Ah, “Mizumono”: the just desserts of season 2, the finale that caused a zillion Fannibal tears. Many of us thought we would never have to experience this episode again willingly, but oh, how wrong we were. The latest installment of season 3, “Primavera,” opens with the heart-wrenching play-by-play of the last time our favorite FBI profiler, Will Graham, and Dr. Lecter crossed paths….and it is just as brutal as the first time we saw it.
The moment the teacup shatters, revisited (you know, IN CASE YOU FORGOT): Hannibal guts Will with the linoleum knife for his betrayal moments after Will is reunited with Abigail Hobbs (played by the glorious & talented Kacey Rohl), and proceeds to open dear Abigail’s throat right in front of Will (and all of us!!), and the ultimate betrayal is complete. The relationship between Hannibal & Will as we have known it is over, and Hannibal has punished Will for his deceit and also forgiven him in one swift, stabby motion.The scene ends with a super slow-mo, artsy shot of Will drowning in blood and of our beloved teacup dropping to the floor, shattering, and finally coming back together.
Suddenly, just like a shattered teacup coming back together, Will wakes up bandaged and recovering in a hospital bed, and with a surprise visitor to boot: Miss Hobbs herself! Let the episode begin!
“Primavera” is a bittersweet ode to the past that also works as a seamless, artistic (and mind-game intensive) segue into the present by way of an in-depth exploration of both Will’s relationship with Hannibal and Will’s current state of mind (arguably, the two are inextricably linked).
Despite her announcement that Hannibal “knew how to cut [her]” in a surgical, non-fatal fashion, Abigail’s existence in this episode is, unfortunately, only within the context of Will’s mind, and she seems to represent the part of Will that is still loyal to Hannibal. In the hospital, she asks Will questions such as, “Why did you lie to him?” and says, “He gave you the chance to take it all back. Why didn’t you?” Will’s answers are vague and wavering, highlighting his continued uncertainty concerning whose side he’s on. Through a gorgeous sequence in his mind palace in which Will revisits a conversation he had with Hannibal about the structure of his own mind palace (MIND PALACE INCEPTION), Will figures out that Hannibal is in Palermo, Italy, and BOOM–eight months later, Abigail & Will are in Palermo on a quest to find Hannibal, and in turn, to find out where they now fit into this story.
The religious imagery continues to accompany the comparisons between Hannibal and God in this episode. Will makes several comparisons between the power of God & that of Hannibal, but as he puts it whilst entering the Norman Chapel with Abigail (the floor of which features heavily in Hannibal’s mind palace), “God is not who [he] came here to find.” Are you sure about that, Willy G?
(Can we just have a moment for this absolutely gorgeous floor? This image is out of control beautiful, and it couldn’t possibly fit better into this show. Oh, the constant juxtaposition of beauty/art and death/darkness! Oh, the rich imagery!)
Will reveals that his spiritual beliefs are “closer to science fiction” than to anything in the Bible. However, in the context of praying and prayers, Will speaks about God’s inability to save everyone, not because he can’t but because it would be inelegant, and elegance is the most important thing. Abigail asks him if he is talking about Hannibal, but he insists that he does not think of Hannibal as God. He mentions that he thinks that Hannibal would love nothing more than to see the roof of the Norman Chapel collapse, that “he would just love it”, and he would think that God would also love it, then he proceeds to envision the ceilings cracking above him–does that mean that Will, with all of his empathetic abilities and his undeniable soft spot for the cannibal psychiatrist, would love it too? I’ll leave you to your deductions. In any case, this vision indicates to us that, unsurprisingly, Will’s perception of reality right now is not quite accurate. This bodes ill.
Things get increasingly more complicated–and more interesting–with the discovery of Hannibal’s man-body-origami-heart creation, AKA the Stagenstein, AKA Hannibal’s Valentine to Will. How romantic! In the wake of this lovely discovery in the midst of the Norman Chapel, Will meets Inspector Pazzi (Fortunato Cerlino), a Florentine detective who had been on Hannibal’s trail 20 years earlier. Pazzi treats us to some backstory about Hannibal, who is known to him as Il Mostro, the monster of Florence, a serial killer who left no evidence, but who had a knack for posing his murder victims like beautiful art. To wit:
Does that sound like someone we might know?
In any case, Will is unsurprised to learn that Hannibal has been up to his old tricks for quite some time, and Pazzi does not seem shocked that Will’s visit coincides with the discovery of the origami man-heart; Pazzi know that while Hannibal may not leave evidence, he does make his attachment to Will Graham abundantly clear. “He let you know him. He sent you his heart,” Pazzi tells Will later on, as he is convinced that Will knows where Hannibal is (which, incidentally, he does).
Before we get to that, I need to address the Stagenstein, AKA the unfolded origami heart with hooves and antlers (because, of course). Take a gander at this bad boy:
Yes, that is the unfolded, dismembered origami heart man’s body, complete with antlers, hooves, an the ability to saunter slowly over to Will, AKA the creepiest sequence of the episode. The imagination of this show will NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE ME.
This is the first time Will saw the stag in any iteration since the events of “Mizumono,” and it understandably shocks him. When Abigail startles him from his reverie, Will says, laughing, “I definitely feel closer to Hannibal here…God only knows where I’d be without him.” This struck a chord with me: it mirrors what Will said upon entering the chapel about people coming to places of worship to get closer to God, yet here he is, in a place of worship, feeling closer to Hannibal.
To stamp the sealing wax on this subversive love letter, Will asks Abigail if she would still go to Hannibal after everything that he has done and Abigail replies, “Yes.” Will not only remains fascinated by Hannibal, but he is still suspended in their now oddly detached, yet entirely codependent relationship, which now hinges on one leaving the other breadcrumb-like clues (too keep with the fairy tale narrative of season 3, episode 1), and he seems to have accepted it.
In this same scene, Will comes to terms with the fact that Abigail is, in fact, dead, and exists only in the space created within the world of his mind. Throughout the episode, I had a sinking feeling that Abigail might have been a figment of Will’s imagination, but I didn’t want to believe it because I love her so much, but alas! I am glad that she returned to us for this episode, if not for any other ones. He asks Abigail where she thinks they would have gone if they had all three left together, the way they were supposed to, to which she replies, “Some other world.” Pass the Kleenex!!
This revelation is accompanied by a particularly painful, perfectly-scored montage of Abigail & Will after the “Mizumono” massacre, in which Abigail has passed away and Will is very much alive and being stitched up.
Next up, we have the final scene in the episode down in the catacombs. Will tells Pazzi that he knows that Hannibal never left the chapel, and despite his dubious willingness to catch Hannibal, he descends into the spooky, skeleton-filled catacombs with the detective. Will calls out to Hannibal in this suspenseful game of hide-and-go-seek, with Hannibal skulking around & hiding amongst the dead and Pazzi sneaking around with his gun drawn. Pazzi’s presence is short-lived, however, as Will reminds him that he doesn’t know whose side he is on, and tells him to “carry [his] dead back upstairs before [he counts himself] among them.” He bids the inspector good night in Italian before slowly disappearing into the shadows, which is a very Hannibal-esque thing to do, if you ask me, before he gets the privacy he needs to utter the words that have haunted Fannibals in season 3 promotional materials:
“Hannibal–I forgive you.”
This is followed by a closeup of Hannibal turning towards Will to acknowledge the absolution, although they do not see each other. It’s not quite the reunion between Will and Hannibal that we have all been waiting for, but it’s a start! Each of them knows that the other is onto him in their twisted game of cat and mouse, and I have a feeling that neither will be slowing down any time soon, especially not since they have both forgiven each other. Oh, Bryan Fuller, what are you going to do to us this season?
Quick author’s note: Stay tuned for the recap/my thoughts on “Secondo”, season 3’s third episode, which I will hopefully have up before the end of the weekend!