Hannibal: 113 “Savoureux” (Finale) Review
Reviewed by Gabriel Bergmoser.
Coming into the season finale of Hannibal I wasn’t sure what to expect. Bryan Fuller has been very open about his seven season plan for the show, with season four covering the events of Red Dragon. This seemed to imply that we would get three seasons of Hannibal nearly getting caught but escaping capture, kind of like what Dexter has gotten away with for seven and a half seasons now. As such, I was ready for Will to almost uncover the truth about Hannibal, but for someone else to get framed at the last minute, or something.
What I was not expecting, was this. Savoureux was a perfect hour of television, by turns scary, moving and painfully tense. As far as episode openings go, Will vomiting up an ear was certainly a unique way to get things started. I still can’t quite figure out how Hannibal managed to make that happen, but as his elaborate framing of Will became clear, the cleverness of this season’s long game clicked into sharp focus. What’s particularly great about it is how Will is aware that he could not have committed those earlier murders, but every piece of evidence is to the contrary. It’s going to make for a hell of a sophomore season.
There was just so much in here to love. The showdown between Hannibal and Will managed something I thought the show could not do; satisfying the audience while at the same time taking the victory away from Will at the last minute. Yet now, free of his illness and gifted with the knowledge of who has been pulling the strings this whole time, we’re going to see a very different Will Graham next year. The battle between these two brilliant adversaries promises to be incredible.
And then there is the wildcard; Bedelia Du Maurier. I was holding my breath all through her and Hannibal’s dinner scene. Did she know just what she was eating? I feel like she did, but if so, just what does that mean? All the talk about the controversy of eating veal and references to Hannibal’s ‘pattern’ had me on the edge of my seat, waiting for a reveal that, in retrospect, I’m glad didn’t come. The speculation for now is just too much fun, and I sincerely hope Gillian Anderson returns for season two.
But for all the excellence of this episode, and there was a lot of it, what sticks in my mind is that final scene. It was one of the most perfectly executed and layered moments I have ever seen on television. The key is the use of the song Vide Cor Meum. It was written for the film Hannibal and, while that movie fell short on almost every front, the song stood out. It is full of melancholy, beauty, foreboding and a strange yet prevalent sense of inevitability. It is Hannibal’s song on almost every level and the way it is used in this final scene was nothing short of phenomenal. For long-time fans of the Hannibal Lecter saga it was a surprising little treat, especially coupled with the smart reversal of the iconic image of Hannibal and an FBI agent staring each other down through the glass at the Baltimore State Hospital. The scene summed up the creed of this first season perfectly; we respect and reference the past, but move forward by telling our own story. As Vide Cor Meum played, I realised that in this story it was inevitable that Will would be the one behind bars with Hannibal smiling at him from the position of freedom. But we know with absolute certainty that one day those roles will be reversed, and I cannot wait to see just how that comes about.
As a whole, this first season of Hannibal has been a powerful, intelligent, sometimes scary and always fascinating piece of television. While yes, I had issues with some of the case-of-the-week elements, the characterisation and overarching plot elevated this to something spectacular. If MGM concedes the right to use Clarice Starling and Buffalo Bill when the time comes, I believe that we are in for the definitive Hannibal Lecter adaptation, one that threatens to top even Silence of the Lambs. Based on the promise and quality of the first season alone, I would not doubt it. I cannot think of a television finale recently that has left me so shaken and desperate to see the next instalment. We’re in for a cruel long wait. But it’s going to be well worth it.