Miriam Lass has been found alive, minus the arm the Chesapeake Ripper left for Jack months ago. But was it good police work that led to this discovery, or did the killer purposely let her be found? We know Hannibal can compose lovely music on his harpsichord. Now, what is this composition he is creating while moving human beings around like chess pieces?
Jack still needs Miriam's help identifying the Chesapeake Ripper, but her captivity has left her traumatized, with barely any memory beyond an image of flashing lights and a mysterious man whose face is always in shadows. Jack can't figure out why she was spared. "I wasn't spared," she says. "He was saving me for last."
Hannibal is brought in for questioning with Alana, who tells him they found a witness. Behind a one-way mirror, Miriam watches him and listens to his voice. She tells Jack she is sure Hannibal is not the Ripper. Either he is really great at wiping memories and leaving no evidence at a crime scene ever, or he is the luckiest serial killer to ever walk the earth.
The charges against him having been dropped, Will is released from the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Dr. Chilton is there to see him off and to beg for his advice. Will suggests he confess that his use of unorthodox therapies on Gideon drove the mad killer even madder, leading to his escape, his disemboweling Chilton and his attempt to kill Alana Bloom. Since Chilton knows Hannibal used similar therapies on Will, the now-former inmate figures Hannibal has taken Gideon to cover his tracks and will take Chilton next. But why doesn't he just kill Will, Chilton asks. Will doesn't even need to think about it. "Because he wants to be my friend." Chilton later takes his advice, sort of, and offers his services to help Jack dig out Miriam Lass' buried memories and solve the case... and not incidentally, to get himself an FBI protective detail. Not that Hannibal finds FBI agents an impediment to his work, as Chilton will find out later.
Jack is at the hospital to offer Will a ride and tell him about Miriam Lass. Will doesn't seem interested at first until Jack tells him Miriam said definitively that Hannibal is not the Ripper. Now Will is curious. The two men drive to the abandoned property where Jack found Miriam. There is a surgical room containing the types of panes of glass Beverly Katz was found set between, jars of Beverly's blood, flowers like those found in the dead Baltimore councilman's empty chest cavity. Will stares. And stares. He closes his eyes. Oh look, he's doing that thing again...
Will puts himself in the killer's mind as he creates the work of horticulture that was the councilman's flower-filled corpse. "This is all my design," he whispers. The Ripper has been planning this scenario. He brought Miriam to this place for you to find, Will tells Jack. Somewhere in all this evidence you will find something that points you away from Hannibal Lecter.
But maybe Hannibal has anticipated just that...
Will goes home, where his dogs are waiting. Alana is there too. She is sorry for what she thought of Will but angry that he tried to kill Hannibal. Will realizes she and Hannibal are involved. Something between the two friends is now twisted and broken, perhaps permanently.
Hannibal walks into his kitchen and opens the refrigerator. He smells something. "That same unfortunate aftershave, too long in the bottle," he says aloud. He turns to find Will pointing a gun at him. Will, if you're going to break into Hannibal's house, why not look for evidence. Like Beverly did! Just try not to get yourself killed, sawed up and eaten. Like Beverly did!
Will, feeling feisty now that he is out of prison, won't let Hannibal get inside his head. He steps up close and puts the gun right in Hannibal's face, causing the doctor to flinch and close his eyes. He pulls the trigger, dropping the hammer on an empty chamber, causing Hannibal to flinch again. Then Will is gone. Wonder if Hannibal had planned on his pet turning on him like this. Of course, when bitten, Hannibal will bite back. And chew, and swallow, and bite again...
Jack brings Miriam Lass to Hannibal's office, ostensibly to get her therapy for her recovery. Maybe, though, he's hoping to jog her memory about whether she was ever in Hannibal's office. After all, if Hannibal's the Ripper and Miriam found him...
Hannibal has left out a drawing he did of something called the Wound Man, an old medical illustration of a man with weapons jutting from his body. It's the same illustration Miriam had seen on the same table two years before. It's always good to check your work, especially when said work is wiping the memory of a woman you kidnapped, held captive for two years, and amputated the arm of, but Hannibal is really dancing close to the edge here.
Hannibal puts Miriam under hypnosis, using (unbeknownst to her or Jack) the same light he used on Will. She remembers the Wound Man... but not in any kind of context. And that's all. Hannibal has done good work. Of course he can't actually admit it.
The FBI has found evidence in the abandoned property where they found Miriam Lass that could point to either Hannibal or Chilton as the Chesapeake Ripper, so Jack orders both men brought in for questioning. Chilton happens to be at his house, having just come in from somewhere when he hears a beeping like a heart monitor. He follows the sound down to his basement. The noise is coming from behind a closed door. As he stands there, the beep turns into one long, mournful note... the sound of a patient flatlining. Chilton opens the door to...
Horror. An abattoir. Abel Gideon lies on a hospital gurney. Or rather, Abel Gideon's limbless torso lies on the gurney, his lifeless eyes staring at nothing. A couple of organs hang from the ceiling; a jigsaw has been stopped in the middle of cutting up a lump of flesh. Guess Hannibal got all the roasts he wanted.
Chilton runs upstairs and trips on some bags that have been placed there. When he looks up, Hannibal is there wearing his plastic killing suit. The doorbell rings. "That would be the FBI," Hannibal says as he slaps a rag over Chilton's face until the doctor passes out.
Chilton wakes up in a chair in his house. He's covered in blood and holding a gun in his hand. He follows a blood trail into the kitchen to find the bodies of two FBI agents. One sits upright on a counter, having been disemboweled, his guts in his lap. The other lies on a table with all manner of weapons sticking out of his body... just like the Wound Man.
Chilton flees... to Will Graham's house. Will finds him on the porch, where the poor doctor, still covered in blood, asks if he can use the shower. Shock does weird things to people.
At Chilton's house, the team examines the scene. Jimmy Price tells Jack that Gideon hasn't been dead long, and it looks as if Chilton has been carving steaks off of him for days. Is anyone going to mention that because of the injuries Chilton suffered at Gideon's hands, he can no longer eat meat? Or has that just slipped everyone's minds?
At Will's house, Chilton talks of being set up and his plan to run. But there is an APB on him, and Will has called Jack, who shows up at the house. Chilton takes off through the snow-covered woods, but Jack, in a righteous and almost biblical rage, easily chases him down.
Broken and defeated, Chilton sits in an orange jumpsuit, chained to a table in the same room where Alana Bloom questioned Hannibal earlier. Now she's questioning Chilton, who is desperate to convince someone, anyone, that he is not the Chesapeake Ripper.
Behind the one-way mirror, Miriam listens to Chilton talk. She is more and more agitated, remembering her confinement, the light, the man in shadow... "It's him," she whispers. "It's him!" Jack tries to comfort her, but she yanks his gun from its holster and pushes him away. She aims through the mirror and fires one shot, striking Chilton in the face, killing him instantly as Alana dives to the ground.
Hannibal is in his office when he hears a knock on his door. He opens it to find Will Graham, his hair freshly cut, cleaned up after his long confinement. No gun pointed at Hannibal's face this time. What does he want? "I'd like to resume my therapy," he tells Hannibal. They sit in their old chairs across from each other, two antagonists facing off. And this time, each might have some new moves.
As Miriam Lass begins her recovery, Will is released from prison and resumes his pursuit of Hannibal.