I know it’s over, still I cling
I don’t know where else I can go
-The Smiths, “I Know It’s Over”
As we all know, “The Wrath of the Lamb” is the last episode of the third season and possibly ever, but more on that later. First, the recap. Get your drinks ready; you will need them.
— Loretta Ramos (@lorettaramos) August 30, 2015
— Loretta Ramos (@lorettaramos) August 30, 2015
Dolarhyde has just told Reba he’s the Dragon. He then tells her to get up and stand by the bed. He provides her with specific instructions to take a key that’s hanging around his neck and go to the front door and lock it. She does, but then Actual Ninja Francis Dolarhyde is outside waiting when she tries to escape. He is displeased. Back in the bedroom, Reba’s fear is palpable. “Sit down and keep still,” Dolarhyde growls, “Or I can’t keep him off you.” “Please try,” she quavers. Dolarhyde asks her to feel his shotgun (not a metaphor) and rests it under her chin. He is on the verge of tears. “I wanted to trust you; you felt so good.” Sensing his moment of weakness, she jumps at the chance to agree and begs him not to hurt her. “It’s all over for me,” he states. The Dragon “will bite you.” He pours gasoline around the room and lights a match, and realizing what he’s planning, Reba becomes hysterical. “Oh Reba, I can’t stand to watch you burn.” Then Francis Dolarhyde blows his head off.
Covered in blood and brains, Reba crawls to the corpse and takes the key, then finds her way to the front door to escape. Then, she’s in a hospital, sucking on an ice chip and talking to Will Graham. She tells him how she “put her hand in it” after Dolarhyde shot himself in the face. Will tries to console her, taking her hand and explaining “people who study this kind of thing say that he was trying to stop, because you helped him.” Agitated, she responds, “I drew a freak.” Will protests: “You drew a man with a freak on its back.” (There’s nothing wrong with me, uh, I mean, you Reba.) She discusses how the blind are wary of fostering dependency and Will muses that it’s not just the blind that do that.
Will then meets Hannibal in their shared mind palace version of the Palazzo to inform him “Ding dong, the Dragon’s dead.” Now in his cell, Hannibal says, “it’s a shame that you came all this way and you didn’t get to kill anybody.” He then congratulates Will on Chilton, calling him a “cunning boy” with more than a little lasciviousness to his tone, but Will plays dumb, insisting he only came back to stop the Dragon. Hannibal asks Will if there’s any point to him going home but Will claims that he likes his life there. “It won’t be the same,” warns Hannibal, but Will says, “Molly and I want it to be the same.” Hannibal asks Will to think of him, not to worry about him, but to think of him. Will approaches the glass, stretching his hand across it and sighing. He reminds Hannibal that he only turned himself in because Will rejected him. “Goodbye.”
But Hannibal isn’t done. “Was it good to see me?” “Good? No.” Will leaves.
At Will’s motel he is taken by surprise as Dolarhyde grabs him from behind and chloroforms him. When Will comes to, he seems surprised that the Dragon didn’t break his back. Dolarhyde: “Your face is closed to me.” Will: “If I can see you, you can see me.” But Dolarhdye taunts him: “You think you understand me.” Will says, “I understand that blood and breath are only elements undergoing change to fuel your radiance.” At that, Dolarhyde flinches and Will explains Hannibal said those words to him. Dolarhyde tells Will he wanted to share with Lecter but he betrayed him. Will says Dolarhyde needs to “change” Hannibal Lecter. Dolarhyde: “I want to meet Hannibal Lecter. How would I manage that?”
Team Sassy Science has also discovered Dolarhyde isn’t actually dead. He faked his own death by substituting someone else’s corpse, one with his grandma’s old dentures. (Ewww.) There’s some comedy when Price mocks him: “I can’t stand to see you burn! Boo hoo!”
In the hallway with Jack, Will has a proposal. He wants to bait the Dragon with someone he wants more than Will Graham: Hannibal Lecter. It’s obvious that Will has not told Jack of his recent meeting with Dolarhyde and we have to wonder if there was more to their conversation that we did not witness. (We also get the first of many of Will’s “Sassy Faces” throughout this episode.)
Will suggests a scheme where they take Hannibal into Federal custody and fake an escape. Next we see Bedelia and it’s clear from her facial expression that she does not approve of this plan. She pours herself some liquor to steady her nerves and insists that Will “Sassy Face” Graham will not be able to manipulate this situation to his advantage. Quoting Faust, she adds, “Who holds the Devil, hold him well. He will hardly be caught a second time.”
Will spits out his words: “I don’t intend Hannibal to be caught a second time.” Bedelia: “Can’t live with him, can’t live without him? Is that what this is?” Will: “I guess this is my becoming.” Bedelia calls him pathological and pours another drink. Will gets up to leave. “I’d pack my bags if I were you, Bedelia. Meat’s back on the menu.”
Bedelia: “You righteous, reckless, twitchy little man.” (I think you meant “twink,” Bedelia.) We wonder if there isn’t a hint of jealousy in her words. Will: “Ready or not, here he comes.”
Alana visits Frederick with flowers (not the same ones he trotted around in “Aperitivo” I hope) to remind herself what Hannibal is capable of. Frederick isn’t having it, and tells her it’s not just Hannibal to blame. She hints at Will’s scheme to bait the Dragon and Frederick expresses a desire to burn Hannibal alive. “Or maybe I would rather have his skin.” “Alana: “You wouldn’t be comfortable in his skin.” Frederick: “Are you?” (BURN. #TooSoon)
Alana visits Hannibal to present the “deal” to him and admits it was Will’s idea. Hannibal: “Do please tell Frederick if you see him I wish him a speedy convalescence and I hope he won’t be very ugly.” SMIRK. Alana agrees to restore Hannibal’s privileges if he helps them catch the Dragon. Then the old threat returns: “I might escape and kill you… you died in my kitchen when you chose to be brave, Alana. Every moment since is borrowed. Your wife, your child, they belong to me.”
Discussing the deal with Will and Jack, Alana informs them Hannibal wants Will to ask him for the favor and he wants him to say “please.” They agree that the plan is to kill Dolarhyde and then kill Hannibal but when Will suggests he accompany Hannibal for “authenticity” we feel a suspicion that there’s more to this than meets the eye.
Back in the Palazzo mind palace, Hannibal is surprised to see Will and says that “extra bit” about rejecting him was known as a “mic drop.” “Here you are having to come back and pick it up again.” (That wasn’t a microphone.) Will: “I knew you wanted me to know exactly where I could find you when I needed to.” Hannibal: “And you did.” Will: “I need you Hannibal.” (UH HUH WE KNOW ALL ABOUT THAT, TWITCHY LITTLE MAN.) Will presents a scenario in which they arrange for Hannibal and the Dragon to meet after Hannibal’s “escape.” Hannibal: “It sounds weak to you, even as you say it.” Sassy Face Will says, “Please” and Hannibal smirks and, oh yeah, there is definitely something else going on here.
The FBI van with Hannibal, Will, and some poor FBI grunt is accompanied by two cop cars when a third one comes up. Hey look, it’s Francis Dolarhyde and hey, he’s killing everyone EXCEPT WILL GRAHAM AND HANNIBAL LECTER. No, this wasn’t planned or anything. The van crashes in the insanity and then Hannibal climbs out as Dolarhyde drives off. Will seems cautious and Hannibal says, “You know Will, you worry too much.” Hannibal drags the dead cops out of the driver’s seat of one of the cars and takes the wheel. Opening the passenger door and pushing the other corpse out of the window, the cheeky cannibal asks Will, “Going my way?” IF ONLY YOU KNEW, DUDE.
Later a displeased but not shocked Jack Crawford surveys the carnage and a panicked Alana and Margot leave for an undisclosed location with their son.
The next day arrives and with it a place we’ve never seen before, some kind of secret Hannibal hideaway on the edge of a bluff overlooking the sea. How romantic! Hannibal and Will inspect the edge. Hannibal notes there was more land when he was there with Abigail and even more when he was there with Miriam Lass. “You and I are suspended over the roiling Atlantic. Soon all this will be lost to the sea.” (HINT HINT)
Later, in the evening, Hannibal, wearing the most hideous sweater and sport jacket combo ever (rivaling that hideous shirt from “Contorno”) opens a bottle of wine for his LOVAH and tells him that it wasn’t surprising when he heard from the Great Red Dragon, nor was it so when Will heard from him.
Hannibal: “You intend to watch him kill me?”
Will: “I intend to watch him change you.”
Hannibal: “Save yourself. Kill them all.”
Will: “I don’t know if I can save myself. Maybe that’s just fine.”
Hannibal: “No greater love hath man than to lay down his life for a friend.” (John 15:13)
Will: “He’s watching us now.”
Hannibal: “I know.”
THERE IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING ELSE GOING ON HERE.
Just then a bullet shatters the window and pierces Hannibal through the kidney. Will just watches as Hannibal collapses to the floor. Enter Francis Dolarhyde who points a gun at a very unfazed Will. Will, who sips his wine like:
Hannibal expresses happiness that Dolarhyde is still alive because “suicide is the enemy.” (HINT HINT) Dolarhyde ignores him and says he’s going to film his death and watch it again. Will just watches. When Dolarhyde pulls out a knife, Hannibal gives Will a pleading look and Will takes out his gun, but not before Dolarhyde stabs Will in the face and tosses him in the backyard.
Hannibal enters the fray to attack Dolarhyde. There’s an extended, brutal, perfect sequence full of stabbing and punching and kicking that follows. Will and Hannibal make eye contact and something unspoken and powerful passes between them. Will guts Dolarhyde while Hannibal leaps upon him from behind and tears out his throat with his teeth. The dragon collapses, blood pooling under him like wings as he remembers burning his scrapbook, his painting, his films.
Will: “It really does look black in the moonlight.” Hannibal Lecter has the biggest murder boner in world history. Will reaches out to him and Hannibal helps him up.
Hannibal: “See, this is all I ever wanted for you, Will… for both of us.”
Will: “It’s beautiful.”
Hannibal, speechless for once, can only nod as Will leans his cheek against his chest and then embraces him. Hannibal looks satiated and triumphant; Will looks peaceful.
Then, Will tugs at Hannibal’s arms and the murder husbands tumble off the bluff in an actual fax cliffhanger But we don’t see them hit the ground. The post credits scene is Bedelia at a table, with a cooked leg on it, and a missing leg of her own.
There is a lot of discussion on social media as to what really happened and what Will intended and how much Hannibal knew beforehand. I’ll remind you all of Hannibal’s comment to Will from Season 2’s “Su-zukana”: “With all my knowledge and intuition I could never entirely predict you. I can feed the caterpillar, I can whisper through the chrysalis, but what hatches follows its own nature and is beyond me.”
I won’t lie: I feel elated but also empty. I don’t know what the future holds for this show, but I know it has brought so much joy to my life that I hate to think this could be it, the end of all things. #NakamaForever
— AK Hannicat (@ak_hannicat) August 30, 2015
— Rebecca (@chairof_antlers) August 30, 2015
— Longpig (@sglongpig) August 30, 2015
— Mercedes (@MorningMercedes) August 30, 2015
— Gingerstag (@IsHannibalOnYet) August 30, 2015
Oh my god. It's over now. I can't wrap my head around that idea. I'll miss the show so much. I'M MISSING IT ALREADY. #HannibalMicDrop
— Sana ~INT~ (@sana_shiya) August 30, 2015
— Dire Ravenstag (@DireRavenstag) August 30, 2015
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) August 30, 2015