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Recap / Hannibal S 01 E 09

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Season 1, Episode 9:

Trou Normand

Jack Crawford on the beach at Grafton, WV, with Graham by his side. It's not an off-site team-bonding activity, if that's what you're thinking. It's a totem pole, some fifteen or twenty feet tall, made entirely of corpses lashed together with rope. It's surrounded by seven exhumed graves, but some of the bodies must have been dragged in from elsewhere, because there's far more than seven corpses involved. Having said that, whoever pulled them out of the graves is also who put them in; the digging was too neat and precise for anything else. Also, only one of them, the "headpiece," is fresh; the rest have been decomposing for years at least. It's not a monument to all their sins; the killer is celebrating something.

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Graham does his empathy thing, and then snaps out of it to find himself in Lecter's waiting room. The Time Skip encompassed a 3.5 hour drive from Grafton, plus however long it took him to conclude business at the beach, and Graham can't remember a single thing from it. In conjunction with the sleepwalking and hallucinations, he begins to wonder if he should seek medical help. Lecter tells him that this is the wrong answer and to retire from FBI life instead. "I'm your friend, Will. I don't care about the lives you save; I care about your life. And your life is separating from reality." ... "You empathize so completely with the killers Jack Crawford has your mind wrapped around that you lose yourself to them. What if you lose time and hurt yourself? Or someone else? I don't want you to wake up and see a totem of your own making."

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In group therapy, Abigail Hobbs is confessing that she still wakes up hearing her father's voice, and feels horrible Survivor's Guilt over surviving while so many other girls died. Should she have died instead? "Yes," answers everyone—the corpses of his victims. "So that he wouldn't have killed me." And Nicholas Boyle adds, "So that you wouldn't have killed me." That's when she wakes up.

Graham stops by Crawford's office to apologize for his strange behavior at the beach. Crawford's reply amounts to, What strange behavior?, and Graham's Sanity Slippage goes up another notch. Crawford, for once in his life intuiting that something might be up, asks Graham to tell him if there's a problem, and Graham agrees. "Is there a problem?" Crawford asks, and Graham says, "No."

Abigail returns from selling her parents' house, but her current confidant, Freddie Lounds, points out that she's unlikely to see a penny of it after the many wrongful-death lawsuits against Mr. Hobbs' estate are played out. Abigail brings up the idea of writing a book about her experiences, and Freddie volunteers to help, tactfully not mentioning percentages. "Nobody knows more about what your father did than I do," Freddie tells that man's daughter. Abigail then drops the bombshell—that everyone thinks she was her father's accomplice—but Freddie assures her that together, they can change that perception.

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Graham walks into the crime lab, where the totem pole bodies (or rather, pieces thereof) are being brought in. There are 17 in total, including the centerpiece, a Joel Summers who has been missing from Knoxville, TN for three days. As the centerpiece, he must have been a person of some importance to the architect. Aside from the seven exhumed beach corpses, the rest are from all over the place and were ruled accidental deaths. Graham, though, is convinced that they were well-disguised murders, and expounds on this theory at his next lecture. He then experiences another Time Skip, going from mid-lecture to god-knows-how-long later, with Alana Bloom dropping in on him. He promises not to kiss her this time, and she apologizes for her ambivalence towards him. However, she can't enter into a relationship with him, "Because I think you're unstable." Of course, he can't really deny the truth of this, and they hug it out platonically.

At Port Haven Psychiatric Hospital, Graham and Lecter are doing admirable jobs of not overreacting to the news that Abigail Hobbs is about to sacrifice not only her own privacy but theirs as well on the altar of money and/or Freddie Lounds' publicity. Abigail is alternately pleading and defiant. She claims Will isn't her father-figure but clearly doesn't want to lose him in that capacity; she claims she doesn't need Lecter and Graham's approval of her plan but clearly desires it anyhow. It's Lecter who makes the winning argument: "If you open this door, Abigail, you can't control what comes through."

The next scene is of someone swinging an ice pick outdoors in the dead of night to uncover a body.

Graham, back at work at FBI HQ, makes the logical inference that, if Joel Summers is the end of the totem pole-maker's journey, then the person at the bottom is the start. It's Fletcher Marshall, slain 1973 and exhumed recently. "There will be a connection between Joel Summers and Fletcher Marshall," Graham announces.

Crawford drops by and summons him, Bloom and Lecter for a pow-wow: Nicholas Boyle's corpse has turned up in Minnesota, and they're not sure when he died. There's a close-up on Lecter's face as he makes the connection between the person with the ice pick—Abigail, or at least someone in her employ—and current events. Alas, Crawford might have as well: he wants Abigail to identify the body. Though everyone fights him on this idea, "Jack has the look of a man with no interest in any opinion but his own," as Hannibal puts it. And so the plan is put in motion.

Bloom accompanies Abigail in, and Crawford shows no mercy. He asks if this is the person who attacked Abigail in her home (yes). He asks if she has seen him since (no). He remarks that he has been gutted with a hunting knife, something Abigail knew how to do. (This is a leading question, but when Bloom points this out, Crawford makes it clear that she can be expelled against her will.) He asks where she goes when she leaves the hospital (around, to be alone). He asks if she knew Nicholas Boyle in private life (no), or if her father did (no). He asks if she knows anything about his death. And Abigail rallies, finds some untapped wellspring of nerve somewhere, to answer that all she knows is that she thought she was going to die at his hands, and didn't.

CRAWFORD: "And you haven't seen him since."
ABIGAIL: "Only in my nightmares."

After she leaves, Crawford scoffs at her cover story, but Bloom, reining in her temper with clear effort, points out that while Abigail is undoubtedly lying about certain things, Nicholas Boyle's death is not one of them. "Because my reservations I have about Abigail don't extend to Hannibal! He has no reason to lie about any of this!" She leaves Crawford with his dead.

In private, however, Abigail confesses her doubts about herself to Lecter. What she doesn't regret is his unveiling: "I can't control what comes through [the door], but this time I can control when." But what Hannibal is concerned over—and what she clearly didn't think about, if her expression is any indication—is whether he can trust her, especially given that she holds his career, possibly his life, in her hands.

The Lab Mob have found the connection between Fletcher Marshall and Joel Summers: he is Fletcher's son, adopted by others after both Fletcher and his mother Eleanor died within four years of each other. The problem is, a paternity test has revealed no match. They've also found the only likely suspect to Marshall's murder: a man named Lawrence Wells. When Crawford and Graham go to visit him, they find Lance Henriksen unarmed and waiting for them. He confesses to the totem pole murders and looks forward to prison, which will be "a luxury next to the kind of retirement I can afford." However, Graham and Crawford have the motive: before Eleanor Marshall died, she was having an affair with Wells. And Graham uses it to turn the Plot Twist: Joel Summers, whom Wells murdered because he should have been his son with Eleanor, actually was his son with Eleanor. Wells looks markedly less thrilled now.

Will is doing his reconstruction thing on Nicholas Boyle's decaying corpse. It stands up and becomes the clothed, living Boyle, whom Will then stabs with a hunting knife, looking sad and astonished. (Hugh Dancy does an excellent job imitating Kacey Rohl's expression.) Then the corpse gets up again. This time it's Abigail Hobbs, who then stabs Will with a hunting knife, looking sad and astonished.

When Graham visits Lecter, his first words are, "Abigail Hobbs killed Nick Boyle." He hasn't told Crawford, and Lecter takes this opportunity to announce that Will should keep the silence as well. Lecter lied to protect Abigail from being Convicted by Public Opinion (and/or Crawford's opinion, which as we've already seen in this episode can be very difficult to change). He plays shamelessly on Graham's father/daughter relationship with Abigail, and in the end Graham chooses to become a Secret Keeper as well.

Next we see Lecter serving dinner to Graham, Abigail and Freddie Lounds, an astonishing vegetarian. It's evidently a business meal, Graham and Lecter teaming up to keep Lounds on the straight-and-narrow, but there's a semi-Funny Background Event as Abigail tries her dish (per Word of God, a tenderloin of some sort) and realizes it tastes familiar.

After dinner, Abigail helps Lecter clean up and confirms that Will knows her secret. Even though Lecter promises, pretty logically, that Will has a vested interest in protecting her, there's still one more secret yet to bubble up from her, and it bubbles up now. Abigail finally admits the truth:

"I helped him. I helped him. I knew what my father was, I knew what he did, I—I knew. I was the one who met the girls... talked to them... laughed and joked... found out where they lived... where they were going, when they'd be alone. Girls that looked just like me. They could have been my friends. I—I couldn't say no to him, I knew... I knew it was them or me."

Then she buries her face in Lecter's chest and cries while he hugs her.

"I'm a monster," she pronounces, but Lecter replies, "No. I know what monsters are. You're a victim. And Will and I, we're going to protect you." But he doesn't close his eyes and focus on her pain; he stares over her shoulder, calculating, as she cries.


This episode showcases the following tropes:

  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In Episode 4, Will contemplated teaching Abigail to fish, since her father taught her how to hunt. At the time, Will gave it up as a bad attempt at being a surrogate father... but today we discover that Abigail had plenty of experience being a fisher of women.
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