TV Review: Hannibal 3.13 “The Wrath of the Lamb” (Series Finale)
Sunday, August 30th, 2015 at 11:45 am
Hannibal Season 3 Episode 13 “The Wrath of the Lamb”
Directed by Michael Rymer
Written by Nick Antosca, Bryan Fuller, & Steve Lightfoot
Created by Bryan Fuller
Starring Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Gillian Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Scott Thompson, Aaron Abrams, Nina Arianda, Rutina Wesley, Richard Armitage NBC
Air date: Saturday, August 29th, 2015, 10pm
The beginning of “The Wrath of The Lamb,” what is most likely Hannibal’s series finale*, begins with a fire. Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage) convincingly purges himself from the world and lets the oddly restorative power of flames to begin his hunt again. But in the ashes of that fire, there’s still a spark. You can hear it clicking throughout the episode’s score, like the burner on a stove waiting to be ignited.
The real fire hasn’t been snuffed out. Rather, it was just twitching and clicking, waiting to be sparked.
After three seasons of cinematic foreplay, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelson) finally consummate their love for one another in a blood-soaked orgy overlooking a romantic cliff side. Their love is the real fire; the one that’s been clicking and waiting to erupt for all this time, but finally lights up.
Series creator Bryan Fuller constructed the finale so well, giving Dancy and Mikkelson plenty to do, even if it meant slightly underserving other characters. (For being such a major presence in bringing Will back into the arms of the Devil, Laurence Fishburne exists almost entirely in the shadows for the episode. Fittingly perhaps, since there’s a strong argument to be made that Jack and not Hannibal is the true Devil on Will’s shoulders throughout the back half of Season 3). Even within that potential underserving, it’s something I’m comfortable with, as “The Wrath of The Lamb” proves that this story has really been about the rad bromance turned bad romance between Will and Hannibal. Those final moments on the cliff speak volumes to the true relationship being explored on this show. Will finally became what Hannibal had wanted him to become all of these years. And in that moment, Will realizes that the only way to truly stop Hannibal (and perhaps himself) is to take them both out. To die by your side, is such a heavenly way to die.
By focusing on the two main leads of this show, the series finale of Hannibal goes out like a lion instead of a lamb. It’s a poetic end to a show that consistently has been a nightmare dressed like a daydream and one of the best series on television.
*Regarding this being the series finale, series creator Bryan Fuller has participated in a number of post-finale interviews, but the best bits come from his conversation with Alan Sepinwall; Fuller more or less confirms the show is done as a television series after its cancellation by NBC, but has plans to perhaps bring the cast back together for a movie or a mini-series down the line. However, nothing is certain and it appears that “The Wrath of The Lamb” will be our last time with this particular vision on these particular characters for quite some time. Which is a shame, especially since Fuller states that “in [his] mind, the most interesting chapter of Will Graham’s story has yet to be told.”
– Hannibal has always been such a strange and wonderful show. Even if we don’t get any more of it, I am so thankful for NBC for letting it exist for so long. There were so many times I thought we wouldn’t get more with these characters; yet, we got 39 episodes of amazing performances and for many (including this writer) what will be the definitive take on Hannibal the Cannibal. That’s an impressive feat in itself and we should consider ourselves gluttonous for having this show for so long.
– I’d be interested to hear your take on that post-credits stinger with Bedelia (Gillian Anderson). I’ve seen it interpreted a few different ways online. I’ll refrain from offering my take, but I think it’s fair that there are definitely two ways to read that final scene.
– I can’t heap enough praise on Richard Armitage’s performance. He’s a fascinating actor. While his presence in The Hobbit film trilogy ultimately fell flat for me (a symptom of three overwrought and frankly unnecessary films), his guest arc has made me very eager to see where he’ll end up next.
– I spent a lot of time focusing on the relationship between Will and Hannibal, but between the delivery and the way the scene was shot – Hannibal’s last exchange with Alana was particularly haunting. Great work all around from Mikkelson and Caroline Dhavernas.
– “You’ve just found religion. Nothing more dangerous than that.”
– “You were never comfortable in your own skin, Chilton.”
– “My compassion for you is inconvenient, Will.”
Thank you so much for taking this journey with me. Hopefully this won’t be the last time I write about this particularly stunning take on the canon of Hannibal Lecter, but even if it is, I’m so glad we all got to experience it together. Dinner is on me.
What did you think of the series finale of Hannibal? Sound off in our comments below.
Next: Will Bids Hannibal Goodbye
Will and Hannibal share a bittersweet farewell on Hannibal’s season finale, Saturday at 10/9c on NBC.
Hannibal – Post Mortem: Episode 313 (Digital Exclusive)
Actors Richard Armitage and Rutina Wesley and director Guillermo Navarro preview the Hannibal season finale with Scott Thompson.
Hannibal – The Last Stand (Episode Highlight)
Will and Hannibal come together to defeat the Red Dragon.