Review: 'Hannibal' - 'Trou Normand': Totem pole sitter
A review of tonight's "Hannibal" coming up just as soon as I criss-cross the state line of regret...
"Hannibal" has been see-sawing back and forth between Will and Hannibal as the most prominent character. We opened with several episodes focusing heavily on our likable but erratic profiler, and in recent weeks have spent a lot of time watching the good doctor at work in his guise as the Chesapeake Ripper, locked in supervillain combat with Tobias Budge, etc.
For a while, it seemed like "Trou Normand" was going to shift the balance back towards Will, as the early parts of the episode again focused on the psychological damage his "gift" is causing him, from losing time to scaring off Dr. Bloom. It's Hugh Dancy's best showcase in weeks, but Will's search for the totem pole killer(*) and his emotional struggles ultimately proved less important to the big picture than the material involving Dr. Lecter and Abigail Hobbs.
(*) Played by Lance Henriksen, who spent three seasons playing haunted serial killer profiler Frank Black — one of the many spiritual descendants of Will Graham to pop up in the '90s and '00s — on FOX's "Millennium." A nice tip of the cap to the tradition, but also a bit of casting that worked even if you don't know "Millennium," because... c'mon. Lance Henriksen is the best.
A bunch of interesting things of note happen over the course of the Abigail story. First, we see evidence of mistrust between Jack and Will, on top of some suggestions in earlier episodes of how testy and manipulative that relationship can be. Second, Alana's defense of Abigail — that she couldn't be lying, because Hannibal "has no reason to lie about any of this" — is a reminder that while we all know who and what Dr. Lecter is, his friends at the FBI haven't the first clue. Third, of course, we find out that Abigail was involved in her father's work, even if it was reluctantly, and we see just how deep of an emotional attachment she and Hannibal have formed. And fourth, Will gets his first glimpse that Hannibal is something other than what he's represented himself to be when Hannibal outright admits that he helped Abigail hide the body, but is too blinded by his desire to protect Abigail to push to where he needs to get. (When he eventually realizes Lecter's secret, he is going to be beating himself up pretty badly over how many extra deaths took place because he didn't report Hannibal to Jack right away.)
I think the shifting spotlight between Will and Lecter is a good thing for the series, as we're getting a very strong sense of both men as things go along, even if Hannibal is the more famous one (whose name gets to be in the title). This was another excellent outing.
What did everybody else think?