I’ve said before in my reviews of Hannibal that Hannibal himself is by far the most interesting character in the show, but after watching “Trou Normand” it’s safe for me to say that the rest of the cast is falling into place nicely around him in their own compelling ways. After two Hannibal-centric episodes, the focus of “Trou Normand” shifts instead towards Will’s psychological decline and a welcome and revealing return to the spotlight for Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl).
Abigail’s reemergence indicated something exciting to me about what the show is doing. It revealed that, no matter how much it seems like it at times, the show isn’t wandering aimlessly. The things that get buried (often literally) are going to reemerge later. Telling this story, Bryan Fuller seems to believe in investment in the long term, a trait he shares with Hannibal himself. Back in “Potage” when Hannibal mentored Abigail in the subtle art of hiding bodies like you just don’t care, I knew he was investing in a potential ally, but for the life of me I didn’t know how he was going to bring her around to the whole murder thing, and then after “Oeuf” Abigail disappears for a whole five episodes. When she and the frozen body of Nicholas Boyle showed up in this weeks episode, I knew that nothing in this show is going to stay buried. It’s all going to come back into play eventually.
In fact, if there’s one culinary metaphor that describes the general ambiance and development style of this show’s plot, it would be a simmering pot. Jack Crawford is slowly becoming abusive and heartless in his guilt plagued hunt for murderers (the scene where he confronts Abigail with a corpse was a great dark turn for his character) and Will is gradually losing his grasp on reality while simultaneously finding it easier and easier to slip into the minds of killers, revealed by his ability to recognize Abigail as a killer without even trying to do so (a skill at which Hannibal is apparently also rather adept as we see later).
You can feel these characters getting closer and closer to darker versions of themselves, and ironically, the closer to the darkness they get, the closer they are to discovering Hannibal at the center of it all. When Alana rebukes Jack by saying her idea of Hannibal prevents her from seeing Abigail as a murderer, Jack seems to be putting something together in his head. Even if he is just knocking on that door in his mind, you can’t help but feel in that scene that he’s just gotten a little bit closer, and he did it by being reckless and heartless.
And what will happen when Will comes across a murder of Hannibal’s doing, which he no doubt eventually will. If he has become so adept at slipping into the mind of a murderer that he discovers Abigail without even trying, Hannibal almost doesn’t stand a chance of not being discovered. But the real question seems to be, what kind of state will Will be in by the time he finds out the truth.
Despite the dark steps made by Will and Jack in “Trou Normand,” the most surprising revelation was, by far, Abigail’s confession that she did, in fact, help her father with all the murders. It was a confession that blew me away because I at once didn’t see it coming but at the same time completely did. What I mean was, there was obviously something off about Abigail. She’s a little too haunted by her father, a little too open to Hannibal’s sly manipulation. But her real secret was well hid under the “accidental” murder of Boyle. It’s actually, dare I say it, refreshing to have a murderer on this show that is haunted by their murders for once, and, indeed, there is a type of emotion and pathos to Abigail that killers like Hannibal, Tobias, or even her father clearly lack. Hannibal even says that as someone who knows monsters, he sees Abigail isn’t one of them; she’s a victim.
The really superb thing about Abigail’s confession was the way it not only revealed things about her character but also about Hannibal’s. The fact that he knew that she helped her father creates even more questions about Hannibal’s intentions for her than it answered. Judging by his reaction to Tobias’s olive branch from last week, he’s clearly not looking for a fellow killer companion, but he also doesn’t seem to be looking for a “friend” like he is with Will (the questionably sincere hug with Abigail was contrasted well with the “I really don’t want to have to kill you” hand on the shoulder with Will earlier in the episode). So what part is Abigail going to play in Hannibal’s master plan? When he throws around the word “victim” in reference to her, it troubles me.
- Other than serving as a catalyst for Will’s breakdown, I found the actual “monster of the week” totem pole killer rather inconsequential to be honest (despite being played by total “that guy” Lance Henriksen). The opening shot, however, was fantastically shocking, showing Will and Jack wordlessly walking away from something on the beach, and then they head back and you see a freaking tower of human corpses. What an entrance.
- Am I the only one who thinks you can see Hannibal putting the scalpel in his pocket as he comes away from his talk with Will about secrets? If that is what he’s doing that’s a whole new layer of subtlety.
- I like the fact that Freddie Lounds is a vegetarian because she seems to be the only person in Hannibal’s vicinity that is operating outside of his influence. Don’t eat the meat!
- The jury is still out on Hannibal’s fate in terms of renewal. The fact that the show costs almost nothing for NBC due to its international co-producers certainly helps.