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Recap / Hannibal S 01 E 05

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Season 1, Episode 5:

Coquilles

Bare feet on an empty road as Will Graham sleepwalks into the night. Behind him, pacing him, is the ravenstag, bumping his right arm. Graham raises that arm as blinding light pierces the fog of sleep: a police cruiser, lights flashing. The cops are cautious but not hostile, and the thing that nudged his arm turns out to be Winston, the dog he rescued in the first episode. The officers drive him home.

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The next daylight, Graham arrives at Lecter's place to confess his sleepwalking. Lecter chalks it up to stress, specifically difficulty with aggressive tendencies. He places the onus on Crawford, who forced Graham into the field. Graham refutes Lecter's description of his relationship with Crawford as "a devil's bargain," but Lecter returns: "When it comes to getting what he wants, he's certainly no saint."

And this is our segue to the Monster of the Week, currently engaged in the terrifying business of scooping ice out of a motel icebox. He glances up as a family walk by, and again at a younger couple. To his eyes, their faces, their hands, all their flesh, is wreathed in flame.

After the title sequence, we find Behavioral Analysis in Trenton, NJ, converging on the motel. The murderer, registered as John Smith, has killed the couple, registered as a Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. Crawford's first thought was the Chesapeake Ripper, but there were no trophies taken. Indeed, the victims still have all their organs... though not where they left them: within, the man and woman kneel before the bed, hands clasped in prayer, the skin stripped from their backs and their lungs pulled out, stretched with fishing hook and line to make wings. Price mentions that Vikings used to do this to Christians, while Katz discovers vomit on the nightstand. Graham asks for a plastic sheet so he may lay his head down to sleep where the murderer did.

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In more civilized climes, Dr. Lecter hosts the Crawfords for dinner—both of them this time. Lecter inquires as to Bella's full name, and is surprised to learn that it is Phyllis: "We were both stationed in Italy," Crawford explains. "I was Army, she was NATO staff. All of the Italian men kept calling her, 'Bella, bella, bella.'" Lecter, refilling Bella's wine, comments on her perfume and his own keen sense of smell: "I was aware one of my teachers had stomach cancer even before he was."

Back at the lab, Price, Katz and Zellner get to work on the angels, noting the Judeo-Christian imagery: Jesus is associated with fishermen. Katz goes to the obvious conclusion of a God complex, but Graham is of the opinion that these angels were not praying to the murderer, they were praying for him. And analysis of his vomit reveals why: chemotherapy and radiation. He has a brain tumor, and the angels are there to guard him while he sleeps.

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After the commercial break, we find Dr. Lecter opening his door to... Bella Crawford? She admits that she's been seeing "him" at least once a week for a while now. She admits she has indignity to look forward to. She hasn't told Jack because she's protecting him, but admits that she resents the fact that she can't tell him, that he has "too much to worry about to worry about me." Boy, this conversation could be taken a couple of different ways, couldn't it!

He's also, in the next scene, talking to Graham about the Angelmaker. "How do you profile someone who has an anomaly in their head, changing the way they think?" Graham wonders, half to himself. Naturally, the conversation turns (as it is wont to do) to Graham's own state of mind, and his feelings of abandonment. Graham denies them, but Lecter points out that non-abandoned people don't find themselves sleepwalking without a support structure. "Jack promised he would protect your headspace, yet he leaves you to your mental devices."

Another person being abandoned is Crawford, who deliberately stays up late to ambush Bella as she comes to bed. Carefully he broaches the topic of her recent distance, and Bella allows him to ask anything he wants. Ultimately, though, he doesn't: he tells her he loves her, believes in her ability to sort out whatever she needs to, and leaves it at that.

In Cleveland, OH, the Angelmaker wanders down an alleyway, passing a guy in a jacket labeled "SECURITY". To the Angelmaker's eyes, this man too is on fire. One commercial break later, we see Graham looking up at the former security guard, arrayed with the bloody eagle and this time suspended some forty feet up via construction scaffolding. This raises the question of where exactly the Angelmaker is sleeping, to need a guardian in this exact spot. It's certainly not here: he's long gone, as evidenced by the fact that part of him was left behind: specifically, his testicles. Graham interprets this as acceptance of his fate, as he is preparing to become an angel (who, according to gospel canon, lack genitalia. Graham also points out that they also didn't have wings, though this clearly isn't stopping our guy). Crawford wants to know how he's choosing them, and to this Graham has no answer. Crawford pushes him until Graham pushes back, which is not lost on anyone. Even if they do get the fuck out of there so that Crawford can chew Will out in private.

Back at the lab, Beverly is trying to make some overtures to Graham and inquire into his state of mind when Price bustles up with Most-Wanted dossiers. Our first two victims are actually Roger and Marilyn Brenner: "He likes to rape and murder, she likes to watch." And the murdered "security guard" was actually a convicted felon. This, if anything, complicates the question of how Mr. Angelmaker chooses his victims, since vigilantes with brain tumors are fairly rare. "They don't lay down and sleep under their crimes," Graham adds. He decides it's a moot point in the end, though, since the Angelmaker will kill anyone he thinks is a bad guy, whether or not they actually are.

Bella and Lecter have another session, in which Bella admits that Crawford knows something is wrong. But she claims, "I'm not mad at Jack. And there's no point at being mad at cancer for being cancer." Bella is wretched, miserable at her fate and its inevitability, and Lecter takes the moment to ask, kindly but firmly, if this is the time to be pulling away from her husband.

Will can't sleep. And when he can, he wakes up to find himself having almost sleepwalked off the roof of his house. Lecter equates his situation to the Angelmaker's: he is chasing some sort of perfect peace, whereas Graham has accepted its non-existence and now has the bad dreams to show for it. He also suggests that it might be time for a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! from Graham. "The Angelmaker will be destroyed by what's happening inside his head. You don't have to be." Then he smells Graham. And while he plays it for laughs, Lecter has already twice smelled disease on someone in this episode alone.

Zellner has a match for the Angelmaker: Elliot Budish, who rang the cherries at the National Cancer Database. He disappeared from his home in Roanoke, VA four months ago, a month after he was diagnosed. His wife, Emma, admits to having left him, though not without reason: "I took a leave from work to be with him ... but what he wanted was to be alone. He just kept pulling away and pulling away. He made it clear he didn't want me there." As she speaks, we rack in on Crawford's face as the Eureka Moment kindles on it. He pulls it together enough to finish the interview, which yields the one important bit of information: Budish suffered a near-death experience as a boy. She points Behavioral Analysis to the barn where it happened.

Within, the Angelmaker has passed on. He managed to string himself up, becoming his own last victim—"It was his choice to die," Graham explains, "as much as he could make it." Then, in the privacy of this barn, he tries to make his own choice, protesting to Crawford that it's getting harder and harder to function. Crawford says he won't stop him from walking away if that's what he needs, but asks if Graham can really stand to do so with murdering going on. The choice would probably be more obvious if the Angelmaker didn't immediately stagger up to Graham, offering him a chance to transform into something better. Of course, the Angelmaker only offers this to criminals, so far as anyone knows, so this scarcely bodes well for— Oh good, he's actually still strung up.

Finally, we return to Lecter's office, where the doctor opens his door to show Bella out... only to find Crawford waiting without, begging for a word with his wife. It doesn't take long for Bella to figure out that he knows. It's lung cancer, stage four, due to errant liver cells. ("You smoke?" "The irony.") Bella announces that she does not want chemo, and Crawford returns with the promise that he is going to stand by her, no matter what. Both of them are fighting tears by the end of it. But Crawford isn't the only one showing his colors: Will visits his office and offers to stand by him as well. "I'm gonna sit here until you're ready to talk. You don't have to say a word until you're ready, but... I'm not going anywhere until you do."

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