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Hannibal: The Wrath of the Lamb

It's cool. It's a funeral in my mind palace, too.
“When life becomes maddeningly polite think about me.”

(**Did you guys know there was a coda in 'The Wrath of the Lamb'? If you haven't seen it, fast-forward to the end of the episode for it then come back and read this after because the contents of said scene will be discussed herein!**)

Good lord, where do I even start with this blessed blood-soaked cinematic climax? I mean how does one show manage Gothic, monstrous and campy often in the same breath? I will miss this show very very much but this finale brought the house down.

Don't try to run. I can catch you.

Watching Dolarhyde set his house on fire with Reba in it bears out nuances in Armitage's acting that somehow had remained hidden even in his previous marvelously layered scenes. Because it's Dolarhyde who's acting for Reba so she'll believe the masterful hoax being perpetrated in her very presence. (Later, Jimmy and Brian capture the gist of this in their own special way, but I digress.) All I kept thinking though was, well, if he didn't have anything to lose before, he sure as hell doesn't now and we all know what that means. Well, now he thinks he can do anything. Anything. Anything!

Reba, I feel the same way.
If I can see you, you can see me.

So when Dolarhyde shows up at Will's motel room, it was anyone's guess what the bleep was going to come of their visit. And that was it then – the tension was turned up unbearably high, never to let up again until the episode's conclusion. After several rewatches, Will was orchestrating all of it with not always clear outcomes, I'd guess, but he was the most in control, next to il Mostro, of course. (Hannibal talking about laying one's life down for a friend while he stands between the bullet from Dolarhyde and Will might be my favorite moment of his to date.) As an aside, Dolarhyde's comment about Will's face being closed to him really struck me as specific. (As well as unsettling, weird, beautiful and sad, but I digress.) Is that why the mirrors?

The ex-boyfriends' club.
It's all degrees of disadvantage.

Will is fucked six ways to Sunday. It's really never been more clear, the unique situation he's in. Imagine a version of events, you wouldn't have regretted. He can't go home, he can't not go home, he can't continue on with Hannibal behind bars, he can't live with him not behind bars. And the funhouse doesn't have any value any longer. Looking back at Will, he's really come around the bend to both know himself and take his fate into his hands. Must be all that great therapy! (Or has he simply been having lots and lots of conversations?) Remember when he couldn't even reliably look Jack in the eye? He's now leap-frogging off one dangerous serial killer in order to take out another.

It was, though, pure entertainment watching Bedelia lose her shit (for her) once and for all. If he does end up eating you, Bedelia, you'd have it coming. Her measured speaking obliterated by fear. I also love that the shift in her state of grace has compelled her to switch to scotch. That diopter shot – SWOON. I mean during the whole scene I was salivating at the pretty pretty people saying pretty pretty words to one another but that shot almost made me come unglued.

This shot is so money.
Every moment since is borrowed.

In easily one of my favorite scenes, Hannibal does not hold back in detailing the particulars of the deal Alana made with him. He tells her he owns everything good in her life with the most unflinching directness I can ever remember him resorting to. Bryan Fuller stated that he thought Alana Bloom should have a happy ending which is why she's still alive after the finale. Uh, I don't know that this constitutes a happy ending, even on a show called Hannibal because paranoia–

But the fact that she is surrounded by love (not to mention a staggeringly gorgeous family) is something. And it's a lot more than anyone else got.

It's official. Their combined wardrobe is fabulous.
You're playing games with yourself in the dark of the moon.

I think the second scene Will has with Hannibal at the BSH, Hannibal was thinking something along the lines of, 'You know, it sounds like you've quasi-got this. And I, for one, can't wait to see how this all turns out!' Will's plan, however, was tenuous as hell. Each time he explained it, it sounded more outlandish but still I wasn't prepared for the Dragon ambush on the highway! With stunt driving and silencer! That sequence was incredibly tense! It was brilliant to show it from Will's POV. (All the applause, Michael Rymer.) Did you see the quick edit of Francis from the elevator at the Brooklyn Museum? It's like hazy Will was rifling though all of Dolarhyde's skills and their respective outfits in a matter of seconds before he'd come to. Raise your hand if you think that Will arranged all of it – soup to nuts. (Aw, it's the last review and I've been holding back so long!)

You have the right to remain silent.
See. This is all I ever wanted for you, Will. For both of us.

That last act, you guys. I'm still swooning. I might be for quite some time. There was so much non-verbal communication happening between Will and Hannibal – the layers were real, people. In the end, Hannibal was undeniably framed by romance. A murderous one, brimming with the shared desire to be unleashed, acknowledged and confirmed by another. Now, who among us doesn't want understanding and acceptance? The taking down of The Great Red Dragon was maybe all the two ever needed to achieve for whatever transcendence beyond the corporeal they were in search of. After the cliff dive, and in the following minutes, hours and days, I feel this finale has fulfilled every promise in the last three seasons. If Hannibal comes back in any form, I'll be the first one there supporting it in any capacity but if this is it, I'm okay with that, too. I can't help but think that's among the highest compliment given to a piece of moving art?

Isn't a cliffside house everyone's dream just a little bit?
Ready or not. Here he comes.

The coda! As warm and content as I am with the outcome of this fairytale, I wouldn't expect anything less from this show than a (pretentious as hell!) post-credits scene that's visually, psychologically and emotionally as wild, outrageous and disarming as every other that's come before it. I suppose this could and will change if there's more to the story, but until then, for me, Bedelia was beating Hannibal and Will to the punch because she's just that kind of girl.

I'll say it one last time -- HAIR IMPECCABLE.
One last thing – it's been one of my truest pleasures to review this show. I am ecstatic and deeply grateful that my first experience with reviewing was Hannibal. It's taught me so much and I have become a better writer and all around human for it. I'm going to do a wrap-up on the series with a few interviews with some of the creative team as well, so please check back in a couple of weeks. Thank you for reading and please, please let me know what you thought about this finale in the comments section!

Odds and Ends:

Whoever directed the Vergerbaby to jump over that step on the way to the helicopter – bless. It was perfectly Mason, in the best way possible.

Love Crime.

They mastered the shit out of their schtick with their final scene.

Hey, at least she brought flowers.

You know you're going to miss this.


Hannibal: “It won't be the same. You'll see it's not the same. The unspoken knowledge will live with you, like unwanted company in the house.”

Will: “You turned yourself in so I would always know where you were. You'd only do that if I rejected you. Goodbye.”
Hannibal: “Will. Was it good to see me?“
Will: “Good? No.”

Will: "I understand "that blood and breath "are only elements undergoing change to fuel your Radiance." Hannibal said those words. To me.”

Will: “Decisions are made of kneaded feelings. They're more often a lump than a sum.”

Will: “I guess this is my Becoming.”
Bedelia: “What you are 'becoming' is pathological.”

Bedelia: “You've just found religion. Nothing more dangerous than that.”

Will: “I'd pack my bags if I were you, Bedelia. Meat's back on the menu.”

Hannibal: “Do please tell Frederick, if you see him, I wish a speedy convalescence and hope he won't be very ugly.”

Hannibal: “You died in my kitchen, Alana, when you chose to be brave... Your wife your child they belong to me. We made a bargain for Will's life, and then I spun you gold.”

Hannibal: “You know, Will, you worry too much. You'd be much more comfortable if you relaxed with yourself. Going my way?”

Hannibal: “The bluff is eroding. There was more land when I was here with Abigail. More land still when I was here with Miriam Lass.”
Will: “Now you're here with me.”
Hannibal: “And the bluff is still eroding.”
Hannibal: “You and I are suspended over the roiling Atlantic. Soon all of this will be lost to the sea.”

Hannibal: “Save yourself, kill them all?”
Will: “I don't know if I can save myself. Maybe that's just fine.”

Will: “It's beautiful.”


  1. Thank you for your thoughtful reviews. This was so beautiful and such a fitting end. Love crime playing as they slay the dragon and accept each other-so romantic and grand. And then they-die? Escape to Europe to be murder husbands? Who knows? They fell for each other-ha.
    Poor charred, Chilton. I'll bet there was nore to come there.
    Alana and Margot lived-yes! And Bedelia-probably.
    What about Will's poor dogs?
    Such an emotional end. I loved it.

  2. I loved how Will sipped wine from his glass — in presence of Hannibal and Dolarhyde, with the latter describing how he is going to kill the former.

  3. Will finding the resolve to attempt to take himself out with Hannibal was a fitting conclusion for this show's journey, even if the coda suggested that Hannibal lived to fight another day and fulfill his promises. (I read that as Hannibal did eventually come for Bedelia, not that she did that to herself.) This finale didn’t work for me in its entirety, but there were elements I enjoyed, and I do think the story rested in a good place, particularly for closing out the story of Will and Hannibal.

    Thanks for the reviews, Heather! As I said before, I always appreciated your ongoing enthusiasm for the show, even as my own waned. I’m glad reviewing it was such a rewarding experience for you.

  4. mazephoenix:
    I suspect we share a lot of the same enthusiasm for this finale. Thank you for your comments over the last 3 seasons. I've really enjoyed them and you. :)

    That was so brazen and cavalier of Will!

    I am very glad for your thoughts over this last season. You've added much to the discussion!

  5. Good point, mazephoenix... WHAT ABOUT THE DOGS? Heather, thank you for being the BEST, most inspired & inspiring reviewer of all things Hannibal. See you at the next rendition, whatever that may be. That coda DID leave a door wide open...

  6. You guys, eeeek, the dogs?! Well, Molly hopefully learned her lesson re: poisoning them, so that's good, right?
    Thank you for your comments this season. I'm very thankful you are a part of this conversation. :)

  7. 2 Heather: I don't think it was some exceptional bravery. It was a very Hannibal-like moment: "this is a perfectly good wine, and it's going to go to waste in a minute. Why not finish it now?"

  8. Au revoir Hannibal. (Wanted to go for a more 'Hannibally' quote but couldn't think of any).

    And what a way to go out. This was the perfect end to Will and Hannibal's (love) story. (They literally die in each others arms). While this season didn't quite reach the highs of last season, it was still a wholly fitting conclusion to the series.

    I'm truly glad that Fuller went on a different path and did his own version of the Red Dragon story (as he did throughout the entire series). I have seen Ratner's version and thought it made some huge mistakes (such as making Will into a generic detective). Despite some excellent performances, it was quite disappointing.

    So I glad Fuller was able to make the show he wanted to make and gave this story the Fuller treatment it deserved. It's a shame we probably won't be able to see what else he had planned.

    God I'm gonna miss this show. Where else am I going to get my fill of 'pretentious' philosophical musings?

    Though fear not Fannibals (or Fullerites? Fullerinos?), as Fuller is adapting Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods' which sounds very promising indeed.

    I've very much enjoyed reading these reviews throughout all three seasons and eventually plucking up the courage (so to speak) to say something myself. Thank you for writing them so thoughtfully and eloquently, picking up on things I missed/never would have.

    Anyway I'm off to finally watch Pushing Daises.

  9. migmit:
    It did remind me of something Hannibal would do, too. Love your quote as it's almost practical, too. Like why should it be wasted? By the way, I read somewhere that that bottle of wine was the precise one Will brought Hannibal in S1... That he had saved (and transported!) for such an occasion.
    I have enjoyed your thoughts so much, I'm very glad you have commented recently! I am very eager for American Gods and I hope you enjoy Pushing Daisies. It is an incredible show.

  10. Also I don't know if you've seen it, but there's a Hannibal/Friends mash-up video on Youtube called 'Friends for Dinner'. I usually not a fan of these things but this one is quite good.

    Wait I've got it, 'Fullermigos'.

  11. Aww, yes, Fullermigos! I have see the You Tube vid and it's hilarious. It captures every smile ever broken on Hannibal which is a feat. I highly recommend it if anyone hasn't seen it.

  12. Heather, I almost didn't comment. Because a lot has already been said and I have to admit that while I did so enjoy the finale, there are things I would nitpick about. However, to mix genres... as Gowron of the Klingon Empire would say... "But not today!" In the end, I decided to comment because I was always so taken with your enthusiasm for the show and your rich, insightful reviews. It was such a pleasure to read about your pleasure, if you know what I mean. There's so much drek out there. To know that this show could happen and that people would watch and discuss is one of the triumphs of Hannibal.

  13. Heather1,
    I could not agree with you more that this show is a triumph for that reason. I've been in several fandoms of note but none this devoted and instantly bonded over, well, dare I say, good taste? :) I'm so glad you decided to write a comment. I have always cherished your thoughts!

    I know I am forever touting this or that podcast, but Bryan Fuller is on the most recent Nerdist Writers' Panel featuring panels from this summer's ATX (EW's James Hubbard moderates it and Fuller's joined by the creators of Fargo and Justified). It's just music to my ears how he talks about what it's meant to do this show, including the intricacies that pertain to a novel AND film adaptation (where the original creator is both very much alive and uninterested in participating). It's very reflective and I really got a lot out of it, personally.

  14. "Did you see the quick edit of Francis from the elevator at the Brooklyn Museum?"
    Yeah and only on the rewatch, it really spooked me (I didn't recognize it as a callback to the elevator).
    I'm so glad we had one more scene with Punished Chilton, the real MVP.

    You pretty much caught all the delectable quotes but there are still a few lesser ones and some moments I'd like to point out because it's unfortunately kind of impossible for me to really convey what about the finale was so dear to me by just talking in a professional overview form. So you get this weirdness instead. I don't think it can really be explained with words anyway but I loved these reviews and wanna leave a mark as tribute.
    -Francis's two "Oh Reba"s. First when he caught her trying to escape, and then again when she's screaming from the fire and it's more pained. Oh Reba... I c- I can't stand to watch you burn. And I know it's part of the act but I liked the little tune that plays as he lowers his shotgun after her "please don't hurt me now."
    -Reba and Will. "I know there's nothing wrong with me. In making friends I try to be wary of people who foster dependency and, feed on it. I've been with a few. The blind attract them." "Not just the blind." And also earlier, "I drew a freak!" "You drew a man... with a freak on his back." It's beautiful stuff.
    -Will and Hannibal in prison: "Are you accusing me of something?" "Does the enemy inside you agree with the accusation?"
    -"You shared... with Reba." "I shared with Reba, a little. In a way that she could survive"
    -A repost of one you listed but I really love "Decisions are often made of kneaded feelings. They're more often a lump than a sum." And in the same way Will also re-posted Bedelia's quote about cruelty with empathy, except with some words adjusted. Extreme acts of cruelty require a-- 'High level' replaced with 'High degree,' because I guess it sounds better lol-- of empathy. Here I thought I remembered it wrong, looks like the show agrees with me that it's worth saying again
    -"Do you intend to watch him kill me?" "I intend to watch him change you..."
    -"I'm so happy you chose life, Francis... suicide is the enemy. You were seized... by a fantasy world. With the brilliance, and freshness, and immediacy, of childhood. It took you a step beyond alone." Like holy shit how does they almost effortless give me so much to meditate on?
    -But for some reason this is my favourite line: "Watching the film... will be wonderful. But not as wonderful as the act itself." That is just so profound even though it's not.
    -In the threesome fight, the 'tone' sound effects. Like every time Will stabs him or the knife is pulled out there's a sound. And also when Francis tosses Hannibal off his back and Will sees him with the red wings and tail, I loved what they did with the sound work during that bit, it's a really cool moment and the sound perfectly evokes dread, with these random clacks.
    -The ending song... perfect beyond perfect. As soon as the sitar starts. "Oh, the skies. Tumbling from your ey-y-y-y-yes." Snape should've had a final scene like this. It's so heartbreaking seeing the blood pool into wings.
    Oh, the dye... a blood-red setting sun. It's the perfect suicide song.
    The show really has given me so, so much to think about. "And the bluff is still eroding."

    Re-reading these reviews... will be wonderful. But not as wonderful as the act of writing them.


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