Napoleon LeNez (Christopher Sieber) is a smell expert who’s about to publish a self-help book on how smells can stir up beloved memories. A few days before the release of the book, one of his students, Anita Grey, tragically dies in a mysterious explosion. Anita’s mother asks Emerson to investigate the girl’s death. When Ned (Lee Pace), Emerson (Chi McBride) and Chuck (Anna Friel) meet him, he sniffs each of them because he thinks that smells can speak volumes about one’s personality. He smells “cigars, after-shave, antacids, cash and yarn” on Emerson: LeNez concludes he’s a “knitting detective”, which is obviously true. He can pin Ned’s personality, too: he smells of “flour, fruit” and “musky pheromones”, activated by Chuck’s presence. The description of the girl’s smell is spooky but true: she smells of honey (she loves beekeeping) and death.
Later in the episode, Chuck and Olive (Kristin Chenoweth) meet another smell expert, Oscar Vibenius (Paul Reubens), who’s Napoleon’s enemy. He confirms Napoleon’s thoughts on Chuck’s smell: she really smells of honey, but there’s “something else”. “Death. It’s my perfume,” Chuck replies, but both of them know she’s wearing no perfume. She’s wearing her mother’s cardigan, and Oscar smells that something on the piece of clothing.
It’s clear Bryan Fuller is obsessed with smelling. Just think how he brought Hannibal Lecter’s own obsession with smell (already present in the books by Thomas Harris and in The Silence of the Lambs) to a higher level: Fuller’s Hannibal can diagnose diseases through the sense of smell and can tell what’s happened in Will Graham’s life after three years of separation.
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