Do you think Alana was getting back at Will by sleeping with Hannibal?
Unlike most people (it seems), I thought Alana’s characterization was complex, interesting, and perfectly coherent from season 1 to season 2, though she was progressively sidelined by the action. But her thoughts and motivations are understated in the scripts; there are no therapy sessions where Alana gets to talk out her feelings onscreen. And most meta “in defense of” Alana seem to be about how it would be normal and expected for anyone in her position to be hoodwinked.
The fact is, Alana is uncommonly self-aware and self-critical. She knows her primary drive is to save. It’s why she’s a therapist, but she’s also learnt to be wary of this drive — because you’re not a good therapist if you can’t take a step back, but more broadly, because wanting to swoop in and save the other person is not a good basis for any non-therapist/patient relationship. Not only would she be setting herself up for failure, but it’s disrespectful to whom the other person really is (as opposed to her image of them) and the life choices they may have made. This is why she tells Will she doesn’t date because she “thinks too much”: the dance she did with Will is her vicious pattern. She’s attracted to someone because they seem vulnerable and she wants to fix them, then spends her entire time avoiding them because she doesn’t want to be that person. With Will, she failed to maintain her distance. Conversely, I think she couldn’t quite go for Hannibal, who on paper seems perfect for her (in S1 it’s Alana who shut Hannibal’s overtures down, not the other way around), because he seemed so self-sufficient: someone who wants to save and nurture would have nothing to bring to the relationship. And probably she was aware, too, that her own psychology and desires has her stuck in the middle of these two options — if not Will and Hannibal specifically, then what they represent.
Sadly, Alana is right in her assessment of herself: when Will was arrested, she unconsciously hewed to the version of events that made Will most innocent but broken, most in need of fixing. The more she tried to save Will, the more she harmed him — and despite the fandom tagline, Will never wanted to be saved (he hates the idea one suspects), only understood. Alana wants to save, but doesn’t understand. Will recognized this dynamic: that’s why the death knell of Willana was the conversation where Alana admitted that what she fundamentally wanted was to save Will. They both knew in that moment that they genuinely cared for each other but that it wouldn’t work, though they would have framed the explanation differently.
One of the biggest dramatic ironies in the series is that when Will sent Matthew after Hannibal, Alana realized she had been blind. She saw that her version of events was wrong, but from her perspective that meant Will was playing her. She felt humiliated and resentful that Will had fooled her; and because of this she refused to recognize that she owed him an apology for denying his version of events, even when he threw it in her face. (This is Alana’s single (in)action in the series that I thought was poor of her.) At the same time — more irony! — Hannibal had finally become a viable romantic option, because she saw him at his most vulnerable. The facade cracked; Will hurt both of them, and the two of them are “left with each other” to save. Of course, she told herself that this was being grownup, finally going for the grownup relationship that was all affectionate understanding and no emotional ups and downs (people say “grownup” when they mean “boring” relationship), but in actuality it was about building a refuge from Will and healing each other’s scars.
And, well, the problem with that is that it doesn’t work. Even without towering concerns like serial killing and madness, in real actual boring life one can’t build a relationship on the basis of a third party not being there. Will poisoned Hannibal and Alana’s hope for happiness (such as it was) as surely as Hannibal poisoned Will and Alana’s (such as it was), it was just less intentional on his part. The plot in S2 was hurried, but that isn’t the only reason why Hannibal and Alana always seemed to go to bed to avoid talking, then talked about Will in bed anyhow: how would you expect a relationship to go when both participants are basically on the rebound from the same person? At the end, when Hannibal kind of fake-sighed like “He will always be between us, won’t he,” I was like AND YOU TWO CALL YOURSELVES TRAINED PROFESSIONALS.
(It goes without saying that the original question asked of Caroline was ridiculous, but asking interviewers to actually watch the show is hard, j0)