Hannibal, Ep.1.03: “Potage” – solid direction and a great cast make up for a few minor missteps

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Hannibal Potage

Hannibal, Season 1, Episode 3: “Potage”
Directed by David Slade
Written by David Fury, Chris Brancato and Bryan Fuller
Airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on NBC

Hannibal, only three episodes in, has already surpassed expectations. As Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen exchange barbs and witticisms every week, the desire to keep watching only grows. As far as serial killer shows go, Hannibal is heads and shoulders above the rest. In terms of procedurals, Hannibal is a perfect blend of traditional detective work with deeper psychological investigation. The police procedural is one of the most lasting forms of crime fiction. The process by which a crime is solved, and the relationships between members of the police, and those they have with family and friends, continue to fascinate. With Hannibal, we already know who the killer is. There is no whodunnit mystery at large, and neither Hannibal nor Graham have any close relatives. The relationships at centre stage here are those between the men and women investigating the crimes, particularly Lector and Graham. Even more, with “Potage,” the series proves it doesn’t need to resort to the ‘Case of the Week’ formula. There’s no new killer this week; instead”Potage” deals with the aftermath of the “Minnesota Shrike” case – while doing a strong job of continuing to explore the themes of the series and the relationship between Lecter and Will. With its limited network episode run (13 to be exact), Hannibal is moving along at a steady pace – always keeping the central plot moving forward. Hannibal’s third venture in the first season isn’t nearly as solid as the first two, but “Potage” remains sharp and daunting despite some moments that don’t quite land.

Hannibal - Season 1

The Hobbs case has been the connective tissue that has held Hannibal together so far. As noted last week, Abigail being an accomplice to her father would have been a terrible twist. This week “Potage” pretty much confirms our suspicion that Hannibal is indeed the copycat killer still at large. If there is any indication that this is true, it comes while Graham lectures to his class on his theories about the copycat. Crawford and Lecter walk in just in time to hear Will say that he thinks the killer might have elevated the murder to “art.” “He is an intelligent psychopath. He is a sadist. He’ll never kill like this again,” Graham tells his student, leaving Hannibal enthralled with Will’s farsightedness.

Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) has been through a lot lately, and things are getting increasingly worse for her. Turns out her father was the Minnesota Shrike and her mother was killed at his hands before attempting to take her life as well. Jack Crawford suspects she might have been her dad’s helper and later she’s harassed by the tabloid journalist Lounds along with a trio psychiatrists, one of whom gunned down her dad. What frightens Abigail the most, though, is whether she will follow in her father’s footsteps. “Can you catch somebody’s crazy?” she asks. Clearly Abigail isn’t right in the head, and who can blame her given the episode’s cold open. But it gets worse. Upon arriving home, Abigail is greeted with the word “CANNIBALS” painted on the garage and front doors of her house and later stalked by the brother of one of the victims to the crimes committed by her now deceased pappy. When interrogated, she tells Graham and co. that they’ll never find any of the victims’ bodies because her father would have have “honoured” his victims by putting all their parts to good use. “He used to make plumbing putty out of elk bones, lampshades from their hides, butter from their fat”. It’s then that she realizes her dad was feeding his victims to her mother and her. How often does somebody find out their dad was a serial killer and their family were unknowingly partaking in cannibalistic behaviour. And now she’s at the mercy of Hannibal who perhaps wants to take her in as his accomplice. Hannibal has always been foil for other people, a cold and cocksure presence that feeds on dark appetites. So it’s understandable that Abigail would fall victim to Hannibal’s manipulations, especially given everything she has been through.

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Apart from David Slade’s visual flair, “Potage” is the weakest instalment yet. The episode suffers from some questionable decision making on the part of the writing staff. First there is the old trope of why is Abigail left all by herself. Secondly, how did Abigail know how to locate Lecter’s office so easily? Should we assume he’s listed in the yellow pages? More importantly, how did Hannibal manage to remove the body and clean up the bloody mess when surrounded by so many police officers. And where did they hide the body? Bloom visits her with clothes and iTunes gift cards in an effort to measure how she’s feeling. Call me crazy, but gift cards wouldn’t make me feel better about waking up from a coma only to find out your father was a sociopath and your mother was murdered.

The feathered stag returns to Will’s dreams. Deer are known to be very nervous animals and can easily detect the slightest hint of danger. These attributes have some significance on Will’s dreams and thereby can be linked to his behavioural trait of having a nervous tension and personality. It is said that people who dream about deer are often coy while expressing their emotions and generally considered as introvert. They also symbolize tremendous grace in the dreamer and kindness at heart.

– Ricky D

Other Thoughts:

Abigail: “What did it feel like?”

Graham: “Like talking to shadows suspended on dust.”

Abigail: “No wonder you have nightmares.”

Early in the episode Abigail assigns Lecter the role of the man on the phone. It doesn’t provoke a response from Lecter, but it seems Abigail knows. Afterall, Hannibal’s voice is pretty distinctive, given his accent.

 

8 Comments
  1. Twintosser says

    Its fine Ricky – though i wish your forum had a reply button instead of only a comment button. Its habit I used to proof read for court reporters =)

    Im just glad I have some where to go talk about the show, everyone that I know wont watch it because Silence of the Lambs scared them to death!

    1. Ricky says

      Hey, There is a reply button. It is the arrow located on the bottom corner of each comment.

      We haven’t yet finished the design or our site and making a better comment section is on the list.

      Have you seen Manhunter? I just wrote a review of it which you can find on the site. I still to this day think it is a better film than Silence of the Lambs and it is a huge inspiration on the series.

      1. Twintosser says

        Fyi next weeks episode 4 was pulled. Instead what will air will be episode 5 instead. http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2013/04/hannibals-next-episode-dropped-due-to.html

        1. Ricky says

          Thankfully I live in Canada so I will still see it.

  2. Twintosser says

    neither Will nor Graham have any close relatives – you implied that Will and Graham are 2 different people.
    His name is William Graham which was what I was trying to point out to you. So which 2 people did you mean? Will and???

    i have reread your sentence ” later stalked by the brother of one of the victims to the crimes committed by her now deceased pappy…. but his sister wasnt killed by Abigails “dead pappy” she was killed by the copy cat.

    1. Ricky says

      OMG you are so right. This is what happens when you write a review at 3:00 AM and your editor is without internet. Thanks so much. Glad everyone seems to be enjoying the series.

  3. Twintosser says

    In the first paragraph you write “neither Will nor Graham have any close relatives”
    Will Graham is one person – did you mean Will and Hannibal?

    You also said “the brother of one of the victims to the crimes committed by her now deceased pappy”
    The brother of the girl that was murdered – she was not killed by Hobbs, she was killed by the copycat. She was the only body found,
    And her lungs were torn out while she was still alive – Hobb’s victims were never found.

    I too felt it was the weakest of all 3 episodes so far.

    The part when Lector walked into the classroom to witness Will speaking of him and his “art” was my favorite scene of the night.
    How delighted and dare I say Happy Lector looked there. Almost as if to say Someone understands me! Great facial expressions.

    This show is all about visual metaphors, body language and facial expressions.

    The writers tried hard to blur the lines with Abigail was she a killer or not? Or can she be? I doubt it, I think its them trying to mislead. She had too
    Much remorse over killing the boy, telling Hannibal she was having nightmares. Her wanting to “reenact” her families final moments –
    I can only assume that this was the teens way of Letting Lector know she was on to him about the phone call(even though in the kitchen
    she glanced at him when she mentioned the phone call So Lector already knew, that SHE knew).

    As a mother of a 16 year old daughter I can see where Bloom was coming from. Abigail has lost everything, her life is basically over. She
    will have to take on an assumed name, Move, she lost her family and friends. So yes as materialistic as it may seem, bringing a girl that
    doesn’t have a toothbrush to her name would give her some comfort, and maybe gain some trust.

    So Abigail being a future killer is out (I think) so why all the trouble for Hannibal to help her, when he should have just snapped her neck and hid her body.

    The last 2 episodes shows Hannibal does feel something about the girl, not her per se but her situation, maybe because he made her an orphan – maybe he
    Himself is an orphan as well. He obviously thought that the entire Hobbs family would be dead after his call, but she lived, he said he felt a
    Sense of obligation.
    He also didn’t like how Marissa called her mother a bitch. The teen was being rude, yes, but it was a lack of respect to her parent, that Lector didn’t like either,
    Judging by his facial expressions. Cant wait for them to reveal more of his own past!

    Killing Marissa accomplished 2 things for Lector. 1. It frames the brother as the copycat, using the DNA from the rock that hit him in the head, Hannibal
    Transferred it to her mouth. 2. It makes Will look wrong, he said more than once that the copycat would never kill that way again, thus creating doubt with Crawford
    That Will is always right. Though I really think the latter was his main goal.

    Abigail was never alone, alone. In the house Hannibal and Bloom were only upstairs helping her collect her things because Jack said to get her out of Minnesota tonight.

    The killing of the boy/and the ending seemed rushed. Again it was unplanned, and where did he put the body. I can only assume since it wasn’t shown that the police need not
    Re – search the house since everything was already searched, and Hannibal could have said the killer ran out the back door. Maybe a rug, was used to cover the blood stain
    Near the kids body is a large thick one. Would have been better to show the details than to let us wonder again – it felt rushed.

    Ricky as for your theory about dreams, good one, never thought to consult a dream dictionary before till now. I found this tidbit – fitting don’t you think? Will’s subconscious is
    Trying to speak to him…….To see a deer
    They are suggesting you to be aware of people surrounding your life. They may have different face in front of you but have negative intentions in mind. Also
    Can mean naïveté and gullibility ..

    1. Ricky says

      I wrote “NEITHER Will NOR Graham have any close relatives,” meaning neither man. In the book and previous movie Manhunter, Graham has a family but not in this show. Hannibal doesn’t seem to have any close relatives either.

      You also said “the brother of one of the victims to the crimes committed by her now deceased pappy”
      The brother of the girl that was murdered – she was not killed by Hobbs, she was killed by the copycat.

      I wrote …

      and later stalked by the brother of one of the “victims to the crimes committed by her now deceased pappy,” meaning his sister was killed by her dad.

      Just read it again, and it might make sense.

      We both agree on the best scene of the episode.

      This show is all about visual metaphors, body language and facial expressions:

      Most of the best shows and movies tell the story as much through visual and acting as they do with words from the script.

      I honestly am not interested in the character of Abigail and I hope she doesn’t stick around too long.
      I can’t seen her being a future killer either but she is clearly a pawn in Hannibal’s grand scheme.

      Hannibal does not like people who are rude or disrespectful so I wasn’t surprised her friend ended up dead. Why else would they introduce her character?

      Hannibal clearly killed the girl to prove Will wrong and derail his investigation. He told Crawford that the killer would never kill like that again … and yet he did. But this will be a big clue in helping him realize Hannibal is the man he is after. Will will eventually figure out that the person responsible is someone close to him.

      Yes I do think the dream of the deer are trying to warn Will that danger is close.

      Despite being the weakest of the three episodes, it is still a good episode.

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