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:
kept a photo of John with him during his time in Serbia. The photo got crinkled
during the two years. A little faded. Damps destroying a part of it. It was
just a normal photo. The type of stiffed
lipped, no smile photo for driving licenses etc. Sherlock stole it
before he disappeared. One day, he lost the photo. And never found it again. Maybe
it just fell from his pocket during one of his runs. And when his captors left
him in the cold hardened floor after beating him into a pulp, Sherlock just
laid down there. The pain was bearable, because it was more painful to him that
he lost that photo. He didn’t even trust his mind palace. What if he forgets
what John looks like.
Mycroft showed him John’s photo for the first time, Sherlock hated it and loved
it at the same time. He almost made the mistake of asking Mycroft for it.
I am gonna see him now. I can touch him. He ran his own hand over his lip. I wonder
if I like bristly kisses for the first time. My god I hate that mustache.
And he got
touched. Yes. Not like the way he wanted.
tackled him in the ground and opened his wounds.
know. I don’t blame him.
get the kiss. Just got some wounds reopened.
a single tear fell down from Sherlock’s eyes while dressing his wounds.
You want to know how you get the heterosexual audience to root for Sherlock Holmes and John Watson to be in a homosexual relationship? You give them what they asked for – a series finale with no cases, deductions, or a focus on John and Sherlock’s relationship to prove a point. The finale will be received poorly because the show is missing its heart. Then, as coded in their episodes, they will leak extra footage exactly a week later on social media to announce one more episode of Sherlock – the Lost Special – to air one week after that. This way, the whole world has a chance to participate in a “will they/won’t they” and root for these characters to actually be happy in their series finale.
THAT is how you’d do it. THAT is how you make television history. THAT is exactly what’s happening right this moment. It’s time to listen to Sherlock Holmes and to “observe” rather than to simply “see”.
It all goes back to what Sherlock creator Steven Moffat commented on the show:
“If you’re not reading the subtext, Hell mend you.”