The 5 most shocking moments of the ‘Hannibal’ finale

Hannibal Lecter

Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter

In lieu of a final review, we decided it would be best to break down the “Hannibal” season finale by its five most shocking moments. For a show that dedicated itself to never being dull, the finale was no exception, and these five scenes are ones fans are sure to remember forever. (Warning: if you haven’t seen the show, spoilers are below).

Death of the Great Red Dragon

After demanding awe from blind ex-girlfriend Reba last week, Francis Dolarhyde (a.k.a. the Great Red Dragon) tested her to see if she was trustworthy, instructing her to find her way downstairs and lock the door. Reba, of course, tries to make a run for it but is caught and Dolarhyde punishes her, setting the house around them on fire before committing suicide. The scene itself is breathtaking, as fire envelops the whole of the screen. Ultimately, Reba manages to escape and reports to Will Graham what transpired inside the house.

Resurrection of the Great Red Dragon


Except that Dolarhyde didn’t actually kill himself. He took advantage of Reba’s visual impairment to leave a false body in his place. Eventually Will is able to reason with Francis and convince him that killing Hannibal would be far more satisfying than killing him, and the two set about making a plan for such events to take place. Their interaction is gritty and tenuous and it’s always unclear who’s manipulating whom, but that Francis was alive at all was shocking enough to the audience. (That is, the audience unfamiliar with the source material.)

Actual Death of the Great Red Dragon

When Dolarhyde meets his end in earnest, it’s at the hands, or, rather, blades of both Will and Hannibal. While it’s not shocking that the two men are able to get the better of the serial killer, the way the events played out were so precisely choreographed and the fight scene that ensued so visually stunning, that they transformed the death of a legitimate monster into something balletic and moving. Though a strange testament to the quality of the series, it’s possible that no series used blood spray as poetically as “Hannibal” did. 

Over a Cliff


Though going over a cliff is typically seen as a bad thing, “Hannibal” found a way to take its final moments over a cliff in the best possible way. Knowing that the only way that Hannibal can be stopped is by giving up his own life and, perhaps, overwhelmed by his own emotions when it comes to the manipulative sociopath, Will takes Hannibal over the bluff that the two are standing on, into the rocky waters below. Though the two are locked in an embrace at the time, it’s impossible to tell precisely what’s going through Will’s mind when he makes his choice. What’s easier to discern is the operatic beauty of the gesture and the sad inevitability that no matter what the future held for Will and Hannibal, they would be entwined.

The Future is Now

It wouldn’t be right for “Hannibal” to give its audience no hint about what the future held for the characters beyond the end of the show, so fans who were patient enough to wait around through the credits, were rewarded with a scene of Bedelia Du Maurier, former companion of Hannibal Lecter, sitting at an impeccably decorated dining table. But that’s not particularly shocking. What’s shocking is that apparently what’s being served for dinner is Bedelia’s leg. There is an empty place setting at the table and as the camera pans down, we see Bedelia clutching a fork, readying herself for whoever took her leg to come back. This brilliant moment implies so much, including the fact that Hannibal Lecter lives to fight another day and wreak his vengeance on those who wronged him. Fans can only hope that showrunner Bryan Fuller can find a way to tell more of this story at some point in the future.  

Follow me on Twitter at @midwestspitfire.

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