In Hannibal’s only meal of the episode, he prepped a South Asian dish, an homage to the episode’s title. He claimed it was made with sheep, “of course,” (so of course not), a note as well to an episode filled with an exceptional amount of offal. “Roti” continued down a path that has been one of the strongest, narratively, this year. Will’s descent into madness escalates to a literal fever pitch, culminating in his and Dr. Gideon (Eddie Izzard‘s) parallel tales this week converging violently. In the shadows though, as always, was Hannibal. But the scene between Hannibal and his own analyst Dr. Du Maurier suggests that Hannibal’s motivations concerning Will are just as convoluted as Will’s own sense of self. Hit the jump for more on why some people just aren’t made for relationships.
One thing Hannibal does exceptionally well is call back to its own show and characters. Garett Jacob Hobbs has never left us, nor has Abigail (though she comes and goes), and even Dr. Gideon, forgotten for a few weeks, returned to close to story on his being the Chesapeake Ripper in a way that was masterfully wrought. In Gideon’s story was even a callback to Miriam’s severed arm and the observatory, which was used as both a clue for the real Ripper by Gideon, then used by the Ripper for Jack to catch Gideon. Ultimately at that scene though, Will inadvertently lead Gideon to the man he sought — Hannibal.
There is still some doubt by fans that Hannibal really is the Ripper, even though he’s certainly responsible for some of the attributed kills. Regardless, he’s using that profile to his own ends, and does exactly what Will predicts he will do (be unhappy with Gideon for taking credit for his work, but also too cunning to be lead out into the open). “Roti” was about identity, just as Hannibal has been from the start, but in “Roti” it was at its most overt.
Is Gideon the Ripper? No, but he’s not altogether who he is, thanks to the unethical interference of a number of psychiatrists (the show is not particularly warm to the trade). He needs the Ripper to confirm that they are not one in the same, which is a parallel theme to Will’s need to have Hannibal assure him of who he is, and that he is not a killer. Meanwhile, Hannibal is grooming Will to become more like him, and actually act on his impulse to kill. He set up an incredible scenario where he sent Gideon to hunt down Alana, but also told Will of the plan, tricking him into going himself (as Hannibal removed himself from the situation entirely) after goading Will to “kill Hobbs a second time” after his hallucinations lead him to believe Gideon is Hobbs.
Hannibal’s motivations are spelled out in his session with Du Maurier, to whom he confesses he sees Will as a friend. But she astutely comments he also may be more interested in the madness than the man. He is interested in Will’s madness, because it makes Will more like him. Will is able to see the world like Hannibal does, except whereas Hannibal seems to do so coldly and with calculation, Will is a bundle of nerves and emotions and impulses.
If the series were to end this year, making Will’s condition worsen to the point of him being committed would have been exceptionally dark, but would have made sense in the context of the show. Since it’s continuing on though, Will will have to be treated at some point for his actual condition. What that will mean for his relationship with Hannibal remains to be seen — further, what will it mean for Will’s mental state after the physical is treated? The show has always been about identity, the mind, and mind-control. Just as Hannibal is playing on Abigail’s instincts — be they natural or nurtured — so too is he manipulating Will into some approximation of both friend and specimen. “Poke around a psychopath’s mind, it’s liable to poke back,” Hannibal says. Whether Will has the temperament to commit an act in cold blood is something everyone, himself included, is waiting for.
Episode Rating: A
— The special effects and set design this week were absolutely outstanding. Hugh Dancy was incredible, especially in his interactions with those Lynchian dreams. Even though this episode was really mostly a lot of setup, it highlighted so many of the show’s best elements, hence the full-on A rating. Great stuff.
— More callbacks: the antlers, the totem pole of bodies (I’m glad that came back — it was such a startling image in an episode that otherwise wasn’t that great). Was that a Dali reference with the melting clock?
— Colombian neckties … yeesssh …
— Gideon making Christmas ornaments out of the organs was different. I liked the “please donate to the Red Cross” touch in his other kill, though.
— Is Hannibal on call 24/7? No matter the time of night, he is never in PJs! (the idea makes me laugh).
— Will’s descent into madness is so sad, especially because it can be treated, but even worse is that it makes you think of people whose unreality is just in their mind.
— Oh Freddie. She’ll do anything for a scoop, including watching a killer disembowel a man (but he survived …). Also, being presented with one’s own organs? Aye yi yi.
— “I said it was mild.” – Hannibal, regarding Will’s seizure.
— Gideon was a little too on-the-nose with the scrambled brains.
— Dancy’s feral portrayal of a feral Will-as-Gideon was truly scary.
— An important question looks like it will be asked next week by Jack: “if Will’s dissociative personality is not his own … whose is it?”