First, a word of warning: NBC have moved Hannibal from Thursdays to Saturdays for the rest of season 3, so this review is scheduled alongside the unchanged Canadian broadcast. Consequently, this post contains huge spoilers for most people reading in the U.S, UK, and most other countries. Continue reading at your own risk...
There were some narrative inevitabilities with "Digestivo", which ended the third season's focus on Dr Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) as a European fugitive, and not just for book-readers who've been aware of Mason Verger's (Joe Anderson) fate from the beginning. Arriving just half-way through the season, and with a recently-released trailer showing Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Lecter as part of the 'Red Dragon' storyline (which begins in episode 8), there was little doubt how this hour was going to resolve. However, it was enthralling to see exactly how things panned out in Bryan Fuller's TV-universe, and the smattering of changes to the novel's storyline helped keep things spicy—particularly Will's off-book involvement, as a fellow captive of Mason's with frenemy Lecter, poised to become the unwilling donor of a full facial transplant (sans anaesthetic).
The situation with Will and Lecter was very grim, as Mason took sick pleasure in explaining his crazy plan to gain a handsome face of one enemy, in which to devour the other. Cordell (Glenn Fleshler) has been on the periphery most of the season, but stepped up as another chilling component of Mason's vengeance—teasing Will and Lecter about their eventual painful demise, while tasked as both surgeon and chef. He's a man of many talents, it seems! (Best not to spend too long thinking about the ridiculousness of a physician having the skill to perform a complete facial transplant, OK?)
There actually wasn't much catharsis of Lecter turning the tables on his captors, as the story was instead more focused on his promise to Alana about rescuing Will in return for his freedom, which led to their final farewell in Will's bedroom. The writing becomes remarkable whenever those two characters are allowed to chat about their twisted relationship (which bodes well for the latter half of the year, where we're entering the potentially sticky scenario of Lecter behind bars), and their last scene in this episode was another dose of brilliance. I especially loved how Lecter almost—almost!—broke his inscrutable expression after hearing Will wants nothing more to do with him, and won't attempt to find him if he runs again. Perhaps that's partly why, without a pursuer of any perceived worth or interest to him, Lecter surrendered himself to Jack (Laurence Fishburne) and the FBI.
We're going back to the procedural heart of the show from next week; but with new characters to meet (including the notorious Francis "Tooth Fairy" Dolarhyde), and a dynamic between Will and Lecter that's finally going to bring Manhunter/Silence of the Lambs-style exchanges to the show.
Let's savour this meal; it could be our last.
- Chiyoh (Tao Okamoto) lives to see another day, having proved her usefulness as Lecter's gun-toting guardian angel. It was also made clear that Lecter ate his sister Mischa, but didn't kill her. See, he's not a complete monster. One has to wonder if Chiyoh is perhaps the mechanism for breaking Lecter from prison in the future, if the show manages to continue and doesn't want to keep him caged forever.
- Did you see the Hannibal San Diego Comic-Con panel? Click here.