It’s an accepted fact that Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal ended too soon. But during its three-season run, the tense, homoerotic love between titular serial killer Hannibal Lecter and FBI profiler Will Graham managed to burrow into our weird, murdery little hearts and wreck us for normal relationships.
Here are seven moments where Hannibal made me want to rip out my own heart and… well. Feed it to someone else.
Spoilerish things after the cut.
1. “Here we are, a bunch of psychopaths helping each other out.” —Freddie Lounds (S1, Entree)
I recognize that at first glance, this line seems pretty tame and unsexy. But those familiar with the show will remember the charged exchange between Will and Freddie that preceded this quip: during an official meeting, Will insinuates journalist Freddie is a dangerous psychopath... and Freddie insinuates he’s one right back.
It might’ve almost been flirtatious, had Will not been so openly disgusted by Freddie’s existence. But it definitely got me excited, since Freddie is my girl and I get a little thrill any time she gets mouthy. Not to mention Will is Hugh-Dancy-beautiful and, honestly, Pissed-Off Will is one of the the hottest Wills.
2. Will: “You may have to pretend, but I don’t.”
Hannibal: “No, you don’t. Not with me.”
Will: “Don’t lie to me.” (S2, Su-zakana)
Every time I remember this exchange, I get kinda sweaty. It’s the first time we see Hannibal acknowledge his part in Will’s suffering directly to Will, and the first time he allows Will to call the shots. It’s the delivery of the line that gets me - Will Graham, with his fancy post-prison hair and neat little button-down shirt, glaring down the Chesapeake Ripper without an ounce of fear. Don’t lie to me, Will commands, and Hannibal obeys.
3. Hannibal: “Do you fantasize about killing me?”
Hannibal: “Tell me, how would you do it?”
Will: “With my hands.” (S2, Su-zakana)
If Will and Hannibal’s murder fantasies are their foreplay, this is the equivalent of a verbal blowjob. Will has never been so forthcoming with his desires before - his desire to murder Hannibal - and after he says it, you see Hannibal inhale and try to temper a smile. He loves this shit. He’s insane. The tension is palpable. Never before did I think two men’s revenge fantasies could get me this revved, but here I am.
4. “Achilles wished all Greeks would die, so that he and Patroclus could conquer Troy alone. It took divine intervention to bring them down.” —Dr. Hannibal Lecter (S2, Tome-Wan)
This scene is basically the equivalent of Hannibal drawing fanart of him and Will as Greek tragic heroes and I fucking love it. There’s flickering firelight, there’s shadowy profiles, there’s Hannibal drawing serenely while Will hovers at his elbow like a good submissive friend.
When Hannibal explains the art, he leaves out all the homoromantic subtext between Patroclus and Achilles, but Will wasn’t born yesterday. He hears him loud and clear. Hears him loud and clear and still goes through with his dangerous plan in the next episode, Will, you fool.
5. “I’ve never known myself as well as I know myself when I’m with him.” —Will Graham (S3, Secondo)
This line was a gut-punch, at least for me, since I completely wasn’t expecting it. Will delivers it to Chiyoh as they drink slow, wary tea at Hannibal’s childhood estate, in response to her asking why he’s searching for Hannibal in the first place. This is a further solidification of what I hoped but wasn’t yet sure of - that Will was seeking Hannibal not entirely for revenge, but because he needed him. Because he wasn’t whole without him. #ROMANCE, guys. Wildly unhealthy, highly illegal romance.
6. Alana: “I love a good finger wagging.”
Hannibal: “Yes, you do. How is Margot?” (S3, And the Woman Clothed With the Sun…)
I realize this one isn’t as loaded as the others, but snarky Hannibal is sexy Hannibal and this was quality snark. He’s of course referring to Alana’s wife, Margot, and the rest is self-explanatory. Truly, this show is the gayest show I’ve ever seen, and I watched most seasons of Glee.
(Sidenote: I am not comparing Hannibal to Glee. I would never. Forgive me, Bryan Fuller, for I have sinned.)
7. “This is my design.” —Will Graham, so many episodes
This line is pure sex and my response to it is, at this point, borderline Pavlovian. Will repeats it throughout the series whenever he is attempting to understand the crime scene left by a murderer. He becomes them, reenacts the murders, and learns their ‘design’ - the killer’s how, what, and why. Which is cool and all, but the real gift here are the scenes where Will, in imagining the killings, mentally acts them out - affording us views of him disheveled, blood-soaked, deranged, you name it.
‘This is my design’ is truly the bloody gift that keeps on giving. Because let’s be real: Hannibal isn’t the only one who’s hard for homicidal Will.
Grace Treutel is a blogger, wannabe author, and Kelli’s One Who Got Away. She writes useful bullshit on her blog, How To Learn Your Twenties.