‘Love conquers all’ wasn’t queerbaiting- it was a warning.
Disclaimer: I am not discrediting the fact that there was queerbaiting in the show, nor will I be going into my personal opinions or ideas of season four, this is purely to share an idea based on theories I have had and things I have noticed.
Well we all know by now Martin and Benedict are the biggest shippers of all, but recently they have been slated for a few things that they had said before series 4 aired- most notoriously Ben’s “love conquers all”. Except love didn’t conquer all. There was no ginormous happy resolution, no kiss, no riding off into the sunset in Mrs Hudson’s sports car. In fact, no pair of characters got a happy romantic ending. So why does ‘love conquer all’? And why did Mark look so angry about Ben saying this?
Benedict and Martin have been willing and interested in exploring a homosexual relationship (Johnlock) on the show, and this has been clear from even the little details- John’s lip lick in Angelo’s, Sherlock’s telling silence when someone assumes they’re together, Sherlock gently caressing John’s neck during the hug, and so many other tiny little details that mean the world to us tjlc-ers. But these details don’t come from Mark or Steven, or anyone else but Martin and Ben. These two are such accomplished actors that everyone just lets them do their thing. Although Mark and Steven keep denying that Johnlock would become canon, these two had other ideas- including Ben telling a fan that they’re ‘trying to create something’ in response to her queerbaiting concerns. Everyone assumed that this meant the show as a whole was headed towards that direction- but what if it didn’t? What if ‘we’re’ referred to just Martin and Ben? What if they read the script, or were told Johnlock would not become canon and decided to take matters into their own hands, to rewrite the story without changing a word?
Of course, with this talented duo, it wouldn’t be hard for them to tell the story we all have wanted from the start with a series of subtextual looks, glances, licks, eye movements, actions, tones and gestures. They’ve been trying so hard to give us what we want even when the showrunners refuse to write it. Obviously they can’t explicitly change the script, as they don’t have that power, but you can see it- in the joy in Sherlock’s eyes when he passes over Rosie, in Sherlock’s voice crack when he says ‘because you chose her’, in John’s almost giddy smile when he sees Sherlock holding his child.
With ‘love conquers all’, ‘it’s always been a love story’, ‘be patient, we’re trying to create something’ and so much more, Ben and Martin have been trying to warn us about what they’re doing, what they’re trying so hard to create in this show to give us the representation we deserve- even if noone else will.
It’s ok if you’re still mad at the show or if you disagree with everything I just said, I understand why the fandom is angry right now and you have every right to be. I just wanted to share this and acknowledge what Martin and Benedict have tried to do to make the fandom happy, to give us what we wanted.
EDIT: I am definitely NOT saying that the only subtext in the show came through Martin and Benedict. I am highly aware that Mark and Steven had a HUGE part to play in all of this, but I refuse to believe that Benedict Cumberbatch, the most gentlemanly of gentlemen, would purposely mislead a concerned, LGBT+ fan just because he could. I may be right, I may not be, but I firmly believe that something is still to come.