Hannibal Season 1 Review “Ceuf” (Web Series)

Hannibal Episode 5 Coquilles (3)

It’s kind of a weird thing to be reviewing what amounts to a pseudo-episode of “Hannibal,” but here goes. Obviously, having only seen what’s available online, I don’t know what’s missing, but I’ll do my best to do the “episode” justice. For those who weren’t aware, NBC made the weird call to pull the latest episode of the show in light of the Boston tragedy and, I guess, the entire ongoing gun-related trauma that’s been going on as of late. (Not that the latter’s anything new, if we’re being honest- our nation’s fascination with guns is what it is.)

At the same time, this is a show that thrives on continuous, ongoing storylines, so simply not airing the episode was doing a bit of disservice to fans, what with us not knowing what was in the episode, having never seen it and all. Executive Producer Bryan Fuller recognized this, and got NBC to allow him to at least air some semblance of the episode in question, “Ceuf,” online. For those who haven’t seen it and wish to, you can find it on YouTube here.

On a side note, I loved Fuller’s intro and his none-too-subtle wink to fans that they could likely find the episode in its entirety online if they looked hard enough, as the episode was only being censored here in the States, not anywhere else. I myself was not able to track it down, but let me know in the comment section if you had better luck, and by all means, include a link. I will update accordingly if I’m able to see an uncut version.

As it stands, I’m not sure what the “serial killer of the week” was about, assuming there was one, as that seems to be what was left out of the episode. Instead, we were left with mostly the interaction between Dr. Lecter and Abigail, with a little between her and Dr. Bloom as well. The episode, as seen, revolves around Abigail’s problems fitting in at the psychiatric ward she was interred in since the death of her parents.

After all, she’s not technically insane, so really, the only reason she’s there is because they didn’t know where else to put her under the circumstances. Well, that, and Jack remains suspicious that she might have been in on it with her father. I remain unconvinced of that, however. I think that, had her father lived, he might well have “trained” her in his ways; much in the same way he taught her how to hunt, kill and skin animals and prepare them for eating. But I don’t think he quite got around to it.

If he had, would she have gone for it? That’s hard to say, but we may well still get the chance, what with Hannibal having taken a shine to Abigail and taking her under his wing somewhat. The interplay between the two was clearly at the heart of this episode and provided it with some of its most unnerving moments, at least in regards to what we saw in the truncated version. How creepy was it when he told her she only need lie to- well, everyone but him, really?

On the other hand, we did get the scene in the kitchen, which was darkly humorous, which is something this show excels at. When Hannibal asks Abigail if she’d been looking into colleges, she says: “My dad’s killed girls at all the schools I applied to.” Without missing a beat, Dr. Lecter wryly notes: “Perhaps that can wait.”

How perverse was it that he prepared the same meal for Abigail that she’d last had with her parents, right before they were both killed right in front of her? I mean, I know the guy’s a psycho, but even as a brilliant psychiatrist, that would seem to be a dubious move. Least of all after giving her mushrooms! Talk about a bad trip…

On the other hand, if Lecter’s intent was to make her start seeing him as a father figure, along with Dr. Bloom as a mother type, well then, mission accomplished. That part of it worked like a charm. Still, having unfortunately been unwittingly dosed with psychedelic mushrooms not once but twice, I can tell you, it’s not a lot of fun and more than a little overwhelming. I came pretty close to freaking out both times, not in the least because I had no idea what was wrong with me.

I was eventually told, albeit after the fact, but knowing that didn’t exactly help keep me calm, I can tell you! I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if I’d just been through what poor Abigail had. I think it would have been at least a little more convincing if they’d had her freak out at least a little bit. Although, I suppose if what they’re going for is that, in spite of Lecter’s assurances otherwise, Abigail is in fact actually a sociopath, then I guess it makes sense that she wouldn’t freak out. Whatever the case, that whole scene had me on edge, given my own experiences.

On the Will front, we had him continuing to wrestle with his demons, as he was still imaging himself to be Hobbs in his nightmares, which he confessed to Lecter. Another amusing moment came when Lecter asked him the inevitable psychiatrist question all of them get around to: “Tell me about your mother.” Turns out that Lecter and Will have more in common that we first thought, both having not grown up with a mother in their lives.

Lecter was a full-blown orphan, having been raised by his uncle when his parents died at a young age, when he was just a child. (FYI, this lines up with the information about him from the books- SPOILER ALERT- though he’s tellingly soft-pedaled just how traumatic the real events must have been, as his parents were killed in front of him during WWII, along with a sister- who was cannibalized by Nazi soldiers, to boot, I might add.)

Meanwhile, Will lost his mother at a similarly young age, and was raised by his father, who was constantly on the move, leading Will to have led a bit of a nomadic existence as a child, with his having constantly having to re-invent himself as the proverbial new kid in town over and over again.

Finally, we got another dinner with Jack and Lecter, which led to the line of the night, when Jack asked Lecter: “What am I about to put into my mouth?” Be careful what you ask! Ick! Lecter claims its rabbit, but we know better, especially with the helpful cutaways proving otherwise.

Lecter tells Jack that Will needs an anchor, what with all the strays in his life, literally in the case of all those dogs. He suggests connecting with Abigail might be helpful, but he’s clearly just trying to get her out of the psychiatric facility, much to Dr. Bloom’s chagrin when she finds out.

We also get the first appearance of Jack’s wife, Bella, as played by…his actual wife, the lovely Gina Torres, best known to genre fans from her work with Joss Whedon, including “Firefly” and “Serenity,” as well as a stint as a baddie on “Angel.” It’s actually fortuitous that Whedon’s name comes up here, as he went through a similar bit of controversy back in the day for the “Buffy” episode “Earshot,” which revolved around a school shooting, resulting in it being pulled post-Columbine, much like this episode in light of recent events. Only the internet wasn’t like it is now, so there was no fallback way to see what we missed there. I suppose we should be grateful that we got what we did, all things considered.

Anyway, a lot of times when real-life couples play a couple in the movies and television, it just doesn’t work, possibly because the two are just too comfortable with one another, making it hard to capture the spark that brought them together in the first place. Here, as the couple is supposed to be a bit distant from one another, it actually works to their benefit. (More on that in the review for the next episode.)

So, that’s what you missed. If you’re a fan of “Hannibal,” I’d highly suggest you check out the available footage online, as it’s worth a look, especially for the Lecter and Abigail interactions. Caroline Dhavernas also shines in her bits with Abigail, and she and Mads Mikkelsen have an unexpected chemistry as well- when he’s not ticking her off, at least, which is more often than not.

Sound off on what you think about the webisode below, as well as what you thought of all the controversy. Was it warranted or not? Or was it an over-reaction? Let me know in the comments!