Although I respect people who do, I do not ship johnlock, and I will never ship johnlock. I think they function better as just friends.
Me, during The Lying Detective:
I feel bad for people who ship johnlock. John is currently beating the shit outta Sherlock and their ship is burning... I'm glad I'm not a shipper!
Me, after The Lying Detective:
*stands outside my house with signs and chants* JOHNLOCK! JOHNLOCK! JOHNLOCK! JOHNLOCK IS REAL! THE GAY IS REAL! JOHN SUGGESTED IRENE, AND SHERLOCK SHRUGGED OFF THE IDEA OF GETTING WITH HER! SHERLOCK HELD JOHN AS HE CRIED! I WANT TO WALLOW IN GAY TEARS! JOHNLOCK! JOHNLOCK!
Season 4, the case of the missing Watson, and why BBC John doesn’t love Sherlock
So yesterday I was reading @silentauroriamthereal‘s Best of Three, again (it’s a really good story!). And I realised that the John in that story is pretty much a total dick. He’s incredibly patronising and self-congratulatory about being such a wonderful friend to Sherlock etc etc etc, all the while being actually unimaginably cruel to Sherlock.
And I left a comment to the effect that I loved the story but hated John, and she very kindly replied that she thought it was pretty in character and I had this absolute oh my god moment because she’s bloody right, isn’t she?
And somewhere between Season 4 and Best of Three and SilentAuror’s comment, I think the scales sort of fell from my eyes with regards to John and the show. It’s not that Season 4 ruined John. Season 4 was the logical continuation of where they had taken the character, arguably from the second episode. Go back and look at the way John talks about and treats Sherlock, all the way back to TBB. Try to reconcile the way John talks to and about Sherlock with the way Watson talks to and about Holmes.
Season 4 John is not out of character. Not for BBC John. It’s extreme, but it’s not actually out of character. We think it is, but I think that we have good reason for that. In my specific case, I knew and loved the canon long before BBC Sherlock came on the scene. I know Watson, and I know how he feels about Holmes. So when John acted the way he did in Season 4, I thought it was awful, and terrible, and it came as a shock to me. Before Season 4, when John acted in ways that Watson would not have, I was like “well, maybe he’s just having a bad day’, but Season 4 made me realise that Watson hasn’t been having bad days, Watson has never been here at all.
We think that John is better and wiser and kinder than he is because we spend more time with the wiser, kinder versions of John Watson that we see in the canon and in fanfiction. We’ve been blinded by those Watsons to the truth of John’s character in the show.
And that leads me to another conclusion. BBC’s John doesn’t love Sherlock. We think he does, because Watson loves Holmes, and whether you think that it’s platonic or romantic or sexual or whatever, you can’t deny that there is love there, but John? He doesn’t love Sherlock.
I think he wants Sherlock. I think he’s addicted to Sherlock. To the cases and the life they lead and the danger and all of it. And I think that, like any addict, he hates Sherlock and everything that comes with him, and hates that he needs him. And that’s why the morgue scene happens. Because John, unlike practically every other Watson in history, does not love Sherlock Holmes. Because John wishes that he had never met him and wishes that he could live without him, and knows that as long as Sherlock is alive, he will never, ever be able to leave him for good.
Which means that yes, they really did do TPLoSH all over again, with a gay Holmes desperately in love with Watson, who doesn’t love him back. Except they dialled it up to 11, because everything has to be bigger and louder and hurt more, and instead of a straight Watson who still loves his Holmes, they have given us a John Watson of ambiguous sexuality who not only does not love Sherlock, but actively despises him.
(I also have some thoughts about how Sherlock has been moving toward becoming Holmes over the course of the series, while John moves further and further away from being Watson, but I’ll save that for another time.)
I wonder why Faith’s cane reminded Sherlock of John from that particular scene. In A Study in Pink, Sherlock had taken off earlier and left John alone there, so he couldn’t see how John had walked down the road leaning on his cane at that time.