Hannibal Season 1 Review “Trou Normand”

Hannibal Episode 9 Trou Normand (8)

Leave it to “Hannibal” to keep upping the ante on the truly disturbing murderers week after week. On the episode “Trou Normand” (which is an in-between meal palate cleanser typically featuring apple brandy), we had a killer that laid all of his cards on the table at once in a truly disturbing tableau, which for this show is saying something. Dr. Zeller termed it “the world’s sickest jigsaw puzzle”, but I agreed with Will that it was actually like the world’s most bizarre totem pole ever, what with it being made up entirely of freaking dead bodies and all.

As ever, the murder set-piece, seen in part in the above picture, was undeniably something to see, albeit in the most demented way imaginable. Put another way, a human totem pole is just not something you see every day, you know? And it was pretty fascinating, particularly as we saw the methods behind the madness and the patterns that emerged.

One complaint the show has gotten is that the revelation of the murderers tends to be abrupt and unsatisfying. In some cases, I would have to agree, but I thought the Hobbs case is (and remains) fascinating, and last week’s episode was undeniably exciting, what with Lecter going all Mortal Kombat on us. This week was subtle but effective, with superlative character actor Lance Henriksen popping in for a quietly devastating scene.

I liked how he was just waiting for them, calm and accepting of his fate, everything in his house mostly boxed up, as he prepared to be hauled off to jail to spend the rest of his life. Of course, the best part was the kicker, in which it was revealed that his last kill was, in fact, a large part of what set him off in the first place, the fact that the love of his life rejected him and took up with another man, getting married and having a child.

However, unbeknownst to him until that final moment, that child was his, making the first time they met the last time as well, with neither ever the wiser. So, he was responsible for the death of his own child, which plainly rocked his somewhat smug world.

I like these sorts of twists when they crop up on shows like “CSI” and so on, the murders that come back to haunt the killer when a new element comes to light, and I thought this variation of it worked quite well. Yes, it was as abrupt, as most of these revelations on the show have been, but it was also more effective than most, because of how it was handled, IMHO.

It certainly didn’t hurt having an old pro like Henriksen involved, who has the ability to inform a character in short order, making you feel like you know exactly what he’s about, even in one short scene, as he did here. Well played, “Hannibal”.

Beyond that, we saw Will getting worse on the nightmare/sleepwalking front, causing both Jack and Lecter some concern about his capabilities on the job, not without good reason, as he was losing time as well, doing things he can’t even remember. This didn’t exactly help in his wanting to be involved with Dr. Bloom, but she made a good point in that she couldn’t be with him until he got himself together, for his own sake as much as hers.

We also had some eye-opening drama, when Nicholas Boyle, the man that Abigail murdered, albeit somewhat in self-defense, surfaced. It didn’t take long for Lecter to figure out that Abigail must have been behind it, and she quickly confessed, leaving him wondering if he could trust her anymore. She said that she simply wanted to get ahead of the inevitable discovery, so that she could address everything at once in her proposed book she’s doing with the notorious Freddie Lounds.

Lecter wasn’t thrilled, obviously, as he was complicit in the crime, but he finally softened when she confessed her role in her father’s murderers. If you’ve been reading these reviews from the beginning, then you know that I was of the mind that Abigail was innocent in her father’s crimes. Wrong!

Although, to be fair to myself, I did also say that the idea of a father-daughter serial killing team was kind of neat, and I wasn’t wrong there, as we ended the show on an example of how the two worked together to ensnare unwary victims by using Abigail as a go-between. Pretty disturbing stuff. So, now that we know that Abigail was complicit in her father’s crimes, will she eventually follow in his footsteps? Will Hannibal train her to do so?

I also found it interesting that Jack was the only one (save Hannibal himself, of course) that recognized her guilt. That scene where he mercilessly questioned her over Boyle’s corpse was pretty intense. Neither Dr. Bloom nor Will believed it to be true, and that sort of thing is Will’s forte, after all, no pun intended. This does not bode well for her getting caught anytime soon, should she decide to tackle the family business for herself, especially with Lecter, Will and Dr. Bloom all rallying to her defense.

Of course, Will does know that Abigail killed Boyle, but opted to side with Lecter in keeping it quiet. I can’t say I blame him there, as I fell for Abigail’s innocence along with everyone else besides Jack. Will Will eventually figure out that she also helped her father as well? And what will happen when he does? Lecter states that: “In time, this will be the only story either one of us wants to tell,” but I’m not so sure. I suspect this case will be one of Will’s greatest missteps, if anything.

All in all, a pretty solid episode. I liked the more subtle approach adopted with the murderer’s capture and reasons for his killings. I thought it was quite satisfying, and if the show hasn’t quite figured out how to adeptly balance the killer-of-the-week format and the other stuff with Will and Lecter and so forth, at least they’re headed in the right direction with it. Personally, I think the long haul approach is the best- with a murder investigation and its fall-out dealt with over the course of several episodes, not just one- and the way to go moving forward with the show. It’s precisely that reason that the Hobbs case remains the most effective thus far.

What did you think of “Hannibal” this week? Did you think the human totem pole was disturbing, too? How about the big twist with the murderer? How did you feel about the big revelation with Abigail? Do you think her decision to work with Freddie will come back to haunt her? Do you think Will will figure out that she was involved with her father’s crimes?

Let me know in the comments!