Hannibal Recap Episode 3.13 – The Wrath of the Lamb
After spending a few episodes in the margins thanks to his incarceration, Hannibal has slowly been creeping back into the center of the frame, incubating in his prison cell like a monster in a cocoon. “The Wrath of the Lamb” finally lets him break free and stretch his wings.
It also demonstrates how far Hannibal has come. In the beginning, Hannibal was a solitary figure operating alone. The final episode restores Hannibal’s charisma, but he now shares the spotlight with Will because he recognizes how much richer life can be when you have a partner able to appreciate your accomplishments.
The episode begins when Dolarhyde uses Reba to stage his own suicide before coming back from the dead to ask Will to set up a meeting with Hannibal. Will complies, hatching a plan that involves a fake escape attempt that becomes a real escape attempt after Dolarhyde takes out Hannibal’s convoy.
What’s fascinating is that everyone just sort of assumes that Will’s scheme is going to go awry, treating Hannibal like the most dangerous person in the room even when he’s in a straightjacket. Like the Dragon, Hannibal is a force of nature that can’t be resisted. Alana and Bedelia both know exactly what’s going to happen, though only Alana has the good sense to flee the approaching storm.
That inevitability makes Will complicit in the fallout. He’s consciously freeing Hannibal knowing full well that it endangers many of the people around him. “The Wrath of the Lamb” is his becoming, his way of forcing the players to react to him instead of waiting for the Dragon to make another move.
It all builds to a showdown at a secluded house near a cliff, where Hannibal and Will reaffirm their mutual affection and then join forces to kill Dolarhyde after he arrives. Afterwards, Hannibal and Will embrace at the top of the cliff and savor the view. Hannibal has finally shown Will the family life that they could have shared with Abigail at the end of season two, and Will’s response – a simple, poignant “It’s beautiful” – is a perfect coda for the series. Hannibal has always been a show about striving for greatness, and it concludes with a final, extraordinary triumph.
Together, Will and Hannibal have slain the Dragon. They have faced unprecedented trials and emerged victorious, standing transformed and glorious following their encounter. The achievement is truly beautiful. Will and Hannibal then plummet into the sea, two fated lovers wrapped in each other’s arms.
There’s a scene after the credits in which a terrified Bedelia sits at a table set for three with her own leg as the center of a feast, which mostly serves to create some ambiguity about the fate of the protagonists. If the show somehow does manage to get renewed, it won’t be too difficult to resurrect Will and Hannibal following their comic book demise.
However, I can honestly say that I no longer care if Hannibal returns. “The Wrath of the Lamb” is a satisfying conclusion with no major loose ends left untied that allows the series to stand as a completed work of fiction. Over the course of three seasons Hannibal explored relationships, agency, and the courage needed to acknowledge and pursue the things we want, taking advantage of its surreal premise to reach depths that would have been impossible in a more naturalistic setting. Like Will and Hannibal’s final act, the show is a singular accomplishment for everyone involved, and I’d rather appreciate what we have rather than pine for what might have been.
Hannibal was a tremendous ride. We all feel the need to be understood even though we so rarely understand ourselves, and no other show so artfully reflected the existential challenge that comes from being human.
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