The education of Clarice Starling continues.
The fledgling FBI agent finds herself shoved inside of Bureau intraoffice politics on Clarice Season 1 Episode 4.
And, like any newbie, Clarice was unprepared to handle it. She came out largely unscathed at the probe's end, but that wasn't because she had handled the situation particularly well.
All that was proven once again was that while Clarice is a prodigy, she's still getting accustomed to the FBI's workaday world.
Attorney-General Ruth Martin didn't insert Clarice into ViCAP just because she had saved Martin's daughter Catherine from Buffalo Bill nor because Clarice was the country's best-known serial-killer hunter.
Martin put Clarice on ViCAP because she knew that the hard-won wisdom of the task force's leader, Paul Krendler, would wear the naivete off of Clarice.
Krendler and Clarice finally had the talk in which he explained why he had been so hard on her.
He may have gotten her to understand that, even though she was ViCAP's unwilling show pony, the squad's investigations weren't about her or her feelings.
That isn't to say that Clarice's heart isn't in the right place. It's just that the junior member of a team can't go running off half-cocked following a hunch, without any backup and without letting her teammates know where she was going.
Like she did when she took down Buffalo Bill, an experience from which she still hasn't recovered.
At least she took Esquivel along when they captured Wellig on Clarice Season 1 Episode 1. Maybe she had learned something.
Then again, based on what happened at the end of this episode, maybe not.
If nothing else, the investigation into the assassination of Wellig within the ViCAP office had to have opened Clarice's eyes into how things really worked inside the Bureau.
Let there be no doubt that Special Agent Anthony Herman was a by-the-book bureaucrat.
Every government agency has them, people who are more enamored with protocols and policies than actual results.
Add to that the fact that Herman had it out for his former Quantico classmate Krendler, who was Herman's polar opposite, getting results without adhering to procedure.
It certainly didn't help that Krendler's star had risen while Herman sunk deeper into a desk. Now Krendler was heading up the Attorney-General's pet project, featuring her favorite agent, Clarice.
Naturally, Herman attempted to turn Clarice against Krendler by offering a transfer to his Violent Crimes unit.
It was an obvious move, and everyone saw through him, even Clarice. After a year of forced therapy, she has mastered the art of saying absolutely nothing incriminating, even though her sarcasm slices through occasionally.
Clarice gave Herman nothing that would help in his vendetta against Krendler. Then, each of her teammates offered her their perspectives on what was going on, helping her fill in the blanks.
But Herman also chose to work on Clarice from another angle, tasking her friend and roommate Ardelia with helping out on the investigation.
What came out was that Ardelia harbors some resentment over the opportunities which Clarice has received.
Well, the first of those "opportunities" was interviewing Hannibal Lecter, the mack daddy of serial killers. Clarice followed that up with a solo infiltration of the lair of another serial killer, Buffalo Bill.
So it wasn't like the path was lined with gold for her.
But Ardelia was correct that, especially back in the early '90s, a white woman such as Clarice would receive more opportunities than a black woman such as herself in the mostly lily-white FBI. Facts are facts.
Still, institutional racism wasn't Clarice's fault, even if such a cracker from West Virginia should have been more sensitive to it.
And, as Agent Haynes pointed out, it wasn't just black women who were discriminated against. She should ask Esquivel how he liked being a Latino agent.
It was amusing to see the proud Ardelia put in her place when she thought Haynes was hitting on her when he intended to bring up the Black Coalition. It will be interesting to see if this group is mentioned again.
Ardelia proved to be just as skilled an investigator as Clarice, so her nose should have been put out of joint when Clarice tries to force evidence on her. As one of the subjects under investigation, Clarice should have steered clear and given Ardelia room to operate.
Ardelia discovered who Herman really was, and her friendship with Clarice was somewhat reset by the end, with new boundaries.
It was enjoyable to watch Clarke bamboozle Herman's lieutenant while the rest of the team slipped out to investigate who may be behind Wellig's death, totally against orders. That must be Krendler's influence.
Somebody was obviously setting up Marilyn Felker with all those clues left where they could be easily found at her apartment.
And who didn't see the twins-switching-places trope coming? Besides Clarice, I mean.
Clarice Season 1 Episode 5 promises to be fun, with Clarice trapped inside a hallucinogenic prison.
Also, who's behind the faked coroner's report? Someone in government with ties to the pharmaceutical company behind the trials, maybe?
To follow Clarice's slow education, watch Clarice online.
What did you think of Herman?
Did you think Krendler and/or ViCAP was in trouble?
Is Felker a victim, a villain, or both?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.