The episode opens with Will and Jack inspecting a gruesome crime scene: a totem pole of corpses with a fresh one mounted on the top. Will begins processing the scene and makes some headway but the scene changes suddenly and he is standing outside Hannibal’s office. Will is upset that he has lost at least three and a half hours in this episode and Hannibal insists that his empathy disorder is getting out of control. Abigail continues to feel the guilt of her father’s murders and suffers from nightmares. Will goes to apologize to Jack about his erratic behaviour at the crime scene but Jack did not notice anything out of the ordinary. Freddie Lounds convinces Abigail that she is the right person to tell Abigail’s story to the world.
Will goes to look into the totem pole crime scene and theorizes that all the bodies on the totem pole were the killer’s work despite official records stating that they died of mundane or natural causes. Later, Will goes to teach his class, but is interrupted by Alana and Will suddenly realizes that his classroom is empty and he and Alana are alone. Alana discusses their relationship and she tells him that until he becomes more stable, they will remain friends and Will accepts this and admits that he feels unstable. Later, Will and Hannibal confront Abigail about her decision to sell her story and remind her that it is not her story alone. Later on, Nicholas Boyle’s body is discovered and Jack intends to question Abigail about Boyle’s death despite Will and Alana’s protests. Abigail answers all the questions with difficulty but finally tells Jack definitively that she has not seen Boyle since the cabin incident, except in her nightmares. Alana, who is there for the questioning under protest, admits that Abigail is trying to hide something and Jack says he wants to know what it is. Abigail meets Hannibal later and it is revealed that she was the one who uncovered Boyle’s body. Hannibal is disappointed that she risked uncovering both of them and tells her she is losing his trust.
Back at the lab, Will and Jack find a common thread in the first and last corpse in the totem and pay a visit to an old retiree who readily admits to the crime. The first victim was his ex-wife’s lover while the last was her son with the other man but Will and Jack reveal to him that he killed his own son based on the DNA matches. Later on, Will goes on to pay a visit to Boyle’s body and suddenly realizes that Abigail killed Boyle. He tells this to Hannibal who admits to knowing this and to helping Abigail covering up the death. Will is unwilling to implicate Abigail in a murder trial and so promises to keep the secret. Later on, Hannibal invites Lounds, Abigail and Will to dinner and they discuss Freddie’s book. After dinner, Abigail asks Hannibal if Will knows about Boyle and Hannibal admits that he does but reassures her that he will never tell anyone. After a little further coaxing, Hannibal is able to a get a dark secret from Abigail – she had known what her father was doing right from the beginning and even helped him lure the girls to his traps.
The episode ends with a flashback to Abigail doing just that. She befriends a girl on the train who’s travelling alone and her father is seen smiling as the girls converse.
The episode ended on a seemingly dramatic note with Abigail admitting to full knowledge of her father’s action but I didn’t really feel the weight of that admission. Correct me if I’m wrong, but even if she knew what her father was doing all the while, isn’t there a rather strong case to be made that Garrett Jacob Hobbs was intimidating her and pressuring her into doing those things? I’m not saying she would get off scot free and perhaps she doesn’t deserve to, but in my mind Abigail is definitely a small time criminal compared to the kind of killers that regularly feature on this show. I can definitely understand why she would be terrified that someone would find out but I feel like if she just stopped and thought about it for a minute, she’d realize she’s not really in as much trouble as she thought she might be in especially since the only people who can contest her claims are both dead. There is definitely a self-destructive streak to Abigail Hobbs though, particularly in this episode. Uncovering Boyle’s body was an extremely ill-advised decision and her rationale for doing so seemed tenuous and weak. In the best case, Abigail’s actions will draw the FBI’s actions to her (as we see in this episode) but the worst case is much, much worse. Hannibal has taken note of Abigail’s actions and he seems wary of Abigail’s intentions in opening up to the world. She claimed that she would never spill the beans, but can Hannibal trust her and if so, for how much longer?
This episode’s crime of the week was practically a distraction from the Abigail storyline. The visual image of the totem of corpses was intriguing enough but the killer behind it was so bland and boring that the entire concept seemed squandered. What was even worse than the bland killer, was having the murder mystery practically resolve itself. The first killer turns out to be literally the first person that Will and Jack suspect and he quite literally gives up as soon as they walk into the room. This is partially justified in that the killer wanted to be caught but on the whole, I was quite happy to just ignore that whole storyline and chances are that I will forget about it as soon as I end this commentary.
Will’s sanity, as usual, continues to spiral further and further into an abyss, never to be recovered. Having had several blackouts in my life, I can’t say I envy him that horrible feeling of waking up somewhere and not knowing how you got there. The cause of his blackouts is never satisfactorily explained and I don’t think I buy Hannibal’s explanation that the sight of the totem pole triggered him. From my admittedly pathetic understanding of triggers, if the totem was a trigger for Will then wouldn’t he have blacked out earlier? In any event, Will’s life continues to go pear shaped – professionally, Jack continues to question Will’s sanity (and understandably so), while his best friend is a serial killer and his crush thinks he’s too cuckoo to date (also, understandably so). Perhaps Hannibal was not too wrong in suggesting that Abigail is literally the only bright spot in Will’s life but even there I think he was overstating it – Abigail does not see Will as fondly as he does her. In fact, disappointingly, she seems much closer to Hannibal. It’s not hard to see why – there is nothing like life threatening secrets to bond two people together.
Hannibal continues to pull the puppet strings in this show and there is absolutely nothing new about that but I think at this stage of the season, I want to have a better idea of where Hannibal is going with all of this. It’s like there are only so many masterful manipulations you can see before you start wondering what the actual point of it all is. Yes, he seems to have Abigail and Will eating out of the palm of his hands but considering that the former is a traumatized teenager and the latter is a barely functioning wreck, it’s not quite as impressive as it might have been. While we’re at it, I would also like to know what the deal is with Garett Jacob Hobbs and why the man keeps appearing in every single episode. I will go out on a limb and suggest that it’s a sign that that initial murder has implications that we have yet to fully appreciate or, more likely, Abigail will continue to muddle her way through the thickening plotlines.