Hi there! I stumbled across your John meta today and I really enjoyed it. I struggle so much with John so it was so helpful to read that as it validated a lot of my personal feelings and on going discussions. Here's a question for you and forgive me if you've already discussed it. Why do you think they had Sherlock put on the deerstalker? Also- why the fade shot and then show John's mood improved? I'm not hinting at sex as I am not in that camp but it is curious as it's a deliberate decision.
This was cute, wasn’t it? Though it’s a bit weird, yeah. On the one hand, this is a parallel to TAB, where John told Sherlock to ‘wear the damn hat’ and get himself together (’cause he’d just come off a bender). Since he calls it the ‘damn hat’, it’s a direct reference (and John seems to think it’s cute and is clearly pleased). The hat generally represents Sherlock’s public persona– being ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (as we saw in TRF, though more explicitly in TEH and TAB). Being Sherlock Holmes isn’t a bad thing, or even necessarily a false thing (if one believes Mary’s narration at the end of TFP). It’s just something to cover up the vulnerability and the naked, flawed awkwardness of Sherlock’s gooey center. And here, of course, Sherlock’s about to go with John to meet Molly for cake, of all things! Because it’s his birthday! Very awkward indeed.
Basically, Sherlock is not really ‘back to normal’, though as John says to Eurus the Therapist, “obviously ‘normal’ and ‘fine’ are both relative terms when it comes to Sherlock and Mycroft”. We had a fade to black after their intimate moment– probably to show time passing, though it’s unclear how much time. I definitely want to know what happened, what they’d talked about. In terms of implicit Johnlock (I am mostly in that camp, because that’s my happy place camp), I don’t think it happened yet by this scene. They’ve clearly gotten better, of course– look at John’s happy John smile!– but it’s not ‘back to normal’. More domestic, certainly. Warmer, clearly. But Sherlock needs armor just to get through an ordinary birthday gathering (not that it’s that ordinary– in the context of all their messed up lives recently, perhaps it’s rather extraordinary, after all). Though as John says, that really is such a relative thing for them all, isn’t it?
Still. I do think that we’re meant to think they’ve progressed. They’ve gotten closer, because they had nowhere else to go but up. They didn’t want to actually show the details of John and Sherlock rebuilding their normal relationship, so they sort of– pointed to it. Waved a hand and did a fade to the facade of Baker Street, which is nothing if not representative of John-and-Sherlock, the Baker Street Boys, back together at last.
Sherlock is sort of wobbly, though. His voice is kind of uncertain. He is uncertain. It hasn’t actually been very long, because his eye is still bloodshot, and the cut by his brow from John’s blows still looks pretty bad. He’s recovering, they’re recovering, but their conversation about Mary and Irene is fresh enough to still be on his mind. And it is on his mind, though I think John is happy to put things behind them. ‘Behave’, he gamely tells Sherlock after he snarks a bit about cakes and sugar and birthdays– he’s definitely trying to get back to normal in his own way, to wear the ‘hat’ of John Watson, Sherlock’s Minder (the one he wore in TRF, which that bit references). I suppose it’s just that John’s hat is invisible. They both need a bit of normalcy, but they’re not necessarily certain how to get there from here. It’s going to take time. And it’s probably going to take a case, or multiple cases, as well as therapy– and this does work, as we see by TFP, even if the therapist shot John with a tranquilizer. That is their life, so in the end that’s pretty normal too.
Still, as I said, their conversation is definitely on Sherlock’s mind. And what part of that conversation? Oh yeah, the bit where John told him he should text Irene Adler more. That part’s apparently haunting him, because he brings it up out of nowhere, right as they’re leaving the house to go have a party. “It’s not my place to say,” he says awkwardly. “But… it was just texting.”
He seems to view it as part of ‘human error’; that thing that he accepts in himself and others, and we see him integrate by TFP (as I described re: the Molly scene). It’s not a big deal though. He doesn’t think a relationship with Irene would be a good idea. Just wanting a bit of human connection, you know, ‘just texting’. Keeping up. Being human. John shouldn’t read into it. Sherlock wants to make sure of that, you know. No particular reason. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯