Their bodies taste the metal and with it comes the blood-soaked conclusion that closes the book between one profiler and one surrealistic killer. Hannibal takes the known and casts it aside to tell it’s own version of endings that fits the parameters of all episodes that preceded them. When characters plummet, there’s always a chance to rise again, but there’s a healthy assurance that whether their lives continue or not, one thing is for certain, they accepted each other’s strength and weakness for but a fleeting moment, then let go.
The symmetry was for the most part intact. I’m left feeling generally satisfied with how events played out, however the hang-ups I do have don’t detract too much from my overall assessment that we were given a grand finale that made the most sense and was the most deserved. There were no plans to leave thing open for season 4 to handle the “Silence” treatment yet if it snows in hell, then never say never. Some questions do linger most notably the depiction of Bedelia and her insatiable urge to settle as Hannibal’s meal, but I’ll get into that leg of it a bit later.
Francis sets up his death by presumably shooting himself after setting his house on fire with the intention for both he and Reba to die in. Reba escapes believing Francis is dead and converses with Will on the matter. Will says his goodbyes to Hannibal but is later found by Francis who forces Will to help him meet Hannibal face to face. Will returns to Jack and with Dr. Bloom they plan a scenario that sees Hannibal escape from his confines with the intention of dispatching both him and the dragon. While traveling, Will and Hannibal’s car is attacked by Francis, who kills all the cops and drives away. Hannibal takes a cop car and drives to his old home with Will accompanying him. At night, Hannibal treats Will to a glass of wine but is shot through the stomach by Francis. He arrives and intends to film his murder of Hannibal but Will attempts to shoot Francis from behind. Francis stabs Will in the side of the face and shoulder as the three struggle toward the outside of the house. Will and Hannibal work together and kill Francis taking in several wounds. In the final scene, Will and Hannibal embrace by the cliff’s edge with Hannibal saying this was all he ever wanted for the both of them. Will whispers that it’s beautiful and then pulls himself and Hannibal off the cliff toward the ocean hundreds of feet below. In the post-credit scene, Bedelia is seen sitting at a table for three with her left leg dressed as the entree on the table. She patiently waits for Hannibal to arrive and eat her.
Rather than conclude the tale with Francis once more attacking Will with his family, the tale is turned inward and he now wishes to kill Hannibal on his path to changing into the red dragon. While I completely agree this idea was the appropriate way to go, I can’t help but wonder logistically why Will went along with it without tipping anyone’s hand. He never informed Jack or Bloom that Francis was “making” him find a way to join him to Hannibal which I thought was strange. Even their plan collectively to have Hannibal and Francis killed wasn’t spelled out in any discernible way. Jack and Bloom weren’t at the house, and for that matter neither was Chiyo so none of them could have any hand in the plan they were making with Will. Not to mention all the cops who were murdered but I don’t think they intended on Francis to attack while they were on route, which begs the question, where were they actually going? Were they going to pretend stop somewhere and then get attacked? It’s not a huge issue but my main concern was that Jack and Bloom really didn’t have any last scene to wrap up any lingering issues they had. Jack kind of did earlier in the previous episode when he declared Hannibal was the devil. And I suppose Bloom and Chilton’s final scene together was meant to address any mental concerns she had. Something felt underwhelming about getting Francis to make Will pretend to get Hannibal released, but in the end it was to get the three of them alone in that house which happened and that’s what we needed. Logistics aside, the ends justified the means.
The bloody act itself was likened to fighting necessary evil. Will and Hannibal worked together which I think is something fans wanted to see since the beginning. Opposite forces destroy the common enemy and for the time given it was a savage piece of art. I really didn’t expect Will to keep fighting after that first stab wound in the face. I looked at it again and I still think he should have bled out, but he fought on and even sustained more wounds that surely would done him in had he not tossed himself and Hannibal over the edge. I believe Hannibal would have survived his gunshot and other wounds as well. But the nature of these cuts and flesh tears that permeate this show is that the human body is tough and resilient and can survive a lot of pain. Which brings us to the next topic.
Did they actually die from falling into the ocean? Poetry and a flair for the dramatic demands the answer be yes. Will accepted the beauty in Hannibal’s over-arcing vision but still had to put an end to the violence he had done and likely would continue doing. As far as the fall goes. In real life, smacking the ocean at a height like that is just the same as hitting pavement and if you have enough speed to hit terminal velocity, the act is that much more gruesome. Having said that, people have survived falls like that and sustained only broken limbs for the effort. So if the story demanded it, yes, they could both survive. Hannibal could be recaptured and season 4 could continue with the Silence plot, but we all know that’s a non-issue and this ending was the feather in that cap because they knew it too. I choose to believe they met their end mainly because Hannibal accepted Will’s choice to leave that cliff. If Hannibal wanted to live, he would have and this show was always about his driving force. If he gives up, then his body won’t survive. He can always make the best out of a bad situation, but this time, he felt it was okay, because Will finally understood what Hannibal was all about.
That epic final fight. It all built to that moment and seeing Will and Hannibal tear into Francis as a pair was brutal and fierce. It tops out their embrace and suicide at the end because the finale prepared us for that the second they began talking about the cliff and erosion earlier in the day. It was easy to pinpoint what the ending would be, but not necessarily how they reached it. The fight was the payoff and I for one enjoyed the hell out of it.
Will and Hannibal are the dual winners in this clash and rightfully so. The ending needed to focus on them specifically and together they shared enough true moments that capitalized on their brilliant acting ability. In a way one could argue that Hannibal knew how everything was going to play out when he mentioned the cliff with Will, supplanting the idea in his head that they were meant to topple over after they took out Francis. If only they were able to share their last drink where could the conversation go, but forever in reflection on their lives and what got them there.
In the post-credit scene, Bedelia sits alone with a hopeful look that Hannibal will be in attendance. Then there’s a close-up of a right hand picking up a fork on a plate, but then the next shot shows Bedelia moving her left hand down to her side. The camera focused on the fork suggests that its opposing against Bedelia’s sitting position and the hand picking up the fork looked very male. In essence, either Hannibal is in fact there or she’s imagining him there partaking in the meal that is her left leg. However the chair on the opposite end remains pushed in also suggesting that she is in fact alone.
Something else that makes me wonder is why the leg? I kept thinking that there’s some erotic nature with Bedelia wanting to be devoured, but if her leg is already detached, then the devouring aspect is really just the eating act itself and she just wants to watch and experience it as a spectator rather than be the physical meal. She wants Hannibal to enjoy her more than any meal he’s ever had because she’s above the “pet” or the annoying client or anyone else that Hannibal normally considers to be live-stock. Her devotion to being worthy demonstrates that there’s a mountain of wrong in her mind, yet there she was, ready and willing to be the decadent meal he always intended.
I go back to logistics, but according to the scene, Francis held the body up to shoot it with the shotgun and it somehow stayed standing long enough to drop like a normal living body would when it’s shot point blank with the shotgun. I’m curious how fast Francis had to act to put the key around his neck and stand him up after he leaves Reba’s side.
I’m surprised there were no more scenes with Will’s family. I suppose any sentimental moments would have given away some aspect of the ending and they didn’t want to distract Will with believing he had to make a choice between them and Hannibal. It also doesn’t have to clarify if Will intended to make it out of Hannibal’s house alive originally, but he did carry a gun so there’s that.
9 out of 10. Some of the logistical nitpicks held this from being a perfect score, but otherwise it was the proper finale with the right characters an the right setting to be had. Hannibal and Will shared more than just a bond of opposing ideals, but the fascination of Hannibal’s killing spirit and Will’s reluctance to tap into that spirit made their relationship super conductive. They could sit down and have layered philosophical discussions from dawn to dusk and as long as there were things to discover within each other, they’d play at those roles with Hannibal the ever guiding hand. I believe they had a strong finish, with Bedelia being left at the table. In hindsight, she represents our own unresolved state that the show was cut before its time and we won’t have our final meal to enjoy. It will just grow cold. I’m satisfied with the ending and with the show in general. Brilliant images cascading through the imaginative and cultivating fine pieces of storytelling that will resonate for some time. I always thought Hannibal Lecter was the definitive villain in all of literature, but now I can see that when translated gracefully, he can be that same unique and elegant villain in all forms of media. Thanks for reading.
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