The Story is the Message

Don’t tell me, in the audience, that I’m wrong about the story you’re telling. If I can make the argument I’m making about what’s going on, and you think it’s wrong, that’s not my fault, that’s yours. You’re telling the story, and if I’m wrong, you’re not doing your job. 

If you don’t like what I see happening in your story, telling me I’m wrong isn’t going to help. You haven’t made a compelling enough argument to get me on board what a different perspective yet. You haven’t made your point. 

You’ve been ambiguous enough for my interpretation to exist. If you don’t like that perspective, if you really want to shut me up, write it out. You have all the power here. Don’t tell me I’m wrong; get the story to convince me.

Don’t blame me that my perspective is perfectly reasonable and arguable. You invented all the facts. 

The only true thing in the story. Everything else is jazz hands.

Speaking of flashbacks in series 4: flashbacks seem more and more plausible with every piece of new data - at least that’s how I feel it, because mofftiss need to show the audience they were implanting the idea since a long time, and that inside the show John and Sherlock were in love since the beginning, that everything they did was directly consequent to their feelings - so a flashback seems an appropriate tool.

Also, it will not be the first time they use it, they used flashbacks to show they implanted the idea of Mary being an assassin, in little details most of us missed at first watch until we got the flashbacks.
There is a nice probability that they also used it before to make us familiar with the concept: we’ve shown you something that was subtle enough for you to miss it, now we’re going to show you the trick and make you realise it was there.
This is what they’ll do on a larger scale, and now that the audience is familiar with this tool, they expect people to open their eyes wider. The use of this is supposed to make the audience think: is there something else I missed?

This is why I believe there’ll be flashbacks in series 4, and that the Six Thatcher will be one of them, maybe one of the most important since the case calls back to a period in Sherlock and John’s lives when they realised they were more than friends, and that they where lying to themselves by pretending these feelings were not there, thanks to Irene clear-sightedness.
This was a pivotal moment in their relationship, so going back to it is pretty meaningful, because it’s there that the global audience should have seen the clues that it’s not “a cheap gay joke” (quoting Gatiss in TGG’s comments), but the whole point.

I’m also pretty sure there will be flashbacks to Moriarty and Mary, to the link that may exist between them. We’ve seen a glimpse of Mary in Morocco - it’s not unreasonable to think this is a moment from her past. We also suspect she was one of the sniper at the pool in TGG, this theory is supported by some solid elements, and if she is indeed involved in this (as Moran or else), there will be some explanation of it.

Finally, flashbacks seem also an appropriate tool for the Redbeard/The Other One mystery. This is something from Sherlock’s past, and we know children have been cast to play Sherlock and Mycroft so to me this is actually the most evident way the flashbacks will be used. We just need to see what happened, so the problem is solved. And as I said here The Six Thatchers may be an episode based on this problem, since “Maggie” is the password.

So, we have three excellent reasons for flashbacks to be used. It can seem maybe a bit “flashback ex machina” when we see data and whisper “flashbacks”, but actually, I think we can logically expect quite a lot of them.

Just a heads up, for the next few months until series 4 I’m not going to participate in anymore meta regarding how the next three episodes will play out. I’ve already placed all my bets. I don’t want to reread the original stories or research other adaptations. I’m a TJLC blog that’s spent the last 10 months attempting to argue it and I’ve exhausted myself. But the thing is, I don’t want to ruin the surprises for myself more than i already have. I started writing meta after TAB and have mostly been playing catch up with everyone else that’s been on this site for ages. I saw all ten episodes without delving into Meta and prediction to warn me beforehand. And i fell in love with the story on its own. I’m saying this because I’ve been tagged in a bunch of meta and while i appreciate being thought of and consulted, I won’t be participating in any more predictions. I will be on this site less often. Going to Sherlocked Con, writing my meta, and picking apart the details of the story was the equivalent of pulling the curtain back on the wizard of oz. I’ve never felt more empty than I do right now, the story exposed and cut to pieces in front of me. I took something i loved and destroyed it. All because i couldn’t handle not knowing.

It’s not The Six Thatchers - it’s 1895

I’ve been thinking about this… are they really going to revisit this rather minor, unimportant case that occured shortly before Christmas in the first year of John and Sherlock’s… whatever it is they had going at that time?

The case is referenced during ASiB. What is so special about it? Ok, it features a gay couple but not in a positive way, because Beppo did kill Pietro. Sally having been in love with Pietro doesn’t resemble the John - Mary - Sherlock triangle, for Pietro was in a fierly relationship with Beppo. Now, you can argue that Sherlock and John are in a relationship as well, that they are in fact the real couple on the show until Sherlock ‘died’ and Mary came along but that misses the fierly. For John and Sherlock’s feeling for each other are not openly passionate but instead unacknowledge by them both which is the centre of this whole long-term malaise.

Therefore I think referencing this old and solved case in the episode title is kind of a red herring actually. Because what do we see on screen when John and Sherlock look at John’s laptop when John’s blog is open on that case? The case is not mentioned by the way. Instead, Sherlock points out 1895, and that John’s blog has been hacked. And I think  here starts the beginning of 1895 as a message with a double meaning.

The first mention of this number as a hit figure on the blog occurs when John is writing up “Sherlock Holmes Baffled”, which is published at 1st August. John is very proud of the 1895 hits his blog has gained during the last 24 hours. For him 1895 is something positiv. At  Christmas the counter is still stuck at this number, as Sherlock points out to John during the party, only to complain immediately afterwards that John has the deerstalker pic on his blog. Interestingly, John doesn’t care that his blog might be faulty.

So, if 1895 is to represent the closeted gay subtext of a love that dare not speak ist name, John doesn’t see the negative connotation to it at first. He’s totally oblivious towards its implications, whereas Sherlock is miffed that John has so much higher ratings than his own blog (= Sherlock, being a gay man, having far less allies than the allegedly straight John Watson).

At Christmas, John doesn’t care about 1895. Does that mean that, even if he sees Sherlock’s sexuality as ‘faulty’ i.e. different from what John perceives as his own heterosexuality (highlighted in this scene again by one boring girlfriend), he doesn’t try to change it but rather accepts it? It’s all fine?

Not for Sherlock at this point in his arc, though. I see Sherlock pointing out the hated deerstalker in this scene at Christmas as another hint at the closeted gay subtext. Sherlock dislikes the deerstalker. He only used it when he felt pressured to hide form the public who he really is. And then this misleading image became his trademark. But as a disguise is always a self-potrait, Sherlock using one implies that he is still not sure if he can open up towards John about who he is. So for Sherlock it’s still 1895, a time where you couldn’t be openly gay. And as this is on John’s blog it’s in accordance with John’s denial of his own feelings for Sherlock as well. Sherlock only frees himslef from this at the end of TAB when he throws the deerstalker off the Reichenbach Fall. And John?

The post about The Six Thatchers (uploaded on the 19th December) is displayed on John’s blog the next day, after Sherlock had identified ‘Irene’ at the morgue. Again, Sherlock speaks about 1895, the possibility of John’s blog being hacked and the number being the passcode to Irene’s phone. The case of the six Thtchers is not referenced, only the number - or date. For the writers could have used any number if it was just a number (as Sherlock does when he later tries 221b). The casual viewer didn’t get the meaning of 1895, they don’t know either about the poem or Oscar Wilde. Even if the writers intended a hint at ACD canon, they could have used more fitting dates, 1881 for example, when canonically Holmes and Watson first meet. For 1895 is not a prominent ACD canon year.

But they chose 1895 and continued to reference it on the show (the billboard in front of the drug den in HLV; as the year TAB took place, stating that this had specifically to be 1895, even if it didn’t make sense with the much later Suffragist movement that was allegedly at the heart of the episode…)

1895 - the year of the Wilde trail - was the beginning of a new phase of oppression for homosexual men. Therefore, like the deerstalker, it stands for hiding one’s true nature and feelings. I think it quite possible that the subtext of TST will be connected to this fact. That Sherlock and John are still stuck in their very own private 1895 - hence happy family crime solving outings with baby and doggy.

As for the development of the story, Sherlock might remember that, reading up the Thatcher case, he tried 1895 as the password for Irene’s phone. As TST seems to be a spy heavy episode (if we are right from what we’ve seen / heard at setlock), protected information might feature in TST as well. Perhaps John’s blog really got hacked over Christmas? Because I doubt that his counter sat at 1895 from 1st August to after Christmas without John noticing. So it was set to this number around Christmas? Why? By whom? It wasn’t Irene because it wasn’t her passcode and she didn’t want Sherlock to know that anyway.

Was it Moriarty? Foreshadowing what he later did with the Miss Me video? Or Mycroft, who surely has the power to do so? Or someone else? Did we ever get an explanation for the 1895 on the show… mind, all the meaning of 1895 has been dug up by Johnlockers and is only circulated in this corner of the Sherlock fandom. Most viewers will never have thought about it and still have no clue.

What could it stand for in the surface narrative? A date (1.8.95?)? A code (18 and 95 like in TBB)? Is it a passcode for something (like shown at Irene’s safe)? But that would only be important in connection with the case that will feature in TST.

1895 - still being stuck in a phase were Sherlock and John can’t be together - will be the subtext of TST. Remember where we left them! John is married to Mary, there’s a baby on its way. Just because Sherlock started to acknowledge his feelings for John at the end of TAB doesn’t mean all the obstacles suddenly disappear. On the contrary - allowing his feelings to blossom might even make it worse for him because he can’t / won’t suppress them anymore but thinks they are not reciprocated either. Remember how sick Sherlock looked while shooting TLD? What has Culverton Smith to offer? Distraction from feelings? Perhaps by now Sherlock yearns for his heart to be burned out. And wouldn’t that be a field day for Moriarty?

What might this lead Sherlock into if we think about the second episode being called The Lying Detective?

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