Hannibal: 3.02 Primavera

After last week's escapades in high Florentine society, Hannibal returned to series protagonist Will Graham as he began to pick up the pieces of his life after the bloodbath of the season two finale. Interestingly, the fates of Alana and Jack remained unresolved; like the season opener Mizumono, Primavera was an intimate character piece, this time between Will and Abigail.

The episode returned to the bloody violence at Hannibal's house, stabbing Will and then slitting Abigail's throat (Jack and Alana were noticeably absent), before literally filling the room with blood. This symbolic, surrealist imagery was something that ran strongly throughout the episode, making for another gorgeous piece of television. Though admittedly, whereas the show has found the balance with the plot, this week, the constant use of symbolic imagery threatened to overwhelm the audience. In truth, there was only about 15 minutes of story this week; let's hope the show regains that balance now that the key players are back in play.

Perhaps though it is that surrealist nature of the storytelling that allowed the episode to play a double bluff with the audience by convincing them Abigail had survived the bloodbath. Given his skill with a blade it was almost believable that Hannibal would find a way to cut her without killing her and so Will and Abigail found each other again, first in the hospital and then - eight months later - in their search for Hannibal in Italy.

In truth, Abigail was just another of Will's visions, showing just how damaged he was by the events of what happened. Their 'talk' of finding a life together with Hannibal reminded us of the early days between the three tortured souls. Abigail's life was a tragic affair and this episode was a bittersweet swan song for her character.

But whereas Abigail was a passing reminder of the days gone by, audiences were introduced to another character from the novel Hannibal; Insp. Rinaldo Pazzi. Season three is utilising elements of Hannibal's life in Italy post-Silence Of The Lambs and Pazzi is a key player in the whole affair. This grizzled detective crossed paths with Will at the Norman Chapel in Palermo, where the skinned limb-less corpse of Anthony Dimmond had been displayed by Hannibal last week. For Pazzi, it was a reminder of a killer he had hunted in his youth - a young Lithuanian Hannibal Lecter - and for Will Graham it was a calling card, drawing him back to the man he both loves and hates.

After the frankly disturbing imagery of the corpse unravelling into a stag, Pazzi and Graham descended into the catacombs in a thrilling sequence as they pursued Hannibal Lecter. The shadowy archways and robed skeletons in the catacombs made for a chilling setting, working more effectively perhaps than all the symbolic imagery the audience had been saturated with at this point. The fact that Hannibal lurked in the shadows made it even more tense and I for wondered if Will might join him and whether Pazzi might meet his maker sooner than expected.

Will referred to Hannibal as a man who believed himself to be god but was a monster in equal measure and it was that conflict in his relationship with the killer that made the whole end scene so uncertain to watch. Would he join him, arrest him or kill him? It could have gone either way and his cry of "I forgive you spoke volumes. Hannibal chose not to reveal himself yet, teasing a bigger reunion still to come.

Primavera was another slow but evocative affair, saturated with too much surrealism and not enough plot, but it was still fascinating to watch. It might have lost some viewers, but there is still far too much magic in the show to keep me away. With both key players now in unfamiliar territory, I am intrigued to see where Hannibal goes next...

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Category Episode Review

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