Hannibal: From Apéritif to Savoureux - What did the thirteen episode titles actually mean

A run down of what each of the French episode titles for Season One of Hannibal actually mean.

Hannibal is no stranger to fine cuisine; Dr. Lecter himself very often serves up Michelin star quality grub to his 'friends' and colleagues (with very secret ingredients). This is why the episode titles are named after French fine cuisine. But what do they mean?


[n.] Alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate appetite.

Considering that this was the Pilot episode the choice of episode title was perfect. My appetite was certainly stimulated by our first glimpse at Bryan Fuller's world of Hannibal Lecter, and I was just pleased to see Hannibal Lecter on a screen again. However I also enjoyed the introduction to Garrett Jacob Hobbs with no idea that he would grow to become such an important and always underlying part of the series.


[n.] Bite-sized appetizer.

Again, this is another perfect title choice for the episode showing us the origins of just how depraved and gory the murders that took place in the series would be with the mushroom corpse graveyard garden. It also introduced us to Freddie Lounds who is a character from the Hannibal canon that everyone should be familiar with, except now she's a lady!


[n.] A thick/creamy soup or stew.

Potage's thick creamy soup is the perfect metaphor for the plot thickening in this episode, all of the ingredients we'd been introduced to in the last two episodes came together here and hinted at the major overarching storyline of the Season, this is the starting point of the rest of the series and what happens involving Will Graham, Hannibal Lecter and Abigail Hobbs.


[n.] Egg

Well, anyone would struggle to see a comparison between egg and what happened in this episode. Although I suppose you could say Bryan Fuller had egg on his face when he was forced to completely pull this episode from airing, leading to a web vignette being aired.


[n.] Seafood or chicken dish baked in a sauce and served on a shell shaped dish.

This episode came served in a shell, and it also spent a fair time removing shells from hidden truths, as we learn considerably more about Will Graham and Jack Crawford. The biggest revelation being that Jack's wife Bella was dying of cancer.


[n.] A dish served before the main course or between two principal courses of the meal.

I consider this the Entree to Eddie Izzard's second and better performance later in the season. However it's also the first we hear of the Chesapeake Ripper, also known as the copycat killer and we know that the question of who the Chesapeake Ripper is will become an important one, even if it's revealed that Hannibal is the Ripper. (It's also the first time we see Hannibal, well, being Hannibal and killing stuff)


[n.] A small frozen dessert made from sweetened water flavoured with fruit, wine, and/or liquor.

Sorbet is traditionally used to cleanse the palate and that's exactly what this episode was for. It erased what we'd just seen in Entree, with Lecter being the monster we all know he is and set about to make him more human again. We see his love for music; meet his psychiatrist Bedelia Du Maurier and also see his apparent need for a friend.


[n.] A cheese that can be served in savoury dishes or as dessert.

Nope, this episode has nothing to do with cheese. But it did have a lot to do with Hannibal squaring off in a pretty brutal fight with another serial killer Tobias. I suppose with that Fromage could be one of two things, just like Hannibal... But I'd be stretching.

Trou Normand

[n.] A drink of Calvados taken between meals to aid digestion and restore appetite.

Again, our appetite is restored to the main storyline of the Season, the Chesapeake Ripper and Abigail Hobbs's involvement in her father's crimes. Although it certainly didn't aid digestion by having Abigail reveal that she did in fact lure girls that looked like her into her dad's traps willingly.

Buffet Froid

[n.] Commonly a platter of cold deli meats.

The way Hannibal Lecter treats his supposed 'friend' here is colder than the deli meats served as part of a Buffet Froid. Not only does he keep Will's illness a secret from him, but he also attempts to frame him for the murder of the same man that helped to diagnose Will's illness.


[n.] A roast meat.

Will Graham really gets across the idea that he is being roasted, that everyone around him is preparing him for a fall. Again this is a tenuous link, I admit that. But we do get to see Eddie Izzard going a bit crazy and murdering a whole bunch of people, Oh Eddie, what is he like? He's always good for a laugh!


[v.] {Ballet Reference} The act of rising from any position to balance on one or both feet.

[n.] Main Course or "piece de resistance"

The element of balance is an important one in this episode as Will Graham begins to lose his and Lecter rises to assume the perfectly balanced stance of control that he has over everything. It's also the finale, the beginning of the end, Bryan Fuller's 'piece de resistance'


[adj.] tasty

[n.] a savoury dessert appealing to diners with no interest in a sweet ending to their meal

The above sentence was given by Bryan Fuller when he described the ending to someone, and it sums the episode up perfectly. There isn't a happy ending, everything that could go wrong does and the episode ends with our troubled hero behind bars for murders that he didn't commit. But it did perfectly end the series and set things up for Season Two with a bang!

So there you have it ladies and gentleman, all of the episode titles and their meanings. Which one do you think most fitted the episode? Which cuisine do you think will be used to title Season Two's episodes?

Daniel Wood is a graduate from Bristol, who has an unhealthy obsession with crime fiction, a secret passion for superheroes and an avid love for all things fantasy. Consequently he also has a very understanding girlfriend! Follow Daniel Wood on Twitter.

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