April 25, 2013

THE SKED: The Censored “Hannibal”

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Tonight’s originally scheduled episode of HANNIBAL, entitled “Ceuf,” was pulled from the US air by NBC (it will air elsewhere in the world) because of its main storyline, which involved children induced to kill other children.  Since Hannibal tells a somewhat serialized story, however, the network has stripped out that storyline (or “cannibalized,” as series creator Bryan Fuller prefers, because ha-ha) and posted what remains–around 21 minutes, or roughly half the episode–online at NBC’s website and the network app.  But for those who don’t have the time or inclination to click on all 6 parts of the fragmented episode, a brief description:

Although there’s a taste (see?  ha-ha) of the teasing relationships Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) has established with FBI agents Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), and a bit of backstory for both Will and Hannibal about their orphaned childhoods, the meat (OK, I’ll stop) of the “Ceuf” excerpts involve Hannibal and Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl), the daughter of the serial killer from the pilot who–tipped off by Lecter–managed to kill his wife and slit Abigail’s throat before Will brought him down.  The FBI suspects that Abigail may have helped her father with his murders–all of young women who resembled Abigail herself–and while that doesn’t appear to be the case (so far), they don’t yet know that she’s committed a murder of her own.  She’s currently residing in a psychiatric clinic, besieged by bad dreams and under the care of Dr. Bloom (Caroline Dhavemas), who has her own complicated relationship with Will Graham.

In “Ceuf,” Lecter convinces Abigail to accompany him out of the clinic for some of his own brand of therapy, giving her a psychoactive-mushroom-laden tea to drink and cooking her a meal modeled after the one she ate with her parents just before Dad killed Mom and tried to murder her.  He says he’s going to take away her bad dreams, but it appears that he’s building his own codependent relationship with the girl (he’s previously told Will that the two of them and Abigail will find that they have quite a bit in common).  When Dr. Bloom shows up, furious that Hannibal has taken her patient without permission, he’s already rather creepily set a place for her at the table, and she, Hannibal and the drugged Abigail sit down to a meal, in a scene that almost recalls the notorious sequence from the “Hannibal” novel and film where the semi-conscious Clarice Starling dined on a particularly disturbing main course .

To borrow a motif from another Thursday night show:  And that’s what you missed on Hannibal!



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."