This is a really interesting question, because even though the audience sees through Will’s eyes—including his ‘mind’s eye’—we don’t hear his thoughts, so we’re never quite sure what he’s thinking when he looks at Hannibal.

Bryan Fuller has said that in S2 Will & Hannibal will be “finding a new dynamic between them and… exploring the loss of the friendship" (x). Will Graham doesn’t have many friends; his gifts just don’t permit it. So the concept of ‘friendship’ is that much more profound for him—as it is for Hannibal. S1’s end is particularly cruel for Will because it’s both a deception and a profound betrayal. The intimacy he formed with Hannibal over many months was exploited, that trust and friendship utterly violated.

When Hannibal makes his first (inappropriate) friendly gesture, bringing Will breakfast, Will tells Hannibal, with rudeness that should’ve made him Hannibal’s next gourmet dish, “Just keep this professional.” The boundaries between therapist & patient are strictly drawn (as Hannibal does with Franklyn); and Will’s suspicion of psychiatrists—who consider him a freakish novelty—makes him cling to those. But Hannibal exploits the inherent intimacy of that relationship, their shared feelings for Abigail, and Will’s faltering grip on reality, so that it soon becomes inappropriate on both sides.

By the end of the two episodes which most develop Hannibal’s character—”Sorbet" & "Fromage"—I think Will has fully accepted Hannibal as a friend and confidant. In "Fromage", after Alana gently rejects him because he’s "unstable”, Will consciously decides to drive for miles in the snow to Hannibal’s house, seeking advice and consolation. Here, it’s Will who oversteps the boundaries of their professional relationship. In the next episode, Will dissociates and wakes up in Hannibal’s waiting room, suggesting an unconscious impulse to seek out a source of stability. 

Both episodes feature a moment of recognition between Will & Hannibal. In “Sorbet”, Hannibal meets Will’s eyes as Will watches him save the life of the man in the ambulance. The ambiguity of Will’s expression suggests some residual hostility and suspicion, as though subconsciously sensing something amiss. In “Fromage”, Will seeks out Hannibal after Tobias’s attack, and they again make eye contact—and the look is one of mutual relief that the other is not dead. Will usually avoids eye contact; but in both cases it’s voluntary, prolonged, and intense.

(Both instances are, of course, foreshadowing the moment in “Savoureux” when Will tells Hannibal, “I see you now”, and the eye contact which concludes the entire season: “Hello, Dr. Lecter.”)

I think the clinching moment is the end of “Fromage”. It’s ironic that Will is in Hannibal’s office when he tells Hannibal, “I feel like I’ve dragged you into my world," because really Will has been dragged into Hannibal’s world. Will’s personal boundaries, and the strict boundaries which should constrain their professional relationship, have collapsed. To Will, Hannibal’s office is no longer a professional space; it’s a personal, psychological one. (Hence the reimagined shadow-murders there in “Savoureux”.) The line also suggests that Will feels somehow responsible for Hannibal—even protective—and wanted to keep his violent, grisly professional life at arm’s length from Hannibal. I think Will’s expression is one of genuine affection & concern—he’s allowing himself to empathise with Hannibal.

That enables Hannibal to manipulate Will into silence about Abigail’s crimes in “Trou Normand”, in an inappropriate and physically domineering way. And then there’s “Roti”, and Will’s extraordinary expression of trust—asking Hannibal to confirm or deny his sense of reality. They’ve both crossed a line.

On a basic level, it must be flattering for Will—always the social outcast—that this charming, intelligent, wealthy, sophisticated, high-society man has such a powerful interest in being his friend, undeterred by his hostility and lack of social graces. But Will must also detect Hannibal’s loneliness, his strange detachment from others, which is also endearing. (As Freddie reminds us, Hannibal is the expert on social exclusion.) 

This shift from Hannibal imposing to Will reciprocating is reinforced by small but crucial gestures. We know from Red Dragon that Will appreciates wine: a case of Montrachet, a very fine white wine, is among his few possessions. When he misses Molly, he imagines dinners with her, particularly the smell of the wine. It’s something he associates with comfort, hospitality, and home. So it’s significant that when Hannibal invites him to join the dinner party in “Sorbet”, Will politely declines, but brings wine as a gesture of goodwill. He’s returning Hannibal’s earlier offer of wine during therapy, making their relationship reciprocal. And it’s also a personal gesture, excusing a social debt with a currency that Will deems valuable—and that he knows Hannibal also values. He’s acknowledging common ground between them, despite their many differences. And I think that’s crucial—it isn’t just Hannibal that thinks they’re alike; Will believes that too, which is why it haunts him later.

Will tells Hannibal in “Aperitif”, “I don’t find you that interesting,” and he is reluctant to pry into Hannibal’s personal life—after all, Will spends his life trying to keep out of the minds of others. So Hannibal makes it easy for Will, by inviting Will into his house, volunteering information about his parents’ death, his childhood, his career, his passions, his feelings toward Abigail, his personal concerns about Will. (Although perhaps the deepest truths Hannibal shares are in corpse-form.)

But in “Sorbet” Will expresses real curiosity about Hannibal for the first time: 

WILL: Why’d you stop being a surgeon?
HANNIBAL: I killed someone. Or, more accurately, I couldn’t save someone. But it felt like killing them.
WILL: You were an emergency room surgeon. It had to happen from time to time.
HANNIBAL: It happened one time too many. I transferred my passion for anatomy into the culinary arts. I fix minds instead of bodies, and no one’s died as a result of my therapy.

Will is voluntarily empathising with Hannibal; and comforting him. It’s a quiet moment of understanding.

This is followed by a weird and macabre sense of closeness, when Will says: “I have a date with the Chesapeake Ripper.” The Ripper, of course, being Hannibal. Will is going to spend his evening appreciating the gruesome work to which Hannibal has devoted his life, as no-one else can. 

Which, I suppose, makes him the best kind of friend Hannibal could hope to have :P 

anonymous said:

I came to see what kept you busy, and I see you have been slacking off. [as-the-stars-turn, golden verse? or modern au whatever works]

image

 Sinuses burning, head pounding, and feeling
 overall like he’d been run over by a truck, it takes him
 several moments before he registers Nephrite’s words.
 There’s a strong impulse to simply groan and cover his
 ears like a child, but he remembers belatedly that he’s
 supposed to be an adult. One who’s feeling more than
 just a little under the weather currently.

“Is it that time already?” He can barely muster the energy
 glance at the cloak and this time he does groan, hand
 going to his forehead to massage the ever worsening
 headache.

“I’m really sorry, Nephrite. I didn’t know it was this late.”

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