Hannibal Review: A Totem Pole of Corpses

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Lawrence Wells was rather creative in "Trou Normand." A constructing a totem pole of corpses? Can't say I ever considered that as a way of financing a retirement fund.

What was most interesting about Lawrence was that his actions were what ultimately did him in. He believed he was in complete control of how and when he would get caught and how he would be remembered, but that arrogance was exactly the kind of instability needed to murder your own son without ever knowing it. Lawrence believed in only one thing: his way.

The Totem

Much of that same arrogance could be applied to Lecter as well - and Jack can see it. Because of it, he is beginning to see a pattern emerging with Lecter and he’s determined to follow it to wherever it leads. Yet it’s amazing how much trust the rest of the team has in Lecter. So many small trails lead back to him, but their faith in him as a person and a doctor blinds them to any real objectivity. Like Lawrence, Lecter believes in his version of events, but the difference is he can make others believe it as well.

As damaged as Will is, his ability to empathize with his victims and killers also began to lead him back to Abigail and Nick’s death. The problem is that same damage is what paralyzes Will with so much self-doubt. He’s spending so much time in death and destruction that it’s literally eating away at his perceptions of reality.

Lecter knows this about Will, and he is able to rationalize his way out of Will doing anything against him. Lecter can twist Will to where he needs his version of events to go. This game of cat and mouse between them is taking a very interesting turn; it is morphing into a partnership of blackmail and manipulation of the highest order. The sad part is a lot of the same details can be attributed to Will’s rough partnership with Jack.

At times, Jack is a strong and caring partner for Will, but mostly Jack uses Will as a funnel of information to close his cases.

Elsewhere, Abigail Hobbs’ story took a new and interesting turn. She’s gone from being an innocent victim to admitting that she’s been a willing participant in helping her father find these girls and learning more about them.

Abigail’s emotional instability is difficult to pinpoint with any true clarity. Sometimes it comes across as Abigail feeling actual remorse for her role in Nick’s death and being unable to process and cope with it; however, most of the time, Abigail’s emotional state feels more like stress from keeping up with the big lie. She's so afraid of getting caught that the only outlets she has are Lecter and her emotions. Abigail’s growing emotional releases in Lecter are beginning to resemble Abigail seeing him as a surrogate father.

What was most chilling is the event that unfolded at the dinner table. Abigail knows exactly what she is eating. Everyone else is blissfully unaware of what they’re feasting on, but the minute Abigail put that fork up to her mouth memories of the past with her father came rushing back.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (27 Votes)

Actually, I don't think Hannibal sees them as people at all, nor does he genuinely care for them. He manipulated Will into having to kill Hobbes, and he manipulates Abigail's killing of Nick, so that he can control them both. In his "counseling" he's doing the psychic driving he accused the prison psychiatrist of. He's just playing with them both. Hannibal is a psychopath, btw, not a sociopath. He knows exactly what he's doing and he enjoys it. Sociopaths are aware of the rules of society, but don't understand them. Psychopaths enjoy deliberately flouting them.


The second scene in this episode was probably the most important scene; Will and Hannibal discuss Will's time loss. For that minute, you are absolutely convinced that Hannibal actually cares for Will, that he's worried about him. Until you remind yourself that he's a psychopath. I spent the rest of the episode wondering how much of Hannibal's gestures are out of concern and care, and how much are out of manipulation to keep his own path clear. I would argue that Hannibal manipulates Will and Abigail because he has some measure of emotion towards them; he likes them and doesn't particularly want to kill them. I think that's why they showed him finger the scalpel for a second - he would kill Will if he HAD to, but he would rather have him around, so he played his mind games instead. It's both fascinating and painful to watch Will get more and more unstable.


This is a great show and I hope it's renewed. I agree that Hannibal is starting to care (as much as he can) about Will. But I believe that he is trying to get Will to quit helping Jack because he knows Will will soon realize who Lector really is. But not too soon! :)


Hannah, that’s actually a great theory. I had been wondering about that myself. It seems that even though he is capable of absolute acts of barbarism, Hannibal is not the emotionless droid people often associate with sociopaths. He seems to genuinely care about Abigail and Will, at least, as long as they aren’t a threat to him. I’m not sure if you noticed, but when Will came to Hannibal’s office to confront him about helping Abigail get away with murder, Hannibal palmed the scalpel he uses to sharpen his drawing pencils? I think if Will had become a threat to his freedom, Hannibal would have killed him right there. I watched “Trou Normand� on the train, on my way in to work some overtime at DISH. The commute takes just over an hour, so I normally either read or use my DISH Anywhere app, which lets me pull live or recorded shows off my home receiver. As always, the episode was excellent enough to warrant a second viewing, which I hope to have this weekend.


is it just me or is hannibal liking himself in this "makeshift family scenario" with him and will as abigails fathers? it's like he is forming a stronger bond with will over abigail while letting her trust in him and feeling connected to her through their one-sided sharing. i think emotions from others close to him thrill him and make him feel like the void inside him has been filled. that's why he did not want tobias as his friend because that one was a cold fish just like hannibal.

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