Ahead of watching ‘The Wrath Of The Lamb’ many viewers were cautious: could and would this season finale wrap up the story in a satisfying manner and not leave its audience wanting more? It’s an understandable concern given Hannibal‘s cancellation: the last episode of this particular season turned out to be the note the entire show would end on. Because of it ‘The Wrath Of The Lamb’ had to best high (and perhaps unfair) expectations. It’s safe to say though that the Season 3 finale both served as a brilliant conclusion to the Hannibal and Red Dragon arc, delivering on everything that has always made the show stand out.
Following last week’s events Dolarhyde set Reba free, faking his own death in the process. Because of it he could catch Will off guard, who then proposed a plan to get out of the sticky situation: Will would arrange a meeting between Hannibal and the Dragon. He went about this by proposing a plan to catch Dolarhyde to Jack Crawford, using Hannibal as bait. This ultimately led to a lot of dead FBI agents, and an isolated showdown between Will, Lecter and the Dragon on a cliff in the backyard of one of Hannibal’s secret homes away from home. After working together to kill Dolarhyde, the wounded and exhausted two who remained embraced… before Will dragged Lecter off the cliff, and both men plummeted to the ocean below. It was a moment that was earned and incredibly poetic: Will chose the opposite of Lecter’s ‘Save yourself, kill them all,’ and sacrificed himself in order to protect others and not turn into a horror. If that wasn’t shocking enough we were treated to another tantalizing scene after the credits: Bedelia sitting at a table with her leg, prepared to perfection, in front of her. While this particular setting left room for multiple interpretations, there’s a beauty in a particular explanation: that she cooked her own leg to appease Hannibal and keep him from killing her just yet. Lecter of course… will never come.
While the episode itself was very straightforward, it excelled because Fuller and the other writers have managed to bring everything full circle. While Michael Rymer’s direction was flawless, James Hawkinson’s cinematography immaculate and Brian Reitzell’s score set the mood perfectly, the neatness and precision of the writing stood out. Hannibal is a show that’s about characters and ideas first and foremost, and here not a line or word was coincidental. Everything during the episode honored what had come before and all of it culminated in a rewarding and organic ending that both made perfect sense and was truly emotional. Hannibal has always been about Will Graham’s struggle, his desire to belong and find peace, and his fear of being a killer and turning into a monster. The writers explored that through the lens of the Lecter-Graham relationship, and managed to tie it up beautifully with ‘The Wrath Of The Lamb’. While this episode and the rest of Season 3’s second half were also about the Red Dragon, the show never forget about its original angle and core component, which effectively meant that the Red Dragon arc was used brilliantly to further the journeys of the other characters and that it eventually gave us an ending that wrapped up the Dolarhyde arc and the storyline of the whole series beautifully.
But let’s not forget about Hannibal‘s magnificent cast: everyone involved has done a absolutely stellar job of portraying different sides, showing shades of grey and conveying such a range of emotions, that it has always grounded the heightened and occasionally even surreal world of the show in reality. The cast can’t get enough praise for pulling in its viewers in and keeping them invested in the wild ride that is Hannibal. Especially Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen were allowed to really dig in and lend enormous amounts of complexity to their characters. Aided by the gifted creative team they’ve always managed to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, move and shock an audience, and add fresh and timeless portrayals of the familiar Thomas Harris characters to the pop culture canon. While the show’s niche appeal is undeniable and the show certainly isn’t for everybody, Hannibal will go down in history as one of television most unique, daring, acclaimed, twisted and artful TV shows of all time.
‘The Wrath Of The Lamb’ was a gorgeous, shocking and surprising sendoff to the show and all of its mesmerizing characters. Bravo. 9/10