Hannibal “The Wrath of the Lamb” Review (3×13)

29 Aug

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“This is all I ever wanted for you, Will. For both of us.”

For three seasons and thirty nine episodes, Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter have crafted an incredibly twisted, violent, and beautiful love story. They’ve followed a more unique version of the Base System, however, with making out/feeling each other up/having hot sex being replaced with fun actions such as cannibalism, bloody hugging, and brutal murders. This is the only show on television where someone getting stabbed can potentially make you go “Oh, that’s adorable!”, and I love Bryan Fuller and co. all the more for it. In “The Wrath of the Lamb”, he writes the show out in style, both giving us closure to the central relationship and leaving us with a sense of ambiguity. It’s a fittingly poetic masterpiece of a series finale, and I’m glad I got to experience it.

Midway through the episode, Hannibal tells Alana that “any rational society” would either kill him or give him his books, and therein we find the essence of this show. Hannibal has always operated on a heightened plane, in a society where decisions wouldn’t be considered “rational” by normal standards (for example, Jack Crawford would not be with the FBI anymore in a rational society). Much of the show is contained in a fantasy-like haze, one that’s visually represented through the beautiful cinematography and directing throughout. Pure emotion drives the series more so than logic does, and the formulaic nature of much of season one gradually drifts away as we delve deeper into the show’s universe. It’s a transformation of sorts, and it’s also one that we see play out in our characters this season.

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For Dolarhyde, the transformation is obviously the one from man to dragon, although he does tell Will that he’s “stronger than the dragon now”, that he “chose not to change” Reba. This is an episode about the deep connections that have been forged between people and the decisions made to keep others alive (whether we’re talking about Reba or Will’s family). It’s also an episode about sharing and trust and empathy, three ideas that are intertwined as deeply as the characters are. “I wanted to trust you,” Francis tells Reba early on, and later, there’s a back and forth between Alana and Hannibal: “You trust Will with my well being, Alana?” “As much as I trust you with his.” “Do you trust me with yours?” I’d like to draw attention to how similar in style this is to the Chilton-Alana conversation in this episode, which ultimately involves Chilton–whom Hannibal hopes “won’t be very ugly”–stating the following to Alana: “What Hannibal is capable of, Will Graham is capable of, what you are capable of.” The point is that these characters have all shared with each other to some extent. They all understand each other on some level. After all, “extreme acts of cruelty require a high degree of empathy.”

But of course, Hannibal and Will understand each other on the deepest level. The show has been all about the development of that strong understanding, about how each gradually reveals his true self to the other as they spend more time together (and apart). It all culminates in a masterful sequence set to Siouxsie Sioux’s “Love Crime”, one that features Dolarhyde essentially becoming a sacrifice as Hannibal and Will finally get to kill together. It’s without a doubt sexually charged, and this is them fully embracing each other, falling off the cliff as empathy reigns supreme; Will decides to become a sacrifice himself. The scene ties Will’s extreme empathy to his relationship with Hannibal to the beauty the show finds in violence, and it’s perhaps the most romantic moment this show has produced. And as Will says while he’s hugging his one true love, his murder husband ’till the end: “It’s beautiful.”

He could very well be talking about the show itself. He would be right.




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-That final scene! I really, really love the Bedelia character arc that was written. This is someone who played and paid, who was nowhere near as innocent as we were led to believe at first. And of course, the ambiguity of the final shot is fantastic: are those empty seats there because Will and Hannibal are going to eat with her? Or, is this the ultimate blow to her character?


-Yay, one more Zeller/Price appearance!

– “You didn’t draw a freak. You drew a man with a freak on his back.”

-The “borrowed time” speech Hannibal gives to Alana is so damn chilling, and it’s brilliantly delivered by Mads Mikkelsen. And speaking of Alana, I’d like to give one last shout-out to Caroline Dhavernas, who is an extremely talented (and gorgeous) actress. Even during her character’s iffy moments in season two, she was great.

– “You turned yourself in so I would always know where you were. You’d only do that if I rejected you.” Ouch. However…

– “When life becomes maddeningly polite, think about me. Think about me, Will. Don’t worry about me.” True love, ladies and gents.

– “I wanted to share with Lecter…and Lecter betrayed me.” “You shared with Reba, but you didn’t change her. Hannibal Lecter is who you need to change.” Pretty important exchange with regards to the themes mentioned above.

-Well, that’s it! I hate NBC for canceling the show, but at the same time, I also have to appreciate the network for taking on the series in the first place and renewing it for three seasons. The cast and crew have all moved on to new projects, so we most likely won’t be seeing a season 4 any time soon; here’s to hoping that Fuller can get the Silence of the Lambs rights some day and that the show can return in some form in the future. And finally, thank you to the entire cast and crew for one of the most incredible television runs I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. I leave you with my top five episodes, in order of airing:

Roti, Savoureux, Takiawase, Mizumono, and The Wrath of the Lamb, with honorable mentions going out to Sorbet, Futamono, and Digestivo.

Photo credit: NBC, Hannibal


11 Responses to “Hannibal “The Wrath of the Lamb” Review (3×13)”

  1. Justin August 29, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

    Hannibal’s ending (for now) was sad, beautiful, and fitting.

    The jump off the cliff wasn’t one Will and Hannibal made together but what Will made and Hannibal wasn’t aware of like I thought and what Fuller confirmed in an interview with Alan Sepinwall. The way I see it and Fuller also confirmed in the interview, as consumed as Will became by the darkness inside him towards the end, there was some good left in him that compelled to push himself and Hannibal off the cliff to rid the world of the terrible thing they are. I know Will’s attempt doesn’t turn out to be successful since it was the plan to continue the Will-Hannibal relationship into Season 4. But, at this moment in time, the remaining good in Will won over the darkness Hannibal provoked in him at great personal cost. And that’s an ending I can live with. It’s ten times better than the crap ending Dexter got.

    • polarbears16 August 29, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

      I really really like that interpretation as well. It was an ultimate Will-Hannibal moment, but then again it was also Will becoming the sacrifice himself.

  2. Anonymous August 29, 2015 at 11:42 pm #

    Fantastic!couldn’t have ended any better.this was true love.

  3. Matthew Thompson August 31, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    Good finale. I didn’t enjoy this season as much as the previous one. I suspect it being less original and more based on adapted material was part of the reason. Having said that I would have enjoyed seeing Fuller’s take on Silence of the Lambs. I have no idea how that would work given the series couldn’t push Will to the side, but I suspect it would have been a really unique and interesting take on it. This acts as a good ending for the series though if it is the end. I think I maybe would have preferred it ending on their plunge into the water as opposed to the coda with Bedelia. That coda seems like an ending better suited if there is more coming than if it is the end, but obviously they didn’t know the fate of the show at the time. And of course maybe more will come one day!

    Anyway, glad I got caught up on this show when I did, so I could at least watch weekly for this last season. Was fun following discussions on the show as well as reading your reviews. I’m not as passionate about this series as most, so it helps to read from those who are as they notice things that sort of pass me by.

    • polarbears16 September 1, 2015 at 11:40 am #

      I think the ending shot was fantastic if we read it as Bedelia cutting off her own leg and waiting for people who wouldn’t come. If we read it as Fuller intended, though, then I definitely agree that the final water plunge would be better to end on.

      Also agreed, this season wasn’t as good as the last one (nor was this finale as good as Mizumono). Still really enjoyed it though!

  4. peggyatthemovies September 1, 2015 at 1:42 am #

    So.. I loved this show as you know..and I loved the ending.. but clearly they knew it was most likely ending as they shot that finale..as how do you even bring it back from that.. No..I’m good with it and I don’t think it’s NBC’s fault as much as some do. Truthfully..we both see how popular it is on twitter and such..but the biggest fault to me lies in the fact that 1/2 the audience was from outside the US & they all illegally download the show to watch it on time..hence lower ratings than you would think from it’s internet popularity and sadly..loss of a great show AND loss of jobs for the whole crew.. Would I love to see a movie..yeah..more than a S4 I think even as for me it’s over and ended..so beautifully..wonderfully and artistically.. I’m glad this show brought Mads & Hugh’s name into the mix for so many more projects again..but I will miss them. But sadly, I think we’ve no one to blame but truly the viewing audience themselves on that one. I will miss reading your weekly’s also..but there will be more shows for us to follow and love and yes, commiserate on!! hahahahahha

    • polarbears16 September 1, 2015 at 11:38 am #

      Yeah, the culture is definitely changing rapidly surrounding television; it’s all internet based now!

      And yup it’s sad that these shows we both love are ending. First Justified, now Hannibal!

      • peggyatthemovies September 1, 2015 at 11:59 am #

        Well maybe not ALL internet based.. as almost everyone I know has both a cable of some sorts to DVR shows and a Netflix or some account to watch some internet shows also. Again, it’s the ILLEGAL part of all of it that has changed so much and hurts it all so much. Having worked in the ent, industry for so long & seeing what it causes when friends lose jobs etc.. I just won’t do it. And I hate watching shows on my laptop when I have a nice big screen to see it on..ha!

      • polarbears16 September 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

        Yeah, that’s true. HBO shows in particular are being torrented all the time, especially Game of Thrones. Many of these shows deserve the money that viewers should pay, but people try to work around that.


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