The stakes on "Hannibal" have never been higher. Reba (Rutina Wesley) has been kidnapped, Fredrick Chilton (Raúl Esparza) has been burned within an inch of his life, and Will Graham's (Hugh Dancy) family has become a target. The Great Red Dragon has grown stronger every week and Will only has one episode left to stop the deranged killer. However, even from behind bars, Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) still holds a lot of influence over Will as the case chips away at the FBI profiler's sanity. How will it all go down in the potential series finale, "The Wrath of the Lamb"?
Here are 4 theories for how the season, and likely the series, will come to an end in episode 13:
1. The Ending Will Match the Books
In the Thomas Harris novel, "Red Dragon," after Reba escapes and Dolarhyde is presumed dead, Dolarhyde tracks down Will and stabs him in the face. In the end it is Will’s wife, Molly, played in the series by Nina Arianda, who is forced to shoot and finally kill the Dragon. Meanwhile, Will ends the novel on the outs with Hannibal Lecter, who tries to write a letter to Will that Jack Crawford, played in the series by Lawrence Fishburne, intercepts and destroys.
The second half of Season 3 has been a largely faithful adaptation of "Red Dragon," so, of course, it is quite possible that the show will follow the same path. However, that solution might be a bit too obvious for "Hannibal."
2. Will Kills Dolarhyde
All season the show has played with the idea of Will being a murderer and, thus, no different from Hannibal. In episode 11, journalist Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) said the she believes Will has the makings of a murderer.
“I’ve interviewed enough killers to know one when I see one,” Lounds tells Jack. “I see it every time I look at Will Graham.”
She is not alone. Bedelia (Gillian Anderson) has tried to warn Will that his empathy for Dolarhyde could be harmful to his psyche and Will has confessed to her that he sees himself killing his family over and over again. Plus, Will's son Walter (Gabriel Browning Rodriguez) told Will he should not catch Dolarhyde, he should kill him.
Then, of course, it was heavily implied that Will was responsible for letting Chilton suffer Dolarhyde's vengeance since he knew what the Dragon would likely do after seeing the picture of Will with his hand on Chilton's shoulder. Will's mental health has appeared to be degrading more and more with each episode. Could he snap and kill Dolarhyde, fulfilling Hannibal's vision? Fans will remember that in episode 12, Hannibal and Jack Crawford (Lawrence Fishburne) had a symbolic discussion where Hannibal suggested Will was the lamb, in a biblical, metaphorical, sense, who was about to become a lion. Well, the finale title is "The Wrath of the Lamb." Anybody else see the writing on the wall here?
3. Jack Crawford Kills Dolarhyde
In Hannibal and Jack's conversation, Jack asserted that he was God in the bibilical metaphor, with Hannibal pointing out that Jack and Will have self-righteousness in common. Hannibal is Satan in the metaphor and the finale looks very much to be a battle for Will's soul in a sense. Well, if Jack is God maybe he can save Will from the sin of murder. Maybe the FBI man can be there when Will eventually finds Dolarhyde so he could be the one to end it and, thus, spare Will.
4. Hannibal Escapes
Whether creator Bryan Fuller had an idea going in that Season 3 would be the last season of the show on NBC or not, ending a season with Hannibal in prison does not seem like a likely possibility. With the promo pictures for the finale showing Hannibal being transported via straight jacket and muzzle, there is a good chance that episode 13 will be Lecter's great escape. If that is the case, Hannibal's hand in the Great Red Dragon finale could go from a metaphrical hand -- the psychological hold he has on Will -- to a literal hand -- as in Hannibal crashes the Will/Dolarhyde party. In that scenario, Hannibal could be the one to kill Dolarhyde, or even kill Will -- the next chapter in the novel series' continuity is "Silence of the Lambs," which features the character Clarice Starling a potential replacement for Will.
The "Hannibal" Season 3 finale airs Saturday, Aug. 29, at 10 p.m. EDT on NBC. How will it end? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.