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Review: ‘Hannibal’ Season 3, Episode 2, ‘Primavera’: I Forgive You

Review: 'Hannibal' Season 3, Episode 2, 'Primavera': I Forgive You

PREVIOUSLY: Review: ‘Hannibal’ Season 3, Episode 1, ‘Antipasto’: Observe or Participate

Appetizer

In case you don’t have Amazon Prime and haven’t been able to
watch the Season 2 finale “Mizumono” again recently, this episode
kindly replays the entire climactic Will/Hannibal confrontation, where Will
discovers Abigail Hobbs is still alive. Remember, turns out Hannibal didn’t
kill her after all, and he thought that he, Will, and Abigail could run off
together and be a murder family! But when Will chooses law and order over
assassination vacation, Hannibal guts him and leaves him for dead. Then he
grabs Abigail, tells Will “I forgive you,” and slits her throat while
Will is forced to watch. As Will loses consciousness, he sees his classic
Hallucinatory Stag breathe its last. If it seems self-indulgent for a show to
replay this of a previous episode, consider that a) it’s been over a year since
“Mizumono” aired, and b) what happens in these moments is critical to
“Primavera.” And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the scene still plays
like gangbusters.

Willucinations (Poor Will Graham)

Will wakes up in the hospital, and who should also be alive
but Abigail! That… seems incredibly unlikely, but not as unlikely as many of
the murder tableaus we’ve seen so far, so it certainly seemed within the realm
of possibly in the “Hannibal” universe. Abigail even has some
semi-plausible lines about how Hannibal cut them surgically to ensure their
survival. “He wanted us to live,” she tells Will. Hannibal just
wanted to give them some tough love! It’s not easy being the dad for murder
family.

Of course, nothing good ever lasts on “Hannibal,”
so of course by episode’s end Abigail is revealed to be yet another of Will’s
patented hallucinations, a way to cope with the death of his surrogate
daughter. Will certainly seems convinced that Abigail is real at first, but
there’s a time jump of eight months after Will wakes up in the hospital, which
begs the question of whether he’s been hallucinating her the entire time. The
answer seems to be yes, but by the time they’re in Italy, Will has figured out
she was only in his imagination. The reveal is saved for the audience, in a sad
flashback of Will being healed by surgeons as Abigail’s corpse is prepared for
the morgue. Abigail still haunts Will because his failure to save her (twice)
will always haunt him

Will Graham: Doin’ Stuff!

Will is an extremely
reserved protagonist who has also had the misfortune to occasionally be
manipulated by a brilliant puppet master, so it’s refreshing this
episode to see him so driven and back to doing some detecting. As he lies in his hospital bed, we
move into what seems to be another Willucination, but it’s actually a memory of
Hannibal fondly talking to Will about Palermo, which low and behold, turns out
to be where he’s actually fled!

When he arrives in Italy, Will meets Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi,
an Italian investigator similarly obsessed with Hannibal. It seems that at a
young age, Hannibal committed a series of murders in Europe, displaying the
bodies to resemble famous paintings (in this case, Botticelli’s
“Primavera”), and Pazzi’s inability to find any evidence ruined his
career. Pazzi has Will’s drive, but he lacks Will’s intimacy with Hannibal, and
Will seems very confident that Pazzi won’t survive if he continues his pursuit.
Not much is done with Pazzi this episode, save for introducing a sort of Will
doppelganger and adding another player to Hannibal and Will’s cat and mouse
game.

The main question as Will pursues Hannibal is whether Will is
after justice, or revenge? Will realizes Hannibal is watching him and pursues
him into the catacombs, but is unable to lay eyes on him. Knowing that Hannibal
is listening, Will offers only a whispered “I forgive you.”
Considering how complicated their relationship is, it could be sincere, or it
could be throwing Hannibal’s words back in his face — the thing you say right
before you stick in the knife.

Most Wonderfully Unsubtle Moment

There was plenty of broken teacup discussion last season and
Hannibal himself mentions it in tonight’s retread of “Mizumono.” In
“Primavera,” we get a teacup shattering and pieces of it have parts
of Will’s face on them. Oh, and then the teacup reforms and resolves into Will
in his hospital bed.

Later, when Inspector Pazzi asks him, “You are already
dead, aren’t you?” Will responds by stepping backwards into the shadows of
the catacombs like he’s frigging Nosferatu. The guy’s just trying to help,
Will. You don’t have to mess with him.

Grand Guignol

There have been some remarkable, awful sights of
aesthetically-pleasing horrors on this show, but the one in
“Primavera” might just take the cake. As Will uses his super-empathy
to consider Anthony’s mangled, heart-shaped corpse (including a good old
fashioned “This is my design”), he has another Willucination: the
heart starts to beat, then the seams come undone as the headless body resolves
itself into human shape again. Which is upsetting enough, but then it sprouts
hooves where its hands and feet used to be, as well as a pair of antlers from
its neck stump. And then the horrible man/stag starts ambling towards Will,
backing him against the wall as if it has all the time in the world.

Reader, I wet myself.

Grade: A-

READ MORE: Review: How ‘Hannibal’ Season 3 Sets the Table for a Wholly Different Meal

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