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"The Wrath of the Lamb" is the thirteenth and final episode of Season 3 and the series. It originally aired on August 29, 2015.


In a desperate bid to capture Francis Dolarhyde, Will Graham engineers a cunning ploy utilizing Hannibal Lecter. Upon learning of his plan, Bedelia Du Maurier voices concerns that Will's actions may not only put his life in peril but the lives of those around him. As the end draws near, Will remains unflinching in his game with Hannibal, even when it means coming face-to-face with his own darkest fears.


From his bedroom, Francis questions Reba on how well she knows the layout of his house and is satisfied that she can find her way around. He instructs her to feel for the lanyard around his neck from which dangles the house key and to lock the front door; he is trying to see if he can trust her. "Don't try to run. I can catch you." When she tries to run, Dolarhyde shows up outside, disappointed in her. She locks the door and puts the key back around his neck.

Francis is worried that the Dragon will force him to kill her and after he lets her feel the shotgun in his hands, he decides to spill gasoline all over the house. "Better you go with me," as he lights a match, but even after he drops it, he can't bear to watch the carnage and all Reba hears is a gunshot that implies that Francis killed himself. Reba crawls to the corpse and frees the key from his neck, struggling to get down to the front door to let herself out.

Will visits Reba as she recovers in the hospital. She believes that she attracted a "freak," but Will insists that her love convinced Dolarhyde to step back from his killings because he couldn't kill her and didn't want to be there if she died; it meant that Francis was slowing down and perhaps Reba's love for him was helping him stop his crimes. Will also sees the connection he has with Reba in that they both attract damaging people.

Will visits Hannibal in his memory palace, the Sicilian Norman chapel, to tell him that Dolarhyde is dead by suicide. Lecter's point of view reverts back to his cell; he assumes that Will is disappointed that Dolarhyde's death wasn't by his own hands but at least he participated in Chilton's disfigurement. Will doesn't share Hannibal's glee and the latter doesn't see the point of the former returning to a mundane marriage when he's seen the wrath that Will is capable of. Will's parting rejoinder is that Hannibal turned himself in because Will rejected him; it is Hannibal's desire to be in Will's life that is his weakness and Will makes it clear in the end that he no longer wants to see Hannibal.

Will enters his motel room and is ambushed by Dolarhyde. Both admit that Hannibal betrayed them both. Will suggests that Dolarhyde, who now sees himself as stronger than the Dragon, "change" Lecter. Back at Quantico, forensics reveal that the burnt corpse with the blown out head is not Dolarhyde as Reba witnessed, but Arnold Lang, a gas station attendant who Dolarhyde killed and then set up as a way to fake his death, leaving his grandmother's dentures in Arnold's mouth. Will is there, unsurprised, "The Great Red Dragon Lives."

Will entreats Jack to use Hannibal as bait to nail Dolarhyde who would want to kill and absorb him and become more than he is. The FBI needs to take Hannibal into federal custody by faking an escape. Bedelia Du Maurier isn't receptive to this plan; it's clear she's afraid that Hannibal will escape. Will says that he doesn't intend for a recapture of Hannibal should he escape. She reads him as becoming as evil as Hannibal in his extreme empathy for him. Adding insult to injury, he advises her to be on the run, "meat's back on the menu."

Alana visits Chilton in the hospital while getting treatment for his life-threatening burns. Chilton blames her as well as Graham for his predicament; still Alana admits to helping Will get Hannibal. Chilton is cynical about the enterprise; it seems that Hannibal has a way of manipulating everyone to his advantage. Alana is no different to him. Back at the asylum, Alana tells Hannibal that Dolarhyde faked his death and that Jack wants to take Lecter into police custody as a means to use him as bait to attract the killer. If he complies, all of Hannibal's privileges at the institution will be restored. Lecter toys with Alana's trust in Will's plan; he could easily escape and come for Alana and her family, which she has because of Hannibal.

Alana meets with Will and Jack. Hannibal will only be more aggreeable to the plan if Will asks him in person. Will has no problem being blamed for aiding Hannibal in his "escape." The endgame is that both Hannibal and Dolarhyde will be dead. Later, Will visits Hannibal in his memory palace; in reality, Hannibal is in his cell, bound on a vertical gurney. Lecter taunts him on the fact that he's back even though his last visit was so brazenly final. Hannibal dwells on the final insult - that he turned himself in because Will rejected him. Will explains that as long as he was chasing Hannibal, the latter would keep running and Lecter being in one place meant that they would always have some sort of communication. Will maps out the plan to lure Dolarhyde into meeting with Hannibal and he accepts.

While Will is in the transport van with a bound and masked Hannibal, Dolarhyde shows up in a police sedan, full lights and sirens, to shoot the cops in the sedan at the head of the escort, causing the van to crash. Dolarhyde kills all accessory law enforcement, leaving Will and Hannibal alive, before absconding. Hannibal gets out of his bonds, deducing that Dolarhyde plans to kill them somewhere more private. He coldly pushes out corpses from a police van to make room for Will as they escape. Later that night, Jack takes stock of the sacrifice. Alana, Margot and their son leave their home to presumably go on the run. Meanwhile, Hannibal drives he and Will back to his home by on a cliff by the sea, where he counseled Abigail Hobbs and met Miriam Lass. He notices that the erosion of the cliff is more prominent.

As Hannibal settles back into his home, he makes it known that he's aware Will and Dolarhyde are working together to kill him. Lecter admits his weakness for Will, "Save yourself. Kill them all." Will isn't sure he can save himself and he's fine with that. Hannibal, in his own oblique way, admits that his friendship with Will is paramount. Despite being touched, Will informs Hannibal that Dolarhyde is watching them; Hannibal knows. In that instance, Hannibal is shot, the glass window behind him shatters and Dolarhyde walks through. He warns Will not to run.

A wounded Hannibal tries to manipulate Dolarhyde with his personality weaknesses but all the latter is interested in is filming Lecter's death in order to meld with the Dragon's power. As Francis pulls out his knife, Will reaches for his gun. Dolarhyde stabs Will and throws him outside. Will removes the knife from his face and tries to stab Dolarhyde and a fight for control ensues that includes Hannibal in the fray with multiple injuries on all sides. In the end, Will and Hannibal align themselves, whether the former likes it or not, to killing Dolarhyde. "See, this is all I ever wanted...for both of us."

Will embraces Hannibal, "It's beautiful," and as Lecter smiles, Will leans them both back off the cliff and they fall into the ocean.

In a post-credits scene, Bedelia is seated at the head of a long table, overlooking a platter of a roasted long leg of...her own, as we see that she is missing her left one below the table. She grabs a fork.


  • The first several minutes of this episode were scripted and shot for the preceding episode, but were moved when “The Number of the Beast is 666” ran long and this episode ran short. “The Number of the Beast Is 666” initially ended with the pull-back shot through the mutilated head.
  • This episode was initially intended to open with a scene of Dolarhyde burning a pile of all his Dragon paraphernalia (painting, ledger, films, etc.). Bryan Fuller moved this footage to the end of the episode during editing, because there had not been time in the schedule to shoot close-ups of Richard Armitage for the ending fight sequence, and Fuller wanted to make sure the audience had a last opportunity to connect with the character.
  • The sequence of Reba escaping the burning house was intended to be much more elaborate; in the script, Dolarhyde covertly follows her in a gas mask to make sure she gets out alive. Fuller said that, due to budget and time constraints, much of the footage was not up to the show’s standards, leading him to edit the shorter, more impressionistic version in the final episode.
  • Although the show intentionally ignores the rape element of Dolarhyde’s crimes from the book, Bryan Fuller in the audio commentary says he confirmed to Richard Armitage that Dolarhyde plans to rape Hannibal’s corpse as he did his other victims.
  • In the script, Will lunges at Hannibal, pulling him off the bluff, in contrast to the more tender final version as shot.

Book to Show[]

  • This episode concludes the show’s adaptation of the novel Red Dragon, adapting material from Chapters 14, 46, 48, 50, and 54.
  • In addition to referencing the passage from the Book of Revelation which Hannibal quoted in the prior episode, this episode’s title also contrasts with the title The Silence of the Lambs. 
  • The opening scene between Dolarhyde and Reba faithfully adapts material from Chapter 46 of the book, continuing where the prior episode left off. In the book, Reba actually manages to get out the door and runs before Dolarhyde catches her and strangles her to unconsciousness. The show simplifies this, having Dolarhyde simply block her path.
  • The material after Dolarhyde forces Reba back into the house, up through her escape from the burning house, faithfully adapts Chapter 48, which starts with Reba regaining consciousness after Dolarhyde has brought her back into the house. In the book, however, Dolarhyde does not put gasoline to the fire until after Reba escapes, in order to ensure her survival. The show echoes the 2002 movie in having Dolarhyde pour gas around the house before lighting the fire. Dolarhyde’s line, “It’s all over for me,” in the book refers to the fact that he saw the FBI at Gateway; his motivation for faking his death at this particular point in the show is more ambiguous.
  • The use of Debussy on the soundtrack during Reba’s escape recalls happier times with Dolarhyde in the show, which in turn referenced Dolarhyde putting on Debussy when Reba first visits his house in the novel.
  • Although Will focused throughout his investigation on how the Dragon chooses his victims, this question is never actually answered on the show. The show entirely skips the last part of the investigation from the book, which ultimately leads to Will making the connection to Gateway Film Laboratories, who developed both the Jacobis’ and Leedses’ home movies. He and Jack then fly to St. Louis and review Gateway’s personnel records. They reach Dolarhyde’s house as it burns to the ground and find Reba out front. Steve Lightfoot has said that the writers initially intended to update the book’s “home movie” storyline, which would be anachronistic in 2015, by having Will investigate the way the Dragon was finding and tracking his victims on social media. Ultimately, all that survives of this idea in the final show is Hannibal postulating in “...and the Beast from the Sea” that this is how Dolarhyde finds his victims. In the show, Will and Jack ultimately only discover Dolarhyde’s identity through Dolarhyde’s own actions in revealing himself to Reba and then letting her go, not through any investigation of their own.
  • In the book, Dolarhyde has a trunk of dynamite which ensures that the house and the corpse’s remains are thoroughly destroyed. The show leaves out this detail, as well as the character of FBI Explosives section chief S.F. Aynesworth. In the book, Aynesworth finds Grandmother’s teeth while sifting through the wreckage of the house, whereas in the show they are apparently in Arnold Lang’s mouth.
  • The scene between Reba and Will in the hospital faithfully adapts material from Chapter 50 of the book (although Reba’s first line, “He shot himself in the face...” is said earlier in the book, when the FBI first comes on the scene of the burning house and finds her out front). The detail of Reba sucking on cracked ice comes from the book, as does all the dialogue up through Will telling Reba there is nothing wrong with her. The show leaves out some jokey banter at the end when Will leaves (telling her to do something about her hair before he visits again). Instead, the show gives Reba more strength in this moment, adding her line that she knows there is nothing wrong with her. Her subsequent line about being wary of those who foster dependency comes from narration earlier in the book, after Dolarhyde has left her house the first day he takes her home.
  • Hannibal’s “cunning boy” line comes from the letter he sends Will after Lounds’s death. His followup line comes from narration in this passage: “The enemy inside Graham agreed with any accusation.”
  • Hannibal’s “unwanted company” line comes from narration in the novel describing Will and Molly’s lives when they return home and realize (as Hannibal says in the episode) it is not the same. The phrase “maddeningly polite” also comes from this passage, where it describes Willy’s attitude toward Will.
  • The show departs significantly from the closing chapters of the book. In the book, Will, Molly and Willy return home after Dolarhyde’s “death,” and find that they are distant, and Will feels disliked. Dolarhyde attacks them there, and Molly ultimately shoots him to death (this sequence was loosely adapted at an earlier point in the show’s story as the home invasion sequence in “...and the Beast from the Sea”). The 2002 film adaptation remains the only one of the three adaptations that allows Molly to kill Dolarhyde, as in the book. The novel ends with a rather sullen chapter of Will recovering in the hospital from the attack. Molly reveals that Willy has returned to Oregon to stay with his father’s parents, and Will is convinced that Molly will inevitably leave him (this is seemingly confirmed in The Silence of the Lambs, where Will is said to be a disfigured drunk). The book ends with Will alone in his hospital bed, dreaming of a visit he took to the Shiloh battleground site shortly after shooting Garret Jacob Hobbs, contemplating the indifference of nature. The last line of the book is, “Shiloh isn’t haunted—men are haunted. Shiloh doesn’t care.” The show instead substitutes Dolarhyde attacking Will in his hotel room, leading to the new development of Dolarhyde desiring revenge on Hannibal (which is not the case in the book) and entering into a scheme with Will. 
  • Dolarhyde saying that Will’s face is closed to him comes from Dolarhyde’s thoughts in the book when looking at the photo in the Tattler of Will outside BSHCI.
  • Will quotes Hannibal’s “elements undergoing change” line from “Kō No Mono,” which originated in Dolarhyde’s thoughts in the novel Red Dragon, when it is said that Dolarhyde believes Lecter understands this.
  • Dolarhyde’s line that he tried to share with Lecter and Lecter betrayed him comes from narration in the book (in the book, he presumably believes the FBI’s coded note in the Tattler’s ad section inviting him to a mail drop was actually sent by Lecter). In this same passage, it is said that he would like to share with Reba a little, in a way she could survive, which he echoes in the show (this is the section of the novel where he conceives the plan to show Reba the tiger). 
  • Dolarhyde saying he chose not to change Reba refers to the “power to choose” he believes he gains after eating the painting in the book.
  • Zeller and Price’s dialogue is adapted from Chapter 54, the final chapter of the novel, wherein Jack fills Will in on details of the case during Will’s convalescence in the hospital. In the book, Arnold Lang appears earlier in the story; Dolarhyde catches him looking up Reba’s dress while wiping Dolarhyde’s windshield and they have an altercation, explaining why Dolarhyde later targets Lang when he needs a body. Differences from the book: In the book Jack says vulcanite has not been used in thirty-five years, which is updated to fifty years on the show (adding fifteen years is a seemingly arbitrary number choice, since 34 years passed between the publication of the novel and the airing of the episode). In the book, the Dragon’s teeth are recovered from the real Dolarhyde’s body after Molly shoots him, not from Lang; in the show, Dolarhyde apparently abandoned both Grandmother’s teeth and the Dragon’s teeth during his faked death. The show leaves out a lengthy explanation about Dolarhyde using the tow truck from Lang’s service station to ensure that he could leave his own van in front of the burning house and use Lang’s car as a getaway vehicle.
  • The plot to use Hannibal as bait has its origins in Chapter 14 of the book, when Will proposes this while they are contemplating how to reply to the Tooth Fairy’s letter to Hannibal. The dialogue when Will proposes the idea to Jack in the show is close to the exchange in the novel. In the book, however, Jack decides that while this plan may be the best shot, they will save it for a last option due to the inevitable bad press. Will’s motivation on the show is of course very different from the book when proposing this plan. Jack’s line, “You sound pretty sure,” and Will’s reply, take on a new context in the show, where Will has met with Dolarhyde without telling Jack.
  • Bedelia’s line, “We assign a moment to decision,” comes from narration in the novel Hannibal referring to Pazzi’s thought process in deciding to sell Hannibal. Will’s reply comes from the same passage.
  • For the third episode in a row, a character quotes Goethe. Bedelia quotes from Faust when she says, “Who holds the devil, let him hold him well...” recalling once again Hannibal “rooting for Mephistopheles and contemptuous of Faust” in Hannibal Rising.
  • Chilton’s dialogue that Alana’s face did not change at all, and that shock in seeing him is usually delayed, comes from narration in the novel Hannibal when Clarice Starling first sees Mason Verger. Chilton in some ways more closely resembles the book’s description of Mason than the show’s version of Mason did (he is said to be lipless and “all teeth, like a creature of the deep, deep ocean”).
  • Alana’s line that there is a deal, “or there could be,” is spoken by Chilton to Hannibal after he brokers the deal with Senator Martin in The Silence of the Lambs, as is her line about why Jack did not ask personally, and Hannibal’s reply (which he thinks but does not speak in the book). Alana saying she has been on the phone for hours on Hannibal’s behalf, and saying “This is what you get,” also comes from Chilton’s dialogue in this passage. Hannibal noting that police are not as wise as Alana comes from Hannibal’s thoughts in this passage, where he notes that police are not as wise as Barney.
  • Hannibal wishing Chilton “a speedy convalescence and hope he won’t be very ugly” comes from the letter he sends Will at the end of the novel Red Dragon, while Will is recovering from Dolarhyde’s attack. Hannibal saying any rational society would either kill him or give him his books also comes from the letter. 
  • Jack saying they will have a stampede when people think Lecter is out comes from Chapter 14 of the novel, when Jack rejects this plan.
  • Will’s line to Hannibal, “Maybe that was a serious invitation,” comes from Chapter 14 when Will discusses the Tooth Fairy wanting to meet Hannibal. All of their subsequent dialogue in the scene also comes from Will and Jack in this Chapter discussing the plan. In the book, the “mail drop” plot is a separate plan after Jack has rejected the staged escape. Most of this dialogue is spoken by Will in the book, but Hannibal’s line that it sounds weak even as Will says it comes from narration in the book, and Will’s line about the Secret Service setup is spoken by Jack in the book.
  • Hannibal saying Will worries too much, and that he would be so much more comfortable if he relaxed with himself, comes from the letter he sends Will after Lounds’s death in Red Dragon.
  • Hannibal’s bluff-top house on the Atlantic is an invention of the show. In the novel Hannibal, he brainwashes Clarice Starling at a house on the Chesapeake shore he rents from a German lobbyist for a year.
  • Bach’s Goldberg Variations, a favorite piece of Hannibal’s, makes a final appearance in a special arrangement by series composer Brian Reitzell, as Hannibal and Will wait for Dolarhyde. Various versions were previously used in: the novel and film The Silence of the Lambs (the novel specifies Hannibal's preference for the Glenn Gould version, whereas the film uses a soundalike by Jerry Zimmerman); the novel and film Hannibal (he plays the piece on clavier in the book, whereas the film uses both Gould's 1955 and 1981 recordings at different points); the film Hannibal Rising (which uses Gould's 1955 recording); "Apéritif" (a version by Brian Reitzell); "Fromage" (Hannibal plays on the harpsichord); "Kō No Mono" (Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt's recording); "Mizumono" (in a special slowed-down version of the piece by Brian Reitzell entitled "Bloodfest"; Hewitt's version is also heard again over the end credits); and "Dolce" and "Digestivo" (both of which reuse "Bloodfest" on the soundtrack).
  • Hannibal echoes Jack’s line from the prior episode about playing games in the dark of the moon; this phrase originally came from Jack’s thoughts in the novel Red Dragon. Bryan Fuller said he gave Hannibal the line to connect Jack and Hannibal as the angel and devil on Will’s shoulder.
  • Dolarhyde’s line to Will, “Don’t run. I’ll catch you,” echoes his line to Reba earlier in the episode, which he also says to both Arnold Lang and Reba in the novel.
  • Hannibal saying that suicide is the enemy comes from narration in the book when Jack tries to enlist Alan Bloom to push the Tooth Fairy toward suicide: “Suicide was Bloom’s mortal enemy.”
  • Hannibal’s line about Dolarhyde being “seized by a fantasy life” comes from narration in the book after Dolarhyde discovers the Blake painting.
  • Dolarhyde’s desire to film Lecter’s death as he melds with the strength of the Dragon comes from narration in the novel when Dolarhyde writes to Hannibal.
  • Dolarhyde saying that watching the film will be wonderful, but not as wonderful as the act itself, comes from narration in the novel as he watches films of the Jacobi and Leeds murders.
  • Dolarhyde stabs Will in the cheek, just as he does under very different circumstances when attacking Will near his home at the climax of the novel.
  • In the book, Dolarhyde does not burn his ledger. He preserves it from the house fire, and it is found in a locker in Miami after Molly kills Dolarhyde.
  • Hannibal biting Dolarhyde recalls how he often attacked in the books. In the books, Lecter tore out a nurse’s tongue.
  • The blood pooling around Dolarhyde’s corpse like dragon wings is a detail taken from the 1986 film adaptation Manhunter.
  • Will echoes Hannibal’s line about blood in the moonlight from “...and the Woman Clothed with the Sun,” originally spoken by Hannibal in the novel.

Cut Scenes[]

  • The DVD and Blu Ray feature a brief deleted scene of Hannibal finding the key to his bluff-top house in its hiding place and uncovering the furniture and fixtures, including a dinosaur skeleton and a display of several large eggs.
  • The script oddly follows Will and Hannibal’s plunge to the sea with an ambiguous scene of Jack seated in the Norman Chapel, “lying in wait.” The DVD and Blu Ray feature a deleted scene expanding on this idea: Will and Hannibal are seen silently sitting in the Chapel (impliedly the Mind Palace version), shot at first from above, echoing their fall from the cliff. The scene then fades to Jack waiting in the Chapel (impliedly the real version; the priest from “Primavera” is seen). Jack seems to give up waiting and leaves.

Image gallery[]

See other[]

Season 3 Episodes

AntipastoPrimaveraSecondoAperitivoContornoDolceDigestivoThe Great Red DragonAnd the Woman Clothed With The SunAnd the Woman Clothed In Sun... And the Beast From the SeaThe Number of the Beast is 666The Wrath of the Lamb