Last week saw the amazing season 3 premiere of Hannibal. After being discovered and going on the run, Hannibal Lecter and his lady-friend/doctor, Bedelia Du Maurier eventually settled in Europe. Hannibal got himself a nice little job working as a curator for a museum (thanks to a rather timely dinner party), Bedelia was going a bit crazy as she tried to figure out whether her actions were her own or if Hannibal was ultimately in control and then a man had to come along and ruin it all, sending our favorite cannibal back to his old habits. After leaving a very poignant calling-card, the lovers set off for new horizons. Now, it looks like Will Graham is back for Primavera and hot on the trail of the fleeing Lecter. Can this episode live up to the mind-fuck madness of last week? We shall see…
We begin with another flashback to season 2’s finale. Will has just arrived at Hannibal’s place to discover the mess. He, Hannibal and Abigail were all supposed to leave together, one big happy family, but Will was being deceptive and playing his own game to capture his nemesis. This leaves Hannibal feeling betrayed, but he does not kill Will, only wounding him and, apparently, leaving Abigail alive as well. In those last moments, we can see the undeniable effect that Will has had on Hannibal. And this effect is something that has become the main focus of the third season.
Finally, coming back to the present, we are brought up-to-date on the aftermath of Hannibal’s bloodbath. While Jack Crawford’s fate is still a mystery, Will and Abigail appear to be okay. It appears as if Hannibal wounded them in such a way as to leave them both to draw another breath. In those breaths, they must both examine how they feel about their former mentor, friend and nemesis. Also comes the revelation that they still live simply because Hannibal is not done with whatever game he’s playing with them. He wants them to find him, wherever he happens to be, so they can all continue their bizarre dance.
Then onward we go, 8 months later, and Will and Abigail have taken a journey to Italy. Will remembers an important fact from one of the last “friendly” conversations he had with Hannibal and goes to follow that lead. Whether he is seeking understanding and closure or just looking for the good doctor is something that perhaps even he doesn’t know. What he finds is Hannibal’s calling card – the broken man turned into a heart sculpture. Hannibal knew that Will would end up at the church at some point, though it’s likely that neither one of them knew they would be there at the exact same time.
Enter one Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi. He had a brief brush with fate, some 20 years back, when he happened to be on the case of a serial killer. That killer was, of course, a young Hannibal. Now he wants to finish what he started and Will may be key in helping him. So he shares the heart sculpture evidence with Will in hopes of finding some sort of lead. Will goes into his trance, deciphers the meaning of Hannibal’s art piece and concludes that his nemesis/friend misses him. But even though Hannibal has a bit of humanity in there somewhere, it doesn’t mean that anyone is safe around him, ever. It is in the killer’s nature to be a killer and playing with people like toys is a habit that he can never break, even if he cares for them in some way.
Will contemplates some more on what could have happened if he and Abigail would have joined Hannibal as was first planned. It is then that we finally realize something – Abigail never survived Hannibal’s attack. Will has been speaking to himself the entire time, trying to reconcile his feelings over being part of the cause of Abigail’s death. What’s more, we also realize that Hannibal has been hiding in the church the entire time, watching Will do his work.
When Will finally realizes that Hannibal is there, he goes on the hunt, seeking out his old friend in the church’s catacombs, a place where death is quite at home. Inspector Pazzi comes along, hoping to catch Hannibal, but Will convinces him to leave before he ends up the next victim. And though Hannibal and Will never come face-to-face in this episode, Will does let his former friend know that he is forgiven. Though whether this is true forgiveness or just another of Will’s ploys to get Hannibal to come out of hiding, we shall not know until the series unfolds.
Once again, Hannibal delivered a brilliant and clever episode. Though Will was the main character and Hannibal himself received but a few, scant minutes of screen time, the focus was still on the titular killer. We got to see Hannibal through Will’s eyes, learning more about him via the deductions of Will as he worked his way into Hannibal’s mind. Inspector Pazzi’s presence added to the effect, presenting us with a bit of Hannibal’s past and the knowledge that he has always been a vicious yet strangely artistic killer. Primavera attempted to further paint Hannibal as a creature that is indeed human, despite the fact that evil is his natural state of being. And, overall, the episode did a dynamite job of presenting us with just a small taste while still saving the main course for the weeks to come.
Although the revelation that Abigail was dead did not come as a complete surprise, the way in which it was executed was flawless. We see her as a lingering part of Will’s subconscious, something that he has almost, but not quite come to terms with. And their last, sad conversation, one in which Will contemplates the alternative route where they both joined Hannibal in one big, psychotic family, is quite moving. I really hope that ghost-Abigail sticks around to further push Will’s mind into that realm of “what could have been”.
And finally, the imagery of the show was extra-brilliant this time around. Hannibal has always been known for its exceptional imagery and cinematography, but they outdid themselves with Primavera. If I don’t see a giant pile of Emmys coming at this show, I will seriously lose all faith in humanity.
Next week on Hannibal – Secondo. Will reaches far back into the past, tracing Hannibal to his origins and making a potential new ally along the way. Meanwhile, Hannibal continues to kill, leaving bread crumbs for Will to follow so that they can resolve their unfinished business. And, the return of Jack Crawford… maybe. After all, he may end up being just as dead as Abigail, in which case Will has some serious ghost problems.