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Recap / Hannibal S 01 E 04

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Season 1, Episode 4:


"Sometimes, at night, I leave the lights on in my little house, and... walk across the flat fields. And when I look back from the distance, the house is like a little boat on the sea. It's really the only time I feel safe."

These are the words that open this week's episode, aside from the Previously On… segment. Not that it's necessary, as we're treated to a series of flashbacks while Will unburdens himself to Lecter about the horrors of getting into Hobbs' mind. In particular, when he saw the corpse of Marissa Schuur, he felt guilty: "Because I felt like I killed her. I got so close to him, sometimes I felt like were doing the same things at different times of day—like I was eating, or showering, or sleeping at the same time he was. ... Even after he was dead." This will be important later.


This week's murder victim is an entire family—2.5 kids, white picket fence, the works. What ought to have been a pleasant family dinner in the Turner household is now a grisly, vista of blood and maggots. The husband and two sisters are face-down on their plates, but the mother faces the head of the table, where an empty fifth place setting announces the former presence of the murderer. Also, the facade of the happy family is just that: there is a middle child, son Jesse, who went on the missing persons list last year. There are no broken windows or doors where the murderer broke in; he must have been invited. Also, the gunshots went from about table height up into the victims' heads. Are you seeing where this is going? Because the creators did; they ended up pulling this episode from circulation, feeling that the subject matter was inappropriate. It was converted into webisodes, and eventually aired unbroken via iTunes.


While Will is in Conneticut doing his forensics thing, Lecter has been charged with maintaining his home. Bribing the dogs with sausages, Lecter tries the (horribly untuned) piano and then helps finish one of the fishing lures Will is assembling. This will be important later.

At Port Haven Psychatric Facility, Abigail eyes her healing scar and decides she can cover it with a scarf. Dr. Bloom, however, wants her to rejoin the support group and talk about her experience. Evidently she's not going with it, because the next scene is Alana dropping in unexpected on Hannibal. Lecter takes Abigail's side: he thinks getting her back out into the world, instead of being "surrounded by tragedy," would do her good. Bloom protests that Abigail is looking for surrogate parents, and that adopting Lecter as one cannot actually be described as progress.


Back at FBI HQ, the team stand around bandying talk about child order. Zellner pins Graham as an only child, on account of Graham's lack of personality, but Graham identifies himself with Middle Child Syndrome instead. After the commercial break, we find him in session with Lecter, who is asking about his family. (Graham never knew his mother, and ended up traveling a lot as his father, a boat-engine mechanic, sought work.) This naturally leads to the Turner family, and Graham's growing conviction that Mrs. Turner was, somehow, the killer's mother.

After another dinner scene between Crawford and Lecter, in which Crawford reiterates his theory that Abigail helped in her father's business and Lecter reiterates his desire for Crawford to invite his wife to one of these meetings, we find Zellner, Price and Katz continuing their investigations. Most notably, there are extra shoeprints around the Turner house, belonging to children. Crawford then bursts in on Graham's lecture and announces that they have a lead: prints at the Turner house match those of Connor Frist, another missing boy from a family of five. Behavioral Analysis is mobilizing to Reston, VA. "You're expecting a crime scene," Graham realizes.

The Frist household is alight with holiday cheer: Christmas decorations on the walls, Christmas tree in the corner, Christmas carols blaring from the stereo... five corpses. Four are the Frists—mother, father, sister, brother. The fifth is burnt to a crisp in the fireplace. Back at the lab, Zellner finds two rounds in Mrs. Frist: one that inflicted brain injury and left her flopping about like a grounded fish, and another to finish the job. Graham predicts that the charcoal is Connor himself: he had been trained to kill his family, but not to watch them suffer. When he couldn't man up, he was left for dead. "Whoever did this... disowned him," he pronounces.

In a diner somewhere in America, we find a mother and three boys sipping away at milkshakes. However, the mother is played by Molly Shannon and the three boys look nothing like her. Hmm, this isn't suspicious at all. The eldest boy, C.J., begs Mom not to be upset about Connor, but she regrets that she couldn't make him understand. "The family you're born into isn't really family, those are just people you didn't choose, you have to make family, that's what we're doing, we're making family. ... The family you think is your family is just a stepping-stone to real family." She then questions one of her sons, Christopher, on his feelings. "You should be excited to go home, even if it is to say goodbye, 'cuz we're your family now, Christopher. You can only have one family."

Graham is analyzing the missing-persons reports on Jesse Turner and Connor Frist for connections, but Price has already found one: the round in Mrs. Frist matches those from a murder in Rhode Island, in which a mother was slain by her own gun. Her son, C.J. Lincoln, went missing six months before. He's older, making him an immediate candidate for the role of Peter Pan to these Lost Boys, but his personality doesn't match at all: no Lack of Empathy, no disregard for property, no assault. "He was kind to animals, for God's sake," Crawford grumps. Does he really have what it takes to brainwash young boys into turning against their family? Maybe not, but as we find at a convenience store where Mom is shopping, he's perfectly happy to be her Dragon: he pins Christopher with a Kubrick Stare that causes the younger boy to wet his pants.

Graham arrives at Lecter's office with a Christmas present for Abigail, fly-fishing gear, that he has changed his mind about. Lecter draws the obvious parallel: Hobbs taught her to hunt, Graham plans to teach her to fish. "That's why I changed my mind," Graham grumps. He's angry at the lost boys for throwing away their families when he—and Abigail—had so little to cling to. Perhaps moved by this sentiment, Lecter arranges for Abigail to leave the facility and dine with him that evening. She admits to bad dreams concerning the death of Nicholas Boyle, which she cannot confess to. She's learned that she can live with it, and asks Lecter if this makes her a sociopath. Lecter responds that it makes her a survivor. After the commercial break, he asks (over the feast preparations) if she's thought about college. "My dad killed girls at all the schools I applied to," Abigail responds, and then mentions that she wants to join the FBI. (Better get over your worries then, hon: you need a college degree to work for the Bureau.) Lecter then offers Abigail an alternative treatment to help her come to peace with her father: psilocybin, which he has steeped in a tea for her. "You want me to do drugs," Abigail says, giving him a Fascinating Eyebrow; but she accepts it nonetheless.

While Abby has a semi-successful Mushroom Samba, Behavioral Analysis continues to profile the lost boys. Graham identifies that C.J. is invoking Stockholm Syndrome on his followers and must be using that as part of his targeting parameters. However, it's Bloom who realizes that the boys are also, like the pirates, looking for a mother. Graham runs straight to Crawford with the information that this mother-figure is also an important part of the lost boys. He's also got what he believes is the next perpetrator: Christopher O'Halloran, last seen wetting his pants by a convenience-store security camera in Alexandria, VA. His family lives in Fayetteville, NC... and he is ringing their doorbell right now. He looks down upon his joyous mother with no expression on his face.

After the commercial break, FBI SWAT burst into the house and find a stand-off around a barbecue in the backyard. (Crawford is wearing sunglasses, making this scene an unintentional Shout-Out to The Matrix.) As C.J. pulls a gun on Mr. O'Halloran, SWAT takes the shot, and Chris bolts. Most of the FBI remain behind to secure the criminals, but Graham chases the boy back to the pool shed, begging him to stand down. Unfortunately, Mom is waiting, and she has a gun too... But Beverly has Graham's back. One shot, and the crisis is over, with Mom bleeding on the ground and Chris remanded to FBI custody.

At Lecter's house, Alana Bloom has arrived, and she is not happy. In fact, she's downright furious that Lecter snuck Abigail out of the hospital without permission. Lecter apologizes, and butters her up a bit more by admitting she was right: Abigail was evidently not ready to leave the hospital and experienced some anxiety, for which Lecter gave her half a Valium. (Suuure, is that what they're calling it now.)

Abigail waits at the dinner table, docile and surprised to see Bloom. Lecter extends the dinner invitation to her, and she sits down to eat. From Abigail's blurry, occasionally hallucinatory point of view, we see Lecter and Bloom morph into Garret and Louise Hobbs and back again. "I see family," Abigail says. Bloom looks displeased.

And finally, we find ourselves in the Crawford household, with Jack reading in bed. His wife Bella—played by Mrs. Laurence Fishburne herself, Gina Torres—tucks herself into bed as Crawford asks, "Think it's too late for us to have kids?"

"It is for me," Bella announces, turning away from him.


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