The Victorian Era is generally limited to Queen Victoria’s reign …
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.
Four episodes into season three, the reverberations of the season two finale are still being felt. Given the monumental nature of “Mizumono”, that feels appropriate, and the first trio of episodes of season three have dealt primarily with the Red Dinner’s emotional and psychological fallout for Hannibal and Will.
I would imagine that if “Mizumono” screened in front of a live audience, it would get a ten minute standing ovation. Let’s just get this out of the way real quick: “Mizumono” will go down in the books as one of the greatest season finales of all time. There is a seriousness and an intensity here that is unlike anything on the small screen; everything that sets Hannibal apart from every other television show is contained in this season’s riveting last installment. This is a truly inspiring example of classy storytelling and unforgettable characterization, and the collaborative effort of Bryan Fuller, Steve Lightfoot, and David Slade has resulted in something very special for fans of the show.
You can always count on Hannibal for a grim spectacle, and last night’s ‘Tome-wan’ was no exception. What began as a pretty standard episode, if a little more revelatory than the last few, worked its way to some of the show’s biggest moments yet (but more on that later).
Let’s start from the top, shall we? The episode opens with some typical Will/Hannibal banter as their therapy sessions continue. The conversation makes it clear that each is weary of the other but neither is willing to show their hand completely, and both maintain their poker faces, even as they hurl half-hearted truths, ill-meaning metaphors, and thinly veiled threats at one another between their more standard philosophizing on the human condition.
The episode opens with yet another misleading sequence, although exactly how misleading the gorgeously shot Will-digo transformation/birth scene really is remains to be seen–after all, we still don’t know with any certainty who arranged the Randall exhibit, or whose body was sent flaming down the parkade runway in glorious tribute to Red Dragon’s exemplary Tooth Fairy kill. In fact, I would hasten that there is still a lot that we don’t know about this secret plan which has occupied much of the narrative lo’ these last few episodes. But more on that later.
As a fervent fan of both the films based on the character Hannibal Lecter and the source material written by Thomas Harris, I found myself very excited at the prospect of a television series based on the relationship between the titular cannibalistic sadist and the man who would eventually catch him hiding in plain sight, the highly intuitive Will Graham. When I heard that actors like Mads Mikkelsen, Laurence Fishburne, and Gillian Anderson had signed up to be a part of it, my anticipation became palpable, tempered only by the fear that this would be a short-lived cash-in on a mostly dead franchise. In that regard, I was happy to be mostly wrong.
The end of the first season of Hannibal left Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) locked up in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Season 2 serves a promising start as Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) wine and dine on the episode title’s eponymous kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. Following his arrest for the murders that took place in season one, Will finds himself in a tricky situation where he has to try and prove his innocence while trapped in a cell and while suffering from temporary memory loss. Hannibal Lecter steps into Will Graham’s shoes as the new FBI criminal profiler, and Will struggles to remember how it is Hannibal framed him for the crimes Hannibal clearly committed.
The penultimate episode of Hannibal’s first season offers up a much more low-key hour of television, but it sets up what is promising to be a hell of a finalé. Hannibal is sure to deliver its finest course next week with tensions escalating to a fever pitch. Lives and reputations are on the line and Will (Hugh Dancy) is slowly putting the pieces to the puzzle together. The death of Georgia Madchen (Ellen Muth) leads Will to realize the truth about the copycat killer, while Jack (Laurence Fishburne) begins to have suspicions, and Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) reveals his true self to poor Abigail Hobbs (Kacey Rohl). For a series that is usually dialogue-heavy, Hannibal does an excellent job in ratcheting up the tension.
Hannibal serves up another carefully cooked up course of events with its ninth episode of the series, “Trou Normand,” as Jack and Will’s pursuit of a new killer (Lance Henriksen) takes a toll on Will’s psyche. Will is really is beginning to crack under the pressure this week. He’s suffering from time lapses (losing a total of three and half hours of his life), and teaches the killer’s design to an empty class. As we see each and every week, Will is exposed to unimaginable horror every day.