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Hannibal: Trou Normand

“Insane isn't really black or white, is it? We're all pathological in our own ways.”

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future. Oh Will, you’re getting in deep here. Add to that Lance “I have serious cred in multiple genres” Henriksen, a human totem pole made out of 17 people and Abigail coming clean and we have ourselves ‘Trou Normand’.

You guys, whenever Hugh Dancy’s voice skyrockets into that frenzied I-don’t-understand-what-is-happening-right-now falsetto, a part of me dies. It only happens in those most rare of times when he cannot, despite all his efforts, zip it all in anymore. Those times, as they say, are now upon us.

So, I seemed fine to you?

When you are looking outside yourself to another person to tell you if you are actually okay, things are pretty bad. When that person is Jack Crawford, things are not only bad, you are royally fucked. Jack Crawford simply does not have time for his agents’ frailties. But what’s amazing is how resolutely Will has committed to looking sane, reasonable, normal, even. He looks like he would rather have Jack’s office floor open up and swallow him whole than tell him he blacked out for three hours the day before somewhere between their crime scene and Hannibal’s office--that he is as far from fucking fine as he has ever been in his life. Later, right before he walks into the autopsy bay, he has to fortify himself in a way he just never has had to before. And what makes the body part totem pole (easily the most bizarre elaborate dismaying sight to behold so far) such a great visual to juxtapose with Will’s rapid decline, is that it has no effect on him whatsoever. For Will, this is all internal.

I’m trying to be understated here when I say that this is a bad idea.

Did you know that the scenes in this season where Hannibal and Will play paternal to Abigail Hobbs are jokingly referred to as the My Two Dads moments by the show’s fans? Heh. Freddie gets her talons in Abigail by finally convincing her to write a tell-all. Well, not write it herself, of course! Freddie will do that for her because she is so generally invested in the truth. Obviously her two dads have a lot to lose in this teenaged lapse in judgment. Really though Abigail is just deeply uncomfortable in her constant state of agitation (she has terrible dreams about the girls whose murder she tacitly endorsed) and that awful secret murder she committed all on her own of Nicholas Boyle is really heavy on her. She needs for something to change. Alana and Jack surmise as much—that she is using "every ounce" of restraint she's got to keep something "buried." At one point, Abigail even takes it upon herself to dig up the Nicholas’ body to hopefully be freed of that burden. But eventually all of this chaos leads to her epic break down in Hannibal’s kitchen when she finally says out loud THE REAL THING she’s been hiding, that thing that has been hinted at since day 1: She undeniably helped her dad procure the girls he murdered. In the coda, there’s a flashback to this awfulness that takes place on a train where we see Elise Nichols (from ‘Aperitif’) in what were her final hours. The whole scene is wrong on multiple levels to be sure. And my heart broke for Abigail in a whole new way.

Jack has the look of a man with no interest in any opinion but his own.

Speaking of Jack, two things about him occurred to me in ‘Trou Normand’. First of all, his indomitable terrier drove the plot of Season 1 more than I’ve given him credit for. Often there were two or three people pushing back on his demands and he just repeatedly unfalteringly plowed through them. Second, he was often right, albeit maddeningly so at times. His pursuit for the truth as it relates to justice was always governed by his extensive well-honed capacity to be objective which gave him the edge more often than not. Most interesting though is that overall, his whole persona, super cut-and-dried, straightforward and every other cliché that means unambiguous, was a kind of glue in moments that things could have (maybe even should have) spun out to an undesirable level of anarchy.

I promise I won't try to kiss you again.

I guess it’s only right to preface my thoughts on the exchange between Alana and Will with what comes immediately before, disturbing as it was. Will has either lost time between the end of the Quantico class he was teaching and Alana’s entrance or he never was teaching the class he thinks he’s teaching to begin with. I mean, does it really matter? They are both equally upsetting. In some ways it’s a mirror of their ‘Fromage’ scene. Once again, Will needs an anchor because he’s seriously losing his shit. But Alana comes off as way more confused (read: human) and endearing this time. She tells Will she is sincerely conflicted about how to proceed because her feelings for him are real. Again, he tries with every cell of his being to deflect the crazy that’s currently persistently penetrating his core. But Alana is an observer by profession and she attunes to this new layer of fear he’s attempting to hide and instead embraces him as a friend, to ground and steady him. Once his body allows him to accept what’s happening, he closes his eyes tightly and holds on to her for dear life. It’s all… really well done.

We are her fathers now.

After Will can’t put off any longer ‘empathing’ how Nicholas Boyle was killed (Abigail isn’t the only one agitated by the truth), he instantly knows who helped her. He invades Hannibal’s office telling him the game is up. But the problem with Hannibal is that the game, at any given moment, has 2 trillion components and it appears to be beyond human capability to even know five of them. Even if you’re Will Graham. The saddest thing is that another dysfunctional corrupted relationship now exists among these secret-keepers and Hannibal KNEW THE WHOLE TIME that Will would not resist being complicit. THE WHOLE TIME. Because horrifyingly, Hannibal already knows Will so intimately, as he reveals to Abigail... he knows how he lies to himself.


Odds and Ends

*I know I hardly touched on Lance Henriksen (shame on me) or the totem pole to the degree they both deserve discussion but to me, this story really was a backdrop for more pressing issues. Let me at least say, that Lance’s character ended up being the killer is pretty cool.

*Will is now regularly popping pills without water. That’s dedication and practice.

*Hannibal is setting up something big when vulnerable!Will comes to his office after losing time. I know there’s loads of gaslighting going on this season but this is more than that. He tells him he’s worried he might hurt himself or someone else. And by the way he might not even know it... But of course!

*Freddie Lounds is a vegetarian! Quelle surprise!

*About the last scene my notes say: Kitchen—H & Abigail keep it real. Lol.


Brian: “World’s sickest jigsaw puzzle.”
Jimmy: “Yeah, but where are the corners?”
Brian: “The heads are the corners? I guess?”

Will: “I save lives.”
Hannibal: “And that feels good?”
Will: “Generally speaking, yeah.”

Hannibal: “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.”

Alana: “A doctor who treats herself has a fool for a patient. I regretted leaving your house the other night.”
Will: “Regretted? Implying that you're no longer regretting, or are you still in a state of regret?”
Alana: “I'm crisscrossing the state line.”

Will: “Whatever you're feeling now, that won't last. Things change. Things are changing for me too. I'm doing some accounting of what's important in my life and what isn't. You are important, Abigail.”

Hannibal: “You betrayed my trust. You jeopardized my life as well as your own. I deserve more than that. I need to trust you, Abigail. What if I can't?”

Will: “Abigail Hobbs killed Nick Boyle.”
Hannibal: “Yes, I know.”
Will: “Tell me why you know.”

Hannibal: “I wondered when you would tell me.”
Abigail: “I'm a monster.”
Hannibal: “No. I know what monsters are. You're a victim. And Will and I, we're going to protect you.”


  1. The fact that Abigail was involved in the girls' deaths did not surprise me all that much. What did was the reveal. I was sure this was going to be a secret she kept for a much longer time.

    Watching Will fall apart to such a degree is tough to take. I had exactly the same reaction you did when Alana hugged him. He is clinging hard to anything that seems steady.

  2. Chris,
    Yes I agree about the timing of Abigail's confession. She had every reason to keep that buried, well, forever if I'm bring real.
    I think you and I are on the same, er, ship with Alana and Will. :)


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