Hannibal Finale Recap: Appetite For Destruction

Hannibal Season 1 FinaleThe following recap contains spoilers from the Hannibal season finale. If you haven’t watched, flee! Everyone else, proceed.

So many thoughts and feelings about the Hannibal season finale – care to lend me an ear?

OK, that was too easy – hear this, there’ll be no more puns (except that one) moving forward. After all, we’ve got a lot to cover. Will is behind bars! Hannibal weeps! And Dr. Bedelia “If Mulder Could See Me Now” Du Maurier dines elegantly on… that totally isn’t veal, is it? Steel your stomachs, because it’s time to review “Savoureux.”

RELATED | Hannibal‘s Hugh Dancy Handicaps Alana and Will’s Romantic Prospects – “There’s Always a Future”

DEER GOD ABOVE | The episode opens with Will in the woods at night, brandishing a rifle and taking aim at a stag in the distance. The animal bolts and he fires. He keeps walking and eventually finds some blood on the ground; when he looks up, we get a split-second shot of a shadowy human figure wearing the stag’s antlers and then Will wakes up in his own bed, sweaty and kerfuffled like usual. It was just a dream, but neither he nor his pack of pups seem very relieved by that. Maybe it’s because, as Will realizes when he gets up and see his feet covered in mud, he’s done the time warp again.

Graham staggers to the kitchen and takes some pills, then convulses and vomits into the sink. (Gross.) He’s horrified to realize he’s hocked up a human ear (even grosser), which is basically unchewed (grossest, but impressive). Next thing we know, Hannibal’s pulling up to the house, where a shivering Will tells him that he last saw Abigail Hobbs in Minnesota. Oh, and he hallucinated killing her, “But it wasn’t real. I know it wasn’t real.” Dr. Lecter says it’s time to call Jack.

FACTS DO LIE | When Will can’t tell his boss what the FBI will find in Minnesota, Jack has him taken in for processing. (Side note: Hugh Dancy spends a lot of time on this show in boxers and a tee shirt, no? Not that I’m complaining…) We learn he had a folding knife in his pants pocket, which doesn’t seem like it’ll help his case; neither will whatever Beverly scrapes from underneath his fingernails. (I wish I could speak to this scene in more detail, but ever since Twin Peaks, I can. not. handle. any televised nail manipulation. Thank goodness Beverly announces, “This blood is real, Will.” The girl’s got my back.)

Unfortunately, she does not have Will’s. She admonishes him for working even though he felt unstable. “I thought I would get better,” he says in a forlorn voice. She demands that he examine the evidence and come to a conclusion. “According to the evidence,” Will says, starting to cry, “I killed Abigail Hobbs.” Man, Dancy is nailing it in this episode.

FROM BAD TO WORSE | Alana and Jack talk in his office. It’s a great scene but there’s a better one that follows, so here are the quick takeaways: Alana’s mad he pushed Will even though he knew the profiler was fragile, Jack says Hannibal – her recommendation, he points out – never indicated Will was in trouble, and the ear in Will’s belly was definitely Abigail’s. After a steering wheel-punching freakout in her car, Alana visits Will while Jack watches through two-way glass. Will inadvertently outs their romantic whatever-that-was from a few episodes back and tells her, “Guess you dodged a bullet with me.” She sadly replies, “I don’t feel like I dodged a bullet. I feel wounded,” and she cries as she tells him she’ll care for his dogs “until whenever.” The two of them are so broken it makes me ache; Will’s line about having a scream “perched under my chin” is one of the best I’ve heard on any show from the past season.

As Alana’s giving him some standard tests, Will asks if she’s going to have him draw a clock like Hannibal did. Her psychiatry-spidey senses start tingling and she has him repeat the exercise. You know she’s thinking this might help her pal… but she doesn’t yet know that the FBI has found pieces of all of the Copycat Killer’s victims in Will’s hand-tied fishing lures.

Will is unaware of this, as well. When he finds out, he tells Jack he’s being set up by someone close to Jack – or maybe even by Jack himself. “My biggest fear is that we’ll learn that you knew what you were doing the whole time,” Jack responds, conveying sadness and anger and frustration in his cool tone. Crawford reads Will his rights and has him shipped to medical lockdown, but along the way, a desperate Will manages to overtake his guard and the ambulance driver and escape.

SPIN, DOCTOR | During a session with Dr. Du Maurier, Hannibal placidly weeps over the loss of both Abigail and Will. The lady shrink recommends that if Will is to be rehabilitated, Hannibal not participate. (The way the scene is shot – all darkness and angles and reflection – is gorgeous, by the way.)

Lecter’s rare show of emotion is gone by the time he meets with Alana and Jack and lies about Will drawing a perfectly normal clock for him two weeks earlier. He then recounts the circumstances surrounding Garrett Jacob Hobbs’ death in a way that makes Will look hella guilty.

Later, Hannibal looks up in his office to see Will crouched on the balcony. “How are you feeling?” he asks. “Self-aware,” his patient deadpans. (Heh.) As they verbally deconstruct the crimes, Will has visions of the corpses painted in black, capped with a reappearance of the man wearing the stag antlers. (I may be wrong – the shot is fleeting – but is that actually Mads Mikkelsen in the horns?) A wary Will asks Hannibal to take him back to Minnesota, and the doc obliges.

At the Hobbs house – wait, did they drive from Maryland to Minnesota? That’s a 20-ish-hour trek, according to Google Maps. After some talk about how they’re both loners, Will suddenly has clarity regarding his psychiatrist. “I am who I’ve always been. The scales have just fallen from my eyes,” he tells Hannibal, pointing a gun at his head and having a small breakdown as he realizes that Lecter did everything because “you were just curious what I would do.” (Uh Hannibal, you don’t need a cracked-out clock sketch to know it’s time to get outta there.)

Jack creeps in and trains his gun on Will, then shoots him as the profiler is about to shoot Hannibal. In a nice callout to the pilot, blood spatters on Hannibal’s neck as Will falls to the exact corner of the kitchen where Daddy Hobbs breathed his last. The last thing he sees before passing out is a shadowy stag standing next to Jack.

CHIANTI, ANYONE? | As Will lies in a hospital bed while he’s treated for brain inflammation, Hannibal brings Bedelia dinner. They share some cryptic conversation about the veal they’re eating —  ugh, that’s Abigail on the plate, isn’t it? – then Dr. Du Maurier warns, “You have to be careful, Hannibal. They’re starting to see your pattern,” citing his proclivity to develop relationships with patients prone to violence. (But I’m happy to note that Gillian Anderson’s character is very alive by the end of the season, which is a major accomplishment on this show. I hope she’s back in the fall.)

Soon after, Hannibal enters the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane and – a la Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs — walks along the cells until he comes to… Will’s. The former FBI hired gun is now a jumpsuit-wearing inmate. And as the two men exchange barely civil hellos, the episode closes.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the serial killer drama’s first season finish? Grade the episode via the poll below, then back up your choice in the comments!


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Älskling says:

    The ear was in the sink, not in his stomach. Will just didn’t see it until he returned to wash the pills down.

  2. kelsey says:

    This was without a doubt one of the best season finales I watched. I had even missed a couple episodes and was able to follow well enough. I have to admit I was a little worried about Gillian’s character surviving, too. Creepy scene, and I don’t even want to know what the ‘veal’ really was. Great performances all around, and the tone and artistry were brilliant. So glad it’s coming back! Thanks for the recap.

    • CR says:

      Is it just me, or does Dr. Du Maurier seem to be onto Hannibal’s crimes? At the end of the book Hannibal, Starling chooses to be with him, it even implies she joins him in his crimes. I’m wondering if Dr. Du Maurier will take that role in the show since I don’t think there is any intention of bringing this story up to date where Silence of the Lambs starts off.

  3. Iris says:

    Loved that they used the opera music from “Hannibal” the movie and Will is wearing the prison jumpsuit and greets Hannibal a la Sir Anthony Hopkins in “Silence of the Lambs.” Hello Clarice.

  4. Josh says:

    So is that how next season will be, while I’m guessing Alana tries to clear Wll’s name? Very interesting.

    What a wonderful season of television. It really filled like a mini-series, all episodes tightly connected together. Just brilliant all around; acting, writing, setting, cinematography…You rarely see shows like this on network television, let alone NBC

  5. Sally says:

    That conversation between Hannibal and Du Maurier over one of his sketchy entrees had me wondering. When she said “they’re starting to see your pattern” it sounded kind of complicit.

    • Saint Alicia says:

      Right? Like she was actively helping him adjust his “person-suit” to better deceive others. And I kind of get the sense she knows she was eating people as well… which… okay, fine you’re probably complicit in a murder or two but practicing cannibalism with Hannibal–DELIBERATELY (as opposed to unwittingly like everyone else)!? Ugh, but who am I kidding I still like her. Great finale!

      • Spoiler Junkie says:

        But before the dinner in the finale she had so far refused to eat at Hannibal’s table – maybe because she knows or suspects. Then again, why eat the veal – which I strongly suspect was Abigail?

        • Saint Alicia says:

          Yep, the veal was definitely Abigail; the whole thinly veiled discussion about the slaughter of young animals pretty much confirms it. And I suspect Bedelia’s earlier refusal to join him for a meal only stemmed from the fact that she’s become a recluse since her attack (a detail cut from the previous ep, but one can surmise), and she just physically would not attend one of his dinners. So since he brought the food to her there was no reason not to eat his cooking.

    • CR says:

      I posted above before I read your comment, but I am fairly sure she know who/what he really is. That comment about Jack being able to unravel the truth about him certainly seemed to be a double entendre.

  6. N says:

    Loved the whole season! Brilliant

  7. Spoiler Junkie says:

    What a great end to an awesome season.

    I am pretty sure that ‘veal’ was Abigail. :(

    That last scene where they greeted each other – I am pretty sure that Will now sees the light.

  8. Jaime says:


  9. Maria says:

    God, this show is just so brilliant.

  10. Mo says:

    I am so in love with this show. That whole veal conversation… she totally knows.

  11. kathy says:

    I see duo emmys in the Dancy-Daines household

  12. KP says:

    I loved the season but I was seriously disappointed in the finale. I’ve always wondered how long the EP/writers would try and ride out the idea that W is blind to H, and where it would all go and for how long when W finally woke up? Well, apparently H as good-guy will go into next season. Boring! I want to see the shxt fly with J scrambling to save his job and reputation as A does some serious soul searching. Yea, yea I know H is one high functioning sociopath but he’s still creepy and way, way to perfect to be real. H has no lovers, no pets, no friends, you’d think someone at the FBI would have picked up on that. Sociopaths are good a mimicking normality (i.e. lovers, friend, etc.) this is something that H lacks and its right i everyone’s face. Also, these characters are all suppose to have some smarts… yet they all seem unable to pick up clues from or about H.

    For all the time this FBI team spent together, no one really seemed to have W’s back or trust that they really knew him. I would have rather have H discovered (or at lease a twinge of suspicion something) and Dr. DM interrogated as H goes on the run. I also didn’t like the finale because it’s a copy of the ending of the 1st season of Homeland, where the Carrie gets kicked out of the FBI only to be magically reinstated in season 2.

    Wow, where’s the creativity? Zero! Wake up writers. Guess where this story is going… we all know because the finale was so predictable, which leaves us with a predictable season 2. It seems it would be much more interesting to have season 2 about J and A being the ones left to clean up the mess. Now W will be trying to be heard from a jail cell as H gets more cocky. How pedestrian.

    Come on. If I was roaming the streets half-naked and loosing time, I’d put up a fawking camera or two to see what the frick was happening. For all of W’s smarts he missed a step. Also, what good are all those dogs if H can walk in and out of W’s place with out even a peep or pant nip.

    H is a sociopath. H’s tears were fake. Sociopaths don’t cry over the people they kill or frame or anything. The fact that H is crying fake tears tells me Dr. DM isn’t all-knowing when it comes to H. She’s being played. Dr. DM is invested in keeping H safe no matter what otherwise she’s an accessory to murder. Hello! H killed the patient he passed on to Dr. DM, when that patient tried to kill her. She’s blind to the fact that H sent his murderous patient to her on purpose – no matter the reason – it was deliberate. The “pattern” is that H can’t develop normal relationships with anyone so he creates them in relation to death/murder. Just like he created a short-lived relationship with little AH by offering to hide the body (death/murder). Afterward AH said she wanted to work at the FBI and H offered approval because he saw someone who could protect his future interests at the FBI. Just like he saved Dr. DM’s life so now she dare not refuse him as a patient. She’s trapped by design, H’s design. In saving her life she now must guard his back or she goes down too. Same relationship he had with AH till he killed her.

    Hopefully the writers will get on the ball and stop copying other shows and get on with hunting down H and we ca see him out in the world verses in his current uber controlled environment.

    • rt says:

      uhhh, you should calm down on the anger a bit. i have a phd in psych and this is one of the greatest depictions of the criminal justice system at the very highest levels and separately a descent into madness. will would be unable to do the camera thing – it would never occur to him as he is attempting to fingernail grasp his way back into reality every moment of his waking life.
      professionally when i walk into a room, everyone defers to me. it would be unheard of for someone to question my sanity. same goes for hannibal. alana did once during the season, but she is a fellow doc.
      i have a sneaking suspicion that S2 will not follow the path you have suggested. why would they, since they haven’t led us down any trite storylines this season.
      as an aside – danes on homeland was kicked out of the CIA, not FBI,
      CIA brings people back all the time. see: snowden.
      i hope you enjoy the show. every mental health practitioner i know loves it.

    • bart says:

      Guess you’re the cocky one. So predict to us how the next season will be in some detail. Are you a betting type? Can’t help but think about a guy who tried to predict GOT and he was soooo wrong. I think you’re the one making connections to other tv shows. Why tf would writers use an idea from an other tv show? It’s like saying Im not a creative shopper because the previous customer at wall mart also bought ketchup…

  13. KevyB says:

    I think the show is well-done but I’m afraid I’m starting to get a little Following deja vu. Are we really going to go season after season after season of nobody catching on to Hannibal? It seems a bit unrealistic that it took Will so long to figure Hannibal out when he is always able to immediately know exactly how a murder goes down just by eyeballing a crime scene. He’s no Kevin Bacon and the entire FBI, but his ability seems to be on the fritz only when it’s convenient for Hannibal. And the longer we go with the supposedly intelligent Jack never once thinking that Will could be maybe, possibly telling the truth, the harder it is going to be for me to keep from rolling my eyes at it. Bryan Fuller is a genius, and if anyone can pull this off it should be him, but that’s a daunting task he’s set for himself.

    • Sarah says:

      Bryan Fuller has said that, if the show makes it til then, the events of Red Dragon will take place during Season 4. That means that Will would discover who Hannibal really is at probably the end of S3. My guess is that S2 will somehow prove Will’s innocence while bringing back a little trust to the Will/Hannibal dynamic, but Will will remain slightly suspicious. He’ll ask for Hannibal’s help consulting with cases, but not acting as his own therapist. At the end of S3 Hannibal is arrested and remains in jail for S4/the events of the Red Dragon… And should a season 5 happen, we get Clarice…

      • Mikael says:

        Since the show seemed to barely get renewed for a 2nd season, I’m willing to bet they speed up their timeline and make Red Dragon into next season or season 3 if they feel confident they’ll get one. I find this show so fascinating. I love that it’s not a typical crime procedural. The psychology they get into is so interesting.

  14. Patrick Maloney says:

    I didn’t put it together that he ate the ear

  15. tardis repairman says:

    Some of you guys never saw “Manhunter,” I’m guessing.

  16. Jessie says:

    Fantastic finale!! It was ridiculously complex with so many double meanings behind everything, as well as little tributes to the movies and books! Ugh, it was brilliant. I hear some people though are annoyed nobody’s cottoned onto Hannibal yet. I’m pretty sure that Bryan Fuller has said that Red Dragon will form the basis for season four (fingers crossed eh?) which is pretty exciting. It’s also even more exciting when you see they’ve been throwing little hints all season as well (Alana giving a lecture on strange bites in episode one and Will giving a lecture on someone with previous assault charges in bars.) Both are subtle hints to what should be coming!!

  17. Yonne says:

    I totally agree with KevyB and your reference to “The following”, it is very unrealistic that Will wouldnt have figured out that Hannibal was the killer, or even suspected it. And I dont understand how Jack didnt put 2 and 2 together, regarding the his Clarice-clone visiting Hannibal, before she died. I think that they have made Will`s character to fragile and weak, and at times impossible to watch. I think we all are watching this because we love the Red Dragon and Silence of the lambs books and we are avid fans, but they are straying away from the true essecnce of the books, and over-thinking it way too much. Hopefully next season will be alot better and less complicated.

  18. Joe says:

    Kimberly, I’m so glad you mentioned the distance between Maryland and Minnesota. I love this show to no end, but that has been driving me crazy all season! I kept thinking that maybe there was a town called Minnesota in Delaware or Virginia or something, because it just seemed to strange how they kept hopping back and forth so easily, especially when it was supposedly done in secret, like when Abigail had left the hospital.

    Also, as creepy as the antlered man was, did it remind anyone else of the Beast from the fourth season of Angel?

    • CR says:

      It’s funny you brought up a Joss Whedon show, cause it reminded me off the demon Drusilla left Spike for on Buffy, but pained black.

  19. Amazing. I’m still taking it all in.

  20. Pam Scroggins says:

    After last night’s season finale I am so done with this show! We deserved a better season resolution than that! I am not a fan of stories that go on and on and really get nowhere! I hope they don’t renew this show!

  21. DW says:

    This is an amazing show. As to those commenting that Will does not know who Hannibal is, please understand: He does by the end of the finale. The way he greeted Hannibal in the cell should tell you that (referring to him as “Doctor Lecter” with pure contempt dripping from his voice), as well as his comment about feeling “Self aware” and the “scales falling from his eyes”. Not to mention, the elk that has been haunting Will since Ep1 (and after our first meeting with Hannibal) morphed into an Elk/man hybrid, and finally replaced Hannibal, standing next to Jack in the Hobbes’ home.

    Will now knows exactly who Hannibal is, and my feeling is that Season 2 will be Will helping the FBI by profiling from his cell, Hannibal still trying to smoke everyone, and Jack slowly starting to realize that Will isn’t the copycat. It would not surprise me if Will even starts to manipulate Hannibal by letting Hannibal believe that he (Will) does NOT believe he is the copycat, and Hannibal eventually supports Will’s release. Of course it also would not surprise me if Hannibal helps Will obtain his release by eventually starting to kill again—one more way of allowing Will to come back to Hannibal as a protege (A killer, a de-facto mate for Hannibal, part of the family that Hannibal tried to create with himself as Father, Will as “Mother” and Abigail as the daughter.). My interpretation was that Hannibal’s smirk at the end of the episode represented Hannibal finally seeing Will as what he wanted Will to be all along; someone who finally understood Hannibal and was capable of killing too. A partner. A person who, like Hannibal, is above morality a’la a Nietzschean superman. Someone who sees himself above the laws of man, and above the emotional/moral reach of “small ideas” like murder. Hannibal’s problem with wanting that from Will is the fact that Will still believes in doing what is right (Even if it means killing. For example, killing Hannibal so that Hannibal cannot kill anymore. Hannibal was not armed, so it would have been murder, but a murder for the greater good).

    This is also why it took Will so long to “see” Hannibal. As he says in the episode, Hannibal has no motive to his killings which is why it took will “so long to see you (Hannibal).” Will, as an extreme empath, can only get into the mind of a killer when he understands the motive. That starts his process of being able to see them–their methods, their reasons, their emotions.

    Look at me, rambling. At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire run of this first season. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

  22. Dale says:

    Are there people who still believe that the TV series is going to somehow in keeping with a Thomas Harris/Hannibal Lector canon? It’s clearly not. From the beginning, it’s been clear that the writers are going in a different direction. Freddie Lounds a woman. Major elements, even dialogue, from the Clarice Starling story transferred to the new, young female FBI trainee. (Her discovering the Wound Man illustrations in Lector’s office and then being attacked…which happened to Will in the novels.) I’m sure they will weave in characters and plot points from the novels, but this is more a reboot than a prequel. All bets off.

  23. greg long says:

    Fifth site I have made this comment on…apparently I am obsessed. Ear, check. Blood under fingernails and all over the wall in the Minnesota lodge, check, Body, not check. Abigail, daughter of Will and Hannibal? Missing, and Hannibal is THAT GUY and will continue to screw with Will with her while Will is in prison. Check.

  24. R.O.B. says:

    This show is so smartly done and the story so compelling, it is a shame it has to be so gory (on screen). There are a lot of people that don’t like the gross-out stuff (like my wife) who otherwise would have found this entire season virtually genius – the writing, the story, the cinematography, the acting. Every main character is unique and strong, and adds to the story, and the whole setup between Hannibal and Graham is original and compelling. But this show easily could have been called “Will Graham”. Forget an Emmy, Hugh Dancy deserves a freaking Academy Award. I used to be bothered that Mads Mikkelson is difficult to understand, but even that is refreshing, as it is realistic – we don’t always perfectly understand foreigners when they speak. My one gripe is I don’t like the guy from Kids in the Hall who is the CSI – sorry, he is the Jar Jar Binks of the show.

  25. David Hambly says:

    “Is it just me, or does Dr. Du Maurier seem to be onto Hannibal’s crimes?”it does seem like they are exchanging inside references to each other. i am interested in what patient attacked her. ? is it possible that it was hannibal? and that they have some type of S&M, dominant/submissive, patient ,doctor, transference/counter transference sexual relationship that has not been revealed to us yet. hannibal considers will a patient and a friend which is crossing an ethical boundary… that last scene was so awesome. i saw the sign baltimore psychiatric hospital and then hannibal walked down and saw will in the cell. it totally reinvented ‘red dragon’ and turned its on its ear.

  26. NN says:

    Seems like I’m the only one who noticed that Will’s escape from the police escort is a recreation of Dr Gideon’s escape (as Will imagined it)?

  27. Cheo says:

    The cinematography on this program has been superb; every scene is backlit, often with more than one source. It’s reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s work. The costuming also has been excellent, establishing Hannibal as being apart from the rest before you even find out what he’s done. Sumptuous colors, textured fabrics; visually stunning in every way. The only quibble I have is with how long the deception regarding Will’s physical ailment went on; it seems especially implausible, and it’s the one element of the show which took me out of the moment.

  28. Joey Demshock says:

    Okay everyone …. you do realize that this is an hour show that is to go on from season to season. You can’t expect everything to be brought out in the first episodes. It is not a 2 hour movie that wraps everything up in a short amount of time. I like the fact that they are taking the time to get everything in place. A series needs to keep the plotlines going thru seasons. So just sit back and enjoy what you are watching.

  29. Barney says:

    The key is the ct scan results which no one knows about except the murdered Dr. what’s-his-name with the permanent smile. Note how when the ct tests were mentioned by Allana, Hannibal’s interest perked up. Hannibal says the test showed no abnormality, but it did. Somehow Allana or Jack will find the results and begin to distrust Hannibal. And whatever happened to Dr. Chilton? Is he on vacation? He can’t be dead if he is an essential character in SOTL.

  30. maggie says:

    I had been so hoping that Abigail would turn out to be Clarice.

  31. chas says:

    The man-stag is a Wendigo, a demon from Native American lore. It is what cannibals are turned into as punishment. Mads didn’t play it, I recall seeing a production pic with an unknown actor in costume.

  32. marcy says:

    Awsome. Great intelligent show visually stunning. Gorgeous men. Cant wait for season 3