Restraints both physical and mental feature prominently on Hannibal this week as the ‘Hannibal on the run’ arc comes to an end with an incredibly satisfying, sometimes horrifying and at times very funny episode. Hannibal has remained pretty unflappable throughout being hunted; even when he was beaten and lying on his ass he still didn’t have the look of a totally broken man despite being a little broken. Throughout his ordeal at Muskrat Farm which includes being stabbed, branded, tied up and teased with how his body will be prepared for a feast he never break a sweat. This is a man who has killed people in more ways than you could ever imagine and even when he is strung up like a pig waiting for slaughter he is always a few steps ahead.
Alana even goes as far as pointing out to a cocksure Mason why you shouldn’t play with Hannibal because Hannibal is always playing. Mason’s hubris is his ultimate downfall because while it looks like his well thought out torture plan for both Hannibal and his sister is foolproof the “finer details” are always evolving and he is not as good at reading people as the trained professionals.
Breaking up can be hard to do and “Digestivo” deals with what are effectively two big rejections. First there is Hannibal and Will; this took a drastic turn at the end of last week’s episode with a bone saw and thankfully Hannibal’s dinner prep was interrupted by the well timed and super corrupt cops paid off with Mason’s millions. Cutting the toxic Hannibal part out of Will’s life was imperative and Jack’s advice almost ended with Will as the one being sliced and diced. Not that this threat doesn’t continue over at Muskrat Farm as Mason’s plan for Will involves wearing his face while Mason eats Hannibal. Delightful.
Will and Hannibal’s fates are entwined and rather than pitting them against each other there is this sense they can only escape alive if they do it together. This can’t be achieved without help and Alana Bloom plays an important role in their escape as well as being somewhat responsible for their capture. Not that Alana is to blame for their predicament as she was simply trying to get to Hannibal before Will did, but Hannibal’s pull is strong and Will’s intimate knowledge of his memory palace meant the hunt would be quicker than tracking fancy foods from an upmarket deli. I do wonder how long it took to sail to Italy and it does seem like there are quicker forms of travel. Sailing does have the benefit of anonymity.
One ship that has long sailed (and a ship I am still kinda on, even if at this point it makes no sense) is Alana/Will. Mason has made plenty of sleazy comments about Alana’s relationship with Hannibal, but it seems he is unfamiliar with Will’s previous romantic overtures towards Dr. Bloom. Mason does question whether he can trust Alana and he is seemingly convinced by her assurance that she had nothing to do with the plan in Italy going array; however I wonder if he would be so chill in leaving Will hanging out alone in the dining room if he knew Alana and Will were friends? He at least has to be aware that they worked together. But once again this can be chalked up to Mason’s inability to see everything that is going on around him.
In the past when Will and Alana have sat down together the wide shot has been used to show them on equal footing and with a level of intimacy even when one of them is in handcuffs. In this scene Alana doesn’t sit directly opposite instead she chooses a chair slightly away from him and the wide shot is replaced with solo coverage. The sense of distance, disappointment and even anger emanates from both characters with Will taking jabs at her moral compass with her role in their capture. Basically he is being a bit of a dick, but considering his predicament and the awkward looking suit he has been made to wear I guess I can give him a pass on his tone. But Alana is not just going to sit there and take it because after all he rejected her when she went to see him at Hannibal’s home, which led her to seek another less savory avenue for capturing Hannibal.
It would be nice if she gave him an update on his dogs (which I assume she is looking after when she is not at the Verger’s) although now is maybe not the time to throw in a PS ‘Winston misses you’ remark.
Going outside the law is one of the things he sneers at her about and he asks what she thought would happen; she believed Jack and the FBI would save the day. For the second time this plan has failed, which is where the all important notion of evolution plays a vital role in how the rest of the action progresses. Will tells Alana “you have to evolve. You have to spill blood. Either by your own hand or someone else’s.”
And who do they have lying around who wants to spill some blood?
This task needs fabulous outerwear with furs and florals being an ideal way to brighten up any pig pen. Also in terms of the Alana Bloom sartorial switch-up this coat harks back to her pre-defenestration wrap dress prints nodding towards an Alana of old. Margot is coming face to face with her former therapist and champion of all things fratricide, for Alana it is even more intense as this is the first time she is seeing her ex since he got a teenage girl to throw her out of a window. They’ve briefly talked on the phone of course, but nothing quite prepares you for seeing the dude you used to date strung up nearly naked. Will’s pep talk has spurred on Alana and not only does she take out the guard with ease using a tranq gun, but she also holds her nerve with Hannibal; she does not cry or yell. Instead she politely implores him to save Will coming down to his level face to face.
This shot and the way they are starring at each other is everything.
The key here is saving Will and really saving Will has always been number one on Alana’s agenda even if she made some misguided choices with her love life last season. But Will is not the only one who needs to break free from Mason’s sweaty clutches as Margot has too long been controlled by her sadistic brother. Their father’s will states only Mason or another heir is the beneficiary of the estate and it is an important reminder when Mason brags about this fact that Margot’s baby plan is entwined with her desire to be free from his influence.
Hannibal is offering his services here, but he wants Margot to commit the act (he sure does like getting other people to kill) and he will take the blame offering up his hair as evidence to place in Mason’s hand. Before Alana rips it from his scalp she asks “Could I have ever understood you?” Hannibal’s reply of “no” is somewhat dismissive of her psychiatrist talents giving her the perfect impetus (along with everything else he has doe) to cause him a little pain. The foley department gets an A+ for this hair tug sound and Hannibal definitely flinches a little.
By promising to save Will, he also delivers what sounds like a threat and a half when he tells her that he always keeps his promises. Should Alana be worried for her own life? Not this week and he even helps them with another not so pleasant task involving a cattle prod and ‘milking.’ I full on snort laughed when Alana coolly revealed Hannibal knows how to use a cattle prod (of course he does). I really want a deleted scene of his this conversation went down – “Just one more thing Hannibal before you carry Will off into the sunset…”
If you were ever under the illusion that Mason Verger is not a twisted sick fuck then “Digestivo” is here to really cement this character trait. Mason has long been toying with Margot from her tear infused martinis to the diabolical act of removing her uterus and aborting her baby. He has a surprise for her this week as he took her eggs and didn’t Humpty Dumpty them (which is a horrifying phrase which also made me laugh) but instead put them in another basket. And there is a baby! But this is not a joyful occasion and the extreme nature of where this baby is being kept hits a new level of ‘what the fuckery?’ horror for this show.
Mason’s all things pigs extends to the torture of his sister and as Will is being prepared for his face removal we see Alana and Margot cutting the baby out of the pig in a heartbreaking and disturbing moment pushing Margot towards the plan Hannibal has been suggesting all along.
On Hannibal there are a lot of unhealthy relationships and this episode explores breaking free of these toxic binds, but one pairing which could change this trend is Margot and Alana. Plenty is stacked against them including the circumstances which brought them together and the baggage they both carry. But who doesn’t have a stuff in their past that they’d rather forget? And I think it is important to see how they both get through this shit and their experiences with manipulators without just coming across as victims. Just look at the way the light frames them in this shot among the darkness.
I’ve talked plenty of times in the past about Alana’s position as the heart of the show, a nurturing role which places her in a position with traits which are traditionally feminine. With Margot she offers up a warmth she is probably not used to and I really hope these two can make it, but maintaining a romantic relationship on Hannibal is probably harder than staying alive on Hannibal if you are in the regular cast. Self-preservation is what Alana preaches to Will when she discusses her recent choices and yet her actions have all been about saving both Margot and Will.
Post baby discovery Margot has mascara streaked cheeks and no time for Mason’s threats; she has what she needs (ta Hannibal) and it’s over. Mason’s blood stained face (courtesy of his not Will Graham mask) and general demeanor adds a farcical element further, heightened by Katharine Isabelle’s amazing line reading (and nod to Mason’s earlier declaration) of “mostly yours” had me cackling. Mason’s end is pretty fitting as he ends up being held down in his fish tank by Margot and Alana – in it together – and his eel ends up swimming into his mouth essentially asphyxiating him (which also symbolically looks a whole lot like another kind of violation). Bye Mason!
Okay not quite time to finish with him as we’ve still got his dude dinner party to discuss – how did they get a chat about penis cooking followed by a shot of sausages by the Standards and Practices people?
Mason also provided some new clothes for Will and Hannibal dressing them up all nice in a way which Hannibal normally does (although the striped shirt is not his usual speed this side of the Atlantic) and the already mentioned slightly out of place Will suit. Will also ruins what was a perfectly lovely dinner (not really) by biting Cordell’s cheek and spitting out the offending part. Which leads me to other shots of Hugh Dancy from this episode looking slightly deranged.
In all fairness to him he did start the episode with his head getting cut open and then he did almost end up faceless. Not a good week for Will Graham and so it is not a huge surprise when he rejects all things Hannibal after he has been rescued. It is his time to evolve; no more mind palaces or chasing the man who has occupied his thoughts for three seasons. All Will wants to do is hang out with his dogs, his dogs that he misses more than Hannibal (burn).
Ending relationships with ties as strong as this is difficult and for Margot she had to get rid of her brother in a definitive way and while Will seems over the whole killing Hannibal notion, it is the only way he will be truly free from his influence (he just can’t help himself).
The bedside dismissal is pretty emphatic and the point of light in the scene gives this serene edge to the end of this affair. Well, Will thinks it is the end, but Hannibal is always playing and like an ex you can’t get rid of he has a plan to keep himself in Will’s life. Even if this means sacrificing his own freedom which he earned in stunning fashion earlier in the episode. You don’t dump Hannibal, he definitely dumps you.
Another significant hello/goodbye occurs outside Will Graham’s home as Chiyo and Hannibal come face to face for the first time in a long time. Chiyo has acted as Jack Crawford savior with her trusty rifle and I also have to guess that he helped get her into the US after she saved his life. She’s been a character who has been neither here nor there for me in that she has acted as a peek into Hannibal’s past, but with not much else (other than another edition into the fabulous coat collection of Hannibal) beyond being a bit of a plot device and this is a shame.
She does ask the questions regarding Mischa – he didn’t kill her, but he did eat her. In the end she believes some beasts should remain free and she leaves into the night when Hannibal is arrested. Will we see her again?
Oh and you know what’s back at the end? Oh yeah, Will Graham’s glasses!
Time jumps and Red Dragon are coming! For a 5 minute preview and the Comic-Con panel head here.