Published on July 22nd, 2015 | by Vyctoria Hart


Hannibal Season 3 Episode 7 “Digestivo” Review

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In this week’s Hannibal, as we find our cannibal in the hands of his enemies, we learn an important lesson – Hannibal is always playing. Mason Verger has captured Hannibal with the intention of eating him to becoming the new apex predator. But he can’t resist pausing to play with his food and soon learns that turning your back on Hannibal Lecter is never a wise idea. We start the episode with an explanation for last weeks abrupt jump- from Will losing consciousness as Hannibal was hacking his skull open, to the pair of them waking up in a freezer truck full of pig carcasses. As we assumed, the corrupt Florentine police department used Bedelia’s information to trace them and interrupted the dinner party before Will could sustain any serious injuries. After seizing both Will and Hannibal, the police declare their intention to kill Jack Crawford for witnessing the raid and pose him as another victim for Il Mostro. Their plans are foiled when Chiyoh uses her sniper skills against them. In repayment Jack gives Chiyoh the address of Verger’s estate in Maryland, since he’ll be too busy getting out of Florence alive to stop her chasing after Hannibal.

MasonDigestivoBack on American soil Mason has Will and Hannibal brought into his pig breeding facilities and introduces them to what will be the scene of their torture. He reminds Will that animals with tusks tend to disembowel their enemies, the first in many instances of Mason comparing Hannibal to a pig. Whilst his two captives are cleaned up to attend a formal dinner, Margot informs Mason that Jack has survived and can bear witness against him. Mason is mildly suspicious that Alana may have betrayed them but is unconcerned about any form of police involvement – he’s already framed Jack for harrassment and used his political influence with the local authorities to secure himself against prosecution. Alana warns him about the danger he is putting himself in by not killing Hannibal immediately. He doesn’t listen to her and continues with his plan, beginning with having his two immaculately dressed guests hauled in for dinner. Not only does he then proceed to monologue like a two-bit Bond villain, he also seems totally unfazed by the fact that Hannibal is perfectly as ease despite being bound to a trolley. He explains his plan – Mason will be getting a new face, specifically Will’s face, which he will then use to eat Hannibal. Whilst his henchman/chef/surgeon Cordell is explaining the various ways in which Hannibal’s parts will be prepared he leans a little to close to Will Graham. Turns out the overlap in personalities has reached its peak as Will casually leans over and bites a chunk out of Cordell’s face, much to Hannibal’s delight. Sadly this puts a damper on the dinner and Mason decides to get back to the torture instead, having Hannibal’s back branded with the symbol of the Verger pig farm whilst Cordell explains the menu in more of detail. Still no one is concerned that Hannibal is unfazed by the branding and seems impressed by the culinary skill of his captor.


Mason continues his torture of Margot, confirming that he’s aware of her relationship with Alana and admitting that he’s actually found a surrogate that would allow the use of Margot eggs to create a Verger child. The surrogate is on the property but he’s unwilling to introduce them until the appropriate emotional time. Meanwhile Alana finds Will, who is unmoved by the news that Jack survived their capture. He’s also unconvinced by her insistence that she only became involved with the Vergers to get to Hannibal first, in order to ‘save’ Will from himself. She wanted Hannibal captured and tortured but had assumed that Jack would have stepped in with the FBI by now. It is not Jack that will save the day however, it is Margot. She has found Hannibal in the pig pens and he reminds her that during their therapy sessions they concluded that the most healing course of action is for Margot to kill her brother himself. The new promise of a surrogate is just another set up for disappointment – Mason will always deny her what she wants. Now is the best time for her to kill him because she has another suspect to hand. If Hannibal is freed he’ll write a letter confessing to Mason’s murder, what is one more murder charge to the Chesapeake Ripper? Alana appears and disables one of the Italian guards, who presumably couldn’t understand the conversation between Margot and Hannibal. Taking the man’s knife Alana gives it to Hannibal in return for his promise to save Will. Hannibal reminds her that he always keeps his promises, a reference back to his promise to kill her at the end of the last season. As the women leave Hannibal instructs them to take a piece of his hair and scalp to put into Mason’s hand after they kill him.


So, now that Mason has monologued and underestimated his opponent he decides to complete the triangle of incompetent villainy and incapacitates himself whilst assuming that Hannibal is secure elsewhere in the building. He has Cordell begin the procedure for the face transplant with his own anaesthetic injection first, as Mason loses consciousness Cordell prepares Will Graham with a paralytic but no anaesthetic. He will feel every moment of his face being removed. Fortunately for Will this is the start of a montage of Hannibal freeing himself and emerging bloodsoaked from the Verger house. A face is removed from a skull in that sequence, but when Mason wakes he finds that it has just been draped over his own face, not surgically attached. Because it is Cordell’s face. Hannibal killed the surgeon as Verger slept and has carried Will off – bridal style – through the snow, whilst Chiyoh the sniper protected them both from pursuit. In fact a lot has happened whilst Mason was sleeping. Alana and Margot has found the surrogate. It was a pig. Unsurprisingly the baby has not survived and Margot has decided to take the sperm that Mason promised her. Apparently this involved an interaction between Mason’s prostate and an electric cattle prod that thankfully we don’t have to witness. Realising that his plans have all failed Mason attempts to shoot Alana. In the ensuing scuffle the glass is broken to the giant fish tank Mason had installed in his bedroom floor. Yes, that’s right, Mason really went for all the super villain tropes and he seriously had a tank set into the floor, containing a moray eel. Well, it did contain the eel until Mason fell into the tank and Margot held him under water – now Mason’s corpse is the eel’s new home. Given the various outlandish things that have happened this season – the museum fight, the imaginary Abigail, Chiyoh’s captive, the pig baby, whatever was going on last week with the impromptu brain surgery – I do feel the need to point out that this is the same fate Mason met in the Hannibal novel.

The episode ends with Will in his own bed back at his house in Wolf Trap, Virginia. Hannibal meets Chiyoh on the porch and finds that she has been motivated by Mischa all along. Hannibal confesses that, whilst he did eat his sister, he didn’t actually kill Mischa. He acknowledges the development she’s gone through under his influence with dialogue originally used in the book to describe Clarice Starling. Chiyoh admits that like him she can never go home but she leaves apparently satisfied with the outcome of their meeting. He returns indoors to find Will awake and they sit to discuss the state of their relationship in a lovely scene straight out of a tragic romance. Hannibal states that there’s no victory for either of them, they are a zero sum game – perfectly balanced. Will says that where Hannibal delights in what he is, Will can only tolerate it. He misses his dogs but he won’t miss Hannibal. Will won’t go looking for Hannibal. He simply wants to be free never to have to think about him again. Believing that this conversation is the end of their involvement Will is surprised when Jack Crawford arrives on his driveway that evening with a procession of police cars. Just as Will is shouting that Hannibal has left, Lecter steps out of the shadows of the house and surrenders himself to Jack. With a significant look at Will Hannibal announces – “I want you to know exactly where I am and where you can always find me.” As he is lead away to the waiting police cars, Chiyoh finally puts down her rifle, certain that Hannibal is safely in the hands of the authorities.


And thus the show ends the back story of Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter as it was first hinted at in the original Red Dragon novel with a half season detour through the plot of the Hannibal novel. Episode 8 will begin the story of Francis Dolarhyde in ernest so it won’t feel like there has been much of a rest for the two adversaries. But hopefully time will have passed and some of the excesses of the season so far will be tamed. Given that the show first found it’s feet in season one with a nice balance between killer-of-the-week and over arching threat of the Chesapeake Ripper I do hope that the second half of the season goes back to that formula, even if it’s only slightly. Hannibal Lecter is a huge character in terms of his personality and influence on those around him. Part of the original charm for the show was seeing his subtle influence on the various characters as they go about their daily routine. Once everyone’s routine became solely focused on the high-class psychopathic cannibal oozing with pretentiousness it seemed to bleed into the rest of the programme. It was interesting to see Will’s transformation as season two progressed but once Bedelia was held captive and living it every second it became oppressive. The cinematography and design has still been gorgeous and, apart from some occasional chewing of the scenery, the acting has been solid. But the motivation has been unclear. It seems that prolonged exposure to Hannibal Lecter has produced a narcotic effect over the whole production. A lot of strange decisions have been made to reach this point in the story. It’s a point that everyone knew would come since the image of Hannibal in a cell is so very iconic. Was it necessary to draw it out in this fashion- taking the end of the story and placing it back at the start? I suppose that it was less likely for this Will Graham to easily make his peace with what happened to him, considering the fact that his life was so much more closely intertwined with Hannibal than it ever was in the original novel. Perhaps, now that Hannibal will be securely locked away, reality can return to the world of Will Graham et al. But given that we have seven more episodes to go I doubt any normality will last for very long.

Vyctoria Hart
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