Will Graham is still locked up in prison, but he still has his imagination. Which, combined with grief and a thirst for revenge, could be a very dangerous combination, even for a man as dangerous as Hannibal Lecter...
Hannibal has been busy the last day or two: saving Jack Crawford's wife from a suicide attempt, killing and doing who knows what to Jack's employee Beverly Katz. It makes sense that he would prepare himself a hearty breakfast this morning. He's also preparing a meal for Jack, who was up all night at the hospital while his wife recovered from her morphine overdose. "Feed the body, feed the mind," Hannibal tells him in convincing Jack to eat. Or feed the body to the body, whatever...
Reporter Freddie Lounds has returned to the observatory where not too long ago she was held captive by Abel Gideon, who made her assist him in surgically disemboweling Dr. Frederick Chilton. This time she's prepared, carrying a gun with her just in case. She enters the main room and is brought up short by something that is dripping blood on the floor. Freddie is taken aback, but ever the reporter, she pulls out her camera and snaps some pictures before calling the authorities.
Jack arrives at the observatory, now a crime scene. Freddie tells him not to go in. "She's one of yours," she tells the FBI agent. He ignores her, and determined and stone-faced, enters to find... the vivisected body of Beverly Katz, pulled apart like a biology project, each cross section of her corpse pressed between glass panels and lined up like a museum display. Like cooking, so much of serial killing is in the presentation. It's too much for the stern Jack, who breaks down in tears. Probably regretting eating anything, even if he doesn't know what he might have been eating in the first place.
One other person needs to see Beverly, and that is Will Graham. Wrapped in a straitjacket and a plastic mask and strapped into a wheelchair, Will is brought to the observatory from the insane asylum. Jack removes his restraints, though while keeping his gun handy, and lets Will do his "crawl inside the killer's mind" bit. Will imagines himself as the killer strangling Beverly, freezing her body and then running it through a bandsaw. Beverly found something. But what?
She found the Chesapeake Ripper and the supposed copycat, Will tells Jack. One killer wearing two masks. And he will have taken her organs as trophies. Will, of course, has his suspect, but he knows Jack won't listen. "You have to make your own connection to the Ripper, Jack," he says. "I can't make it for you."
Will is right about the organs. Beverly's colleagues Jimmy Price and Brian Zeller discover that the kidneys in Beverly's body were those of the mural killer, James Gray, which Beverly had found in Hannibal's refrigerator just before he killed her. Not that the FBI knows this. All the agents know is that if they find Beverly's kidneys, they find her killer. Hannibal, a step ahead like always, is already eating the evidence in an elaborately prepared dish. When does he sleep, anyway?
Meanwhile, Will has manipulated Chilton into transferring Abel Gideon back to the insane asylum. Suspecting that Gideon knows the identity of the Chesapeake Ripper, Will is hoping to get him to reveal the information. But Gideon is not so easily manipulated with appeals to his vanity. "If you want the Ripper," he tells Will, "you'll have to kill him." Will may have found a way to do that, even if he is locked up.
Freddie Lounds comes to the asylum to interview Will at his request. Will wants to get in touch with his admirer, the unknown killer who murdered the bailiff and judge during his trial. Maybe a story on TattleCrime.com will bring him out of the woodwork. Though he may be closer than Will thinks.
One night, alone in the therapy cage room, a hospital orderly reveals his secret to Will: he is the one who killed the bailiff in the hopes it would exonerate Will. Not the judge, though. That killer remains a mystery. The orderly seeks a connection with Will, and there is one good way to get on the accused killer's good side these days. "I want you to kill Hannibal Lecter," Will tells him. No problem! Except that Abel Gideon overheard them talking.
Who knows why insane killers play the games they do? And who knows why Abel Gideon wants Hannibal to stay alive? Maybe he admires Hannibal's work. Maybe professional courtesy, one serial killer to another. Or maybe he really, as he tells Alana Bloom when he reveals Will's plan, wants to give her the opportunity to save Will from himself.
Whatever the reason, Alana and Jack track Hannibal's cell phone to a pool where the doctor is swimming laps. Or he was, until the orderly shot him with a tranquilizer dart and perched him on a bucket with his arms taped to a cross and a noose around his neck. The orderly toys with Lecter, cutting his wrists and suggesting he kick the bucket away and hang himself before bleeding out, then asking him if he's the Chesapeake Ripper. "You don't have to say a word and I'll know the answer," he says. "The pupil dilates with certain mental efforts. You dilate, that's a yes." And Hannibal's pupils dilate.
It's too bad Jack and Alana don't arrive a minute sooner to see that. As it is, Jack shows up and shoots the orderly, who manages to kick the bucket clear just before he dies, leaving Hannibal dangling. Jack rushes to Hannibal, holding him up so he doesn't strangle. "Get an ambulance!" he barks at Alana.
In his cell, awaiting word of Hannibal's death, Will watches as his sink overflows with blood. A hallucination? Wasn't the encephalitis supposed to be cured? Anyway, good to know Will is not yet a murderer. But that was close. How will he repair his relationship with Alana now that his plan to get Hannibal, his need for revenge for Beverly's murder, is out in the open?