Rooster Recap: ‘Hannibal’ Episode 3: “Potage”

Le quois? Potage (n): a category of thick soups, stews, or porridges, in some of which meat and vegetables are boiled together with water until they form into a thick mush.(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potage)

First thoughts: Hannibal Lecter, you devious bastard.

Hannibal continued defying my expectations this week by departing from the killer-a-week pattern and, oh my, developing the story and characters. As you guys probably know by now, nothing gets me hot and bothered like character development. I’m pretty excited. Also, way to not have any scenes with Will using his empathy superpower. A lesser show would have made that a gimmick, but Hannibal doesn’t need to rely on it.

The episode opens with GJH having some father-daughter bonding time with Abigail, who as far as we know is in a coma. Yay flashbacks! Also, by “father-daughter bonding time” I mean “hunting with some pretty creepy undertones.” He has Abigail kill a doe, then lectures her about “honoring every part of her” while she guts it. Sound familiar? It should, ‘cause that was his serial killer shtick all the way back in episode one. So, yeah. Creepy. Then, just as Abigail’s running her hand through the deer’s fur, it turns into the hair on a girl’s head, and, oh shit, it’s a nightmare. Also, Abigail just woke up from her coma. She’s not having a great day.

[Father-daughter bonding time.]

Father-daughter bonding time.

We’re four minutes in and the plot has already begun to thicken nicely, almost like some sort of fancy French stew. The next scene throws in some of my favorite flavor, with Alana and Will having a conversation about the way he’s come to rely on the formerly-comatose Abigail. Hugh Dancy and Caroline Dhavernas have great chemistry, and that’s complemented very nicely by some truly bitchin’ dialogue. Probs my favorite exchange in the episode is when Alana tells Will: “When I said what I was going to say in my head it sounded really insulting, so I’m going to find another way to say it—” and he responds with: “Say it the insulting way.” That’s how real people talk! You guys have no idea how happy the dialogue in this show makes me. Also, “dogs keep a promise a person can’t” is an awesome line. Come to think of it, that’s kind of a running theme in Bryan Fuller’s shows. Just look at Pushing Daisies. But I digress.

Hey, what’s this? Another well-written scene with Caroline Dhavernas? Guys, you shouldn’t have. But seriously, keep doing this. It’s working. Alana’s attempts to reach out to Abigail remind us that the good Dr. Bloom is, well, a good person who’s also good at her job, and establish that there’s something…off about Abigail. The scene also lets us know that Alana is not good at redeeming gift cards. Is that important to the plot? Probably not. Does it make the character feel more human? Yeeeeep. Character development!

Unsurprisingly, Jack is a lot less sympathetic towards Abigail than Alana is. Not because he’s a dick or anything, but because his job doesn’t allow for an excess of sympathy. Also unsurprisingly, Jack wants Will to talk to Abigail. Alana doesn’t think he’s ready, but Jack is quit to point out that it’s up to Will’s psychiatrist: Danish superstar Mads Mikkelsen.

This isn’t from the show. I just felt like we needed a picture of him in here.

This isn’t from the show. I just felt like we needed a picture of him in here.

Speaking of Will, guess who’s still looking into the copycat killer from episode one? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not Batman, unless this show really jumps the shark later in the season. It’s Will. And who should walk in when Will is telling the class that the killer is an intelligent psychopath and a sadist but good ole Hannibal Lecter. I love the expression on his face when Will tells the class that the mystery caller who tipped off GJH was the copycat killer. Hannibal smiles, almost like he’s…proud? Impressed? I think that Will is living up to Dr. Lecter’s standards, in a lab rat kind of way.

On that note, I’m beginning to suspect that Freddie Lounds is a sociopath. I don’t think we’ve seen her display even a hint of real empathy. Everything she’s done has been to further her own shady career. Her first scene in this episode has her go from offering herself as a friend to Abigail to teaching her about the importance of perception to dragging Will’s name through the mud in a matter of seconds. Needless to say, Will is not all too happy to find her in Abigail’s room.

But we’re hospital buddies!

But we’re hospital buddies!

I like what they’re doing with Abigail’s character. Kacey Rohl’s performance has been pitch-perfect so far. She’s confused and hurt and traumatized, but there’s more to her than just those traits. Once again, Hannibal has managed to create a nuanced character. Speaking of which, her conversation with Will about killing? It’s a good character moment for him—the look on his face when he tells her that killing is the “ugliest thing in the world” speaks volumes—and the way they connect over a fear of nightmares is a very human moment of shared vulnerability.

Poor Jack. He’s just trying to catch serial killers and stuff, and here’s Will telling Freddie: “It’s not very smart to piss off a guy who thinks about killing people for a living.” Nice one, man. I’m sure that the amoral journalist isn’t going to take that as anything other than sound advice. As dumb as that was, it’s not really surprising that Freddie was able to make Will lose his cool. The characters in this show are often stuck putting a lot of effort into controlling their emotions and thinking rationally. Will has a lot more trouble with this than, say, Jack or Alana. Since none of them are psychopaths, Hannibal still gets first place at Masking Yer Feelings.

Once again, I find myself getting a bit long-winded. So, once again, we’re going to go through some of the middle stuff a little faster. If it helps, you can try to sing it to the tune of “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (But I Feel Fine). Also, I like how my effort to speed things up involved referencing a song with a ridiculously long title. *sigh*

Hannibal wants Abigail to go home because she might have a traumatic event. Oh, snap!

All that stuff I said about Freddie being a sociopath? It probably doesn’t help that Hannibal is using her to mess with Will. That’s why he let her live in the last episode. Not just so she’d keep being a nuisance on her own, but so he could manipulate her. Aw, shit. That’s why she’s talking to victim number nine’s brother. Because she would know that the girl wasn’t killed by GJH. It was the copycat. And why would she provoke the dead girl’s brother? Because Hannibal wanted her to.

Abigail’s homecoming is, to the surprise of not me, an unhappy one. Her neighbors are dicks:

Seriously, guys? You couldn't have just used toilet paper?

Seriously, guys? You couldn’t have just used toilet paper?

And there’s a creepy ginger hanging out in her yard and accusing her of eating his sister. On the plus side, Abigail still has a friend! Marissa may not be in this episode for long (SPOILER), but she’s pretty cool when she’s around. I like that she’s willing to defend Abigail, even though everyone else seems pretty convinced that she was helping her dad kill and eat people. Unfortunately, she was rude to her mom in front of Hannibal, and we all know how he feels about rude people.

I’m glad that the stag made an appearance in this episode. It’s creepy, but Will’s nightmares are a pretty effective way to show his internal conflict over killing GJH, and they haven’t gotten over the top. So, props for that.

You guys, taking Abigail to the mudercabin is probably not a great idea. She may be a suspect, but Jack really should have listened to Alana on this one.

Yeah, I guess she would have been happier at the hospital.

Yeah, I guess she would have been happier at the hospital.

If there was ever any hope of Abigail overcoming her trauma and living a happy life, I think that Marissa’s death kind of killed that. Pun intended, I guess. Not so much because now she doesn’t have any family or friends left outside of Will, Alana, and Hannibal, but because Dr. Lecter has started manipulating her in earnest. He’s setting her up for a breakdown.

Aaaand here comes the breakdown. Abigail murdering the ginger kid! And Hannibal just straight up knocking out Alana! This is the first time we’ve seen him in action, and his speed and precision are pretty terrifying. Also, the way he takes charge after that is intense. She’s in shock, and it doesn’t take much for him to convince her that hiding the body is the best option. Also, I like how he’d already framed ginger guy for Marissa’s murder. He was expecting Abigail to kill him, and she did not disappoint. The lab rats are doing well.

Good job, kid.

Good job, kid.

So, this last scene. I’m still not sure if Abigail is convinced that Hannibal called the house just to see if her dad was free for an interview. She definitely suspects something, but I wonder if her practical side will win out and keep her from confessing to the murder and turning in Hannibal.

He’s covering his tracks pretty well, but I wonder how long he’ll be able to keep it up. I mean, we know he’ll get caught eventually, since this is all pre-Red Dragon (which is pre-The Silence of the Lambs), but it’s probably not going to be this season. This show has been great so far, but I wonder if they’ll end up stretching Hannibal’s machinations a little too far. I’m hoping that once things get wrapped up with Abigail he’ll focus more on getting in Will’s head by talking to him than getting in there by murdering people. You can only pull that shit for so long, ya know?

Recap of the Recap: A solid episode with great performances and character development. It’s good to know that Hannibal can depart from the crime-a-week formula and focus on creating nuanced characters and telling a story. That having been said, I’m just a tad concerned that they’ll get carried away with Hannibal’s ability to manipulate everyone around him. He may be a genius and a psychopath, but the more complex his plans get, the more likely they are to fall apart. I’d hate to see the show start jumping through hoops just to keep him from getting captured.

What do you guys think? Will Hannibal’s machinations get too ridiculous to handle? Is Freddie Lounds a sociopath? Will Abigail keep Hannibal’s secret?

Also, I may or may not get to recap episode 4, since they pulled it off the air (at Bryan Fuller’s request, apparently) in light of the recent events in Boston. I heard they’ll put an edited version on NBC’s website, so we’ll see.

2 thoughts on “Rooster Recap: ‘Hannibal’ Episode 3: “Potage”

  1. Did I miss something, or are the writers just completely ignoring Jack’s whole “if you write one more word about Will I’ll indict you for obstruction” thing from episode 2? If it was an empty threat, fine, but say so.

    It’s also a little far-fetched that Freddie would even be able to get in to see Abigail, since in any logical universe she’d have a police/FBI armed guard (what with the angry mob of victims’ families and all).

    I’m fine w/ a sociopathic journalist weaseling in and screwing things up, but this just stinks of lazy writing in an otherwise fascinating show.

    [gets off soapbox]

    • Oh man, I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on that. Freddie is kind of the one character who doesn’t have to deal with any consequences. I would love it if they developed her beyond the sociopath journalist thing, because that’s only gonna get harder to buy. Even Hannibal won’t be able to keep the FBI away from her for long.

      Also, thanks for commenting!

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