NOTE: The following review contains spoilers.
Hannibal has never been a show with a large, sprawling cast. But the decision to make the first two episodes character studies that are confined to Bedelia and Will, with Hannibal orbiting around them influencing their every move, still feels like an incredibly bold decision. We’re two episodes in after a massive cliffhanger, and we still don’t know the fates of Jack and Alana (Although I’m told promo material may have spoiled their fates, it’s still ballsy that the show itself has kept Baltimore more or less a mystery).
But we know Will’s fate, and after some sleight of hand we know Abigail’s final fate as well. The Bruce Willis-ing of Abigail could have easily felt like a dirty trick, but it avoids feeling as such for a few reasons. One, the montage of Will and Abigail being treated by medical teams after they’re found in Hannibal’s house is simply stunning. Second, there’s actual purpose behind Ghost Abigail, in that she represents the side of Will that is still, for a reason he probably cannot ever explain, infatuated with Hannibal. Will Graham has turned into the most unlikely of battered housewives ever to be shown on TV.
Which brings us to the final scene of Hannibal and Will in the catacombs. Back at the beginning of the episode, where we rewatched scenes from season two’s finale, there’s a moment where Hannibal asks if Will will forgive him. In the catacombs, Will does. Both Will and the audience (and probably Hannibal), know that Will is saying that both sincerely, and as further bait to try to catch Hannibal. But neither the audience, nor Will himself probably, know to what degree it’s sincere and to what degree it’s a means to an end. I have no idea where the show goes from here, or how their beautifully messed up relationship will continue to evolve and change as we go from the Europe arc to the Red Dragon arc, but I can’t wait to see it unfold.
Primavera was the second episode in a row to be directed by Vincenzo Natali, who has done a masterful job with both of his episodes this season (and he’s back for next week as well). Even more so than Antipasto, this episode doubled down and the pure surrealness of the experience. This makes sense considering the episode was from Will’s point of view, and he’s quickly approaching unreliable narrator territory, and it’s making for fascinating TV from a visual perspective. Each week we don’t know what exactly we’re going to see when we turn into Bryan Fuller’s dark fairy tale. We might see a man turned into a heart one week and see that heart unfold into a stag the next. That might be why most of the general public isn’t tuning in (or they’re all watching Lebron vs Curry), but it’s the reason why those of us who are tuning in can’t wait for Thursday nights.