[TV] Hannibal – Coquilles (S1E5)

Quick Recap:


Will is sleep walking and is found a distance from his home by some cops. Will is frightened by this and sees Hannibal in the morning. Hannibal suggests that it’s his mind’s reaction to the trauma he has been exposed to in recent weeks. Jack brings Will later in the day to a crime scene – a man has been making ‘angel’ out of his victims, flaying their backs into ‘wings’ and arranging the corpses to ‘pray’ for him. Kat finds vomit on the nightstand and Will deduces that the murderer is suffering from some kind of disease.

Hannibal hosts Jack and his wife Bella. There is some slight tension between the two of them, but they seem to enjoy their meal with Hannibal nonetheless. Meanwhile, Will deduces that the murderer has a brain tumour and that he arranges these bodies to watch over him so he doesn’t die in his sleep. The next day, Hannibal has a surprising patient – Bella. Bella is very ill but she doesn’t feel like Jack needs to know since he already has so much on his plate. With some coaxing from Hannibal, Bella admits that she resents that Jack has so much on his plate. Hannibal continues to separate Jack and Will. Bella and Jack have an honest conversation but in the end Bella is not able to admit her disease to Jack.

Another body is found and Will is unable to answer to satisfy Jack’s questions. Will snaps at Jack, but apologizes soon after. They discover that both victims were criminals but Will suspects that the Angel-Maker didn’t know this but he just believes that they are. Will visits Hannibal again and Hannibal tries to help Will make sense of his own mental state and the Angel-Maker’s. Jack is able to find the Angel-Maker’s ex-wife and she agrees that he was violent, angry and withdrew into his shell after his disease emerged. She tells them he had a near death experience when he was younger involving a fire in his farm. The fireman who rescued him said he must have had a guardian angel. Will goes to this farm and finds the Angel-Maker seemingly dead, hoisted from the roof as an angel. Will admits to Jack that the job is taking a toll on his sanity and Jack gives him a chance to quit. Will has a vision of the Angel-Maker talking to him.

Jack visits Bella at Hannibal’s office. Jack tells her that he knows about her cancer. They talk about their marriage and the future. Will turns down Jack’s offer to quit.


This episode made me realize that what makes Hannibal (the show, not the character, though I guess it could apply to both really) is not the abundance of violence and the omnipresence of death. Instead, it’s the idea that there is violence and death in the people right around us. Will consulting Hannibal right after his unnerving sleepwalking episode is a perfect example of how this fear creeps into you – as far as Will knows, seeing Hannibal after a suspected mental break is perfectly natural but the fear grows in the audience because we know what Hannibal is.

Office hours are for patients, my kitchen is always open to friends.

Also he has lines like that with just the slightest hint of a double meaning if you know what to look for. Since the audience knows exactly what to look for, the threat to Will is very real (despite the logical argument that Will has plot armour) and that’s exactly what keeps us riveted. It is not just that he has close proximity to Will physically, but he is also directly and frequently inside Will’s head where it’s just as likely, if not more so, that he is doing some damage that is not yet evident. In this episode, he continues to subtly divide Jack and Will. Will, to his credit, seems aware of this but only insofar that Hannibal does not really like the way Jack is using him. Will has yet to suspect that Hannibal is more than what he seems. Of course, neither does Jack but in both their defences they have no reason to suspect anything. Hannibal can be quite charming when he chooses to be, and honestly, even at his creepiest he is never anything less than polite.  There were again a few things in this episode that I didn’t quite understand – why does Hannibal smell Will? Why does he bring up the aftershave?

Meanwhile, we have definitely turned towards the killer of the week style episodes, but this week’s one was certainly interesting. The Angel-Maker’s murders are visually compelling in a way that the previous few weeks’ killers’ weren’t. I can’t say I fully understood how the murders were taking place, nor why, but nevertheless the visual of a couple praying with flayed backs is memorable enough to make up for it. I felt the addition of the victims being criminals themselves was rather unnecessary and it was quickly dismissed and never referred to again. On the other hand, despite having seen it for the last two or three weeks, I love seeing Will get into the head of the killers. It seems almost like a super-power in how powerful his ability is but more than that I really enjoy watching it all come together in his head and the “This is my design” that he says every time. “My design” he says, not “their design” and you start getting stronger and stronger clues that this stuff is really getting into Will’s head. The visions that Will’s seeing are getting stronger and stronger to the point that even the audience cannot be entirely sure what is real and what is not. This is fine to an extent, but visually it makes some scenes a lot more confusing. Take for example, the Angel-Maker’s last scene – what exactly was going on when Will saw him on the barn floor? Was he actually there or was that all in Will’s head?

On a more mundane note, we finally see Jack’s wife Bella and it turns out to be Fishburne’s real life wife, Jessica Pearson from Suits. Their story is interesting enough and it adds some dimension to Jack’s character. I’m not entirely sure we needed that much screen time dedicated to it. I guess the importance of the introduction of Jack’s wife can only be assessed once we see where it’s going. Jack himself though is vexing me. On one hand, I can certainly see the argument he makes – Will’s presence does save lives and he’s certainly not wrong to use every resource he has available to him. On the other hand though, even a blind man could see the toll these operations are taking on Will’s mental health and given how crucial he is to solving some (most) of these crimes, the very last thing you want is for him to lose his own mind in the middle of it. It could lead to a severe psychotic break or him being unable to come up with an accurate profile. I feel sure one or both of these options takes place in the upcoming weeks.


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