This Hannibal review contains spoilers.
Here it is. The time of year when this viewer shakes her fist angrily at the sky and curses God. Yes, it was with a heavy heart that I watched the season finale of Hannibal. All good things must come to an end, and in my opinion, nothing defines good television more than a series that knows both how and when to end (I am looking at you, first season of The Walking Dead).
Good, nay, excellent television is like the nine course tasting menu at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. Each dish is perfectly balanced, compliments the other dishes, and instead of filling the patron up, leaves the individual wanting more. Hannibal manages to accomplish this despite the sometimes heavy handed violence (and ridiculous plot devices). Oh, and the steady stream of dirty, dirty, food porn helps. Seriously. If this show were an actual person I wouldn’t know whether to fuck it or eat it.
So here we are. The end. The episode we have been building up to since the season premiere. The Hannibal vs. Crawford death match: kitchen edition.
As the seconds tick down to the final face off, we see that quite a few ghosts are haunting the season finale. Garrett Jacob Hobbs lurks in Graham’s dreams. Bella Crawford agrees to a visit from Hannibal, though she is still pretty steamed he foiled her suicide and “moved her punctuation.” Freddie Lounds eagerly awaits her resurrection; although she might show a little more restraint if she knew that Hannibal had smelled her on Graham.
And smell her he does, like cheap perfume. Like deceit. As he and Graham go through his office, burning Hannibal’s patient files and planning to run away together, it becomes obvious to the good doctor that his bromance has been cheating on him with Crawford (emotionally). Certainly Hannibal had been aware that Graham had been playing both sides of the table; his position with the FBI would necessitate it. But from the expression on Hannibal’s face, it becomes clear that he was as convinced as Crawford that Graham was on his side.
Oh what a terrible, beautiful, episode. An episode full of revelations and freaking gorgeous cinematography. The chess game has come to an end and (SPOILERS AHEAD) not only has Hannibal won, he decides it is time to clear the board.
What better time to do so then at dinner? Remember that vicious fight between Hannibal and Crawford from the season premiere? What we did not see was Dr. Bloom arrive, and upon hearing the tussle, enter the house with her gun drawn. She arrives too late to stop Hannibal from inflicting that mortal wound in Crawford’s neck, but just in time to have a final confrontation with her lover.
Hannibal had no wish to call on her one final time, but Bloom does her duty and attempts to shoot him. Too bad he had already taken all the bullets out of her gun. She flees upstairs (why do women always run up?), only to be pushed out a window by Abigail Hobbs of all people (more on her in a minute).
When Graham arrives he finds Bloom laying broken and gasping on the walkway, Crawford bleeding out in the pantry, the still living and Hannibal-compliant Abigail in the kitchen, and a broken hearted Hannibal waiting in the wings. And here is where things get interesting.
Graham is shocked when he sees Hannibal; he legitimately thought the doctor was going to disappear. All that effort to bait the doctor into trying to murder Crawford and in the end he gave in to sentiment. He succumbed to the bromance. Meanwhile, an equally distraught Hannibal guts Graham while chastising him for throwing away his gifts (i.e. the freedom of moral ambiguity) and forgiving him for ultimately siding with Crawford. As Bella observes in the beginning of the episode, we cannot choose to forgive, it happens to us. The question is, can Graham forgive Hannibal, who cuts Abigail’s throat and leaves them both bleeding out on the floor.
Who lives and who dies? We will have to wait until season three to find out; either way everyone is pretty much fucked. Except for Hannibal, who in the final scene is sipping champagne with Du Maurier as they jet off to some unknown location together.
And this is where a bright and shiny season of bubbling bromance tension got a little tarnished. Sure, we all want to imagine a world where Hannibal runs free to rock an impeccable wardrobe, cook impeccable food, and bang the impeccable Gillian Anderson. Unfortunately that last dog does not hunt in the context of the show’s plot.
The ending implies that Du Maurier had been Hannibal’s plant from the get go. That he used her to manipulate Graham and Crawford and get a sense of where Graham’s loyalties lay.
The problem is the story she sells. This narrative that she was scared of the good doctor and fleeing him for her own safety was peddled to the audience when she and Hannibal were alone on camera. The undisguised look of affection she gives him in that last scene was, well, kind of pathetic. Her character went from smart, savvy, and afraid to slavish in two seasons? No bueno. Instead of closing the season on the devastation the Hannibal/Graham bromance had on both characters, the writers tried too hard to recapture the sublime season 1 ending which emphasized Hannibal as the quintessential manipulator and psychopath.
And, as my infuriated husband pointed out, Bloom called for backup as soon as she got to Hannibal’s house. Exactly how long does it take a cop/ambulance to get to a residence in an upscale neighborhood? It’s these wee inconsistencies which detract from an otherwise magnificent show.
Either way, I will be salivating until the season 3 premiere. Any bets on who survived the last supper blood bath?
Body parts consumed this week: My heart.
How do I cook that? Marinate it in a stew of repressed sexual tension and roast it over the fire of betrayal. Sprinkle liberally with fist shaking incredulity…