Warning: spoilers for Hannibal S3 finale, some gory bits, excess of caps – sorry i couldn’t stop myself.
Feeling a bit melancholic today.
It’s reporting week and that just makes me sooo tired every month. The reason I never wanted a job in Finance after trying it out once was the endless cycle of month end reports and stats and such. And guess what I have ended up doing? Yup. Though it could be worse, it could actually be monthly accounts, but it’s not, it’s just some other sort of monthly statistics. Still, it involves endless staring at and manipulating of figures and communicating to a long list of people who all expect error free reports. I wouldn’t mind it as much if it didn’t suck the life out of any writing impulse I have while it happens. I get home and I just can’t even look at the pc anymore and I just want some mind-numbing activity that doesn’t involve brain cells.
Which is why I have been struggling a lot with writing about the Hannibal finale. But since i fell into bed last night when I finally got home and then woke up at 4,30 in the morning I made myself breakfast and then sat there with my tea and watched it for a second time in peace and quiet. And chomped quite happily on Cheshire cheese and plum tomatoes and then wholegrain toast and chocolate peanut-butter all throughout. And felt pretty similar about it as the first time I watched it…
You might think this is not how you’d like to start the day, watching blood and gore, but that is actually not what comes to mind first when I think about it. I found it relaxing in a strange way. Well, engaging is probably the more appropriate word. And stimulating visually and also mentally. It is anything but boring and interesting in so many ways. I realised watching the last episode that I will really miss it. There is precious little on TV which is really original and interesting these days. It is mostly one detective story after another and few are really good. I can count the ones I enjoyed last season on the fingers of one hand +1: Banished (BBC), Poldark (BBC), Fortitude (Sky), Our Girl (BBC), Blacklist (NBC via sky) and… Hannibal. There’s been others, but nothing particularly well done or just seasons which have been nowhere as good as the previous ones. There are probably others but there’s only so much TV one can watch 😉
Basically, even if parts of season 3 I was wondering ‘where they are going with all this’? and ‘what’s the point?’, I was still interested and enjoyed spending 1h a week with H. Last week I felt as if it had nowhere to go but end. I still can’t imagine where it could go from here, but my imagination is a bit at a loss in this universe 🙂 Which is why I enjoyed the viewing experience I am sure, as it was less predictable than most other stuff I watched. I didn’t experience the rush to watch very often, it was more looking forward to siting down in peace and unrushed and seeing where it takes me and how I react to it.
I’m not a convert to the horror genre, I have to say. And I don’t think that was typical horror fare anyway. I still don’t enjoy being scared and most of the times this was not that kind of terror, it was mostly dissection after the fact or justification of upcoming deeds. We didn’t have many victims actually being chased around and I’m ok with that. To be fair, I was also much less put off by the gore than I thought I would be. On one hand I’ve watched crime drama all my life and on the other hand I have probably seen more blood and death on the opera stage than I have seen in 3 seasons of Hannibal put together. Opera is certainly not lacking in death, blood and crazies 😉 It’s all alternative realities and stories and they don’t pursue me in my dreams or make me question the way I lead my life and my universe has nothing in common with the various fantastical ones. So I’m sort of ok with watching quite bizzare and disturbing things, it seems more so than I thought, because it just isn’t reality.
I found dead bodies much less disgusting than other strange things, like Reba’s soup or Verger dying by swallowing a fish and things like that. Very puzzling what one finds icky, it is not always what your mind tells you it will be. I was grateful in season 3 for the lack of cooking of body parts! I like my food and in season 2 I really struggled with that. It is all just too revolting to me, even in fantasy land, which is why I never really warmed to Hannibal himself. Through absolutely no fault of Mads’ 🙂 I blame it on the food stylist! 😀
Strangely enough I even sort of reconciled myself with H in season 3, in that there were quite a few times when I actually felt sorry for him. Not that many though 😉
It is true that one big draw in the series were the actors. I didn’t know all that much about them, nor had I seen them a lot before, apart from Esperanza, Fishburne and Anderson of course and the other Brit ;-).
I’ve often battled with some holes in the logic, but at the same time what I liked best was that the characters had not much logic to them. You never knew what they were going to do or say next.
It has irritated me greatly at times, especially when the censorship reared its ugly head to high (that Botticelli!) or the women were just below par as characters. And I don’t think that really changed until the end… Alana just got more and more on my nerves and in the end Bedelia just got too fuzzy for my liking.
But oh the visuals… and the camera work… and the soundtrack… what a feast for eyes and ears! I will miss this tremendously. It has changed the way I view things forever I think. The lighting was original, even though on the dark side sometimes. The editing was flawless and the camera angles drool-worthy. There were fewer straight on head shots than you normally see on TV and instead you saw people through reflections, side angles, profiles and discovered the infinite variety of facets in human faces. And the close ups…. Oh, those amazing close ups! Visually it never once got boring and it has made usual TV where you pan from one character to another during a dialogue so old-fashioned. I think in some of these respects they have re-invented the ways in which a story can be told on screen and the depth you can lend to the image without going 3D and such. And for a horror show, where everything is OTT most of the time they went the other way, especially on the acting. It’s extremely subtle and underplayed, there are no grand gestures, no waving about of arms, no raising of voices. It is where having good actors made all the difference and allowed the visual innovation.
The writing was at times brilliant and funny and at times just self-indulgent and outlandish. But I thought the acting almost always delivered and made even the most outlandish phrases seem almost natural in the context. Most of the times I really got the black humour. Sometimes it was a bit too obvious, but it had an increasing insider feel which was a whole lot of fun in itself. Especially the 3rd series felt at times like fan-fiction almost 🙂 Which Fuller has also admitted in a way. I wonder if writing the series so much for fans is the best idea. I am undecided, as there is a great pleasure to be had from seeing your wishes come true on screen 😉 And that I am sure was certainly true in series 3 for the fans of the series. I would probably normally advocate for exactly the opposite: keep them guessing, keep them wanting and keep them watching 🙂 But when the possibility of the end draws nearer I think it is the right time to give the fans a bit of what they have wanted all along. I think the series finale certainly did that.
I have moved past all the arguments about the glamourisation of the criminal universe Hannibal lives in. The books have been out there for a while, serial killers are not new to TV. Not all creative ideas are fuzzy, comfortable, some are twisted, disturbing. I don’t think it is for everyone but I also don’t think it is something that shouldn’t be. With the right disclaimers it can certainly be enjoyed 🙂 And not taken too seriously as it is not meant to be in any way even a slight depiction of reality. Just like we accept the fictional universe in say Star Trek, or Game of Thrones or some superhero movie, we can accept this one too. I found myself to be a bit hypocritical being negative about the theme of it but at the same time enjoying watching it. I still maintain some of my critical points (see above) but I don’t have a problem with the universe itself as a fictional set up.
I am glad there is something different in the Tv panorama of today, it is always good to have innovation and change and Hannibal is a great part of a trend of increased quality on the small screen. In fact over the last years I’ve seen more interesting things on TV than in the cinema and certainly better written and better made.
So yes, I will miss it, TV will be much duller without it.
What about the finale? I had to watch it twice before expressing what I felt about it, to double check. And the first word that comes to mind is still… romantic 🙂 And in a totally fanfic kind of way to add to that. I would almost argue they went a bit too far with it as I had to giggle and smile more than once and it overrode the abundance of blood, fleshy parts and dead bodies by a mile!
They still played games, they like it too much, but I think ultimately they created a fitting end for the fans. In case we thought we managed to outplay them last time by looking away at the right times from lip-snagging and barbecuing they made sure they cheekily re-inserted the relevant highlights in the places where you just didn’t have time to look away. So there I was slapping my palm over my eyes and ewww-ing at the TV again. I guess with Hannibal still in prison for most of the ep and Dolarhyde doing most damage with a gun, so low on gore, they wanted to make that last point.
Afraid it didn’t distract me quite enough not to notice, like I did in the last ep already, that they got Chilton’s teeth wrong. Whatever happened to him, his teeth could not have changed and the lower mandible closes in most cases below the upper range of teeth. Ie the teeth overlap, they never close edge on edge the way he was shown. The devil really is in the detail 😀
Regardless of wrong teeth I was still happy Chilton survived (and how just like Hannibal to wish him not to be too ugly 😉 ).
The episodes proceeded to get rid step by step of all but the 3 male leads.
First on was poor Reba. I am impressed considering they had to integrated the Dolarhyde story into the overall series how much of the book material they covered and actually how faithfully. Thankfully Francis managed not to kill her, but the experience was utterly scary. All the ordering around and the fire 😦 There were flashes of Francis regretting the outcome and losing her because she ‘felt good’ but sadly, even he realises it is all over for him. Maybe I am just hanging on to some little positive thing, but I believe he showed her clearly where the key was and made sure she knew the way to the door and back not just to keep her under his control and deceive her about his death but at least subconsciously to also make sure she could make it out of there. And whether he is dead or not, their relationship could not go on 😦 😦 😦 I could barely stand it to hear the sounds of anguish when he flicked the match to the floor…
I am glad they gave us the little scene with Reba and Will in the hospital. It was good to see she is resilient and will make it through and also good to see Will empathise and provide support. We’ve almost only seen him chase or interact with the bad guys and it was nice to see this side of him. Maybe that is the side of him Molly saw…. Too bad we saw it too late and I didn’t believe him when he promised Reba to come back and see her. And I felt really touched at what Will told Molly about Dolarhyde and her relationship with him, that he wasn’t a monster but a ‘man with a freak on his back’. It is what we felt all along about their relationship and I was happy in spite of the sad ending that Fuller decided to remind viewers of the value in that relationship (remember episode for fans and all that ;-)).
This is where we left the book behind and we were on completely new territory. We knew the ending would somehow belong to Will and Hannibal and I never thought Hannibal inside the asylum would be it. I’m glad they decided to bring Dolarhyde into the finale. I’m taking it as a massive compliment to Armitage and his acting talents (and I don’t think it is just the fan in me speaking, or the fan in Fuller for that matter 😉 He’s a fan alright but the critics have praised Armitage’s Dolarhyde from his first appearance so it was not just the nice thing to do for fans but also the right thing to do for the series).
Also, while the last episode put me at odds with Will this one managed to reconciled me back again. Yes, it’s probably because they gave me enough sugar coating to swallow the bitter pill. I enjoyed the strength he managed to summon up, first to snub Hannibal when he thought a resolution had been reached and then to go back and really end it when it became obvious not taking action was no longer an option.
I’m slightly frustrated Alana got away, I always much preferred her to Chilton, but I can’t imagine her still being interesting or putting up a fight as character after a fire. At least we got to see Margot and the kid 🙂 I still think Margot had the better clothes, she always did! (Speaking of which I am prepared to forgive them that white number Hannibal wore in the church because they put him in some really nice clothes at the end).
Bedelia’s anger and angst was quite funny, especially with Will dismissing it. Ah, how mean and petty of her to call him a twitchy little man 😀 And only after Will revealed he will be instrumental to Hannibal’s mock escape. I almost think there is more jealousy in her reaction than fear. Will telling her in that ironic voice ‘meat’s back on the menu’ was great! Some of the best lines in the show.
Speaking of lines, I’m actually not sure about Hannibal making reference to ‘mic drop’… Not that it didn’t fit the situation, but it doesn’t sound like something the smooth doctor would say. But he did say ‘he thought they called it a mic drop’ rather than owning the phrase.
It was quite a sad interchange between Will and H, as quite of few of them have been. Even though H succeeded in wounding him again through his family I did feel throughout the series that H was loosing ground with Will. Which is why H’s baits have been getting more aggressive as of late. I think when he turned himself in he was so sure of Will he thought he would always have him there. But Will has grown stronger and has overcome some of the trauma from the past and he is not quite so dependent on Hannibal as before, probably more dependent on his darker instincts than on Hannibal (to a point). He took quite some perverse pleasure in pointing out Hannibal would have been there had Will not rejected him first… outch! I almost felt sorry when Hannibal asked if it had been good to see him again. Unrequited love can be quite painful as both Hannibal and Bedelia seem to have found out. Twitchy little Will, eh? Who knew his tender charms could have them all so dependent on him, in different ways, but still. I did see the charm myself though, especially this episode.
I felt from the point where Dolarhyde first catches him that all 3, D, Will and H were equals. And not only that but tied through weird and dark similarities. They really made for a strange sort of threesome. Each with their own weakness and insanity. None weaker than the other two, all intelligent but sadly broken, all needed something from the others and being incapable of breaking free. All on the search of some kind of freedom and staying trapped.
I think each one is searching for an ending or senses the ending near, each thinking that the death of the other 2 would liberate him somehow. I think even Will considers of knows this ‘out’ but is secretly hoping Dolarhyde will take the decision out of his hands. It is why, unlike with everyone else, these is no fear in any of them. Why Will is neither very surprised to find Dolarhyde in front of him, nor surprised to be alive. And there is an undeniable attractiveness to all 3 characters when in these final acts they are each so self-assured. I am sure Jack knows Will is lying but this is not the Will that can be intimidated.
Dolarhyde on the other hand wants to meet Lecter, I don’t think out of admiration. In all his insanity he is intelligent enough to have realised by now that Lecter has played him and that he has probably lost Reba due to the way Lecter baited the dragon and he probably thinks he can kill the dragon by killing Lecter. I am not sure he realises he is on the path of killing himself too, but it is quite possible he thinks of himself being changed rather than dead… As he himself admits, trusting Reba with some of the truth has liberated him in some way, he doesn’t feel he needs to hide any part of him anymore. This confidence and determination make him stand tall and appear more physically imposing than ever before. (Strange how there is a change in Will’s physicality as well, even he seems a notch taller than before and his posture certainly exudes more inner strength than before).
Some, like Will and Dolarhyde have come to decisions more instinctively than consciously and some like Hannibal have been plotting all along. I feel Hannibal too has accepted the possibility of his own death, the temporary freedom only means something to him because it brings Will back not because of freedom per se. There is an almost a shrugging off attitude he has to his own death, evident when he speaks about the sea eroding his shore and the place disappearing soon, just as he thinks he will.
It is why he is waiting patiently and almost excitedly for the Red Dragon to catch up with them, because he expects Will to step up to the plate so to speak. He expects something from Will which he has been waiting for all along.
I don’t think I quite realised that the first time around, it was just all overwhelming, but it became clear when he dropped to the floor shot with Dolarhyde talking about changing him and the look in his eyes as he was watching Will. Dolarhyde was almost of no consequence to him in the situation, it was all about what Will would do.
In this weird world of theirs blood and death and killing people is how these broken men express their admiration, their love if you will. In spite our eyes taking in all the blood spatter and the body count growing in their path the undeniable feeling about it is one of romanticism.
It is a good thing Will has enough sanity and connection to reality left to end it 😉 Meat may be back on the menu, but it really has to be to be a one off banquet.
And given how this world is upside down it couldn’t be clearer what the whole blood fest stands for. It is probably not how the fans wrote it in fanfic, but the feeling certainly was there. And the visuals were as much a feast for the eyes as possible. Each character was dressed perfectly for who they are but the best version of themselves. I couldn’t find fault in a dragon all in black, including a black leather jacket, in Will’s finally form fitting tailored trousers and white shirt and in H’s suits and elegant dark grey form fitting top. Thankfully no silly ties or suits in sight. I mean , let’s be really honest here, they couldn’t have shown more clearly how good looking all 3 are if they tried 🙂 There was at least 1 instance each where I smiled shaking my head at Fuller, but smiling in agreement nevertheless. I’ll freely admit Mads holding a glass of wine, with much shorter hair and smiling ever so slightly (looking nothing like a killer would thankfully) looked stunning too, in that instance I really got the appeal. So yeah, I didn’t mind those 3 men in one room at the same time at all 🙂
I was really sad Dolarhyde became the sacrificial lamb in a way, but while for H it was all about Will’s reaction I think for Will it quickly became obvious that D was physically capable of overpowering any of them 2. That was not how he had started this plan and it is something he couldn’t allow. And I think also when it came down to it although he said he would watch Dolarhyde kill Hannibal he couldn’t quite do it. While they other 2 killers may have been driven by their insanity I think Will make the only possible conscious choice, choice undoubtable allowed by his own darker instincts. This is probably the only he was able to do it, indulge.. how did Bedelia put it.. an extreme sense of compassion, because in that instance it was also the right decision to make for the only possible viable outcome. He could simply not let the dragon survive and the only way to prevent that was for him and H to act together.
As horrible as the killing actually was (agrr, bloody Hannibal and his bites) the choreography was beautiful and it managed to stay just shy of animalistic and just appalling. But at the same time show what each of them are, Dolarhyde just a man, just as Will in a way, and Hannibal something so much more unhinged and unnatural. There was an eerie beauty in the image of Dolarhyde splayed on the tiles with the blood fanning around him like wings, his blue eyes standing out. Interesting that they left his face untouched 🙂 And didn’t destroy the frame either with too much cut flesh showing or anything else that would make the image disgusting. Also, although bathed in quite a bit of blood the darkness kept it from being too revolting both on Will and Hannibal. Their eyes and foreheads and hair remained largely untouched and again the injuries remained hidden.
(Compare this to what was done to Verger and to poor Chilton…. Nothing really to mar these 3 in these final moments).
I can’t say I am completely surprised by the end. As I was watching it for the first time I was actually expecting Will and H to kill each other, stabbing or something. The way it actually happened was poetic in comparison. I fully expected H to say what he did, that this is what he had wanted all along, he’s been pining for Will to become his ‘partner in crime’ for a really long time. I am not sure I like ‘my’ Will to go for it and say ‘it was beautiful’. I admit I found it shocking when I first heard it, just because I never really wanted to have the admission of Will’s darker side (just like I mentally erase the fact that Dolarhyde has killed families before meeting Reba). But given his next gesture it made sense, this is the only was he would be able to admit to it, if while admitting he also puts an end to it. It is what keeps Will human, he knows it is wrong and can’t actually live with it.
Fuller has left it sort of open with the scene added and I guess this could be explored further but for me it is the satisfactory and right end. I need Will to remain on the positive side of the story. While the attraction and game might be interesting with all the ‘what ifs’ I couldn’t actually handle them as a pair of killers.
But Will and Hannibal in a light embrace dropping off the edge off the cliff into the dark sea… yeah that had a sort of beauty to it. The song sung by Siouxsie was the perfect soundtrack to this. I felt all my buttons being pushed in that scene, from beginning to end and I enjoyed it. I still feel sorry for Reba, but however much I wanted Dolarhyde redeemed I can’t wish a serial killer on her, there was truly only one way to redeem him.
Maybe it was all sorts of cheesy and obvious and indulgent, but why not, it was the end after all.
Well played Mr Fuller, I’m happy with that.
PS As an aside, I need to look at least for curiosity’s sake at how H did here in the UK in viewing figures; it is prominent on Sky and it has always been on the channel promos/images between the shows and it has been this way for the last 2 seasons at least.