The show about a homicidal cannibal has cannibalized itself. Following the tragic events our nation has faced over the past few months, Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller decided that maybe showing an episode involving children murdering other children might be received less-than-warmly. But being that Fuller is the wonderful fan-centric showrunner that he is, turned his reluctant decision (Hannibal was shot last summer) into something still easily digestible for fans of the Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham/Abigail Hobbs saga: a 6-part webisode!
Because NBC knows that fanatics need things: namely anything, but especially if that thing helps them to better understand and connect with the characters and story. Even with large parts of the show left on the cutting room floor, the remaining scraps piece together a lot of the pertinent information and character-building moments “Ceuf” would have featured if it aired untouched on TV.
And let me tell you, guys: this episode is all about negatives and positives. Namely, the way that Abigail waffles between the negative influences in her life (Hannibal), and the positive (Dr. Bloom, Will). If you weren’t sure whether or not Abigail was going to be the entity that ultimately tears our bromantical duo apart, you will be after this episode. Abigail Hobbs is not going anywhere anytime soon. Fuller even mentions it in his intro of the mini-webisodes, explaining that “as the series goes on, this relationship gets much more complicated and becomes a load-bearing element of our storytelling.” Considering the man feeds psilocybin mushrooms to Abigail in order for her to have a “spiritual” connection with him during their therapy session (after he feeds her more human parts, natch), complicated is putting it way lightly.
So without further ado, here’s what you need to know (and make sure to check out the webisodes in full, below):
- In “Ceuf,” we see Abigail frustrated by other the patients. They talk so much about what’s happened to them, without actually saying anything of substance. “Victims can sometimes broadcast victimhood involuntarily,” Dr. Bloom asserts. “Not me,” explains Abigail… but we all know that’s not true. She thinks highly of her intelligence and capacity for deception — almost as much as Dr. Lecter.
- There’s mention of support groups “sucking the life” out of Abigail. Right about now would be a good time to remember that Will once asked Hannibal if their meetings were therapy sessions or a support group. (Because MURDER!)
- Dr. Bloom is, yet again, the only solace of rationality in these situations. She believes isolation will drive Abigail mad, and that Hannibal needs to back off. But at the same time, Dr. Bloom is inadvertently pushing Abigail right into Hannibal’s lurking arms. “You have to find someone to relate to in this experience,” she says to Abigail.
- Hannibal tells Will that Abigail “has already exhibited an aptitude for the psychological,” which is totally code for “she’s a budding murderperson just like you — and just like me, minus the budding part because I’m basically a God.” We’re onto you, Dr. Lecter!
- In fact, Abigail feels like the personification of folie à deux: a madness shared by our two leading men. And those parallels between Will and Hannibal are everywhere with Abigail, including…
- The fishing lure, and — oh man! A visual representation of Abigail if ever I’ve seen one, amirite guys? The lure starts out as a creation of Will’s (a gift he decided upon when he was feeling emotional and impulsive): something he’s slowly crafting to be the perfect entity to catch the fish lurking just below the surface. This is his design, after all. But of course, here comes Hannibal: popping in on his own, adding a few more feathers, tying it up, and finishing it off. While we don’t know what his intentions are, something is clearly off: is Abigail the lure to bring the copycat out from whence he hides, or is she Will’s plaything that he’s hoping will help him figure out Hannibal? Or, is she merely another stray he’s hoping to lure into his own family of misfit toys?
- Hannibal did leave his literal mark on the lure, though: he pricked his own finger, drawing out blood, with the tip. Always f**king with people and things our Hannibal is, eh?
- Dr. Bloom fears that Abigail will remove herself, socially. And while isolation is certainly Will’s technique (though he does have Dr. Bloom and his dogs), we all know that is not Hannibal’s way of doing things. Hannibal is a creature reaching out for human connection — likely because he can’t physically feel those sort of connections or understand them as most people do. So, he consumes humanity literally (cannibalism) as well as metaphorically (being in the psychology field), he plays God, he copies other serial killer’s designs as a way to connect, to feel, to give himself some semblance of a “support system” (while also proving his superiority. Like I said previously: homebody has a serious God Complex. Only he’s clearly Satan) even though he’s out there on his own, living under the shadows.
- Abigail feels homeless and has an immense desire for stability and a place that feels like home. Which, yes, is a very common fear, but feels especially urgent and necessary for Abigail (and Will, too. But we’ll get to him later). Hannibal attempts to manipulate this need to his own advantage by attempting to make her feel like she’s the one in control and making decisions. “Psychological trauma is an affliction of the powerless,” he states. “I want to give you your power back.” He’s Giving it to her, though, which means he’s actually the one in control. Of course.
- It feels in many ways, that by creating a companion and muse for himself in Abigail, she is slowly being shaped by Hannibal into a “negative” so Will can see his own personal “positive” — just like with the copycat murders! Perhaps this will be Hannibal’s eventual Achilles’ Heel.
- Quotes of note include: Abigail: “I’ll just have to get used to lying.” Hannibal smiles, “When you’re with me you don’t have to lie about anything.” Abigail: “Does that make me a sociopath?” “No, it makes you a survivor,” says Hannibal.
- Abigail also expresses an interest in working for the FBI (gosh, she is such a Will! And all this time I bet she thought she was a Miranda or a Carrie). “I would certainly feel safer with you in the FBI. Protecting my interests.” Oh you would say that, Hannibal.
- Hannibal makes Abigail breakfast for dinner. “Sausage and eggs was the last meal I was having with my parents.” “It’s also the first meal you’re having with me.” When one trail of destruction ends, another picks up right where it left off, eh?
- Basically, this guy is just a monster, going through his incredibly subtle-yet-effective manipulative motions. Also, he totally fed Will’s dogs human sausage which (of course) has me irrationally convinced they’re going to become bloodlusty monsters and cause harm to our hero.
- And then this insane motherf**ker gave our poor, traumatized Abigail shroom tea? Bad trip: you’re asking for it. Hannibal explains that it might make her therapy experience “spiritual.” There’s that complex of his again!
- “You and I will have lots of secrets,” Hannibal says to Abigail. Oh, I am sure you have tons of secrets in store for this poor thing.
- Abigail doesn’t feel well. “That feeling will pass. Allow it to wash over you, through you. Let me be your guide.”
- Mads Mikkelsen, you are going to haunt my nightterrors for real.
- Every word out of his mouth has double meaning! “Taste is not only biochemical, it’s psychological.” To quote a lil Oscar Wilde: this suspense is terrible! I hope it will last.
- Question: Do we think Abigail is the consolation prize Hannibal’s accepted after realizing he’d never “turn” Will?
- Feeling safe, secure, and in-control (Shall we say “powerful,” perhaps?) seems to be a constant fear of Will’s. For him, that the peace and safety he craves mentally as well as physically is found in his home. It is like a boat out at sea — a secluded place where he is safe, and can keep others — in proximity to him: the dogs. Metaphorically: the distance from the rest of society may be a physical barrier to keep them safe from Will — safe. This is probably due to the fact that the idea of family is tough for our hero. “There’s something so foreign about family,” Will explained. He never connected with the concept, and was a frequently-uprooted (his father moved a lot) outcast as a child. Tumultuous origin story? Check.
- Will explains that reenacting Garret Jacob Hobbs’ crime spoke to him “with noise and clarity.” Hannibal states “You can sense his madness, like a bloodhound.” Will’s own homicidal urges are clearly growing stronger with each new case, and his extreme empathy is blurring lines between real life and his mind’s own creations. An internal struggle remains! “I got so close to him, sometimes I felt like we were doing the same things at different times of day … even after he was dead.”
- But he also feels a tremendous amount of guilt because of his empathetic nature. “I tried so hard to know Garret Jacob Hobbs. To see him.” Not just for Abigail Hobbs, but also for her friend Marissa, who ended up impaled on antlers as Hannibal’s second Hobbs copycat kill last episode. Why? “Because I felt like I killed her,” Will explains.
- “We don’t know what nightmares lie coiled beneath Will’s pillow.” Good point, Hannibal.
The Bromance: Unraveling?
– Things definitely seem to be getting a bit prickly between Will and Hannibal, no? The edge in Will’s tone when he calls Hannibal’s line of questioning about mothers “lazy psychology” feels especially pointed and biting. I can’t shake the feeling that Will is hiding something about what he knows or thinks about Hannibal, but I’m sure we won’t know what that is for awhile.
- And Hannibal is doing some dirty work! He’s clearly trying to make the link between Daddy Hobbs and Will, but attempting to do so in a way that influences Will’s thoughts. Something we all know he won’t fall for — you won’t like him when he’s psychoanalyzed, remember? “I know who I am. I’m not Garret Jacob Hobbs, Dr. Lecter.” he asserts.
Other Things of Note…
- Anyone else find it interesting/amusing that Will Graham’s home is located in a town called Wolf Trap?
- Will has seriously enviable organizational skills when it comes to putting away his clothes. Not much variety, sure, but the man has obsessive uniformity on lock when it comes to t-shirt time.
- Hannibal’s cholesterol must be out of control with the amount of human sausage he eats. Plus, us Americans are a chubby lot, so that can’t be all good fats in that diet of his!
- Will says “thank you for feeding [my dogs] while I was away,” and well just wait a minute there: did Will give Hannibal permission to enter his house, or is he just proving to Hannibal that he notices everything? (He is very perceptive with animals and hunger, as evidenced by the cat in the first episode).
- …Either way, while Will’s away the serial killer will play, y’all.
- I don’t understand how Dr. Bloom feels any sort of human connection with Hannibal. I get he was her mentor, but, seriously?
- In one of the brief moments featuring Agent Crawford, Hannibal coos, “You promised to deliver your wife to my dinner table.” F**king creepy, dude.
I just feel like this season is going to end with Abigail dead. Right? That’s how Hannibal and Will’s relationship has to unfold because he won’t be able to see who Hannibal truly is without Abigail. She’s the key!
What do you think of this abridged version of “Ceuf”? Let us know your own thoughts in the comments!
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