The post about important Sherlolly moments that was on my dash today inspired me to make a gifset. This is one of my favorite Sherlolly moments, which always seems to fly under the radar. It’s the key moment to the “Jim from IT” scene. I did an analysis of the scene a couple months after TRF aired, while I was working on a fanfic, and it still kills me how many people still miss the importance of this section of the scene.
This is the first time we get to see that Molly counts. Look at Gif 2. That is the moment that Sherlock notices Jim trying to secretly pass Sherlock the phone number. This gifset is Sherlock’s unguarded reaction and initial decision on how to approach the situation.
Here’s an excerpt of my old post about the "Meet Jim from IT" scene that covers this moment:
As he’s about to return to looking into his microscope, Jim drops the dish off the table and apologizes profusely. Sherlock stares down at Jim as though he’s simply an idiot (the same way Sherlock stares at most people)…. that is until Jim replaces the dish.
When you’re watching the scene for the second time, you already know that this is the moment when Moriarty slips Sherlock his number; and, if you’re paying attention, Sherlock’s reaction is amazing. The fact that nobody has caught it and discussed it is a bit disappointing. Watch it! Then watch it again and marvel at the perfection of Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance.
Sherlock’s jaw just hangs there, and he looks away with an offended, shocked expression. He doesn’t just go back to his microscope the way he normally does after his brief comments or glances during this scene. He sits there for approximately six seconds staring off into space and looking increasingly troubled before returning to the microscope. That’s around the same amount of time it took for him to decipher the Bond Air email for Irene Adler. During this time Sherlock’s also listening to Jim confirm his next date with Molly, and Sherlock’s mouth opens further like he really wants to say something but is holding back. This is it. This unguarded six seconds of internal struggle is the first moment where you see how much Molly counts.
Imagine if this situation were to happen while John was introducing Sherlock to one of his girlfriends. Sherlock’s response would probably be pretty much identical: offense and disbelief towards the girlfriend who is betraying his friend by flirting with Sherlock and a serious moment of pondering how to proceed. Sherlock will happily manipulate his friends to get what he needs… making John coffee with potentially drugged sugar… no problem… human testing on John in the Baskerville lab… no problem… flirting with Molly to get what he wants from her… no problem. An outsider doing any of these things to his friends… problem. It’s like the difference between Mycroft telling Mrs. Hudson to shut up and Sherlock doing it.
From this point he refuses to even acknowledge Jim. He’s not just being antisocial Sherlock here. He’s not just absorbed in his analysis. He’s not being condescending about relationships or feelings. You see him reach a mental decision in the moments before he returns to that microscope. He’s sending Jim a message that he’s not interested, and he’s sending it practically and pointedly. He’s also sending it in such a way as to try to keep Molly out of the loop rather than immediately announcing that her date is hitting on him. He’s avoiding creating a big, ugly scene. That’s rather protective behavior, especially in light of what happens later. Sherlock is capable of tact. He’s using it right there.
The fact that Moriarty fails to list Molly among Sherlock’s friends after this is a bit surprising really, and perhaps it tells us more about how Moriarty values the people around Sherlock than how Sherlock values them. Perhaps Moriarty misses Sherlock’s reaction to the number slip, as Moriarty does look directly at Molly after replacing the dish and moves to her side. Perhaps he just doesn’t know how to read Sherlock. Either way, it’s the moment of Moriarty’s fatal mistake.
And the full scene dissection can be found here: