It's the Prince's birthday, and the Majordomo has organized an impressive party. Everybody's dancing their hearts out, sustained by goblet-adorned pauses. Hamlet only reluctantly and petulantly gives the book he's reading to his tutor, and, refusing to dance, he sits on a bench making bleakly sarcastic, unremittingly punning comments about dancers, births, and Time itself.
Meanwhile in Elsinore, Siegfried is merrily dancing at the Queen's marriage, Polonius holding the shiny new sword the Prince received as a gift from Claudius.
Compelled by the Queen to marry, Hamlet goes for a walk by the lake, falls in love with Odette. Later, when Odile tries to pass herself as Odette, Hamlet breaks off the marriage --- not because he sees through the ruse, but because marriage is the most absurd of pantomimes, too-solid flesh puns, etc. The Queen wonders if Benno would be willing to be adopted and marry either woman, whichever would object least to marrying somebody Hamlet is most certainly going to keep sleeping with.
Back in Elsinore, the Ghost scares the bejeezus out of poor Siegfried, who gets so shaken by the revelation that he dances into the waters of the Northern Sea. Said waters not being enchanted, he dies. Claudius and Gertrude adopt Laertes, who'll make a very nice figurehead for Ophelia's rule.
Most everybody ends up happier than in canon, except for the Ghost, who, for his manifold and never-repented sins, is condemned to hold vigil over Gertrude's marital chamber, while the spirit of his son dances among the waves, forever, under a sweetly pitying moon. Possibly accompanied by porpoises.
Season 3 Will Graham is in many senses a post-Act V Hamlet, an active passivity born to a large degree of having seen (although in Hamlet the what is less clear ). Will even has a If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not now, yet it will come talk with the ghost of Abigail.
Of course, while Hamlet is the paradigmatic Self-as-point-of-view, Will is defined by his empathy; he's a Hamlet who knows, understands, and loves Claudius. He cannot let him be any more than he cannot have him not be, and the providential (and elegant in William Shakespeare and God's eyes) mutual killing at the end of the Hamlet's play is something that Will, with Hannibal's acquiescence, chooses and enacts as the only possible solution. Neither blindness nor cruelty: that's his design.
And speaking of the haunted, except when partnering with Hannibal, we never see Will as comfortable with another person as when he's in Palermo with the ghost of Abigail profiling the shit out of both God and Hannibal. He's always sassy, but with her he's warm (again, we know he can be, there's all the dogs for example, but rarely with humans, and rarely in a way that's so much about *himself* enjoying the interaction). In another world, one where the butterfly impossibly evaded the falling boot, the ghost of Abigail and him let Hannibal fuck off to Italy to be somebody else's nightmare, and stayed on the other side of the Atlantic as the spookiest, sassiest, most effective pair of crime-fighters in the continent.
There's a very sad degree to which ghost Abigail differs from Abigail alive — she's more open to him, more the way he wanted her to be than what she could or wanted to be — but, at least a bit, Will's many-edged gift makes his imagos of people closer to the real ones than most people's memories (e.g, Jacob Hobbs), so ghost Abigail is at least somewhat herself, if not purely so (and isn't that a commentary on the problematic limits allowed to female agency, even post-freaking-mortem — limits that Abigail fought against her entire life, against the various monsters in her life, against would-be saviors, and, one suspects, against the narrative of Hannibal, the show, itself).
PS: While Hamlet’s theology is basically a mixture of Gordon Ramsay and Simon Cowell, Will talks about God the same way he talks about [the other] insane murderers it has been his lot in life to have to get close to in one way or another. Elsewhen, Will Graham, Theological Profiler and Bona Fide Saint, would’ve have had an spectacular, if short, career.
Unbetaed conceptual crack I have to somehow get out of my head.
Title: The Case of the Haunted Detective
Although I have in many opportunities commented on my friend's talent for disguise, I have kept from my public notes the true depth of his theatrical skills. Of all the characters he has ever "composed" for the benefit of both those who would consult and those who must suffer him, the most elaborate is without a doubt his well-known persona as a coldly rational empiricist guided solely by the evidence of his physical senses.
Granting his almost superhumanly keen intellect, vast erudition, and natural perceptiveness, he is most emphatically not the machine-like calculator that my tales have, at his request, so forcefully delineated.
Because it annoys the Ghost, my friend, that's why, is the only explanation I have been given, and if I must judge by the thunderous visage of the specter only the two of us can see — and who will only talk to him — there is some truth to this. There's no love lost between the deceased king and his ever-delaying avenger, despite the terrible strength of their sworn oath: once my friend his *sure* of the Ghost's good-will by his supernatural aid in the lawful solution of other crimes, and not a day before, will he take justice by his hand and slay the man he wordlessly fears is his true father by blood.
I believe my friend will never willing tackle this final problem, and I think even the somewhat obtuse Ghost has finally understood it and shifted the focus of his hatred to his own son. He subjects him to such horrid invective every night that only the enforced sleep of opium grants my friend some bad semblance of respite. This would be worry enough and more than enough for one who cares for him as much as I do, but we've been informed minutes ago that she (only one of that gender, other than his mother, seems to enter his thoughts) has taken her own life. I don't know if this is the Ghost's doing, or simply another tragic incident in my friend's life, so intimately bound to crime and blood, but I fear some dark game is afoot.
In front of me stands the Ghost, not caring to attempt to read my words as I write them or to hide his disdain. Is it my own fear and hatred tricking my eyes, or do his ghostly lips carry the ghost of an smile? Has he seen future murder with the certainty with which he has proved to us a thousand times he can see past ones?
I don't know what my friend's next actions will be. It is at times like this when I wish his mind truly had what it affects to in public, a detachment bordering on madness. All I can do is prepare my weapon and be ready for his call.