendship,” especially in small towns where it’s impossible to not run into people, but that should only occur once the therapy has ended, and then only cautiously.  One has be very careful, especially as there’s risk with romantic relationships, which are always a no-no (it’s way too risky of a predatory relationship, and people playing into their roles as rescuer and rescued, with dramatic potential consequences).  Will and Hannibal have been flirting with a non-sexual romantic relationship.  It’s all a twisted love story, in a sense.

Hannibal believes he’s protecting Will.  She challenges his ability to do that, since he isn’t objective, and encourages him to pull away.  She also raises the issue of her attack, and that she only told Jack “half-truths.”  Ah, a new mystery.  Something else happened there.  I might guess that Hannibal did refer a patient to her who was violent, and he intervened to protect her.  This might then have been a manipulation to play protector, reverse roles, as an attempt to get closer to her and become a friend (or more).  Her lying to Jack protected Hannibal in some way.  Hannibal paces throughout this conversation, one of the few times we see him uncomfortable.  She pressures that even the best psychiatrists are human.  He can’t accept that.  Maybe because he doesn’t fully view himself as human.  He ends the conversation saying that whe the pressure is too great from his relationship(s) with Will, “I’ll find a way to relieve them.”  Of course this opens the door for further sabotaging or even killing Will.  We haven’t seen him entertain this idea before.  

Will sits with Hannibal, in therapy.  Will feels clear, “about the copycat.”  This is a threat to Hannibal.  Hannibal points out he’s dismissing the evidence that does exist, pointing to others.  Will takes it further, believing the copycat initially intended to frame him.  Will is now hot on the trail.  He knows where to look.  In response, Hannibal points out this is getting paranoid.  Will feels clear, though.

Zeller and Price review their findings with Jack.  It seems that Abigail accompanied his daughter when they identified victims.  She was the bait.  They take this further, hypothesizing that she’s the copycat.  It really isn’t a huge leap of logic, except Will’s perception that the copycat needs access to the investigation and she doesn’t really have that.  Jack could only explain the new murders as trying to impress someone new.  Such as Lounds.  More likely IF she did that, she’d go for a new father figure, such as Will or Hannibal.  Lounds is a leap that negates the nature of Abigail’s relationship with her father.  

Jack shows up looking for Abigail, finding only Lounds.  She relates that Will snuck Abigail out, which is strange since he’s registered as her guardian.  Guardian?  She’s an adult, and as far as we know hasn’t had a surrogate decision maker appointed by a court.  But the plot point that this aims for is clear enough.  Lounds reveals she suspects Abigail killed Boyle, and that Will is hiding something.

Jack barges in on Hannibal, wondering where Will is.  Hannibal starts planting that Will has had lost time, and that it’s due to a “dissociated personality state.”  Now this is possible, theoretically.  Dissociation involves a splitting off of awareness, where someone could do something that is seeming involuntary.  In the simplest form someone might feel their body is acting on its own, such as in a conversion disorder.  Hannibal is suggesting that Will has dissociative identity disorder, previously called multiple personality disorder.  While this has been maintained as a real entity in the DSM, all of the index (original) cases that established such a thing exists have later been disproven.  If it exists it’s really really really rare.  Jack asks about where Will took Abigail.  Hannibal plays a recording about Will feeling like he killed Marissa Schuur.  This was because he imagined himself as the killer.  Jack puts together the pieces for himself, that Will always was the last one to see most of the victims, and thus must be the suspect.  Jack inquires about “who” the other personality might be.  Usually it would be a split off version of the person.  For Will the idea is he’s internalizing other killers, especially Hobbs.  We have seen that he has internalized Hobbs, seeing him all the time.  But seeing him is quite different than becoming him.  And if it’s Hobbs, he intended to kill Abigail.

On a plane, Abigail comments on Will still looking kind of sick.  She remembers her mother’s birthday is coming up, and they planned to climb the highest peak in the state.  Will offers to take her.  A parental gesture.  She declines.  Thus rejecting him ever so slightly in the role of parent.  They arrive at the cabin.  She looks scared.  She insinuates that Will is the copycat.  He plays defense, just stating he was trying to understand her father.  He’s lost touch with his original reason for being there already, tracking the real copycat.  She finds out he fishes, and compares it hunting — luring vs. stalking.  Will starts pushing at her on it.  He’s suspecting she is the copycat, or at least involved in her father’s murders.  She reveals she helped her father lure, and that Hannibal should have told him.  Hannibal promised to protect her.  Will gets upset and slams her against the wall.  And he suddenly snaps out of it and he hasn’t grabbed her at all.  He is dissociating, losing time.  It’s just not clear that this is him embodying Hobbs, since in his imagination there he wasn’t Hobbs, but a more aggressive version of himself.  Now they fully start accusing each other of being the copycat.  She also calls out that he’s sick, as he clutches his head.

Suddenly he has lost time, and finds himself on a plane, having arrived back in DC.  Marissa is back in Minnesota, still, going into her old home.  She finds Hannibal there and hugs him immediately.  She says she left Will at the cabin, since she didn’t feel safe with him.  Interesting.  We don’t completely know if this is true.  The intervening time is omitted, leaving other possibilities like her having done something to him.  She tells him Will knows what she did, and he informs her Jack does, too.  Will will be arrested for the copycat crimes, though Hannibal says they’ll “think” he did it.  Meaning he knows Will didn’t.  Abigail intuits that Hannibal is the killer.  Hannibal admits it, and that he kills and manipulates because he’s “curious what will happen.”  Creepy.  In it’s impartiality.  

He admits that he set her up to kill Boyle, and the effect that kill had on her is more important than Boyle’s life would have been.  Only to Hannibal is it so important.  Hannibal admits to killing many more than her father, and that he’s going to kill her.  This further sets up Will for her murder, since no one knows Hannibal is there, and Jack expects Will to try to kill Abigail.

Anytime Hannibal comes out from behind his mask is super-creepy.  It’s like looking at the devil.  He knows what he is.  Which twists at the other question of why be in therapy or try to have a friend.  I think he revealed it here — it’s to satisfy his curiosity, as to if he’s capable of doing/being these things.  It’s a removed curiosity, though, without conscience.  Yet he is able to fake the value of life, so he knows others value it.  



Return to index

Digesting Hannibal – Season 1, Ep12
Tagged on:                                                                         

Paul Puri

Dr. Puri is a board certified psychiatrist, in private practice in Los Angeles. He practices multiple forms of psychotherapy, including hypnosis, in addition to managing medications. He attended medical school at University of Rochester, and specialty training at University of California, San Diego. He is currently on the Vol Clinical Faculty at UCLA. In his non-clinical time he writes TV pilots, and designs iPhone apps.

One thought on “Digesting Hannibal – Season 1, Ep12

Comments are closed.