Suppose if Hannibal Lecter had been cured of his psychopathy? An experimental brain treatment allows fixing the neural pathways between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, and Lecter becomes an unwitting recipient as the Baltimore hospital staff grow eager to see if their genius prisoner could turn a moral dime.
A hint of genuine fear shows on Lecter, as he asks to see the logistics of how this brain surgery will go. The doctors are instructed not to listen to his forked tongue, knowing his predilection for suggesting people to do his bidding, often leading to their demise.
The laser surgery goes as expected. Laying down in a hospital bed, Lecter finds the walls a shade too pale, leading his mind to wander. His thoughts dwell on his own mental state, not really sensing any difference with his pre-surgery self, and then the flashes of his gruesome acts erupt into his awareness -- like lightning from a tumultuous storm, Lecter is stricken by newfound revulsion. He shuts his eyes, trying to will these disgusting memories away, but they haunt him. A monster did all those things, and now he inhabits the being of this monster.
Dr. Chilton calls for therapy sessions, knowing from experience how former psychopaths have reacted to their previous lives. Not even someone as intelligent, as refined and cunning as Lecter could negate the repercussions, full-stop. This therapy calls for the patient to come to terms with all their wrongdoings, while framing their current self as a fundamentally different person who is taking baby steps into redemption.
Weeks pass, and Lecter is wryly chuffed by the techniques used by his psychologist (Dr. Rajnath), like how a mechanic reacts when his own car is under works by a practising intern. Still, he finds a solace in bonding with his doctor, who Lecter helps tutor and correct during their sessions. When Lecter makes eye contact with Rajnath, he feels a newfound dimension in relating with another person -- instead of detachedly reading the workings of a human machine to be leveraged for his own benefit or amusement, there's a connection.. a recognition, of another person with a soul. His heart flutters, and Lecter has to take breaks just to process his humanity.
Lecter's treatment hits national news. Reporters from all over the country try their shot at interviewing Lecter and the Baltimore asylum staff.. even the inventor of this treatment, Terry Davis, who laughs over hearing about how his unexpected discovery is already revolutionizing treatment for the criminally insane.
On camera, Lecter holds his trademark cordial demeanour, albeit with a subtle vulnerability in his eyes. When the reporters bring up his involvement with Agents Starling and Graham, who he once aided with catching other serial killers, Lecter visibly palpitates over the mention of Starling.
The headlines go: "Hannibal Lecter Would Like to Apologize."
(to be continued)