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Recap / Hannibal S 01 E 03

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Season 1, Episode 3:

Potage

We open on two people in the woods, dressed in warm-weather vests and camouflage suits. Hey, it’s Garret Jacob Hobbs! With him is Abigail, and the two are trading binoculars and hunting rifle back and forth between them. The gun ends up in Abigail’s hands, and she sights carefully. She doesn’t seem too pleased by her kill, though, and as her father passes her the skinning knife, she runs her hands over its fur, commenting that she’s read from somewhere that deer are the mental equivalent of a four-year-old child. Mr. Hobbs does not help things by claiming that deer are, in fact, smarter than four-year-olds. But they will “honor every part of her” by making use of everything, not wasting an inch of the bounty. That includes eating the meat: “Eating her is honoring her,” Mr. Hobbs tells her, his eyes fierce. “Otherwise it’s just... murder.”

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Then, as Abigail begins to dress the carcass, the fur turns to human hair; the head to a human head. Abigail’s own head. And then Abigail wakes up in the hospital with bandages around her neck and a tube in her throat.

Will lets his dogs out to run, finding Alana Bloom on his front door. Yes, she would like to come in for a cup of coffee; also, Abigail just woke up. Despite Will’s protests, she insists on coffee so that she can have a private word with him: she offers herself as a go-between for Crawford, who believes Abigail was her father’s accomplice in more than just deer-hunting, and Will, who believes no such thing. She also offers her professional services as Abigail’s mentor, pointing out that neither Will nor Lecter, who helped make Abigail an orphan, should occupy that role.

As such, the next we see Abigail, she’s been transferred to Port Haven Psychiatric Facility, Baltimore, MD. It’s not antiseptic, but its walls are sterile of personal touches, and Abigail, an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette, looks like a ghost against the seafoam walls. Abigail, when not having a knife held to her throat by a serial killer, turns out to be a surprisingly pragmatic individual. She asks who buried her parents, and then announces she wants to sell the house so that she has a trust fund for college. She also knows what happened to her. “The nurses said you didn’t remember.” “I remember, I just didn’t want to talk to them about it.”

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We don’t know if she wants to talk to Crawford about it, but he is anxious to speak to her, pursued night and day by the families of Hobbs’ seven victims. Alana is certain the time isn’t right, because to her mind Abigail has proven to be a Manipulative Bastard: she said and did exactly as much as she needed to, and then withdrew into herself. Crawford also wants Will to make the approach, but Alana doesn’t think it’s time for that either.

Will, for his part, is continuing his lectures on the Minnesota Shrike—and, more importantly, the Jack the Ripoff murderer who gave them the Shadow Archetype corpse, the girl-on-stag-head who in life was named Cassie Boyle. Lecter and Crawford arrive to observe. Will is not sanguine on their chances: the copycat killer has no known motive, enough inside knowledge to recreate (if not, in Will’s opinion, surpass) what Hobbs himself was doing, and will almost certainly not kill this way again. Will believes the copycat killer to have been close to Hobbs, and to be the source of the phone call which warned Hobbs of the FBI’s imminent arrival. As Will announces this, Lecter attempts to smile.

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After the commercial break, we find Abigail receiving a guest: Freddie Lounds. She says she wants to tell Abigail’s story to the world and promises to never lie to her. “That sounds like something a liar would say,” Abigail responds. She asks for an Info Dump, and Freddie provides it: Hobbs was the Minnesota Shrike, and killed eight girls, and was sick in the head. “Does that mean I’m sick too?” Abigail asks, and Freddie replies that she’ll be fighting that perception her whole life, and should let Freddie help her spin it. Abigail, still mistrustful, answers with another question: how was her father stopped? Freddie lays that at the feet of Will Graham, who can “catch ... insane men because he can think like them.” And then, seeing Will step in the door: “Because he is insane.”

After Lecter manages to get Lounds out the door, they take Abigail for a walk around the grounds, and Will manages to say the magic words: “There was plenty wrong with your father, Abigail, but there’s nothing wrong with you.” He also admits that he, like she, is concerned about nightmares resulting from their ordeal. And it works: when Abigail asks to go back to her home in Minnesota, it’s not Lounds she asks it of.

But on their way out, they find Lounds waiting for them. She apologizes, but Will is a bit stung over that whole “You're Insane!” thing—especially since, given those weird hallucinations from last episode, he can’t be absolutely sure he isn’t insane—and has no interest in cooperating with her. “Miss Lounds, it’s not very smart to piss off a guy who thinks about killing people for a living.

“It isn’t very smart to piss off a guy who thinks about killing people for a living,” Crawford reads in Lounds’ latest article. He’s got Bloom, Graham and Lecter in front of him and doesn’t look happy at any of them: Graham for his rash words, Lecter for not stopping Graham’s rash words, and Bloom because she doesn’t think Abigail going home is a good idea. Lecter is for it, and Crawford ultimately allows it as a way of verifying Graham’s copycat-killer theory. This despite Alana’s words of protest: “We have no way of knowing what’s waiting for her if she goes home.”

The audience does: we get a shot of a lanky young man in leather jacket being handed a coffee by—oh joy—a woman with a mop of violently red hair. The man is Nicholas Boyle, brother of girl-on-stag-head, and all Fredricka wants to tell him is that Abigail Hobbs has emerged from her coma.

The doors of the Hobbs house have been covered with a graffiti’d legend: CANNIBALS. Abigail, to her credit, is more concerned with the red splotch on the porch that marks Louise Hobbs’ final resting place. She says her goodbyes and then, followed by her entourage of Graham, Bloom and Lecter, moves into the house. In the kitchen, Abigail marvels over how clean it all is, despite the person-and-a-half’s worth of blood lately spilled there; Graham then springs into his true motivation for the trip: the phone call that warned Hobbs of the imminent raid. Of course, since Abigail was the person who answered that phone call, she would recognize the speaker’s voice. (Lecter stays conspicuously silent during this scene.) But it’s not a voice she’d ever heard before. Once she realizes this second killer could still be on the loose, she helps break open the boxes her family’s things have been stored in, hoping to find some leads.

As they search, it also comes out that one of the (many) other reasons for the trip is the hope of finding trace of the other victims. Abigail disdains this theory: her father would “honor every part of them,” even down to using their bones in plumbing putty. All this happened up at the cabin, and Abigail offers to take them there, but before she can, they are interrupted: it’s a girl named Marissa Schuur, one of Abigail’s friends from before. The two go walking in the backyard while Marissa catches her up on local gossip—primarily the fact that everyone thinks Abigail did it, but Marissa doesn’t. And when Nicholas Boyle erupts out of the backyard, flinging invective and accusing Abigail of being the bait, Marissa drives him off with thrown rocks. Graham tries to track the departing Boyle, but fails; only Lecter notices the blood-stained rock Marissa tagged him with. With a conspiratorial glance at Abigail, he sweeps leaves over the evidence and walks away.

Graham’s dreams that evening involve the raven-feathered stag, Abigail, and Hobbs. Or rather, a version of Hobbs. A version where Graham is Hobbs. Graham is Hobbs, holding the knife to Abigail’s throat, begging her to hold still, please hold still, and he’ll make this all go away—

At the cabin, Abigail finds no trace of any industry; everything’s been cleaned up, including some of the things we saw abandoned there last episode. She comes to the horrifying realization that her father likely fed his family on the girls’ corpses, but has barely begun to process this thought when a drop of blood falls to her face from the ceiling. Graham, going up the stairs, finds that the antler attic has a new occupant: Marissa Schuur, impaled on, well, everything.

Crawford, who has traveled the 1330 miles separating Chippewa National Forest and the B.A.U. Headquarters at Quantico, VA during the time of a commercial break, takes stock of the situation. Will’s copycat-killer theory seems confirmed, but not the idea that he would stop being a copycat. The prime suspect is Nicholas Boyle, and Abigail Hobbs is almost certainly not an accomplice. Instead, she might be the target. As such, Crawford assigns Bloom and Lecter to take Abigail home, where she can collect her things and leave for the last time. Will remains at the cabin doing forensics.

The police line around the Hobbs home is not very effective: Mrs. Schuur breaks through it, hysterical over the loss of her daughter. Then Freddie Lounds is found to already be lurking in the lee of the home, begging for Abigail’s time. And she claims she isn’t the only lurker! Bloom and Lecter give their statements to the police while Abigail, safe inside, clutches at a throw pillow and tries to control her tears. But then another horrible suspicion seizes her, and she grabs the skinning knife to slice the pillow open. It is, indeed, stuffed with human hair. This is when Nicholas Boyle, Lounds’ other lurker, makes his appearance. Of all things he wants to beg for clemency: he’s heard that he’s now the prime suspect in Marissa Schuur’s murder and wants to clear his name. Abigail, in no state to listen, tries to flee, and he seizes her by the Standard Female Grab Area and slams her against the wall, begging for her attention. She’s still got the knife. It’s hard to know which of them looks more confused as he sinks to the floor.

As Lecter and Bloom enter, Abigail comes up from the basement, her hands quite literally bloody. Lecter, seeing this, dashes Bloom’s head against the wall, knocking her out. He then orders Abigail to show him what happened. Upon inspection of the body, he declares that Abby butchered him, far beyond the boundaries of self-defense, and will be seen as her father’s accomplice. However, there is a way out: if she asks for his help, they can together hide the body. For Abigail, who has been unable to utter sentences longer than two words this entire act, the choice is obvious.

After the final commercial break, we find Bloom, Graham and Crawford conferencing in the ambulance. Alana remembers nothing, and accepts as truth the story that Nicholas Boyle attacked all of them. He didn’t get away scot-free—Abigail managed to nick him with the knife (explaining her bloody hands), and they have his DNA on Marissa Schuur as well (through unexplained means; they supposedly found his skin in her mouth, which Lecter would have been unable to fake using his bloodstained rock), so for now the manhunt is on. The story is just beginning for Lecter and Abigail too; she has jumped the hospital wall and visited his office in the black of night. She’s now even more scared to sleep than before—understandably, given the amount of Nightmare Fuel she’s been exposed to over the last few days—and feels bad that she “didn’t honor any part of him. Now it’s just... Murder, isn’t it.” Even worse, she has recognized Lecter as the man who called her father. Lecter excuses it as an attempt to schedule an interview, but points out that—like her—he made a mistake that could be mis-interpreted by those with an agenda, and that lying is easier. She agrees to keep his secret, and he to keep hers... But as we rack in on Abigail’s face, the final shot of the episode, we see her wondering if the promise was worth the price.

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