‘Hannibal’ Review: “Trou Normand”
‘Hannibal’ serves up another course with its ninth episode of the series, “Trou Normand,” as Jack and Will's pursuit of a gruesomely artful killer (Lance Henriksen) takes an increasing toll on Will's psyche, while Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl)'s decision to write a tell-all book threatens the relationship between she, Hannibal and Will.
Last week’s ‘Hannibal’ episode “Fromage” saw Will struggling both with the nature of his work and his relationship with Alana, while Hannibal confronted a fellow killer on his sloppy technique, so how does the ninth course of ‘Hannibal’ taste?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Hannibal’s latest episode, “Trou Normand!”
Jack and Will observe their latest crime scene, a totem pole of bodies in various stages in decay upon a West Virginia beach, but when Will lapses into his reconstruction, observing the murder of the final victim Will suddenly comes to in Hannibal’s office. Will panics that his dissociations are getting worse, to drive for hours without remembering, as Hannibal presses that Will should think about unburdening himself from such horrific investigations. Elsewhere, Abigail Hobbes tells a support group of her difficulties coping, before realizing the group consists of her father’s bitter victims, and waking up in a panic.
The next day Will apologizes to Jack for any off behavior, while Abigail converses with Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) about the sale of her father’s house. With the money likely to go to the victims, Freddie urges Abigail to tell her story in a book for profit, if nothing else to clear up the public’s lingering suspicions of her involvement with the murders. Meanwhile, the team examines the totem bodies to discover 17 total victims, the latest of which Joel Summers must somehow have been special.
Will teaches the killer’s design to a class full of students until Alana interrupts, and Will realizes the class has long gone, if they were ever there. Alana apologizes for leaving his house after their kiss last week and admits her feelings for Will, but remains adamant they stay friends for the time being, however confusing it might be.
The next day Will and Hannibal urge Abigail not to write her book, for her own sake as well as theirs, as Hannibal points out she won’t control what comes from opening that door. Later out in the wilderness, an unidentified figure digs through the earth, and uncovers the body of Nicholas Boyle.
Will continues to struggle with the connection between the killer’s first victim Fletcher Marshall and the last Joel Summers, before Jack calls him into the office to reveal that Nicholas Boyle’s body has been found. Jack insists on having Abigail personally identify the body, suspecting her involvement somehow, though Alana and Will protest the thought.
Alana takes Abigail before Jack and the body, as Jack scrutinizes Abigail’s reactions and answers to his questions. Abigail admits to fleeing her hospital now and again for peace of mind, but insists neither she nor her family had anything to do with Nicholas’ murder. After Abigail leaves, Alana admits that Abigail was likely holding something back, but that it wouldn’t extend to Hannibal, who has no reason to lie about his own assessments of Abigail.
Hannibal meets with Abigail in secret and presses her to admit that she herself dug up the body to assuage her guilt, breaking the trust between them. Meanwhile, the team uncovers that Joel Summers was in fact Fletcher Marshall’s son, given a new name after his father’s death, though curiously the DNA between the two doesn’t match. However, both parents connect to a living man named Lawrence Welles, who likely caused the other deaths as well.
Will and Jack arrive to Lawrence (Lance Henriksen)’s house to find the man waiting unarmed. Lawrence confesses to the murders, lording the sense of power he felt from them and that he finally created a legacy for himself by killing both Fletcher and his son. Will reveals to the man that Joel was in fact Lawrence’s son with the mother, rather than Fletcher’s, ruining his real-life flesh and blood legacy.
Still troubled by visions of Abigail, Will looks over Nicholas Boyle’s body and realizes from his intuition that Abigail was his actual killer. Will takes his revelation to Hannibal, which Hannibal surprisingly admits his knowledge of, as well as his assistance in covering up the murder. Will questions his actions, but Hannibal presses that Abigail acted in self-defense and would have had her life ruined by Jack and the families out for blood if Nicholas’ murder came to light. Moved by Hannibal’s assertion that they must be better fathers to her than Garret, Will agrees to keep the secret between the three.
Will and Hannibal share a tense dinner with Abigail and Freddie Lounds to assure their mutual interest in protecting the girl, while Abigail senses Will’s discomfort. Afterwards, Hannibal admits to Abigail that Will knows the truth and won’t expose them, freeing her of her guilt. Abigail finally confesses that she acted as her father’s accomplice in his murders, solely for the reason of sparing her own life, as Hannibal assures the tearful girl they’ll protect her. Lastly, we see a flashback of Garret Jacob Hobbs and his daughter on a train, before Garret points out a young girl, and Abigail fearfully goes over to make conversation with her.
We'll admit to a few reservations in advance of tonight's episode, if only for the gruesome beauty of 'Hannibal's various crime scenes beginning to outweigh the plausibility of the series itself. We love the stunning visuals from an artistic perspective, but have begun to feel a spreading awareness of over-reliant convention, both in the "designs" of the murders, and the man who uncovers them, Will Graham. Hugh Dancy continues to deliver an Emmy-worthy performance mind you, with excellent writing to boot, but it becomes harder and harder to empathize with Will's own plight, given the near-superhuman manner in which he simply stands adjacent a body, and unravels the entire scene in his head, killer and all.
That said, we were very much won over by Hannibal's suprising admissions of his crimes, further deepening the bond between he and Will rather than cheapen the story with an endless cat-and-mouse the way certain other serial killer series have done in past. Abigail's involvement with her father's murders hardly comes as a shock, but it does add a fascinating new later to the relationship between all three, now that Hannibal has become the most trusted secret-keeper of all. Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the appearance of Lance Henriksen, albeit in a rather brief role, but one that very quickly provides a memorable performance of a lifelong killer faced with his own legacy, something we know Will to encounter again in the not-too-distant future.
What say you? Did you feel that ‘Hannibal’ hit the spot with its ninth episode? What did you like about “Trou Normand?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Hannibal’ episode recap of “Buffet Froid” on NBC!