So, I'm sure if you're reading this you've heard the news by now- Hannibal has been axed by showrunner NBC, making Season 3 its last, breaking fans' hearts.
There are so many reasons why this show has been so great and beloved, from it's disturbing gore, to it's complex relationship between Will and the good doctor himself, to it's pure and raw quality of cinematography, stylistic elements and soundtrack. To commemorate the grisly demise of this masterpiece, I'll be counting down the 10 best aspects in the show's episodes to date. Just in case you're not up to date - spoilers ahead, so beware.
10. Il Mostro (Season 3, episodes 2) & Hannibal's Past
From the beginning of Season 3 we certainly see a new side of Hannibal as he begins to rebuild with Dr. Bedelia in Italy (let alone the new side of Bedelia herself). However, as we delve into episode 2, we're shown more and more of Hannibal's past, including Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi, who is basically his old Jack Crawford. Recognizing these new murders as Il Mostro's return, Pazzi turns to Will for help while we are left wondering exactly what went down when the past shadowed the events in Baltimore and even before that. Lithuania doesn't help matters as we're still in a bath-tub blood ocean of mysteries and enigmas. Hopefully all will be answered soon enough.
9. A Feast for Eyes and Taste Buds
First thing's first, HUGE shout out to Janice Poon.
Not sure who Janice Poon is? She's the food stylist of Hannibal (yeah, that's right, that's officially a thing). So in short she's responsible for all of the beautiful presentations of human flesh and god knows what else Hannibal is preparing in the kitchen. It takes an amazing spectacle to make us think 'Wow, that food looks great!' even when we know what's in it. It's disturbing, but shows total talent and flair. The food on the show is like nothing else on TV or otherwise and it's impossible to ignore.
8. A Borrowed Imagination
From the first moment, Will experiences visions of death, gore and the unthinkable. Whether these are seen at crime scenes as he expertly deconstructs them, or involuntarily during his down time and dreams, they help us see into the mentality of a breaking Will Graham. The best ones to date include the broken heart stag from Season 3 episode 2 (which easily gave Clive Barker a run for his money) and when corpses such as Garrett Jacob Hobbs and the Angel Maker come back to haunt him.
7. A Lovable Villain
We love to see Hannibal's insane plot be revealed to us piece by piece as the seasons progress. We love to see Hannibal. Yes, we all know it deep down - despite him being a psychopath prone to eating the rude and completely messing with the ones he spares from death - we adore him! His charming facade and the level of intrigue he provokes makes him a true fan favorite as well as antagonist and, in ways, protagonist as well. This has never been done before in TV history, and we are all very, very conflicted over his sheer likability.
6. The Death of Beverly Katz (Season 2, episode 5)
Katz was easily the most beloved secondary character on the show, what with her charm, wit and forensic talent. When we first saw her all sliced up in that glass it was easily a huge 'Nooooooo!' moment for all of us, seeing as she was one of the few characters who had purely good intentions, especially notable when she began investigating Dr. Lecter for Will, despite no other character believing his accusations.
5. Creative Corpses
Hannibal's many kills are like art. Disgusting, horrible pieces (sometimes literally) of art that we both love and hate more than Marmite (a salty British, jelly-like spread). Often being very organic and natural as seen with the tree victim, Sheldon Isley, seen in Futamoto, as well as being displayed as an unusual tableau like Judge Davies in Hassun. Either way and style, Hannibal shows us time and time again that we have indeed not seen everything... or anything, yet.
Not only Hannibal's kills, but all kills on this show are brutal and beautiful. For example, The Muralist of Season 2. Every loss of life we are shown is burned into our memories for being so utterly insane and notable.
4. The Silence of the Lambs
This isn't just one small, specific part from the show: If you're a fan of Hannibal (before the show's premiere back in 2013) you may have already noticed Brian Fuller paying homage to the 1991 horror classic in several ways. Most obviously is the creepy mask Will was made to wear while incarcerated, also seen on Dr. Lecter himself in the film, as well as the cell design and particular shots, like when Dr. Bloom and Freddie Launs walk along the hallway to visit Dr. Giddeon, just as Clarice Starling did. This replication and reference reminds us of the first time Hannibal came into the public eye as well as the creative and disturbing adaptation of a classic.
3. Creature Comforts (maybe that's not the best word for it)
Will's striking visions of creatures, such as the black feathered stag and the Wendigo, along with Randall Tier a.k.a. the creepy animal guy of Season 2 Episode 9, leave us time and time again feeling shocked. They give the show that horror-fantasy aesthetic that no other show has, bursting with uniqueness. It's not written for certain what the creatures Will sees represent, but we know there's something very, very wrong every time we hear those hooves or are greeted with the black antlers of the Stag Man.
2. The Big Finish (Season 2, episode 13)
Drawing parallel to The Red Wedding in Game of Thrones, the twists and turns found in this episode were insane to all of us. Hannibal took off his person suit! Not only that but he revealed Abigail alive to a distraught Will, went crazy and slaughtered our primary characters in his home (including killing Abigail, and possibly Alana and what was left of Will's mental freedom). The tension had been building and building all season since our sneak peek of the episodes' showdown with Jack in episode 1, and it all finally came crashing down on us in that last half hour. Not only was it thrilling to watch but even after that we were all left guessing and theorizing for months about who survived and what the hell was Dr. Bedelia doing with her patient on a plane? Not sure if we still even know the answer to that last one. Regardless, it left everyone talking until Season 3.
1. The Beginning
Yep, that's right. That first whine of the chilling theme tune; the first time we horror and TV fans alike thought 'hey, here's something really different (or, you know, gross).' This is my design became the phrase that gave us goose-bumps, and a taste that wouldn't leave our palettes any time soon.
I'll leave it with this simple note: Brian Fuller and co., you did a fantastic job, and we will never forget this violent masterpiece that graced our TVs.