In HLV we will see Sherlock go through many incarnations of himself. He will die and be reborn, again and again, until he finds his true self.
Sherlock #1 ~ Sick and Witless
Foil ~ Isaac Whitney
‘The Baby’ (shock)
The reason John goes to the crack den in the first place is to retrieve Isaac Whitney. I’ve always found his name really evocative. It sounds to me like a lot of things: I see, eyes see, I sick, witness, witless. Sherlock will mention tuning out, 'witless babble’, on the cab ride back to Baker St so I’ve settled on, 'witless’, as being my favourite version of Whitney. And since Isaac and Sherlock at the crackden are both very sedate and, 'witless’. They both appear drowsily happy and innocently oblivious. They are babies, here. Unfettered by any of the concerns of the outside world,
He is Sherlock as defeated and love sick, 'I-sick Witness’, that’s how i see his name, as well. This is how John finds Sherlock as Isaac’s parallel: defeated, sick, vulnerable but also unaware, oblivious, high,
Sherlock-as-baby’s reaction to seeing John is friendly and relaxed. He doesn’t mind been seen by John as vulnerable as long as he’s unaware of why he’s vulnerable. He doesn’t mind showing that he’s broken but he doesn’t want to show why he is broken. Baby Sherlock wouldn’t know, anyway. He is in shock.
Transition between baby Sherlock and Shezza: Mary. Mary is the thing that baby Sherlock is keeping out of his mind in the crackden.
Note that Isaac is still a baby when he sees Mary. He is non-threatening, she is nice.
Isaac doesn’t know where he is: he just wants to go home. He asks, nicely, for a ride home.
once we see Mary we see Shezza bursting through a door. This is Shezza’s entrance,
Shezza is basically a kid old enough to realise and resent that he’s not a baby anymore. His 'parents’ and the cause of his trouble are here to pull him into another phase of life and he is angry.
Sherlock #2 ~ Shezza
Foil ~ Bill Wiggins
'The toddler’ (anger)
Bill is intelligent and wild-eyed, he answers the door frantically and acts like a cornered animal. This is Sherlock, 'wigging out’, about what’s going on with him and John. This is aware Sherlock. Sherlock doesn’t want to be seen as freaking out like Bill, just as Bill doesn’t want John to come into the crackden. Baby Sherlock doesn’t mind beeing seen by John but Shezza is highly protective of baby Sherlock. He wants to keep him hidden,
Underneath Shezza’s agressiveness and bravado, he is hurt and he needs a ride home. John Watson hurt him,
Angry Shezza/hurt Shezza,
Sherlock #3 ~ The minimizer
Foil ~ Mary
'Tween Shezza.’ (bargaining)
At Bart’s lab, Sherlock is exposed. In a very phallic way. Something comes out of his penis that shows what’s really going on, basically.
This is the big reveal: he was high, he was heartbroken, everyone knows what’s join on. His reaction is, 'It’s all for a case, do relax’, etc.
We will also see still hurt Shezza as Bill say, 'ouch!’, to Mary who is hurting him and she say, 'you moved’, (it’s your fault, anyway) and, 'its’ just a sprain’, (’it’s no big deal’.)
Sherlock #4 ~ Teenage Shezza
Foil ~ John?
The theme of two Sherlocks intensifies as John and Sherlock step into the foyer to confront Mycroft. We get this visual to drive the point home: he is two people, in relation to John,
And, in relation to an obstacle that keeps John and Sherlock from their flat. This shot stresses just how much Mycroft is blocking their way. Mycroft, here, represents Mary and/or John and Mary’s marriage. The reference to cross-dressing could be seen as a reference to Sherlock losing John to a woman,
Having Mycroft here also represents more exposure, more people know. This means he is more aware, too. People are there to make him more aware. Teen Shezza wishes everyone would leave him alone so he could go back to being oblivious baby Sherlock but that version of himself is long gone. As John said, 'Mary is taking the boys home’: Isaac and Bill went home, they’re gone. Baby Sherlock and Toddler Shezza are history.
“Teenage Shezza Vs TBB Sherlock”
Next we get this brief but meaningful interaction. A man is seated at his chair who is very reminiscent of Sherlock when John comes home from his, 'row’, with a chip and pin machine in TBB,
This is the first time that Sherlock flirts with John self-consciously. He flirts with him in ASiP immediately upon meeting him because he finds him attractive in general. But, it’s only after the, 'shock blanket’, epiphany that Sherlock begins to romantically like him.
In TBB, for the first time we see Sherlock fix himself up for John and wait for him to come home so he can flirt with him. This is hopeful Sherlock, looking his best, acting his coolest and with love written all over his face,
In HLV, Teenage Shezza sees a version of this self and aggressively comes towards him to replace him at his chair. He has had enough of that hopeful guy that put himself out there. He is feeling defeated and is done with this TBB Sherlock,
(TBB Sherlock instinctively knows when he’s up against his scary future self. He has no idea why but he’s trusting that he needs to gtfo asap)
Old Sherlock leaves quickly, never to be seen again. Note that though I’ve cropped the previous two photos of TBB Sherlock foil with Teenage Shezza that all this interaction is framed by a man and a woman. Anderson and his friend are here as stand-ins for Mary and John. This tableau occurs in relation to them being a couple. In light of their marriage: Shezza replaces hopeful TBB Sherlock,
Note the similarity of the shot, here. Except here they framed in nothing but open doors (possibility), chemicals (their chemistry) and a bull (symbol of virility). No wonder this TBB Sherlock is hopeful. Here, Sherlock is banking on the fact that John can tell when he’s flirting like he could in ASiP before Angelo’s. However since he told John that he was wrong, he was not interested, then John took that to mean, 'that was not me flirting’. This is how John becomes flirt-proof much to Sherlock’s chagrin,