Previously on Hannibal, ‘The Number of the Beast is 666’
Francis commands Reba to orient herself in the room so she knows where the front door is. He has her remove a key from his neck, and, as a test of his trust, sends her to lock the door. He glares after her as she exits, shaken. “Don’t try to run. I can catch you.” The clock ticks. She makes her way, unlocks the door instead, and walks right into his arms. Disappointed, he backs her into the house and instructs her to hang it back around his neck, locking the door audibly and walks her back to the bedroom.
“Sit still, or I can’t keep him off you.”
Francis tells her to feel his shotgun, sliding it under her chin as she tries not to cry. He sadly wishes he could have trusted her. She begs him not to hurt her. Dejected he sits on the bed. “It’s all over for me. I can’t give you to him. He will bite you.” He pours fuel on the carpet. Better she go with him, he says as he lights a match. She screams.
Music: La Fille aux Cheveaux de Lin by Claude Debussy, also in 3×11 “…And the Beast from the Sea.”
“Oh, Reba, I can’t stand to watch you burn,” he lisps, then shoots, carnage hitting her. She drops and pulls the key off of the ruined skull, crawling with a blanket over her head. The clock ticks as flames lick the ceiling and roll over an antler trophy.
Source for all GIFs
Hospitalized, she sucks a piece of ice, repeating that she put her hand in it. Will promises to come back by. She jokes that she’s irresistible, then stares off. He reassures her, explaining that Francis was trying to stop, that she probably saved lives.
“You drew a man with a freak on his back. There is nothing wrong with you.”
She’s frustrated by the crazies attracted to the blind. “Not just the blind,” Will says.
Will opens the gates of the memory palace chapel as Hannibal carefully snuffs out a candle. “Ding dong, the Dragon’s dead,” Will announces. Hannibal asks if congratulations are in order, but sobers at Francis’ suicide. Back in his darkened cell, he tells Will’s quest to kill someone. But at least Dr Chilton got his.
“I admired it enormously. What a cunning boy you are.”
Will protests—he wanted to stop the Dragon. His family is safe now, so he can go back home, if there’s a point… “Is there any point?” Hannibal inquires quietly.
Will presses that he and Molly want it to go back the way it was, but Hannibal doesn’t give up.
“You’ll see it’s not the same. The unspoken knowledge will live with you like unwanted company in the house… When life becomes maddeningly polite, think about me. Think about me, Will.”
Will leans on the plexiglass heavily, reminding Hannibal that Will rejected him. Just before he leaves, Hannibal asks if it was good to see him. “Good? No.”
Will returns to his motel room, and Francis tackles him. W. T. F. Later, Francis splashes him awake. Will is surprised to find himself unharmed.
“Your face is closed to me,” Francis realizes. “You think you understand, don’t you?”
“I understand that blood and breath are only elements undergoing change to fuel your radiance,” Will repeats, Hannibal’s voice echoing behind his.
Hannibal betrayed Francis, and Will can relate. Francis wants someone to share with, now that he’s stronger than the Dragon. “Lecter is who you should change,” Will advises.
Team Sassy Science reviews the evidence—grandma’s old dentures and a new acrylic pair. The old pair was in the shotgun-blasted body, who was actually a random missing guy. They sarcastically pantomime how the whole thing went down, Jack realizing that his “key routine” ensured Reba would find the body. Will lures Jack into his idea of a faked Hannibal escape as bait, but Jack doesn’t catch on and agrees.
Bluebeard’s Wives session. Bedelia’s careful face falls; pouring liquor, she castigates his thoughtlessness. Think again if he thinks there will be an advantage, she advises, but he already feels it’s “degrees of disadvantage.”
“He who holds the devil, let him hold him well. He will hardly be caught a second time,” she whispers.
But Will’s made his final transformation: he can’t live with or without Hannibal and is prepared for an extreme act of cruelty, to quote her. He’s found religion.
“I’d pack my bags if I were you, Bedelia. Meat’s back on the menu.”
“You righteous, reckless, twitchy little man. You might as well cut all our throats and be done with it.”
“Ready or not, here he comes.”
The fuel un-pours over Chilton’s face. Alana visits him in the hyperbaric chamber to remind herself what Hannibal is capable of. Will Graham, he corrects, and her, the roper. Who is she roping now? He laughs at her answer, thinking he might want Hannibal’s skin among his graft donors.
“You were never comfortable in your own skin, Frederick. You wouldn’t be comfortable in Hannibal’s.”
Alana offers Hannibal the deal, but he blows them off, wishing Frederick a “don’t be ugly” get well. She’s pissed he won’t just agree, but he points out that logically they should either kill him or give back this things. She promises they will if he cooperates. He wonders at her trust, reminding her that every moment since his kitchen has been borrowed. “Your wife, your child. They belong to me.” She bargained for Will’s life and he spun gold.
More liquor. Alana tells Jack and Will that Hannibal expects Will to say please. Meanwhile expect the flight of the Valkyries, because everyone knows this is most likely going sideways. Let them, Will says; in fact, let everyone think he helped. And then? They kill the Dragon AND Hannibal. “To the devil his due,” Jack proclaims. Is that… legal?
Will enters the Norman Chapel to say his final goodbye, but Hannibal is salty, making him repeat his final words.
“I believe that’s what they call a mic drop. You dropped the mic, Will, but here you are having to pick it back up again,” he says, now restrained in his cell with orderlies present.
Will smiles, admitting he needs him. The perpetual motion balls click through the background noise. He advises Hannibal to place a classified to meet Francis at a mail drop. Hannibal knows it’s weak, but Will says he’s their best shot and leans in, “Please;” then he steps back and swaggers a little. Hannibal smiles.
As the convoy progresses, suddenly a police car pulls to the head of the line, and Francis shoots the front escort dead. The van crashes. A silencer fires through the blur. Francis opens the back door and walks away. Hannibal steps out cheerfully and removes his straps and mask, calling to Will that Francis won’t kill them in public. Just relax, Will! He hauls the driver’s body out of the cruiser, pulls up next to Will, pushes the other dead officer out, and leans over. “Going my way?” He certainly is.
Slow-mo. Jack observes the disaster scene. Alana and Margot lead their son to a helicopter behind the Verger estate.
Will and Hannibal walk to the edge of a tall bluff with a triangular house, looking down to the crashing waves. Hannibal notes that there was more land when he was there with Miriam and Abigail. Will exhales. “You and I are suspended over the roiling Atlantic. Soon, this will all be lost to the sea.”
Bach, Aria of the Goldberg Variations (also in 2×11, “Ko No Mo” and Silence of the Lambs). Will looks out into the night as Hannibal, now in a suit, pulls out some wine and polishes the glasses, asking if Will intends to watch the Dragon kill him. “Change you,” Will revises. Hannibal’s compassion for Will is inconvenient, Hannibal says; like compassion for cows when you like beef, Will finishes. Hannibal snickers and pours.
“Save yourself. Kill them all.”
“I don’t know if I can save myself. Maybe that’s just fine.”
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
They acknowledge that the Dragon is watching them now, as a shot cracks through the glass, Hannibal’s stomach, and the wine bottle. He falls in shock as the entire window shatters and the black-leather-clad Francis steps through, aiming at Will. “Don’t run. I’ll catch you.”
Hannibal, panting, says hello. Francis greets him as Will sips his wine. Suicide is the enemy, Hannibal says, describing how Francis was seized by fantasy, a step beyond alone. Francis kneels to start filming his death, melding with the strength of the Dragon. Hannibal deems it a glorious idea.
“Watching the film will be wonderful, but not as wonderful as the act itself.”
Francis unclicks a short switchblade as Hannibal looks at Will, who touches his gun, perhaps unable to allow this after all. Surprise! Francis plunges the knife into Will’s face, leaving him volcanically coughing blood, and throws him onto the patio. Will pulls the knife from his face and stabs Francis, who pulls and stabs again. As he pulls Will up for the kill, Hannibal leaps onto his back, but Francis flips him forward.
The Dragon opens its wings and stalks toward Hannibal, grabbing him by the throat. Will stabs the Dragon once more. Hannibal grabs an axe and hamstrings Francis one leg at a time, then steps back and looks Will in the eyes. He again leaps onto Francis’ back, holding him for Will to slash his guts open as Hannibal bites his throat out. Blood erupts from his throat as the winged Dragon collapses. Hannibal retreats to a predatory crouch.
Slow-mo Bond sequence. “Love Crime,” written by Siouxsie Sioux for this finale. Francis burns his books and paintings, the lines of the attic turning to blood pouring from him onto the patio. “It really does look black in the moonlight,” Will gasps. Hannibal pulls him up into his arms, blacks and grays and red against the surreal first light.
“See? This is all I ever wanted for you, Will. For both of us.”
“It’s beautiful,” Will agrees, folding into Hannibal’s neck.
Hannibal soaks this moment in, clutching Will’s shirt as Will embraces his arms, then his neck…and pulls them both off of the cliff.
Kicker. Bedelia wears low-cut finery, breathing carefully, at a formal dinner setting for three. A Kahlua pit-roasted leg trussed in ti leaves lays smoking on the table. Her leg. She pulls the seafood fork down slowly…
(Callback to Clarice Starling in Hannibal)
It’s hard to believe this masterpiece series is over. From episode 1, Hannibal subverted every expectation, proving that the story could be rewritten and aired on network TV, and that even a story about a cannibal serial killer could be beautifully seductive and appetizing. Indeed, this finale was nothing short of a lush communion between the fans, the actors, and the story, from the music to the scenery. I loved it.
As for sensory cues, the ticking clocks to the clicking perpetual motion balls set us on edge, reminding us of time’s crucial element, not only for the characters but for the series. The classical music pieces harkened back to earlier episodes, familiar cues and themes, and ended with a modern but haunting James Bond movie-esque ending. Colors were extremely muted, mostly grays and blacks, so the orange-red of the fire, Alana’s shirt and lipstick, and blood… so much blood… stood out. In fact, the final scene broke network TV records on amount of blood in a single scene.
Until now, viewers and characters were waiting for Will to snap out of the haunting limbo that his relationship with Hannibal left him in. Here, Will ultimately comes to grip with the idea that it’s just not going to happen, that to kill Hannibal in order to avoid becoming Hannibal will most likely end in his own death. But even as he’s prepared to allow the Dragon to finish the work, the gun touch suggests Will may have been on the verge of taking it back. Will’s statement about rejecting Hannibal serves two purposes: one, to goad Hannibal’s ego in their love/hate game, and two, to tell him and us that Will actually manipulated Hannibal into action, putting them on equal footing in the relationship. Will would never have broken it off expecting it to stay that way—the only breakup Will was interested in is the one that ends this story.
Throughout the episode, Will is very obviously on the edge of breaking with his better self—the crazy-face camera edit in Bedelia’s office and his strained voice show that he’s prepared to do this thing, something Bedelia understands to her extreme chagrin but Jack, blinded by the endgame, doesn’t quite hear. Hannibal sees the veneer immediately, but agrees to the true arrangement behind Will’s eyes, like a date invitation between a long-term couple. This is the consummation, a Marriage of Murder, a sacrament of blood and water and death, complete with an implied resurrection.
The blocking of their Dragon slaying was glorious. The way their bodies moved, seemingly empowered by the passion of the killing moment, was truly animalistic, calling to mind a hunt of small vicious predators taking down a magnificent but less cunning beast. In the aftermath, Hannibal turns his face against Will’s, like a cat baring its throat for a trusted companion, perhaps not entirely romantic, but as primal and compelling as love. This is not a happy ending but a satisfying one, although Bedelia’s appropriate and inevitable feast suggests more to come.
As for the future of the series, the showrunners seem to have moved on from looking for another series distributor and are considering a movie, perhaps crowdfunded, or even a miniseries on Starz once Fuller’s first season of American Gods has aired. At that point, the stars may all be free again, but it won’t be any time soon. Thanks for sharing this delicious series with me, Fannibals. To the creators, writers, actors, food stylist, and everyone else involved, a standing ovation and bravo.