“Mary Morstan”, Murderer, Gaslighter, and Abuser (The Final Problem)
Gaslighting: a definition:
A form of abuse that centres around destabilising the victim’s perception of reality and devalues said person’s experiences and feelings. This can be done in private or in front of other parties. In the latter case, the victim is also humiliated and devalued in front of someone else.
Typical statements of gaslighting:
Victim: I’m cold. Gaslighter: It’s not cold in here.
Victim: It’s been about fifteen minutes. Gaslighter: No it hasn’t. It’s only been three minutes.
Victim: I’m really upset about this! Gaslighter: No you’re not.
Gaslighter: It doesn’t matter how you feel. It doesn’t matter what you want. Who you are doesn’t matter. What you perceive isn’t real.
Mary gaslights John in the majority of their canonical interactions. I’ve posted about this before, but their opening scene in HLV is classic gaslighting.
John: Look, is it Sherlock Holmes you want? Because I’ve not seen him in ages. Mary: About a month.
Correcting his perceptions in front of a third party.
Kate: Who’s Sherlock Holmes? Mary: (To John): See? That does happen.
Mary: Seriously? John: Why not? She’s not going to the police. Someone’s got to get him. Mary: Why you? John: I’m being neighbourly. Mary: Since when?
Questioning his motives. Then there’s this lovely bit:
Mary: Why are you being so… John (while physically trying to leave the scene): What? Mary: I don’t know. What’s the matter with you? John (yelling): There is nothing the matter with me. Imagine I said that without shouting. Mary: I’m trying.
Now Mary has belittled John to the point of anger, leading to him attempting to leave the scene, and with her last line here, makes it seem as though John is the aggressor. That’s another classic move. She hasn’t succeeded in getting him to apologise yet, but that’s the eventual aim: to make John feel as though he was in the wrong all along. Then Mary makes it clear that John isn’t going to be permitted to leave without her and tries to expressly forbid him from going. He gives in and Mary not only comes, but drives - she takes over. If that isn’t enough, she then points and laughs at the tyre lever John gets out of the trunk.
Mary: What is that?? John: It’s a tyre lever. Mary: Why?
Why indeed, Mary? Why would John Watson want to arm himself upon going into a smack house? Why ask that, except to belittle John still more, make him feel ridiculous? This behaviour continues throughout Mary’s actual life. She doesn’t feel, upon having shot John’s best friend in the heart, any need to apologise, and she feels completely justified in castigating John over not having spoken to her in months (again, the aggressor turning the tables on the victim here). She refers to John and Sherlock as a dog and a pig at various times. She insinuates that their friendship is only possible with her there to broker it. She traps John into a pregnancy that was clearly a surprise to him. She uses her own death scene to manipulate John into feeling guilty, citing that her alias of “Mary Morstan” was her favourite one ever, while still owning ninja assassin outfits, firearms, and drug-infused papers like a Cold War spy. She literally tells Sherlock to get himself killed or kill himself, “go to hell, Sherlock”, she snarls in a video that magically pre-dates her death.
“Go to hell, Sherlock.” - “Mary Morstan”, The Six Thatchers
And now, not only does Mary Morstan claim credit for having “created” a friendship that managed to survive despite everything she did to them both, but the creators of this monstrous character have validated it, as @constancecreamposted here. Who they are doesn’t matter. Who they were before Mary ever came into their lives doesn’t matter. They’re whatever she says they are. The creators are gaslighting the audience through their precious ninja assassin/mommy in turned-up jeans/Mary Sue.
We observed: a woman who shot Sherlock in the heart, who lied to John from start to finish, who uses gaslighting and reverse psychology (”if you read it, you won’t love me anymore”) to bend him to her will. We were told that consequences don’t matter when you’re Mary Morstan; they only matter when you’re Sherlock Holmes. We were told that Sherlock and John being on the side of the angels doesn’t matter when it comes to the women they “need” to be with - someone who murders for personal gain, and an employee of Moriarty’s who betrayed her nation for personal benefit. We were told that being evil only matters if you’re male; otherwise it’s sexy or cute or both. We were told that our observations were wrong: Mary was never a villain - hey, nobody’s perfect! Mr & Mrs Psychopath it is! This isn’t the only place they did this to us. We were shown a tarmac scene so starkly sober and heartbreaking that we barely batted an eyelash at Moriarty’s seeming return. And then they told us it was all a silly drug trip, whee, are those ginger nuts????, and it left a flat taste in our mouths. Because we were told that what we saw wasn’t what we had really seen after all.
What we saw isn’t what we saw. What we observed doesn’t matter. Who Mary really is doesn’t matter. Who Sherlock and John already were doesn’t matter. Listen to nothing but Mary’s voice; that’s all that matters.
Our amazing storyteller. He knows this is EMP. Our John who didn’t give a name to his daughter and let Mary give her hers, John who shouldn’t give titles to cases, John who lost his identity as Sherlock’s blogger.
John who however managed to keep some sliver of his power.
JOHN: Not a clue. It’s just you normally say that at this point.
JOHN: Well, you said it was like ‘The Exorcist.’ They’re two different things. She can’t be the Devil and the Antichrist.
JOHN: And you are… Rosamund.
JOHN: Do you think [Rosie] will like bedtime stories? I’d like to do those.
JOHN: A secret brother! What, is he locked up in a tower or something?
And yet, in the Final Problem, John is holding a pen. That’s even the first thing we see in focus, John only comes second.
This is the full return of the blogger, of the storyteller. He who was stolen parts of his narrative power is wielding his pen again.
We can see this is as evidence of self-awareness. The same way Mycroft holding his pen made us think it was Gatiss talking to us, we can assume that John is now aware that this is EMP. He’s a storyteller and knows when he’s in one.
You’ll have to fight him to get him to drop his pen. Only a bomb will stop him.
Sherlock narrating in the Blanched Solider and talking about John is the equivalent of a teenage girl writing in her diary about how wonderful and how smart and helpful her crush is I can almost imagine him spinning the pen around in his fingers and blushing as he wrote that