After the shocking finale of last season, which saw most of the main cast facing certain death, it was hard to imagine how Hannibal could possibly return for its Third and ultimately final season. Starring Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt) as the titular character, and Hugh Dancy (The Big C) as the neurotic FBI profiler tracking him down, this third time around was a bumpy road of ups and downs
There’s a clear division in the season that sees the first few episodes following only Hannibal after having fled to Italy along with his former psychiatrist, Bedelia (Gillian Anderson). These episodes mark the first step away from the shows normal procedural type structure, ditching the case of the week that we saw in the previous two seasons, and instead allowing us to focus solely on Hannibal himself. In what can only be described as a collection of episodes that are as equally indulgent as they are dripping with tension, they play more like a continuous LSD induced trip rather than the coherent storytelling we’ve been used to so far.
The show makes a point to hold back on revealing the fates of Will (Dancy), Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) or Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), and when it finally does, it moves towards a new storyline that focuses on the ‘Red Dragon’ serial killer that terrorises whole families. For the most part, Frances Dolarhyde as the demented and macabre killer was a delight to see realised, and his attempt at a relationship with the blind Reba (Rutina Wesley) was a tense ride.
While showrunner Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me) felt confident enough to play around with the show’s format, it would be likely that the first few episodes were perhaps too much of a step away from the norm, causing some viewers to tune out and leading to it’s eventual cancellation. Getting such an introspective look into the world of Hannibal though was something that’s been a long time coming, and his complex relationship with Bedelia provided some of the shows greatest moments. The only weak point here was the introduction of Tao Okamoto as Chiyoh, a character linked to Hannibal’s past, but who never felt to leave any significant mark on the story.
The shows undoubtable high points included the return of characters like pesky reporter Freddie (Lara Jean Chorostecki), and the snarky Chilton (Raul Esparza), and the resolution of the Mason Verger (Joe Anderso) storyline that was almost like a series finale in and of itself. Of course, the main dish here was the connection between Hannibal and Will, with their relationship never having been so multi-layered or complicated, and with both actors doing some of their best work, their fates in the finale were a fitting conclusion to a great series.