Hannibal Review: “Buffet Froid” (Season 1, Episode 10)


First the good news: Hannibal has been renewed for a second season. “Fannibals” were atwitter last evening as NBC made the announcement shortly before the broadcast, adding to the already heightened anticipation of what promised to be Season 1’s most unnerving episode yet.

NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke says of developer Bryan Fuller:

“We’re so proud of Bryan’s vision for a show that is richly textured, psychologically complex, and very compelling. There are many great stories still to be told.”

We can’t wait!

Now for the bad news: our man Will is in some serious trouble. Not that he wasn’t walking a tightrope already, but now he has Hannibal Lecter in his head – almost literally.

This week’s case begins in the deep woods of Greenwood, Delaware, as one Beth LeBeau arrives home late and prepares for bed. In a sequence more resembling a horror movie than a psychological thriller, Beth is set upon by the most primal of fearsome figures: the preternatural creature under the bed. And in this case, that primal fear comes terrifyingly true.

Equally disturbing for all concerned is the incident at the crime scene, where Will emerges deeply shaken and having actually contaminated the field by laying hands on the body during one of his hallucinatory blackouts. All agree that Will has crossed a threshold; the entire team is concerned, and Jack is now wondering aloud if he has, in fact, broken Will.

It would appear this is precisely that case; describing to Hannibal a certain “grandiosity” that has begun informing his crime scene impressions, Hannibal reminds Will that he’s reconstructing the thinking of a killer – not thinking like a killer.

Unfortunately this isn’t exactly accurate. As Hannibal explains to Jack, Will is possessed of an excess of something called “mirror neurons.” These neurons help us connect to others by sparking an empathetic response, and then self-destructing the second the job is done. But Will’s live on. In other words, Will is not assessing the crime scene, he’s absorbing it. And if that isn’t enough, a cognitive test revealed that he’s also experiencing “spatial neglect” – Will’s mind rather seems to be melting, as it were.

Time for a brain scan. Under the care of Hannibal’s neurologist colleague Dr. Sutcliffe (John Benjamin Hickey), Will undergoes an MRI, his confined position triggering delightful flashes of being trapped under a bed with the apparition that mutilated Beth.

It’s no supernatural apparition, of course. Rather, it’s a long-missing and desperately ill young woman named Georgia (Ellen Muth). Suffering from lifelong mental illness, a raging systemic infection of some kind, and massive liver failure, she’s ravaged and delirious. But that doesn’t make her any less terrifying (think Samara from The Ring).

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