TV Review: "Hannibal" 03x02 "Primavera"

Will Graham is alive. Yet not altogether whole.

After the catastrophic events last season, Will Graham finally returns and is understandably ticked off with that came to pass between himself and his quarry, pseudo-partner Hannibal Lecter. Show runner Bryan Fuller continues to show his delicious talent of sleight of hand with this episode, drawing on Wills' memories both real and imagined. With his body now healed, Graham commutes to Palermo, Italy as a means of tracking down the Good Doctor only to be faced with a disturbing discovery as well as the interest of Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Fortuno Cerlino), a haunted police officer who has had the displeasure of being acquainted with Hannibals' early 'masterpieces' that he committed under the assumed moniker of 'Ill Monstro' (subtle).

Pazzi has been eagerly nipping at Hannibal's stylish hocks, but when he and Will Graham meet, Will implores Pazzi to stay away because he can tell that the only fate Pazzi will meet will be a grisly one, even though Will himself admits that if he ever met Hannibal again, he would not be so sure what he would do next. Would he kill him? Would justice be served? Would he love him? Lord, why do I find this stuff so sexy?

One of the things I adore most about this show is how it plays the role of Hannibal Lecter by dangling all types of possibilities before us but never fully relenting until it is good and ready. Although Will Graham survived, the show is not ready to reveal what has become of his colleagues back in the States, so Will is the only lamb to venture from the flock and into Hannibals' domain. The episode wastes no time in emphasizing how dire Hannibals' actions on Will have been as well as Will's own obsession to bring closure to his connection with Lecter... or is it closure he truly craves? Will is not the same as he was and I wouldn't be surprised if Graham has realised, that just like Bedelia, there is a demon inside of him who thrives on only what Hannibal provides.

In the midst of all this, Will calls upon his specific set of skills as if he were pulling on a fine silk glove. Using his splendid curse to see in the minds' eye of a killer and in a scene that quite frankly made my eyes bug out of my skull, he analyzes the lovely 'present' his lethal seductor has left especially for him; a disembodied human torso that has been distorted, ghoulish (yet, per usual for Hannibal), fascinating and disturbingly gorgeous proportions.

The scene where Will imagined the trunk contorting into a four-legged nightmare of the Stag Man and taking a merry stroll around a room was one of those “I can’t believe I am watching this messed-up hoopty happening on my television right now but damned if I could look away” moments that only this show can deliver. Seriously, this creation looks like something right out of John Carpenters' The Thing!

My morbidity just cracked a stiffy.
One of the most surprising developments that occurred in this episode was the reappearance of Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl, who is it my imagination looks more than a little like a young Jodie Foster?) Those of you who have watched the second season finale probably would have seen this coming, but for those who have not yet caught up, lets' just say Hannibal and Wills' surrogate 'daughter' has become something else since we last saw her and although plots like these tend to meander in most shows, I have faith in Fuller and co. that Miss Hobbs will continue to be a strong driving force in this next sanguine chapter.

"Primavera" was startling as it was compulsive and although still quite a few details are being left up in the air and not all players are on the board, there is no doubt they will come into juicy fruition as time goes on because Fuller knows he has us by our collective necks. I submit, sir... I submit.

Favourite moments: There are a few wonderful sequences in this episode, but my favourite happens to be a none-too-subtle shout out to Stanley Kubricks' The Shining involving winding, maddening catacombs where a game of cat mouse occur between Hannibal and Will. It plays out almost as a severely twisted love scene but we honestly have no idea what either man would do if he found the other... how romantic!

Special note: As some of you art history buffs out there already know, "Primavera" is a profoundly beautiful painting painted by Sandro Botticelli c. 1482 from the Italian Renaissance. Essentially the portrait displays love and harmony in the fertility of the rites of Spring being celebrated by a series of mythological deities. Spring is a transformative season where new life enters the world while the hands of winter retreat. Could Will and Hannibal be entering their own depiction of Primavera after all that has happened?

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Fallen Botticelli Angel/Elightened Eldritch/Lunatic Fringe
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