Thank you for pointing me to that meta. I want Will to be saved too, but somehow I don't think he truly deserves it. I don't want Will to just realize Hannibal is bad for him all of a sudden, send him to jail, cut all the bridges with his past and move to Florida to meet Molly. He should pay for the things he has done, there should be some justice for him as well. And three years of gap are not enough to justify this change in him. I'm not sure I'm okay with him going totally unpunished.
As frustrated as I often get with Will – and sometimes I get so frustrated I all but despair of him – I’ve never desired punishment for him. I honestly don’t understand that particular attitude: it’s not in my makeup. But I’ve noticed that the fandom has a very punitive streak, not just where Will is concerned, but for all the characters on Hannibal. I’ve gotten so many messages asking when so-and-so is going to get their comeuppance, when people will finally recognize that such-and-such is a terrible person who deserves to die. This whole attitude puzzles me, because Hannibal is such a morally gray universe where so, so many crimes go unpunished, and where the entire mechanism of justice and corrections is supervised by the corrupt and the moronic. The punishments that do end up getting doled out in this story fall very short of the mark. And then you have Hannibal, who is his own judge, jury, and executioner punishing the rude. He has co-opted the whole system of blame and retribution and mocks it ruthlessly with his murders. Why do we expect this story to punish its transgressors? Especially when the entire cast has transgressed? That expectation feels very disconnected from the show itself, and from the kind of story it’s telling.
So my question for you is: how would you like to see Will punished? Would you like to see him eviscerated? Would you like to see him tortured? Would you like to see him permanently disfigured? If any of those are a yes, then boy do I have news for you… The truth is that Will’s whole life is one long punishment. He pays daily for his obsessions. Even his current fascination with Hannibal is causing him nothing but pain and grief, and is liable to cause him even more. It’s clear to me that a large part of Will’s desperation to see Hannibal again is to court his own destruction. Will is quite literally punishing himself.
When I say I want Will to be saved, what I mean is that I want the self-destructive feedback loop Will is trapped inside to be broken, at least temporarily. I want him to emerge from this fugue state and say: I understand Hannibal, but I am not Hannibal. I am making the choice not to become Hannibal, but to become Will Graham instead. Will might not be able to stick to that resolution – I know it’s always going to be a struggle for him – but god almighty do I need to see him at least try.