A Study in Pink sets the stage for all of our future expectations. Nothing in this show is done by accident, and the way it is all handled is masterful. Seeds are sewn in this first episode that will never cease to matter throughout the duration of the show.
Take the first meal Sherlock and John share together at Angelo’s, where Angelo insists that the pair must have a candle for their table:
It seems like sort of a “joke” in a way–something that could easily be brushed off if we didn’t all know that TJLC is real. And the candle thing continues to be a theme. Illumination itself is a subtle theme throughout the show, with all the color-coded lights and the fact that Sherlock dubs John his “conductor of light” in “The Hounds of Baskerville.”
I noticed something recently when watching what is surely one of the favorite scenes of all Johnlockers: the reunion of Sherlock and John at The Landmark in the episode “The Empty Hearse.” This is the night Sherlock returns, supposedly from the dead, and interrupts John’s (rather lackluster) attempt to propose to his girlfriend Mary in a rather half-hearted effort to, in his own words, “move on” from Sherlock.
Notice anything missing from John and Mary’s table?
There’s a lamp, sure, but no candle. Maybe that isn’t terribly unusual. But look at the other tables in the restaurant:
Most have candles.
It doesn’t stop there. When Sherlock catches his first (heart-stopping; you can clearly see that in his face, just as it has been pointed out that if you isolate certain audio tracks in this part here you can hear Sherlock’s thudding pulse) glimpse of John after two years away…
how does he see him?
There is a candle placed strategically between them, clearly visible from Sherlock’s vantage point.
This isn’t the only throwback to Angelo’s on this night. If more is needed, I’m including this little bonus below. The writers have done this *so many times,* where certain words and phrases come back again. It isn’t an accident and it isn’t lazy writing. We’re talking about the combined efforts of two very good writers here, and though John’s nerves on this night aren’t exactly hard to pick up on, we get this cherry strategically placed on top:
My second time through watching The Blind Banker, something finally struck me as odd: John’s anger. Our first glimpse of John in the episode is of him fighting with the chip and pin machine while trying to get groceries. When he gets back to the flat, he’s very out of sorts. He’s obviously feeling a certain amount of financial strain, and seems bitter toward Sherlock for not trying to help make life easier by running some errands himself.
So, that’s easy enough. Of course John is upset. But I don’t think it’s as simple as the monetary aspect of things. John has to swallow his pride and tries to ask Sherlock if he might borrow some cash. I think this is getting closer to the source of John’s discomfort: he’s getting uneasy at the idea that he and Sherlock need to function as a unit. That’s hitting a bit too close, considering that John feels an attraction toward his friend that he doesn’t know how to handle.
As evidence, I present their first crime scene, and John’s out-of-character reluctance to dive in and do what needs to be done to help Sherlock:
Sherlock is surprised, and irritated. He also knows this is out of character for John.
Sherlock’s expression changes briefly to this, before he steamrolls over the moment by sticking to the facts of the scene:
And then, later. There’s no reason for this moment, unless it’s meant to highlight how uncomfortable John is with the idea of any sort of brewing intimacy between him and Sherlock. Sherlock ends up at the bank with John, and he introduces him to Sebastian–who knew him at school–as his “friend.” Sebastian is clearly surprised at this–either that, or he’s purposely trying to rankle Sherlock, which he does continually every time he’s on screen (for someone who hired Sherlock for his observational skills, he sure does put him down for it a lot, taking every opportunity possible to make Sherlock feel like a freak). John is very quick to correct Sherlock:
John almost regards Sherlock with an expression of…well, I hate to say it since I love John, but it’s almost a “take that” moment:
Just as the handshake ends, we catch *this* supremely skeptical look on Sebastian’s (someone who knew him years ago and who remembers god only knows what)
face: “Friend.” Yeah;
I truly, truly hate Sebastian. And more, I hate that he succeeds enough in making Sherlock feel insecure that, at the beginning of their face-to-face meeting, Sherlock pretends he discovered Sebastian’s recent travels through his secretary–just to downplay his supposed freakishness.
This is someone I would really have enjoyed seeing John punch in the face.