Ricky Church reviews the second episode of Hannibal season 3…
Last week, Hannibal focused on Dr. Lecter as he and his therapist adjusted to life on the run, leaving the question of who survived in his bloody escape left hanging. This week, only part of that answer was given as Will Graham got the attention as he hunted his old friend in Italy.
Initially it seemed weird to use the entire opening sequence to show viewers Will and Hannibal’s final interaction from last season as it could have been better spent going right to Will’s recuperation and hunt for Hannibal. However, it served a very important purpose as it reminded viewers of what exactly was said and happened that night (more accurately, forced viewers to relive the horror of season two’s finale to please Bryan Fuller’s masochist side) and just how far Will has come.
While it was obviously no surprise to see Will alive, it was great to see him again. What was immediately clear was his personal growth between seasons. He’s ‘evolved’, as Hannibal would put it, and seems much more weary and knowledgeable about Hannibal’s personality and motivations. Not everything was good for him, though, as he still suffered, physically and mentally, from the trauma of Hannibal’s attack.
The one drawback of ‘Primevera’ was how it was fairly obvious Abigail Hobbs was a figment of Will’s imagination from the beginning. At times, though, it did seem like Abigail really had survived the night, yet still remained quite apparent what she really was. In Will and Abigail’s first scene together they talked about ‘other worlds’ and what might and might not have happened differently in those places, as well as Abigail’s anger over Will’s betrayal of Hannibal. This only foreshadowed the reveal that Abigail was in fact a manifestation of Will’s guilt over her death. That said, Kacey Rohl did an excellent job as a more developed Abigail, mirroring Will’s own growth.
Will’s guilt over Abigail even manifested itself in a very shocking way at the crime scene. Hannibal has been known for some grotesque and unique imagery, but that scene with the baby deer made out of a carved up corpse was something else. People would more likely see an image like that in a Resident Evil or Doom video game than on network television. Hannibal continues to surprise with how much it can get away with on NBC.
It was rather surprising to see the episode end the way it did as Will nearly confronted Hannibal in a darkened crypt. One would think that confrontation wouldn’t happen until later this season, but they came perilously close to each other. Continuing on Will’s development, he even forgave Hannibal for Abigail’s murder as he spoke to the darkness, finally putting the ghostly figment of Abigail to rest. This statement came full circle as the opening showed Hannibal asking Will if he would forgive him. It also shows just how much of a hold Will still has on Hannibal since the doctor just can’t seem to resist setting up a crime scene for Will to find.
Will’s arc was front and center throughout the story, emphasizing how much he has changed. ‘Primevera’ was a solid episode that focused more on character than plot development, even as Will came extremely close to catching Hannibal. While Jack and Alanna’s fates are still up in the air, hopefully they will be revealed as the cat and mouse game between Will and Hannibal ramps up.