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A Cliffhanger on a Cliff: The Series Finale of HANNIBAL

Warning:
Bloody Spoilers

images-2Unfortunately, the highly touted and much anticipated season/series finale to Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal, creatively adapted from Thomas Harris’ bestselling novels — Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising — was both predictable and disappointing.

Predictable if you’ve read any of the books or seen the movie concerning Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage), who is attempting to “become” the Red Dragon.

images-14Disappointing since the final scene was unrealistic and even fictionally unbelievable, despite its uniting Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) in an attempt to defeat Dolarhyde.

imagesThe episode began with Dolarhyde attempting to kill his kidnapped girlfriend Reba (excellently portrayed by Rutina Wesley), who, though blind, managed to escape the burning house.images-8Then the FBI, meaning Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), and Will Graham — the last two are no longer even associated with the FBI in any capacity — arranged to have Hannibal “fake” an escape, with Will accompanying him.

UnknownSome reviewers have suggested that this highly improbably plan was inserted to show the immorality of all the characters on the show, even those who are supposedly on the side of law and order.

I’d suggest that, instead, it showed the completely unrealistic, fantasy approach Hannibal has taken to (even fictional) serial killer(s)– in this last, disappointing season — as opposed to how real serial killers are regarded and treated by anyone with an ounce of brains in his head.

images-1Furthermore, anyone who’s seen the show in previous seasons and who remembers Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) and his escape,

imageswould have anticipated that Hannibal — who is far more clever and resourceful than Gideon, or than anyone else on the show, for that matter — would successfully manage to escape, no matter his restraints, fetters, guards, etc.Untitled-33

Before the FBI put this ludicrous and predictable bound-to-fail plan into effect, however, there were several scenes of characters warning other characters that Hannibal was “getting out,” and of other characters predicting what would happen should Hannibal really escape during his faux escape. images-18Danger, Will Robinson, Danger, Dr. Chilton (Raul Esparza) might have been saying, but no one would have been able to understand him, given the fact that Dolarhyde bit off his lips and tongue, then set fire to him.images-6After Will informed Dr. Bedelia du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) — Hannibal’s former psychiatrist and lover — of the silly plan, she turned to Will and said, “You righteous, reckless, twitchy little man.”

images-26Twitchy.

It gave me one of the best laughs of the series that didn’t come from something Hannibal himself said or did.images-3Hannibal himself warned former colleague and lover Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) that he’d come after her, her wife Margot (Katherine Isabelle), and child, but the two women were later shown escaping to safety, their son in tow.

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So, of course, in case you hadn’t guessed it, during the faux escape, Hannibal escaped, taking Will with him to some house on a cliff.

But Dolarhyde, good little dragon that he is, did manage to follow the two, i.e., “take the bait,” and arrive in all his dragon-splendor on the cliff to fight Will and Hannibal.images-9

It was a gruesome and bloody fight, with lots of phallic penetrations of weapons, leading ultimately to Dolarhyde’s metaphorically “fiery” death,

images-19followed by yet another “erotic” embrace between Hannibal and Will, climaxing with their “spiritual” joining.

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Will (of the blood, recalling a previous statement by Hannibal to Will): It really does look black in the moonlight.

Hannibal: See? This is all I ever wanted for you, Will. For both of us.

Will: It’s beautiful.

And then Will, his arms wrapped around Hannibal, and Hannibal’s around him, thrust himself forward, sending Hannibal and Will over the cliff.

A cliffhanger — for a series that will not likely be renewed by being picked up by any other network or company, given the disappointingly poor quality of its final season — on a cliff.

Off a cliff.

Over a cliff.

From a cliff.

Whatever.

A cliffhanger on a cliff.

Seriously?

If the series hadn’t been cancelled before, it would’ve been axed after the finale.

But wait, there’s more.

images-7Cut, after the credits, to Bedelia, in a gorgeous gown, sitting at the head of a table set for three, with a strange “roast” on the table.

images-13Pull back to show Bedelia with her left leg — I mean, the stump of her left leg — revealed as she sits in the formal gown at the table.

Waiting.

Luring Hannibal — and Will, I guess, since the table was set for three — back to her.

Creep-o-la to the max, my fellow Fannibals.

And sad.

The first two seasons of Hannibal were brilliant re-imaginings of one of the most notorious, intriguing, and frightening literary characters in the 20th century: Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter.

The final season looked like something — lots of things, actually — just thrown together after creator-writer Bryan Fuller already knew the show was being cancelled.

The finale was an insult to the faithful viewers.

Ah, well, all the actors and the creator have bid us farewell — Mads sent us Fannibals a “bittersweet goodbye” and a kiss in a video.

I suppose we faithful viewers must bid Hannibal farewell, too.

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The Cannibalization of HANNIBAL

Unknown-1On 4 April 2013, when creator-writer Bryan Fuller first brought his vision of Thomas Harris’ serial killer Hannibal Lecter — from the novels Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising — to prime-time network television, Fuller brought 4.36M viewers a stunning and unique interpretation of a well known literary and film character.

Mads Mikkelsen’s subtle and nuanced performance as Hannibal, combined with skilled performances of his co-stars, and the imaginative “filling in the blanks” of Hannibal’s story before the books took place, were all exciting and intriguing while staying true to the Hannibal in Harris’ books.

That’s unusual in book-to-screen adaptations.

This year, however, the ratings are falling faster than autumn leaves in a wind-storm.

What on earth happened to Hannibal?


Hannibal & Bedelia

UnknownAt the end of season 2, after Hannibal (Mads, above) escaped from his furious assault on virtually everyone else in the show, and flew away with his former psychiatrist Dr. Bedelia du Maurier (Gillian Anderson, below) — which appeared after the season 2 Finale’s end credits — viewers and critics were almost deliriously excited about where the show would go in season 3.

images-5The ratings for the premiere of season 3, while not as strong as those for the initial episode of season 1 of the series — 2.57M — were still higher than the ratings for the finales of seasons 1 and 2 (1.98M and 2.35M, respectively).

05HANNIBALRECAP1-blog480The premiere of season 3 was a visual and dramatic departure from the first two seasons, taking Hannibal and Bedelia from Maryland to Florence, and involving them in a “romantic” and sexual relationship, despite the fact that Bedelia knew exactly what Hannibal was, as well as what he’d done.

images-12I was one of those who raved about the first three episodes of the third season. The chemistry between Gillian and Mads was as riveting as the chemistry between Bedelia and Hannibal.

“Erotic” was a mild term for their interactions, whether Hannibal was washing Bedelia’s hair,

Unknownor just standing there behind her, bare-chested, before he kissed her, making it very clear that their relationship was much more than platonic.

Even when they were killing someone and serving him to their dinner guests (Bedelia ate oysters instead of the main course), the chemistry between the two was striking.

images-2The scenery was lush;

images-15the environs were exotic.

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Season 3,

Espisodes 1-3

Yet, true to the books and the show’s characters, at the start of Hannibal Season 3, the threat of violence always bubbled just under the surface. Some characters — like Tony the poet (Tom Wisdom, below, R) — noticed Hannibal’s and Bedelia’s name change from Paris to Florence, and lost his life for his loose tongue,

while other characters, like Sogliato (Rinaldo Rocco, below) resented “Dr. Fells” (Hannibal’s victim and new persona) appointment, and was killed for his constant complaints,

images-11as FBI officials like Will Graham (Hugh Dancy, below) searched for traces of Hannibal’s whereabouts.

imagesOften, the dialogue was snappy and funny in a horrifying way, like when Hannibal stabbed Sogliato (Rinaldo Rocco) in the temple with an ice-pick and Bedelia, tiring of the victim’s giggling-rambling monologue, yanked it out, “technically killing” him herself (as Hannibal pointed out to her when she chastized him for killing two victims from the same place).

Unknown-2


Bedelia’s Secret

This season, we’ve learned lots of secrets, like what Hannibal’s hold over Bedelia was: she’d killed her patient, and Hannibal had helped her clean up the mess and “protect” her after making her ask for his help.

images-23


Abigail’s Complicity

We’ve learned what happened to Abigail (Kacey Rohl), daughter of serial killer Garret Jacob Hobbs, and subsequently the “surrogate daughter” of both Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. Abigail was supposed dead — “murdered” by Will Graham, who’d “eaten” then vomited up her ear. We were treated to a scene where Hannibal staged her death, and showed her complicity — which looked a lot like excitement — in it.

images-3


Pazzi & Il Monstro

We’ve been introduced to Inspector Pazzi (Fortunato Cerlino), who’s been hunting Hannibal for years, knowing him as “Il Monstro,”

images-1and who attempted to sell Hannibal to Hannibal’s victim Mason Verger, only to be killed by Hannibal himself.

images-31


Chiyo

We’ve been introduced to Chiyo (Tao Okamato),

images-8who was keeping one of the men who killed and ate Hannibal’s little sister Mischa prisoner in the basement of Castle Lecter.

images-2After killing the prisoner, following Will to Florence and shooting him, Chiyo seemed to disappear.


Mason, Margot, & Alana

We’ve been through the story of Mason Verger (Joe Anderson, replacing Michael Pitt, who played the character in s2), post-cutting off his face and feeding it to Will’s dogs, per Dr. Lecter’s instructions,

images-30and his sister Margot (Katherine Isabelle), who endured a forced hysterectomy because her brother didn’t want a Mason heir who would take away his fortune.

images-42But Margot became sexually involved with Hannibal’s former lover Dr.  Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), who had a child with Margot, a Verger heir, after Hannibal helped the two women “milk” Mason’s sperm in return for helping Hannibal escape from Mason and his pigs.

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The Tooth Fairy
& the Red Dragon

Facially deformed Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage), dubbed “The Tooth Fairy” by tabloids, who is “becoming” the “Red Dragon” has been in several episodes,

and last night, after Francis took his blind co-worker Reba (Rutina Wesley) to see a tiger, Francis and Reba had sexual relations. More than once.

images-53


Will Graham

Will now has his own family, complete with wife Molly (Nina Arianda) and son,

images-57yet he’s been drawn back to Hannibal in order to stop Francis Dolarhyde’s next “full moon” killing of another family.

images-63What?

Was that a photo of Will Graham talking to Hannibal Lecter in jail?

Yes, yes it was.

Because in the middle of the season, Hannibal surrendered.


Hannibal, Not Rising

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If Hannibal surrendered, which seems completely out of character, then all forward momentum of the show disappears.

With Hannibal in jail, he’s not much of a threat.

And, frankly, he’s not very interesting.

Despite putative rumors about a “show-down” between Francis Dolarhyde and Hannibal Lecter in this season’s finale, the show has deteriorated to the point where it has lost millions of viewers.

Literally.

Ratings are down more than 50% since the beginning of the third season: 2.57M for the premiere to 1.05M viewers last week.

Compare those numbers with the season 1 premiere: 4.36M viewers down to 1.05M.

Ouch.

It’s not the fault of the actors, who seem to be doing the best they can given the fact that, after Hannibal surrendered, he doesn’t have too much to do, so everyone sits or stands around talking about him, or to him, as the situation requires.

What a dreadful waste of talent.

Worse, it’s downright dull.

It’s so dull, it’s soporific.

And I think it was intentional on Bryan Fuller’s part.


Bryan Fuller

UnknownThere have been moments of true artistry this season: the scenes in Florence, the interactions between Hannibal and Bedelia, the sexual relations between Alana and Margot.

There have been instances of serious threat and foreboding: the scenes at Castle Lecter, Chiyo’s stalking of Will and Hannibal, Hannibal’s planned feast of Will’s brain for Will and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), Mason’s capture of Hannibal and Will.

But there’s nothing really staggeringly new and exciting about Hannibal any longer.

How could there be?

Halfway through the season, Hannibal was in jail.

There’s no more threat.

There’s no more Urgency.

There’s no more… spark.

Even Bryan Fuller said, of season 3 of Hannibal, “it’s actually a 6-episode Red Dragon mini-series.”

images-54I find that story-line one of the weakest in the series of novels, though I know it has its fans.

Apparently, those Dolarhyde-fans are not watching the show.

It seems to me that Bryan Fuller simply lost interest in his own version of Hannibal’s story and character.


Farewell, Hanniba
l

images-62I know there are fans who are still hoping for another season of Hannibal, but I don’t believe Fuller ever planned more than three. He only had a 3-year contract with NBC. His cramming so many story-lines into this final season, along with the fact that he’s already signed to do another show (though he claims that he’d stay “involved” in Hannibal were it picked up by another network) would seem to indicate that he never intended to be with Hannibal beyond this third season.

images-60Instead of giving loyal viewers — and brilliant actors — a riveting, engrossing, award-winning “final” season, we’ve been given a show that has declined so miserably in its writing and story-lines that ratings are falling faster than Hannibal’s victims were in the first two seasons.

How unfair.

How very disappointing for the fans.

How sad that we must say “farewell” to Hannibal against our will.

hannibal

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