After counting down their Top 20 TV Series of 2015 …
With “The Wrath of the Lamb”, Hannibal wraps up its run, at least for now. While all involved have been qualifying the episode as merely the series finale on NBC, the show has yet to be picked up anywhere else and several key figures have moved on to new projects. Creator Bryan Fuller has mentioned the possibility of the team reuniting for a film at some point down the line, but for the foreseeable future, this is the series finale of Hannibal, and given its bloody, spectacular climax, that feels appropriate.
Frederick Chilton has had a rough go of it in his time on Hannibal. He makes himself an easy target—the man has learned nothing, it would seem, from his disastrous experiences with serial killers over the years—but when faced with the enormity of the Dragon, Chilton is so unabashedly human, so relatable and terrified one can’t help but feel for him. Raúl Esparza has been a delight in the role throughout his tenure on the series, often giving a comedic lift to otherwise very dour episodes and arcs, but he’s particularly impressive here. Chilton’s terrifying capture by the Dragon makes up the center of the episode, but Esparza gets much more to play than fear.
The string bass is featured prominently throughout this episode as the voice of the Dragon, groaning and growling in the shadows. Whereas Reitzell introduced the character in “The Great Red Dragon” with layers of percussion, the Dragon we hear here is very different: that was an instinctual, physical being, a wordless monster pulled to the surface by the phase of the moon.
“The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” is a lovely and simple short piece for solo piano composed by Debussy. It’s a fantastic selection for several reasons, not the least of which is that it’s a beautiful piece. The simplicity of the piece also reflects Reba’s straightforward trust in Dolarhyde and the beauty of their relationship. However, for classical music fans, this selection acts as a warning. “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair”: only two women in this season fit that description, and Dolarhyde likely isn’t thinking about Bedelia.
The scene of Dolarhyde eating the painting has plenty of percussion, but not the same layered elements as the Dragon scoring earlier, when Dolarhyde woke up and Reba was gone. There’s a high wind chime-like sound, some rattling, and drums and cymbals, but not the different, distinct rhythms syncing up with each other, and the strings only come in towards the end, when Will and Dolarhyde see each other. The percussion builds in intensity and speed until it cuts off with Will’s discovery of Dolarhyde, leaving behind soft vocals and the aforementioned strings, and this is when we hear the more characteristic Dragon percussion.
The use of strings in the Dolarhyde arc has been notable. Here we get dissonant violins and rising clusters of pitches as Abigail is faced with her father’s corpse as well as a warm, inviting string sound as Will begins to watch home videos of the Leeds family. Reitzell has previously used solo instruments, only expanding into larger sections with this arc.