I was browsing through some of your old meta and found a thing titled "Hannibal and Will as soul-mates", where you more or less call the ending to season 3 thematically. I notice that you've moved the goal post a bit, with lobbying for another season (by natural extension bringing them both back to life), what made you change your mind?
Wow, you went so far back in time to find that meta that shattered teacups actually did come back together in the meantime. S1-S2 heateus: 20 September 2013, to be exact. I remember writing it, but I didn’t remember what it said. At first I thought you were actually talking about the post I made about them ambiguously dying together (which I wrote during S2, I think) in a kind of murder/suicide, but haha, nope, I’ve just written too much junk by this point in time to know what in the heck I’ve done.
…I hope that nearing the end of the series, their relationship will be tempered with a certain understanding of what they mean to each other in spite of it all, and that this knowledge will be in their hearts even as one kills the other.
Hannibal maybe already understands it, but I’ll only be satisfied if Will can one day see it too. I’d like him to understand it, and to understand both himself and Hannibal in its context, and to forgive Hannibal because of it.
And still kill him.
That would be my perfect ending for the show.
The short answer is that I didn’t move the goal post. Bryan Fuller and NBC did, moving from a seven-season plan down to five and then canceling the show. I talked myself into being able to live with five seasons, but I’m not satisfied with three.
And I just got this prediction wrong.
I wrote this long before S2 aired and mostly before we had any BTS info about them shooting it. I’m really swinging in the dark here. I mean, yeah, I’m in the ballpark, but it’s not exactly a home run, and not a terribly wild leap of logic to get me there: we were at the place in the story where Hannibal had wronged Will in many ways, and though Will knew what Hannibal was, he had not yet retaliated. But it was unknown to what extent the show was going to remain on the Hannigram track over the course of five more years (we were still on a seven season plan then)–which would have given us Will’s retaliation and Hannibal’s unmasking, a stabbing, a fugitive season, Will meeting and marrying Molly, the Red Dragon arc taking a whole season, the introduction of Clarice/Shmarice Shmarling and SOTL (would we all be shipping Will/Molly and Clannibal?? No one knew!) and another season for the novel Hannibal. What I was expressing a wish for was that Will would forgive Hannibal the many transgressions he would commit over the course of all those convoluted seasons, recognize that he loves Hannibal through it all, and still choose to live without him, even if it made Will miserable. Those were pretty safe wishes: to see Will come to a place of acceptance, essentially.
It’s a mixed bag of accuracy, including on a purely thematic level.
One of the things that’s been surreal for me about watching this show is to have been able to predict, with the help of the books and a fair understanding of the characters, most of the stuff that has happened, without knowing when it would happen and thus how the emotional resonance of the culmination of events preceding it would effect the tone of any given event when it happened. Generally the rule is that the show gets to stuff faster than I expect. It was true of the issue of forgiveness, it was true of their separation, of the murder-suicide, and of the soulmates acceptance. So I’ve learned that just because I conceived of it as a possible ending, that doesn’t mean that it is an ending, when it does end up happening.
Also, if Hannibal lives, then what I was looking for here doesn’t come to fruition. My having predicted the ambiguous murder/suicide in another post later doesn’t shore up the concept: what I suggested was that Will would be freed of his tether to Hannibal in this life at least, even if it meant that he would still suffer. TWOTL tends toward suggesting that they either both lived or died. There is a reading where Will died and Hannibal didn’t, but that isn’t the one I tend toward, myself.
I do tend to still feel that as long as Hannibal is alive, there is more show–that the story doesn’t end till he dies.
But just speaking aside from Hannibal and Will at the moment, I don’t feel like the story is done because the story just doesn’t feel finished right now. In order for Jack’s role in Red Dragon to occur, his character backslid, and that needs to be addressed and resolved. Then there’s Hannibal’s promise to Alana, the stinger with Bedelia, Clarice Starling still missing, Freddie Lounds needing to recenter herself in the story, Hannibal’s aunt and uncle still unaccounted for, and Frederick Chilton needs to die for good in the final season. (I don’t care about Buffalo Bill, per se.)
The fact that I got what I wanted doesn’t mean that the story is over. I suppose this is the main place where I differ from those who say, “That ending was so perfect I don’t think I want another season!” The show’s been perfect (enough) all along–why should it stop because it hit a benchmark I thought was a goal? That just means that I was wrong about what the goal was, not that the show should crush itself into a shape of my making, but which was never its design. Being a little right is irrelevant.
And I can see another “perfect” ending now, as crystal clear as this one was when I wrote it. ;-) And who knows, if we got another two seasons, maybe it would get to this ending earlier than I expect too.
In order to survive the Hannibal HeAteUs I’ve been reading Red Dragon and tbh I was expecting serial killers and cannibalism, not Will Graham talking about retracting his balls in order to steal a watermelon