TV Recap: 'Hannibal' Episode 104 - 'Coquilles'



hannibalHannibal Episode 104
Teleplay By: Scott Nimfero & Bryan Fuller
Story By: Scott Nimfero
Directed By: Guillermo Navarro
Original Airdate: 25 April 2013

In This Episode...

The local cops practically have to beg the FBI to take this case over: husband and wife are found in their motel room, dead. They have been positioned on their knees in a prayer position, and the skin on their backs has been flayed and strung up to the ceiling, to make them look like angels. Will insists that this isn’t a purely religious killing. The killer, the Angel Maker, does not see himself as god; but rather is looking for protection. The Angel Maker is scared - he slept in his victims’ room and sweated through the sheets, and he vomited on the nightstand. Drugs found in the vomit suggest that the killer has a brain tumor. Will has difficulty with this - how is he supposed to profile someone who has an anomaly that changes what is in their head?

A second body appears, this one strung up in an alley, 30 feet overhead. While most of the other agents still believe the Angel Maker is killing for religious reasons, Will insists he is not. Yet they discover genitalia at this crime scene - likely belonging to the Angel Maker - and Will wonders if he is starting his own transformation to death. Will is troubled, trying to get into a diseased brain, and Jack is drilling him for answers as to how the Angel Maker is choosing his victims. Will gets testy: “You are the head of the behavioral analysis unit. Why don’t you come up with some of your own theories?” Jack does not appreciate being spoken to like that. (Personally, I think he deserved it.)

Back at the office, Will clearly feels bad about speaking to his boss like that, but it has made him a minor celebrity amongst his co-workers. No one speaks to Jack like that. Details on the victims have come back. The couple had been on the Most Wanted list for years: he liked to rape and kill women; she liked to watch. The second victim was a convicted felon. Will still stands by the fact that this is not a religiously-motivated vigilante killer - he just got “lucky” with his victims. The FBI has also identified the Angel Maker as one Elliott Budish. They talk to his wife. She left him after his diagnosis. He wanted to be left alone and pushed her and the kids away with anger and increasingly erratic behavior. She semi-confirms what Will has been saying, that Elliott was never a religious person. But he did have a near-death experience as a child, where he almost suffocated to death in a farm fire. The firefighters said he must have had a guardian angel.

Will and Jack go to the farm and they find Elliott in the burned-out barn. He is dead, having flayed and displayed himself in the same way he did to his victims. I want to know how the hell he did it himself. Even if he could withstand the pain of being flayed and strung up, how the hell did he reach his back to flay himself to begin with? Did Hannibal help him out? It seems unlikely, as Hannibal was not involved with this case at all. Will tells Jack that this will probably be his last case. The work is weighing on him. Jack argues with him, saying it is hard on all of them, but if they don’t do it, these criminals will continue to kill. “This is bad for me!” Will insists. Jack tells Will he isn’t going to tell him what to do; he’s not his father. It is a fairly standard (and effective) Jewish mother guilt: “You want to quit? Fine, quit. But how will you feel knowing there are killers out there you could have helped catch but didn’t?” It is cheap, it is manipulative - but it seems to have worked. After Jack receives some bad news, will sits next to him in his office. “You don’t have to talk until you are ready, but I’m not leaving until you do.”

As has been hinted at in previous episodes, Jack and his wife Bella (a nickname; her real name is Phyllis) are having problems. She is extremely distant. After dinner with Hannibal, Bella starts seeing the good doctor and we discover that she has lung cancer and she hasn’t told Jack. When Mrs. Budish describes what happened when her husband got brain cancer, it all becomes clear to Jack. He confronts Bella, and though it will take some time, they seem to be on the mend.

Also: Will has taken to sleepwalking. When the episode opens, the police find him wandering down the road, barefoot, in the middle of the night. Winston, one of his dogs, had followed him. Another night, Will lays awake until 5am, only to blink and wake to sunlight and his dogs barking. Will is standing on the roof, with his pups barking and trying to slip out the window to rescue him.

Dig It or Bury It?

The deeper we get into Hannibal, it becomes less about the murders (gruesome though they are) and more about the psychology. Frankly, I find that far scarier.

As I’m sure you know by now, this was actually supposed to be episode 105 (I numbered it 104 because otherwise my obsessive-compulsive brain would explode) because the “real” 104 was pulled. I was impressed because I don’t feel that I missed anything story-wise. I’m sure the “cannibalized webisodes” helped. Yet I do feel as if there were some gaps. Like, what happened to Abigail? And it feels like we needed one more “step” before Will’s breakdown.

Bon Appetit

Hannibal has Jack and Bella over for dinner. For a first course he serves fois gras with fresh and dried figs. Bella politely declines the course; it is too cruel. Hannibal assures her he uses an “ethical butcher.” Even still she won’t eat it. The next course is pork loin, and Hannibal assures her the pig was “quite supercilious.”


Eddie Izzard (!) guest stars as a killer who may be the Chesapeake Killer - or the FBI’s misidentification of him may encourage the Chesapeake Killer to strike again.