Last night NBC aired the final episode episode of Hannibal’s third season, and what was essentially the series finale of the beloved, twisted love story between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter.
I’ve spoken previously about my Hannibal obsession, and while I was crushed NBC had canceled the low rated series and other alternatives (Netflix, Amazon) never panned out after watching the “Red Dragon” arc that made up the back-half of Season 3 I’m convinced this was always Bryan Fuller’s design all along.
Every narrative should have an endgame. It should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sometimes that end can take years, and sometimes the longer it goes on the harder it gets to stick the landing. Breaking Bad is still the pinnacle for me of that tight structure, with a definitive end to the journey Walter White began in Episode One, Season One. Sons of Anarchy also had a beginning, a middle, and and end but unfortunately for that series the middle went on SO long that any narrative weight had been lost by senseless murders and nonsensical characterization. Something like The Walking Dead, a show that has no other narrative arc beyond surviving in the world post-Zombie Apocolypse loses itself up its own ass with paper thin characters.
For Hannibal the series, it’s always been about the unconventional relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. Taking liberties from the source material of Thomas Harris’ works and re-jiggering them to his own themes and stories enabled Fuller to create a heightened, operatic world of monsters and demons lurking inside its characters. The fight for Will Graham’s soul has been a vicious battle over the last three years, and while Will’s baser instincts have given in to Dr. Lecter on more than one occasion “The Wrath of the Lamb” (not quite a true Silence reference, but a subtle nod of what’s yet to come?) gives Graham true agency and power over those who’ve manipulated him from the beginning. As he says to Bedelia, perhaps this is his becoming…
…Just as Hannibal ends.
∅ Richard Armitage was an amazing Francis Dolarhyde, and probably the best adaptation yet of the character. While previous Hannibal Seasons made the actual murders committed by The Tooth Fairy seem tame in comparison, the visualization of The Dragon was outstanding and the brutal torture of poor Dr. Chilton might be the most grotesque scene ever depicted on network television.
∅ I’m SO glad Alana and Margo (my GIRL Katharine Isabelle!) made it out of this Season alive. I had come to terms with the fact that Alana was pegged for death, having been on death watch all year, and especially after Hannibal’s chilling speech to her during the finale. She may yet end up on the dinner menu, but not today!
∅ Unfortunately the same cannot be said for poor Dr. Du Maurier, based on the teaser at the end. Who’s she waiting on with that fork? And doesn’t her leg look delicious? Gillian Anderson absolutely killed it this year with her performance, and she’s actually got me interested for this X-Files reboot in January. You saucy minx, you.
∅ Laurence Fishburne is one cold motherfucker, and you can see the hardening of Jack Crawford following the passing of his wife. He no longer looks to Will as someone he can save after the betrayal of Season 2, and has resolved himself to use him as a pawn in catching The Tooth Fairy.
∅ Did anyone else get a flash of Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty going off Reichenbach Falls in the final moments of this episode? Just me? Okay.
∅ I’m not gay, but even I was waiting for Will and Hannibal to finally kiss.
∅ Bryan Fuller is always a great interview, and this Season Three debrief with Todd VanDerWerff was no different, giving incredible insight into this year and what could happen next. I stand by my opinion that Season Three was always the endgame for this iteration of the show, and we’ll pick things up in a couple years to see what Will Graham has become since finally giving Hannibal the hug he always craved.
I mean, he had to survive the fall. Will… You’re okay, right?