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Digestivo
Season 3, Episode 7
S3e7masonverger
Air date July 18, 2015
Written by Steve Lightfoot and Bryan Fuller
Directed by Adam Kane
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"Digestivo"[1] is the seventh episode of Season 3. It aired on July 18, 2015.

Plot Edit

Captured in Italy by police on Mason Verger's payroll, Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter are delivered to Muskrat Farm to await Mason Verger's revenge. Alana Bloom, distressed that Will has been endangered along with Hannibal, plots a rescue. And Hannibal, once again in contact with his old patient Margot Verger, finds it irresistible to remind her that Mason will never make good on his promises. Meanwhile, Jack Crawford informs Chiyoh of Hannibal's location.

Synopsis Edit

The Florentine police intercept the meeting between Jack Crawford, Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham. The police capture Lecter and a wounded but alive Graham to give to Mason Verger on account of the bounties set on both of them. The police attempt to kill Crawford but are shot dead by Chiyoh from a nearby roof top. Crawford informs Chiyoh that Graham and Lecter are being taken to Muskrat Farm, property owned by Mason in Maryland. Chiyoh sets Crawford free as he questions how he will escape Florence without being killed by the police. Meanwhile, Mason and Cordell await the arrival of Lecter and Graham with plans of eating Lecter while transplanting Graham's face onto Mason's. Alana Bloom and Margot Verger begin to arrange ways to receive a child from Mason's viable sperm with the possibility of Alana as a surrogate. Margot reveals to Mason and Alana that Crawford is still alive which worries Mason that the FBI could arrive soon. Hannibal, Will, and Mason eat dinner together discussing how the plans will be carried out. Will bites off part of Cordell's face in protest. Cordell stitches his cheek and converses with Lecter over how Mason will devour him. Mason reveals to Margot he has already prepared a surrogate of his own for their child; one that is on the farm. Alana explains her alliance with the Vergers to Will. Margot converses with Lecter about her longing for a child and resentment of Mason. Lecter suggests that for therapeutic reasons Margot should kill Mason after she receives the child and he will take the blame. Alana shoots Lecter's guard and sets Hannibal free with a promise that he will rescue and keep Will alive. Mason is put under anesthesia for the facial treatment while Cordell does not use any on Will. Lecter kills the rest of Mason's security and rescues Will from the surgery by killing Cordell and putting his face on Mason's. Alana and Margot discover to their horror Mason's surrogate is actually a large pig with a human fetus inside. Alana removes the child but it is stillborn. Alana and Margot confront a confused and horrified Mason and reveal Lecter helped them receive his sperm through a cattle prod-stimulated prostate ejaculation. Mason attempts to shoot both but the bullet shoots through his floor aquarium. Margot forces him under and his moray eel swims down his throat, suffocating him. Hannibal carries an unconscious Will to the latter's home in Wolf Trap, Virginia and fends off guards with the help of Chiyoh. The next morning, Lecter reveals to Chiyoh he ate but did not kill Mischa. Will recovers from his wounds but in one last therapy session with Lecter, reveals he no longer wishes to have any contact or thoughts about Lecter and the two part ways. Crawford arrives at Will's home and much to the dismay of Will, find Hannibal who willingly surrenders to spite Will. Chiyoh leaves Wolf Trap as Lecter is taken into custody.

Extras Edit

  • Mason’s story about a German cannibal references the real-life case of Armin Meiwes.
  • The writers intended to have the Italian guard Alana shoots with a tranquilizer gun be Inspector Benetti, but the actor was unavailable.
  • The writers considered an alternate approach to the “surrogate” reveal, where the surrogate would have been a female human corpse, with the head and all four limbs removed. They ultimately decided this was too grotesque.
  • Fuller originally planned for Kumail Nanjiani to play Cordell, partly for the irony of the racist Mason being given a non-Caucasian face in this episode. However, Nanjiani ended up being unavailable.
  • The script describes a much more elaborate depiction of Mason’s death scene, with the struggle shot “impressionistically” from an underwater perspective, and the eel being lured out by the blood from the spots where Cordell’s still-partially-attached face clings to Mason, before “seeking softer meat” inside Mason’s mouth. On the audio commentary, Fuller says they had to stitch the finished cut together using unsatisfactory footage from three different shoots (he describes his initial reaction to the footage as, “Why the fuck did they shoot it like that?”). The script also includes Alana pressing Hannibal’s hair into Mason’s palm, a plot point which is completely lost in the final cut. 
  • While the writers originally planned for Hannibal to have killed Mischa, Mads Mikkselsen opposed this, believing that Hannibal may have eaten her after she was dead, but never would have killed her. The writers eventually agreed, leading to the exchange with Chiyoh in this episode. On the “Post-Mortem with Scott Thompson” segment which was released after “Secondo” aired, Mikkelsen states that Hannibal came upon a stranger molesting and killing Mischa, and was too late to save her life.
  • The concept of Hannibal turning himself in because Will rejected him came from Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen, who conceived the idea together and pitched it to Bryan Fuller.

Book to Show Edit

  • This episode concludes the show’s loose adaptation of the novel Hannibal. After the prior episode leapt ahead to Part VI of the book, this episode backtracks to adapt Part V (“A Pound of Flesh”).
  • Whereas in this portion of the book Mason plans to feed Hannibal to his pigs, the show alters this to Mason wanting to eat Hannibal himself, since the show already used the pig plot last season. Likewise, in the book, Mason is assisted by Carlo and his men throughout, but the show already killed them off in “Tome-wan.”
  • Jack accurately describes the location of Muskrat Farm as given in the book.
  • Mason’s kidnapping of Hannibal takes place under very different circumstances from the book, wherein Hannibal returns to the USA voluntarily, and is captured by Carlo and his men in a parking lot as he is trying to break into Clarice’s car to leave a bottle of wine for her birthday.
  • Alana’s line about Mason being a sadist is loosely adapted from a line Clarice says to Special Agent Clint Pearsall after Hannibal’s kidnapping in the novel.
  • The episode adapts into dialogue much of the narration from Chapter 81 of the novel, which describes Mason’s thoughts after Hannibal is brought to Muskrat Farm: Mason’s description of a hush like the quiet of the old Sabbath; Hannibal’s line about Mason being terribly proud that he could bring this off; the dialogue about the danger of getting exactly what you want, up through Mason’s conclusion that it would be foolish to “dilute this ecstatic time with fears about the future”; and Mason’s plan to feed the eel “some delicacy” from Hannibal (in the book he contemplates the nose rather than the genitals).
  • Hannibal saying Mason’s men might have assassinated him in Florence comes from a similar line in the letter he sends Mason in the novel following his escape in Florence. His comparison between Mason and Jezebel also comes from this letter.
  • Mason again references his father checking the depth of pigs’ back fat with a knife, previously mentioned in “Kō No Mono” and “Tome-wan,” and originating in narration in the novel
  • Mason and Cordell’s dialogue about the difficulties of moving semiwild pigs comes from narration in the novel describing Carlo transporting Mason’s pigs from Sardinia to Maryland.
  • Mason’s line about seeing exotic pigs from all over the world at swine fairs comes from narration in the book.
  • Mason again repeats his “good, funny times” catch phrase from “Kō No Mono” and “Tome-wan,” initially from the book, describing his time at the swine fairs with his father.
  • For the second episode in a row, Margot utters a censored version of Carlo’s “The shit will fly” line from the book.
  • The scene where Mason learns that Jack is alive loosely adapts Chapter 79, a very short chapter which details a phone call from Paul Krendler to Mason following Hannibal’s kidnapping. Margot says Jack “saw the snatch,” a line Krendler says to Mason about Clarice in the book. Margot says the FBI is going to catch the “first squeal” on the kidnapping, just as Krendler caught the “first squeal” in the book. Mason’s description of registering complaints against Jack and the subsequent dialogue with Alana reflects Mason saying the same about Clarice in the novel.
  • Mason’s line that there is “no warrant and no warrant forthcoming” is spoken by Special Agent Clint Pearsall to Clarice in the book, after Mason invites the FBI to look over his his property.
  • In the book, Hannibal is kept in the Verger barn, tied to a crosspiece from a ponycart harness. The episode reimagines the barn as a “pig experimentation lab” (as described by Bryan Fuller on the audio commentary), and largely does away with the crucifixion imagery (which the show previously used when Matthew Brown tried to kill Hannibal in “Mukōzuke”). In the book, Mason (who is far more bed-bound than in the show) only confronts Hannibal via TV monitor and does not speak to him in person. Hannibal being transported on a handcart (evoking the way he is transported in The Silence of the Lambs) to meet Mason at the mansion is an innovation borrowed from the 2001 film adaptation of the book, like Mason’s wheelchair, in both cases likely to make the movements and interactions of the characters more dynamic.
  • Mason echoes his dialogue from “Aperitivo” about being “right with the Risen Jesus,” and the nickname “the Riz,” both originally from his talk with Clarice in the novel.
  • A print of Paul Peel’s painting After the Bath, of two nude young children, hangs in Mason’s dining room, possibly alluding to his implied pedophilia in the book (which the show mostly downplayed).
  • Will is not present during these events in the novel, and Mason’s scheme to harvest a new face for himself is an invention of the show.
  • Part of Mason’s gloating dinnertime dialogue to Hannibal (about the “pajama party,” “shorties,” and Cordell keeping Hannibal alive for a long time) comes from Mason’s TV monitor conversation with Hannibal in Chapter 82 of the book.
  • Will biting a chunk off Cordell’s cheek calls to mind Hannibal in Chapter 85 of the novel biting off Cordell’s eyebrow and spitting it in his face. Cordell’s private visit to the imprisoned Hannibal is also partly adapted from this Chapter, although in the book Cordell attempts to persuade Hannibal to bribe Cordell to betray Mason and kill Hannibal quickly, whereas in the show Cordell remains loyal. Specific material taken from this Chapter includes: Cordell burning Lecter (with a poker rather than a brand, and on his nipple through the shirt rather than on his nude back; as in the show, Hannibal does not make a sound), and Cordell describing “the drill” to Hannibal (paraphrased in the episode to reflect Mason’s plan to eat Hannibal himself rather than feeding him to the pigs). Some of Cordell’s dialogue to Will in the deleted scene from this episode (“Good news and bad news” and “You really are done, you know. That’s the bad news”) also come from this Chapter. 
  • Cordell’s line about Mason’s fight against the Humane Slaughter Act and keeping face branding legal comes from backstory about Mason’s father Molson in the book (in reality, the Humane Slaughter Act passed in 1958, although Cordell might mean that Mason fought to get it repealed).
  • Hannibal’s line about the wealth of information and resources Mason has in his faceless skull comes from Mason’s thoughts in the book.
  • Mason asking how long Margot and Alana have been “an item” comes from him asking the same about Margot and Judy in the book.
  • The repeated dialogue about “a Verger baby, our own baby,” previously spoken by Mason in “Kō No Mono” and “Dolce,” originates in the novel when Margot tells Mason she and Judy want their own baby.
  • The “surrogate” plotline is an invention of the show.
  • Mason’s dialogue that he has to think about timing, and Margot’s response (“Don’t think too long, Smiley”), come from the book when Margot is begging Mason for a sperm contribution.
  • Will’s disgust at Mason being able to carry out his plot “with the tacit agreement of people sworn to uphold the law” comes from Clarice’s thoughts in the book (in the novel, she is referring to Paul Krendler).
  • The Margot/Hannibal/Alana scene is adapted and abridged from Margot and Hannibal’s conversation in Chapter 83 of the book when she speaks to him in the barn, with some lines altered to reflect the show’s timeline (in the book Margot was Hannibal’s patient as a child) and to eliminate references to Mason raping Margot. The scene also skips over some dialogue from the book which had been previously adapted on the show in Margot’s therapy sessions in “Su-zakana” and “Naka-Choko,” and in dialogue between Hannibal and Randall Tier in “Shiizakana.” Alana’s presence, and the dialogue about Will, are additions of the show. Specific dialogue taken from this Chapter includes: Hannibal’s greeting (“Thank you for coming, Margot”); his book line, “it’s been a long time since I treated you,” altered to reflect the show’s timeline; Hannibal asking if she has started taking the chocolate after she fought Mason for so long; Hannibal saying Mason will deny her; and all the subsequent dialogue about killing Mason (including the reference to their therapy session, which was depicted on the show in “Su-zakana”). In the book, in contrast to the episode, Margot (who has already been plotting Mason’s death) refuses Hannibal’s proposal for her to release him. Hannibal’s dialogue instructing Alana to take a piece of his hair comes from the book, when he tells Margot to do the same. Hannibal’s release in the episode plays out as he proposes it to Margot in the novel: he suggests that she shoot the guard with the tranquilizer gun (as Alana does in the episode) or “hit him with the hammer” (as Hannibal subsequently does to other guards on the show offscreen). The line, “He has a pocketknife,” and Hannibal’s instructions to Alana about cutting him loose also come from his book dialogue in this section. In the book, Margot continues to refuse, and Hannibal ultimately goads her into yanking his hair out by making a crude comment about Judy.
  • In the novel, Hannibal escapes when Clarice shows up, just before he is fed to the pigs. She cuts his right arm free, as Alana does in the episode, with Hannibal saying “I can do the rest,” just as he says when proposing his escape to Margot in the book and Alana in the show.
  • Mason asking Will if he has accepted Jesus echoes him asking the same of Alana in “Aperitivo” and of Clarice in the novel. His use of the word “Hallelujah” also comes from this section of the novel.
  • Mason’s death scene loosely adapts Chapter 88 of the novel. In the book, Margot bludgeons Cordell to death with the hammer; in the show, Hannibal impliedly kills him. Mason and Alana’s dialogue at the beginning of the scene, before they begin discussing the surrogate, is adapted from Mason and Margot’s dialogue in the book. Margot saying she is taking what Mason promised her is similar to her line in the book, “you’re going to give me what you owe me.” In the book, Margot stimulates Mason’s prostate with the cattle prod to get him to ejaculate (following Hannibal’s suggestion); in the show, Hannibal impliedly does it for her offscreen. Mason’s “You’re dead” and Alana’s reply come from this Chapter, where Mason and Margot have this exchange. In the book, Margot (who is a bodybuilder) picks the eel up out of its tank and stuffs its maw into Mason’s mouth. The show, with its more petite incarnation of Margot, makes the killing less premeditated and more haphazard (and eliminates the collateral animal murder).
  • The reference to the content of Mason and Margot’s father’s will comes from the book, and was last referenced in “Naka-Choko.”
  • Although the circumstances of Hannibal’s escape are very different from the book, the aftermath is similar, with Hannibal carrying an unconscious Will just as he carries Clarice away in the book after she is hit with two tranquilizers.
  • Hannibal’s reference to Chiyoh’s “obsessive and successful hunt” comes from his thoughts near the end of the novel when he is attempting to brainwash (and understand) Clarice, as he reflects that her hunt for Jame Gumb was driven by the plight of Gumb’s captive
  • Hannibal’s line about “the most stable elements” comes from the end of the letter he sends Clarice in the novel, after her “disgrace and public shaming.”
  • Hannibal’s notebook of calculations comes from the novel, during the period when he is ministering to Clarice after their escape from Muskrat Farm. He has “a big pad of butcher paper” on which he works in astrophysics and particle physics, equations which “begin brilliantly and then decline, doomed by wishful thinking” due to his obsession with reversing entropy and making a place in the world for Mischa. Keeping with this theme, the show returns to the “shattered teacup” imagery from A Brief History of Time which in the book fascinates Hannibal, previously seen in “Kō No Mono,” “Primavera” and “Aperitivo.” Similarly, Hannibal asking Will if they will talk “about teacups and time and the rule of disorder” comes from narration describing Hannibal and Clarice’s conversations during her recovery. 
  • Hannibal’s line about Will’s memory palace building and sharing rooms with his own comes from narration near the end of the novel, referring to Clarice after she goes on the run with Hannibal.
  • The books never detail the specifics of Hannibal’s apprehension, but based on the background provided in the novel Red Dragon, it impliedly happens shortly after Will discovers Hannibal’s identity (adapted in the episode “Entrée,” substituting Miriam Lass for Will) and he calls the police just before Hannibal guts him (adapted in “Mizumono”).

Cut Scenes Edit

  • Originally, the writers’ plan was that Jack and Chiyoh would fight in the elevator in “Dolce,” and at the end Jack would leave Chiyoh handcuffed to the bars. The Questura would pass by Chiyoh as they entered in this episode, and she would then slip her handcuffs and come to Jack’s rescue in a fight scene.
  • The script opens the third act with an elaborate sequence of Hannibal attacking several guards in a corridor of the Verger Estate with a knife and hammer. Fuller says on the audio commentary that they shot part of this sequence and it was not working. Instead, the episode cuts directly to the aftermath, showing Hannibal exiting the house with a bloody hammer.
  • The DVD and Blu Ray feature a deleted scene of Cordell explaining the face transplant surgery to Will.
  • The script ends with a shot of Hannibal in his cell, observed from outside by Alana and Chilton.

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Season 3 Episodes

AntipastoPrimaveraSecondoAperitivoContornoDolceDigestivoThe Great Red DragonAnd the Woman Clothed With The SunAnd the Woman Clothed In Sun... And the Beast From the SeaThe Number of the Beast is 666The Wrath of the Lamb

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