Hannibal Review: “Trou Normand” (Season 1, Episode 9)


Things are getting dicey. The latest case has pushed Will seriously past his limits, and now Abigail Hobbs has decided to do a tell-all under the gentle ministrations of Freddie Lounds. Character and circumstance established, at this stage of Hannibal we’re starting to see the billiard balls ricochet as our characters start seeing each other. The internal churn, hallmark of the Harris world, has begun.

Will’s bad day started out with a fresh crime scene on a beach in Grafton, West Virginia. Now, I have a high tolerance for this stuff given I’ve been a Harris devotee for decades, jumped on the Dexter bandwagon as a result, and consider Se7en to be an unqualified masterpiece on every level. It’s not the what of what people are doing that interests me, it’s the why: why some go one way under pressure, and others another. But I’ll tell you, even for me this one was a push (two times running, now, props to Bryan Fuller and company ~ that single note played last week rendered me just a bit dazed for a second or two, jeesh; I do wonder how on earth this week’s was supposed to have been executed without detection in today’s smartphone-video-toting world, but onward).

A totem pole of corpses (or as Sam called it, a “Corpse Jenga” ~ good one!), and as with all totem poles, a celebration and announcement, the story of a lifetime, of a history. A statement of an identity. Comprised of ancient components dating decades, none murdered but clearly retrieved for this very occasion, save one: the pinnacle, the fresh kill of a 40-year old man.

A man with a connection to the first body, of that Will is certain; this is a totem pole, after all. Meaning that despite appearances to the contrary ~ a heart attack, an auto accident ~ these were all, in fact, murders. Murders by a killer who has no need to make a statement about it, simply needs that they be dead. Because now, today, is the statement. And until now, he’s deliberately been a ghost.

They catch him, now an old man (in a nice turn by Lance Henriksen) having ground his betrayed-love axe for a generation, reveling in his invisibility at the funerals he caused within his own community, comforting people having no clue he occasioned the event. Seventeen, a sequence concluded by forcing the product of his lost inamorata’s infidelity to watch the totem assembly, knowing what was to come. Except that he had it all wrong. He wasn’t invisible to his inamorata, she wasn’t unfaithful; she saw him clearly, left him, and raised his then-unborn son with another man.

Delivering that blow of course felt delicious to Will and gave meaning to his suffering, but the damage was done. Never having enjoyed much of a grip over the side effects of his gift to begin with, he’s now lost control of them completely. So much so that he’s now disassociating, a condition whereby under extreme trauma the mind drops a shutter on present doings and goes on unremembered autopilot until the threat subsides. Blinking into awareness in Hannibal’s waiting room, Will realizes he has no memory of having driven himself there.

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