‘Hannibal’ Season 1, Episode 5 Review – The Lonely Road

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:24 am,

Laurence Fishburne Mads Mikkelsen and Gina Torres in Hannibal Coquilles Hannibal Season 1, Episode 5 Review – The Lonely Road

Obviously, the big news surrounding Hannibal this week was the announcement that NBC and Bryan Fuller had made the decision to pull the fourth episode ‘Ceuf’ due to sensitivity regarding some of the serial killer content involving Molly Shannon, which, from what has been revealed of the episode, concerns the killing of children by children.

Whatever your thoughts on the decision to pull the episode may be, what is done is done, and while parts are missing, it doesn’t appear to have derailed the series. Thankfully, if you are a fan of the series and you’ve been following it, hopefully you’ve either managed to scrounge up a copy of the episode online, or you’ve gone over to NBC’s website and taken a look at the six-episode webseries they’ve made with “cannibalized” segments from the episode.

What’s telling about the elements in the webseries is how well the character elements – or the bits that are actually necessary to the overall plot and continuation of Hannibal, as it pertains to the characters – manage to separate themselves from the particular plot of ‘Ceuf’ that led to its being ostensibly booted out of the season’s rotation. Without eating up too much space to talk about ‘Coquilles,’ what the previous episode managed to do so well was lay the groundwork for Hannibal’s manipulation of Abigail Hobbs, as well establish just how affected Will Graham has been by the images he’s confronted with while hunting the grisly serial killers from week-to-week.

Hugh Dancy in Hannibal Coquilles Hannibal Season 1, Episode 5 Review – The Lonely Road

Of course, Abigail Hobbs is nowhere to be found in ‘Coquilles’; a nice fact that allows for a more undivided examination of Will and, in this particular case, Jack Crawford and his wife Phyllis (played by the excellent Gina Torres of ‘Firefly‘ and ‘Suits’ fame), and grants the Hobbs/Lecter dynamic some time to breathe and not feel so rushed. Furthermore, in the absence of Hannibal’s machinations with the young woman, ‘Coquilles’ brings the focus back to Will and, more pointedly, the efforts that Hannibal is seemingly undertaking to “alienate” Will from Jack.

From the beginning, Hannibal has shown an incredible ability to portray the grisly details of serial killers and, more importantly, the ramifications of their crimes, both in terms of their victims and the people who’ve devoted their lives to investigating and stopping these killers. One of, if not the clearest example of this was established early on as the battle for Will’s mind – both his unique ability and his sanity – kicked the series off, and ever since the violent conclusion to the Minnesota Shrike case, Will’s already fragile psyche has begun to collapse under the strain.

“I don’t know how much longer I can be all that useful to you, Jack,” Will tells Crawford after they find, but fail to apprehend the Angelmaker, a man suffering from a brain tumor that has him killing and arranging his victims like angels by transforming the skin on their backs into figurative wings. It’s gruesome stuff to be sure, but rather than simply focus on the ghastly state of the Angelmaker’s victims, the episode bluntly points out how damaging looking at this stuff can actually be. “This is bad for me,” Will says, as he’s caught between doing what’s right and doing what’s right for him.

Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal Coquilles Hannibal Season 1, Episode 5 Review – The Lonely Road

And in an obvious, but still emotionally satisfying way, that’s the crux of ‘Coquilles.’ The weight that is placed upon those investigating these crimes, whether that person is Will Graham, Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) or Jack Crawford and, in this case, his wife, there is a sentiment that a person can choose to suffer alone and isolate themselves in death (there own or the deaths of others), or they can lean on others in and around the situation to assuage some of the burden that comes with the territory.

The circumstances involving the Angelmaker – his illness and the withdrawal from his personal life following the diagnosis – mirror Phyllis’ own battle with cancer and the battle of whether or not to reveal it to her husband, adding to Jack’s laundry list of concerns. The moment Jack realizes what’s going on is what you might call a “light bulb” moment, which many shows incorporate so as to allow the main protagonist the opportunity to suddenly realize the solution to a problem or question they’ve been vexed by. Coincidentally, it’s a device utilized frequently by Torres’ other series ‘Suits’ in nearly every episode. But it’s typically used to signify the conclusion to the episode’s main concern, not necessarily to reveal the truth behind a deeply personal problem for a member of the supporting cast, and for whatever reason, those circumstances make Jack’s “light bulb” moment feel more authentic and resonant.

Despite missing the previous episode, ‘Coquilles’ stands out as a fantastic entry in the series, as it pertains to the characters and their interactions with the rather unpleasant world they choose to live in. But the episode also sets up some intrigue regarding Hannibal’s relationship with Will (“did you just smell me?”) and how that association has already begun to alter the dynamic between Will and Jack.


Hannibal continues next Thursday with ‘Entrée’ @10pm on NBC. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Good ep but cant see ep 4 since nbc is a fart knocker and ep 4 is only available in the usa. =(((

  2. Is WOW to much of a cliché to start off my comment?
    It’s a real testament to the fabulous job the creative team behind Hannibal is doing that after only 4 episodes (and a webisode I haven’t seen yet) I already believe this is one of the best dramas on TV.
    I was a bit thrown bye the fact that there wasn’t any follow-up on the Abigail Hobbs storyline at first but from the second we walked into that motel room with Will and saw what the ‘Anglemaker’ left on display I was immediately sucked into this episode without a thought about what came before.
    In my years of movie and tv watching I’ve only felt gut-wrenched a handful of times and this was one of them. I’ve talked to a few people who’ve stopped watching this show because it is so brutal but IMO in order to understand what Will is going through the brutality is a necessary evil. I can understand how it can be to much for someone and in the hands lesser filmmakers it probably would be but Fuller and company have handled it masterfully.
    We always hear about creators who are influenced bye directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick but even when those influences are applied well (David Fincher) mostly the just feel like knockoffs (Brian DePalma) but Mr. Fuller has found the right balance and has applied it in a way that is on par with the best. The tracking shot of Jack walking away while Will stood in the background sent chills up my spine and is just one example of many fantastic directorial decisions that should be applauded in a film let alone a network tv show.

    • The entire alley scene stands out as one of the best and most theatrical of the series thus far. You nailed it with your description. Fishburne was a powerhouse in that scene.

  3. is it ‘AnGLEmaker’ or ‘AnGELmaker’?
    “but fail to apprehend the Anglemaker, a man suffering from a brain tumor that has him killing and arranging his victims like angels by transforming the skin on their backs into figurative wings.”
    The article always states ‘angGLEmaker’ but according to the above description, ‘anGELmaker’ would be more appropriate, right?
    Otherwise, what ‘angle’ is the killer making? an angle I can’t see? a perspective? I’m confused.

    • Same confusion here. First I thought it was a typo in the title, but then every mention was spelled ‘Anglemaker’ whereas the “angels” was done right. Are we missing something here?

  4. I have to say, the cinematography and set pieces of this series continue to impress me. I appreciate that the crew has put such effort into maintaining a theatrical feel to every episode. The scene with The Angelmaker’s display of the victim who posed as a security guard was reminiscent of a scene from Silence of the Lambs and yet just as haunting on a much smaller screen. The references to Old Spice and “becoming” were nice nods to the Red Dragon novel as well, though I’m left wondering who keeps giving Will aftershave. In the novel it’s mean to be Molly and her son, as I recall.

    To say this episode belonged to anyone other than Laurence Fishburne and wife Gina Torres would be delusional. Arguably, it was some of Mr. Fishburne’s best work in the series and covered a broad range of emotions as opposed to him looking as though he’s reading from a phone book (a complaint of his work on CSI).

    A few things that didn’t track for me, briefly: Will doesn’t make connections to other humans due to his Asperger’s like state of being. That much has been established. With that in mind, it made the final scene where he sits with Jack as a friend seem like something that might have been better served in season two. Yes, Will is human but at the beginning of the episode he admits feeling no connection to family or belonging. Forty minutes later…

    The absence of the three lead females was notable. Hettienne Park had a nice enough moment but I’ve yet to figure out why she’s receiving credits as part of the main cast when she’s had significantly less screen time than Kacey “Abigail” Rohl and Lara Jean “Lounds” Chorostecki. That said, I do like the Beverly Katz character.

    The dynamic between the two male leads has really gelled and I have to wonder if Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen retained a friendship in the years between their filming King Arthur together and now this series. I’ll likely gain flack for saying that I’ve never preferred Anthony Hopkins’ version of Hannibal to that of Brian Cox and now I have to say Mads Mikkelsen’s take has moved to the top of the list. This was a lovely episode for the character to display a less monstrous side, though I kept wondering if he had anything to do with the death of The Angelmaker.

    Also, I liked the YouTube scenes. I read enough on the episode that was plucked from the original lineup and have to say that I have no problem whatsoever with the episode being pulled. It’s a cheap trick to base a plot on horrifying children or children being horrifying and the writers have proven already that they’re far more capable than that.

    Final remarks: By my tally, Hannibal has no served a meal to Will, Jack (three times), Dr. Bloom and Will’s horde of stray dogs. Mrs. Crawford apparently did not eat?

  5. Seen the six-part web series, but I can’t find the full version of episode four online anywhere. Can someone please post a link?

    Anyway, this episode was really something, can’t wait for Gillian Anderson’s three-episode arc as Lecter’s psychotherapist.

    • Look for it on DVD/Blu-Ray, if you’re living in the U.S. NBC will not air the episode in its entirety due to the incidents at Sandy Hook and the similarities to the plot. As of last night, it also is not on Hulu (Plus).

  6. i just love this show and i love how Lecter is kind of a side character even though he is the title character. Also, the style of the show is so subtly bizarre, like the color choice for walls and wardrobes, i can only call it the Bryan Fuller look which i absolutely love. oh, am i the only one who absolutely can not stand Freddie Lounds? I know that the character gets it in red dragon and fuller said that (if the tv gods gracious) the red dragon arc won’t happen until season 3 or 4, something like that. I am glad that this show has such a polarizing character, but i’m not sure i can wait 3 or 4 seasons to watch Lounds get her comeuppance.

    • *if the tv gods are gracious

  7. I have to say this series is just a joy to watch. Each episode keeps getting better and the cinematography continues to be among the best I’ve seen in a while. People were telling me when the pilot came out that it would be like The Following which was disappointing to me because that show has become very predictable and just horrid with its plot hole issues. I am glad Hannibal is nothing like that. The show continues to focus on a lot of details and the plots are very believable in the story told. Bravo on an excellent series