I’m still trying to unpack all of my thoughts and feelings and various interpretations from the finale, and also reconcile those with what Bryan has said to be his intent with how this all played out. Some of those interpretations match up with the word of god, some of them do not at all, but I think all of them are equally valid and can coexist alongside one another at once. Mostly I think it’s clear that even Will wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted or what he was doing, and I feel just as conflicted about what the one “true story” is as he likely did.
One thing is for certain though, even if Will’s plan in the beginning was to kill Hannibal, or to watch Dolarhyde kill Hannibal, once the moment came he simply couldn’t do it. He said these words to Reba earlier in the episode about her relationship with Dolarhyde, and he understood more than anyone precisely what it meant to be in love with a man with a freak on his back. And I think somewhere along the way Will realized there was nothing he could do about it. There was nothing he could do to make himself stop loving Hannibal.
Maybe he wanted him to die, maybe he wanted to run away with him from the beginning and was playing everyone including Hannibal himself, maybe he simply wanted to have just one more moment with him and whatever happened after would be just fine. Maybe he knew they would kill Dolarhyde together and it would be everything Hannibal ever wanted. Maybe Will wanted to give that to him. Wanted to give that to them. Maybe it was all of these at once. I think that is far more likely. Nothing with Will Graham is ever simple or straightforward. Nothing is ever always right or always wrong.
It’s not easy when you know the one person who understands you – every part of you, all your light and dark, all your good and bad, all your best and worst – is someone commonly referred to as a monster. It’s not easy when you see him and he sees you and you’re both laid bare before each other and you know that you will never connect with another person ever again in the way you have with him. You tried to live without him, you really, truly did, but you discovered that you were only lying to yourself. There was never any living without him. Only standing still. Waiting.
And you fear that it will ruin all your good, that his dark will sap your light, but he is magnetic and you are both somehow just alike and you look into his eyes and you know everything he wants to say to you, and he knows everything you want to say to him. He sees right through you. You see right through him.
It’s not easy, but that’s love for you. More often than not it is illogical and stubbornly devoted despite all your knowledge and foresight. You know it’s going to hurt. You know it’s going to ruin you. You want it anyways. And sometimes you want nothing more than to purge yourself of it desperately. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them. Can’t conceive of an existence where you exist and they do not. After a while mutual destruction seems to be the only option.
Whatever Will was thinking when he sent them tumbling into the Atlantic, I don’t think it can ever be entirely narrowed down to one thing. Maybe he was terrified of how peaceful he felt, bathed in the blood of their slaughter, knowing he would always want for it to be that way, the two of them and their beautiful chaos. Maybe he couldn’t picture a more perfect end for the two of them, clinging to one another in the night. Or maybe he wasn’t thinking at all. Maybe he just simply let go and hoped for the best. Or the worst. Or whatever.
He couldn’t kill him, and he couldn’t watch him die, but maybe if they only tumbled into a new life – or a certain death – together, anything that came after would be just fine.