Clarice episode 6 ends with a new bombshell revelation about Starling that sees the CBS series building a new canon beyond Silence of the Lambs.
Warning: SPOILERS for Clarice Season 1, Episode 6 – “How Does It Feel To Be So Beautiful?”
Clarice episode 6 dropped a new bombshell about Clarice Starling’s (Rebecca Breeds) repressed memories that retcons the endings of both The Silence of the Lambs movie and book. The horrors locked away in Starling’s mind are the key to how deep her trauma goes. They also could hold the answers to Clarice season 1’s central mystery and the true identity of the shadowy villain Starling came face-to-face with in episode 5, “Get Right With God.”
In Clarice episode 6, “How Does It Feel To Be So Beautiful”, a reluctant Starling has dinner at the home of Attorney General Ruth Martin (Jayne Atkinson). This is the first time in over a year that Clarice faced Catherine Martin (Marnee Carpenter), who was the final victim Starling rescued from Buffalo Bill. Their uncomfortable evening goes awry thanks to Catherine, who remains emotionally wounded from her ordeal and carries a deep resentment of her mother. However, Catherine also told Clarice that after she shot and killed Bill in The Silence of the Lambs, Martin heard Starling break down and cry. In fact, even from her prison deep in Bill’s pit, Catherine says she heard Clarice’s woe for a long time. Yet Starling doesn’t remember it that way – and neither do fans of The Silence of the Lambs.
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In The Silence of the Lambs film, Clarice (Jodie Foster) was stalked by Buffalo Bill, who was wearing night-vision goggles, in the bowels of his home. As Bill reached out for Starling, she sensed him, spun around, and shot him dead. After Bill fell and gasped his last breath, Clarice immediately reloaded her weapon, ready to keep firing if he rose. Starling then pulled herself together and went to rescue Catherine from the pit. Clarice’s memory is that she called into the FBI and reported what happened. The events of The Silence of the Lambs novel also play out in a similar fashion, except Starling went to a sink to wash after she killed Bill and before she called out to Catherine that her kidnapper was dead.
Clarice later found out Catherine was telling the truth after she submitted to being hypnotized by her new psychiatrist, Dr. Renee Li (Grace Lynn Kung). Earlier in the episode, Dr. Li’s hypnosis failed to breach Starling’s memory of the face of the man she met while she was held captive by Dr. Marilyn Felker (Natalie Brown) in Clarice episode 5. But Clarice’s second round of hypnosis was more successful; Starling’s mind was able to journey back to Buffalo Bill’s moth-filled house and she realized that Catherine was right. Clarice did break down and cry after she shot Bill but she repressed those memories.
Dr. Li then managed to divert Clarice’s memories to her escape from Marilyn Felker, as the emotions and trauma Starling felt during her attempted escape was the same kind of desperation and self-reliance because she was alone that Clarice felt against Buffalo Bill. This time, Clarice was able to see the mystery man’s face – although Starling didn’t recognize him, the audience was just introduced to the man earlier in Clarice episode 6. The mystery villain is Joe (Raoul Bhaneja), the divorce lawyer who had just agreed to represent Starling’s boss, Paul Krendler (Michael Cudlitz). This means the main mystery of Clarice goes deep into ViCAP, who are unaware of the hidden connections.
Clarice‘s new revelations about Starling crying after she killed Buffalo Bill mark a further divergence between the CBS series and The Silence of the Lambs. Clarice had been hewing closer to the novel than the Oscar-winning film – Buffalo Bill asking Starling “How does it feel to be so beautiful?” are a focus of Clarice’s flashbacks that was in the book but not in the movie, for example – but this new retcon about Starling pushes the show into new territory. Clarice is now adding to The Silence of the Lambs‘ established lore as the show slowly builds its own canon for Agent Starling, and it’s intriguingly using the fact that Clarice has repressed memories to justify and explain the changes. After all, fans now wonder what else Clarice will reveal about The Silence of the Lambs that Starling doesn’t remember?
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