Two episodes until the end of the season! Two episodes until I start to suffer from the shakes and twitches of cannibal withdraw. I can already feel the first twinges of my future anxiety attacks.The rumor mill is whispering that Bryan Fuller decided to go big before he went the hell home, and that the approaching season finale will go out with one helluva bang! We know that he intends to weave the plot of “Red Dragon” into the series (possibly around Season 3); but how the hell is he going to get us there? What with Will’s brain melting and Hannibal taking one risk after the next. You can only pirouette at the edge of a cliff for so long. Eventually you have to fall down. Or stop. Or something else related to a bloated metaphor. Look goddamnit – if Fuller is going to blow his load on the last episode of this season, how the heck is he going to bring it back in Season 2?I don’t think my heart could take a sophomore slump. But the fact that I am even remotely worried about the first episode of Season 2 while we are still on Episode 11 of Season 1 is a good sign. And I am finding, to my delight, that every time I doubt the show, they bring me around by the end of the episode.Tonight’s episode was no exception. We open with another snowy dinner at Lecter’s house. This week he is feeding Dr. Chilton coconut curry lamb while they discuss the possible ramifications of influencing patients; driving them in certain directions. After all, what could possibly go wrong taking that sort of therapeutic tract?Enter Dr. Gideon, stage left. This week sees the return of Eddie Izzard as the sad Chesapeake Ripper wannabe. These days, though, it appears Gideon is seriously questioning the veracity of his alter ego. Was he really the Ripper? Did he do those horrible things? Or was it Chilton, fumbling at his head like a freshman pulling at a panty girdle? Either way, Gideon is pissed off and tired of playing sanitarium inmate. He eviscerates his police escort, tidily tying his victim’s organs to a tree (even topping some of them with a little bow) and then escapes, legging it home to Baltimore. Why? So he can slaughter his old head shrinkers in an effort to reclaim his identity! Duh!Will knows crazy and identifies with the scrambled noggin’ of the escaped doctor. Maybe if Gideon is actually crazy, so is he. Maybe Gideon is crazier than Will. But at this point Will is going to give him a run for his money. Sigh. Who is Gideon? Who is Will? How far can a person be manipulated into the crazy pants? At what point are they personally responsible for choosing the pants, for taking them off the shelf and trying them on?At this point in the episode I was not sure if it was the portrayal of the individual characters, the actors, or the writing itself, but I was having a hard time believing Gideon had been manipulated into becoming a murdering psychopath. He had already killed his wife. The death of the nurse seemed like an opportunistic kill intended to emulate the Ripper out of spite for Chilton.I have no problem believing that Will is being manipulated. Throughout the episode we find him huddled in corners, twitching and shaking and sweating as he hallucinates glaciers and floods and the glowing numbers from his digital clock floating away. Pretty. Sad, too. During a police briefing he puts on his sweatiest wackadoodle and proceeds to hallucinate disembodied antlers.Every week sees the flames of Will’s brain fever getting stoked ever higher. Jesus Christ Crawford and Dr. Bloom are terrible friends. Someone get that man an ice pack and an ambulance!I can say one thing about Will’s hallucinations; they make excellent therapeutic fodder. And when you have to get your head shrunk, who better to help you than your bromance? Once again Lecter does his best to guide his buddy to the absolute brink of the abyss, pushing his buttons all the while. I swear, with friends like these …Meanwhile the deeply confuzzled Gideon hunts down one of his old psychiatrists, drains the man’s blood (tidily packed away for the Red Cross), and gives him a Sicilian necktie. I loved the twitching tongue. Nice touch!In order to advertise his spite for his persecutors while courting the real Ripper, he (like every other psycho killer in the tri-state area) has decided to achieve clarity by kidnapping Freddie Lounds. I hope she gets her frequent kidnapping card punched. What happens when you get 10 kidnappings? Does the 11th come free? Does it come with an antique wheel chair and a naked Ralph Fiennes? That isn’t a bad deal, all told…This time Lounds has not been snatched just to look cute and blog tabloid news, she has a job to do: observe Gideon’s live dissection of Chilton. She does not seem terribly put off by this. Not surprising; watching Chilton loose his liver sure was satisfying.Gideon manages to evade Crawford (and the handful of cops he rolls up on serial killers with), only to get waylaid by our poor wackadoodle who thinks Gideon is Garrett Jacob Hobbs. What to do and where to go? Bromance. When in doubt, go to your bromance. He manages to get Gideon all the way to Lecter’s house before succumbing to a seizure.No worries. It was only a small seizure. Poor Gideon and Will. They end up standing in the snow, at night, gazing in the window of Dr. Bloom’s house. Ah, wackadoodle bonding. They contemplate how they got there, the roads they traveled, the people who gave them directions. It is here, this quiet side of Gideon, where the writers (and Izzard) pull out all the stops and finally sell the killer as a sympathetic character. A victim.Interesting observations all; until Will decides that the conversation is boring and decides to end it. Permanently.
Body parts consumed this week:None, but I find it interesting that the title of tonight’s episode “roti” refers to a roast; and Will is positively sizzling.
Hannibal public service announcement of the evening:Donate blood; although I bet the Red Cross probably has some stupid rule that you can only donate your own.