Hannibal: “Primavera” Review
Enter Will Graham.
Last week’s season 3 premiere of Hannibal was an oddity for the show for a variety of reasons, but none more so than the fact that it was the first episode of the series not to feature its main protagonist, Will Graham. As someone who is a big fan of the character and especially of actor Hugh Dancy’s performance, I was afraid the lack of Will last week would make for a weak season premiere. That wasn’t the case thankfully, but I was still very excited to see the return of the Will Graham character in this week’s “Primavera.” Following last week’s strangeness, would this put the show back on track to its usual shtick.
Ha ha ha, no — “Primavera” is still a much different episode of Hannibal than we grew accustomed to in the first couple of seasons. But as “Antipasto” proved last week, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and “Primavera” was another mostly strong argument for why this series can work even if it’s not following case-of-the-week procedural formula, or even has its main cast together for that matter.
Because if you thought last week’s Hannibal/Bedelia focused episode felt different because it lacked the supporting cast, it’s pretty much the same thing here in “Primavera.” It’s a very purposeful mirror though, as Will travels to Italy with a female companion of his very own, the miraculously alive Abagail. Except not so miraculously actually, because she’s revealed to be just a construct of Will’s grief strucken brain. It’s not a particularly shocking twist all things considered (this show is willing to keep characters alive through things they shouldn’t be quite often, but bringing back a character who had their throat literally slit is a bridge too far), but the emotion of the reveal still rang true simply through Dancy’s fantastic performance. You can tell he knows that Abagail isn’t actually there in his mind, but needs someone to deal with all this shit with all the same. As cliched as it might sound, Hannibal and Will aren’t so different, aren’t they? Both desire someone they can empathize with, and someone who can understand them. But in both situations, they can never have what they want.
But that won’t stop Hannibal from trying, oh not at all. In fact, as it’s revealed in “Primavera,” Hannibal purposefully set up his latest kill as a way to once again present himself to Will, who he knew would travel searching for him eventually. Hannibal’s version of a Valentine heart is of course disturbing, but somehow this show was able to add another layer of terror to the entire proceedings during Will’s all too typical recreation dream. Or would be all too typical, if it wasn’t for the fact that THE FUCKING STAG GREW OUT OF THE HUMAN HEART, OH MY GOD. I could kind of tell this episode was directed by Vicenzo Natali before his credits even came up (he has a very distinct style), but my hats off to him and the entire effects team for making that moment work, and for terrifying the hell out of me. Only you, Hannibal. Only you.
Ultimately this episode felt like the show simply re-introducing Will into the main storyline, and showing us how the final moments of last season impacted him in a grand capacity. Personally I don’t think we actually had to SEE those moments again to make it work (the opening 10 minutes or so was just the conclusion of last season, which seemed rather pointless), but the impact was certainly felt all the same. And now that Will is officially back in the hunt for Hannibal Lector, I’m very excited to see where this story is going to go. “Primavera” very much feels like a different show once again, but who am I too complain when it’s one as great as this?
- I’m a big fan of Will’s new Inspector Pazzi friend — his previous history with Hannibal adds a lot of history to the show, and his accent is so damn alluring. Yes, as a fan of sexy accents, I’m on board. I watched two whole seasons of The Bridge just to hear Demian Bichir talk, for the love of god! It truly is my crutch.
- Still no word on Jack Crawford, or Alana Bloom. Guess they’ve just been in comas for the least eight months…or hopefully we will have their stories filled in as the season progresses. Yeah, probably the latter thing.
- This Week in “I Liked That Effect, Hannibal:” That ocean of blood in the opening was really cool.
- Showing Hannibal looking down at Will through a star shaped hole in the wall, followed by him moving away and an image of God replacing him, was nearly too much. It paired nicely to the whole Lucifer thing from last week though, so I’ll let it slide. You’re on thin ice when it comes to forced symbolism though, Hannibal!
- I loved that flashback scene of Will in the hospital and Abagial in the morgue. Wonderful editing.
- Was surprised the crypt scene from the trailer happened at the end of this episode. Two episodes in, and Will and Hannibal have already had contact (kinda.) I have no idea where this season is going, but I’m so pumped.