(Or: How The Watson’s Marriage Was Done So Right, It Hurts - A Johnlock Perspective)
When Mary was first introduced into the show, we very graciously welcomed her into our hearts, trusting that the writers had some kind of plan. We knew that they were facing the difficult task of staying true to canon while further developing the relationship arc between John and Sherlock. Not an easy feat, but we had faith: Eventually, we would see Mary’s true colours, John would return to Baker Street - all would be well.
But, alas, it did not happen. And the fandom was flabbergasted. What were Mofftiss playing at? However, there are actually two really good reasons for doing what they did:
One, you can’t just turn one of the very few original female characters into something negative. I mean you can, but I really don’t think Mofftiss wanted to. Two, there was a much, much more beautiful route. And Mofftiss took it.
Because what do you do, when you can’t make a character lovable due to the risk of heteronormativity, and you can’t make her unlovable due to risk of misogyny? The answer is: You make her awesome. You make her the best, most brilliant hero ever. And then you let her make a really strong case in point: No one can compete with Sherlock Holmes.
I was listening to an NPR podcast recently and they were talking about Sherlock. One woman said “John’s love for Sherlock is intense but platonic, and Sherlock’s love for John is romantic but not sexual.” And the other panel members were like mmm, interesting, yes, great observation.
And I mean. On the one hand, congrats on admitting it’s not just a bro thing. On the other hand…fuck you, a little bit? Because let’s just imagine Sherlock was played by a woman. A tall, slender, raven-haired woman with killer cheekbones. John Watson is sitting across from her at a candlelit table in the first episode. He licks his lips before asking if she has a boyfriend, a girlfriend? No? She’s single like him, good. Anyone on this earth gonna say “oh well his feelings are clearly intense, but platonic"? Nope.
Imagine this woman repeatedly poking fun at John’s mustache (because she can’t bring herself to ask if he’s going to keep his fiancee) and then John shows up at the flat they used to share and he’s shaved it off. And this woman, she looks John Watson in the eyes and tells him in a low voice that she prefers her doctors clean shaven. Still romantic but not sexual? Anyone? Bueller?
It’s just frustrating to hear a panel of liberal fans of this show spouting intellectual-sounding shit about the John/Sherlock relationship that seems progressive on the surface but really just makes excuses for why it can’t be what it would SO OBVIOUSLY be TO EVERYONE ON THE PLANET if they weren’t both men––a slow burn romance with mutual sexual tension.
Anyway. Preaching to the choir here but I needed to vent.
The skeleton is male, forty to fifty... that describes John. Not sure what, if anything, to draw from that.
Oh FFS, you’re right.
I mentioned this Jack the Ripper thing in my TEH meta. A serial killer who targeted prostitutes and whose “work” (aka the manner in which he mutilated him) led many to suspect he was a doctor. Male, forty to fifty. And…
I don’t even want to make a parallel to John, because – creepy. But the skeleton does turn out to be a fake. And now I’m looking at Sherlock’s deductions and, well…I don’t know. Let’s have fun with this. I’m going to freewrite, meaning if I think of a single reference or connection, no matter how outlandish, I’m writing it down.
Here’s our first view of the skeleton, hidden deep underground and lit by harsh, unnatural lights.
Seated with an empty glass wine goblet and decanter, a writing utensil in his hand and an open notebook on the table. Writing about everything that happens to you will honestly help you. Nothing happens to me…
ETA: salsify said: Wine goblet & decanter = drink a toast, the celebration of the engagement @ 221B and then the wedding toast: dead/not-dead, beginnings, seeming ends.
Sherlock pulls out his tools of the trade, literally mirroring the writing utensil in the skeleton’s hand. I’d be lost without my blogger.
(A minute or so later, we see this mirror again. Creepily, Molly (who is standing in for John) is positioned in a way so that it kind of looks like her hand.)
“The corpse is six months old.”
Six months old. At this point in the episode, what else is six months old? John’s relationship with Mary. Six months of bristly kisses for me… Bristly kisses because of that mustache, the one that wasn’t working for John. (The mustache that we associate with Canon-Watson. (I prefer mydoctors clean-shaven.))
“It’s dressed in a shoddy Victorian outfit from a museum.”
Victorian times, when Canon-Watson and Canon-Holmes lived. But that’s antiquated, it’s old, it belongs in a museum, I can’t be seen walking around with an old man. John’s shaved that mustache off. Canon-Watson is gone.
“It’s been displayed on a dummy for many years in a case facing south-east judging from the fading of the fabric.”
Displayed on a dummy in a case, what you’ve been seeing for many years isn’t real, it’s a fake. It’s faded because it faces southeast, the sunrise (new day, new beginnings? (the east wind is coming to get you)).
“It was sold off in a fire-damage sale a week ago.”
Sherlock returned to London about a week ago. He returned to John about a week ago. And tonight there’s going to be a little fire damage.
Pine? Spruce? Cedar? So many tree references. The wallpaper outside the entrance to Jack’s hideout is even covered in trees. Jack is hidden in trees.
In “The Empty House,” Holmes disguises himself as a crippled old man, and Watson runs into him and knocks a book called THE ORIGIN OF TREE WORSHIP out of his hands. It’s referenced in John’s scene with the old man he thinks is Sherlock in disguise, who offers him a porn DVD called TREE WORSHIPPERS (which John declines).
Pine? Cedar? Also used in a bonfire later this episode. John is hidden in trees.
Mothballs were recently used to preserve the clothing from damage while being “stored” down here.
Carbon particulate, aka black carbon, aka soot.
Pine, cedar, trees, soot, fire damage, Jack, John, hidden in trees. So…foreshadowing much?
And this moment right here, when Sherlock pulls John out of the fire – it’s the first time he sees John sans mustache, or Not Gay Canon!John, if you will.
Canon JohnJack, in his Victorian suit with his old-fashioned writing utensils, is dead. John Watson? Not dead. Not canon. New beginning.
(ps - freewriting is fun)
(pps - there’s a lot more to analyze here – any takers?)