Well, I am conflicted. Between the mix of sadness that the series is most likely over and the high amount of expectation/anticipation I had for the Red Dragon thread, I'm not sure if I am satisfied. Now that it is over, I can confidently say that this season was still less powerful for me than the 2nd season. It just didn't feel as deep. The previous season took so many risks, experimented with so much style and structure, and had such rich dialogue that worked both as stylistic flourishes and as complex symbolic word play. And, sadly, this last half of the season seemed to be playing it all a bit safe. I am tempted to say that it all felt a bit rushed. The 2nd season not only took its time, but it even took pleasure with how long it was taking, best epitomized by showing us the first half of the conclusion in the first episode and then slowly teasing everything as we all kept waiting to see how the 1st episode ended. But the Red Dragon section seemed like it quickly glossed over a lot of the things that I really expected them to enjoy playing with. Knowing that they had originally intended to give a whole season to the Red Dragon arc does make me think that they did feel that they needed to pick up the pace, whether pressured or not. That said, they certainly did manage to pack in a good amount of surprises and twists to the story that I did not expect. And it still was a good closing to the whole series that still could leave enough open should they get picked up again. Spoiler While I did still feel like it came on too fast, watching Will and Hannibal team up was immensely satisfying, exciting, uncomfortable, and rewarding. And it was really nice to see Will starting to behave and scheme like Hannibal over these past couple of episodes. I just really wish we had been able to see more of the struggle inside Will's head. I wanted more of the tension as we watched Will start to slide into that. That is probably one of the aspects that I felt most missing from these past few episodes. It seemed like they toned down a lot of the "inside" segments in order to get through the plot quickly. I really expected there to be a whole new "dream" narrative based around the new "stag creature" that appeared early in the season. I had some pretty confident interpretations about what the stag represented in the earlier seasons and I really thought that was going to play a larger part in the narrative. (quickly, the stag was the darkness inherently in Will as a result of his empathic gifts and the stag-man was the encroaching influence of Hannibal's darkness. So, when we first saw that new creature emerge, I fully expected there to be some symbolic struggle going on there that never really came back again.) With the exception of that misstep that I mentioned earlier, I did really like Armitage a lot as Dolarhyde. I do think that overall he managed to capture the strengths of both Noonan and Fiennes performances and still keep the role completely his own. But, based on the strengths of the previous seasons, I really did expect to be inside his head a lot more than we were. I was also kinda bummed that we never got to see how much Dolarhyde got into Will's head. One of my favorite things about the Director's Cut of Manhunter (and I guess the book from what I've been told) was that ending where Will feels compelled to visit the family that would have been the next victims as a result of being so deep into Dolarhyde's head. But, sadly, this run seemed to skip out on that entirely. Granted, now that it's over, I can see that they really wanted to focus more on how deeply Hannibal was into Will's head and that really did make for a more interesting arc for Will. But, again, I wish we had seen inside Will more during that process. And, as wonderful as it was to see Gillian Anderson, especially in that dress in the closing shot, she really seemed underused. Especially when you think about how much of a foil she could have been in drawing out Will's slide into the darkness. I keep wanting to try to talk about all the good. But it's hard right now to keep from comparing this to the previous season. I think they've done great work. I just feel like the increasing pressure of cancellation really hindered this last season. It's a shame. Not that it damaged the show in any way, but more that it stifled the heights I think it could have reached. I do suspect that I may just need more time to distance myself a bit from my hopes. But, when all is said and done, it has still been one of the best shows I've seen on television ever. It's certainly the most ambitious and creative thing I've seen since the original Prisoner. It's such a shame that it couldn't find the audience or exposure it deserved.