Published on June 19th, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart


Hannibal Season 3 Episode 2 “Primavera” Review

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After last weeks focus on Hannibal and Bedelia in Florence, episode two of the third season of Hannibal shifts the spotlight back to Will Graham. We find our hero resting in a hospital bed after a replay of the final scenes of season two. A doctor informs Will that someone wishes to see him- a blurred bandaged female form resolves itself into Abigail Hobbs. Although her throat is bandaged once again she tells Will that Hannibal cut her throat with surgical precision to allow her to survive. He meant for both of them to live through their ordeal at his hands; now they are meant to find and join him. Eight months later the fully recovered Will Graham is in Palermo on the Italian island of Sicily, he has remembered that Hannibal uses the Cappella Palentina as the foyer of his ‘mind palace’ memory system. As he walks around the chapel looking for signs Hannibal may have left for him, he and Abigail discuss the nature of God. Will explains that, like Hannibal, God will not save anyone because to do so is inelegant, and elegance matters more than suffering. This mirrors Hannibal’s dispute with Bedelia in the previous episode on the benefits of aesthetic over ethical concerns. Although Will does insist that Hannibal is not God as he would have no fun in that role.


The origami heart is now revealed to be on display before the altar at the Cappella Palentina. Will’s previous presence there has been noted and he comes to the attention of the local police force, particularly Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Fortunato Cerlino – Gomorrah), who will be familiar to fans of the original Hannibal novel. He is familiar with Will’s history, involvement with the FBI and his incarceration over the Ripper murders. Pazzi does not suspect Graham, but is curious as to whether Will is in Polermo because of the heart, or if the heart is here because of Will. The Italian detective describes his own hunt for a murderer known as Il Monstro, 20 years earlier, who displayed his victims in the style of Botticelli’s Primavera painting. He believed that the killer was a young Lithuanian man who spent hours sitting in the Uffizi gallery, reproducing the painting in his sketchbook. Of course this young man was Hannibal Lecter. Pazzi destroyed his career when he tore apart Hannibal’s home looking for evidence and another man was convicted of the crime in his place. He believes that the origami heart is another chance to capture Il Monstro. PazziWill

The flashback was the single most distracting sequence in this episode, with most of the scene in black and white whilst the Botticelli is in full but CENSORED colour. Seriously, in an episode that started with a ten minute graphic murder scene someone felt the need to blur out the bums and pubic regions of the dancers, and most bizarrely the chest region of the central figure. Here’s a link to the largest version of the painting that I could find; you can clearly see that those breasts are covered. And yet they haven’t blurred the totally nude cherub. Last week we had a totally nude Bedelia Du Maurier sinking into a symbolic blackness, so clearly that was fine but 533 year old cloth-covered Renaissance breasts are just too much to take? As an art historian I’ve really enjoyed the artistic allusions in Hannibal but this just astounded me. Frankly you have to get really close to the painting to even notice that those features are skin not cloth and its unlikely any one owns a TV that big, so who made the decision to censor this on a programme about a cannibalistic serial killer? Honestly I’m so angry I could flip a table.

Will is left alone with the crime scene photos and hallucinates first the process by which the heart was constructed, then the heart transforms into deformed likeness of the raven stag that has always symbolised Graham’s relationship with Hannibal. Through out the last season the stag had mutated into a more human form as Graham understood Hannibal better, when he began to seemingly follow the murderers lead it regained its original form, until it died with Will’s betrayal and Hannibal’s vengeance. This particular origami display can be understood as Hannibal’s broken heart, a valentine written on a dead man. Will and Abigail discuss what might have happened if they had simply gone along with Hannibal in the first place and whether this is a sign that Lecter misses them or is simply playing with them. Will points out that Hannibal is doing nothing for Abigail because she is already dead. No one else in the episode has interacted with her because she is only an element of Will’s imagination. The viewer sees that, whilst the surgeons fought to save Will, Abigail was simultaneously being autopsied. Lecter’s mind palace is filled with things, Graham’s filled with people he could not save. This is a plot device that I was rather expecting- personally I’d hoped that this would be the case with Bedelia Du Maurier in season one, since she interacted only with Hannibal for all of her early appearances. Now that he has faced the truth about Abigail, Will Graham is alone again. However this is merely an illusion, Hannibal is still in the chapel. Graham advises Pazzi to give up his search lest Lecter kills him, then descends into the catacombs to look for the cannibal. The darkness hides him from view but Will confesses to the shadows that he forgives Hannibal for his betrayal, just as Hannibal once forgave him. Since Hannibal murdered Abigail immediately after his own pronouncement, we can assume that Will means this as a threat as well, the hunt is on.


So a sad but inevitable end for dear Abigail Hobbs and we STILL don’t know the fate of either Alana Bloom or Jack Crawford. Although Alana could have been the bandaged blurry figure that Will met on first regaining consciousness- the two characters do have similar builds and hair, and whilst Jack was stabbed in the neck it’d be pretty hard to confuse Laurence Fishburne with Kacey Rohl. After last week’s tense episode filled with questionable food porn and faux domestic bliss, it’s almost a relief to get back to something like the police procedural we’re used to, albeit elegantly shot in a variety of luscious Italian locations. It might often be brutal but it can never be said that the Hannibal production team miss any opportunity to make every scene visually enthralling. Whilst we felt as powerless as Bedelia as Hannibal’s plans unravelled around him, the return of Will Graham gives us someone who can take charge and actively pull the threads of Lecter’s machinations apart. However Will’s stability, always so tenuous, has not really returned to him during his recovery. Between the hallucinations of his long dead pseudo daughter, the visions of buildings crumbling around him and the newly monstrous raven stag; it is clear that Graham’s mind is far from well. It isn’t even clear whether Will is there on official business or otherwise. Even he himself warns Pazzi against trusting him, since the detective has no way to tell what side Graham is on. W know he is hunting Hannibal, but is he looking to capture him or to join him?

Vyctoria Hart
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