How Did Dr. Chilton Survive On 'Hannibal'? He Was Shot But Lived To Tell The Tale

NBC and Regina George have one thing in common: They're life ruiners. (A tad dramatic, perhaps, but I'm grieving.) The network crushed fans this week when it canceled Hannibal. But, fortunately, we still have 10 episodes left of the current third season — and maybe even more, if a streaming service like Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, or Netflix decides to save the series. (Please!) And, this week's episode, the first since the cancelation was announced, will give fans plenty to talk about other than their favorite show's demise: The return of [caution, spoilers ahead!] Dr. Chiton to Hannibal, who is still alive despite his presumed death last season.

The press release for the episode, which is titled "Aperitivo," reveals the fate of the fan-favorite character: "After surviving a disfiguring gunshot, Dr. Fredrick Chilton is now focused on rallying support to capture Hannibal, using Will as bait." That's right folks, the deliciously conniving Dr. Chilton is back!

"But wait!" you're probably thinking right about now. "Didn't Chilton get shot literally in the face?" No, your memory is not faulty; yes, that did happen. But, promotional photos for the episode show the not-so-good doctor alive and kicking, looking almost none the worse for wear:

There are some TV deaths that are clearly unsurvivable, among them brain traumas (Grey's Anatomy's Derek), explosions (Breaking Bad's Gus), and barbecue forks to the back of the head (Sons Of Anarchy's Tara). Yet, others are prime territory for surprise comebacks, such as plane crashes (Revenge's Victoria), falls (Sherlock's Sherlock), and stabbings (Scandal's Jake; also probably Game Of Thrones 's Jon Snow, fingers crossed). It would appear we can now tally "bullet through face" in the "survivable" column.

It's not like this would be the first time Hannibal has brought a character back to life. In fact, it wouldn't even be the third time. FBI trainee Miriam Lass turned up alive after having been presumed dead for years; we thought Will killed Freddie Lounds, but she was really just in hiding; Hannibal appeared to kill Abigail Hobbs in the Season 1 finale, although she turned out to have survived in Season 2. (The show even pulled a similar stunt again with Abigail in Season 3, although she's really dead this time.)

And, it's important to remember that "shot in the face" isn't quite the same as "shot in the head." The bullet fired by Miriam Lass entered just under Chilton's eye and exited out the back of his head — neither high enough to have passed through his brain, nor low enough to have severed his brain stem. So yes, this wound was technically survivable. In fact, the most unbelievable thing about Chilton's resurrection is how totally fine he looks in that promotional pic.

At least he won't always look that fine, according to the promo for this week's episode:

Is that a glimpse from before the doctor undergoes some impressive plastic surgery? Or does he have some sort of implant that, when taken out, makes his face sag... à la Skyfall villain Silva?

Either way, it makes sense for the show to bring Chilton back — he's an important character in both Red Dragon and The Silence Of The Lambs and it would have been incomprehensible for Fuller to attempt an adaptation of those two novels without the head of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

Images: Brooke Palmer/NBC (2); hannibalmorelikecannibal (2), javierbardemdaily/tumblr; Screengrab/YouTube