One of my favorite things about NBC’s Hannibal is that it has never been afraid to just allow the characters time to be characters. As you probably already knew, some pretty harrowing and psychologically disturbing things have happened during the course of this show, and a whole lot of mental manipulation. Which means that sometimes a character just needs time to process stuff. This is what we got in Season 3, episode 2, “Primavera.” Following the events of last week’s “Antipasto” — which was mainly about Hannibal and Bedelia’s new life in Florence — we got to spend an entire episode with Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) dealing with his feelings toward Hannibal. But I mean, it’s never been the healthiest of relationships.
Will has always had a deep affection for Hannibal, and it’s obviously a shared one. But while Hannibal has a penchant for manipulating people and making disciples or playthings out of anyone he chooses, Will Graham has a little bit more self-restraint. Which makes the infamous cannibal respect him all the more. See? Messed up. Does Will feel betrayed by Hannibal or does he feel he’s done the betraying? Or is it both?
When we last left Will Graham, he’d returned to Hannibal’s house to find Alana tossed out of the upstairs window, Jack Crawford bleeding profusely inside a cupboard, and Abigail, whom he long thought dead but was apparently still under Hannibal’s spell. Hannibal then appeared and embraced Will, only to stab him in the gut like a damn Velociraptor, straight across the abdomen. As Will bled out, Hannibal explained that he brought Abigail as a surprise for him so they could trot off in murdery happiness together. But, feeling betrayed, Hannibal instead sliced the girl’s throat as recompense.
We then smash-cut to the present, with Will Graham in a hospital bed. He’s bandaged up something fierce, but still very much alive. And surprised (as was I, to be honest) to see Abigail walk into his hospital room with a small bandage on her neck. She says Hannibal knew where to cut her to make sure she didn’t die. But, like, it sure seemed that she’d lost a whole lot of neck blood in that violent shebang. Asking why he lied to Hannibal, Will said — rather tellingly — that “the wrong thing being the right thing to do was too much to take.” She then said he could have taken it all back, and that nobody had to die. Clearly she was still under the glamour of Hannibal’s magnetism.
They then had the first of many philosophical and hypothetical discussions — a theme in most of the Hannibal episodes. They talked about how everything that can happen, happens, in some other universe. There’s a scenario where Will didn’t betray Hannibal and the two of them and Abigail went off and had their weird European adventures together and probably would have been happy in all their disgusting people-eating. But that isn’t the way things went. Perhaps, though, they were left alive for a reason; perhaps Hannibal intends for them to find him.
In a prolonged dream sequence in Hannibal’s office, Will is surrounded by a series of papers. One of them being the badly-drawn, right-sided clock that he would draw when Hannibal was telling him he didn’t have encephalitis (when he totally did). It quickly caught fire and burned away. Will then saw himself and Hannibal by the fireplace, burning case files while talking about Hannibal’s memory palace: the last place he will have when the rest of his life is gone. The foyer to it, he explained, is the Norman Chapel in Palermo, Italy. Hallucination Will then looked over to Real Will who looked at the floor and saw the skull engraved — just as Hannibal details — on the ground below him, with the chapel ceiling up above.
Eight months later (yes, for reals; it skipped that much time), Will and Abigail arrived at that very Chapel, believing Hannibal would likely return at some point. They talked about God and whether Will believes (of course he doesn’t). They then discussed the idea of whether or not Hannibal is God, or believes himself to be. To which Will brilliantly remarked, “Hannibal wouldn’t have any fun being God…defying God, that’s his idea of a good time.”
We’re then led to believe Will and Abigail visit the church often because when Hannibal’s human-body-folded-to-look-like-a-heart shows up, Florence Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (guest star Fortunato Cerlino) wanted to, almost immediately, speak to Will. After Will spoke with the local police, Inspector Pazzi asked him about his knowledge of the “Monster of Florence.” He showed Will a picture of a young Hannibal and others from crime scenes. The “Monster” used to like to arrange his victims in certain positions and wearing certain colors. He did this to replicate the paintings of Botticelli, the early Renaissance painter.
Will then went to look at the heart Hannibal left for them (“his broken heart”), having a vision of the body unfolding, becoming a really disgusting version of the black stag. Early in the episode, we saw the stag bleed out and die as Will nearly did the same. But now, it seems, the stag has returned to Will’s mind.
Will and Abigail discussed Charlie Brown attempting to kick the football and Hannibal being a total Lucy, always pulling the ball away at the last moment. The biggest twist of the evening, though, was the realization that Abigail hasn’t actually been there this whole time; she really did die at Hannibal’s hand, nothing more than an image in Will’s mind, perhaps representing the side of his personality that required Hannibal’s approval.
(Weird thing, though: If Abigail was actually not there, why did she exchange an odd look with a priest when they first entered the chapel? Was she a ghost he could see? Was that just Will’s guilty side looking at the priest? Either way, it’s odd once you know the truth.)
Will then descended into catacombs to find Hannibal. Who, it turned out, was really there — just out of sight the whole time (as he’s been all episode). Inspector Pazzi followed him, hoping to catch his Monster, though Will told him he should perhaps let this monster go, for his own sake. The episode ended with Will calling out to Hannibal that he forgave him. But whether Hannibal will follow suit remains to be seen. (My guess is not.)
In two episodes now, Hannibal has given us almost no plot and certainly nothing to do with the Red Dragon storyline that will later become the focus. Instead, we’re given the time to explore our two leads in their own episodes. Though we still have no idea what happened to Alana or Jack. Both Caroline Dhavernas and Laurence Fishburne are still in the credits, so one can assume they’re still alive, but Fuller and the writers have left us guessing still, preferring to tantalize us with this character-building. As always, I can’t wait for things to really pick up, but if Will’s back at it, it can only mean Hannibal will be soon.
Let me know what you thought about this week’s Hannibal. Did you enjoy the Will Graham digression or do you want it to get back to grisly murder-solving? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter.