Clarice’s Starling Retcon Creates A Silence Of The Lambs Plot Hole

Warning: SPOILERS for Clarice Season 1, Episode 5 – “Get Right With God”

Clarice episode 5 retcons the reason why the young Clarice Starling was sent to live in Montana after the death of her father, but this explanation creates a new plot hole in her backstory from The Silence of the Lambs. Now a year removed from her encounters with Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill, Special Agent Starling is trying to unravel a conspiracy surrounding murdered women whole Clarice gradually fills in new aspects of her history.

In The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice (Jodie Foster) told Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) her life story as part of their quid pro quo arrangement for his insight into capturing the serial killer Jame Gumb AKA Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). Starling was orphaned when her father, who was a West Virginia town marshal, was shot by a robber. He held on for a month before dying and Clarice was sent to live with her mother’s cousin in her Montana ranch. Clarice then ran away when she tried to save one of the spring lambs from slaughter, and the furious rancher sent her to a Lutheran orphanage where she grew up. But Clarice episode 2, “Ghosts of Highway 20”, retconned that history so that Starling’s mother was alive and Clarice also has a younger brother and sister.

Related: Clarice Redeems A Hannibal Movie Villain

In Clarice episode 5, “Get Right With God,” Agent Starling (Rebecca Breeds) is captured and drugged by Marilyn Felker (Natalie Brown), a doctor who is part of the conspiracy that Clarice and the FBI’s ViCAP team are investigating. Starling experiences Silence of the Lambs-related hallucinations like being swarmed by Buffalo Bill’s death’s head moths and being trapped in the pit he dropped his victims in. But more compelling than The Silence of the Lambs fan service is the dreams Clarice had where she is visited by her dead father (Derek Moran), who still had the gruesome gunshot wound in his head. Marshal Starling asked his daughters about the letters she wrote him in the brief time she was in Montana, and Clarice changed the reason why she was sent away after her father died.

The young Clarice (Maya McNair) told her father that her mother couldn’t afford to raise three children after he died so she sent Clarice away to her cousin. As for the letters, Clarice wrote them about a horse on the ranch named Hannah, but she was horrified by the mask in the barn with a hole that the rancher used to put Hannah down. Of course, Clarice stole the spring lamb and ran away, after which she was sent to the orphanage by the rancher.

The issues with this retcon are that Clarice wasn’t an orphan; her mother and siblings were still alive in West Virginia so why was she sent to an orphanage instead of returned to her family? It’s safe to expect that Clarice has even more details to reveal about the tragic way Starling grew up, but this retcon still convolutes Starling’s tidy history in The Silence of the Lambs. It raises more questions about her mother and siblings. Did something happen to them that she couldn’t return home to West Virginia? Did her family know she was sent to an orphanage?

Clarice is obviously playing the long game and its expansion of Starling’s sad life story will hopefully have a proper payoff. “Get Right With God” already dropped a compelling clue when Clarice briefly escaped her captor but ran into the mystery man who is behind the conspiracy. When Clarice saw his silhouette, she was confused and asked, “Daddy?” Perhaps the mystery villain behind the conspiracy is Clarice’s younger brother who is now an adult and resembles her father. But if that turns out to be the case, it creates even more questions as to how and why Starling had no contact with her estranged family. Hopefully, Clarice will deliver satisfying answers and fill in the Silence of the Lambs plot holes it has created as the series progresses.

Next: What Clarice Reveals That Silence Of The Lambs Didn’t

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