I agree that the real love started to emerge somewhere at the start of S2, but I disagree that Will was ever a toy or an experiment. Hannibal decided he wanted a family with him in E2 of S1 already, and he did a lot to make it happen. That’s the episode where he starts trying to get Will to see Abigail as their common daughter. In E4, he demonstrates how serious he is about this when he tries to create the desired associations in Abigail. He would probably still get rid of Will if he had to at this stage, his feelings weren’t deep, but from the start, Will has been someone different.
Police dog blue line if your path demands you walk poster
Best Police dog blue line if your path demands you walk poster
I am in my 1st rewatch, and in the middle of bonkers S3. This breakdown and expansion really helps put the relationship between Will and Hannibal in perspective. FWIW, as a viewer it seemed obvious that they loved each other, but I always imagined it as a platonic love, something bigger and grander than mere flesh could accommodate. This has me feeling differently, a I appreciate the nuanced view you provided!