When a television series can spend nearly an entire episode in one character’s mind (palace) and viewers are just as glued to the screen as ever, that’s when you know you’re watching something really special. As promised by Bryan Fuller about five minutes before “Primavera’s” start, the hour featured more blood than the Overlook Hotel elevators, and there was enough nightmarish morphing to keep us from sleep. With elements of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon and Hannibal, the winding trip through catacombs and the vestibules of Will’s brain led us on a twisting journey right back to Hannibal’s awaiting — if not open — arms.
But, to catch a killer we must first relive a night filled with horror and the slow-motion path of linoleum knives. Fate and circumstance return us to this moment when the teacup shatters, and Will would have it come back together as much as Hannibal. Beginning his head trip alone in Lecter’s office (back to the burning, we go), Will summons (conjures) his temporarily patched pseudo-daughter to help him discern Hannibal’s intentions while sorting through the floating clues. Against our better senses we’re enticed right along with Will’s visions, almost believing Hannibal meant to keep Abigail alive; as Will realizes he’s found his quarry, she fades back…wades back into his peaceful stream. Though it was hard to watch, the intercut scenes of Abigail’s body being prepared for burial and Will being kept alive proved a stunningly emotional dichotomy.
“If everything that can happen happens, then you can never really do the wrong thing.” Reliving his portion of the “Mizumono” bloodbath is as much a chapter closing for Will as it is for us (partial) answers to the life or death fates of its characters. In order to find what he needed, Graham had to consider all the possible outcomes. A conversation, a skull on a chapel floor…a torso twisted into Hannibal’s broken heart becomes the single most terrifying creature since John Carpenter’s dog-Thing.
(My god, why hasn’t Fuller made his own horror feature yet?) Meeting up with the ill-fated Chief Investigator Rinaldo Pazzi (Fortunato Cerlino), Will discovers he’s not the first profiler taken down by “Il Mostro.” Despite an outward suspicion toward Graham, the policeman shows Will two key photos, a babyfaced Lecter (Mads during his Rejseholdet days) and his masterful human recreation of Botticelli’s “Primavera.” Returning to empathetic killerform, Will stands in front of Hannibal’s torso-heart, transported into Hannibal’s mind. “I splintered every bone. Fractured dynamically. Made you maleable. I skinned you. Bent you. Twisted you. And trimmed you. Head hands arms and legs. A topiary. This is my design…Valentine written on a broken man.”
Pazzi’s got a bone to pick, but as Will warns, it’ll likely end up in the inspector’s own throat if he doesn’t take Graham’s advice to walk away. Still, looking into the abyss proves too tempting for both men; “I knew it was the best moment of my life.” Will shares the feeling, but he also knows how dangerous the game (“He’s going to kill you you know. I’m usually right about these things.”), yet on he presses, instinctively knowing Hannibal is watching and listening. “What are you going to do when you find him?” “I’m curious about that myself.” Though he observes and recognizes Pazzi making the same mistake twice, can Will — will Will — be able to avoid doing the same? Playing cat and mouse in the winding maze (another The Shining shoutout) of the chapel catacombs, his questionably sincere “I forgive you” echoes out to Hannibal’s perked ear.
Will utters a line from The Beach Boys’ God Only Knows (“God only knows where I’d be without him”), a love song Brian Wilson described writing thusly: “a vision that Tony [Asher, co-writer] and I had. It’s like being blind but in being blind, you can see more. You close your eyes; you’re able to see a place or something that’s happening.”
“It’s the simplicity—the inference that ‘I am who I am because of you’—that makes it very personal and tender.” (Tony Asher)
The figures depicted from Botticelli’s Primavera are Zephyrus and Chloris; Zephyrus kidnapped — and later married and transformed — Chloris. Sound familiar?
Will and Abigail at the chapel: “Do you feel closer to god?” “God’s not who I came here to find.” “Do you believe in god?” “What I believe is closer to science fiction. God can’t save any of us because it’s inelegant. Elegance is more important than suffering. That’s his design.” “You talking about god or Hannibal?”
Abigail also gives rise to Will’s guilty conscience: “He gave you a chance to take it all back and you just kept lying. No one had to die.”
Will and Abigail right before she wades into the stream: “He left us his broken heart.” “How did he know we were here?” “He didn’t. But he knew we would come. He misses us. Hannibal follows several trains of thoughts at once, without distraction from any one of the trains. He’s playing with us.” “Still want to go with him?” “Yes. It’s like Lucy and the football. Just keeps pulling you away. What if no one died. What if we all left together like we were supposed to. After he served the lamb. Where would we have gone?” “In some other world?” “Yeah, some other world. He said he made a place for us. A place wasn’t made for you Abigail…in this world, the only place I could make for you. “
Pazzi to Will: “You’re already dead, aren’t you?” Will: “Buonanotte, Commander.” (Translation: “See you in hell.”) Will said his goodbye to Inspector Pazzi and so should you.