For the last time, a reminder: this review is scheduled alongside Thursday's broadcast in Canada. This finale airs tonight in the U.S on NBC, and Wednesday in the UK on Sky Living, so proceed at your own risk of spoilers...
I watched the season finale with a bittersweet feeling, because we've been increasingly aware there's little chance of another broadcaster picking up the show now NBC have washed their hands of it. And having seen "The Wrath of the Lamb" through to the end, one has to wonder if we haven't been tricked all along—because this episode ended on such a conclusive note that, surely, any potential fourth season is a ridiculous notion. So maybe NBC didn't "cancel" Hannibal, it had simply come to its end... but saying it'd been axed drew some welcome attention to it? Or maybe there was an alternative ending originally filmed before NBC's decision, where Will (Hugh Dancy) and Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) don't embrace and topple over the edge of a cliff to watery graves?
And then came a number of brilliant touches and flourishes to Harris' original story, with Will kidnapped by the Dragon (who now wants to "change" Lecter to punish him) and double-crossing the FBI by arranging to have Lecter fake an escape to lure Dolarhyde, while actually telling the Dragon about the deception and arranging for a private three-way showdown between Dolarhyde, Lecter, and himself at a cliff-side hideaway.
It was the show it wanted to be, with surprisingly few concessions made along the way, that gave most cable drama's a run for their money, and we're frankly very lucky to have been given this many episodes on a mainstream U.S network.
Hannibal was a delicious three-course meal. Any more and we may get indigestion.
- Interesting that Dolarhyde disfigures Will (which happens in the book), but in this version of the story death quickly followed.
- Many characters had a final moment on-screen, which was nice. I particularly loved Alana (Caroline Dhavernas) going to see the severely burned Dr Chilton (Raúl Esparza) in his oxygen tank, and their chat about being comfortable in Lecter's skin—which Chilton now desires literally, whereas for Alana it's symbolic. CSI experts Jimmy (Aaron Abrams) and Brian (Scott Thompson) also had a funny scene, enthusiastically explaining how Dolarhyde faked his own death. I was a little surprised Molly and, particularly, Jack (Laurence Fishburne) didn't get a big moment to cap their work on the series, however.
- Rutina Wesley's been good on the show, but I was a little underwhelmed by her performance in this hour. Reba discovering that her sweet "Mr D" is actually a psycho serial killer didn't feel like enough of a blow to her sweet soul, and she didn't look close to as frightened or confused as I'd imagined she would be. But it was a choice the actress and filmmakers decided on, so I'm sure others thought it worked fine because Reba was also a strong woman.
- If there is more to come from this series, somehow, it's amusing to me that Dr Chilton could theoretically return after some full-body skin grafts. You just can't kill that guy!
- * An ending in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books that weren't as conclusive as readers imagined, although it's very hard to see any wriggle room for this show's fall.