In the first episode of the series to take a more narrative driven approach, Hannibal’s episode three, Potage, brings into focus a more lasting story for the series to follow, as the daughter of the premiere episode’s killer awakens from a coma. But the question is, how much of her father’s deeds did Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl) take part in?
So far in Hannibal, there have been cannibalistic killers, brutal murders and even some imaginative horticulture, but now it seems that it is time for the plot to settle down into a more focused arc. With the guilt of Garrett Jacob Hobbs (Vladimir Cubrt), nicknamed the Minnesota Shrike, made certain in episode one, suspicion now falls on the daughter he tried to kill before being shot by Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). Potage turns its eye onto the complicated subject of “folie à deux”, meaning madness shared by two. Upon awakening, Abigail Hobbs is concerned that she may be as insane as her father, a worry shared by Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) who insists that Abigail be returned to the scene of her father’s crimes in order to find out how guilty, or innocent, she may be. What follows is a complex episode of careful trust between Will and Abigail, growing suspicion on behalf of Crawford, and the menacing presence of Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelson).
In appearance, Abigail seems like the perfect victim, unaware of her father’s crimes and now suffering the effects of this realisation. However, there is something just a little off about her, a fact that fails to escape the notice of Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas). Abigail’s questions are dispassionately practical, her manner calm and controlled, and a stark reminder of Mikkelson’s Lecter. The interplay between these two characters builds throughout the episode, as clearly each recognises something in the other. Mikkelson continues to show why he is a so well cast in the role, a quiet and unnerving presence in full control. Brief flashes of violence allow his sinister nature to be seen but only to a point, merely to prove the unknown threat that he poses.
On the other hand, Will is continuing to only barely hold himself together. The contrast between Graham and his psychiatrist is one that propels the series forward, and yet in this latest episode the two are rarely seen alone together. This could be a slight failing of Potage, as this central relationship is put aside to allow each a chance to stand alone. Whilst Hannibal is becoming a tentative mentor to the enigmatic Abigail, Will is left to further contend with the obtrusive Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki). Still apparently intent on sabotaging Will’s career, Lounds approaches Abigail, the brother of one of the Shrike’s victims, and anyone else she can to create a story. Whilst this motivation is somewhat narrow-minded, it does in turn lead to some memorable confrontations between her and Will, and allows the character to remain a force in the series.
However, it is the influence of Dr. Lecter that is made most clear in the episode. Whilst his attempts to gain the trust of Will are still ongoing, Hannibal’s ability to manipulate Abigail proves effective, and by Potage’s conclusion, the two are inextricably linked, a bond that may lead to discoveries that viewers are no doubt waiting for.
“Ms. Lounds, it’s not very smart to piss off a guy who thinks about killing people for a living.” – Will may regret showing a sleazy journalist like Freddie that kind of insight.
Best Kill: In a relatively corpse free episode, the image of another body more elaborately mounted on antlers comes as a shock.
Best Scene: It may only be a simple scene, but to see Hannibal watching a lecture by Will on a murder that he committed is a tense and surprisingly enthralling affair.