When I first saw the scene in the S3 finale in which Will Graham presses his hand against the glass wall of Hannibal Lecter's cell, I was reminded of three things: a similar scene in Star Trek II, a quote by Henry Jenkins about slash, and a fan vid inspired by Jenkins' quote. The quote goes as follows: “Slash happens when you take away the glass. The glass, for me, is often more social than physical; the glass represents those aspects of traditional masculinity which prevent emotional expressiveness or physical intimacy between men” (source). Jenkins references the Star Trek II scene in which Kirk and Spock press their hands against one another through a glass wall as Spock dies. Star Trek is also the text which inspired contemporary slash fandom, which pushes back against the constraints of heteronormativity. While it is usually up to fandom to take away the glass, my video essay shows how Hannibal shatters the glass within the text itself.
Hannibal thus deviates from a pattern that thingswithwing's vid “The Glass” shows so well. Through clips drawn from numerous film and TV series showing characters separated by glass walls, the vid demonstrates both how thoroughly heteronormativity polices same-sex relationships and how fans refuse such policing. The relationship between Will and Hannibal might seem to fall into the same pattern: both men are drawn to one another, a sentiment that is rendered in dialogue and gestures—in other words, it is ready-made for slash. In many cases (Supernatural or Teen Wolf come to mind), both text and extratextual discourses may tease but ultimately deny that anything beyond normative male friendship is at work. Not so in Hannibal: showrunner Bryan Fuller and actors Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen have discussed Will and Hannibal as being in love throughout the show's three seasons. No queerbaiting here.
The latter half of season three turns “Hannigram” into text: “Is Hannibal in love with me?” Will asks in 3x12, receiving an affirmative answer. In the final scene of the season, Will returns this love by joining Hannibal in murder, and declares their joint act “beautiful” before resting his head on Hannibal's chest, all while “Love Crime,” a song written for this episode, plays in the background.