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There are spoilers in this review for show and book. Duh.

I’m just going to state first what happened in the books vs. what happened to the show. They deviated greatly from it, I think mostly because they never got the rights to Clarice. Their five year plan was hinging on getting Clarice, so when that didn’t happen, they reworked things a little. Hannibal’s little jaunt in Italy earlier this season was the plot of the book Hannibal, and Clarice was starring in that one, hunting him down instead of Will. That was post Silence of the Lambs. In the end of the book, Clarice decides to join Hannibal as his lover and fellow killer, or at least that’s the indication. So before there was a Murder Husbands ship, there was already a Murder Married Couple … okay there’s not as fun of a nickname for that. For me, the difference is that Clarice always knew that Hannibal was a murderer. It doesn’t make what happened to her any less messed up and manipulative, but Will’s always struck me as more of Hannibal’s victim than anything else. The balance of power is so strongly on one side, that they make me uncomfortable. If they ended the show with them falling off the cliff together, I would have liked that. The after-credit scene bothered me. But more on that. Previously on Hannibal: Everything. Also the Tooth Fairy has been seen, he burned Chilton, he’s been in contact with Hannibal before, and kidnapped his girlfriend Reba. Will can’t stop until they find him, because he knows where his family lives.

Right off the bat, we see Reba get terrorized by Francis, and then he sets fire to everything around them. He pretends to commit suicide, enough to convince her, because he can’t hurt her in the end. Or because he wants a witness to his suicide. Everyone thinks it’s over at first, and Will says a firm goodbye to Hannibal. Hannibal later calls it a “mic drop.” However he quickly finds out that Francis alive when he confronts him, and he decides to convince Jack to release Hannibal. They’ll use him as bait instead of Chilton this time. First off, it requires Jack being a complete f’n idiot to do this. I hate when smart characters are forced to be dumb in order for the plot to work. Everyone around them gets right away it’s a terrible idea. Bedelia knows Hannibal will come for her once he gets free, and accuses Will of doing it all on purpose. And he is. He doesn’t pretend otherwise. It’s pretty clear he thinks Hannibal will get away free and do whatever he wants, and he’s not sure if he’ll do anything to stop it or even cares. Alana also knows it’s only a matter of time before he hunts down her family, because he flat out says so. And yet still they go with this plan because apparently Jack Crawford is the biggest idiot of all time. It’s not like they could find other ways to find Francis, or put out alerts with his face, or make any other decision than setting free a notorious serial killer. He says they’ll kill both of them once Francis comes to get Hannibal. You’re living in a dream world, Jack. I’m sorry about what they did to your character here. You’d been great the rest of the season, and I will never forget the beauty that was your smack down of Hannibal in Italy.

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Hannibal and Will are on the loose and waiting for Francis to come to them. They have yet another of their pretentious and indirect conversations that frankly have started to irritate me rather than intrigue me. Francis attacks. A violent battle comes from there. Will and Hannibal get horribly injured, but manage to kill him together. By the way, we see Alana, Margot, and their kid fleeing, since they know what’s coming. I’m glad for that little moment because I was so worried about her dying. I mean she might some day, but for now, she’s out of there. Earlier on Chilton pointed out she’s as culpable as Will and Hannibal are for what happened to him. They all turned pretty dark over the course of the show. Will and Hannibal are recovering from the attack, and Hannibal says this was all he ever wanted for them. Murdering someone together, covered in blood, together, apparently. Will gives him a hug, and then pushes the two of them off a cliff. Where they’d been hiding had a cliff they made a point to show us earlier. Also Hannibal mentioned it was where he took Abigail and Miriam. Extra creepy, Hannibal. I would have been 100% satisfied with this ending. Will couldn’t deny that his ties to Hannibal were this strong, but it was his last ditch effort to end both of them by suicide. Hannibal didn’t seem to fight him as he pushed either. That would have been a fitting, if tragic, end. But after the credits we see Bedelia at a beautiful table, with her leg amputated and on display, as she sits terrified. Some people thought maybe she was doing it to preempt Hannibal doing it. Bryan Fuller specifically said there were two place settings at the table for a reason.

So the idea is that Hannibal and Will somehow survived the fall and their injuries and became Murder Husbands. I mean, it’s completely ridiculous and unrealistic, but it’s meant to be more of a wink to an audience than anything considered reasonable. I’m not so sure Will would immediately come out of this life or death situation wanting to be a cannibal, but we don’t know how long it was before the Bedelia scene happened. In any case, much like Clarice, the implication is that Will gave in to their connection and became his partner in crime. For me, this is bothersome, mostly because I do think of Will as someone who has been manipulated, gaslit, and abused by Hannibal over time. Their relationship is not the same as Clarice, which had its different sense of messed up, and I don’t know, it just felt disturbing and not in an amusing way. I get this show was always trying to balance what type of disturbing it was. It just didn’t work for me in the end, because I stopped rooting for all of the “good” guys. I don’t mind shades of grey, shades of grey are my favorite (BUT NOT FIFTY), but when you don’t care about anyone left on the show, it’s not as entertaining. And I wanted to punch Hannibal in his smug little face so much. He used to be amusing, but this season was irritating. So I was ready for it to end.

I would have loved to see what maybe this show would look like in the original idea of five seasons with Clarice Starling in the last two. But I feel like the show was ready to end. I was irritated through most of this season, outside of Jack beating Hannibal up, and I did enjoy Red Dragon parts. Richard Armitage did an amazing job in his role. Props to him. I am sorry for the Hannibal fans who wished it would be renewed, but I’m glad the actors will be free to take on new roles now. I’m interested in Hugh Dancy’s new show, and I know Mads has signed on for new movies. Good for them. Bryan Fuller always has a new story up his sleeve, so I’m sure he’ll figure a place to go next. Hannibal overall was a fascinating show. While I didn’t like this past season, one and two were fantastic. It was a visionary masterpiece. I’ve never seen something so beautifully grotesque. It took risks, it pushed the envelope, it wallowed in its weirdness. Those are all things I will always respect about it. I want people to keep trying new things, and to not fall back on the easy procedurals. I know people are mad that NBC canceled them, but NBC gave them a lot more free rein than they could have. It was a wicked, strange, and enticing show, and it overall did the Thomas Harris series justice. I’ll always prefer to see it that way, but on to new things for everyone. And I’m going to go re-read the books now.

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