Primavera: Analyzing Hannibal’s second serving of Season 3

Will Graham goes to Italy in pursuit of a man with a “broken heart.” Last night, Primavera aired on NBC. I’m going to take some time to discuss it with you. So sit back, grab a nice Chianti, and let’s jump into this.

WARNING: It goes without saying that my reviews tend to be absolutely riddled with spoilers. If you haven’t seen Hannibal yet, head over to, check it out, and come back. Also, feel free to read my analysis of the season premiere, while you’re at it.

Last night’s episode of Hannibal was entitled Primavera, which always makes me think of delicious pasta (gods help me, I’m chubby). In reality, the title is in reference to the well-known Sandro Boticelli painting of the same name. Will meets an investigator that many people may be familiar with. Rinaldo Pazzi was a main character in the book Hannibal, and much of the story followed him trying to hunt down Hannibal until his unfortunate hanging by his own intestines. In this retelling, he informs Will Graham that he has been hunting Hannibal for 20 years, only knowing him as “The Monster of Florence,” who killed his victims and posed them like famous Boticelli paintings.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself, so let me jump back…

Will Graham is back in full force! Well, not exactly. It’s clear that the events of last season’s finale have taken their toll on Will, his guilt manifesting in the form of a ghostly Abigail. It was pretty apparent from the start that she was going to be “dead the whole time.” They did a fairly good job of not making it too obvious, though, rationalizing the fact that Hannibal had been a practiced surgeon and knew exactly how to keep her alive whilst slicing her throat open.

This makes me begin to question the upcoming appearance of some of the other main cast members. Maybe they too are also figments of Will’s imagination. You think that Jack Crawford would be hot on Will’s heels and following Will to Italy to get vengeance on Dr. Lecter if he survived his attack as well. According to the future episode preview, we will see Laurence Fishburne popping up at some point, but it could possibly be as something inside Will Graham’s head.

This would be an interesting turn of events, as Jack Crawford is very much not murdered by Hannibal Lecter in the books. He actually dies of a heart attack, of all things. So having him die this early would make Will’s importance much more inherent. Especially if Bryan Fuller attains rights to The Silence of the Lambs later on down the road. Will Graham could take Crawford’s place in the hunt for Buffalo Bill, and would bring an interesting dynamic with the young F.B.I. agent from West Virginia.

We don’t see anybody from last season this episode, save for Will, Abigail, and Hannibal himself. Will seems to be justifiably messed up, but with a certain clarity he didn’t have before. He sees a representation of Abigail, but he also knows why he is in Italy. I’m not sure how Will knew to find Hannibal in that particular city in Italy, but I’m sure the writers will make us privy to that information as the season continues. The show abruptly jumps 8 months into the future, and I’m really interested to find out what happens in that time frame.

Anyway, back to Investigator Pazzi…

Pazzi finds Will on the scene of a grisly crime scene, where a human body has been contorted and severed to represent a human heart. Will sees this as a message of acknowledgement to his betrayal of the good doctor. It’s as if to say, “Hey, bro. You broke my heart. Not cool.” Pazzi then goes on to explain his history with Hannibal, in spite of being suspicious of Graham’s appearance in Italy right around the time of a murder.

The Monster of Florence would recreate Boticelli paintings out of his murder scenes. Pazzi began to become suspicious of the young Lecter when he witnessed him going to a gallery every morning recreating Primavera by pencil. He would go in every day, starting over, drawing the painting again by hand. This prompted Pazzi and the authorities to jump the gun and find no admissible evidence to prove Hannibal’s guilt. Pazzi had been running on his gut feeling for years, and felt a small measure of shame for not being able to catch the monster.

Pazzi defines himself with Graham, believing his presence in Italy is to hunt down Hannibal and bring him to justice. Will warns Rinaldo that he will die if he continues his pursuit and should just give up the chase. The episode ends not with a huge climax, but with the three men all hunting each other in the undercroft of the chapel. It’s there that we hear Will utter the words “I forgive you.” This to me was the biggest part of the episode.

Is Will once again trying to lull a false sense of security in Hannibal Lecter? Lying didn’t serve Will very well the first time around, as his intestines can probably attest. Or, is Will being serious? Is he there to actually bring Hannibal to justice, or does he have other motives for being in Italy? Only time will tell!

Final thoughts…
Season 3 of Hannibal has been a slow burn, thus far. Instead of relying on the action heavy coat tails of the season 2 finale, this season seems to be favoring a more refined and careful approach to storytelling. It’s tough having to wait a week at a time for this story, as I think this show is at it’s best when you can watch it in bulk. Bingeing just helps you to keep focus on the small details between major plot developments. It’s good to see Will back in action again. I’m anxiously awaiting next week’s episode to see where it takes us.

What are your thoughts about Season 3 so far? Do you think it’s dragging at a snail’s pace? Are you a cannibal, and offended with how your kind is being portrayed on-screen? Speak out in the comments below!

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