So long and thanks for all the flesh!
Hannibal: Season 3: Episode 13: The Wrath of the Lamb: GRADE: A+
How could I describe the series finale of Hannibal? The same way I could describe the series itself: beautifully grotesque. This is especially evident in the cliff-side final moments of the episode itself in the final confrontation between Will, Hannibal, and Francis.
Incredible cinematography, beautiful music, bloody violence, fantastic acting, and great writing, all the ingredients that it took to make this amazing show. Now this is still promoted as the season finale, but honestly be it intentional or not, this works as a fantastic series ender. Series finales should wrap up the story but also make it feel like the show it was before rather than a full end and Wrath of the Lamb does that in spades with its core of the connection between Hannibal and Will.
Hannibal and Will are truly kindred spirits that didn’t know needed one another until they connected and their lives were forever changed from that. Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy always had chemistry together but the deeper it got over the source of the show, the better they played off of each other. Season three in particular with the second half and the Red Dragon arc. They are the best friends they are ever going to have despite how bad they really are for each other, connection be damned. Will feels so ready to be done with Hannibal, just waiting for Francis to devour him, even saying, “I don’t know if I can save myself. Maybe that’s just fine.” That line might just be one of the best ways to sum up Will Graham.
Speaking of Francis, he opens the show with a bang by letting go off Reba before he could do worse to her by faking his suicide in one very elaborate way that gave us one last moment with Jimmy and Brian being overly enthusiastic about describing how it happened to Jack. Oh I am gonna miss those two. Its heartbreaking to see Francis fully let go of his last bit of humanity in yet another example of how amazing Richard Armitage is and Rutina Wesley as well with her conversation to Will as she recovers in the hospital. Just great stuff. Even if Francis admitted to Will that he’s in full control, you can see through the crack that he really isn’t.
Again be it intentionally or not there is closure here. Alana has one last meaningful talk with Chilton from his chamber and I swear I’m still baffled as to how the fucking hell he survived his whole ordeal last week. Its a most notable scene to see Chilton one last time as he is and try to keep some humor. Her talk with Hannibal is chilling in how she can stand her own ground, but he’s still a threat to her whole new life, as shown when she, Margot, and their son are seen leaving Muskrat Farm via helicopter. So long to the happy couple.
Jack doesn’t have a last huge moment per se, but he’s significant in putting the plan of luring Francis out by using Hannibal as bait and killing both of the monsters. Jack Crawford gets a low key send off with looking over the crime scene where Hannibal and Will were broke free, which I feel is the right send off for the character seeing that he’s doing what he loves. Laurence Fishburne played the role so well and had a gravitas about him that made him so captivating.
This all leads to that final half. Francis’ tracking down of the convoy and dismantling of is a great example of how well the show can do action. Its fantastic, especially in how playful Hannibal is with Will once he exits the FBI van. I have to imagine Mads Mikkelsen had a ball filming that. They go to the cliff-side house where he held Abigail and Miriam Lass, love that touch and name dropping so farewell to them! Hannibal and Will talk, its great, the tension building as they wait for Francis to come. Then Hannibal is shot and the last act begins.
Francis is in full Dragon mode as he just becomes a machine intent on killing. The fighting between all three men who want the other two to die gave it such weight and for a wrestling fan like me made this into the goriest triple threat match I’ve seen this year. Blood is spilled from every man and becomes one of the few things to use CGI blood well. The blend of the fighting and effects to show Francis’ dragon wings is fantastic. The fight feels like a dance in how well its done and the staging is just excellent. They work with and around each other to get their blows in and the team up that Hannibal and Will perform to put down Francis is jaw dropping in how brutal and utterly violent they get with it. I loved every single second of it and then came the end.
Hannibal helps Will up and in a moment that will set Tumblr on fire, they embrace each other, seemingly admitting the love they have for each other, their bond made stronger in the killing of their enemy. Then Will pulls Hannibal with him over the cliff, the camera pans over, and all we see is the water below under the moonlight, their fates left in the balance. This is obviously a deviation from the original source material, but its one that really works and also makes me wonder, if this the end?
It also helps that Siouxsie Sioux wrote a song exclusively for the ending moments that perfectly make it even better and give a truly haunting feel to the ending of the episode and the series itself.
Two last things though, Will’s family is mentioned, but even he seemed before the ending resigned to the fact he might never go back. We do get a post credits scene as we did last season with our last look at a new one legged Bedelia. She was told by Will earlier about the plan and that meat was back on the menu. This is the last image of the series and its confusing. She’s sitting at a table with her left leg served up in the middle of the table, a la Gideon, and is prepared to start eating it with two other place settings. This is Bedelia herself accepting her own as she gets ready to see how good she tastes. Sadly though its without her indented dinner guests, on a count of falling off a cliff together.
I love these last few moments for the furthering of Hannibal and Will’s bond, but also how it seems to really put a final stamp on the show. From the very beginning Hannibal has been perfectly consistent and rarely dipped below a B- at best. I really can’t say there is a worst episode, only a less good one. Hannibal has done what many show hope to do and that’s end on a glorious high note. It dropped the goddamn mic and is leaving it there.
This I think is as perfect an ending to Hannibal as we will get. I need nothing else, I am fully and wholly satisfied.
Bon voyage, Dr. Lecter.