In "Releves," Lecter dropped an interesting line as he conversed with Jack about Will:
Jack: This dissociative personality state you say he goes into. Whose personality is it?
Lecter: He said he got so close to Garrett Jacob Hobbs and what he done; he felt he was becoming him. | permalink
In an episode full of half-truths and manipulations, this small reveal by Lecter was the closest he’s come to admitting the truth - and he knows it. Lecter recognizes Will is close to discovering who the real copycat killer is because Lecter is the only person with whom Will lets his thoughts flow freely.
The one man everyone is trying to catch is the one man who knows everything.
Lecter’s “curiosity” is what makes him the person we all know as Hannibal. He views his murders not only with intrigue and a leaning towards fine dining, but most of the decisions he’s made in Hannibal Season 1 are geared towards satisfying his curiosity with the people he’s surrounded himself with. He’s curious to find out how folks will react and he’s anxious to see how he can carry on doing his killings.
Will asks to Abigail if she likes to fish or hunt and those activities are good metaphors for the bedrock of Lecter as a character. While Abigail is the fish lure to her father’s hunting, Lecter uses himself as the lure. His abilities and supreme intellect brought the people he wants the most around him; the BAU fell for Lecter’s mind games hook, line and sinker, and he uses them to continue his game.
The biggest shock came from how far and wide Lecter has been setting Will up. In essence, he’s been grooming Will in therapy and manipulation to be set up as the killer. It’s not shown that Lecter places the comb in Georgia’s oxygen chamber, but she did see his face. With Will’s encephalitis causing him to have large lapses in time and continuity, it seems he's never quite aware of where he goes, making his alibies and general remembrance of events incredibly shaky.
Jack: How far do you think Doctor Lecter would go in his therapy to treating a patient a patient? Specifically, Will Graham.
Maurier: Hannibal refers to Will Graham more as a friend than a patient.
Jack: How far do you think he'll go in treating a friend? | permalink
I would really hate to see how Lecter treats his real friends.
All of it plays directly into Lecter’s ambitions and goals for Will. For the first time this season, it’s very clear Lecter has no real feelings of friendship or caring for Will; he’s just “curiously” making sure his greatest rival is heading towards a place where he can’t be used to catch Lecter. If Will’s credibility is gone, then so are Lecter’s chances of being caught.
Lastly, it seems everything begins and ends with the Hobbs family. We learned of Lecter’s true intention and personality with the phone call to Garrett Hobbs - and Abigail’s slow realization of the real Hannibal is what is her ultimate undoing. Again, it’s not shown that he kills her, but there’s no real reason why he wouldn’t. He’s proven to be a complete psychopath.