Autistic Abigail reading up on Tattle-Crime to get a better feel for Freddie’s writing and finds the horribly ableist crap she’s written about Will and then refuses to see Freddie when she visits the hospital and doesn’t have the spoons to explain why
Will and Abigail doing additional research on autism together and Will starting to combat Hannibal’s insistence that he has an empathy disorder with “It’s not an empathy disorder, it’s a form of autism with hyper empathy.”
Will being argumentative getting on Hannibal’s last nerve and Will picking up on the gaslighting more effectively
Will and Abigail talking about Freddie and Hannibal and Abigail realizing that Hannibal doesn’t really have her or Will’s best interests at heart
Will and Abigail teaming up against ableists ftw
This is so great and you deserve all the tea okay???
good because i’ve fallen ill and have to go out and do work stuff later orz
also Chilton being hella gross and Will sighing so hard Chilton doesn’t have a choice but to furrow his eyebrows and wonder what he said
*shoves lots tea in your general direction* I hope you feel better soon!
Also precious autistics going against ableist and gross people is hella great. All of this just makes me wonder sort of series could be if they had actually accepted their main character is autistic. Like, instead of spreading harmful misconceptions about “empathy disorders” and “opposite of aspergers” and “too much empathy hence not autistic” and all of that, they could have called it out. Will and Abigail bonding over shared neurotype could have been so perfect (for now I headcanon her as it, but I’m completely in love with the idea, thank to you mostly). Having Hannibal’s gaslighting and attempts at controlling Will pointed more clearly out could have helped neurodivergent viewers (who from what I’ve seen and lived through is far too familiar) in recognising it. I could probably go on for a while.
There is still value in how the show is now in that it mirrors my own experiences in a magic realism sort of way, because a lot of what happens to Will in the show really does happen to autistics, just that he is in a very specific set of circumstances that make it sound exaggerated.
But in terms of actually challenging ableist viewpoints, it does drop the ball, and it’s entirely the fault of the ableism of the people who create the show. While I don’t know if he still uses the r-word, Fuller has used the r-word to describe characters who read as autistic in Wonderfalls on the commentary tracks. So as great a person Fuller is in other ways, he really drops the ball when it comes to ableism and it’s very sad.
I needed Hannibal as it is to have discovered that I was autistic, but now as someone who knows they’re autistic, has accepted it, and is working towards getting other people to accept it in me and others, the narrative can’t be independent of me in order to do what I need it to do.
There is also a lot of canon indications that Will has been very conditioned even before Hannibal and Jack that he is not important except for what he can do for other people. And this is a very common viewpoint with autistics, I think. I’m not said to be a genius or a savant by any means, but there’s always a constant “what can you do for me” and it’s tied in with whether or not we deserve to be here. I’m “here” because my mother wanted a reason to not kill herself, but being aware that I exist for a very specific reason and that that reason is why her view of me is limited and specific has been hurtful to the point of triggering suicidal thoughts in me. People have to exist simply for the point of existing, and Will doesn’t view himself in that way.
Will does have coping mechanisms in the book that he doesn’t really have in the TV show. There’s some DBT skills that he uses in the second chapter of Red Dragon that I’ve been learning in DBT therapy to help with balancing emotion mind and logic mind into wise mind, and it helps with keeping suicidal thoughts and lack of self-worth away. Sometimes filling out the sheets makes it feel like I have to lie to myself about the way things are in order to make myself feel better, but sometimes you have to do that or the truth of the situation is just going to crush you. And the worksheets help with combating gaslighting, tbh.
So I still have some hope for season 3 in regards to Will getting better. It wouldn’t necessarily combat the ableism that’s in the conception of the show, but DBT isn’t an autistic-specific therapy, it’s for everyone who feels like they can benefit from it, and there are Scandinavian research that my therapist found that states that there is a record that DBT helps autistics learn how to cope, and it’s a non-abusive therapy.
Fuller does have some experience with therapy and hopefully he knows what DBT is. Have Molly Foster introduce it to Will. Have Will start to feel and get better and be in better control of his decisions.