Hannibal Recap Episode 3.7 – Digestivo

Hannibal - Season 3

After three breathtaking seasons, Hannibal has effectively completed the arc that began in episode one. There are no more loose ends. The characters are familiar to each other, Hannibal is in prison, and the rest of the cast is going back to work. We’ve reached a new status quo, and it makes the spectacular “Digestivo” one of the most incredibly satisfying television hours of the year.

As “Digestivo” begins, Hannibal and Will have been captured by Mason’s new Italian police force, though Chiyoh intervenes before they can murder Jack. Mason plans to eat Hannibal after having Will’s face grafted over his own, but in the meantime he’s relishing the opportunity to treat Hannibal like one of his pigs with a branding iron.

That indiscriminate sadism proves to be his undoing. Mason reveals that he saved one of Margot’s eggs and found a surrogate after removing her uterus in season two. However, he can’t leave well enough alone and sticks the unborn fetus into one of his pigs. With Hannibal’s help, Margot and Alana milk Mason for some Verger sperm and then proceed to feed him to his own eels, pinning the crime on a consenting Hannibal.

Before releasing him, Alana also makes Hannibal promise to save Will – that’s her true call to action – and Hannibal is more than willing to fulfill his end of the bargain. Over dinner earlier in the episode, Hannibal tells Mason that it’s dangerous to get exactly what you want, and he takes that wisdom to heart in his relationship with Will. Though Hannibal had Will buttered and cut for dinner – the conclusion he thought he desired – Will is more interesting as a person than a palette cleanser.

It’s a touching revelation because it indicates that Hannibal has finally recognized the evolution of his own tastes. Unlike Alana, Will is able to truly understand Hannibal and the inner workings of his mind. That gives him a unique and irreplaceable value. The need to be understood is extraordinarily powerful, even for a man like Hannibal, and Will is the only living person able to satisfy a desire so strong that he’d rather go to jail than go without.

That yearning builds to the episode’s sublime conclusion. When Will tries to remove Hannibal from his life – he tells Hannibal that he doesn’t want to know anything about where Hannibal goes or what he does – Hannibal does the unexpected and surrenders to the FBI. It’s a power move that denies Will the thing he wants while ensuring that the two will continue as friends. Will now knows exactly where to find Hannibal, and he won’t be able to resist the magnetic attraction between them.

And so Hannibal has come full circle. Will’s betrayal in season two was so onerous because it would have landed Hannibal in prison, but Hannibal has grown so much that what was once reprehensible is now amenable. Hannibal is behind bars thanks to an act of complete empathy rather than an act of violence (Chiyoh would be proud), all because it made him realize that he wants more from life than dinner.

It marks the end of a thrilling chapter of television and lays the groundwork for more to come. Though the end result is the same, Hannibal’s incarceration is a choice – Jack correctly points out that the Chesapeake Ripper hasn’t yet been caught – and “Digestivo” demonstrates that Hannibal is plenty dangerous even when in chains. Hannibal dances to the whims of Dr. Lecter, and that’s not likely to change as the Red Dragon prepares to take the stage.


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  • “The need to be understood is extraordinarily powerful, even for a man like Hannibal, and Will is the only living person able to satisfy a desire so strong that he’d rather go to jail than go without.” THAT’S IT; THAT’S THE SHOW. Excellent recap, as always!