written by Ayanna A. Floyd, Steve Lightfoot & Bryan Fuller | directed by Michael Rymer
Another terrific episode, as the fallout of Dr Katz's descent into Lecter's (Mads Mikkelsen) cellar-dungeon inspired big changes in Wills (Hugh Dancy) plan to prove his innocence and make Lecter pay for his crimes. A small part of my had hoped Katz wouldn't be killed because Lecter had some professional respect for her, but evidently nobody escapes seeing his inner sanctum. Poor Beverly was strangled, sliced into separate vertical chunks, then displayed in an Observatory like a Damien Hirst exhibition. Regular characters die fairly regularly on TV shows, but I can't remember the last time a death felt so troubling because of the sickening show Lecter made of the kill.
Will got to wear the iconic Hannibal Lecter "costume" in this episode (strapped to a sack trolley in a straight-jacket and muzzle), as he was wheeled into the Observatory to help Jack (Laurence Fishburne) solve the mystery of Katz's murder, and yet this episode made it very clear he's not the Lecter type. He's given up protesting his innocence because it falls on deaf ears, so now he's using the mistaken notoriety to manipulate people into doing things to aide his cause. This included getting Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) to use her website as a means to contact the person who killed his trial's bailiff and judge, in exchange for an exclusive interview; although that ploy was ultimately pointless, because Will soon learned his "admirer" was none other than weird orderly Matthew Brown (Jonathan Tucker), who believes they're kindred souls. (Interesting that Brown says he didn't actually kill the judge, so my guess is Lecter did that deed.)
The one thing about "Mukōzuke" I didn't quite buy into was Will's decision to use Brown to kill Lecter, by ordering a hit from his prison cell. I know it was because he's beginning to believe someone like Lecter can't be caught, only killed, but something about it didn't feel right to me. It was a fantastic moment when Brown rather effortessly tranquilised Lecter at a swimming pool, then had him trussed up in a noose, tip-toeing on a rickety bucket, but if Brown had been successful Will would have been sacrificing any chance of getting out of jail. Perhaps that was fine with him, but I needed to feel Will was actually that desperate now, which I didn't.
Naturally, Lecter wasn't killed by Brown. Jack managed to locate Lecter and saved his friend's life in the nick of time, which will have caused a lot of anguish in viewers—knowing Jack's just saved the mastermind behind almost every bad thing that's been happening lately, but it should make the eventual kitchen fight confronation between Jack and Lecter even more exciting when it occurs in real-time.
Overall, what more can I say about Mukōzuke? This is a fantastic TV series and this was another top episode. I haven't even mentioned the enjoyable return of Eddie Izzard as Dr Abel Gideon (the only man who knows for sure that Lecter's a serial killer), and it was good to see Freddie Lounds better involved in matters after the trial episode. But beyond everything, I'm keen to see what happens now Will tried to kill Lecter, although he could probably bat away accusations and claim that Brown was simply acting alone and knew his feelings about Lecter.