My thoughts on the “I Love You Scene” and Afterwards
This entire post is basically going to be an in-depth analysis of the scene, and why I believe that not only is it finally a verbal confirmation of how Molly feels for Sherlock, but also a confirmation of how Sherlock feels for Molly. I believe that he truly does love her. And I will explain why. I will warn you in advance that this is going to be a very, very long post, but I want to thoroughly explain why I believe this. So if you can hang on until the end, I promise I’ll try to make it worth your while.
First off, I’ll begin with Eurus discussing the third test (I’m quoting directly from the episode, I keep pausing it while typing to make sure I get it completely accurate).
E: “Coffin. Problem: someone is about to die. It will be, as I understand it, a tragedy. So many days not lived, so may words unsaid, et cetera, et cetera…”
As soon as Eurus gives the word, Sherlock begins his deductions, examining the coffin and wasting no time whatsoever. He’s clearly in his element, two seconds away from going full out (what I like to call) Trippy Deduction Mode- and then, Mycroft breaks in with this:
M: “Yes, very good, Sherlock, or we could just look at the name on the lid.”
Then Sherlock looks at the lid, and his expression, his expression when he sees the words “I LOVE YOU” on that lid says EVERYTHING. Absolutely everything. He knows, in less than a second, in less than a milosecond, as soon as he reads the words, who it is.
Sherlock knows that coffin is meant for Molly Hooper, and neither Mycroft nor John have any clue.
Sherlock Holmes steps back from the lid, and almost staggers back to the coffin, clinging to it and staring into it with an expression of pure horror while John and Mycroft try to guess. John’s first guess is, of course, Irene Adler (and I’ll go into that in a little bit), and Sherlock dismisses that idea completely, doesn’t even give it a second thought. In fact, he dismisses it as ‘ridiculous’, and I believe he does this for two reasons. One, the coffin is clearly not the style that The Woman would pick out for herself. It’s not made of marble and gold, for one thing (haha, terrible joke, but I’m kind of serious), and for a second thing, Irene Adler is not his weakness. She’s his intellectual match (almost; she’s very sharp, but not as sharp as Sherlock, but I would say her understanding of human nature which Sherlock lacks does give her enough of an edge that his advantage over her is rather slight), and certainly he finds her attrative and he is attracted to her, but she is not his weakness. He likes her, but he doesn’t love her. She’s fun for him, like unstable fireworks. My opinion, of course.
But no, the coffin is for Molly Hooper. Listen to the way he describes her; he says “Unmarried, pratical about death, alone.” When he was trying to deduce earlier, without a name or a face, he says the exact same things, but the words are hurried, they’re facts, they’re just descriptions of a random figure. But when he says them about Molly, it’s like each word is another nail in the coffin right in front of them.
Then Eurus turns the screen on, and we see cameras in Molly’s kitchen. We see Molly moving around. Sherlock’s eyes are glued to the screen, they never leave it. Until Eurus says “Make her say it”. And once again, Sherlock’s face says everything.
He knows, in that moment, that in order to save Molly’s life, he has to shatter her. He has to break her. He has to rip her heart open, and let it bleed. He has to do it to save her, and as Eurus calls Molly, he visibly begins to brace himself to do it. The call progresses, Molly doesn’t pick up. Sherlock clearly becomes quite agitated.
The scene cuts to Molly. She sighs and picks up the phone. I want everyone to pay special attention to what’s going on on Sherlock’s end before she answers. His head is bowed, pressed against the barrel of the gun. He’s shifting back and forth. He is clearly, visibly, upset. And when he hears her voice, he lifts up his head and his eyes are clear and wide, almost unbeliving. He’s relieved, quite obviously so.
He starts talking to Molly. He’s still anxious, but trying to hide it. He seems borderline desperate, but holding it together. Even so, this is hard for him. He knows he’s going to hurt her.
He tells her what to say. She’s about to hang up. Sherlock aboslutely loses it at this point. He doesn’t stop trying to hide his fear, he is incapable of doing so. He cannot keep himself from reacting at the thought of her hanging up, and him losing his chance to save her. He BEGS her. He’s said in previous episodes he’s never begged for anything, but he begs her not to leave.
Sherlock makes himself calm down at Eurus’ warning (and note that John and Mycroft are barely keeping it together themselves in the back). But he’s shaken, he’s breathing hard, he’s trembling slightly. But as soon as Molly says “I’m not an experiment,” he breaks down again, the emotions flood back, and he’s trying desperately to keep her there.
She says she can’t say it. He asks her why. She says “You know why.” Sherlock says, “No, I don’t know why.”
At this point, right here, Sherlock is lying. He’s clearly lying. He undoubtedly knows that she loves him, as evidenced not only in the last season when they discussed her engagement over chips, but when he saw the “I LOVE YOU” on the coffin. He knows Molly Hooper loves him. But he has to make her say it, has to save her, so he pushes her, trying to get her to admit it. Moriarty’s videos aren’t really helping to keep him calm, either.
Then she says “Because it’s true.” And there’s something in his face when she says that, something that’s suddenly vulnerable, and soft. And suddenly when he speaks to her, his voice is quiet and gentle. And I think this is partially because he wants her to say it, and also partially because he actually feels something when she says it. When she says that, and he becomes still, it’s like a peace has suddenly come over him. It’s like something has suddenly clicked into place for him, and his composure is back.
Until she demands that he say it first, and to say it like he means it.
I want to point out here he once again loses his composure. He’s flustered, taken aback. He did not expect this. But he takes a moment, and says “I… I love you.” He goes from his eyes closed, trying to form the words, to looking up at the screen and saying it.
And then. after a moment, he says it again. He says “I love you,” while looking at the screen, while looking at Molly, his gaze not wavering.
He says “I love you.”
And this time, he means it. This time, it’s real. This time, he knows it’s real and he means it, and that’s why he says it in a voice of almost wonder, of surprise. Of awe. Sherlock Holmes has told Molly Hooper that he loves her, and he truly does, and he didn’t know it until just that moment.
Now, I will take you back to just one episode before, though it’s been stated several times before that- Molly Hooper can see Sherlock. She can really see him. She can see through his bullshit, through his lies, through his posturing. She knows, when he says it, that he is not lying.
Molly Hooper knows that when Sherlock Holmes tells her that he loves her, he truly does. And that is why, at this moment of complete and utter vulnerablitly, she can tell him that she loves him back.
The seconds in-between him saying he loves her and her saying she loves him are actually quite delicious to me, because Sherlock is now the one who is waiting for her. His distress is almost palpable at this moment, it was so beautifully done. And when she finally says it, it looks like he almost collapses in relief.
And THEN comes the real punch to the gut. It was all a trick. Sherlock didn’t win. Eurus reveals that he destroyed Molly Hooper’s heart for nothing. She thinks Sherlock Holmes has just played an elaborate, horrible, experimental trick on her, and she’s been humiliated by the man that she loves. By the man who, at this point, I am completely convinced, loves her.
And then we come to the coffin scene. Mycroft and John are about to walk out the door, they seem surprised that Sherlock isn’t following and confused by what he’s doing.
But Sherlock places the lid on the coffin, and stares at it. Then he says “No. No!” and goes to town on it with his bare hands, screaming at it and tearing it to pieces. The coffin that was meant for Molly Hooper, the One Who Mattered Most, The One Who Counted, The Woman Who Loves Him. Some have said that the destruction of the coffin is because Sherlock is angry that despite years of trying to avoid love, Sherlock has fallen for her just the same. Some have said that it’s because he can’t stand the idea of Molly lying dead in that coffin, lying there dead right after he’s realized he loves her. I’ve read a few people saying it was just pure frustration that he did it. The first two, I can see both being very possible, and I personally think it’s a combination of the two. The last one, I don’t buy.
Remember that this is Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes, in all his cases, has never, ever, ever, EVER lost his cool the way he did when he found out he’d destroyed Molly Hooper for nothing. Not John having bombs strapped to him, not discovering that a woman he cared about was actually alive, not him jumping off a roof and lying to his friends about it, not having his best friend’s wife shoot him in the chest, not seeing a man kill himself in front of him, and not seeing a woman shot and three men dropped to their deaths just minutes before. He was the one who kept Mycroft and John calm. He was the one who kept everyone together. But it was Molly Hooper, Molly Hooper’s love, and Molly Hooper’s potential death, that brought him low.
Also keep in mind that right after this, Sherlock has to choose between shooting his best friend or his brother, and he stays calm during that. Then he has to save his best friend from drowing, and he stays relativly calm during that. He keeps his head on. He doesn’t panic completely.
The only time IN THE ENTIRE SERIES OF THE SHOW where Sherlock Holmes has lost his shit (pardon my language) is when it comes to MOLLY HOOPER.
And yes, we don’t know what happened between Sherlock and Molly after Eurus was re-captured to reconcile them, and we don’t know if their relationship is now romantic or platonic. Chances are, we may never know, especially if this is the last season and given that neither writers like to comment on romance. But I thoroughly believe, especially after this episode, that Sherlock is in love with Molly Hooper. And I personally choose to believe that they’re happy, and even though it’s not confirmed in-show, that they’re happy together.
So, there’s why I think that Sherlock loves Molly. Feel free to agree or disagree, but this is my belief and my reasons why I believe it. Thank you for reading this whole long thing, and have a wonderful evening/day, depending on where you are.
One day John is cleaning house and finds a disk left behind by Mary, who tells him what really matters is the mythology he has created with his blog – the myth of 221b and Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.
With this in mind, John signs a book contract to further boost their legend (and make a little cash). But he doesn’t have any actual cases that are appropriate to a book-length work, and he wants to stretch himself a bit, so he cooks up a particularly lurid plot for a novel involving a secret sister locked away in an island fortress, and peopling it with his various friends and associates. Eurus was never real – the girl Sherlock met that night really was Faith, John’s therapist was just his therapist, and the girl on the bus was just a cute girl on a bus.
Sometimes Mycroft and Sherlock get tipsy and read passages from John’s novel to each other while giggling, and John gets all embarrassed.
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY ALEX.
But mostly happy birthday to the Lin man himself. Hopefully I’m not too late for that!
Anyway, just a quick update from me since I saw people asking if I’m okay cuz I haven’t been updating much. I am. College is just killing me slowly. I’m very busy right now since it’s my final semester so I’ll probably get drawings in whenever I can. Hope you guys are able to bear with me till May or so! Thanks for sticking around!