irene 3

Sherlock and The Social Dots

I keep seeing people continue to fight over Sherlock and the meaning of Eurus’ tests so I wanted to write a little thing on it.  I’m doing this with a wrist brace on and heinous fibro-turd pain, so forgive any misspellings.  

The way I have personally absorbed Sherlock and the meaning of Eurus’s tests is that it’s about Sherlock as an empty person.  He is an incomplete picture until he begins connecting the dots that are his social connections and even more importantly, his emotions.  Let’s look at his relationships one by one and I’ll explain.

Dot 1: Greg Lestrade

  Lestrade represents respect for authority.  In fact, he is the only real authority figure in the series.  He’s Sherlock’s ‘boss’ in a way.  Bosses need people they employ to be reliable, respectful, and trustworthy.  Sherlock treating his boss/mentor like crap, making fun of his intelligence and skirting around him at every chance he gets is terribly disrespectful.  Sherlock is childish and arrogant and disregards Lestrade in most cases, even refusing to acknowledge his name.  We’ve all had those bosses when we were young that we didn’t respect, so we act like spoiled brats about it even though those people probably have way more experience than we do.  They have earned their position via the rout of hard work and being reliable and respectful.  By the end of the series, however, Sherlock shows us he has resolved the issue of his respect for Lestrade by politely asking him, by name, a first for the entire series, to please take care of his brother.  Sherlock is no longer a bratty child and he has connected the social dot of respect.

Dot 2: John Watson

John represents friendship, pure and simple.  John is literally the “replacement” for Victor, Sherlock’s best friend who was killed when he was very, very little. That left Sherlock as the empty shell that we see at the start of the series.  The loss of his friend at such a young age meant that he essentially shut down the part of him that he felt could even have friends.  He rejected the idea of personal connections with other people entirely, so that he wouldn’t suffer loss again.  John, through all their trials and tragedies, has now healed that wound for Sherlock.  Even more, John as Sherlock’s friend, has helped him connect all the other dots.  He walked with him step by step to do it.  Without John’s companionship, Sherlock would still be empty.  John’s maturity helped Sherlock grow up and be the man he was supposed to be, had he not suffered such a terribly traumatic event in his youth.

One other thing John represents is family, brotherhood to be specific.  Mycroft was very cold to Sherlock in their youth, even though it’s obvious it wasn’t always that way.  In the family videos we are shown, Sherlock absolutely loves his brother.  It isn’t until later, after Victor, that he feels so alone.  It’s obvious Sherlock loved Victor just like a brother, like the brother he really needed but was taken from him.  Sherlock says John is “family” in TFP, and he means it.  It also shows just how much emotion Sherlock has.  His love is that strong. His friend was his brother, a part of his own blood, even if they wren’t born as brothers.

Dot 3: Mrs. Hudson

Mrs Hudson represents a parent’s love.  It’s clear that Sherlock has a very strained relationship with his parents. He doesn’t hate them, but he doesn’t appear to believe that they care for him.  They’re not around when he is still basically a child in a grown man’s body.  He has cut them off in his mind.  Maybe they weren’t there for him in the past so he continues to believe they’re not there for him now.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Hudson dotes on Sherlock, brings him tea and food and generally ‘takes care’ of him.  She’s kind but not a pushover.  She’s also led a life that is about as tumultuous as you can get, which I think appeals to Sherlock.  He always surrounds himself with people who aren’t “regular” people.  Mrs. Hudson holds enough action and adventure in her life that she appeals to Sherlock, and she is also loving and sweet to boot.  Mrs. Hudson is the connected parental dot for Sherlock.

Dot 4: Irene Adler

Irene Adler represents sexuality.  What’s even better is that Irene represents fluid sexuality, and more importantly, the rejection of labels.  Regardless of how everyone has interpreted this, when you get down to the simplicity of it, it is simply about rejection of boxing one’s self in.  Sherlock’s box was his own making, his image as the “higher power” that Irene pointed out.  Irene’s own box was her sexuality.  Both of these people had discovered during the episode that their boxes weren’t taped shut all the way.  There was wiggle room.  Back to the sexuality part, Irene awakened Sherlock sexually.  The entirety of ASIB was loaded with sexuality, from Sherlock being naked and looking extraordinarily dashing, to the very naked Irene appearing to completely disrupt his logical thinking power.  It’s as close to canon as one can get that Sherlock did sleep with Irene after Karachi (judging by Eurus’s reaction to his violin song for her).  Sex and intimacy was something Sherlock had very much refrained from in his life and Irene connected that dot for him.  

Dot 5: Molly Hooper

Molly represents authentic love, or “romantic entanglement” as Sherlock puts it.  Everything about Molly and Sherlock’s interaction falls in line with how everyday romantic relationships blossom.  They began just like kids, with Molly having a crush and Sherlock being a jerk to her, ignoring her, or thwarting her attempts to date other men. As they grow together, they begin to close the gap between them.  Molly earns Sherlock’s complete trust, which was monumentally difficult for her to do considering Sherlock’s fear of connecting with people too closely.  Molly loves Sherlock through his best times and his worst times, unconditionally, even though he doesn’t appear to return her feelings.  From small things we’re shown, however, it feels as if Sherlock does feel something for Molly, but he has compartmentalized it and buried it as deep as he can underground out of fear.  Eurus’s test is what forced Sherlock to dig up that box, that box he’d put his heart in and covered it underneath the earth.  Eurus forces that box open, and connects the dot of romantic love for Sherlock.

Dot 6: Mary Watson

Mary represents, I think, coming to terms with one’s self, and the different shades of the self.  She represents acceptance.  Mary connected with and accepted Sherlock instantly because they were the same.  They both came from dangerous lives, they are both morally gray, and they both have a need to be accepted for who they are, the good and the bad.  Mary was in many ways, a reflection of Sherlock’s own duality.  I think Mary made him question things about himself (no not sexually), and I think she also taught him how much he is worth as a person.  She showed him that even though you are this person you’ve constructed out of your own pain, you don’t have to live just as that person.  You can have anything you desire and still be you.  You can live with shades of yourself, and those around you who truly love you will accept you as that.  They will love you for the good that you are, and forgive you for the bad that you are.  Mary connected the dots of acceptance for Sherlock.

Dot 7: Jim Moriarty

Jim represented fear.  He represented who Sherlock would have been, had he not had some form of love and connection in his life.  He was a madman, a true sociopath.  He showed Sherlock what it really would be like if he was who he said he was. We learn very quickly, however, what Moriarty already knew.  Sherlock can never be like him because he does have a huge capacity for love.  He’s hidden it, denied it, but it is there.  Anywhere Moriarty appeared, it caused great fear in Sherlock.  Even after his death, Moriarty was in Sherlock’s mind, chained up in a padded room like a some kind of caged monster.  As much as Sherlock tried to be like him, he really feared becoming that.  He also feared that Moriarty would be the undoing of his friends and family, forever a threat to their lives.  Moriarty was an endless threat to Sherlock, an endless fear of madness and murder.  Jim connected the dot of fear, true fear, for Sherlock.

Dot 8: Mycroft Holmes

I admit this one’s tough. I feel Mycroft represents weakness.  For all the power Mycroft wields in the government, he’s very fearful of being out in the world.  He keeps people as distant as he can manage and still be a part of  functioning society.  He also did a terrible thing and locked up his little sister and lied to his family about it because he feared confronting it.  All along in the series, we see Mycroft chastise Sherlock for things like having friends, being close to people, tangling with psychopaths, etc.  Mycroft is a very soft, fearful person, which makes his nickname The Ice Man sort of ironic.  Its not that he doesn’t care, he’s just far too soft to care.  We see his softness demonstrated with Sherlock, time and time again.  He cares so much for his little brother and fears so much for him that he constantly keeps watch on him.  Mycroft also tried to help Sherlock by proxy, using John as a means to help Sherlock heal his wounds.  In the end, Sherlock comes to realize his brother isn’t a bad person, and that he loves him deeply.  In fact, he loves his little brother enough to die for him so that he won’t be left like he was as a child, without his best friend.  I think Mycroft regrets being as weak as he is, because he didn’t do more to help his siblings. It just required too much care, and he wasn’t able to fulfill that.  In the end, it is Sherlock who is the stronger of them, and he is stronger because of his connected dots.  The last dot is connect by Mycroft, and that is Sherlock understanding that he is capable of protecting the weak, that he is stronger thanks to his mind, heart, and soul now being complete.


That’s about all.  I only included the major characters here, the ones we see almost every episode.  I’ve already talked a bit about how Eurus forces Sherlock to confront trauma, so she represents that last little bit which Sherlock needs to connect everything together.  She wasn’t a dot, so much as the one who helped him see the entire picture he’d made.  Also, Rosie helps Sherlock in her own way, as Sherlock now has this capacity to care for the smallest of people: children.  Rosie is a teeny, tiny, adorable dot.

I mostly wrote this because I had wanted to for a while, but also because some people are still arguing about the I Love You scene.  They’re missing the forest in favor of the leaves.  The bigger picture is pretty clear on what everyone’s purposes were in the show, and how they affected Sherlock as a man.  To become a great man, he needed to be a complete man.  All these connected dots make him that man.  

Sherlock's sexuality: gazing into the abyss

So I woke up early, with this on my mind: what if Mofftiss really weren’t writing Sherlock gay?

On the one hand: it makes no sense, still. What with everything being about John (even in ASiB) and people like Janine telling him they know ‘what kind of man’ Sherlock is, Mary’s teasing 'neither of us were the first’, etc.

But then, Moffat said sex is sublimated into 'thinking’ for Sherlock, so it’s *possible* he didn’t have sex with Janine, say, 'cause like, he’s not a typical straight dude (obviously) and he’s only tempted by an intellectual equal…. Even though that’s not what Moffat thinks Sherlock needs or wants, either. He 'doesn’t need another brain’. I think rejecting Moriarty textually proved that. So what then? Maybe it’s that Irene is the only one who (eventually) admitted she’s in love with him, after all, even though the idea that John (even platonically) is not enough seems… hard to imagine.

The thing that hit me all over again is that without explicitly canon Johnlock, all the little Irene things we’d think were metaphorical or meaning something else suddenly… don’t have anywhere else to point to. Like Irene showing up in Sherlock’s Mind Palace naked in TSoT, John fixating on Irene’s picture in TAB, and then that text in TLD and John’s whole rant about how he should seize the day… with Irene. Then there’s Eurus’s sex reference after Irene’s theme. What does all this *mean* without textual romance of any kind? It’s not like Sherlock’s embodiment arc bends towards Irene; John is still the catalyst. John is even the one pushing him and questioning him about Irene. I suppose Irene could *still* be meant to symbolically represent Sherlock’s sublimated sexuality, to make us *wonder* without outright suggesting any overt answer or interpretation… but what about the surface reading? There must be something beyond suggestiveness and ambiguity when everything else about Sherlock is an arc towards resolution, right? Except I’m starting to think that in fact, they specifically chose to keep the ambiguity of ASiB going in TLD and even (with Eurus’s comment) onwards onto eternity.

Basically, it still doesn’t *work* for me as a surface reading even if there was one. I can’t swallow straight Sherlock as plausible, but Irene is mentioned as a *possibility* sexually more overtly than anyone else as of TFP. Like, I still can’t see @hubblegleeflower’s Johnlock-friendly Irene reading, though it’s probably true he was flattered. But I mean, taking ASiB to mean Sherlock liked Irene enough to throw away everything he’d said and have casual sex (I guess?) makes no sense. In my saner moments, I still think most of what I wrote in my ASiB post applies, probably because I went out of my way to highlight the ambiguity, but I did say Sherlock was absolutely not attracted to Irene. Is there any actual evidence he was in ASiB? No. Were we *intended* to take Irene’s appearance in TSoT as a sudden clue? Well… it’s possible, except that’s the same episode Sherlock looks horrified and confused when Janine suggested they have sex after the wedding… though he also said he loved 'dancing’ and was waiting for the right opportunity. So. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I was thinking about an old post by @iwantthatbelstaffanditsoccupant that really fits and expands on the more believable, less trollish stuff Moffat has said. It said that Sherlock was not gay or straight, but 'nothing’, in that he’s “so utterly mentally focused that for him, all sexuality is a choice”, although he “does feel attraction” (to whom? I guess the point is to wonder, according to Gatiss’s comments on ASiB). The problem with this is that it suggests the show’s point would be to break down the walls, which… hasn’t happened. Sherlock was too 'busy’ during the TSoT deduction scene, and he texts Irene back… sometimes, as of TLD. I doubt this is sexting, or if he wasn’t busy, he’d do something with Irene’s naked body in his Mind Palace. That would go counter to everything else we know about him. And so… I can’t help but feel there’s nothing substantial beyond the tease, which is maddening. There’s nothing to pin down.

Essentially, Irene/Sherlock is neither an actual canon pairing nor especially plausible to ever become so, and John is the one Sherlock shares his life with in the end (and vice versa). However, women are constantly used as metaphors, stand-ins and conduits in the show, as @delurkingdetective wrote, to the point that it’s all muddled. It’s not really heterosexuality so much as a weird sort of transference, an ongoing metaphor that goes on and on, and in some ways this applies both to Sherlock and to John’s relationship to Mary (though of course, mostly Sherlock). The reason it feels like queerbaiting is because heterosexuality is actually only *gestured* to, ambiguously invoked without any follow-through, and so it’s limited to heteronormativity instead. Ironically, the show does take some pains to combat heteronormativity– Irene is actually gay, so is Harry– but Sherlock’s being unnameable, the 'kind of man’ who wants to dance but chooses not to, is just too much. Queer coding with the trappings of heterosexual romance would be understandable 20 or 50 years ago, but now it’s just confusing. It’s not about outing Sherlock 'for the sake of it’, if that’s indeed what Mark Gatiss thinks. I just want to understand. And I still don’t understand.

A confession, not a request. If you have time, please read it.

Request: hey, i just read your rules and i was thinking, in support of you and your recovery a BTS reaction(or anything you prefer) to Y/N being a past rape victim and starting a charity or something that helps victims of it to come forward (: if not its totally fine! obviously, under your circumstances. if you do thank you, i love you ❤❤


Rather than doing a reaction, I will tell you a story. I’m sorry darling, but I really take those matters seriously and I just couldn’t bring myself to write it. Every time I started, my eyes teared up and I just couldn’t. But for you I’ll tell a story that’s very close to my heart and that will make you guys understand why I protect the kpop fandom so eagerly.

I was 14 when I was raped. Also it was January 2014. Until August 2014 no one and I really mean no one could talk normally to me, without my hands to shake or my voice.If they were able to talk to me at all. My connection to the world was stopped, I didn’t go to school, I took my exams,of course and went in the next class. However, until August, I was almost uncommunicating. I was suicidial and depressed. So, I was almost always thinking about just ending it all.

My mother knew that since I was 5 *my cousin was a first genaration kpoper* kpop made me move to the rythym and love the world. She gave me her phone and shepressed the play button of the video. And a melody started. “Sometimes you’ve gotta be bold, just rock the world. BUUYA!” It was Red Velvet’s Happines. Unlike all the other attempts to make me feel something, this one just hit home. I watched the music video in awe, amazed by the fact how beautiful they were and how happy they looked. I wanted to be happy too, but how could I? I was dirty, a whore, a no one. And after the music video ended I looked up to my mother and asked her if she’ll give me her phone tomorrow to watch the live performance. She couldn’t believe that I first talked to her after such a long period of time and of course she gladly agreed. And so on, day after day I watched Red Velvet evolving as I myself started being a new person. They introduced Yeri in the group, I went to a new school. Ice cream cake and Automatic thought me that family is all I have and I shouldn’t lose it. Dumb Dumb made me want to dance again. One of these nights made me remember the pain, but also come to terms with it. Russian Roulette made me confident and feel good about myself again. And Rookie helped me find the people I belong with.

I am very greatful to them. Those girls made me who I am today. The five hearts of the Kpop community. The underrated queens wiht music I always hear people calling childish, but let me tell you. Thanks to them I am alive. I am alive thanks to the power they gave, the fact that they told me that everyday I should be happier than yesterday, because something good will happen. 

So, don’t be afraid or ashamed to listen to kpop, because this “Chin Chong” as people call them, save and inspire people lives. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, to tell your story.

My biggest dream is to have five minutes in my whole life in which I’ll be able to meet the girls. To tell them how grateful I am, what they did for me, how they are for me. I want them to know that they saved my life and that they are precious. And that girl groups can also be a big influence in someone’s life.

Red Velvet 언니들이, 고마워. 너때무네 나 한국어 공부해요. 너무 너무 감사합니다. 사랑해요. <3 

Irene, I write this for you. Happy birthday darling.

Love, Li.

Since then my life became pretty much unbearable, with a slight exception of History classes where Milo was my support, always holding my hand under the desk, and the everyday meetings with him after school. I felt the looks of Charity, Latona, Tomas and Carson on me, heard their offensive words and rude laughs wherever I went, even if they weren’t around. This made me wonder if I did the right thing, but I knew if I continued to be their side friend and pretend to be someone I’m not, everything would be much worse for me.