“Some beasts shouldn’t be caged.”
What an episode. This is the culmination of several seasons’ worth of pain and heartbreak and betrayal and love, an hour that both closes off the season’s experimental first half and sets up what very well could be the show’s final stretch. It’s an hour filled to the brim with dark humor and truly disturbing imagery, and it does well by all the characters involved, delving deep into their relationships and pasts as they all come together at Muskrat Farm. This is simply the series–and television–at its best, and it’s one more example of why it’s a shame that the show is going off the air soon.
“Digestivo” is structured around the shared predicament Will and Hannibal find themselves in: Mason Verger wants to eat them. The tension is built up spectacularly early on through a dinner table conversation about overcooked penises and the like, and there’s a fairly important exchange that occurs between Hannibal and Mason midway through. “It’s dangerous to get exactly what you want,” the former cautions before asking the latter what he’s going to do after he has his meal. “It’s foolish to dilute such an ecstatic time as this with fears about the future,” Verger responds. This idea is one that’s played out with Will and Hannibal over the course of the series, as they’ve been caught in a never-ending cat and mouse game that’s seemingly never-ending by design. After all, would Will or Hannibal have known what to do afterward had he killed the other? What would have happened if someone got exactly what he wanted?
Those are interesting questions to ponder, and the episode brings them up as it dives into the various other character dynamics outside of Will-Hannibal. In particular, there’s an intriguing parallel between the Will-Alana and Margot-Hannibal scenes, both of them featuring one person being told that she needs to change, that she needs to act, that she needs to kill (you can also read it as Will and Hannibal speaking to themselves). “You have to evolve, Alana,” Will tells her as they sit across from each other. “You have to spill blood.” And over on the Hannibal side of things, he says the following to Margot: “Mason will always deny you. You know you have to kill him. It’s more therapeutic to do it yourself.” So, kill him they do, and Margot-Alana ends up being one of the more fascinating recent pairings of the show. I’d like to also give a shout out to Katharine Isabelle for her performance in this episode, her best moment being her devastating reaction to the pig surrogate (lots of animal/human imagery in this episode, as has been the case for a while).
And of course, that brings us to the brilliant final sequence of the episode, one that sees Hannibal and Will having one last conversation before the former turns himself in to the FBI. It’s a showcase for Mikkelsen and Dancy, and it’s a truly poignant moment between two people who are finally with each other once more. It’s also a turning point in their relationship, and as stated, “the teacup is broken. It’s never going to gather itself back again.” These are pieces of what follows:
Hannibal: When it comes to you and me, there can be no decisive victory. We are a zero sum game.
Will: 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.
Hannibal: You delight in wickedness and berate yourself for the delight.
Will: You delight. I tolerate. I don’t have your appetite. Goodbye, Hannibal.
This is a huge moment for both of them, one that ties into the earlier quote by Verger about the future and the ecstasy–the delight–of the now. They realize that neither can have that decisive victory, that exact endgame, and Will Graham is now saying goodbye to Hannibal Lecter. Hannibal’s kept his promise to Alana even as the subject of his promise is now leaving him behind, and as a result, he decides to take things into his own hands. He turns himself in to Jack, a small smile on his face as he looks at Will, as he nods at Chiyoh to tell her that she does not need to watch over him anymore. Whether you read this as a romantic gesture or as yet another instance of Hannibal “playing” or a combination of both, there’s no denying that it’s one of the most powerful scenes the series has produced. The beast is caged, and Will now knows exactly where to find it.
-The smile Hannibal gives Will after he bites Cordell…he’s so proud!
-Once again, the show’s religious elements are really interesting. Hannibal talks about a parallel between Jezebel and Mason, and before the attempted face transplant, Mason asks Will: “Have you accepted Jesus, Mr. Graham? Do you have faith? I have. I’m free.”
-I will miss Joe Anderson’s brilliant Mason Verger performance. He fit into Michael Pitt’s vacated role perfectly, and he played out this final run extremely well. We’re also left with quotes about penises and stuff like this: “I most certainly did, but I didn’t Humpty Dumpty them. I just found them a new basket.”
– “I snatched Will Graham right out of your mouth”, “I’m committed to enjoying every bite of you”, “Where would the hardcore fun come from?”, etc. etc. etc. I’m pretty much taking everything as a sexual reference now. Also, I see the eel going into Mason’s mouth as the ultimate dick joke.
– Where did the dogs go? We need to know this. This is the most shocking development of the episode.
– “You’re dead, Dr. Bloom.” “Oh, Mason. We’re all dead. Don’t you know that? But this isn’t.” You go, Alana.
– “Your memory palace is building. It’s full of new things. It shares some rules with my own. I’ve discovered you there, victorious.”
-Next week, we begin the Red Dragon arc. Neil Marshall is at the helm for the first episode.
Photo credit: NBC, Hannibal