Love-By-Proxy - Why Mary's Good for Johnlock
Now now! Put away the pitchforks and here me out! I do not and have NEVER thought of Mary as an obstacle to Johnlock. Mary, Mary, quite the contrary, actually: I feel she’s actually a catalyst for things to come.
Here’s what I mean. The only time Sherlock and John have told each other that they love one another has been indirectly and in conjunction with Mary, a “confession-by-proxy” if you will:
JOHN: […] and I want to be up there with the two people that I love and care about most in the world. Mary Morstan … and … you.
SHERLOCK: […] today you sit between the woman you have made your wife and the man you have saved – in short, the two people who love you most in all this world.
In those quotes above there, it’s very apparent to me that Sherlock, at least, is willing to take the next step: I believe Sherlock’s confession is STRONGER than John’s – John’s could be (and probably was) misconstrued as “I love Mary and care about you”, whereas Sherlock uses only one verb (love) to describe his feelings AND he publicly acknowledges it. Regardless, both “speeches” have lumped themselves as loving each other-by-proxy through Mary. Confessing-by-proxy gives them each an out; it’s a safe zone where they are comfortable enough to play the “but only as a friend” card if it needs to be played (which, oddly enough, NEVER GETS PLAYED). Even in conjunction with Mary, BOTH men are incredibly moved by the confessions. We’re at a very critical point in the series in relation to the tipping point of John and Sherlock’s relationship by the end of HLV, especially since we don’t exactly know what happened during the hiatus from Mary on either side.
I’m seeing Mary’s involvement as a step TOWARDS Johnlock… If it wasn’t for Mary, these two goobers would still be pining for each other silently. Now it’s sort of out in the open… Sherlock has realized the depths of his affections for John, and has deduced that John has kept his own pining a secret from Sherlock for SO LONG. And John? Well… I think S1 and S2 initially dealt with his schoolboy crush on Sherlock, but by S3, while he still loves Sherlock very much, John’s not willing to let himself get hurt again (which ends up becoming a moot point because he gives his heart to Mary and she royally fucks that up). S3 was about Sherlock’s discovery and journey into becoming the human John needs him to be. S4 needs John to realize his crush is more-than-that and always has been.
Granted, there is still a LONG way for them to go, especially from John’s end of things, but I think that by the end of HLV John and Sherlock are at least aware that there is SOMETHING MORE THERE. I mean, Jesus, you don’t look at someone like this:
and not know that there is a lot of emotion involved there. Yes, I think that they both know, but are both scared of the unknown. Sherlock attempted to confess and John misunderstood. And that’s the thing: S4 needs to deal a lot with John’s repressed feelings, and allowing himself to open up to Sherlock. Once that is dealt with, I think the confession will have so much more meaning and will be so emotionally powerful for the audience that there will be ZERO mistaking that they are both devotedly in love with each other.
I believe the only logical next step, whether or not Mary stays (and I highly doubt she will be), is for them to say “I love you” to each other’s faces without including Mary in the equation. And I suspect that whatever happens to Mary will be the breaking point for this to happen.