Hannibal: “The Wrath of the Lamb” Season 3 and Series(?) Finale Review

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And so ends the bloodiest, most beautiful, artistic, and underrated drama in television history. As season four looks less and less likely, Hannibal accidentally ends in the best way it possibly could. No, not everything is in a neat little bow, but if this is truly the end of this violent love affair, what an end.

My reviews of the other Red Dragon episodes noted how much of the core of the series was missing. That was until last week, when Hannibal looked to be pulling all the strings in, well, everything. It was only when the story of Francis Dolarhyde proved to be a mere distraction from the Will/Hannibal relationship, which triumphantly took center stage in this finale, that this arc came together. The Red Dragon is just a fling, one that true love inevitably overcomes.

But through Dolarhyde, who’s sights are no longer set on Will alone, we get Hannibal out of prison. In a thrilling scene, the Dragon ensures that Hannibal walks free before his death. The way Hannibal takes off his straight jacket and sighs, mirrored my own relief that this could be a finale worthy of ending the show.

“Going my way?” he asks Will. He doesn’t need to answer. As much as he fights it, Will is in the same state he was when he first saw Hannibal again in Florence. They retire to where Hannibal held Abigail and Miriam Lass and share a glass of wine, just waiting for Dolarhyde to strike. The show smartly keeps Jack and Alana out of this very private reconciliation. Viewers have earned this moment. It has to be just Will and Hannibal.

Dolarhyde’s attack is confident. Richard Armitage’s performance really came together these last two episodes. He’s grown in power, and is officially a threat to Hannibal as well now. The bloody skirmish is gorgeous, with the dragon’s wings looming over the blood that pours out of all three of them. After Hannibal saved Will from the Verger house earlier this season, it was more appropriate to have them working together for this final battle. The kill shot, where Will slashes Dolarhyde’s abdomen while Hannibal tears out his throat with his teeth, might be the most darkly rewarding moment in TV history.

Wounded, the lovers embrace at the edge of the cliff. This is the only place they’ve ever wanted to be since they met. Will has given in to the impulses Hannibal brought out of him. But he’s not so far gone that he can kid himself that this can go on. Hannibal says, “Suicide is the enemy,” to Dolarhyde earlier in the episode. Will taking them off the cliff is Hannibal defeated by his enemy. There’s no sign of struggle, he just limply goes with Will to an unforeseen end. It’s a Shakespearean tragedy in its purest form, laced with irony and complexities that leave us viewers mournful for Will, and even Hannibal, yet also wholly satisfied that the suffering is finally over.

I can’t think of a better way for Hannibal to end. I’m not even mad Jack was left hanging. Alana got on a plane with her wife. Bedelia sat waiting for a family she can never be a part of. It’s all so fitting, like the show knew this was it. Regardless of the future, Hannibal can go down as a series that faced cancellation and rose above it to create some of the most beautiful television ever. Grade: A


Some Other Notes:

-Let’s dive a little deeper into Bedelia’s post-credits stinger. She sits at a table set for three with a meal already prepared. The camera moves to where her leg should be. Destined to be there alone, Bedilia never accepted Will’s entrance in Hannibal’s life, suggesting he was just another brief fascination he would eventually get over. But what she missed was that Will could be changed and grow into himself, where Bedilia never budged. She made a deal with the devil, but Will got in bed with him. Now she’s regretful and lonely, which is her own doing, not Hannibal’s.

-The song that plays over the end credits is “Love Crime,” written and performed exclusively for the show by Siousxie Sioux and Brian Reitzell.

-It’s been one hell of a season, and an even better series. If there’s one last thing I hope from readers and fans of the show, it’s continue to be loud about your love. More shows like Hannibal deserve to be made. Support this one and show the world why canceling such a beautiful series was a big mistake.


By Matt Dougherty



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