So I had a thought about Will’s sleeping attire, in Coquilles and in general. Those infamous blue underwear are IMPORTANT, okay, and not just in a fanservice way. (Though I am ALL FOR THAT. Give the ladies what they like, Fuller, let’s female gaze all up in this show).
It’s perfect that in these moments of intense vulnerability (when Will’s brain first starts betraying him and he begins sleep-walking) that this is his outfit. Specifically, that he’s shown as having a shirt, but no pants. It conveys his vulnerability effectively and viscerally.
Imagine for a minute how different it would have been if he had no shirt but longer pants (pajama or otherwise). Even if it were technically showing more skin, I don’t think that would have conveyed vulnerability in the same way. It’s acceptable for men to wear no shirt in public. It’s not illegal, or even frowned on in plenty of contexts. It’s something that men can do that women cannot (don’t get me started that’s a whole other rant). It’s for hot days and games of pickup basketball, shirts vs skins.
But for men to wear very short shorts / only boxers in public is seen as unacceptable or funny. For corroboration of this, I mean, look at all the various names for this garment I’ve come across in fandom: itty bitty blue shorts, booty shorts, fanservice shorts, tiny man shorts etc. These names get across the idea that having boxers that short is feminizing, and thus funny (because they’re on a man!) but also vulnerablizing (it’s a word now shut up). They leave him exposed in a way that him having his shirt off would not do.
(And it’s not like any of this is merely because Hugh Dancy didn’t feel comfortable acting with his shirt off for some reason: Will has shirtless scenes, in a different context. Those contexts ALSO cleverly manage to emphasize Will’s vulnerability, since it’s less about being where people can see him and more about pulling off a too-sweaty shirt in disgust because he is subject to these horrific nightmares that he cannot control).
So let’s hear it for the directors, and the costume department, and whoever else was involved in this costuming decision: not only because it lets us see those premium gams, but because it directly contributes to making Will the kind of captivating, unconventional (because allowed so much vulnerability) hero that he is.