Hannibal continues its shock and awe brand of storytelling with the horrifically beautiful "Primavera." Last week, we were treated to a taste of what Hannibal has been up to since leaving Baltimore and it was simply exquisite. In this week’s episode, Hannibal will have more than just Bedelia’s potential disloyalty to contend with as the events that unfolded in Baltimore, along with Hannibal’s distance past, are about to catch up with him.
In the next scene, Will awakens in a hospital and his doctor lets him sip water from a tea cup (we see what you did there). The doctor informs him that someone is anxious to see him and suddenly Abigail walks into the room, a bandage on her neck. Her “death” replays in reverse, blood oozing back into the gaping wound in her flesh and then she is explaining how she survived, how Hannibal knew just where to cut, how to do it with surgical precision. “He wanted us to live,” Abigail tells Will, and then she informs him that Hannibal had made a place for him, that she and Will were supposed to go with Hannibal. She begins convincing Will that Hannibal wants them to find him and even after everything Hannibal has done, Abigail wants to go back to him. “If everything that can happen happens, then you can never really do the wrong thing. You’re just doing what you’re supposed to.” She tells him, using his own words against him.
Will later awakens in pain, feeling as though his stitches are being ripped out and when he looks down, he hallucinates antlers coming out of his stomach. He looks around and realizes he’s not in a hospital. This too is part of his hallucination and he finds himself in Hannibal’s study, papers falling from the ceiling. He stands and watches himself have a conversation with Hannibal. Will looks down at all the papers and finds the same thing hand drawn on each of them; a series of numbers in a clock like pattern. When Will looks up to the ceiling and sees the architecture, he comes to the conclusion that Hannibal must be in Italy.
The episode then jumps forward in time by 8 months, with Will and Abigail entering a church in Italy. A priest makes eye contact with Abigail. Will and Abigail then get into a discussion about God and Will informs her that God can’t save anyone because it’s inelegant and that elegance is more important than suffering. Abigail asks if he is talking about God or about Hannibal to which Will responds that Hannibal is not God. Will muses that Hannibal would love it if the church came crumbling down on them and no sooner does he say the words, when cracks appear in the dome above them as dust trickles down onto his hand.
The scene suddenly changes and the body left on an easel at the end of "Antipasto" is left dripping blood onto the floor mural of a praying skeleton in the church. Will and Abigail are there again too, looking at the police screen put up to hide the body. The police tell Will they want to speak with him.
Chief Investigator Rinaldo Pazzi sits with Will and begins talking with him about profiling. Pazzi believes it is no coincidence that when Will arrives in Palermo, Italy, a body is discovered at the church, especially after people (presumably the priest) had reported seeing him there on multiple occasions. Pazzi has read up about Will and his time in prison. Pazzi tells Will that he is just like him, that he does what Will does. Pazzi goes on to explain that he believes the person who killed the man found in the church is the same person that killed and posed his victims, as if they were in famous paintings, 20 years ago. He then shows Will a picture of the man, “The Monster of Florence.” It’s Hannibal, 20 years younger. Pazzi recounts studying the painting, The Primavera, in the museum and that he would see a young man transfixed by the painting, sketching it over and over on a sketchpad in pencil. Pazzi explains that it was the best moment of his life, a moment that made him famous, but a moment that also ruined him. He explains that in haste and in the heat of ambition, they nearly destroyed Hannibal’s home looking for evidence. Will responds that Hannibal doesn’t leave evidence, that he eats it. Pazzi goes on to say that another man, not innocent, but innocent of the crimes they suspected of Hannibal, was convicted instead. Will explains that blame has a habit of not sticking to Hannibal to which Pazzi replies that it has a habit of sticking to Will. Pazzi hands Will a package. Will opens the package and finds crime scene photos from the church. He begins to get into the mind of the killer, into the mind of Hannibal.
Will talks to the remains, explaining in the first person how he accomplished the murder (presumably through the mind of Hannibal). He then hallucinates the remains throbbing and then unraveling themselves to reveal a deer-like body with antlers. Will stumbles backward and when he comes out of it, Abigail is standing where the deer stood. He tells Abigail that he feels closer to Hannibal there, in the church in Palermo. Will tells her that Hannibal left them his broken heart...the shape of the body. Abigail sits with Will and they begin ruminating on what would have happened if no one died, if they all had left with Hannibal when they were supposed to. He asks Abigail where they would have gone and she responds they would be, “In some other world.” Abigail reminds Will that Hannibal said he made a place for them. Will grows suddenly very sad and then tells Abigail that the place was not made for her, that in this world, it was the only place Will could make for her. A single tear streaks its way down Abigail’s cheek as her neck begins to cut open on its own, blood pouring, as Will looks on in haunted acceptance. The camera changes perspective and we realize Will is sitting in the church alone. Abigail never survived Hannibal’s attack. The camera pans up and out and we see Hannibal watching Will from the second floor of the church.
In the next scene, Will flashes back to his memory of when he was found after he was stabbed. Paramedics are carrying him out and he sees Abigail being zipped into a body bag. As he arrives in the ER, we see the life saving measures doctors are performing on him transposed with the autopsy and preparation of Abigail’s body in the morgue. Will flashes back to the present where Inspector Pazzi walks up to him and asks if he is praying. Will explains that while Hannibal believes in God, he does not pray. Pazzi responds that he wasn’t asking Hannibal. Will believes his prayers would be restricted by what he is surrounded with inside the church. He asks Pazzi what he is praying for, wants to know if Pazzi is praying to catch Hannibal, that Pazzi should be praying that Hannibal doesn’t catch him. “If you couldn’t catch him when he was just a kid, what makes you think you could catch him now?” Will asks. “You.” Pazzi responds. Will warns Pazzi to let Hannibal go, that Hannibal will kill him. Pazzi tells Will that Will knows Hannibal, that Hannibal sent Will his heart and asks Will where Hannibal would have gone. Will responds that Hannibal hasn’t gone anywhere, that he’s still "right here."
Will suddenly takes great notice of a small doorway leading to underneath the church and goes through it, finding himself in the crypt beneath the building. He begins calling out to Hannibal, believing he will find him inside. Inspector Pazzi follows Will into the crypt and calls out to him. Pazzi searches and then Will is suddenly behind him telling him that he shouldn’t be down there alone. Pazzi scoffs, he is not alone, but Will tells him that he doesn’t know what side Will is on. Pazzi asks what they are going to do when they find Hannibal. Will convinces Pazzi to go back to the chapel. “Why don’t you carry your dead back to the chapel, before you count yourself among them.”
Will continues to call out to Hannibal as he makes his way through the catacombs beneath the church and Hannibal sees him, following along with him; parallel. They both stop, Will not seeing Hannibal, but feeling his presence. He whispers into the air, “I forgive you.” Hannibal hears him, but turns and leaves.
I am drawn to the stark contrast in the lighting and mood between the season 3 opener, "Antipasto" and this week’s "Primavera." "Antipasto" was emotional, yet visually bright and beautiful, even in its brutality. It felt almost like an alluring painting come to life. This week in contrast feels heavy, dark, and beautiful in its depravity. It cuts deep and it cuts hard. Hannibal has long been known for its visual storytelling and remarkable symbolism, but this week I found myself continually pausing the episode to appreciate the finer details of each frame and the deeper meaning beneath the dialogue. So much amazing dialogue this week and it's being quoted all over Tumblr.
When I first watched Abigail walk into Will's hospital room I couldn’t actually believe she was alive. I accepted it because the story told me that I should, but still I felt something nagging at the back of my mind telling me that things were not quite as they seemed. The way Abigail looked at Will, even the way that she moved...something kept nudging my subconscious throughout the episode, imploring my conscious mind to take a deeper look. When the reveal came that Abigail was actually dead and had been for the entire episode, I realized that while I had seen it coming, I hadn't felt it coming. It was a powerful moment in the episode made even more powerful by the juxtaposition of Will’s emergency surgery in the hospital with the preparation of Abigail’s body in the morgue. Watching those scenes play back and forth made Abigail's loss that much more human and far more devastating. That moment when Will says to her that the place Hannibal made was not for her, that this world was the only place Will could make for her, I knew, and I watched it all unfold with grief squeezing my chest.
The interaction between Will and Inspector Pazzi is also an intricate and suspenseful part of the episode. Will has truly met his counterpart in Pazzi, a man also obsessed with Hannibal, or at least one who has come out on the other side of that obsession. Pazzi's intentions are simply to stop Hannibal, and Pazzi can see that Will has gone too far down the rabbit hole. I like that Pazzi has the experience to know exactly how far that is. He grabbed the right end of the sword after all. Pazzi believes he can use Will to get to Hannibal and he is going to press the issue.
Will’s need to find Hannibal and Hannibal’s need to be near Will are ever apparent by the end of the episode as both men find themselves in the catacombs beneath the church. The way they can both sense each others presence without even seeing one another is a profound statement in how much they truly rely on each other. After all, Hannibal left him a “Valentine written on a broken man.” In a horrifying way, Hannibal and Will are each others human credential.
While Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier does not make an appearance in "Primavera" her presence is still very much on my mind when I think of the 8 month time jump in this episode. This would mean that Bedelia has been living with Hannibal for eight months. Given her demeanor in the previous episode, the thought that she has been enduring Hannibal’s mental torture all this time seems incredibly tragic. Perhaps that’s why towards the end of "Antipasto" she found herself sitting at a bus station looking directly into an overhead security camera. Perhaps it is also why Hannibal looked directly at her while lecturing to a room about Judas, and why ultimately, Bedelia tried to leave Hannibal but failed to succeed.
By the end of "Primavera" I feel like Will might be personifying Hannibal just enough to begin toughening a bit to Hannibal’s influence. Bedelia on the other hand has been made dependent upon Hannibal, and her need for him may be her downfall.