NBC may have pulled it’s patented “move a show to Saturday night to kill it” with our beloved Hannibal, but the Fannibals came out it droves to live tweet and show our undying support for everyone’s favorite cannibal. It’s not often that the show runner, the production company, the writers, the stylists and the actors all participate in a live tweet with the fans, but Hannibal did this on a very regular basis and not just in it’s dying days. The entire team behind Hannibal knew exactly what we fans were clamoring for and they delivered it on their own terms without ever making us feel ignored, but also without giving in so deeply to our desires that it derailed the show. This last season, especially, really felt like a world wide love affair led by a man who knew how to satisfy all of us. Bryan Fuller took an extremely recognizable character and franchise to a completely different and exciting place and, most of us, simply couldn’t get enough. Knowing that the season three finale could very well be the series finale, Fuller and team delivered an ending that was satisfying regardless of how it ended up being utilized.
The lead up to Dolarhyde and Lecter finally meeting was a bit slow for me, but perhaps that’s because I’ve already read the book and seen the movie a thousand and one times. Let’s move along, people! I need to see my Will and Hannibal back together again. Reba falls for Dolarhyde’s tricks, survives the fire, yada, yada, yada. Dr. Chilton is still alive so he can chide Dr. Bloom for aiding the perverse love affair that is Will and Hannibal. Alana and her family escape and we’re all just praying to Xenu that their child doesn’t grow up to be anything like his father. Jack Crawford knows what Will is up to with planning Hannibal’s “escape”, but he’s kind of a duplicitous S.O.B. so, he goes along with it. Bedilia is incensed but only because it means that she is now officially back on Dr. Lecter’s menu and she doesn’t care to have her words thrown back in her face. O.K., now that we know where all of our main players are left, let’s get on with the most twisted love affair that wasn’t written by Anne Rice.
In case you missed it the first 7 times I said it, Will and Hannibal are the cannibal version of Louis and Lestat. I don’t know about you, but the teenage girl that lives inside of me is still a huge sucker for tragic romances and it doesn’t get much more tragic than two cannibalistic serial killers who have a taste for the finer things in life and speak only in tortured, hushed whispers. Everyone likes to see two unbearably attractive people hook up and Fuller really teased this out for the Fannibals who were shipping Hannigram. (If you do not understand that last sentence, that probably means you have more of a life than I do. Mazel Tov.) In an attempt to satisfy all viewers of the show, I shall now commence a dual recap of the last ten minutes of The Wrath of the Lamb.
1. Regular recap:
After an overly orchestrated plan to bait The Great Red Dragon and kill Hannibal all in one go, Will and Dr. Lecter are riding in a police escort when Francis Dolarhyde pulls up beside them like the Terminator and shoots the drivers. In all of the ensuing ballyhoo, Hannibal manages to get out of his straight jacket, manacles and cell. While breathing in the fresh air, he removes that cumbersome facial bridle and walks his perfect posture over to a police car where he removes the, now dead, driver and tells Will that he needs to relax. Despite his better judgement, Will gets into the car with Hannibal and they travel to a remote house where the bluff is receding. A lot of talk about bluffs happens and it’s either thinly veiled symbolism or it’s a waste of my time. Either way, I could care less.
Now that our two gentlemen are gussied up in their finest cocktail hour attire, they begin to have a heart to heart only to be interrupted by the guy they’ve been waiting for all night. Sheesh!Francis Dolarhyde makes a grand entrance through the window he just shot out and gets ready to film the death of Hannibal. Meanwhile, Will is just standing there with his glass of wine like a comatose dad at a baby shower. We all know that Will isn’t just going to idly stand by and watch Francis kill Hannibal and that means that a strange dance/battle sequence is going to play out with some seriously stunning visuals. To see our two anti heroes duke it out with The Great Red Dragon was gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous and just when you thought this show couldn’t be more grandiose in it’s perception of itself, Will and Hannibal enjoy a lover’s embrace right before Will throws both of them off of the cliff. How very Shakespearean. Now, we all know from watching Game of Thrones that people falling off of very high places does not mean instant death, hence, the epilogue of Bedilia sitting at a dinner table while high on whatever it was that got her through her incarceration with Hannibal in Europe. This scene leaves so many possible interpretations and that leaves us feeling, mostly, satisfied.
2. Fannibal recap:
Even though Will played hard to get with Hannibal during their meeting at the beginning of the episode, we all knew that this wasn’t the end. No, Francis Dolarhyde does a sneak attack on Will so he can, mostly, complain about Hannibal betraying him. Girl, you don’t need to explain this to Will because he knows all about it and he can’t wait to help hatch a plan so you can get your revenge on Dr. Lecter. Trying to play all coy and innocent, Will explains to Jack that they should use Hannibal as the bait to get The Great Red Dragon once and for all. Jack knows that Will is lying through his teeth, but he’s a big fan of using human beings as bait for super dangerous serial killers, so he goes along with the dog and pony show. After saying, “please”, to Hannibal, Will is ready to jump into that police caravan and the only people who look surprised when Dolarhyde shows up are the actual policemen.
After pulling off a Houdini like escape from the back of that paddy wagon, Hannibal commandeers a police car while giving Will a lecture on the benefits of relaxing and just taking life as it comes. Now, Will pulls a face that says, “It’s probably not a good idea to get into that car.”, but we all know that inside he’s jumping for joy and saying, “YAY! My boyfriend and I are finally going to ride off into the sunset!”
Our favorite couple arrives at a secluded house overlooking a picturesque bluff and just when they’re settling down with some wine so they can talk about their feelings, that silly Francis shoots Hannibal. This is alright, though, because the sight of him emerging from the darkness and into the house is simply gorgeous. See, Francis thinks he’s all kinds of strong because he’s a dragon and whatnot, so he really thinks that he’s going to kill Hannibal, film it and watch it over and over again. Dude really believes that Will is just going to stand there in his sad cardigan, holding a glass of wine and never move a muscle. WRONG. Bitch, don’t get in between two jilted lovers because they are about to take you outside and show you what is what.
Despite Dolarhyde only being in the second half of the season, it felt as though we had been waiting an eternity for these three psychos to face off with one another and it did not disappoint. Despite having his beautiful dragon wings on display, Francis was no match for the unspoken language and physical connection that Will and Hannibal have. This fight scene played out like a dance sequence from a martial arts movie and, honey, it was EVERYTHING. The blood flowed freely and beautifully and The Great Red Dragon ended his life in a pose worthy of it’s own painting. Covered in blood, Will remarks that blood does, indeed, look black in the moonlight and Hannibal is very pleased. As Will finally embraces his true self and then embraces Hannibal, Siouxsie Sioux begins to play and the look of extreme joy on Hannibal’s face is almost too much to handle. And then Will takes both of them off of the cliff. A tragic love story demands a tragic ending and this was perfection. P.E.R.F.E.C.T.I.O.N.
Wait. Not so fast. Bedilia is sitting at very nice table that happens to have three place settings. Three. Oh, and is that her leg sitting in the center of the table? You know what? She deserves to be in this exact situation. She played both sides for far too long and Hannibal always keeps his promises. This epilogue felt like a really special present from Fuller to the Fannibals. It’s a nice way of telling us that Hannigram lives on and they are definitely dining on the finest meats and enjoying their new found life together. Cin Cin!
Hannibal is one of the most well written, boundary breaking and visually stunning shows our television screens have ever seen and that’s why it was never going to last. In all fairness, the mere fact that it lasted three seasons is a testament to the quality of the show and the vocalness of it’s fans. A staunch supporter of shows going out on top, I am certainly saddened to not be able to look forward to new episodes, but I am very, very pleased that the show ended on it’s own terms and with a huge hug from all of us, the Fannibals.
2020 Rewatch Notes:
Poor, poor Chilton. Seriously, what did this guy do in a past life to deserve all of this?
I do wish that we could have spent more time with Frances Dolarhyde. Perhaps less time in Florence and more time with The Great Red Dragon would have been a good thing.
Will taking a sip of his wine while Frances is preparing to kill Hannibal sent me. It’s so fucking hilarious.
The final dance between the Red Dragon and Hannigram is still stunning and exhilarating.
The last few moments of the show feel a tad bit self indulgent, but are still really satisfying.
With so much talk of a show reboot, it will be really interesting to see how these two survived such a fall.
I am torn about a show reboot. What if they simply cannot match what they have already done? How many more outrageous storylines about a serial killer are we supposed to accept? We don’t actually want to see Hannigram happen do we? No show survives the two star crossed leads finally being together.