Whenever I get nutty for a TV show, and especially when I get nutty for the star of a specific show, I like to check out some of their past performances. Which was what motivated me to rent Valhalla Rising on Netflix. The movie stars Mads Mikkelsen. Word to the wise? Don’t let the hideous suits or wide paisley ties fool you. In Valhalla Rising, Mikkelsen plays One-Eye, a Norse warrior whose interests include killing people with his bare hands and not talking. I am pretty sure his character was supposed to be Odin. Maybe. Either way, it was deeply gratifying to watch considering the extent of his on-screen violence in Hannibal has been limited to pushing FBI headshrinker, Dr. Alana Bloom, into a wall. After Valhalla Rising, I am really looking forward to Mikkelsen getting his hands dirty. He has great brutality. And looked pretty awesome without a shirt.
Tonight’s episode made me a touch sad. I was hoping that NBC would decide to air Episode 4, “Ouef” which they had cancelled after the Boston Marathon Bombing due to content (brothers killing families). Ouef would have shown Lecter and Abigail Hobbs bonding. He even shows her around the kitchen. I have a feeling, it would have given the good doctor a bit more heart.
Instead, tonight’s episode started at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where we meet the man who would be Lecter. He even stays in Lecter’s future prison cell. And he is a doctor. That seems a little hokey, but I am willing to hang out and see where the writers take this. The killer in question is one Dr. Abel Gideon, M.D., he murdered his wife and her entire family during Thanksgiving Dinner (ahhh, the holidays). Freddie Lounds and the indomitable Dr. Chilton both think he was the Chesapeake Ripper. And if Dr. Chilton believes it to be true, we know it is 100% wrong. Yes, Dr. Chilton presided over the Hospital even then, and still inspired one to wear a full body condom while he was on screen (I have the same reaction when I see Steve Harvey on Family Feud).
After two boring years of incarceration, Gideon faked illness so he would get sent to the Hospital infirmary, where he proceeded to kill a nurse. We got to see the graphic details via Will, who cast himself as Gideon in order to relieve the murder. He punched her in the throat, throttled her, gouged her eyes out, and then stabbed her to death with … all the things. The death mimicked the Ripper, almost exactly, seeming to confirm Dr. Chilton’s theory. Will and Crawford are not fooled.
Flash back two years. Crawford pulls Miriam Lass a pretty, young, recruit from training in order to throw one more warm body at the Ripper investigation. The choice was not random, she had appropriate credentials and background and a desire to work with Crawford and his headshrinkers. Her character just lacked authenticity; it was too hollow a reference to Clarice Starling. Like Clarice, Crawford formed a bond with his would-be pupil, they visited a Ripper murder scene together and examined the body of a man who was killed in what looked like a machine shop. Like the nurse at the beginning of the episode, he was stabbed with all the things. The striking difference being that this victim, like earlier Ripper victims, was missing certain organs. The FBI call them surgical trophies. We call them dinner. Miriam guesses that he is a doctor, and somehow exotic.
Meanwhile, in the present, the FBI are playing the fun game interview crazy doctor guy in his cell in the dank dungeon of the psychiatric hospital. Well this feels familiar. The difference being Gideon. He is not Lecter. Where Lecter is refined and serious, Gideon is crass and gleeful. After the interviews, Crawford visits Lecter, trying to get information about how Bella is coping with her cancer diagnosis. Lecter will not spill the beans on Bella, but he is more than happy to provoke Crawford into thinking about Miriam.
I like to think that Lecter realizes Crawford is a dick, and does not prod him with the same intentions of personal development that he has for Will. With Crawford, he really just wants to push some buttons. Of course, that attitude goes both ways. Crawford, meanwhile, decides to get a tabloid story published which would confirm that the Ripper is Gideon. He wants to push the Ripper, who has not killed in two years. Crawford wants to enrage him. Will knows this is a bad idea. This is because Will is not a dick.
Sigh. Still, this cheap and transparent ploy appears to work. Lecter is not thrilled to see his handiwork passed off to the asinine Gideon. I love how his “rage” looks like severe irritation. It is the look I get when I arrive at the office at 8am and realize we are out of coffee.
That night, Crawford begins to receive phone calls from a panicked Miriam. Which is odd; since it is screamingly obvious Miriam did not survive her encounter with the Ripper two years ago. When the FBI nerds are finally are able to trace the calls to Miriam’s cell phone, they find it on the floor of an observatory, clutched in the hand of a dead man.
Flash back again and we see Miriam’s final encounter with the Ripper. She visits his office, asking about the machinist who was once a patient. Then she notices that one of his drawings diagrams all of the stabbings on said victim. Then it was goodnight Miriam. Ya know, when he snuck up behind her, grabbed her by the throat and began choking her, Lecter looked almost regretful.
Body parts consumed this week:Sigh. Where is the body eating love? No one consumed, but a night nurse was dispatched in a manner evocative of the Wound Man.Editor: You’re way too disappointed for comfort here…Gerri: SH! I need the recipes… I mean… what Did I mean?
What in the hell is the Wound Man?A Medieval surgical illustration. You know, because Lecter is a classy guy.