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Clarice - The Ugly Truth - Review

14 Apr 2021

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While on the surface this week's episode of Clarice doesn't make a lot of traction on the river murder investigation (in fact, it gets shut down), it's an episode that tries to do a lot with character development and themes about father figures or family loss, mostly sidelining Clarice as the centerpiece for a case that almost effects the whole VICAP team.

The episode opens with a disturbing new case in Alexandria, Virginia, where a diseased boy named Cody Phelps was found in the walls of a house. The boy had been missing for about a year.

VICAP is called to the scene, but not before Starling recognizes Paul Krendler's divorce lawyer pictured on a magazine on Krendler's desk! Clarice immediately declares that is man she saw at the hospital and who is probably related to the river murder case. All of the men in the room are quick to dismiss Clarice, but Paul decides he should look closer into it and keep his meeting. He then assigns Agent Clarke to lead and oversee the new case in Alexandria

As things play out, Adreilia Mapp is able to find a mitochondrial DNA match to another missing boy named Bobby from 12 years earlier. This allows her to be granted the latitude to work the case, her first ever field case, as she and Clarice go to investigate background from the previous case.

In the meantime Clark becomes a bit of a drill sergeant and using a lot of inappropriate pejorative language against his team mates, but as Tripath later explains to Esqavel, Clark's little sister was abducted when he was a teenager, while he was suppose to be watching her. The reason Clark looks at so much porn, is because he's looking for his sister, thinking that she was probably abducted into sex trafficking.

In addition the three men also decide to take matters into their own hands with Esquavel pushing that they believe what Clarice said about Joe Henly (Krendler's divorce lawyer) and so Tripath has been tailing him, captured the meeting with Krendler on film, but even more importantly, caught Hudlin going to the lab!

Ardelia Mapp makes some headway in being able to collect some DNA on the Bobby-part of the case from both his mother and his Uncle, but also a close neighbor Mary Beth Kern, but even if you are viewer who might of suspected that Mary Beth Kern's DNA would end up being the lead to either her former husband or her son, very little might of prepared viewers that her current husband is her missing son, forcing him to play the role of her husband since he had left him, and causing her son to tell other boys about what was happening to him, but not before guaranteeing that they would keep his secret!

But before the episode ends we also get another plot twist. Krendler's dealings with Joe Hudlin take a bit of a south turn, when Krendler tries to walk away. Hudlin ultimately threatens Krendler's wife and children if he doesn't drop the river murders case! Seemingly not knowing what else to do, (although I suspect Krendler will have some kind of off the books plan), he does as he is told. The rest of the VICAP is stunned, especially Clarice. He basically tells her she can take another leave or continue doing the great work like they did today on missing boys case(s).

Overall I though the episode was a good episode, diving deeper into a lot of the other character's backgrounds, giving Clarke's in particular some fortitude in his rather offbeat personality. It was also great to see more of Ardelia Mapp come into her own, being able to learn a little bit more about her family history by meeting her grandmother, and to see Clarice and Ardelia really bond and talk about their fathers, who clearly are juxtaposed, since Ardelia's dad was physically assaulted and ultimately disabled by a police officer.

On the Hannibal front there wasn't much more than a couple of meal scenes there to keep his presence within the episode, but as I briefly mentioned last week, I kind of thought the therapy season with Dr. Li in China Town might of been a shout out to things pertaining to Red Dragon. Just about everything about these missing boy murders and it's truly disturbing plot twist just felt very Francis Dolorhyde to me. Francis Dolorhyde was a serial killer who killed entire families and left shattered mirror fragments in their eyes. He was molested by his grandmother when he was boy and ultimately Hannibal, after being incarcerated, sets up Will Graham in either hope or curiosity that Graham might meet his end when confronting Dolorhyde. This case is not the exact same, but rather just in the tragedy of how things happened, and the way it fixated on a series of ruining families. In fact it didn't dawn on me until now that Francis Dolorhyde worked at a photo lab, which is where he met his blind love interest Reba McClane. 

I was also vaguely reminded of David Flincher's TV series Mindhunter. Mindhunter and the whole Hannibal Lecter franchise share an origin story or inspiration from the real life FBI Agent John E. Douglas who many fictional FBI agents in books, TV, and Film are based on, including Jack Crawford. Anyways the Mindhunter TV series, since it is based on true crime non-fiction novel does actually showcase real life serial killers and Gerry Kern reminded me quite a bit of Edmond Kemper, the first serial killer willing to teach Tench and Holden about how a serial killer's mind allegedly works! It wasn't that Gerry was casual like the way Kemper is made out to be, but something in their statures, voices, and even a willingness to explain themselves just felt a little similar.

Well that's about it for this week? So what did you think? Find the episode disturbing? Did you enjoy the character dynamics? Any theories out there about where this is all headed? Sound off in the comments below!