“Trou Normand” opens on a majestic and terrible spectacle, a totem of twisted corpses reaching to the sky. It’s grand and imposing, but belies the subtlety of an episode populated with little moments like Abigail’s look of recognition as she tastes the meat that Hannibal has served; or, amidst a gripping confrontation between Will and Hannibal, Hannibal’s hand hovering briefly over a scalpel, or the shadows of his curtains leaving bars across his face.
Like the corpse-totem, the episode was carefully-constructed and symmetrical, the symmetry revolving around Abigail Hobbs: think the totem’s creator (Lance Henriksen) and how his obsession with legacy and fatherhood mirrored Abigail’s relationship with her ‘fathers.” Or Abigail being haunted by Boyle in the same way that her father haunts Will. Abigail finally admitting her lies to herself about her father’s murders while, in Will’s subconscious, his suspicions of Hannibal continue to grow.
“Trou Normand” feels like it’s from a show that’s been around for years, the strongest episode of the show thus far. It’s a confident, accomplished episode that calls back to earlier events and builds on character relationships that feel far deeper than they should for a show that’s not even into double digit episodes.