Hannibal Review: “Potage” (Season 1, Episode 3)

Hannibal Season 1, Episode 3: "Potage"
Where last week we had a straight case to solve, in this week’s Hannibal we get to enjoy the interplay between our principals and delve into the Minnesota Shrike arc in detail…

Abigail has awakened.

Abigail, daughter of serial murderer Garrett Jacob Hobbs, comatose since he attempted to slice her throat and partially succeeded, rendered motherless by her own father and fatherless courtesy of Special Agent Will Graham.

Abigail, inspiration of her father’s kills, unwilling protégé of her father’s skills, concerned possible inheritor of his tendencies, cousin to Will as walker between the worlds of understanding a killer and being one.

Abigail is awake. Look out boys…

So as not to further traumatize her (and thereby shut down any chance of discerning whether or not she participated in her father’s proceedings, it ain’t all about compassion here, after all), Dr. Bloom insists that neither Graham nor Lecter be present at the first meeting where Abigail is informed of her parents’ deaths. The two were involved, and the first person Abigail speaks with should be unrelated; Bloom assumes the task herself, building rapport by bringing clothes and iTunes gift cards.

Bad news broken, Graham and Lecter do pay Abigail a visit, but not before Freddy Lounds has made one of her own, arguing the importance of someone to help Abigail manage her story, steering her away from Will Graham by going so far as to call him insane in his very presence. Will retorts with a menacing, “It isn’t wise to piss off a guy who thinks about killing people for a living,” which of course Lounds gleefully takes to press.

Debriefing with Crawford and Lecter (after Crawford dresses down Lecter for allowing the above incident), Bloom recounts Abigail’s desire to return home rather than remain at the hospital, to sell the house and start anew, to try to shake loose the fear that she’s been permanently damaged by her father’s insistence that she learn to kill through hunting deer, this despite her misgivings and guilt at the fact that a deer functions on approximately the same level as a four-year-old human being, misgivings unassuaged by his principle of honoring the kill by using every single part of the body since “otherwise it’s murder.”

Bloom wants her in the hospital; she may be Hobbs’ accomplice and may even be the Shrike copycat. Lecter says send her home, things’ll be fine. In the presence of debate, Crawford chooses the one that better supports his own agenda. He and Lecter locate Graham currently conducting his own debriefing on the copycat.

It’s some of the best acting on television (or anywhere) to watch Mikkelsen as Lecter soaks in Graham’s profile. Lecter is rapt as Graham unwittingly describes him: intelligent, sadistic, intimately familiar with Hobbs’ habits, difficult to trace as likely never will kill in this way again. And the look of genuine thrill, almost good-natured cheer as Graham posits the copycat as the caller who tipped off Hobbs should earn Mikkelsen an Emmy and Golden Globe or two. Lecter dropped the hint, Graham caught it, and the game is on.

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