What's Anna Chlumsky Doing In a Well?

NBC's Hannibal (which you should totally be watching if you aren't already) isn't known for shying away from grotesque shockers. Viewers of the serial killer drama are used to seeing corpses turned into beehives, trees, totem poles, murals, mushroom farms, and more. So it was just par for the course when the latest episode ended with a shot of a dirty, one-armed Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky) blinking up at Laurence Fishburne's Agent Jack Crawford from the bottom of a grimy well. The shot was evocative of Buffalo Bill's lotion-averse victim in The Silence of the Lambs, and it raised a lot of questions, like "How did she get there?" And, "Who is she, again?"

Most of the world knows Chlumsky as the precocious Vada from My Girl, a.k.a. the movie that traumatized millions of kids growing up in the '90s. (Seriously, I dare you to watch this scene again without tearing up. It can't be done.) HBO subscribers know her as Amy, the VP's no-nonsense Chief of Staff on Veep. You'd be forgiven for forgetting that Chlumsky has appeared on Hannibal before — she only appeared in one episode of the show's first season as Crawford's protege, FBI trainee Miriam Lass. Crawford tasked this proto-Clarice with hunting down the Chesapeake Ripper (the alter ego the media assigned to the killer we know is Hannibal Lecter). But when the carnivorous therapist realized she was hot on his trail, he killed her. Or so we thought, until now.

When the psychotic — and imprisoned — Abel Gideon (played by a deliciously twisted Eddie Izzard) started taking credit for the Ripper's murders, Hannibal left Miriam's arm for Jack to find, in order to prove that the real Ripper was still at large. We assumed that Hannibal still had parts of Miriam's corpse preserved, but now we know the truth, and it's even more twisted: he took the limb from a still-living Miriam, who has apparently been his captive for two years.

So what does it mean, now that we know Miriam is alive? Jack traced her to a cabin in the woods from a piece of bark found on the body of another of the Ripper's victims. Since Miriam is one of the only people who knows the Ripper's true identity, it seems as though revealing her location was a mistake. But we know Dr. Lecter hardly ever makes mistakes, so we can only assume that he wanted Jack to find her. If this is true, why would he lead the FBI to the one person who can incriminate him?

Could it be that Miriam has been brainwashed? She has been missing for two years, so it's not impossible that some sort of Stockholm Syndrome could have taken effect. Will Jack's former protege work against him to hide the truth about Hannibal? Or will she be instrumental in finally bringing the cannibal to justice? Will Anna Chlumsky read a poem about weeping willows? We'll just have to wait until the new episode airs on Friday.

Images: NBC (2)