Bryan Fuller, Steve Lightfoot
Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Joe Anderson, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne, Tao Okamoto, Katharine Isabelle, Glenn Fleshler
NOTE: REVIEW CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS
Well, ladies and gentlemen, the first arc of Season Three is finally over. My experience watching “Digestivo” can be summed up by three different reactions: yelling out in shock, giggling morbidly, and asking my fellow viewers: “how in the world did they get away with that on public television?” I don’t think I’ve been this engaged by a TV show in a long time! Hannibal might meander sometimes, but it always ends strong!
The episode begins with a flashback, showing viewers how Will and Hannibal ended up at Muskrat Farm. From there, we return to the present, where Mason reveals his intentions to take Will’s face for his own and use it to dine upon Hannibal! Alana decides to intervene, making Hannibal promise to save Will before releasing him. Hannibal then rescues Will from under the knife and takes him back to his home in Wolf Trap, Virginia. Meanwhile Alana teams up with Margot to kill Mason. After that, Will wakes up and tells Hannibal that he no longer wants anything to do with him. Jack Crawford and the police arrive later and, much to everyone’s surprise, Hannibal turns himself in.
That’s the gist of it, but there are so many memorable moments in “Digestivo.” The pig surrogate, the nerve-wracking facial transplant and Mason’s gruesome eel-related demise are just a few of the stand outs. This episode also provides ideal closure for the first arc and even wraps up plot lines established way back in Season Two! In fact, one could argue that Season Two’s finale was merely a cliffhanger and that this is the real ending.
Alana Bloom’s subtle character arc has been interesting to watch. She began this season hell-bent for revenge, but it’s evident that collateral damage like Rinaldo Pazzi’s death left a bad taste in her mouth. Alana’s new self and her old self were locked in a battle for her humanity. Mason’s decision to kill both Will and Hannibal became the defining moment of her storyline. By giving up her chance at vengeance to save Will’s life, she defeated her inner darkness and, by extension, Hannibal because he was the one who planted it there in the first place.
In the original book, Will Graham is directly responsible for Hannibal Lecter’s capture—it’s what he become famous for. Here, that does not seem to be the case, until you look at the final scenes from a different angle. “I’m not going to miss you. I’m not going to find you; I’m not going to look for you. I don’t want to know where you are, or what you do. I don’t want to think about you anymore,” Will states firmly. Hannibal is obsessed with him and the games they play. By refusing to participate any longer, Will forces the good doctor’s hand and inadvertently gives him an ultimatum: either go back on the lam and lose your friendship with me, or stay here and lose your freedom.
Acting against his own self-interest for once, Hannibal chooses the second option. “I want you to know exactly where I am, and where you can always find me.” The book isn’t about Hannibal and Will’s relationship but that is definitely the show’s main focus. Therefore, thematically speaking, it makes complete sense their relationship would also be what leads to Lecter’s imprisonment—everything has come full circle! It’s a good thing the ol’ cannibal decided to stick around; because Will and Jack are going to need all the help they can get when the Red Dragon rises!
OUT OF 5
In Italy, a Digestivo is a bitter, alcoholic drink taken after a meal to help with digestion. Like its namesake suggests, this episode is a fantastic denouement for the preceding episodes. Unlike its namesake though, it’s not bitter at all—just delicious and deeply satisfying. Even though nothing is ever truly perfect I still think this episode deserves the highest score.
+ Nonstop excitement
+ Creative set-pieces
+ Meaningful character development
+ Ties up plot-threads