TV Recap: 'Hannibal' Episode 108 - 'Trou Normand'



hannibalHannibal Episode 108
“Trou Normand”
Written By: Steve Lightfoot
Directed By: Guillermo Navarro
Original Airdate: 23 May 2013

In This Episode...

Abigail has decided to let Freddie tell her story. Neither Hannibal nor Will think this is a good idea - especially since it is Freddie who would be writing it.

Someone has dug the body of Nick Boyle out of the frozen ground. Jack insists that Abigail ID the body, and that only Alana may accompany her. Jack still thinks Abigail is involved in her father’s killing spree, and that she killed Boyle. Alana disagrees strongly with Jack’s methods, but accompanies Abigail anyway. She identifies Boyle, then Jack grills her, turning it into an interrogation. She insists that she hasn’t seen Boyle since that night he attacked her in her house (“I thought I would die in that house after all”) and had no prior relationship to him. The girl is a mess and Jack finally relents. Alana is furious. Hannibal later speaks with Abigail alone. He knows that she was the one to dug Boyle out of the ice, and he feels betrayed. She defends her decision because now she doesn’t have to live her life worrying about if someone finds the body.

Will goes to see Hannibal. A lucid nightmare he had tells him that Abigail killed Boyle. Hannibal knows, and wants to know if Will told Jack. He hadn’t - he was hoping it wasn’t true. Hannibal admits that Abigail killed Boyle in self defense, and that he helped her dispose of the body. He didn’t tell Jack because he knew Jack would persecute her for her father’s crimes. Hannibal asks if he needs to call his attorney, but Will agrees that it needs to remain a secret. Abigail is no more a murderer than Will is for killing her father, or Hannibal is for killing Tobias (at least, in the official version of his story).

Hannibal has Abigail, Freddie, and Will over for dinner. Freddie is a self-righteous vegetarian, which, as far as I’m concerned, means she won’t make it to the end of the season. (I don’t think Hannibal has a problem with vegetarians; it is the self-righteous part that he takes exception to.) After dinner, Abigail is helping Hannibal clean up the kitchen, and she asks if Will knows about Boyle. Hannibal confirms that he does know, but assures her that he will keep their secret. Abigail isn’t comforted by this, so Hannibal continues. “No one will know the truth you are trying to avoid, the one you can’t admit, even to yourself.” She finally breaks down: Abigail knew what her father was and what he did to those girls that “looked just like me, girls that could have been my friends.” Abigail was the one who met with the girls, talked to them, laughed and joked with them, all in an effort to find out where they lived and when they would be alone. “I couldn’t say no to him. I knew it was them or me.” She sobs into Hannibal’s arms. He holds her, stroking her hair fatherly. “I was wondering when you would tell me.” He assures her she is not a monster, but a victim, and promises that he and Will will protect her.

But there is a murder tonight, too. On a beach in West Virginia, authorities have found a human totem pole. According to Will’s deconstruction, this was a monument, planned with precision. The body on the top of the totem, Joel Summers, is the only fresh kill; all the others had been dead for significant lapses of time. Seven of the dead came from unmarked graves on the beach, in which the totem was centered. Back at the lab, 17 different bodies were used in the totem. Except for the recent kill, all the bodies were apparently taken from graves. Each had died of a “natural” and unrelated cause: suicide, car accident, carbon monoxide accident, heart attack. But it seems that the first victim on the totem, Fletcher Marshall, was killed in a “crime of passion.” Much of this case was glossed over in favor of focusing on Abigail’s story, but Will puts together that all of these victims were in fact murdered. Fletcher Marshall is Joel Summers’ father - yet there is no DNA match. Four years after Fletcher died, his wife Eleanor was killed in a car accident, and Joel was put up for adoption. Again, we don’t see how they came to this conclusion (maybe my mind is too used to Law & Order-style procedurals) but Jack and Will pay an elderly man, Mr. Wells, a visit. He is waiting for them. He killed all 17 of those people, including Joel, and doesn’t have the fight in him anymore. Mr. Wells does not offer any reason for his kills, other than “I had every reason to kill them, but they had no reason to die.” With no kids and no wife, this totem of death is his legacy. So his face falls when Will informs him that Joel was his biological son. Eleanor had an affair with Mr. Wells, but decided to raise Joel with her husband, Fletcher.

Also: Will’s mental state is deteriorating rapidly. After he visits the totem crime scene, he does his crime scene deconstruction, but when he blinks, he is in Hannibal’s waiting room. He has no memory of how he got there. Hannibal is concerned. Will is sleepwalking - when he can sleep - and now he is blacking out and losing time. He worries that Will will hurt himself or someone else, and again wonders if Jack isn’t pushing him too hard. Will insists that he is saving lives. 

Dig It or Bury It?

I think Hannibal is at odds with itself. On the one hand, it has all these beautiful - but heinous - murder tableaus. But the focus of each episode is on Hannibal, Will, Abigail, Jack, Alana, and their relationships. The murders each episode are secondary - tertiary, even - to the story. Tonight is another example. This totem of body parts would make a fascinating story in and of itself, but it gets pushed aside to deal with the Will-Abigail-Hannibal story. I was totally engrossed with that story, but the human totem interrupted the flow. Similarly, the human totem was a fascinating story, but I feel like it was half-assed in order to focus on the Will-Abigail-Hannibal story. I will chalk this up to season one “jitters” - the overarching story is just trying to find its way.

Bon Appetit

While dining at Hannibal’s house, Abigail takes a bite out of a thin slice of dark meat. There is almost a hint of recognition on her face, like she has had this kind of meat before....


The “monsters” under the bed are killing people - could Will have finally snapped?