Lance Henriksen guest stars as a repressed artist who may or may not be at least 1/32nd Native American. Whatever his actual lineage, his art can only be expressed by making massive towering totem poles out of the bodies he’s been collecting over the years. Since he’s now an old man and has few choices left but to check himself into a subpar retirement home, he thought it was time to craft his masterwork , which received rave reviews from the critics. If by “rave reviews” you mean looks of horror from the faces of the FBI team and a crime scene so horrific that Will Graham blacks out for hours, waking up in Lecter’s waiting room with no idea how he got there. The team soon puts the pieces (literally) together and trace the body parts back to a string of victims that police didn’t even realize were murder victims. The only connection between the victims was that the first and last were father and son. Everyone in between? Art supplies.
Abigail Hobbes (remember her?) is considering writing a book about all her fun childhood memories with her serial-killing, organ-eating, hair pillow-making father. Maybe it’s a craft book? Graham and Hannibal Lecter think it’s a super bad idea. While Graham is stuck using words to express his dismay with the plan, Lecter knows where Abigail’s bodies are buried. For real! He decides (or someone else does) to dig up the guy she shish kabobed when he attacked her. This serves to stir up Jack Crawford’s suspicions about her, so he forces her to come in and ID the body and answer a few probing questions. Abigail almost cracks under pressure, but manages to hold it together just enough to show Lecter she’s up the challenge. He tells her he’s very disappointed in her, which stings, of course.
Graham soon realizes that Abigail killed Hobbes and Lecter confirms it, admitting that he helped her cover up the crime and hide the body so that she wouldn’t be unfairly prosecuted, not for her crime of self-dense, but because her dad was a sociopath. Abigail realizes that Graham knows and Lecter promises that they will protect her. With that knowledge, Abigail feels safe enough to confess that she knew her father was serial killer and she would help him lure his victims. Hannibal gives her a big hug. He’s so proud of his little girl.
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Someone in West Virginia is making totem poles out of doll parts. Only they are not doll parts, they are real live ...er, rather dead body parts that look like doll parts because stage craft only goes so far. Also, while this show revels in the grotesque, I think if they went all Dogme 95 and used realbody parts, someone (whoever is the '10s equivalent of Tipper Gore) would probably protest. Anway, where were we? Right, body part totem pole. Obviously when there's a 20- or 30-foot high tower of body parts bound together by rope, someone will see something and say something and then the FBI will get called. While I hope that this is some art student's senior thesis project, it's undoubtedly the work of a killer.
Jack Crawford and William Graham and the Whitman's Sampler of CSI types are all on the scene noting that some body parts are old while others are new, all are borrowed and none are blue, so the killer had either been stockpiling bits and pieces for his body collage or he borrowed from other graves for a collaborative effort. There are seven graves, but a lot more heads. Graham makes eye contact with the headpiece (an actual head, natch), which is from the most recent victim. Crawford sees the nudge and wink and, like any good wingman, clears the crime scene so Graham can do his thing. Graham is pretty sure the guy was planning his monument for a while, hoarding materials before creating the totem pole. He saved the latest victim for last so the guy could watch him at work because who doesn't like to watch an artist at work? He'd probably love to chat about it with James Lipton.
Graham gets inside the killer's head and wakes up in Hannibal Lecter's waiting room. He doesn't know how he got there and that really freaks him out. The fact that he disassociated and appeared at Lecter's office seems to worry him more than the fact that some art student is running rampant in West Virginia making totem poles out of bodies. So self-centered, right? But maybe they can talk about that later. Graham wants an MRI, but Lecter thinks he just needs to talk. He wants to hear about the crime scene. Graham tells him about the totem pole and Lecter tells him that his work forces him to empathize with the killer so much that he is disassociating and losing time. Lecter doesn't want him to hurt someone while he's blacked out. He doesn't want Graham to wake up to a totem of his own making. Lecter seems intent on scaring the tuna salad out of Graham and separating Graham and Crawford. When he says things like that it makes you wonder if he will set Graham up e.g. Graham will blackout, Lecter will make a body-part totem and Graham will think he did it and then Graham will have to be his BFF.