‘Hannibal’ Review: “Buffet Froid”
‘Hannibal’ serves up another course with its tenth episode of the series, “Buffet Froid,” as Will investigates the killings of a diseased girl ('Dead Like Me's Ellen Muth) while undertaking a battery of neurological tests, and Hannibal decides to withhold a deadly secret from Will.
Last week’s ‘Hannibal’ episode “Trou Normand” saw Jack and Will’s pursuit of a gruesomely artful killer (Lance Henriksen) take an increased toll on Will’s psyche, while Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl)’s decision to write a tell-all book threatened the relationship between she and Hannibal, so how does the tenth course of ‘Hannibal’ taste?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Hannibal’s latest episode, “Buffet Froid!”
A young woman named Beth LeBeau returns to her Delaware home, preparing for bed until a leak from upstairs draws her attention. After patching up a hole in the roof from the ongoing snowstorm, Beth returns to find watery footprints leading to her bed, before an unseen figure drags her under and sprays blood everywhere.
Back in Hannibal’s office, Will continues to worry about his loss of time, for which Hannibal asks Will to draw a clock face to better orient himself. Will complies and hands the drawing over, though Hannibal keeps to himself that the numbers are more jumbled and askew than Will realizes. Some time later, Will returns home from fishing and begins to gut his catch, which bleeds profusely before Will realizes he's at the scene of Jocelyn’s murder, reenacting the crime and accidentally contaminating the scene.
Given Will’s latest time loss, Jack worries that he’s finally pushed the troubled profiler too far, while Will reasons that Beth’s killer knew her and attempted to peel her face back like a mask. Later, Will explains to Hannibal that he believes his recent troubles could stem from a tumor or another physical illness, but Hannibal points out that Will’s impending brain scan may well reveal the problem to be mental in nature.
Hannibal introduces Will to his former colleague Dr. Sutcliffe, who places Will in an MRI and observes the results. Hannibal predicts encephalitis, having smelled it on Will all along, as Dr. Sutcliffe's scan corroborates the results. Will hallucinates himself as Beth’s killer, while Hannibal and Sutcliffe conspire to keep Will’s test results from him, as a means to study the psychological effects. That night, Hannibal shares a drink with Jack, and cautions that Will absorbs the darkness from crime scenes as much as he organizes it for investigation.
Will returns to Beth’s crime scene alone, observing footprints in the blood pool as he uses Hannibal’s clock exercise to orient himself. All of a sudden, a female figure leaps from under the bed and flees, the flesh of her arm ripping off when Will attempts to grab her. Suddenly, Will finds himself out in the woods hours later, with no sign of the figure. He invites Beverly Katz to the scene to report his findings, but admits that he lost time as well as the skin ripped from the figure’s arm. If nothing else, the killer likely has difficulty recognizing faces, and returned to the scene to convince herself she hadn’t killed her friend.
In his next session with Hannibal, Will once again fails to draw the clock face and laments that Dr. Sutcliffe apparently found nothing wrong with him. Hannibal postulates that Will’s killer might suffer from Cotard syndrome, given her diseased state, and believes even those closest to her to be impostors. That night, Will nervously sleeps as the female figure watches him through his window.
Having traced the killer’s DNA as that of Georgia Madchen, Will and Jack interview the girl’s mother Jocelyn to learn that “George” indeed thought herself already dead, while doctors advised Jocelyn to manage her expectations for improving George’s mental health. After the meeting, Will accuses Jack of the same expectations with regard to him, though Jack insists solving crimes has helped Will maintain some level of stability.
Hannibal shares dinner with Dr. Sutcliffe, debating when to tell Will of his true condition, though Hannibal insists it can wait for the moment. Later, Sutcliffe and Will perform a late-night MRI in his office, though when Will emerges from the machine, Sutcliffe is nowhere to be found. Will follows a bloody trail to Sutcliffe’s office, wherein the doctor has his face slashed open exactly as Beth LeBeau, the killer apparently having followed them.
After Jack and the others arrive, Will reasons that George’s inability to recognize faces may have led her to confuse Sutcliffe with Will, though he believes he got through to George earlier in telling her she still lives. That night, Will finds himself awakened by the growling of his dogs, and realized George has taken root under his own bed. Will falls to the floor and reaches out to George, assuring her to be alive and in company, for which the diseased girl stretches her own hand.
Later, Jack informs Hannibal that George will survive and has begun treatment within an incubator, returning to a more normal appearance while she waits to be interviewed. Hannibal presses that he hopes the girl doesn’t remember her actions, as we see in flashback that George walked in on Hannibal killing Sutcliffe himself. Unable to see his face given her condition, George stared blankly as Hannibal handed her the scissors, and fled the scene.
As you may have heard, only hours ago 'Hannibal' fans breathed a large sigh of relief as NBC officially opted to renew the Bryan Fuller drama for a second season. The renewal certainly arrives at an opportune moment, as "Buffet Froid" likely won't register among 'Hannibal's most memorable episodes, however artfully performed.
For as much of a new layer to Hannibal as the episode uncovers in the good doctor denying Will the truth of his condition, a number of questions arise over how the series intends to continue on with Will as an FBI profiler, given the lengthy measures taken to portray its adverse effects on the protagonist. From its very pilot 'Hannibal' has ranked above the usual TV conventions, though the series could have difficulty maintaining a plausible status quo in pushing Will any further.
We've only seen the beginning of Ellen Muth's turn as "George" as well, leaving relatively few narrative beds to overturn within the episode itself, though it does paint Hannibal into a desperate corner with yet another living figure vaguely aware of his true nature. The next few weeks certainly look to be a doozy, so for now we'll trust Bryan Fuller to deliver a satisfying resolution that leaves an open door for season 2.
What say you? Did you feel that ‘Hannibal’ hit the spot with its tenth episode? What did you like about “Buffet Froid?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Hannibal’ episode recap of “Rôti” on NBC!