After a great and complex first season, Hannibal rounded things off with a finale that gave viewers (almost) everything to both satisfy and entice. The reflexivity of the show, particularly the catalyst event of Will killing Garrett Jacob Hobbs in the premiere and how that thread never left Will throughout the season, was something beautiful to behold. Beyond the violence and gore (the sterility of which makes it less disturbing at times than the blood baths of, say, True Blood), there was fantastic writing and beautiful direction that really elevated Hannibal beyond what most expected of it. For more on this great finale, hit the jump.
This season of Hannibal has focused, as I’ve mentioned in the past many times, on the idea of identity and how that can shift. Abigail Hobbs doesn’t believe she’s a killer or an accomplice, but that changes. Dr. Gideon doesn’t believe he’s the Chesapeake Ripper, but Chilton makes him think he is (to a point). Like Chilton, Hannibal conditions Will to believe he killed Hannibal’s victims; but like with Gideon, it doesn’t quite stick.
“Savoureux” gave some insight as well into Hannibal’s own motives. Last week, he told Abigail he was simply “curious,” something a newly awakened Will says back to him this week as well. Hannibal grieves for the loss of Abigail, and also of Will, to Du Maurier, who seems more suspicious than she ever has been before with him. We know now his feelings for Abigail were like that of a father towards a child, and it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to apply those same kinds of feelings to Will, too. In both of them, Hannibal is looking to guide them to be more like him. In “Savoureux,” he uses the opportunity of Will being back at the scene of the crime with Garrett Jacob Hobbs to encourage him to give in to his feelings, which is when Will finally turns on him.
The long, slow march of realization for Will that Hannibal was behind all of the murders was not only inevitable in the general narration of the show, but also in Will’s hallucinations. That stag, ever present with Will since the beginning, finally took on human form. Other hints built up to the final reveal, but the fact that Will always knew Hannibal was the killer, on some level, was a masterful visual stroke.
One of the things that made Hannibal so frustrating though was the reveal halfway through the season that Will was actually curable, and that Hannibal’s calculation that a close relationship with Will would render Will’s perceptive nature inert worked. While Jack wanted to give Will the benefit of the doubt in the end, he’s always been quick to call murder most foul (except on Hannibal). Alana, on the other hand, finally began piecing together the clues — this wasn’t the Will she knew, the clock drawing was a drawn-out plan of Hannibal’s (even though he came prepared to evade her and seemed exceptionally annoyed at how she picked up on it), and that Jack allowing Will to continue to work was “based on Dr. Lecter’s recommendation.” So what is her next move?
Had Hannibal not been renewed, the finale would have been satisfying without being enough. Will has been cured, it seems, and his dark eyes trained on a smirking Hannibal in the end suggest that they now come to each other with, more or less, cards on the table. The trick now is to get them to switch places. Fantastic (if a bit rushed) finale, great season overall, and a fantastic show. See you next year (and bring your friends!)
Episode Rating: A
Season Rating: A-
Musings and Miscellanea:
— The fate of Abigail Hobbs may still remain in question. Last week many of you pointed out that the show didn’t show Hannibal killing her. Since the series rarely does anything arbitrarily, it seems like there was a reason. The ear in the sink, the blood under Will’s fingernails and the blood at the Hobbs’ house certainly seems conclusive, but then again … maybe Abigail is running free and Van-Gogh-like through the mountains of Minnesota.
— Alana will adopt Will’s dogs, huzzah! That poor little dirty one looking at him as he was carted away …
— Hannibal’s attention to detail is extraordinary. Remember when he admired Will’s lures when he went to feed the dogs? And then to use that to obscurely frame him using the body parts of all of the victims … wow.
— The show keeps trying to make Beverly happen, but they haven’t developed her enough. More of her next year would not be unappreciated.
— I liked that Will learned how to attack his handlers (but not kill them!) thanks to what he learned from being inside Dr. Gideon’s head.
— “Abigail’s blood is on all of us now. So is Will’s” – Alana
— Nice callback to the premiere episode, to have Will collapse where Hobbs did and say “see?” to Jack just as Hobbs did to him, bu this time, regarding Hannibal as the stag / killer.
— How much does Du Maurier really know about Hannibal? She warns him about his patterns, for instance. Also, is Gillian Anderson on a crusade for blouses or what?
— Given Bryan Fuller’s timeline, where do you expect things will pick up and go next season?
— Thanks everyone for reading these recaps, I’ve become such a huge fannibal this year and have been glad to share the enthusiasm and gushing!