kindkit: Sailing ship at sea. (Fandomless: Blue ship)
[personal profile] kindkit


I'm not quite sure what I think of the ending. (I say this even though I just had to pause and wipe my eyes.)

I was fairly spoiled for it, because I'd seen discussion when it aired, back when I had no intention of ever watching the show. I knew that Will and Hannibal went off a cliff and that there was some debate over what it meant.

There's no question in my mind that Will did it deliberately, and I think Hannibal let him--I don't think Hannibal knew it was coming, but once he knew it was happening, he didn't resist. For Will, it's the solution to "can't live with him, can't live without him"--the other option is to die with him. For Hannibal, it's a reprise of his surrender halfway through the season; he'll do anything, anything, not to be separated from Will.

Returning to Will for a moment, it was also, I think, a matter of not becoming a killer. He and Hannibal had finally killed together, and Will's reaction was "it's beautiful" and to fall into Hannibal's arms. At that point I think it would have been emotionally impossible for him to leave Hannibal, but he retained enough of his old self not to want to be a murderer, so he chose to die instead.

I think the whole business is devastatingly romantic. I am possibly twisted.

As far as I can tell from a bit of quick research, this episode had already been written and filmed before NBC cancelled the show. So Will and Hannibal weren't intended to be really dead. Them surviving the fall is as plausible as anything else on the show--and we do know Hannibal has superpowers--so as romantic as I find their beautiful mutual murder-suicide, I also have the comfort of imagining fix-its. I'm sure there are lots of fanfics.

Another moment I was spoiled for was Will's question in 3x12, "Is Hannibal in love with me?" I liked it but thought it was almost unnecessary, except perhaps to underscore to the insistently No Homo that there is, in fact, Homo. Lots of Homo. Certainly I'd think Will was a bit slow for needing to ask, except that his tone is that of someone who already knows the answer. (ETA: I meant to mention the crucial thing here, which is that the language changes from the potentially ambiguous word "love" to the not-at-all ambiguous "in love." I'm not sure I actually think "love" was used ambiguously on the show--Hannibal and Will's behavior towards each other has clearly been romantic/erotic rather than friendly for a long time--but I do think it's significant that it was all finally spelled out in the script.)

As an ending, 3x12 and 3x13 felt awfully rushed. There was way too much Francis Dolarhyde and not enough Hannibal and Will, and I don't understand (unless it was a hurried rewrite after the cancellation) why the big plan was crammed into the last 20 minutes of 3x13. What Will really intended is left ambiguous, which is perhaps another case of Will himself not knowing what he means to do about Hannibal. Will pretty much always thinks he intends to kill Hannibal, but he never does. When he had the knife in his hand and Hannibal was trussed up for the pigs--the exact scenario of Will's murder fantasy--what did he do, after all, but cut him loose?

In one of my recent posts I said I was glad to have plot again, and that's still true, but it did create problems. Besides the excess of Francis Dolarhyde and Reba, it also put Will and Hannibal in too adversarial a position, I thought. I assume most of the betrayals were taken from the book, where the emotional situation between Will and Hannibal is completely different. I don't find Hannibal putting Will in danger plausible--killing him himself, yes, but not putting him in a position to be killed by someone else. And Hannibal sending Dolarhyde after Will's family was plausible as jealousy, maybe, but it seemed a clumsy move for someone as subtly manipulative as Hannibal. And the aftermath was a little glossed over. Will makes so little fuss about it, ultimately, that I find myself thinking that Will, on some level, wanted to be rid of them. He picked them as a shield against Hannibal and against his own love for Hannibal, and I think maybe he came to resent them, in a deeply suppressed way, for being the barrier between him and Hannibal. The fact that he can't stop imagining himself (as Dolarhyde) killing Molly suggests a lot of subconscious hostility. Poor Molly. I hope she meets someone better for her.

I wonder if Will forgave Hannibal for the attack on his family the way he forgave him for killing Abigail? Or if he simply loved Hannibal so much that even the unforgivable didn't make any difference? One of the things I've been thinking about while watching S3 is how much Will must love Hannibal, to still love him after all the things he's done. It's awful and beautiful, abject and sublime. (If it were real life, it would just be sad and disturbing, but since this is a story it gets to be glorious too.)

The very end of 3x13, with Bedelia, is both odd and fitting. She's in certain ways Will's precursor and parallel, and in the end she sits alone, waiting for Hannibal, having offered herself up to be consumed, and not knowing he'll never come. Like Will, she hasn't wanted to make a choice, but unlike Will, she never actually does. She's stayed suspended between being with Hannibal and running from him, accepting him and rejecting him, and she ends up stuck in limbo. Will, in contrast, acts, and he creates a resolution. He kills Hannibal and spends the rest of his life with him, all at once.

*wipes eyes again*

It's not a story where there could ever have been a happily-ever after. It's strange how impossible it is not to want one.


ETA 2: Can anybody link me to a clip of the alternate take with the "almost kiss"? It's apparently on the Blu Ray extras but not on the DVD, and naturally I have the DVD.

ETA 3: Since I first posted this I've listened to part of the audio commentary for the last episode, so I now know that my interpretation of the Bedelia scene is not what was intended. And I'm sort of glad, because canonical hints that Hannibal and Will are alive and murder-husbanding around are welcome. But I think my interpretation is also possible: she could be concealing the fork in the expectation of Hannibal turning up. On consideration, I think the most telling bit of evidence for Fuller's intention is the elaborate presentation of the cooked leg, which is pure Hannibal.

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