Hannibal: 307 “Digestivo” Review
Reviewed by Lewis Hurst.
Hannibal once again goes from strength to strength and provides a monumental climax to the Italy/Verger arc and setting the pieces into place for what promises to be a stellar adaptation of Red Dragon.
Picking up shortly after the end of last episode, we see the corrupt cops capturing Hannibal and Will and sending them to Mason’s farm where they are held captive while Mason makes preparations for their demise. I must admit, Joe Anderson has done a fantastic job at replacing Michael Pitt as Mason Verger, in this episode Mason was delightfully gleeful at having apparently “won” and was at his most sadistic. His “last supper” for Will and Hannibal was a joy to watch as we see these three minds in the same room. Mason slowly taunting Will and Hannibal over the horrible deaths he has planned for them and revealing he plans to transplant Will’s face onto his own and then eating Hannibal with it was a sickening thought yet completely in character for Mason. It really helped get across how much of a sadist Mason is.
Hannibal was interesting to see captured. It was a guessing game of not if, but when Hannibal would break free and wreak vengeance on Mason. Its clear Hannibal enjoyed feeding Mason’s ego and letting him enjoy his illusion of victory. Will meanwhile seemed to have a slight disbelief at Mason’s plan, perhaps echoing audience thoughts at the apparent ridiculousness of the plan. Will then proceeded to bite off part of Cordell’s face in a rather surprising brutal moment, although Hannibal’s look of amusement made it worth it.
The conclusion to Margot’s storyline was wonderfully done. Margot has been Mason’s chew toy throughout most of her life so to finally, with a push from Hannibal and Alana, kill Mason for what he did to her was a joy to see unfold. Mason’s torment of Margot went to a whole new level, dangling the reveal of a surrogate with her eggs was just cruel. Especially when later in the episode it was revealed that the surrogate was a pig and Margot’s baby was stillborn. I honestly think that was the most disturbing moment in the entirety of the show. It certainly showcased Fuller’s talent for making the audience uncomfortable and certainly made Mason’s death satisfying, even if the CGI eel wasn’t particularly convincing.
The main focus of this episode however was providing closure to Will and Hannibal. Throughout the series, Will has been searching for Hannibal and when the two were finally reunited, Hannibal attempted to slice Will’s head open and eat his brain. This episode we saw the two held captive together which apparently gave Hannibal some time to rethink what his plans are for Will. Alana frees Hannibal from captivity but not before making him promise to save Will, which Hannibal does. With help from Chiyoh, Hannibal frees Will and escapes into the night.
Will awakes at home with Hannibal nearby and Will tells Hannibal he’s done. He wants nothing more to do with him and tells Hannibal to go and to know he won’t look for him. Hannibal seems slightly upset at this and leaves as Will tells him the teacup won’t repair itself. This was probably the episode’s strongest scene with truly wonderful acting from Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkleson as the wonderful piece “Bloodfest” from the Season 2 soundtrack plays providing the scene an oddly beautiful touch. Hannibal and Will’s relationship has always been the show’s strongest aspect so for Will to here end that relationship is a truly emotional moment and showcases Fuller’s talent as a writer. Of course, Hannibal cannot just let Will leave without some consequence. As Jack and the FBI arrive, Hannibal turns himself in thus getting the upper hand once again. Will didn’t want to know where Hannibal is; now he will and will always feel himself drawn to see him.
Some may be wondering what the significance of Hannibal’s notebook may be. Thomas Harris’ novels reveal that Hannibal’s notes and equations allow him to envision a world in which time can reverse, so we can imagine Fuller’s intention was that Hannibal envisions going back to the time where the teacup wasn’t shattered, to the time before the Season 2 finale. Which is oddly tragic when you think about it.
Hannibal has been famed for its gore and this episode was no different, delivering the gore we’ve come to expect. When Cordell began to slice off Will’s face, I was almost tempted to look away from the screen. But yet… I couldn’t. Hannibal tastefully uses its gore in a way that it’s impossible to look away from the screen. While other television shows may be gratuitous in their use of gore, Hannibal has always managed to be excessive but not so much that it feels overdone. It’s a statement of talent where a scene that involves a face being cut off is oddly beautiful.
As the show now moves past i’s adaptation of Hannibal and moves onto Red Dragon, my mind turns to Chiyoh as I question her significance. While she was a great character and a wonderful addition to the show, she provided a lot of questions. Questions that I hope will be answered. Will the show have time to return to Chiyoh as it adapts Red Dragon? Or was Chiyoh meant to be a lead in for the show’s fourth season which would have covered Silence of the Lambs? While IMDB lists Chiyoh as only appearing in four episodes, I do hope we haven’t seen the last of her. Especially as the scene between Hannibal and Chiyoh was so intriguing as Hannibal revealed he ate but did not kill Mischa raising even more questions about Hannibal’s past (although fans of the books will already be aware of these answers).
You could almost be forgiven for thinking this episode was the final episode of the season considering it wrapped up quite a lot. In fact, if this episode was to be the final episode of the show I wouldn’t have minded in the slightest. Digestivo is not just one of Hannibal’s best episodes, it may just be one of the best episodes of any television show ever and should be used as prime proof that NBC were out of their minds when they made the decision to cancel. But we still have six episodes to go so let’s hope the show’s adaptation of Red Dragon matches the quality of what’s come before and the much anticipated addition of Richard Armitage to the cast will hopefully provide an interesting second half to a so far marvellous season.