This episode was written by Jeff Vlaming, Andrew Black, and Bryan Fuller, and directed by David Slade.
Jack and his team discover the truth of Freddie Lounds' disappearance; Will tells Alana to arm herself; Mason suspects his sister intends to usurp him; Hannibal shows Will how much Abigail reminded him of his sister.
In a dark forest, a black stag keels over on its side as the Wendigo approaches. A geyser of blood erupts from the animal's side, splattering across the snow. A new stagman claws his way out of the animal, tearing a membrane away from his face and screaming as he draws breath.
It's the Willdigo.
Will and Hannibal are having dinner. The two talk about Will's evolution as a killer, how his heart didn't race when he killed Freddie Lounds. "A low heart rate is a true indicator of one's capacity for violence. One might say you're genetically predisposed to it," Hannibal says. Killing, he says, is changing the way Will thinks.
A security guard sits in his booth at the bottom of a parking garage ramp. He hears a strange squeaking sound. It is a wheelchair, a vaguely human-looking body seated in it, rolling down the ramp. The whole thing is on fire, burning like a candle. The chair stops when it bumps into a parking block with the name F. Lounds stencilled on it.
The charred body lies in the BAU lab, where Price and Zeller have positively identified it as Freddie Lounds. They are sure she was dead before her body was burned, which one supposes is a mercy, sort of. Her killer sliced off a couple of her muscles beforehand. A peculiar trophy, Hannibal muses.
Will is there too, helping to build a profile of Freddie's killer. Margot Verger admitted that she seduced him in order to get pregnant, and good news, it worked! A Verger heir means her brother can't cut her off from the family fortune now.
Will is angry with Margot, who now wants nothing from him. Still, she says if he wants to participate in raising the kid, she's not opposed to a male influence in her child's life.
One can understand why she does not want that male influence to be her brother, who at that moment is terrifying a young boy on a tour of the Verger estate so the child will cry and Mason can swab up his tears to use as an ingredient in a martini.
Will is awakened from another stag dream by a knock at his door. It's Alana Bloom, still wrestling with the possibility that Will is a killer, terrified that his relationship with Hannibal is harmful to him. Which is ironic, coming from her. Will is harsh, telling her she's right to be afraid.
Will does have a gift for her: a gun. He tells her to buy ammo, find a range, and practice.
Mason Verger is now in therapy with Hannibal, which seems like closing the barn door after all the insane horses have left. Mason is whiny and self-absorbed, thoughtlessly tossing his jacket haphazardly on a daybed in the therapist's office.
Mason is reveling in his power over his sister, whom he can cut off and make destitute at any moment, since their father's will makes him the sole Verger heir. Unless, Hannibal says, biology provides another heir.
After Freddie's funeral, it does not take someone long to desecrate her grave. Her body is dug up and posed, with extra arms from somewhere else, to look like Shiva, the god thought of as both the Creator and the Destroyer in Hinduism. Alana is at the crime scene as the BAU works it, offering her own profile of the killer. Having also seen someone recently mutilate and display Randall Tier's body, the FBI assumes there is a link between the two cases. And that link, Alana insists to Jack Crawford, is Will.
Alana later confides her fears about Will to Hannibal. She is confused, questioning everything. Hannibal kisses her hand and smells something.
"Have you been firing a gun?" he asks. "I told you I was feeling paranoid," she says.
Margot's brother is tormenting her, telling her he wants an heir. Margot has a bloom about her. How does she do it? "What is your secret?" her brother teases. Margot plays dumb. Another generation of Vergers? She's just trying to survive this one.
Margot flees the Verger estate in the middle of the night, throwing suitcases into her car and tearing away in a near panic. On a lonely country road a truck crashes into her. Her car is totaled. Margot sits in the wreckage, stunned. The door of the truck opens and out steps Carlo, her brother's henchman.
Margot's eyes flutter open. She's in a hospital - machines beep, a doctor in a surgical mask hovers above her. It's Mason. She's paralyzed, unable to move as her brother tells her the doctor is going to find something wrong with her "lady parts" and will be performing a hysterectomy.
In Jack's office, Alana declares she knows everyone is lying to each other - Will, Hannibal, him. She has no confidence she knows Hannibal, and she's sure whatever is going on, Jack is going to lose.
Jack studies her. "I want you to come with me," he says. They walk through the halls of Quantico into a conference room. Freddie Lounds is there, alive. "How was my funeral?" she asks Alana genially.
Meanwhile, Will drives to the Verger estate and finds Mason sitting next to his pen full of human-eating pigs, listening to classical music. He punches Mason, dangles him above the pigpen and puts a gun to Mason's head as he explains that Hannibal manipulated Margot into wanting an heir and seducing Will to get it, and Mason into taking it from her. A new alliance might be forming.
- In the script, the Will/Alana scene takes place immediately after the opening “stag birth” sequence, and Will is awakening from the stag dream. This appears to have been changed in editing, in order to move the scene after Freddie’s body is found.
Book to Show Edit
- In the novel Hannibal Rising, Petras Kolnas’s restaurant Café de L’Este in France serves ortolans drowned in Armagnac as a “sub rosa specialty” (listing them as larks on the menu), and has an aviary full of them. Men who order the ortolans are said to tent napkins over their heads to keep the aroma in (not to hide from God). After killing Kolnas, an 18-year-old Hannibal frees all the ortolans and tells them to fly to the Baltic, in contrast to his less humane attitude on the show.
- Hannibal favorite “Goldberg Variations” (last heard in “Fromage,” and first referenced in the novel The Silence of the Lambs) plays as Hannibal and Will consume ortolans.
- Hannibal’s “blood and breath” line comes directly from Red Dragon, where Dolarhyde believes Lecter understands this about Dolarhyde’s killings.
- The disposal of “Freddie”’s corpse roughly corresponds to Freddy’s death in the novel Red Dragon. In the book, Francis Dolarhyde lights a still-living Lounds on fire while glued to a wheelchair with epoxy glue, then sends Lounds rolling down the street to the Tattler office; the security guard puts the fire out and Lounds dies shortly after.
- Setting the flaming wheelchair scene in the Tattler parking garage pays tribute to the 1986 film Manhunter, the first screen adaptation of Red Dragon. Some shots in the sequence are direct homages to that film.
- The corpse landing perfectly in Freddie’s parking spot is a reference to the fact that in Red Dragon, Dolarhyde kidnaps Freddy after parking partially in Lounds’s spot, irritating Freddy.
- The references to Freddie’s longing to be noticed and her inability to keep herself out of her stories come from narration in Red Dragon.
- This episode is the sole TV show appearance of Franklin, from the novel Hannibal. The scene between Mason and Franklin comes directly from the novel, where it takes place nearly two decades after Mason has been disfigured and paralyzed (the implication being that this psychological abuse is all that’s left to the sadistic/pedophiliac Verger after his injuries). The show abridges some of the book’s dialogue. In the book, Franklin is black and speaks in a stereotypically urban dialect, and Mason implies that the “something wrong” with Franklin is the darkness of his skin and claims that the police found a marijuana cigarette in the house when explaining why “Mama” lost her approval as a foster. The show removes this racial/socioeconomic element. The show also removes a particularly cruel portion where Mason gives Franklin rat poison to give to Kitty Cat, saying it is the only way he can save Kitty Cat from a terrifying death by injection at the pound (it is later revealed that Franklin attempts suicide by taking the poison himself, and that Mason is paying off a welfare rep to keep his indiscretions quiet). In the novel, after Mason’s death, Margot plans to bring Franklin and his entire foster family (including Kitty Cat) to Muskrat Farm.
- Mason listening to Moroccan music comes from the novel Hannibal (in the novel, Mason spent time in Africa assisting Ugandan dictator Idi Amin brutally executing people).
- Mason’s dialogue about camp comes from the novel Hannibal, where he tells Clarice this backstory. In the novel, it is specified to be Christian camp. In the book, no reference is made to Mason continuing to sponsor the camp after his father died, and his dialogue about “taking advantage” referred to childhood behavior at the camp, whereas in the show it is implied to be more recent. Mason’s dialogue about getting a walk on “trumped-up charges” and the specifics of his sentence also come from later in that same chapter, but in the book, the charges (specified as “molestation charges”) did not necessarily arise from his involvement with the camp. In the book, it was as a result of this plea that Mason met Hannibal for his court-ordered therapy. He attempted to get Hannibal “involved in something” (impliedly BDSM), just as he apparently succeeded at this strategy with his psychiatrist in the show.
- Hannibal mentions the name of his sister Mischa (from Hannibal and Hannibal Rising) for the first time.
- Hannibal’s metaphor of teacups coming together (recalling Abigail dropping her teacup in “Œuf”) comes from Stephen Hawking by way of the novel Hannibal. In the book, Hannibal has an admiration for Errol Morris’s 1991 biographical documentary on Hawking, A Brief History of Time. In particular, he loves a sequence where Hawking explains his theory that when the universe stops expanding and begins to contract, entropy will reverse and shattered teacups will come back together (although Hannibal notes that Hawking later decided this theory was mistaken, he hopes that Hawking was right the first time so that Mischa could become whole again one day). The shot in the episode of the teacup reassembling mimics a similar shot in Morris’s film.
- Hannibal’s line about dropping a teacup on purpose is taken near-verbatim from closing narration in the novel Hannibal. However, in the book, Hannibal (living with Clarice) is said to be satisfied when it does not gather itself back together, having seemingly moved past his obsession with reviving Mischa.
- Mason’s line about Beethoven comes from narration in Hannibal describing him plotting his plan to breed pigs to eat Hannibal (in the novel, he is in bed because he is paralyzed). The line about meat being a “people business” and to Mason’s “real education” come from the same chapter, as does his anecdote in the later therapy scene of attending the swine fairs as a child.
- Mason’s line about wanting to have “a Verger baby, my own baby,” comes from the novel Hannibal, where Margot says it (substituting “our” for “my,” on behalf of her and her partner Judy) in a chapter where she begs a post-paralysis Mason for a sperm donation to create a Verger heir through Judy. Mason’s line “it would be your heir, too” and the reference to his “viable sperm” also are said by Margot in this same chapter.
- Hannibal’s dialogue about not being “bothered by any considerations of deity” comes from narration in the novel Hannibal. This is said to be in direct response to a mocking partial answer to his prayer as a six-year-old to see Mischa again — he found a few of her teeth in his captors’ stool pit, paralleling his taunting of Will on the show with the “answer” to Will’s prayer to see Abigail. Hannibal’s line about God’s “wanton malice” and irony also comes from this chapter.
- The idea of there being a “place” in the world for someone deceased comes from the novel Hannibal, where Hannibal believes that Clarice represents the place that Mischa might fill, and enacts a regimen of brainwashing to bring this about.
- Hannibal quotes nineteenth-century French police officer Alphonse Bertillion when he says, “One observes only things which are already on the mind.” This quote appears as an epigraph at the start of the novel Red Dragon.
- Margot’s license plate MUSKRAT3 refers to the name of the Verger family manor in the novel, Muskrat Farm.
- In the novel Hannibal, Margot is unable to have children genetically because she “shriveled [her] ovaries” due to steroid use. The show, in eliminating her stereotypical bodybuilding, instead assigns Mason a new act of sadism by making him responsible for Margot’s infertility.
- Nothing in the novels indicates that Will Graham ever met Mason (although Will certainly knew of Mason, as he vaguely alludes to him as a surviving victim of Hannibal’s in Red Dragon, and it is possible that Will visited a post-paralysis Mason while investigating Hannibal’s crimes).
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