Mason Verger has finally achieved his goal of getting Hannibal & Will Graham to his vast and hellish pig farm, where they are both at his mercy. He is, as Alana Bloom describes, playing with his food, which we learn is not, in fact, such a great idea.
In “Digestivo” we learn quite a few interesting things. For example: one should never attempt to moisturize Will Graham without his consent, pigs do not make good surrogate mothers, eels are not loyal pets, and lastly, it’s probably a good idea to revenge kill the outrageously smart, cannibal bad guy as soon as one captures him.
To begin our time at Muskrat Farm, we are treated to a parody of one of Hannibal’s dinner parties: Hannibal & Will are suited up in the fanciest suits and strapped down at the table while Mason waxes poetic about the various ways that his lackey Cordell is going to cut apart & cook Hannibal. Oh, and don’t forget the face transplant he has in mind: he wants to take Will’s face for his own (guess I can’t blame him, who wouldn’t want to look like Hugh Dancy?).
While Hannibal seems flippant and rather amused throughout the ordeal, Will remains rather blasé & unimpressed. I suppose this shouldn’t be surprising at this rate, since he’s just come from nearly getting his skull split in two by his former BFF; this was just the most recent incident in a comically long list of traumatic events endured by our beloved shattered teacup. When Mason remarks upon the dryness of Will’s skin, Cordell attempts to moisturize him, which goes spectacularly poorly for Cordell: Will bites a sizable chunk of his cheek off with his teeth.
Naturally, Hannibal beams on approvingly before he is taken away to the pig pens, stripped, and bound. Cordell brands him, to which he has no visceral reaction…he just breathes deeply through the pain, as though he was going through a yoga sun salutation, & rolls with all of the horrifying punches that would scare the proverbial snot out of most non-serial killer entities.
Meanwhile, Alana & Margot are still an item (I am still wondering why there was no buildup to this relationship?! I am DYING to know who flirted first, the context of the first kiss, etc, etc….). Alana experiences an internal armageddon when it comes to just *how* OK she is with Hannibal’s fate at the hands of Mason: during a random visit to an unsupervised but bound Will (why was he not supervised? The man just took a chunk out of Mason’s most favorite sidekick!), she admits to being OK with Hannibal’s torture, but not necessarily his death. His image is also reflected in her mind’s eye early on in the episode. Conflicting feels for Alana, indeed.
As for Margot, she is still listening to Mason prattle on about the “Verger baby” that he allegedly wants so badly. He even goes so far as to confess to her that he kept her eggs after he forcibly sterilized her last season. When he cryptically adds that he already has a surrogate for their baby on the farm, Margot & Alana set out to find said surrogate…and their first stop is Hannibal. Hannibal speaks with Margot about the inevitability of Mason’s death, and the painful truth that he will continue to deny her everything that he possibly can. He agrees to take the fall for Mason’s death, but when Margot asks if he will kill him for her, he helpfully says, “It would actually be more therapeutic for you to kill him, like I recommended in our session.” Looks like Hannibal never really stops his psychiatric work, even when he’s bound in a pig pen in which everyone knows he’s a cannibal serial killer. That’s dedication.
Alana tells Hannibal that she wanted to save Will from him, but she sees the error in her ways & she now knows that he is the only one who can save Will. After establishing that she really never could have understood him and that they never would have worked out (looks like cannibalism IS a deal-breaker), Alana sets Hannibal loose in house Verger.
An unlikely and pretty formidable pseudo-alliance has been forged, albeit very temporarily and not without foreboding: Hannibal had promised Alana in the season 2 finale that, should she pursue him, he would kill her. Before the two part ways in this episode, he reminds Alana that he ALWAYS keeps his promises. Dun dun DUNNN!! And you thought you and your ex had beef.
After bludgeoning several people to death with a hammer and cutting off Cordell’s face, Hannibal escapes Muskrat Farm with Will. He goes so far as to carry our precious, damaged FBI profiler through the snow, however many miles from the farm to his place in Wolf Trap, Virginia. Chez Will, after Hannibal has presumably dressed Will’s wounds & put him to bed to rest (insert collective Fannibal cooing here), our two favorite, twisted characters have the most metaphor-intensive breakup ever. Whether or not you ship Hannigram (Hannibal/Will) is irrelevant here: bros or more-than-bros, whatever these codependent fools are to you, this is most definitely a breakup….
…and no breakup between these two would be complete without a reference to shattered teacups & mind palaces. Will explicitly tells Hannibal that he doesn’t want to know where he is, doesn’t want to think about him anymore, that he won’t miss him, and he won’t imagine what could have been (not even in his mind palace). The conversation ends with Will’s finite, “Goodbye, Hannibal.” The sheer range of emotions that cross Hannibal’s face in response to this is breathtaking (mad kudos, Mads): he reacts viscerally to Will’s pronouncement of goodbye when he merely breathed through a stabbing & a branding at Muskrat Farm. With that, he leaves slowly.
Later that night, Jack pulls up to Will’s place with a squad of police cars. Will tries to inform Jack that Hannibal is gone, but WAIT: he’s not! He comes out from behind Will’s house to surrender to Jack. What was he even doing back there that whole time? Kicking sticks and sulking? Maybe we’ll never know.
The episode closes with Hannibal looking pointedly at Will & saying, “I want you to know exactly where I am, where you can always find me.” These two and their vast plethora of issues! Initially, I thought that this was just Hannibal’s attempt to stay close to Will because he is unable to bear their separation. Having further reflected on it, however, I think that it’s not only his way of nurturing their codependent bond, but also his final act of cruelty & manipulation of Will (for now, at least). He ensures that Will’s final, parting wishes are completely disregarded & effectively stakes out his own place in Will’s mind, possibly permanently. What do you think?
–RIP, Mason Verger. After a hair raising scene in which Alana & Margot find the “surrogate,” which is actually a pig incubating a stillborn human baby (complete with a piggy mobile), our lovely & incensed revenge queens finally see Mason to his watery grave. They reveal to him that they’ve forcibly obtained his sperm whilst he was unconscious (let’s hear it for lesser known uses of the cattle prod), then they attempt to drown him in his little eel aquarium. In a surprising and grotesquely amusing & befitting twist, no such effort was required: Mason’s pet eel swims through his mouth and chokes him to death! Boom! Now that is a whole lotta subject matter that is not normally addressed on television, nevertheless network TV. This is why I love this show.
–Chiyoh played a small but crucial role this episode that is not to go unmentioned. At the start of the episode, when the Italian police are still spiriting Hannibal & Will away & staging the scene of the crime, they were supposed to kill Jack Crawford, leaving him as Hannibal’s last victim. Luckily, Chiyoh nips that in the bud with her sharp shooting skills. She also learns Mason’s farm’s location from Jack, & when Hannibal is escaping with Will, she snipes all who attempt to come after them. At the end, she also keeps Hannibal in her scope as he walks towards Jack…could she have had a hand in his surrender? I don’t think he would have done something that he didn’t want to do, but I do wonder if she gave him an extra nudge in the form a sniper threat. She also is seen slinking into the snowy darkness once Hannibal has been apprehended. Hmm…
–In the beginning of the episode, Jack Crawford claims that Hannibal & Will are “identically different.” At the end of the episode, Hannibal tells Will, “You delight yourself in wickedness and berate yourself for the delight.”
Will replies, “You delight. I tolerate. I don’t have your appetite. Goodbye Hannibal.” I found this to be a fascinating parallel. The word choice of “tolerate” is particularly intriguing: he put up with Hannibal’s wicked shenanigans for so long, in hopes of preserving perhaps one of the most real bonds he’s ever had with someone, but now he is (rightfully) trying to rid himself of a drastically unhealthy, codependent relationship.
–Fun fact: the scene in which Hannibal carries Will to Wolf Trap mirrors a scene in the 2001 film “Hannibal,” in which the illustrious Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter carries Clarice Starling to safety from the pig pens.
–This episode marks the end of the “hunt for Hannibal” portion of this season; the next episode of the season will introduce the highly anticipated “Red Dragon” story arc, starring the one and only Richard Armitage.