In the opening scene, we witness criminal profiler Will Graham’s process as he visualizes how a crime transpired. Next scene, we’re at the FBI Academy as criminal profiler Will Graham is finishing up his case study and concludes by asking his students“Tell me your design. Tell me who you are.” We are then introduced to Special Agent Jack Crawford, head of the Behavioral Science Unit. Graham tells Crawford that he disagreed with what they named the museum, the Evil Minds Research Museum. “It’s a little heavy, Jack,” says Graham.
Before Crawford asks to borrow Graham’s imagination, he asks Graham where he falls on the spectrum. With a sigh, Graham informs him that his “horse is hitched to a post that is closer to Asperger’s and autistics than narcissists and sociopaths.” The case that Crawford needs help with has to do with the abduction of 8 girls that have all disappeared on Fridays. Graham makes a Willy Wonka and Golden Ticket reference,which will be repeated through the episode.
Crawford and Graham are at the home of the last abducted girl when Graham figures out that their Willy Wonka abducted her from that house, which now becomes a crime scene. The parents tell him that they have been in and out of her room all day, but when they open the door, Elise’s dead body is tucked into her bed.
At Graham’s home in Wolf Trap, VA, we meet Winston, the newest stray dog that he picks up and introduces to ‘everybody’, the other six dogs sitting on his front porch. Later that night, he wakes up drenched in sweat from a nightmare about Elise’s bloody body floating away.
The next day, Crawford and Graham are trying to figure out what kind of psychopath they’re dealing with, to which Graham replies that he’s never seen or read about a psychopath like their Willy Wonka. He tells Crawford that the psychopath loves the girls he abducts, but wouldn’t disrespect them by forcing himself onto them sexually (Which is why Elise died a virgin, without any saliva or semen on her.) They come to the conclusion that the next abduction will be soon.
The only clue that they have is the piece of metal on the victim’s dress. Graham also comes to the conclusion that Elise was hung on deer antlers like a hook, and when he’s told that her liver was put back in her body, he says “Something wrong with the meat.” “She has liver cancer.”
“He’s eating them.”
And then we get our first glance at Dr. Hannibal Lecter, enjoying a gourmet meal by himself.
Did anyone else get chills at this point or was it just me?
The first meeting between Crawford and Hannibal happens in the doctor’s office. After Crawford asks Hannibal with his help on the psychological profile of Willy Wonka, we find the two of them at FBI headquarters with Graham. Graham isn’t too happy when Hannibal makes a few uninvited observations about him, which leads to my favorite line from the episode so far.
“Please, don’t psychoanalyze me. You won’t like me when I’m psychoanalyzed.”
Next victim is found in a field. We find out that the Minneapolis PD has made a statement, calling our Willy Wonka the “Minnesota Shrike” (We learn that shrikes are perching birds known for impaling its prey.They’re also known as ‘butcher birds’ because of their eating habits.) This victim was likely alive when her lungs were taken out of her body.
The chill factor went up to 100 for me as Hannibal meticulously cleaned and chopped up a pair of lungs in the next scene, enjoying his meal with a satisfied grin on his face.
OH AND THEN HE BRINGS IT TO GRAHAM’S HOME FOR BREAKFAST.(Excuse all the caps but this was me screaming at my TV in that very moment.)
“How do you see me,” Graham asks Hannibal.
“The mongoose I want under the house when the snakes slither by. Finish your breakfast,” replies Hannibal.
The last few scenes literally had me at the edge of my scene and holding my breath. Graham figures out who the Willy Wonka is (A man named Hobbs), and Hannibal gives the man a call, simply telling him that “They know.” In the next scene, Graham and Hannibal arrive at Hobbs’ home, to be greeted by him shoving his bleeding wife out of the front door. Graham kicks down the front door with his gun drawn and finds the killer in the kitchen, holding a gun to her daughter’s neck. Before Graham can get a shot in, he slices her neck and Graham shoots him. With his last breath, Hobbs asks “Is he here?” as Hannibal walks into the kitchen and looks down at blood-covered Graham trying to save the girl.
In the final scene, Graham walks into the daughter’s hospital room to find Hannibal asleep by her bedside, holding her hand.
As someone who has been obsessed with Hannibal Lecter (books and movies), as well as criminal profiling, I had a lot of high expectations for this show. Needless to say, the pilot did not disappoint and the promo for the rest of the season left me breathless. I foresee a lot of HOLY SHIT and FUCK moments in my recaps.
This is the first time I have done a show recap in a very long time. What did you like about it? Should I have included more details? Let me know your thoughts and I will keep it all in mind for next week’s Hannibal recap!
Berrak is a writer for Sweatpants & Coffee. She is currently in psychological thriller heaven.