There are times when the best compliment I can give a MOTW episode is that it served its purpose. That is the case with ‘Love Hurts’. While there wasn’t any big revelations about the mytharc, I found it enjoyable regardless and loved that ending!
The first scene with Sam and Dean was too funny. Dean eating the leftover Chinese food and then spitting it out was too great, and I applaud Jensen’s comedic timing.
While the curse was interesting, Dean taking it was really clever. It was a good lead-in to the creature taking on Amara’s image and finally forcing Dean to vocalize the clear connection he has with Amara, wanted or not.
Amara’s form is actually the biggest point I want to talk about. I feel like people are forgetting that Amara is the Mark. Amara is the thing that Dean was connected to for a season and a half, and if we’re looking at canon, still is connected to. When the Mark left his arm, it didn’t leave Dean fully.
Amara’s pull over Dean being his ‘deepest, darkest desire’ is actually brilliant. When Dean had the Mark, I believe there was a quote about how Dean almost enjoyed the pull it had over him (possibly from 9x16? The one with that creepy guy, Magnus?) Anyway, unless I’m wrong (and confusing canon with fanfiction again), Dean liking the pull from the Mark early on is a deep, dark desire of his. Now that Amara is the manifestation of that, it is not far fetched that she would be the form that the creature took.
In case people were still confused, this episode made it loud and clear: AMARA AND DEAN ARE NOT ENDGAME. While Dean’s ‘desire’ is for the Mark, he doesn’t want it to be. In fact, it isn’t even really Dean who is feeling this way. Amara’s control over what Dean feels when he is around her is absolute and terrifying. It is not romantic, or is ever going to be romantic. It is supposed to be unsettling, and the interaction between Dean and “creature” Amara really reinforced that to the viewing audience.
Finally, Dean not lying to Sam about who the creature took on is BIG. For the past few seasons, we’ve seen Sam and Dean lying to each other. It looks like the writers are really trying to put the brothers on the same team, and Dean admitting that he cannot take out Amara and entrusting that to Sam is amazing. I’m very glad that Dean is talking to Sam and Cas (or, who he thinks is Cas) about Amara and not trying to fight it on his own.
Next week: DEAN IN A NAVY UNIFORM. SAM AND LUCIFER!CAS INTERACT. Crowley on a leash? It is gonna be good, people!
First of all, I want to congratulate you. I love everything you write! And now my question. I've read that John is Mary's possession and I don't really understand it. Is it just because she is possessive and jealouse or is there something else about her that I don't see? Thanks for your time!
Awww, thank you Nonny!! That’s very kind! :D
Mmm, John as Mary’s possession is something I’ve wanted to talk about for awhile and just never got around to doing. I discussed it a bit at the bottom of this post here, but I’m going to expand upon it here for you.
Before I begin I should probably state for my new followers that I LOVE Mary. I love that she’s an interesting, complex character and I think that her arc as a villlain-of-sorts is already shaping up to be a rather exciting one. However, this meta will paint her in a rather negative light, but only because logically, that is what the narrative is telling us. So if you like Mary and sympathize with her, this meta is not for you. My meta are always based on facts within the show; granted my opinions are skewed towards Mary-as-a-villain, but know that this is actually one of my favourite Sherlock things ever so I speak very passionately about her character arc. I’m just taking what I’m seeing on screen and translating it for the masses.
Okay, so now that that is over-with, let’s dive into this thing.
To understand her possessive behaviour, I think we need to break down her character. As I see it, I believe she is Jim’s operative, and John was her mission… except she wasn’t supposed to “fall in love” with John (which I’ll get to in a moment), simply was supposed to keep him alive and steal him away from Sherlock to ‘burn out [Sherlock’s] heart’. It’s this theory here that is the only thing that makes me think Moriarty is still alive (the only thing confusing me is her surprise at the tarmac to Jim’s return… perhaps she was worried he’d come back for vengeance because she tried to kill Sherlock? We’ll see soon enough).
The timing of Mary’s arrival into John’s life is too convenient to have simply been a coincidence, all the more reason I think Mycroft is also stuck in this mess; he’s the only one who knew where Sherlock was most of the time, so anything Mycroft knew, Jim knew. Another thought that I’m having is this: we know that Mycroft was keeping tabs on John while Sherlock was away… so what if he also saw John was becoming more and more depressed / suicidal? Mycroft was instructed to keep John alive, by Jim. Enter Moriarty’s former right-hand woman who just *happens* to also be a nurse this time around.
I think this is how we can tie in Mary and Mycroft working together; he knew of her from his CIA-on-a-freelance basis missions, and we’ve been told that Mary has done wet jobs for the CIA (and possibly some of those wet jobs were for Mycroft a LONG time ago). Perhaps she came to Mycroft, on Jim’s orders and offered to keep his brother’s friend alive. I’m still working out this part all in my head and how it works with my theory about Mary.
So, initially Mary was with John as part of her mission – keep John alive and make him fall in love with her, because Sherlock would return and his heart had to feel truly broken. Except as a romantic, Mary possibly also fell in love with him in some odd way; possibly more with the idea John and with the sense of security he offered when they finally got together. John was constantly in a state of grieving and she possibly found out a tonne about Sherlock that even Moriarty didn’t know about, and in turn realized just how much John actually may have loved Sherlock. But John’s stupid pining over his “dead” friend was starting to get on her nerves… and god this new life of hers was so boring.
Okay, so how does all that relate to Mary being possessive of John? Well, enter Sherlock, and John straying away from her.
I think in order to answer WHY she does it, we should consider a few things about her character. The mystery of why she would continue to keep John in her grasp without Jim around is something I’m still struggling with. Perhaps if she is the ringleader in all of this, she still would want to burn out Sherlock’s heart if only to gain a sick sense of pleasure out of it. She still would want to keep John all for herself because he is the ultimate trophy for her winning the game she’s playing with Sherlock. I just did a quick meta on the deductions of Mary during the night of their first meeting, and aside from “liar” a few of the deductions struck me as interesting, despite them being a bit muddled in Sherlock’s head:
ANYWAY, back onto ‘disillusioned’. Look at that definition: could that possibly describe John and / or her mission? Perhaps she’s coming to realize living 5 years in a lie wasn’t all it was cracked up to be; she’s getting bored, and is beginning to lose faith in this plan of Jim’s ever working… Was she promised this amazing romance and a tonne of money if she just kept John alive? Or promised a clean slate if she just did this one thing? Dear Jim, can you fix it for me that I never get found by the people who want to kill me? Jim found himself a crack-shot sniper and in turn for her services he told her how fantastic Sherlock’s pet was, that he would be the best thing Mary had, all she had to do was keep John alive and keep him away from Sherlock. Good thing she already knew Mycroft.
But now that she got John, perhaps she’s finding JOHN not as great as advertised. At least not now that Sherlock has returned (or possibly always, because he’s just a boring, depressed doctor who’s constantly talking about his dead best friend; it’s driving her crazy). The fact that she’s already exhibiting these “disillusioned” words probably point to how bored she is at this point with this mission and with John in general.
Funny how having John straying away suddenly makes her want John back again…
ONLY CHILD: Now, taking into account the above theory that, in fact, the deductions are actually Mary’s and not her persona’s, I now believe that Mary is not Moriarty’s sibling, as many have been speculating since TAB. Sherlock’s deductions were all over the place that night, but for the most part they were correct… Sherlock is rarely wrong in that regard, he’s just having a harder time processing them now that his emotions and his probable concussion are factors in this one.
GUARDIAN:Of whom? Who is she protecting? I’ve seen theories that it’s possibly her past child, a past family, a past in general; ‘Guardian’ does imply protector of a child or family. But you know what else Mirriam-Webster defines a guardian as? “One who has the care of the person or property of another”. Mary is protecting another person’s person / property (Sherlock’s John) until she’s good and ready to be done with him, or until another move happens in their perilous game that they are all playing.
SHORTSIGHTED:(def. ‘not considering what will or might happen in the future’). Here’s where I point out that she completely and totally didn’t think about what would actually happen once Sherlock returned. This is also where I point out that I am completely believing that she also faked the pregnancy: she had a plan but definitely had no idea how she would pull it off. OR the pregnancy WASN’T planned but is NOT John’s. Either way, this deduction is amusing to me because Sherlock also deduces that she’s clever… How can one be so shortsighted if she’s clever? I think she’s only clever when she needs to think quickly, when she needs to think of a “right now” solution. Clever people don’t just shoot other people who offer to help them.
As an aside, clever has the synonyms of “crafty”, “cunning”, “canny” and “shrewd”, so. I’ll leave you to your deductions.
SECRET (by itself): (def. ‘kept hidden from others; known to only a few people; keeping information hidden from others). This is also damning, to me, for it to be separated from the tattoo deduction, since it’s such a character trait of Mary. She’s hiding who she is as a person, and it’s only known to a select few people. I think David may have been her confidante, and I think Janine also may know, since I believe she’s Jim’s sister. Magnussen knew who she was before she was “Mary”. This deduction can be used in conjunction with “liar”.
The sad thing is that because Sherlock was such an emotional mess, he chooses to ignore all these red flag deductions about her.
SECRET TATTOO: There are a few good meta on this, but basically the gist of this theory is that she wears a tattoo of the Black Lotus from TBB on her heel. Unless someone was specifically looking for it, no one would know. So… John’s not a foot-man, anyway. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In all seriousness, though, if this is the case, then her involvement possibly goes back further than we suspected, and leaves us to wonder about the mysterious Black Lotus. Are they a faction of Moriarty’s organization? Did Moriarty find her there? Is she the ringleader in it all?
In any sense I hope they address some of these more damning deductions.
ANYWAY, Nonny, this post TOTALLY went in a completely different direction than you initially asked for, apologies, I do that sometimes (and by that I mean ALL THE TIME). But I think it helps to understand her character as a whole to see how her love (or non-love) for John is possessive, and I think it’s a good idea to examine her as Sherlock would.
I think what it all boils down to is that she’s possessive in a way that means she needs to keep John alive in order to guarantee her own survival. “She’s gone a bit freelance” = she’s not playing by Jim’s orders anymore. The reason Mary started to become possessive of John was because he started to stray back to Sherlock, however unintentionally she meant for it. Perhaps she didn’t really think John was in love with Sherlock. Maybe there was a bit of jealousy, but I doubt it. She actually thrived on giving John temporarily back to Sherlock only to take him away again.
From then on, winning John’s affections became a game to her. Imagine her elation at finding out Sherlock was being sent away indefinitely to his death. The fact that she even showed up at the tarmac when there was NO REASON FOR HER TO EVEN BE THERE tells me that she wanted to continue to make it clear to Sherlock that she had won this game, and quite possibly to ensure he actually was leaving. I also believe she gets some twisted satisfaction in rubbing it into Sherlock’s face that she has ultimately “won” John from Sherlock despite everything, and it’s this scene here that seals it for me:
Look at the way she just latches onto John here in a very possessive manner: both hands and holding onto him like he’s going to run off. And all right in front of Sherlock; he knows she’s doing it on purpose. She’s pouring salt on the wounds to a man already dead, stabbing the knife in a little deeper. Look at his eye-roll or blinky-blink as he’s turning to talk to his brother; he knows she’s being petty. Heck, I bet you Mary was hesitant to leave them to talk together because she actually thinks Sherlock might try something.
With Mary, I think it’s the idea of John that she likes; having him around grants her some sort of stability. As much as I don’t want a redemption arc for her, I’m wondering if she thought she was genuinely getting a fresh start in her life, and John was her ticket to that; stay with him long enough to finish her mission, she gets a clean slate, and creates a fake death for herself to break it off with John. My only qualm with this is that if she truly was starting fresh, then she would not still have a perfectly fitting assassin’s outfit and a gun with a silencer hidden away from John’s eyes. There’s definitely more to her than the clues the narrative can currently provide.
In the end, honestly, Mary is a psychopath, possibly a sociopath, given her need to feel like she “wins” everything (seriously, read those links and check off all that apply to Mary; pretty much all of it). I don’t think she has any remorse whatsoever for the shit she inflicted upon John and Sherlock. MAYBE she felt a “tiny bit” when she shot Sherlock and said sorry? Maybe she genuinely liked Sherlock? I don’t know; I find that hard to believe when she shoots THEN says sorry. I think it was more because she thought he was actually going to die, so make his last moments not TOO horrible; his death WAS going to guarantee John being close to her again, after all.All she’s concerned about is herself and a means to her end. It’s this possessive behaviour that I feel she exhibits will finally be her downfall.
I personally love her character arc; I love that she’s not a whimpering side character, but instead a baddie that could possibly surpass Moriarty in her deviousness. I don’t think she’s above the whole “killing because you’re not mine any more” trope; some psychopaths have done this before. When Mary finally feels like a trapped animal she will try again; we’ve seen it happen in HLV twice, only I think this time it will be John who finally tries to stop her, possibly by protecting Sherlock. And I think, sadly, that this will only end in tears for everyone.
I have my own headcanons for *that moment*, but perhaps another time. On a closing note… we’ve never actually heard her tell John she loved him; yet both John and Sherlock have told each other that they loved each other, albeit by-proxy. Let that sink in. I think that’s a huge flag right there.
EDIT 2: I also don’t think she is Moriarty, but more was his right hand person who possibly is answering to a new baddie. After some thinking on this, I think Mary was surprised because she wasn’t expecting him to return (ie. dead OR because he never let her know when he was going to return). If he is, in fact, alive, I think her fear IS because she strayed from her mission and tried to kill Sherlock. I need to still think a bit more on some S4 plot theories, but this is the basic premise I’m working from right now, which will surly change as we go through setlock.
Concept: Lying bothering Kirin about the most pointless things 24/7 then suddenly they stop and Kirin VERY low-key worried after a few days of not even hearing from Lying so he goes and finds them asleep. They just got very tired and "whoops, accidentally fell asleep for a few /days/ not a few /hours/." Kirin hit them in the face with a pillow and storms out.
oh my god
kirin has to practically break into the well, because lying’s magic is very powerful and (unlike lying) kirin can’t move through shadows to just step inside. so he forces his way in with raw magic, like doing the whole dramatic gasping and panting as he exhausts himself with the effort, stumbling frantically through the well yelling lying’s name and bracing himself for the worst…
…and lying’s just curled up somewhere, cuddling a pillow and snoring a little. maybe drooling. hair a fluffy mess, clothes all wrinkled, eyeliner probly smudged cos they forgot to take it off before sleeping.
kirin is furious.
lying is also mildly upset, but mostly because their nap’s been interrupted by this big, clumsy oaf’s hollering. like really, does kirin have to be so loud and dramatic about everything? (they are cheerfully unaware of the irony of this, given that they themself are the biggest goddamn drama queen in possibly the whole universe)