TV Recap: Hannibal, ‘Digestivo’

Written by Matt Taylor


DIGESTIVO Plot Summary:

The Florentine Police prevent Hannibal (Madds Mikkelsen) from braining Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). The police decide to collect Mason Verger’s (Joe Andersen) bounty and ship both Lecter and Graham to Veger’s Muskrat Farm. At the farm, Verger decides he will remove Will’s face and have it surgically fused to his. He will then have his man servant/doctor/chef Cordell (Glenn Fleshler) slowly torture Hannibal. After the torture, Cordell will serve a piece of Hannibal to Verger every single day. Meanwhile, Mason reveals to his sister Margot (Katharine Isabelle) that he has a surrogate for her that provide them an heir.

Hannibal in Digestivo.
Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC

It may not have been a season finale but, in last night’s episode of Hannibal, almost every plot thread reached its conclusion. The suspenseful, extremely violent hour would have been a satisfying final episode, sending the show out on a high note. But, thankfully, we still have six more episodes. In “Digestivo”, we are treated to a bloody, twist-filled showdown between all the characters at the house of horrors that is Muskrat Farm. The results: one of the most spellbinding episodes of Hannibal yet.

It seems like Mason, like much of the show’s fan base, noticed something strange with Hannibal and Will’s relationship, since we quickly learn that he plans on taking the latter’s face for himself, and using it to eat the former. The act of violence, as well as other scenes in the episode, further explored the bond between the two leads, which reached its logical conclusion this week, with some of the strongest writing of the season. While those who have read the novels, or have seen Silence of the Lambs, won’t be too surprised with how the story turns out, it’s handled in a unique way and still manages to be suspenseful. In lesser hands, Hannibal’s final decisions would feel out of place or poorly done. But, thankfully, Bryan Fuller understands these characters and completely sticks the landing.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC
Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC

This episode also serves as what I can only assume is a farewell to the polarizing Verger twins. While I was a fan of the characters, specifically Margot, I had somewhat mixed feelings about how they were written off. Mason’s sendoff was definitely one of the episode’s strongpoints. Joe Anderson had a few great scenes where he got to utilize the show’s twisted sense of humor and show off his talents with a monologue. But audience members who hated the character (or, in my case, loved to hate him) will be pleased with how Hannibal fights his way out of Verger’s trap. It was certainly creative, to say the least.

But Margot’s conclusion felt underdeveloped and too sudden. Margot’s inability to conceive a child, a result of her brother’s horrific torture in season two, is once again called to the audience’s attention, but it feels incredibly random and lacks an emotional impact. Even worse, the show had one of its few gross out moments that completely fell flat, thoroughly disgusting the audience but not making a lick of sense. Thankfully, Katharine Isabelle once again did a nice job playing the character, exhibiting more strength and ferocity than she had in previous episodes. And, it must be said, she has a surprising amount of chemistry with Caroline Dhavernas. But, if this is the last we see of Margot, I’ll be thoroughly disappointed.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC
Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC

Also, Chiyo once again proved to be one of the must random and least interesting additions to the series. Tao Okamoto is a fine actress and tries her best, but her character serves no real purpose and is consistently boring when onscreen. In “Digestivo”, her character serves as a deus ex machina for the main characters, and then stands around as the story comes to a close. While I can’t help but feel like Chiyo, who was interesting when first introduced, has some potential to be a compelling supporting character, I hope she also exits the series when it rebrands itself next week.

While it’s starting to look like Hannibal might actually be dead, and that another network won’t produce a fourth season, fans, at least, got a conclusion they deserved with “Digestivo.” Even with some minor flaws, this was an exciting and powerfully acted episode, with some shocking acts of violence that were twisted, even by Hannibal’s already warped standards. Even better, this isn’t the end: next week, we’ll be introduced to one of the most significant villains from the Hannibal universe, the Red Dragon. After a slow start, Bryan Fuller has hit a stride of series-best episodes. Hopefully that streak will continue, and Hannibal will go out with a bang.

Final Rating: 9 out of 10