The Practice
Eat And Run

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Tonight's special: human flesh

Late Sunday Night in Boston. Lindsay and Ellenor have quickly tucked their kids into the closet and arrived at the Firm. In fact, everyone has put their so-called personal lives on hold to head on over to work. Which by any standards would really suck. Ellenor moans, "The whole firm?" This cues Rebecca: "Who is this judge?" Bobby pushes his hands through the air. He missed aerobics today. It doesn't matter what happened or who said what; the trial is tomorrow and they have to get prepared. They start to pull together their game plan. Rod wants to make sure the level of speed is consistent with all the lawyers. He says, "Helen Gamble is the D.A., so at least we don't need scouting reports on the prosecution." Bobby organizes his troops. Eugene and Rod will meet with the client. Rebecca and Ellenor will meet with the psychiatrist. Lindsay and Jimmy will meet with the former lawyer -- he's at the hospital, but he's stable. Jimmy "A Lump In Time Saves Nine" Berlutti says incredulously, "The guy really thinks he's Hannibal Lecter?" Ah, Rod thinks this is an excellent question. Way to go, Lump! This way, by the time we actually get to meet O'Malley, we'll all be convinced too. It's not like they've said "Hannibal Lecter" any less than three times and we're barely into the show. Hi, DEK. This is Ragdoll. I'm going to send you a dictionary for your birthday. But first, I'm going to rip out all the pages except the one where the definition for "subtle" lives. Okay? From my heart to yours. Yawn. Right. So Bobby explicates, "That seems to be the question. The prosecution seems to think he's faking." Gasp! A man fakes something on this show? I'm so stunned. Yawn. Bah. Yawn. Without giving his crew another minute to ponder their fate, Emperor Rod decrees it's time to haul ass over to the jail where Hannibal lives.

Whoosh. Bobby, Eugene and the warden walk down a dark, dank hallway toward Hannibal's hellhole. The guard explains that O'Malley is in a straitjacket; he's also chained and muzzled. Pause. "I think you'll be okay." Eugene quips, "Has he eaten?" The warden turns to Eugene and snaps, "Is that a joke? We don't find your guy too funny, counselor." Yeah. They're all in stitches. Oodles and oodles of laughter pour forth from the cells. Rod peers in through the window after the warden asks if they want a guard in the cell with them. Inside, O'Malley sits in a strangely padded straitjacket wearing a leather muzzle like the one in The Silence of the Lambs. Rod thinks they'll be okay. They don't need a guard. The warden unlocks the door, and the two lawyers step into the room. You hear their heavy footsteps. You see heavy chains locking O'Malley to a pole in the centre of the table. You hear Rod sigh heavily. This is his signature this episode. It's like a shout-out. We complain about him bashing his hands around like Jamie Oliver without the bowl of meat, and then he stops but starts sighing instead.

Right. Rod stands facing O'Malley while Eugene stands to his left. Rod: "I'm Bobby Donnell. This is Eugene Young. We've been appointed by the court to represent you." Enter Symphony In Chains. "The judge refused to continue the case. She evidently didn't want to reward you for biting off body parts." O'Malley is quiet. Eerily quiet. "That means we go the day after tomorrow, which means we have a lot to do." Rod sits down. "We're going to need your full cooperation." He clasps his hands on the table in front of him and asks, "What's your name?" You can barely see O'Malley through the muzzle. His nose sticks out and his eyes are fine, but there is a leather strap that runs up onto his forehead that's more disturbing than the parts that cover his mouth. O'Malley doesn't respond. The Muzzle March swells. Rod snarks, "Did you miss the part about full cooperation? What is your name?" And the monster! He speaks. "My name is listed in the indictment. I assume the question is designed to elicit what I think my name is to give you some sense of whether I'm sane." He's totally creepy. Christopher Shyer used to be on this really bad Canadian rip-off of Coronation Street called Riverdale. He played the semi-bad-boy brother of one of the main characters. He was an "artist." He was a "semi-sexy" "character," so it's nice to see that he has "range" -- he can play stereotypes on bad Canadian drama and stereotypes on bad American drama. Right. Lecter was lecturing: "I suggest you take it up with the doctors." Rod glares down at him from under his deeply furrowed brow: "Now. Let's not waste time with you trying to prove you're smarter than me. You're in prison. I'm not. You're in a muzzle. I'm not. You're the one who could be spending the rest of his life in prison." Cue The Heroic Symphony in Rod Minor. "Do you know your name?" O'Malley hovers. And then does this freaky whisper-talking: "Lean in closer." Rod barks, "Just tell me." O'Malley says bluntly: "Hannibal Lecter." Pause. "Do you plan to argue insanity?" Rod relaxes a bit, then says, "You murdered and ate three people, Mr. Lecter. Insanity seems to be our best bet." But wait! The ruse is coming. It's intended to keep us guessing about the "true" nature of the crime throughout the entire episode. Yes. You do hear tapping, my pretties. It's just my foot. It's hitting Anvil, who is seated squarely under my desk. I decided just to put her there as a forewarning. I didn't want too many of her relations crashing through the roof and scaring my cats. So, right, Lannibal tells Rod that he didn't kill the three girls -- "the other man did it." What other man? Rod repeats this twice. O'Malley lurches forward. Rod lurches back. And the only answer we get is the thrilling conclusion to The Sonata Of Cannibalism In C Minor.

Massachusetts General Hospital. It's now Monday morning. The clock is ticking. The everyman actor William Converse-Roberts is Michael Forbes, O'Malley's other attorney. Now, his nose isn't completely gone -- he's wearing a Band-Aid and you can see the tip, which is a relief. William Converse-Roberts played Cate Blanchett's imbecile of a husband in Bandits. Forbes explains, "The doctors think he basically created this man in his head, for the murders themselves." He signs what looks like release forms in front of him. Then the nurse takes them away. Why even bother? How much of the production budget would that mini-scene within an already small vignette have cost? It's totally useless to the plot, and somewhat redundant. We can see the dude is in the hospital. That's enough. We don't need nameless extras running around with papers on clipboards to create a reality we already assume exists. Stuff like that drives me nuts. Oh, sorry. Forbes is still talking to Lindsay and Jimmy -- my bad: "He has never denied consuming the victims, but it's always the other persona who stabbed the girls." Lindsay asks, "What's the diagnosis?" Forbes responds, "It's all over the map. Once of my doctors says paranoid schizophrenia. Another says psychotic disorder. The prosecution experts say he's faking it." Pause. "That he stabbed the girls to give himself an insanity plea should he ever get himself caught." Only it sounds like "cauwt" because Forbes's poor noodle is all swollen from being bitten. Jimmy: "Well, it would convince me!" Tap. Tap. Tap. Okay, Anvil, shush -- I'm recapping. Forbes: "Look. To do what he's done, obviously there's some severe mental deficit here." The music swells to match the size of Forbes's nose. The injured lawyer continues, "Is he criminally insane? Did he not understand that what he was doing was wrong? I don't know. All I am sure of is as crazy as he may be -- he is not stupid." Only it sounds like "stuupud." Pause. "Don't ever think you're in charge of him, Ms. Dole. I promise. He'll be in charge of you." Jimmy and Lindsay exchange glances.

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The Practice




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