Will Graham may have been missing in action in the season three premiere episode of Hannibal, but this episode more than makes up for it by featuring Will and his international search for Dr. Lecter.
Hannibal Season 3 Premiere Recap: The Return of Mr. Lecter >>>

The episode starts out by reminding us just how the finale episode of season two went down — and by reminding us, I mean they show us exactly what happened. Just in case you forgot that Hannibal gutted Will, slashed Abigail’s neck, and left them to die, it’s replayed in the first few minutes in all its bloody glory.

Notably, during that scene, Hannibal tells Will that he has forgiven him, and asks for forgiveness himself. That bit becomes important later, so maybe it’s a good thing they replayed it after all. 


Will wakes up in the hospital, bandages wrapped around his torso and with a startling visitor at his bedside — Abigail. It seems that she survived the ordeal as well. She says that she was told the dire injuries Hannibal inflicted were surgical, and that it’s believed he wanted them to live. “He made a place for us,” she tells Will, “We were supposed to go together.”

They philosophize over Hannibal a bit, and Will can’t even escape the man in his dreams. He watches a conversation between himself and Dr. Lecter, and I think somehow figures out where the other man might have headed after attacking them, because soon enough we get an “8 Months Later” note onscreen and suddenly he and Abigail are at Norman Chapel in Palermo, Italy.

The Search is On 

Why Norman Chapel? Well, it certainly works out for Will. Remember that torso being displayed in a church in the previous episode? It was inferred that it belonged to Dimmond, Hannibal’s latest victim, so he’s clearly on the right track to finding Hannibal. But before that happens, he and Abigail have another deep talk, this time about God and Hannibal. Will’s rambling makes Abigail question whether he’s talking about God or the doctor, but then Will states that, “Hannibal isn’t God.” But he sure has a whole lot of power over Mr. Graham for just being another man.

The police come looking over the crime scene and when the chief investigator, Rinaldo Pazzi, spots Will, he brings him to the station for questioning. As it turns out, the investigator has read all about Will, and questions the fact that not long after Will arrived, so did a dead body. 

Pazzi claims to have a similar “gift of imagination” as Will, and reveals that he met Hannibal twenty years earlier. A younger Dr. Lecter was able to sketch the Boticelli piece “Primavera,” so it was especially suspicious that a crime scene he worked on was modeled after the painting as accurately as possible. But apparently, whatever Pazzi accused Hannibal of specifically, Dr. Lecter walked away without charges. The whole thing “made me famous,” Pazzi explained, “then ruined me.”

“Blame doesn’t stick to Hannibal,” Will explains, but Pazzi replies that it does, however, seem to stick to Will. There’s clearly an uneasy alliance here, as the two don’t seem to totally trust each other, but they have to work together to find Hannibal. Pazzi gives photos of the crime scene to Will, and Will goes to the chapel to do his “mind palace” thing. 

My Bloody Valentine

Will recognizes the bent and twisted torso as a heart, the “valentine of a broken man,” and as he’s imagining, the thing starts to come undone. It soon turns into a half-stag half-human torso monstrosity that literally has me screaming. I mean, actual yelling in my living room because that thing is going to give me nightmares, no joke. Apparently I can handle the meals on this show, but not whatever this thing is.

Anyway, Abigail comes in while Will is freaking out, and Will snaps out of it to state that he feels closer to Hannibal there. Creepy. Apparently, the torso is meant to be Hannibal’s broken heart, left behind for them, and Hannibal asks Abigail if she still wanted to go with Hannibal if he came for them. She replies yes, and Will starts questioning what would have happened if no one had died in Hannibal’s attack, and if they all went with him as they were supposed to.

The Truth About Abigail

Because someone definitely did die in the attack, you see. Hannibal isn’t the only one who created a place for Abigail — Will did as well, but only in his mind, the only place he could. Because Abigail did, in fact, die from her injuries, and Will has been imagining her this whole episode. Who saw that coming? Not me, that’s for sure! (Kidding, kidding, I guessed it the first couple of minutes, but didn’t want to spoil you all!).

Then we’re treated to a really interesting sequence that creates a juxtaposition between how Will and Abigail were handled after the attack — surgery table vs. autopsy table, one person whose life is being fought for and one whose death is being examined and whose body is being cleaned up for a totally different reason. 

Hannibal Interview: Bryan Fuller on What’s to Come in Season 3 >>>

Working Together?

Rinaldo finds Will lying in the chapel and asks if he is praying. Will then talks about Hannibal again and Rinaldo says that he wasn’t asking about Hannibal. (Will just can’t stop talking about him, can he?) Will tells Rinaldo that he should be praying that Hannibal doesn’t capture him, and then questions, “What makes you think you’ll catch him now?” Will then asks Rinaldo why he thinks Will even wants to catch Hannibal? Which is not at all strange and alarming. Will, you creep.

Suddenly, Will realizes that Hannibal is still there, and states that the doctor is going to kill Rinaldo. That prompts them both to go into the catacombs of the chapel, though they don’t descend into the dark crypts together.

“I Forgive You.”

Will goes first, calling out for Hannibal and searching shadowed corners for the other man. Rinaldo follows, and they quickly meet up. Will tells the man that he doesn’t know whose side Will is on, and they are both curious what Will will do when either or both of them finds Doctor Lecter. 

Will quietly warns Rinaldo to leave, and Rinaldo remarks that Will is “already dead, aren’t you?” I mean, he’s at least off his rocker a bit at this point, that’s for sure. Will then creeps backwards into the shadows, leaving Rinaldo to his own devices.

Hannibal is waiting, hiding in the tombs (because, of course he is), and he and Will both wander the crypt separately. Finally, Will whispers into the darkness, “I forgive you,” which is what Hannibal asked for when they last saw each other. Hannibal hears this and leaves, and we are left to await the great Hannibal/Will reunion another day.

Hannibal airs Thursday nights at 10pm on NBC. 

(Image courtesy of NBC)

Josie Cook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV