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‘Hannibal’ Review: “Potage”

NBC Hannibal Review Potage
NBC

Hannibal’ serves up another course with its third episode of the series “Potage,” as Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) awakens from her coma, placing Will and Hannibal in the difficult position of determining her involvement in her father’s murders.

Last week’s ‘Hannibal’ episode “Amuse-Bouche” saw Will Graham struggling with his kill of Garret Jacob Hobbs, while a new killer cultivating mushrooms off his victim’s corpses became complicated by the involvement of sleazy journalist Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki), so how the third episode of ‘Hannibal’ taste?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Hannibal’s latest episode, “Potage!”

Prior to his death, Garret Jacob Hobbs and his daughter Abigail take in some hunting, wherein Abigail reluctantly shoots a doe. Before carving into it, Abigail laments that deer are complex emotional creatures, while Garrett assures his daughter they’ll honor the animal by using every part, lest it be simple murder. In the present, Abigail thrashes awake in her hospital bed.

The next morning, Alana visits Will to tell him the news, pointing out that neither he nor Hannibal can be the ones to interview Abigail first. Instead, she’ll talk to the girl, hopefully eliminating the possibility she helped her father in his crimes. When Alana finally meets with Abigail, she confirms the girl’s parent’s deaths, and offers her a change of clothes to start.

With seven bodies still missing, Alana argues to Jack that Abigail needs to feel safe before answering any questions, but Jack insists that Will talk to her, as Hannibal nods along. The three find Will in class, teaching about Hobbs and the copycat killer, with no idea that it was Hannibal himself who copied the killer.

Freddie Lounds offers her service to Abigail, wanting to tell the real story, before the two are interrupted by the arrival of Hannibal and Will. Freddie points out Will’s apparent insanity before being escorted out, as Abigail recognizes Will to have killed her father. Taking a walk around the complex, Will assures Abigail that nothing about her father’s actions reflects on her, but that they’ll help her through any future nightmares. On Hannibal and Will’s way out, Freddie offers to tell Will’s true story, but Will coldly refuses her.

Jack proposes that Will and Hannibal take Abigail home to see what shakes out, though Alana dreads the prospect of traumatizing her further. Meanwhile, Freddie meets with Nicholas Boyle, brother to the murdered copycat girl, informing him that Abigail Hobbes has emerged from her coma. Later, Hannibal and Will arrive at the Hobbes residence with Abigail, finding the word “CANNIBALS” written all over the house. Abigail grimly assesses the remains of the crime scene, asking Will what it felt like inside her father’s head, before realizing they hope to identify the man who warned Garret Jacob Hobbs over the phone.

Abigail’s friend Maurissa visits, and the two go for a walk to catch up on what people have been saying, before Nicholas Boyle appears and begins taunting Abigail. Believing her to have been involved in the murders, Nicholas hurls insults before being driven off, and Hannibal hides the evidence of a rock that catches the boy’s blood. That night, Will dreams of slitting Abigail’s throat as her father did, while the mysterious stag watches and collapses along with her.

Abigail leads the police to her father’s cabin, realizing that his code of “honoring” kills means he likely fed some of the girls to his own family, before she’s interrupted by blood dripping from above. Will races upstairs, only to find Maurissa impaled on the antlers, another kill from the copycat. Hannibal theorizes that Nicholas Boyle likely committed the murder, along with his own sister, as Jack points out that Will’s theory appears to have been wrong.

Hannibal and Alana return Abigail home through a junket of press, fending off Freddie Lounds once again as well. Alone inside, Abigail panics and realizes that her very pillows contain hair from the young women, before Nicholas Boyle appears in the house and swears his innocence. Abigail violently stabs Nicholas in a panic, but before Alana can see, Hannibal knocks her out from behind and offers his help to the traumatized girl in disposing of the body. Later, Alana recuperates in an ambulance, as Jack explains that Nicholas attacked them and fled, but not before a scrape from Abigail provided proof of the boy’s crimes.

Abigail appears in Hannibal’s office, having fled confinement from the hospital, and unable to sleep for fear of what she might see in her dreams. Hannibal assures her that her crime was in self-defense, though a jury might not see it that way, as she realizes that Hannibal was the one to call her father before his rampage. Hannibal admits that he called, but claims it was a foolish request for an interview, and the two resolve to keep one another’s secrets.

‘Hannibal’ has been off to a particularly strong start thus far, one that was only lightly hampered last week with the burden of picking up from the pilot. “Amuse-Bouche” felt like more of a transitional episode, albeit an elegant one, burdened with the responsibility of fleshing out certain character dynamics while presenting a sustainable format for the series. What has separated ‘Hannibal’ thus far is its heavily serialized narrative, wherein the fallout of the Minnesota Shrike case pervades further still, even as another series might have moved on with a new case already.

Rather than collateral damage however, “Potage” presents Abigail Hobbs as a source of dramatic tension all her own, creating a unique (if questionable) relationship with Hannibal that will surely come to complicate things over the course of the season. It doesn’t hurt to spend a bit more time with the richly drawn Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) either, though the presence of Freddie Lounds already feels a bit grating as it strains the show’s credulity. If anything, the only real fault of “Potage” lies in devoting too little time to its main characters, without allowing much outside development for counterbalance.

With any luck, we can put a temporary button on the Minnesota Shrike case and dig a bit deeper into the more cerebral, visceral qualities of ‘Hannibal’ that made its pilot episode “Apéritif” stand out so much to begin with.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Hannibal’ hit the spot with its third episode? What did you like about “Potage?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Hannibal’ episode recap of “Coquilles” on NBC!

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