Steven Moffat has a fondness for making his characters make a choice. If the ‘I love you’ trailer really truly (god help us all) shows something like Sherlock needing to choose between killing John or Mycroft, whether it’s symbolic or MP or real…either way we should remember that Sherlock’s choice between John and Mycroft has been a thing since ASiP. In fact, it defines the beginning and ending of Sherlock’s character arc, so it’s no surprise that we’re possibly getting a scenario like this around the time of the climax of the story (the climax being johnlock). Here are just a couple of really nice examples…
Sherlock’s choice was foreshadowed in TSoT in this scene:
Did you ever notice that this line makes zero sense? Sherlock says “vatican cameos”, Mary asks what that means, and John replies completely nonsensically:
“Battle stations. Someone’s going to die.”
What battle stations? Huh? Where? Stations?? When Sherlock says “Vatican cameos” in ASiB, it essentially means duck/take cover. So why doesn’t it mean “duck” in this case? I think it still does, just not on the surface level.
Battle stations in this context means that John and Mycroft take their positions at either side of Sherlock, like two corners of a boxing rink. John and Mycroft compete for Sherlock’s heart, and this battle is between them. Already in this episode we have mention of “into battle” which makes reference to matters of the heart, not actual crime solving.
This is not to do with the Mayfly man. John in the gif above is not fidgeting nervously and adjusting his suit because he’s worried about Sholto, he’s (subtextually) steeling himself for Sherlock’s decision - Sherlock will choose, and the loser will die.
Sherlock chooses. As Sherlock says “not you, not you”, he casts off Mycroft’s influence and chooses John, with Mycroft’s spooky obituary-like image splitting and fading away, and a kind-of love confession that is as explicit as we were going to get in the third series. It was to hold us over until the next time Sherlock chooses, possibly in a more textual way. Sherlock’s confession at the moment he makes his choice might be upgraded next time from “It’s always you” to “I love you”.
When Sherlock chooses John over Mycroft, he chooses love over isolation.
Mycroft represents the beginning of Sherlock’s character arc because the show begins with Sherlock’s broken heart, and his intent to remain alone mostly because Mycroft has taught him that alone protects him. He wants to be the cold machine that his brother has been successful at becoming, but of course John’s presence in his life leads him down a path of discovering that the “alone protects me” approach is in fact killing him, and that John’s love is the only thing that will save his life.
Sherlock might discover which path is the one he needs to take, but the story will still be sure to give us a scenario where Sherlock actually needs to make this choice in a super high stakes situation. I know that many people see this potential choice situation as simply a heart wrenching plot device that any two characters could potentially be thrown into. But it’s going to be John or Mycroft for a very good reason, which is that these two characters represents Sherlock’s two paths he might choose, one that leads to love, the other in the opposite direction - loneliness and ultimately (metaphorical) death. Which is why I wrote 30K words in a three-part meta over here about how John versus Mycroft is the hidden premise of the show, and how Mycroft represents the opposing force on Sherlock’s heart, leading him away from John’s love, not towards it.
Also in that meta is why, of John and Mycroft, neither can live while the other survives. It’s a game, with one move, and one survivor.
THE GOOD BOTTLE or THE BAD BOTTLE - SHERLOCK’S CHOICE
The conversation between Sherlock and the cabbie in ASiP tells us what Sherlock’s choice is:
Sherlock: Okay, two bottles. Explain. Cabbie: There’s a good bottle and a bad bottle. You take the pill from the good bottle, you live. You take the pill from the bad bottle, you die. Sherlock: And you know which is which? Cabbie: Course I know. Sherlock: But I don’t. Cabbie: Wouldn’t be a game if you knew. You’re the one who chooses. Sherlock: Why should I? I’ve got nothing to go on. What’s in it for me? Cabbie: I aven’t told you the best bit yet. Whatever bottle you choose, I take the pill from the other one, and then together, we take our medicine. I won’t cheat. It’s your choice. I’ll take whatever pill you don’t. Sherlock: This is what you did to the rest of them; you gave them a choice. Cabbie: And now I’m giving you one. You take your time. Get yourself together. I want your best game. Sherlock: It’s not a game, it’s chance. Cabbie: It’s not chance Mr. Holmes. It’s chess. It’s a game of chess. With one move, and one survivor.
Sherlock has to choose life or death in ASiP, but he doesn’t know which is which. As he says, he has no way of knowing. The subtext of this is the fact that choice is an illusion when we are brainwashed and coerced into believing that something that’s bad for us is actually good for us and vice versa, leading us astray and making it impossible to see the chance at love when it’s staring us in the face. Misinformation has blinded Sherlock to the truth and this is why Sherlock doesn’t know which pill is the good pill, and therefore possibly why we will get a similar situation in S4 where Sherlock can’t decide which person he will leave standing. He doesn’t know which pill to choose.
It’s not a game anymore.
Before John came into his life, Sherlock didn’t have choice. He just had Mycroft to emulate to try and protect himself from harm. There was only Mycroft around to convince him that caring was not an advantage. But the subtext shows us in ASiP that Sherlock was suicidal before he met John, so Mycroft’s influence was not working. Instead, being alone was killing him.
So before John, there was only a bad pill. But then John walks into Sherlock’s life and suddenly Sherlock has another choice. John is the good pill. Fate stepped in and offered Sherlock a choice other than death. And as the cabbie says, THIS, this is the move…
That cute little pill bottle that the cabbie pushes towards Sherlock?? It’s John. Sherlock is handed just one chance, a chance to escape death, so long as he chooses correctly. Two pills; Mycroft’s way, or John’s way. Isolation or love. Sherlock rejecting Mycroft’s influence and accepting John’s offer of love is the climax/end point of his character arc. In ASiP he chose the wrong pill, but by TSoT he had gotten it right. Once he chose poorly, the other time he chose wisely. Which will Sherlock choose in S4? Will it be real or MP or nightmare? Are we all going to die? Either way, read up here in this meta by @heimishtheidealhusband about why TAB told us that Mycroft’s death is synonymous with johnlock becomming canon. That is, we’ve already been told that Sherlock will choose John, and Mycroft will die. I always hoped it would be a metaphorical death. I’m going to keep on hoping. Tags under cut.
Here’s a little piece I did for all the “Yuuri!!! On Ice” fans out there
be honest: At first I struggled a bit with this show, because I did
expect something ENTIRELY different when I watched it for the first
time. I’m a big fan of sports anime and I was really looking forward
to YOI because I really loved the animation and the characters that
were shown in the teaser trailer. And ice skating is just purely
fascinating so I had no other choice than to check it out.
when I watched the first episode I was a bit surprised by the huge
amount of boyslove vibes coming up (and they were increasing with every
episode) - so I first thought it was just another show like “Free!” that
also had a bit of BL vibes going on, though in this case it was purely
fanservice (in my opinion at least ;)).
Don’t get me wrong: I like boyslove (I read a lot of online BL manga
and there are some very good ones out there!). But I don’t like it, if
it’s just there for the purpose of amusing and pleasing female fans and
doesn’t really contribute to the story.
Well, YOI is quite
different - here the BL is not fanservice, it is a major part of the
story, aside from the sports theme. The characters have depth, they have
motives and you can totally feel this. Sure, sometimes there are some
awkward moments as well, that feel a bit out of place and way over the
top - but more important than that: This show is sooo much fun to watch.
I’ve never laughed so much watching an anime, honestly. It’s just “Bam!
In your face!” and that’s really refreshing :) I also experienced something important for myself: A good sports anime doesn’t need to be shounen :)
And that’s why I just needed to honor this show with a nice piece of fanart ^__^ Hope you like it!