Fourth episode of the grisly serial killer drama featured Molly Shannon’s character brainwashing kids, leading them to kill other children.
Episode four was slated to air next week. Peacock will instead move directly to episode five. While the drama is serialized, NBC claims there will be no continuity issues, noting that TV critics have seen episodes three and five, and not four.
Decision arose after series creator Bryan Fuller phoned NBC and told the net that, “given the cultural climate right now in the U.S., I think we shouldn’t air the episode in its entirety.”
“I didn’t want to have anyone come to the show and have a negative experience,” Fuller told Variety.
“Whenever you [write] a story and look at the sensational aspects of storytelling, you think, ‘This is interesting metaphorically, and this is interesting as social commentary.’ With this episode, it wasn’t about the graphic imagery or violence. It was the associations that came with the subject matter that I felt would inhibit the enjoyment of the overall episode. … It was my own sensitivity.”
Fuller cited the Sandy Hook shooting in December and this week’s Boston Marathon bombings as the root of this sensitivity issue. “Hannibal,” from Gaumont Intl., was filmed before the events in Newtown, Conn., had transpired.
By pulling episode four from the lineup, NBC has effectively bumped the season of “Hannibal” up a week. The season finale for “Hannibal,” originally slated for June 27, will now be on June 20.
Fans of “Hannibal” will still be able to see clips from episode four, however. NBC is making a package of clips from the yanked episode available on NBC.com next week. It focuses on character development and not the procedural element featured in episode four of “Hannibal.” Package will feature Fuller offering voice over and discussing the series.
“This is also a great opportunity to provide another platform for the show that can draw audiences to social media and give them original content that’s not just a behind-the-scenes special, but a webisode featuring the primary cast, which is a rare thing to get on the net,” Fuller explained.
But, mostly, Fuller said, “We want to be respectful of the social climate we’re in right now.”
Peacock notes that the fourth episode will run overseas, but not in the States.