All those weeks ago when Hannibal first hit our screens, the main draw of the show was likely sheer curiosity. With the shadow of Anthony Hopkin’s character cast long over cinematic history, many probably tuned in to see just how this new adaptation would compare. Over the weeks that have passed since, these same fans will have seen an entirely new, and unique, show unfold before their eyes, and what a show it has been. Now finally reaching its season one finale, Hannibal has proven that it can more than stand alone as one of the most intriguing and sadistic shows of its kind, with its last episode Savoureux proving to be deserving end to a show of this high quality.
After the events of last week, Hugh Dancy’s Will (as usual) is feeling a little on the strange side. Thinking himself to be the last person to see Abigail (Kacey Rohl) alive before blacking out and waking up miles away, he is unable to remember what happened between them. Unknown to him of course is that his not so good friend Hannibal (Mads Mikkelson) has removed Abigail apparently once and for all. Having not seen the murder, or a body, it would be understandable to think that maybe she is still out there somewhere, but this might be getting ahead of ourselves. The difficulty with this is that as a show, and as a character, Hannibal has been playing the long game, with Savoureux serving up some of the tasty results.
Immediately from the nightmarish opening of the episode, which sees Will throwing up a human ear into his kitchen sink, alarm bells surely ring. Knowing that Hannibal is responsible for the disappearance, and assumed death, of Abigail, the sheer scope of his planning and preparation for this episode begin to appear. As the weeks have progressed, there has always been a tension between whether or not Hannibal is intending to help Will, or to frame him for his actions. Those questions are severely put to rest as Hannibal’s final moves reveal the extent of his efforts to not only escape suspicion, but trap Will with planted evidence and quiet words to Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne). The final “proof” of Will’s guilt is so precise and perfectly executed that any doubts as to the depth of the show are set aside.
With Will in captivity, Savoureux is an episode of technique as well as drama. The slow moving camerawork, twitching lenses and somber mood give the it an almost detached feeling, as though the trap that Hannibal set for Will so long ago is now inescapable. This provides some truly dramatic moments in an episode full of memorable scenes, particularly those with Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas). This character has always seemed at odds with the rest, seemingly more empathetic and compassionate than any other. In a show of manipulation, scheming and callous acts, Bloom’s presence becomes abundantly clear in this finale, as her protests and perfectly played emotional outbursts match the frustrations of all those watching from their living rooms. Caroline Dhavernas has remained the emotional and moral center of the show throughout, and it is a satisfying thing to see her efforts pay off in an episode which places her reactions up there with any of the show’s elements.
As the episode continues, repeated techniques from throughout the series become all the more effective now that their focus has shifted against Will. The common view of two characters sitting across from each other, or the use of physic driving by Hannibal (who previously has proven his knowledge on the subject) to convince Will he is a murderer, are all the more effective now that their uses have reached this point. It is the inevitability of these moments, the choice-less assumption that there is nothing that can be done to save Will from Hannibal’s ploy, that make it all the more engrossing to watch unfold.
And what better man is there to act as this mastermind than Mads Mikkelsen’s Lecter? Truly, the season has seen this actor take subtlety to a new level, to the point where it is almost impossible to make out his true feelings. This warrants the use of Dr. Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), who clearly shares a past with Hannibal that has allowed her to enter his confidence, to know more than anyone else would be safe to (just ask Abigail). The scenes between Mikkelsen and Anderson have grown into being the most interesting to watch, as each tiny sliver of information about their past is revealed and a greater sense of their relationship is built.
With the climax coming less as a cliffhanger and more a simple yearning for continuation, Hannibal has not only served up a great final episode, but a great first season. Mikkelsen is a joy to watch, particularly the very last shot which reveals his truly cruel and malicious nature to Will who, under the confidence of Hugh Dancy’s consistently engaging performance, has a lot yet to give. After a finale like this, season two cannot come soon enough.