Will and Hannibal discuss Will’s psychological state. Will insists that he is sane. Meanwhile, a family is killed at dinner and Will is sent to investigate. Hannibal visits Will and wanders through his house, examining it and feeding his dogs. He finds Will’s fishing hooks and begins making a hook, intentionally drawing blood from his thumb and tasting it. Back at the crime scene, there is no sign of forced entry implying that the killer was invited into the house.
Abigail’s therapy is not going well and she is frustrated. Alana Bloom talks to Hannibal about Abigail and suspects that Abigail might be depressed. Hannibal suggests Abigail be let out of treatment, and into his care. Jack and Will realize that the families are missing children who then return to kill their families. Hannibal and Will discuss their families. Jack and Hannibal have dinner (rabbit, Hannibal says, but it’s human flesh). Jack continues to suspect Abigail as an accomplice to her father.
The body investigations reveal that there were three missing boys at the scene of the crime. Another crime scene reveals that one of the missing children was murdered along with the family he was returned to and Will suspects that this is because he could not carry out his instructions for the murder properly. The killer and the three remaining missing children are shown eating at a restaurant where they discuss ‘real’ family versus ‘made’ family. Hannibal brings Abigail back to his house as her guardian.
They catch the killer just before she induces another one of the lost children to kill their families. Meanwhile, Alana is furious that Hannibal has taken Abigail out of the hospital. Hannibal has drugged Abigail and she is barely lucid throughout her conversation with Alana and Hannibal, but mentions seeing them as family. Jack wonders whether it is too late for him and his wife to have children and she replies distantly that it is for her. Will continues to have difficulty sleeping.
So apparently, this episode was pulled from TV for having sensitive content – the concept of child killers was hitting some people a little too close to home. It’s not hard to see why, but on a personal level, the violence in this episode doesn’t really hold a candle to what we’ve seen in previous episodes. Even the killer of the week doesn’t seem all that intimidating. Sure it’s sickening and twisted but honestly, by the standard of the last three episodes, this was positively tame.
Once again though, I can’t help but feel that this whole family killer thing is a distraction from the real plot of Will vs Hannibal as they fight over the possession of Abigail’s soul. That’s not exactly what they’re doing but at the same time, you do definitely get the feeling that Will and Hannibal would take Abigail, as a person, into two different characters. You have one side of Abigail, who is innocent and a normal person who’s seen something fucked up and that’s the side that Will wants to help but there’s also the side that accepted the accidental death of Nicholas Boyle way too quickly and made a very cold decision of keeping Hannibal’s secret. This is clearly the side that draws Hannibal. Despite all that though, I still find Jack’s insistence that Abigail was involved in her father’s murders somewhat absurd – it’s largely because I just can’t imagine what that would look like and how she would be so stable (relatively, of course) if she did do it consciously.
Hannibal in Will’s house gave me an extreme case of the creeps. There was just something extremely unsettling about the thought of Hannibal walking freely through someone’s house, examining all of their poorly kept secrets. His inspection of the fishing hook was a bit weird, like there was a greater significance to it that I haven’t grasped yet. There was a lot of tension in that scene, though that’s becoming normal everytime Hannibal is in the spotlight, but there didn’t seem to be any dramatic reward to it. In the bigger picture though, we see Will and Hannibal (mainly the latter) continue their strange courtship. They are each trained in the art of dissecting a human mind so it’s interesting to see the question and the counter question they ask each other.
I can’t remember if this is the first time that Hannibal has fed human flesh to an unwitting Jack. I wonder why he would do it – it seems like a weird risk to take. Then again, given how exotic the dishes are, I wouldn’t be too surprised to learn that Jack just accepts that the meat tastes different because of that. Jack remains a strangely peripheral figure in these episodes – it’s like Will and Hannibal are involved in this strange dance and Jack is an awkward third party who doesn’t get what’s going on at all. I’m possibly not doing him a lot of credit – in fact, I think it’s good to have a character like Jack on board because otherwise the whole episode becomes an hour long chat-fest about abstract topics. Jack drives the plot in many ways but his strict pragmatism and practicality sometime disturb the story’s frame.
On the whole though, I won’t say that I loved this episode. It’s not bad, not by any means, but compared to the highs of the season so far, I just don’t think this episode was entirely necessary. There was no major reveal, no big plot point as far as I could tell, it just felt more formulaic than the last few episodes. I won’t say that’s necessarily disastrously bad, but too many such episodes will drain the momentum of the season openers.