Hannibal 3×07 ‘Digestivo’: Moving on

Hannibal 3x07 Cover

It’s definitely apparent that the first half of this season of Hannibal has led up to this episode.  If anything, “Digestivo” is not quiet.  There’s more graphic violence in this episode alone than in the last six combined, from suffocations to skinnings to brandings to shootings to disembowelings.  Out of all of the episodes this season, “Digestivo” is the first that really made me cringe, and it’s the one that reminded me of just how Hannibal is retaining the qualities that made it great in the first place.  It’s a great mixture of artsy pretention and bloody carnage.  And that bloody carnage certainly contributes to the tension, and subsequently, the quality of the episode.  “Digestivo” is probably the best of these first seven episodes, and certainly the most eventful.

Hannibal 3x07-1

Source: NBC

But, strangely enough, the graphic violence isn’t what stuck with me the most.  It’s the final scene between Will and Hannibal, where, after being rescued and carried by Hannibal away from Muskrat Farm, he finally asserts his independence from the darkness that Hannibal inflicted upon him.  It’s a beautiful scene, where Will admits that he is different than Hannibal, that he tolerates evil while Hannibal delights in it, that he doesn’t want to think about Hannibal anymore.  And we see how saddened that leaves Hannibal, how alone he feels when he realizes that Will isn’t his equal, his partner.  When Hannibal finally surrenders to the FBI, it’s so that Will knows exactly where he is, so Will can find him when he inevitably changes his mind.  It’s Hannibal’s way to continue tormenting Will, even from inside a jail cell.

Hannibal 3x07-2

Source: NBC

It’s a brilliant and quiet way to end an episode so steeped in carnage, and places a neat endpoint on the first half of the season.  It certainly hasn’t been a perfect half-season, as characters like Chiyoh haven’t really developed into anything more than plot points, but “Digestivo” did a great job rounding out characters that weren’t very interesting up until now: Alana and Margot.  When Alana finally faces the truth of what she’s done, that she’ll be responsible for the mutilation and slow death of both Will and Hannibal, she retains some of her humanity by thwarting Mason’s horrific plot.  Margot also recovers something of her own: her independence.  She has been attached to Mason for so long now, under his influence and his control, that the pig surrogate was enough to drive her to push away from him.  She finally takes his sperm in an attempt to create an heir to his fortune and murders him by pushing him underwater, his eel jamming itself down his throat in a fittingly phallic death.  For a man obsessed with sexual control, his death felt like justice.

Source: NBC

But man, the rest of that episode was stomach-churning, from Cordell’s face slipping off of Mason’s to the extraction of the human fetus from the pig.  Mason and Cordell’s deaths were certainly necessary in order to shed the excess weight from the plot and drive us to the Red Dragon plot.  In fact, most of the episode seemed to accomplish this same purpose: bridge the gap between the first half of the season and the second.  Will and Hannibal finally come to a crossroads in their relationship, and when Will backs away, we can see how he’s coming to terms with his darkness.  Of course, when the Red Dragon comes into play and Will has to contend with a new source of darkness, we’ll see how well he fares without Hannibal’s influence.  Because Will’s viciousness in this episode is part of what keeps him alive.  When Cordell leans too close, Will takes a bite out of his face and spits it onto his plate, Hannibal gleeful and smiling all the while.  Will says that he wants to be free, but the question remains: How free can he be while Hannibal still lives?  There is no easy way to sever a part of yourself that is so intently ingrained into your being, and Hannibal realizes this when he surrenders.

So how are the next six episodes going to end the series?  “Digestivo” could have easily functioned as a series finale, with all of these loose ends tied up and supporting characters cut out.  If anything, these next six episodes featuring the Red Dragon need to function as a dessert of sorts, a great way to end the magnificent feast that Hannibal has been thus far.  If it’s going to be more than that, we need to see how Will if affected by Hannibal’s absence, especially when he’s now in the presence of another great evil.  How can Will rise up to his next challenge without sinking into the darkness like he did before?  With only six episodes left to answer these questions, at the very least, it’ll be a frenetic ride.

What did you think of “Digestivo”?  Did the violence satisfy you like it did me?  Do you think the next six episodes will rise up to the quality of these seven?  Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

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