Sorry for the delay in getting this recap up late. I watched the episode on my DVR after the Iron Man 3 premier last night. And then I watched it three times after that. I just keep getting completely and totally enthralled. I swear, this series just draws me in and doesn’t let go.

But if you’re looking for original storytelling then this week’s episode is not for you.

Entree pays a glaring homage to our more traditional entries in the Hannibal film series. There are scenes and plot points that you’ll recognize instantly from Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon. This makes some amount of sense, I suppose, because currently Bryan Fuller does not have the ability to do much based on Agent Starling because NBC does not hold the rights to the film. So he has to make do with what he has on hand.

That is not to say that I disliked the episode. I actually liked it a lot. It’s great. Like I said, I watched it three and a half times before I could manage to pull myself away from it to write this recap. And it did something that the show really needs – it provided a two parter based on the core of the show. Which is, of course, Hannibal and his goose chase with the FBI. Some shows can get away with being procedural week in and week out. Watching Will decline has been one constant overarching theme throughout the season but we don’t necessarily want to just watch out heroes descend into their own personal demons. The show had been teasing us with this idea of the thrill of the chase. And we’re finally getting into it.

I’m just not sure heavily inundating us with homages and transferring some of Will and Hannibal’s relationship to a completely new character with a Starling complex was the right choice.

But anyway, let’s get to the recap.

We find ourselves in a very familiar prison block at the beginning o the episode. Eddie Izzard is back on the small screen playing Doctor Gideon – a psychopath who murdered his wife and her family and is claiming to be the Chesapeake Ripper. When we first meet him he is face down in his cell before he is ultimately handcuffed and placed on a gurney. But of course he’s not unconscious. Alone in a room with a night nurse he  opens his eyes, picks the locks to his handcuffs, and goes after the woman. Which is all very similar to the story about Hannibal gouging out the eyes and eating the tongue of the night nurse when locked up himself in Silence of the Lambs. (Or was it Red Dragon?)

After this scene Will and Jack show up at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Will is a bit on edge. When Jack asks why he answers, “I’m afraid they won’t let me out.” When he tells Will that he won’t leave him Will then responds with, “Yeah, not today.” Oh, Will. Basically, because of what happened at the hospital the night before Freddie Loundes put two and two together and thinks that Gideon might be the Chesapeake Ripper. So Will is there to check out the scene and either confirm or deny it. We get to meet Chilton who is just as awkward and bothersome as ever and the actor they pegged for him is excellent for the role. Absolutely perfect. He’s quite pleased to meet Will and talks about how he really ought to be psychoanalyzed for his perfect blend of “neuroses and personality defects.”

Shortly thereafter Chilton gets to see Will’s neuroses and personality defects in person. They go check out the crime scene which includes a man who has been extensively injured with various weapons and items – similar to the “would man” – which Hannibal fans should recognize instantly. Doing his “thing” as Chilton calls it, Will imagines himself as Gideon and recreates a good part of the opening scene with himself in place of Gideon. Then he continues on and watch him gouge out this woman’s eyeballs while whispering for her to “shhhhh.” Yeah. It’s intense. They cut episode four and then chose to let us watch Will literally press his thumbs into this woman’s head until her eyes are mush? NBC, I really question your choices.

Anyway, he’s pretty visibly freaked out by it. Chilton is certain that he has the right guy and that Gideon is the Ripper. He was consulted on the last series of murders and seems quite convinced. But Will isn’t too sure. He and Alana talk with Gideon in a rather hilarious scene meshing the two of their interviews together. Eddie Izzard is fantastic. If anything this is a very well cast episode.

The night nurse’s murder and the display of her body are all very similar to the Ripper’s last victim. Rather, the last one that they found. They never found the last known victim. Her name was Melissa Lasse and she was a trainee at the FBI Academy when Jack pegged her and brought her in on the Ripper case. This girl is pretty much a Starling clone if she were to have attended the Academy during the Red Dragon days. Jack sees her as a bright, rising star. He brings her in. Let’s her go snooping around for information. Then she disappears. Dies. Or does she? Jack starts getting phone calls from Melissa in fear after being caught by the Ripper but they are all the same. Most likely a recording.

Really, though, I’m not sure he has anyone else to blame. Not when they go taunting the real Chesapeake Ripper by letting Freddie have an interview with Gideon and report that he is, in fact, the Ripper. The Ripper starts calling Jack from all over the place. He even breaks into his home and leaves a strand of Melissa’s hair on his wife’s pillow. Which, really, is going to push Jack over the edge. But Hannibal knows that. That’s the problem with using the country’s most dangerous serial killer as your psychologist. Well, your wife’s psychologist. And your best profiler’s psychologist. He knows how to get to you. It’s interesting because Jack actually basically breaks down in Hannibal’s office telling him how afraid he is about losing his wife who he just found out has terminal cancer. And here’s Hannibal to push everyone over the edge.

Hannibal is understandably frustrated by all of this stuff with Doctor Gideon. Or maybe he is? Who knows. We don’t know what the connection between the two was or if there is one at all. But by calling Jack with this recording of Melissa he’s making it clear that Gideon is not the Ripper and that he is still out there.I think it’s subtle enough that people who never saw Silence of the Lambs might just be picking up on the fact that Hannibal is a straight up  serial killer and that he’s the Ripper. I mean, I’d hope people were faster than that but you never know.

And this time around it’s Alana and Chilton who dine with Hannibal. Hannibal makes a great little remark about how cheeky Chilton is and how it’s “great to have old friends for dinner.” Which just foreshadows the fact that someday Hannibal is going to eat him. Someday.

Ultimately, at the end of the episode, they do not find Melissa. Instead they follow the trace on a disposable cellphone to an old abandoned observatory where they find the phone in the hand of a severed arm. So. Gideon? Not the Ripper guys. Will was right. When he says it looks like the Ripper but doesn’t feel like the Ripper you should listen to the guy.

We also find out what really did happen to Melissa. She was investigating the last victim of the Ripper – who was also laid out like the “Wound Man” – and decided to go around investigating all the physicians who had worked with the victims. Hannibal was working as an actual surgeon then but he wasn’t the doctor on record for this man. He was, however, on-call in the ER when the man had been brought in. He’s clearly a bit shocked that she realized that but he plays it off like he doesn’t remember anything. When he goes to get her some old notebooks she snoops around and finds a drawing of the wound man on Hannibal’s table. Unfortunately for her, Hannibal comes back down the ladder from his book shelves and grabs her around the neck. It’s all very reminiscent of Will and Hannibal’s last moments before he catches him.

Except, you know, Will got away.

Melissa not so much.

Really this episode just made me wonder how Jack manages to keep getting all these people in trouble. I mean, seriously.

That said, shit is about to get real on this show, I think. The next three episodes look very promisng. And if nothing else Gillian Anderson is coming on for the next few episodes!

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