Headscratchers: Hannibal

  • In "Buffet Froid", Dr. Sutcliffe claims that Hannibal could identify nurses' perfumes by scent alone back in medical school. Why on earth would a male have so much knowledge about all kinds of women's perfumes?
    • He knew enough about Men's Cologne to identify Will's by the smell of it. Why not women's perfume?
    • Serious answer: if you're going to study scents/the making of them at all, you're going to have to become familiar with combinations of notes that end up in women's perfumes, and a lot of older women's scents are more unisex than one might think, making them popular with male collectors. Hannibal clearly isn't shy about pursuing refined or luxurious hobbies that might in a more pedestrian view be read as less than ruggedly masculine — see his eye for interior design, dress, fine art and good food, etc. Silly answer: maybe the good doctor has some other hobbies.
    • Plus, it would have made him very charming. Imagine him buying the perfect scent for a person he's courting (he has actually had relationships that didn't end with omnomnoming); very thoughtful, classy gesture! He comes across as kind of a dandy, too. Also, a lot of hospitals are scent-free — no perfume allowed. He "called out" a nurse's perfume; maybe that was why.
  • In "Buffet Froid", Hannibal is wearing a hazmat suit while murdering Dr. Sutcliffe so that he won't get blood on his clothes or leave physical evidence (fingerprints, clothing fibers) at the scene. However, Hannibal is not wearing a hazmat head covering. Why would he go through the trouble of donning a hazmat suit but leave his head bare? Not only would he be shedding hairs that could be used as forensic evidence, but anyone who caught him in the act would see his face. It's a stupid mistake for someone of Hannibal's intelligence.
    • Because Hannibal gets off on copying other murderers and the fact that he got to do it in front of the killer herself, and further, knowing she couldn't see his real face must have been one of the most satisfying things Lecter has gotten away with ~Troper Before Time
    • Let's be honest, it could just as well be something the writers never considered.
  • In "Buffet Froid", we discover that Will has spatial neglect on the left side due to the swelling of his right brain. Said spatial neglect would prohibit him from turning in the direction he's neglecting (in this case, left), among other things (e.g. he would not be aware of stimuli on his left); however, it appears that the only manifestation of his spatial neglect is his clock drawing.
  • Dr. Sutcliffe lied to Will, telling him that his brain scan showed no organic cause for his symptoms (whereas the audience knows that Will has encephalitis). Why didn't Will seek a second opinion, or talk to doctors in other fields about other potential organic causes? Given the seriousness of his symptoms, it makes little sense that he wouldn't seek a second opinion.
    • I guess he trusted the diagnosis because Hannibal backed it up. That or he was holding the Idiot Ball.
    • Will's greatest fear is losing himself to insanity; Hannibal had been playing on that and explicitly convincing him that looking for biological causes was just grasping at straws. So when Will was told nothing was wrong with his brain, after he'd pinned his hopes to the scan revealing that he wasn't at long last doomed the way he and his colleagues had believed for years, he just gave up. He wasn't like Georgia's mother, looking for second opinions on a cause, because the scan was the second opinion: the first was that he gazed into the abyss and it ate him.
  • The plotline of "Relevés" doesn't work, for the exact same reason it didn't work in Sherlock: If Will Graham has been an evil serial killer all along, mocking you behind your back, etc, etc — why would he help you catch himself? It's like the police in these genius-solves-crimes shows just love to grab the Idiot Ball and run with it.
    • Except in this case Hannibal's convinced Jack that Will is suffering from a dissociative personality disorder and may not be fully aware himself if he's a killer.
    • That is, in fact, exactly what Hannibal convinced Jack of — he didn't make them think that Will is an evil serial killer manipulating and mocking them behind them back (e.g. Hannibal himself), he convinced them that Will has a dissociative personality that committed the murders without him being aware of it. So no, as far as Jack has led to believe, Will helping them catch himself, because he isn't even aware that he's a killer in the first place.
    • "Why would he help you catch himself" could apply to Lecter, who actually is doing just that. For Graham and Sherlock, the Feds / police believe that they simply "slipped up" and made a mistake, which is how Hannibal himself is likely to be beaten, except with Hannibal it will be for real. And Word of God suggests that Jack Crawford isn't totally convinced and is going to dig deeper.
  • When Hannibal murdered Dr. Sutcliffe, he donned a plastic hazmat suit so that he wouldn't get blood on his clothes or leave forensic evidence. However, when he's about to murder Abigail, he isn't wearing a plastic suit. Given how bloody Abigail's murder was, how is it that Hannibal's bloody clothes never became a problem? Did he bury or burn them? How is it that he didn't leave forensic evidence such as bloody footprints in the kitchen?
    • Theory one: choke out victim (which he has done before). Produce plastic suit, don plastic suit. Commit murder. Arrange. Take great care, given this is your pièce de résistance and you're creating it for a friend. Then find Will and dress him for the occasion. Theory two: She's Just Hiding! I can dream.
  • How did The Angelmaker do that to himself? It would be one thing if he were standing on the ground, but he suspended himself 10 feet up!
    • It's only skin, he wouldn't die of his wounds. He would have some time before he died of shock, and if the ropes were rigged up ahead of time (note he's hanging from loose loops, the rope isn't pulled tight) he could done it, with difficulty.
    • That is not true, the wounds clearly go all the way to the bone, which means that the latissimus dorsi has been severed. Those muscles are absolutely necessary to produce a pulling motion, which the killer would have to do to hoist himself up. Add to that the fact that all the other major muscles of the back have been rendered useless, and the massive blood loss, shock and pain involved. It is simply physically impossible to do that to oneself.
    • Of course, it's entirely possible that he didn't and the Feds fingered the wrong man. In which case, the real killer is likely either Hannibal (he was playing with Will's fishhooks earlier; the killings are done in the style of the Chesapeake Ripper — who of course is Lecter — minus the "surgical trophies"; and it was suggested — I shot down — that the killer was mocking Christianity, which Lecter is apt to do); or even Francis Dolarhyde (he is "transforming" his victims, which is what Dolarhyde did / will do; the hallucination of the "Angel Maker" even says something like "receive my majesty" which is something Dolarhyde said; the killer is said to be religious, and Dolarhyde was abuse by his fundamentalist grandmother — and thinks he is turning into the Devil; also, Word of God is that we see some of Dolarhyde's "early work" in this season; also whoever did these murders, esp. the last two — counting the Angel Maker, if he is innocent — is likely very strong, as Dolarhyde is, to position them like that). At no point do we actually see the man commit any murders, and his ex-wife says he wasn't particularly religious and was surprised at being asked. We also see a homeless guy when the "Angel Maker" sees the security guard but he disappears when the body is discovered (though that is where the AM's...you know...is found, where the homeless guy was sitting) so it's possible that he was the murderer in disguise. The Angel Maker is probably involved in some way, but he might not be the killer.
      • Oh, and Dolarhyde's grandma threatened to castrate him because he kept shitting himself as a kid (nice lady), so yet more evidence that it might be Dolarhyde.
  • What happened to Miriam Lass? We see Hannibal choking her, presumably not to death because he made a recording which he later played to Jack on the phone. So he kept her somewhere and made a recording because he thought it will come in handy one day? And then killed her and kept her arm because he thought it will be useful as well? Or did he keep her locked somewhere for 2 years?
    • Lecter choked her unconscious (quite tenderly and regretfully), took her God-knows-where, recorded some material, killed her, hacked her to bits and froze them; almost certainly specifically so he could then use her remains to mess with Jack when the opportunity came, whenever that was. Hannibal plans for the long-term when inflicting torment. I think it's also deliberately left unclear what the specifics of her fate actually were after Hannibal choked her out, just to add another turn of the screw for the audience and Jack. What I don't think is that she's still alive.
      • Although, as it turns out... (she is.)
      • Yeek... then just take off the last two steps and substitute "removed her arm". With the extra joy that Hannibal obviously likes to keep things around for later use, even when he doesn't know what it might be, as long as he can be sure they'll be safe. He seems especially fond of the smart ones. I cannot wait until he's imprisoned, they confiscate all his fancy suits and play dubstep and televangelist shows in his cell at him all day.
  • How will setting the series in the modern day affect Lecter's backstory? Bryan Fuller has mentioned that this Lecter is still Lithuanian, but has also said this series has a kind of "J.J. Abrams-style alternate universe storytelling" to justify the fact that the character of Count Robert Lecter, killed by the Nazis in the books, is alive and will factor into Season 2. My best guess would be the writers will update the invaders from the Nazis to the Soviets. As many Baltics have said, the countries just keep being "liberated" over and over again by hostile regimes.
  • While the confrontation between Hannibal and Tobias is undeniably an Awesome Moment, when you think about the subsequent investigation it would seem to be as holey as the episode's namesake. This kicks in from the moment Lecter breaks Tobias' right arm on the ladder. His full statement to the police/FBI would be something like: "I was providing my weekly therapy session to Franklin. During the break I excused myself to get a glass of water. On my return I was horrified to find Tobias standing over Franklin's corpse, proudly proclaiming that he snapped his neck. He then attacked me with a set of steel strings as a whip, then a glass stool and subsequently stabbed me in the thigh with my pen opener. I did everything in my power to defend myself but he started to overpower me with punches, kicks and knee strikes. Fearing for my life I was forced to break his arm, at which point he yelled in agony, stumbling back against the table and knocking the statue onto his head. He died instantly, and I proceeded to contact the authorities.". Fair enough. But it doesn't really stand up.
  1. Forensically, the police should see through this. There's a shot of Tobias kneeling over, stunned and gasping for breath after the larynx strike Lecter gave him. He gets brained by the statue, and lies contorted on his side, towards his front. How would this be possible if he fell back against the statue? Further, when Hannibal tips the table over, it seems a little too far for it to have fallen on him; Tobias is a few feet away from the wall.
  2. To break Tobias' arm backwards, the police know Lecter would either have to have done martial arts, have used a weapon, or both, his surgical experience notwithstanding. It wasn't just a simple strike, and he knows that the investigation team will see this. Does he make up a story about Jujitsu? Has he actually studied an art, and can the police verify this? The self defence argument is always wobbly, even in extreme circumstances such as this. More so if he confesses that he used the ladder for the rope-a-dope break. That has to look very suspicious and manipulative to the law, as he lured Tobias into punching through the ladder rungs.
  3. We see Tobias use pathetic, desperate left handed punches as a final option after the break. Does Hannibal mention this? We don't know. If so, it weakens his statement further, because he should have known to restrain Tobias in some fashion and call the police. We know he didn't do a citizen's arrest because of his bloodlust. Let's just assume for his sake that he didn't bring that detail up.
  4. More forensics: we see him snapping Franklin's neck bare handed. He'd have to dust down his prints on the head and the jaw and then use Tobias' dead hands for prints to take the blame. Difficult, considering they died at different parts of the room and what with having to move one of the bodies over to the other (and back?!). He had better not mention the termination of Franklin's therapy!
    • All of this presupposes one thing — that the police/FBI are going to be suspicious of his story. Remember, this is Dr. Lecter, who has helped them catch serial killers, and is helping their profiler with his mental problems. They have no suspicions that he's anything but a good guy — and they know Tobias was an extremely dangerous (and quite insane) serial killer who just murdered two policemen. Yes, if they did a careful forensic exam questions might be raised, but there's no reason they would even bother with anything other the minimum necessary, there isn't even the need to cover every detail, since there will be no trial involved.
    • Yes, but just by moving Tobias' body they will find his right arm broken, and that has to raise questions (namely, perhaps, the other ones I suggested). Crawford even looks somewhat doubtful of the self defence story, despite his usual blind trust in the man. Really, in a situation like this with two bodies, you have to assume that Franklin's head would be dusted for prints. The possibility that Tobias wasn't the culprit must be evaluated. And in that case Lecter's only recourse would be to dust the head down; that's fine, but it probably shouldn't be left to the audience to infer that. A cut from his shattered neck to Lecter's hidden handkerchief (half smile optional) would have helped here.
    • That's all supposing that they even care about taking a closer look. Sure, the broken arm and the death-by-stag make Lecter's self-defence statement look a bit wobbly. But who cares? Tobias has just killed two police officers, propped up a body in a particularly twisted manner, and likely killed dozens more for instrument building. Meanwhile, Hannibal is one of the FBI's top consultants, one of the best in a very respectable profession, and most of all a personal friend to the man leading the investigation. Yes, Jack might suspect something. And then would brush it off, because he (and likely most other officers on the scene) does not give a flying fuck if Tobias was killed by a little more force than would be acceptable. Even if he outright knew that Hannibal killed an incapacitated Tobias in cold blood, he would not have pushed the issue. As long as there is plausible denieability, there is not going to be an investigation. As for Franklin, an absence of fingerprints on his neck would raise a few red flags in normal circumstances, but they are even less likely to look into that. From their point of few, it would be incredibly far-fetched to assume that someone other than Tobias killed him — what reason could Hannibal possibly have?
    • I think we should always take crime show forensics with a pinch of salt but, the way I read it was Hannibal told it like this: Tobias came in startling them, Hannibal being a composed man and one not used to combat did not immediately engage, Franklyn appealed to Tobias, Tobias snapped his neck, he attacked Hannibal and there was a big scuffle (resulting in various injuries and scattered forensic evidence), the stag was knocked over and in a panic Hannibal grabbed it and smashed Tobias on the head with it, being a doctor he examined Franklyn (which probably involved touching his neck), and probably Tobias, and contacted the FBI. Add to that the fact that — as mentioned above — Tobias is obviously a killer, they probably wouldn't be looking too hard. Note also, Hannibal doesn't say Tobias fell against the statue, he admits to killing him (albeit in self-defense). Franklyn has been in that room plenty of times so his DNA could be anywhere. Hannibal breaks his neck in a way that probably wouldn't create as strong a print as say a strangulation. There are holes — specifically, the injury to Tobias' throat, but most of it could probably be hand-waved. And goodness knows what tools that murder wizard has in his office.
    • Fair enough. You guys have convincingly responded to most of my points. But can you explain the fact of Tobias' broken arm? It would be very clear during autopsy (or even casual inspection if you tell me he won't get an autopsy) that the arm was broken with both brute force and a certain degree of applied cunning.
  • Also in "Fromage", how does Tobias overcome two armed police officers in the space of about 30 seconds (while Will is outside) and murder them both? Yes he's a Bad Ass and a Smug Snake, but regardless. Of course Hannibal managed it in TSOTL but we actually saw how he pulled that off. To be fair, given Will's mental state it's possible he spent longer outside than the scene suggests investigating the audio hallucination, but still. The nature of their deaths is fairly elaborate.
  • In "Kaiseki", after Jack's been stabbed in the neck, he takes refuge in Hannibal's wine cellar. Hannibal starts breaking down the door...but why would a wine cellar need a door that locked from the inside?
    • Maybe the original owner of the house created it as a safe-room, and Hannibal repurposed it as a wine cellar.
      • Is it possible that the door isn't locked and Jack is leaning against it from the other side?
    • It's not locked, as the above person guessed, Jack's leaning on it. When you watch the door from Jack's side it opens slightly every time Hannibal connects with it.
  • In "Sakizuki", why would Hannibal be so foolish as to plan to kill Bedelia? Wouldn't he be a prime suspect if he'd succeeded, given that she'd just severed their therapeutic relationship days before? Even if he left no evidence, wouldn't police find it suspicious that people in Hannibal's professional life (Franklyn, Abigail, and nearly Bedelia) keep dying?
    • From his perspective, it's better to kill her than to have her working against him. It's possible he was planning to kill her and stage it as a home invasion, or a robbery gone wrong. Or perhaps he planned to leave no evidence-she'd simply disappear. Given that that she DID abruptly disappear, it remains to be seen whether that will result in attention being paid to him. Then again, we don't see Bedelia have much contact with others, and we know Hannibal is her only patient. If she doesn't have much in the way of family or friends, it's entirely possible that her absence won't be noticed for some weeks, perhaps longer.
  • In "Hassun", how on earth does a serial killer murder a judge in his own chamber, dissect him, and artistically arrange his corpse in a courtroom without anyone noticing? Even for a surreal horror series, this pushes the bounds of plausibility.
    • This can be addressed with a couple of points in the episode. First of all, when the bailiff is murdered, Will remarks that he considered the murderer to be his 'friend'. This points to someone with connections and/or access within the courthouse. They could have had help, or at least made sure that nobody was around for the kill and subsequent staging of the scene. Also given the shot of the janitor doing the cleaning, I imagine that they were working throughout the night, during the court's off-hours.
  • In "Takiawase", why didn't Beverly take pictures and text them as soon as she took them just in case? She did take pictures (as far as I remember), and she didn't believe Will entirely, but she was in the house of a potential serial killer.
    • Even if Beverly didn't tell anyone where she was going or upload evidence, couldn't the FBI track her cell phone to Hannibal's house after she was found? Unless she didn't have it on her, which would be Plot-Induced Stupidity to say the least.
      • I don't think Beverly was ever actually reported missing. Her murder and her tableau unveiling seemed to happen in a very short window, and no one had reason to believe she was in danger. After all, Jack didn't seem to know who they'd found until he was up there. I imagine her cell was long gone/destroyed by that time.
  • In "Mukōzuke", why do Jack and Alana start looking for Hannibal at his office? It's clearly nighttime, so why wouldn't they start searching at his house? This kind of loops back around to the Idiot Plot another troper mentioned in the YMMV page: obviously they aren't going to search his house and conveniently find all of the organs and murder equipment for the sake of the story, but writing around that feels a little bit contrived.
    • Well, the true reason for that is probably that they didn't want to spend too much time on establishing where Crawford and Bloom were, and Lecter's office is instantly recognizable, his home not so much. For an in-story explanation: It might have been their second stop. It's not like they were going to conduct an in-depth search of his house, so they wouldn't find any of his victims or tools. Beverly found them easily because she was looking for human parts used in the preparation of food, so of course the freezer was her first stop (and the hidden basement was an accidental find anyway). Jack and Alana would have no reason to pay particularly close attention to the kitchen, they didn't suspect Hannibal of anything, they wanted to find him to protect him.
    • From the same episode: first Miriam Lass' arm, then Dr. Gideon's unnecessary surgery session and now Beverly. Will someone LOCK THE DAMN DOORS to this observatory already?
      • I can't imagine locked doors being much of an issue for Hannibal Lecter, particularly if he can take his time (assuming the observatory doesn't have a security guard or similar).
  • In "Mukōzuke", as in other episodes, Hannibal successfully engages in time-consuming actions in some sort of off-screen time warp killing, disassembling, and moving Beverly. I first questioned how he had enough time to do this, and still spend a large portion of the evening and the morning after with Jack. But I understand that Hannibal consistently exhibits the capacity for Traveling at the Speed of Plot. Then, I wondered, how could he possibly carry all the equipment to set up his mural in the observatory? Does he have a secret huge truck we don't know about, with a freezer? Because Beverly was frozen when she left his house, but she wouldn't stay that way long, and she was leaking blood all over the place when Freddie Lounds found her. Could this just be Fantastic Time Management?
    • In that episode, note that Lounds approaches the observatory wearily as she was probably anonymously informed about it by Hannibal or some third party. The time is not exactly clear, but judging that by the time Will arrives it's still bright, I'd say it was shortly before noon. Point is, Hannibal got to choose when to expose the body - he wasn't in a hurry. He could have easily kept the body for a day. Yet, given Hannibal's experience in such artwork, it is not very surprising he did it overnight. Freezing the body is done by itself; after it's frozen, he cuts it and puts it in these layer holders, which let's say takes 2 hours total for an experienced serial killer (probably less). That seems pretty reasonable: He showed Jack off at 7 or 8, started preparing everything, was done by 10, and by 11 the body was in the observatory. It also is perfectly possible to transport the mural to the observatory without leaking any of the melting ice / blood by wrapping it in a bunch of foil. Obviously, he needs a rather big car to accomplish that and the SUV he is driving might be suited, especially if the backseats are removed.
  • Miriam Lass believes that Chilton is the Chesapeake Ripper and has an extremely bad reaction to hearing his voice, causing her to grab Jack's gun and shoot him in the head through the window of the interrogation room. I found some problems with this A. isn't she going to have to deal with going through the legal system because she in fact killed someone (she couldn't pull the in 'self defense card') but I suppose she could prove she wasn't in her right mind when she did it.
    • Also, (I'm not an expert at these kinds of things) but wouldn't it make MUCH MORE sense for the windows of the interrogation room to be made of bullet-proof glass? The could protect the people outside the room on the slight chance someone being interrogated snuck in a weapon and people inside...
    • I definitely think she could get away with temporary insanity. I mean, I don't know how well that would hold up in reality but this is television and she's clearly traumatized. Also, Word of God implies that Chilton is still alive.
    • Do we know what happened to Miriam after she shot Chilton? Because I think it hasn't been brought up yet. I think it's safe to say that she is in some kind of confinement. Crawford is probably doing his best to shield her from harm, but it's hard to call it self-defense or an accident when a suspect chained to a table gets shot in the head (even if he survived) through a window from another room. But I suppose even that would be possible if all involved keep up a lie, since Jack has a lot of influence. Something along the lines of: "Chilton was not secured properly, freed his hands and attacked Bloom, Jack shot him through the window." But as I said, I think Miriam is kept in some monitored psychiatric ward, awaiting a trial to take place somewhere in the future. As for the properties of the glass, that shouldn't be too hard to explain. Bullet-proof glass is expensive, and even if someone manages to sneak in a firearm (and if that happens something did already go catastrophically wrong), you'd think they would mostly be a danger for the interrogator in the room, not that they would fire blindly through the glass. And last of all, not every bulletproof glass is two-ways. And surely no one expected that someone would shoot INTO the room.
  • How did Gideon manage to kidnapp Chilton? They figured out that Gideon was after all his ex-therapists, and later Alanna mentions that they've all been given an armed police escort. So what about Chilton? He'd be an even more obvious target than Alanna, it would make sense that he would have an escort too but it's never mentioned that Gideon killed a police officer during his kidnapping. So why didn't they give him one? It's later mentioned that Chilton hasn't been answering his phone all night and didn't show up to work the next day and that's when they figure out that he was taken, but wouldn't it have made sense to send a police car by his house after he didn't answer the phone a few times? The policemen would have at least noticed there was a sign of a break in or a struggle or something and alerted the FBI,  Chilton was Gideon's most personal target after the escape and it would have been pretty obvious that he would come after him at some point. I mean I get that Alanna hates Chilton (and she seems to be the one responsible for contacting him) but it still seems out of character that Alanna would turn a blind eye towards a man being potentially killed just because she has a personal dislike of him. And Chilton seems to me indifferent to his fate, too — a murderous surgeon with a personal vendetta against me has just escape from my asylum and he's obviously planning on killing again, I guess I'll just sit at home alone and wait for something to happen' just doesn't seem like a logical train of thought. Why didn't Chilton just skip town for a few days, or if he really couldn't leave Baltimore why didn't he hire a security company or something to protect him? Or at the very least find somewhere else to spend the night? The entire situation always seemed very weird to me, both the FBI and Chilton himself don't seem overly interested in making sure Chilton is safe.
  • In "Entrée", Will does his empathy ability on Gideon. Then in "Roti", he does it again. Why did he need to analyze Gideon a second time if he already did so 5 episodes ago?
    • The first time, he was evaluating a kill where Gideon firmly believed he was the Chesapeake Ripper. The second time, he was having an internal struggle. As such, his motivations needed to be reevaluated.
  • We have never seen Will use his empathic ability on The Chesapeke Ripper's (Hannibal's) murders. Why not? Also maybe he should have used it on people who aren't killers like on a recent object someone used or a room they were in like Alana or Katz. Anyone who isn't a psychotic maniac really or does Will's ability only work on dead bodies? It could've helped balancing out his mind.
    • I think you may be misunderstanding Will's ability. It's not a super-power. What he does combines crime scene training, an active imagination, a knack for understanding another person's point-of-view (even an extremly sick POV) and Fuller and Co's visually dramatic flourishes. Will probably does do this all the time, but when a particularly twisted POV starts to actually make sense to him, it disturbs him deeply.
    • As to if we have gotten the "pendulum vision" version of Will's ability at work on the The Chesapeke Ripper's work... I can't recall if it was the same use of effects (I will rewatch and edit), but we have seen him apply his ability. Also, it was his reading of the Garrett Jacob Hobbs copycat that gave rise to Ravenstag (hardly an inoccuous event, even if it is all just symbolic). It maybe that so many of the killings were copycats with flourishes that the effect is... muddled...
  • Beverly's gloves in Taikawase. Surely leather would have been a better use for what was essentialy breaking and entering and burglary. Less chance of gloveprints.
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