All the fuss over the last couple of months about NBC’s cancellation of Hannibal may have been distracting us from just how perfect Season 3 has been — from the European-flavored surrealist horror of the first half of the season to the slow-simmering brutality of the back half, creator Bryan Fuller has not only expertly crafted the perfect ending, but he’s also created one of the greatest love stories of contemporary television. Do we really need another season of Hannibal?
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Hannibal may yet enjoy his last meal later on tonight with the airing of Season 3 finale “The Wrath of the Lamb” (or on Saturday for American viewers), and we may have a taste of the fourth season. Our beloved cannibal appears to be on the lam (heh) once more in a new trailer for the Season 3 finale.
God, the devil, the dragon and the lamb — in Hannibal’s eyes they are not at all dissimilar, as most things remain slippery in his mind palace. Everything tends to bleed and blur together in his orbit, as evoked in the persistent motif of layering one character’s face over Hannibal’s own. Divided by the glass partition of his cell, it’s easier to blend Jack or Will or Alana’s faces with Hannibal’s, as they stare at each other from either side of the glass and Hannibal delivers his weekly sermons on the currency of evil.
I’ve stayed quiet about Hannibal since the Red Dragon arc began — this half of the season has been slowly simmering and less surreally theatric than the first half. It’s not that it hasn’t been interesting, but there’s been less meat on its bones to chew over. Not so with “…And the Beast From the Sea,” in which Hannibal Lecter essentially proves why you should never break up with him.
The recent casting of Hannibal star Hugh Dancy in a new Hulu drama put yet another nail in the coffin of Bryan Fuller’s magnum opus, though we still have at least two more installments before the Red Dragon arc comes to an end. See for yourself, as Dr. Lecter finally get his iconic mask in the first photos of August 22 (series?) finale “The Wrath of the Lamb!”
Granted, we’ve known for some time that Hannibal stars Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen were released from their contracts, it’s a different kind of gut stab to see them actually line up new gigs. Dancy at least, is off to a fine start, joining Breaking Bad alum Aaron Paul in Jason Katims’ new Hulu faith drama The Way.
At the midseason mark, Hannibal has a moment of readjustment, switching gears almost effortlessly to transition into the future — three years down the line, and Will Graham is experiencing his Godfather moment. Just when he thought he was out, Jack Crawford pulls him back in to investigate the Tooth Fairy, a name our new killer despises, as “The Great Red Dragon” is more to his demented liking.
The sun seems to have set on NBC’s Hannibal beyond a third season, with Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy released from their contracts, and creator Bryan Fuller suggesting a feature followup may prove more likely. Still, with talk of Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs canon off-limits, could Fuller’s fourth season plans point toward Clarice Starling after all? The Season 3 finale title might …
In some ways, Hannibal almost reads like a fan fiction version of the Hannibal and Will Graham story — without forcing its two leads into a sexual relationship, that is. The love between Hannibal and Will is so twisted, so deep, and so accurately explores relationship dynamics that it’s almost more chilling than watching an eel slide down Mason Verger’s throat, or the awful realization that there’s a human baby inside of that pig.
NBC may have dumped the remainder of Hannibal Season 3 on Saturdays, but Dr. Lecter and co. will not go quietly, moving into full Red Dragon territory for the final six episodes of the season. Our first spoilery photos have arrived, as Hannibal finally faces life behind glass, while Francis Dolarhyde begins his reign of Tooth Fairy terror.