Progress was made on several plot fronts this episode, and then dramatically, horrifically lost. Spoilers for “Takiawase” under the jump, and warnings for discussion of gore, cannibalism, gaslighting, and special this episode, lobotomies and suicide.
Progress came for Will in a few ways: He began a new form of drug therapy with Dr. Chilton, and managed to recover more of his memories of Hannibal’s psychological manipulation. (The cinematography in the memory scenes was above and beyond Hannibal’s usual standard of amazing.) He was also able to convince Dr. Chilton, by appealing to Chilton’s selfishness, to limit Hannibal’s access to him in prison. And most importantly, he was able to get enough of a bug in Bev Katz’s ear to get her thinking about Hannibal as a murderer.
Hannibal, denied his favorite chew toy, turned his attentions to Bella Crawford instead. Last season, we learned that she had terminal lung cancer; this episode saw her dealing with her pain in different ways, from sessions with Hannibal to medical marijuana use. Hannibal reassured her that her desire to die while she’s still herself, even if that means suicide, was not unhealthy, and so she arranged with him to take her life during a session. In the end, however, his desire to play God interfered with their plans: on the result of a coin toss, he revived the near-dead Bella and has her hospitalized.
Meanwhile, Crawford’s team was busy with the case of the week: a series of murders committed by an acupuncturist who lobotomizes her victims. All sufferers of chronic pain or illness, and sends them out into the woods to become human beehives. On one hand, I was very uncomfortable with this particular murderer, as lobotomies are one of those things that are guaranteed to make my stomach turn and my skin crawl. Give me fictional cannibalism any day over showing me someone being lobotomized. On the other hand, though, I don’t know if we’ve had any female serial killers on the show yet, and so it was …nice? I guess? to have one this episode. Her part in the episode was pretty open and shut, either way—the purpose of this subplot was to further the main plot, because the discovery that the killer was using bee stings to cover the acupuncture needle holes inspired Katz to look deeper into another murder.
Katz was still working on the death of the skin pigment killer, and Will had suggested to her that it was Hannibal who did him in. She examined the body and discovered, hidden beneath the stitches that had attached the man to his victims, a deeper incision, via which his kidney had been removed. This is, I think, the moment she realized Will might have a point—he had told her that Hannibal was the Chesapeake Ripper and that he was taking and eating trophies from his victims.
Usually Will Graham is the center of the emotional whirlwind, but I spent most of this episode being excited about and both terrified about and for Bev. I was excited because yes finally she was putting the pieces together and had stopped letting her beliefs about Hannibal as a person cloud her judgment. I was terrified, though, because something was definitely still clouding her judgment: she made a series of terrible choices that stacked up over the course of the episode until they toppled over and buried her. First, despite Will’s warning to stay away from Hannibal, she invites him to her autopsy of the murderer’s corpse and lets on that she’s looking more closely at the body for evidence per Will’s suggestion. This puts Hannibal on his guard around her, because he knows she’s a smart woman—if it turns out that Will is right about the circumstances of the murder, she will likely suspect that Will is right about who did the murdering, too.
Later, after discovering the missing kidney, she hears that Bella Crawford collapsed during her session with Hannibal and assumes Hannibal will be at the hospital with her for some time, making then the perfect time to break into Hannibal’s house and see if she can corroborate Will’s suspicions with actual dead people parts. Unfortunately for her, and entirely out of her knowledge or control, an angry Bella has sent Hannibal away and he is on his way home. Also unfortunately for her, and this is entirely stupidity on her part, she doesn’t tell a damn soul that she is going to break into the house of someone she suspects to be a cannibalistic serial killing sociopath.
She discovers the kidney in his fridge and the walk-in butcher shop in his basement before being discovered herself by the owner of the house. Hannibal cuts the lights and rushes her, and the camera pans away as we hear Bev shoot and shoot and finally run out of bullets.
This episode was a masterpiece of storytelling on all counts: plot progression, character development, tension-building, imagery, symbolism. I just wish that the plot hadn’t centered around the deaths of two awesome women of color. Hopefully, unbeknownst to us, Bev left a note that says “BRB GOING TO HANNIBAL’S IF I DON’T COME BACK HE PROBABLY KILLED AND ATE ME” somewhere sneaky. If not, Hannibal’s still going to eventually get in trouble for shitting where he eats (that’s a loaded metaphor in this context, wooow) but it’s going to take a lot longer and probably be a lot messier. Either way, I’m gonna miss her.
Notes reading “BRB GOING TO HANNIBAL’S IF I DON’T COME BACK HE PROBABLY KILLED AND ATE ME” seen on screen: zero
Guests in Will’s Mind
Palace River: one! Abigail returns!
Episodes of Steven Universe I watched as palate-cleansers while writing this review: two—only one left and I’ll be caught up!