‘Hannibal’ Season 1 Finale Review – The Final Course

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Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal Savoureux Hannibal Season 1 Finale Review – The Final Course

It’s fitting that, as so much of the Hannibal storyline has come full circle, closing the Garret Jacob Hobbs/Abigail Hobbs plot that was interwoven throughout the larger Will Graham/Hannibal Lecter narrative, the season finale would utilize the considerable talent of David Slade to close out what has been a fantastic season with an episode that expertly brings one chapter to its conclusion, while readying the next arc with an unsettling smile on its face.

Slade set a strong visual standard with the season premiere and bolstered that aesthetic with ‘Potage,’ and wisely, the other directors who came in to helm an episodes all managed to stay well within the visual parameters established by Slade, granting the season an even deeper sense of cohesion and depth. And in that regard, while the writing for ‘Savoureux’ was superb, and possibly some of the best all season, bringing the first Hannibal arc to a close with such visual balance really helped to demonstrate why this series is a cut above.

But ‘Savoureux’ isn’t all gruesome tableaus and nightmarish crime scenes teetering on the brink of impossibility. Instead, the finale manages to take the events, the crimes and, most importantly, the victims, of the past 12 episodes and bring them all to the party, as an example of how each episode – even the ones that may have felt like little more than a throwaway – mattered in terms of the series’ understanding of its characters within the larger setting of the BAU and cases like the copycat, the Chesapeake Ripper and Minnesota Shrike – the one that kicked this journey off.

Laurence Fishburne in Hannibal Savoureux Hannibal Season 1 Finale Review – The Final Course

And that understanding of character helps to make the inevitable arrest and incarceration of Will Graham all the more harrowing, as his colleagues and friends are asked to process him and evaluate the nearly insurmountable amount of evidence pointing to him as the copycat killer.

Will’s friends in the BAU are as sickened by the possibility of his crimes as they are tormented with the idea they failed to see the warning signs. The episode grants Laurence Fishburne and Caroline Dhavernas some excellent scenes, giving both actors plenty to do in a relatively fast paced episode. Jack is naturally beside himself, conflicted by his desire to use Will as a means to save lives and his inability to stop when it appeared his tool had begun to crack under the pressure. Dr. Bloom, meanwhile, is particularly great in her one-on-one Will where she asks him to draw a clock, and again when she quietly tells him she will take care of his dogs for as long as he needs.

But it’s Hettienne Park as Beverly Katz who once again uses her time on-screen to demonstrate how her character fits into the larger framework of Will, Hannibal and the BAU. Naturally, she’s upset as the evidence she’s collecting points a rather conclusive finger at her friend and colleague, but unlike Jack, Alana and Hannibal, she doesn’t have a significant emotional investment. Sure, she’s compassionate, but as opposed to the others, there’s nothing Beverly wants from Will in return, so when she tells him to look at the evidence, there’s no avoiding what it says – about Will and to him.

Hugh Dancy in Hannibal Savoureux Hannibal Season 1 Finale Review – The Final Course

In that regard, the finale turns inward in a manner different to the pensive hallucinations that have populated the latter half of the season. Rather than unleash a bewildered Will onto some desolate road or the woods in the dead of night, the hallucinations corner him; they make him look strange, paranoid and, most of all, guilty. But looking at the evidence, Will acknowledges he could have killed Abigail Hobbs, but the timeline of his illness doesn’t match with the other killings, meaning he has to have been set up.

And that’s when the episode turns its focus outward, using Will’s impaired mental state to bring him to an unpleasant understanding of the man he trusted. And the realization that he will soon be incarcerated in a place he fears above all else, because he failed to see the darkness of Dr. Lecter before now, is as powerful and upsetting as the intimation that Dr. Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) is better acquainted with the other side of Hannibal than anyone had suspected (whether or not she knew she was eating what was left of Abigail Hobbs is another matter, however).

Much of this season depicted mental illness in many forms and as it went on, it also began to look at the often-tragic consequence of its failed diagnosis. As Will stares back at Hannibal through the metal bars separating them and coldly regards his visitor as “Dr. Lecter,” it’s clear that Hannibal was beyond Will’s perception because he is not a psychopath, but something else entirely; something much worse. As it appears Will now recognizes this fact, one wonders what kind of terror the concept of clarity will bring to season 2.


Hannibal returns for season 2 sometime in 2014 on NBC.

TAGS: Hannibal
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  1. What a wonderful ending to this season. When Hannibal goes to see Will and you hear that beautiful piece of music from the movie Hannibal, it was just so satisfying. Bravo

  2. the ending scene was a crowning moment of awesome for Lecter

    • You know nothing john snow!

  3. I love Hannibals final smirk. He is so evil

  4. I always knew Dr. Lecter had something sinister up his sleeve for Will. His “psychiatrist” is in on it too. That woman is as crazy as he is. Some please help Will Graham! Cannot wait for Season 2!

  5. This show is a masterpiece, epic! From the acting to the filming just fantastic! The sheer diabolic yet debonair demeanor of Dr. Lecter in contrast to Will Grahm’s initial clarity to dementia and psychosis…just genius. Only criticism is they make these fantastic shows (Hannibal, The Following, etc) and make us wait so long for the next season. Cmon!

    • The Following doesn’t belong in the same sentence as Hannibal. That’s a melodrama serial killer show.

    • Please. The Following wishes it could even be compared to Hannibal.

      The Following was a complete waste of the talent involved. Complete & utter waste.

      Hannibal is breathtakingly amazing.

      • I don’t know if you’ve watched a british series starring Gillian (Dr. Lecter’s therapist) called “The Fall” !

        It is equally breathtaking as Hannibal.

      • Couldn’t agree more. Fantastic. The picture,acting,Madds.

  6. Can anyone say cliffhanger! Hugh dancy is one hell of a director/actor! I see multiple Emmys as well! Mads Mikkelsen portrays Hannibal to a T! So daft & debonair! But pure sociopath! Far beyond the psychopathic realm that the movies put fourth!

    • Hugh Dancy is only an actor. He’s never directed anything.

  7. The writing and character psychology of the show are fantastic. Each and every moment gives the impression that nothing is there as filler, it’s like watching a meticulously chiseled piece of art.

  8. What a fantastic finale! Will’s on the wrong side of those bars. As a mental health professional, love the Draw a Clock test! Very well done. This show is a work of art!!

    • Say, what is the significance of the draw a clock test? I didn’t quite get my fill on that.

  9. I have a feeling that Freddie Lounds is going to be instrumental in proving Will’s innocence. She gives the sense that she knows or intuits that there’s something very off about Hannibal, and I don’t think she thinks that Will is a killer.

    • Yeah I agree. Especially since Abigail is dead, her character needs a new purpose on the show now.

    • Except Freddie has always had a grudge against Will and is probably happy about his incarceration. If anything she’ll use it as chest pounding material to say she was right all along.

  10. The greeting ( ” Hello Will ” ) and that smirk was priceless. Hannibal’s such a naughty naughty boy and he knows it. He looked very satisfied like a guinness just finished a masterpiece. One can almost hear him whispered.
    ” This is my design “

  11. this show is absolutely outstanding! The casting has been spot on and the talent and chemistry of Mikkelsen and Dancy has been perfect. Love the writing and the subtlety while leaving just enough to the viewers imagination, which to me is always the most entertaining because it allows people to draw their own conclusions. NBC needs to give this show a full 23-24 episode season and fast.

    Cannot wait for next season!

    • The next season will also be 13 episodes. Fuller wants short seasons so he doesn’t have to do as many “Killer-of-the-week” filler episodes so he can get straight to the “meat” of the series. I hope they exonerate Will by at the latest the end of next season, him sitting in a jail cell trying to solve gory serial murders in a 4×4 room doesn’t sound all that appealing. I know if they want this show to survive their gonna have to go less-killing, more plot-heavy, I just hope it’s not in a cell. The show’s creator mapped out 7 seasons worth of content, and I don’t think the Will Graham/Hannibal dynamic could go on that long… so I would like to see that storyline end Season 3 or 4, and then introduce Clarice Sterling and roll with that, but that’s just me, probably won’t happen.

      • All seasons in Fuller’s planned seven season arc includes Will Graham. Also, MGM won’t give up the rights to Clarice Starling so he intends to just introduce a similar character in the fourth season.

        • Where did you get this info? Curious, I’d like to read the article.

  12. I’m not usually one to complain about waiting between seasons but boy do I wish season 2 started next week!
    Also, as soon as this season hits Netflix I’ll be re-watching immediately.
    IMO Hannibal has joined the ranks of Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones as Cinematic TV.
    The masterful direction, production values, cinematography, writing and score are among the best I’ve ever seen on TV or Movies.
    Absolutely amazing!!!
    Season 1 Grade. A (9/10)

    • I’m also curious what people think about the scene with Hannibal and Dr. Du Maurier?
      Not only does it seem to me that she knows what Hannibal is but I got the impression that she knew there’s a chance that she might not have been eating actual ‘veal’…
      Also who else was thinking the ‘veal’ was Abigail Hobbs?
      Dear lord this show makes me think about horrible stuff. 😉
      Back to Dr. Du Maurier…
      As recently as last week I thought she wasn’t sure about Hannibal but was afraid of him and that’s why she continued to treat him. But like I said before the scene from this weeks seemed to imply something entirely different.
      I hope Gillian Anderson is elevated to a series regular next season because I want to see more of her character and her interactions with Hannibal.

  13. the season finale was pretty amazing. Especially the final scene were hannibal visits will. He just gives him that evil smile. Cant wait for next season

  14. The final scene was great. I loved it when Will says, “Nice to see you Dr. Lector.”

    • Will never said that, it`s all in your mind…you are scary 8[


  15. Here’s hoping there are some award show recognition for Mads. He is not doing a Hopkins impression. Just a straight-up diabolical genius. I almost bought his teary-eyed exchange with Dr. Du Maurier until the smirk he gave Will. The only thing that upset me this episode was at the end when the announcer said new episodes begin next year. Hooray for 2014.

  16. This is the second review I’ve made this comment in. How do you know Abigail is dead? Ear? Check. Small body part in fishing lure? Check. Blood under Wills’ nails and on the kitchen wall in Minnesota? Check. Body? No body. Period. She may very well be dead, but given Lecters’ deviousness, I seriously suspect she is not seriously dead and will be playing a part next season. How am I the only one seeing this?

    • “How am I the only one seeing this?”

      Probably because you’re most likely wrong.

    • I agree, it`s pretty obvious there was no tableaux for this one. on the other hand, in the tradition of Garrett Jacob Hobbs there may be no part wasted.
      and Lector definitley was devastated during the talk to Du Maurier, why should he pretend that feelings? so maybe he sees Will as his pupil from now on, we will see where his guidance leads 😉

    • For one, I don’t think she would recover from that amount if blood loss. Then again, Hannibal is a doctor. However it was heavily insinuated that that was not veal that Hannibal was serving to Dr. Du Maurier.
      An important thing to factor in when considering if whether or not that is Abigail or one of Lecter’s other victims is the type of meat Lecter has previously masqueraded as various animals (sheep’s tongue/brains, liver, lungs, etc.). But veal is the meat traditionally from young cattle, which was the show’s way of telling you (or perhaps Lecter’s way of telling Du Maurier?) that it was indeed Abigail.

  17. One thing: I could not believe how easily mislead Crawford seems to be here; and to a certain extent, the entire BAU. I guess that was the point, however.

    • Well, I mean the evidence is insurmountable. Jack (and the rest of the BAU) have watched Will slowly come apart at the seems. He’s loses tine. He went on a trip to Minnesota WITH Abigail, and returned without her. Oh, yeah and he tacked up her ear. The possibility of a setup does not immediately spring to mind.

  18. Pff… yeah, good point.

    A couple more things I’ve surmised is that when Will gets shot by Crawford, ending up in the exact same position Hobbs was, Will utters that same words: “See it, see it”. I strongly suspect that was directed at Jack, meaning “See the truth”.

    Also, when Hannibal steps into the cell room at BSHFTCI, he takes a moment to smell the area or to take it in before he walks, perhaps because he knows that, eventually, this will be HIS home.

  19. All i can say about this show’s first season:

    1. Give Hugh Dancy an emmy already!
    2. AMAZING and thoughtful dream-like scenes all season.
    3. Cohesive and engaging writing (all of the “filler” stuff didn’t even feel that way to me).
    4. Mads Mikkelsen is giving me the creeps,he was simply top notch.

  20. The view from the other side; how surprising to see that walk down the cell corridor ending with Will Graham seated behind the plexiglass/bars and Dr. Hannibal Lecter in front, looking in. WOW! Simply an incredible ending to an incredible show.

  21. I’m just getting into this show, love what I see but don’t have the time to watch every episode. Does anybody have suggestions for the best or least missable episodes? I’d really appreciate any help.

  22. Brilliant, believable characters, an intriguing antagonist, stunning, grotesque scenes and classical music make Hannibal the greatest TV show I’ve seen in a long time. Will Graham needs help. Poor guy just wants his dogs.