Director: Peter Medak
Writer: Jennifer Schuur
Our fourth episode of Hannibal isn't really our fourth episode anymore, but I'm gonna keep the numbering. Originally titled "Oeuf" but changed to the nonsense word "Ceuf" (which I assume is a joke about broken eggs or the "C"annibalized version of the episode that we're getting in the States – somebody please correct me on this if I'm off-base), this was to be the tale of a twisted mother, played by Molly Shannon, brainwashing children to kill other children. Or something like that. There's not a clear summation anywhere that I can find, so I guess we'll just have to wait for the Blu-ray/DVD release – or watch it by means nefarious once it airs overseas – to find out what we're missing.
And I was kind of hoping to unpack the eggy wegg symbolism. Oh well.
What we get instead are six short segments carved from the episode, carefully avoiding anything too offensive for sensitive viewers (ha!), that help further along the development of Hannibal's relationships with Will, Abigail, and Dr. Bloom. There's some good stuff in here, so it's nice to get a look at it before this week's continuation of the story.
So there's not really a lot to review, to be honest. There's no plot. No storyline. No chance to really dig into the meat of the episode. There's really not a way to effectively evaluate Jennifer Schuur's script, other than to say that these scenes are effective, if a little strained. The chemistry that Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen share helps to gloss over some awkward dialogue, Hannibal and Dr. Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) are far more comfortable around each other than we've really seen so far, and the radical therapy technique that Hannibal tries out on Abigail (Kacey Rohl) is an intriguing element that shows up in another variation in the novel, Hannibal.
It's really Hannibal and Abigail that are center stage in these clips, despite the short interactions between Hannibal and Will and Bloom. Mikkelsen's performance is chilling at times, balanced with a strange, kindly uncle kind of approach at others. The way that he is manipulating Abigail into relying on him emotionally and, quite literally, seeing him as a father substitute is going to start making their relationship even more disturbing than it already is. Plus, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment that pretty clearly establishes that Hannibal is feeding human meat to his dinner guests.
These are all important moments that help explain why Fuller and Co. are making them available after officially pulling the episode.
Director Peter Medak – the brains behind a couple of my favorite films from my childhood, The Ruling Class, The Changeling, and Zorro, The Gay Blade, as well as a couple of intriguing UK crime films from the early Nineties, The Krays and Let Him Have It – is an interesting choice to helm this episode, given the way childhood trauma worked its way into those early films. I would have loved to see how he handled this material.
Someday, I suppose.
The real tragedy here, though, is that by hacking this episode to hell and back, we miss out on the introduction of the wonderfully talented Gina Torres as Bella Crawford, Jack Crawford's (Laurence Fishburne) wife. We only get a glimpse of her as these clips end and it seems we missed something powerful and important. She saw something that scarred her in this episode, and if that doesn't have psychological repercussions in the episodes to come, I'll eat my hat.
And my hat is one of those winter hats with the fur-lined floppy ear flaps.
For those of you who don't want to track down the webisodes over on the NBC website, here they are for your enjoyment:
Ceuf Part 1
Ceuf Part 2
Ceuf Part 3
Ceuf Part 4
Ceuf Part 5
Ceuf Part 6
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor to Shot for Shot at Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is on sale now forKindle US, Kindle UK, and Nook. You can also purchase his collection of short stories,Coffee, Sex, & Creation at Amazon US and UK. He is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at@PBMcCoy and blogging occasionally at Infernal Desire Machines.