Here’s the finished version of what I streamed today! This is Ledaal Manus, @shiftingpath ‘s Solar Exalt, in his ridiculously extravagant yacht outfit. I knew as soon as I saw that outfit so long ago that I would draw it one day. That day is today apparently >:)
I was supposed to write some fanfiction, and as usual, I decided to scroll through the Adlock tag to get some feels rolling. But instead, I found myself disappointed at the fact that there has been another fiasco involving hate being present in the tags that caused a back-and-forth between Adlockers and, based on my observation, some Johnlock shippers (and yes, I’m using the entire ship name to have it appear on their tag because tit for tat).
Now, this isn’t me putting gas to the already burning fire, but it is sickening to go over this again and again and again. To be fair, I have tried to be level headed back then about this whole conundrum, but seriously though, this has got to stop.
So I decided to approach this the Adlock way. I laid out the most common arguments against this ship and I’m going to give my most logical answers to it. Is this going low? Maybe. But hey, it’s a slow night for me so here’s to sharpening up my good ol’ brain cells.
Note: All quote references came from this brilliant post.
PART ONE: Disproving common arguments
1. “But Irene is gay…”
Yes, Irene had said this herself. From what I’ve seen in the fandom, people have a split opinion on the matter, taking Irene as either a lesbian or a bisexual, and coming from individuals who are part of the LGBTQ community, there should be a huge amount of respect for these opinions. But sadly, it has become a fiasco on its own. Now, as someone who is a genderfluid sapiosexual (putting this here because otherwise I would be called out for pushing heteronormativity or spreading homophobia and all those things), I personally think that Irene used the term gay loosely. She obviously prefers women, but is also evidently attracted to Sherlock.
So referencing what Lara Pulver stated back in 2012, “It’s just a label, isn’t it? Because, at the end of the day, I think she had feelings for Sherlock. So then people say, ‘Well, so she’s obviously not gay. She must be bisexual.’ But actually, let’s not label this. Let’s just know that human beings fall for other human beings.”
2. “Shipping Adlock is homophobic”
If we are going by expressed declarations of sexuality, it is important to not only take in Irene Adler’s preference into question. John Watson has been very vocal about not being gay, having been engaged into several relationships prior to his marriage with Mary Morstan, and yet has been subject to claims that he is, in fact, in love with Sherlock Holmes.So, logically speaking, rejecting one point over the other completely disproves the argument.
3. “There are undeniable proof that Sherlock and John are in love”
This is something I didn’t want to tap on, but felt like I needed to do so. From the ACD canon to the BBC version, there are arguments falling ill to the common notion that the relationship of the two borders on romance.
It has been a common fictional trope, where a character who is angsty and misunderstood is accepted by a trusty and kind comrade – or a brother not by blood but by bond if you will – and it is something intriguing because it is not so common in real life. This is because as much as it is embraced in fiction, males in real life are often pushed into the stigma of being macho men, for the smallest amount of affection showed towards someone else is regarded to as romantic attraction.
Love is very much present between Sherlock and John, but similar to characters like Frodo and Sam from LotR, Jem and Will from The Infernal Devices, Steve and Bucky from Captain America, and other ‘shippable bromances’, this is, in fact, nothing romantic, because newsflash, romance isn’t the only type of love there is.And the main reason why there are often claimed as so is because of this underlying patriarchal effect that two men can be friends, ‘but hey, no homo’, which frankly makes this all the more absurd. It’s like we hate this thinking but subconsciously, we have fallen deep into the expectations it represents.
In millions of interviews and conventions, the writers have explicitly said that Sherlock and John are not together, at least not in a romantic fashion, and this is first and foremost a story of their adventures as a detective and his chronicler. So blaming them and accusing them of queerbaiting is very much unfair.
All the ships have the liberty to ship what they ship, to hold on to every evidence and claim that they have as presented in the show, but to push through with an idea once a conclusion has been drawn seems unfair to the entire fandom altogether. It is fair to feel disappointed towards an episode you didn’t like, but a story and a writer that reels toward what the audience asks it to be is nothing more than laziness.
YOU. CAN. ALWAYS. STOP. WATCHING. Don’t go as far as ruin the experience for everyone. It’s like because you’re allergic to nuts, then you expect your entire school to ban it and close all the shops in town selling it.
PART TWO: “Adlock does not make sense”
I felt this needs to be a section on its own because as much as our ship only has a handful of references to play with, I can at least say that Adlock has sailed by itself even without our help.
1. “So you like policemen?”
Most people who do not ship Adlock claim that Sherlock ‘malfunctioned’ in this scene because he was jealous ‘of’ Irene. But if we look at it, John was the first one who flirted with Irene by trying to make a move using the soldier card in contrast to Irene’s supposed liking of policemen.
Now to quote Mark Gatiss, “He suddenly meets someone who fascinates him. Holmes and Adler have an intellectual attraction. He doesn’t understand it. It’s like falling in love, but he doesn’t know what it is.”
It was obvious that having this woman one up him distracted him for a fragment of a second that he wanted to get back this air of superiority. Still, she outsmarts him. Also note that the morning after, he has already looked her up on Twitter, showing that she did pique his interest.
2. “You barely knew her.”
Abruptly answering is a way to tell when someone is lying according to Sherlock himself. So why did he give a clipped ‘yes’ when John asked if he was okay upon deducing that Irene Adler was ‘dead’?
Plus, nicotine was supposed to be something to keep him at bay – to keep his mind sharp. We saw how much he needs it if he’s an emotional wreck to enable him to think. But when Mycroft gave him low tar because he deemed that Sherlock barely knew Irene, he scoffed. He gave a grunt that sounds humorously offended. If you didn’t catch this then please watch the scene again.
3. “Craving the distraction of the game, I sympathise entirely.”
Sherlock and Irenewere each other’s distraction, like the king and the queen of the opposing sides of the chessboard. And this was clearly a declaration that Sherlock was aware of how attracted he was to her, probably more so on an intellectual level, and that he genuinely wanted to understand and even impress her, much like her attempts to do so with him.
4. “There’s no point in my leaving the flat for anything less than a seven, we agreed.”
Karachi is 4,906.6 miles from London. Just putting it out there.
Oh and a challenge from Mr. Cumberbatch himself from 2015: “They had a night. Irene Adler and Sherlock had a night. I’m absolutely certain of that. Deal with me.”
5. “I’ll still have it.”
Why would he ask for Irene’s Vertu? What did “The Woman… THE Woman.” mean? Going back to ASiP, the most obvious reference is “If she’d left him, he would’ve kept it. People do, sentiment.”
It was his obvious admission that Irene did in fact beat her, because she made him show that he did care about whatever it is that they had.
And add to his collection of all sentimental things, plus in reference to a Chekov’s gun, the rose in the hospital window in HLV disappeared, meaning Sherlock took it with him when he escaped. They wouldn’t show that camera play without meaning tbh.
6. “Get out of my head, I’m busy.”
Seeing how Sherlock’s mind palace works, he projects people in his mind as he needs them to be – whether it be their opinions, the moral balance they lead him to, etc.
As his mind illustrates, Mycroft is often shown in a setting where he is regarded to as an important compass for intellect and logic, whereas John is often the one who offers practical and emotional approaches. Molly in HLV was presented such as a medical reference, and Anderson represents the firm believer that despite the perils and impossibilities, he can surpass death once more – quite a touching nod to TEH Anderson, tbh.
Anyway, going back to that scene in ASoT, it was clear that the mere thought of The Woman sent him a wave of distraction and nostalgia. His representation of her was with the look of affection and longing, something projected by his own subconscious.
7. The pocketwatch in TAB
As this is all happening in his subconscious, the mere idea that John ‘his moral and emotional compass’ Watson brings up the thought of Irene Adler in the pocketwatch is an internal dialogue of his logic going against the musings of his heart.
“People text. Even I text. Her, I mean. Woman. Bad idea. Try not to, but you know, sometimes…”
Sometimes, what? That is the question, don’t you think?
In addition to the whole bromance thing, John expressing his grief in front of Sherlock cancels out the whole macho man facade and simply offers what years of friendship between them developed: trust. In this, Sherlock must’ve felt like the whole ‘I don’t text her back’ statement was already overdue, and just as how John confessed that he’s not as good as anyone holds him up to be, Sherlock also felt like it’s time to not be embarrassed to reveal that he is also, at times, vulnerable against his own impulses.
9. Irene knows Sherlock’s birthday + “The Woman will cry”in HLV
As I see them as people who don’t really fall much into these formalities, and also averting to the common notion that Sherlock and Irene’s relationship circulates in nothing more than lust, I’d like to point out that the main tether that tied them together is their intellectual connection. BUT, bordering to personal information, especially as they are not people who would succumb to conventional topics of conversations, knowing Sherlock’s birthday and having his subconscious relate Irene Adler as someone who will be deeply affected by his death mean that their relationship has been long past simply passing time with mind games and solving cases.
10. He still has all her texts, has her name in his phone as The Woman, and saved that bloody text alert EVEN AFTER CHANGING PHONES
If this doesn’t shout sentiment, then I don’t even know…
11. “Play you.”
Now one argument about this is that maybe Sherlock played this because ‘play you’ simply means ‘play something you composed.’ BUT, Eurus also did tell Sherlock to play something he understands.
After the statement regarding sex, it is clear that Sherlock is not as fazed as he was back in ASiB on the matter, and going beyond the implied physicality, it also shows that after all those years, Sherlock finally has an understanding as to why he wrote that piece for Irene Adler. It’s another solidification that they have developed a deeper relationship than just two people enjoying the company of the other for the mind games they provide, but they can even go as far as claim that they deem the other person as important.
Someone raised the challenge to take the idea of the cult ending that was assembled from non-canon datamined content but figure out a way to reassemble it into something that’s both tonally in-line with the rest of the game and a satisfying cap to the story so I rose to the challenge because bouncing from springboards like this and connecting plot points is basically what I do for a living.
Also tried to find a way to include all the dads because these “bigger picture” stories are more fun like that.
Putting it under a cut for length and hella spoilers, but here’s my response to the question of “well how would YOU handle the cult end”