You have to wonder what the backstory is to this one. I mean, people who know and love Sherlock are absolutely, 100% convinced that John is Sherlock’s date the moment they see Sherlock and John together. It’s a running gag, obviously, but it wants explaining.
Sherlock is clearly a loner. He knows people (quite a lot of people, actually, more people than John appears to know), but he doesn’t choose to spend his time with any of them. He just solves puzzles. That’s all. He doesn’t enjoy the company of other people. He doesn’t go out for dinner with anyone, ever. (That point ever-so-nicely underscored by his bewildered question to Irene in Scandal.)
It’s pretty apparent to us by now that Sherlock isn’t particularly moved by attractive women. He doesn’t particularly react to Irene at all, even when she’s propositioning him. Maybe others have seen that in him too; he doesn’t seem interested. So they may make the next logical step (“Oh, he must be gay, that’s fine.”) even though he isn’t particularly moved by men, either.
Maybe Angelo told Sherlock ages ago that he was always welcome in the restaurant, any time, with anyone he likes (“Bring a date! It’s on the house!”), and Sherlock never turned up. Then one day, months and months later, he appears with a fellow he’s clearly fond of. Sherlock must be fond of this bloke, he must be trying to impress him, right? Because he’s willing to spend an evening over dinner with him, an event which Angelo has never witnessed. He’s willing to sit in a restaurant like a normal person with this fellow, so he must be tremendously special to Sherlock.
Sherlock doesn’t have friends. So maybe no one jumps to the conclusion that Sherlock has just made a new friend, because…well, he could have been friends with dozens of people but chose not to be. Mrs Hudson loves him, Molly loves him, Angelo loves him, Lestrade loves him too: there must be others, people he’s helped and rescued along the way, people who respect his brain even if they think he’s entirely too odd for this world. I’m sure there are a number of people who would be more than happy to sit across a table from Sherlock if he ever felt lonely. But he never takes anyone up on that. People who admire him are just a side effect of his work. He doesn’t solve the cases for them and their reactions. They’re an unintended but not entirely unpleasant side effect. He doesn’t appear to give them much thought at all. He ignores them.
For some reason, Sherlock takes to John almost immediately, and goes about trying to impress him. Everyone around him notices that: Mycroft asks about a happy announcement, Mrs Hudson makes her assumptions, as does Angelo. Sherlock is the observant one, but everyone around him sees that John is special to him. John doesn’t feel particularly special yet, because he doesn’t know Sherlock. He doesn’t know that Sherlock has just made every possible exception for him.
Sherlock doesn’t take John to Angelo’s in order to work on the case. He takes John there to trick him into losing the limp. Sherlock takes John out for dinner to cure him.
There are three explanations I can think of for that behaviour, all of which I think are true.
The first is that it’s another curious puzzle for Sherlock to solve while waiting for the next break in his current case. (“Can I cure a psychosomatic limp? I bet I can.”)
The second is that John will make a better addition to Sherlock’s life minus the limp (there are, after all, seventeen steps up to 221b, and he doesn’t want to give up his bedroom on the first level). It would be better if John isn’t struggling up and down stairs. Sherlock is not a patient man. I’d say that Sherlock realizes that John would be more of a help on cases minus the limp, but I don’t think Sherlock realizes yet just how critical John will become to that enterprise. (This is, after all, before John turns the tables and impresses the pants off of Sherlock by shooting a cab driver through a window.) If he did realize it, I’m sure he’d have cured that limp long before dinner time.
The third explanation for Sherlock’s act of kindness is this: “You’ll be impressed with me if I can cure you.” The distance Sherlock is willing to go to impress John is kind of epic, when you think about it. It doesn’t look epic to John at the time, but if he ever considered Sherlock’s behaviour after the fact, from the vantage point of knowing him for a year or more, he must marvel at it a bit. Sherlock took a complete stranger to dinner. That’s unheard of. Sherlock takes a very special and unusual interest in John immediately.
No wonder Angelo thinks they have a romantic connection. This is Sherlock pulling out all the stops. It must be love.
In this way, Sherlock reminds me of myself.
My friends were always being mistaken for my boyfriends or girlfriends, because I never had large groups of friends. There’d always just be one person I got really close to, and everyone took notice because it was unusual.
Now, people can’t wait to see Smaug in this film; it’s all about the dragon. [x]
I asked you for one more miracle.
How is this supposed to be a positive thing, though? Because Sherlock says, “I heard you,” and then the implicit extension is, “And fucked off and did nothing about it for two years till Mycroft made me come back, because basically I just didn’t want to tell you till whenever I felt like hauling my arse back to London.”
There’s a lot that’s confusing about this episode, but at least it can largely be explained if you accept the concept that John is a supremely fucked-up puppy who prefers Sherlock being abusive to no attention from him at all.
But there’s absolutely no way to make this bit make sense in any way that could be conceived of as uplifting or bonding.
I’ve been wondering…
All right, here’s how:
Because even after John had given up hope, had moved on and tried to find life with someone else (without Sherlock), Sherlock was still doing everything in his power to come back. He endured torture, he solved cases in the far-flung corners of the globe (or at least if any of Anderson’s theories are correct, he did), and it was all to get back to John Watson. ‘I heard you,’ Sherlock says, and he might have added, ‘and I came back. It took me two years, but even if it had taken twelve, or twenty, or two thousand, I would have been trying to come back. To you.’
Sherlock lost a lot of the roundedness he got from John — regrew the sharpest edges of himself, the harshest, worst bits, that involved being manipulative and selfish and cruel — in his time away…
I’m gonna go ahead and pull a crossover comparison, because let’s be real, the shows are linked if only through writers and also it’s a useful lens: Doctor Who. Ten becomes megolomaniacal, drunk with power and desperately lonely, without Rose. Rose returns, and suddenly the Doctor sees himself (through the helpful device of a half-human alter-ego):
The Doctor: born in battle. Full of blood and anger and revenge. to Rose. Remind you of someone? That’s me, when we first met. And you made me better. Now you can do the same for him.
Rose: But he’s not you.
The Doctor: He needs you. That’s very me.
Sherlock is so full of anger and blood and revenge at the start of TEH. But he is reminded, again in John’s presence, of how high John’s expectations were of him, of John’s words at his grave: you were the most human… human being that I’ve ever known and no one will ever convince me that you told me a lie, so… there. I was so alone… and I owe you so much. But please, there’s just one more thing, one more miracle, Sherlock, for me, don’t be…dead. Would you do that just for me?
And as much as it is a DARK AND TWISTED AND DEFINITELY TRIGGERING action to pretend John’s about to die from a bomb in the Underground, Sherlock needs in his dark and twisty, deranged and desperately lonely way to know whether John still believes what he said.
He needs John, just as he always needed John, to bring out his humanity. And from the dark and dangerous depths of the Underground, they survive and climb back to the surface, to London, as a team, Holmes & Watson.
So when Sherlock says, ‘I heard you,’ he is both admitting that he overheard John’s sentimental, romantic magical thinking that Sherlock is a miracle worker, despite the fact that Sherlock has urged him to be rational and reasonable, to stop believing in heroes since they don’t exist; and also that Sherlock heard the plea in John’s voice, and spent two years trying to give John what he asked for, or die trying.
Except he wasn’t working his way back to John. It wasn’t to get back to John at all. He didn’t need to leave John in the first place. He SAYS that. The snipers were dealt with. By the end of the day, no one Sherlock cared about was still under threat. He CHOSE to take off for two years. He CHOSE not to tell John—he told 25 other people he barely even knew, but not John.
So he tortured John for two years without reason. That’s what he’s saying there. It might not be what he means to be saying, but it’s the truth he’d admitting to.
I’m sorry but if you honestly believe that Sherlock tortured John for 2 years for like… what? Fun? You’re seriously just not paying attention.
He even said himself that he couldn’t tell John because he couldn’t trust that John wouldn’t do something about it, because John always had too much heart.
I took Sherlock telling the people he told so they would watch over John.
Like, I could honestly go on and on but I need to rewatch season 3 but Sherlock, in my mind, would never do what you said he did out of harshness and malice.
Who said anything about harshness, malice or fun? Just because Sherlock devastates somebody doesn’t mean it’s because he hates them. Generally it’s just because he’s negligent or impatient.
But he stated outright that the reason he didn’t tell John was because he was afraid John would blab. Not because he would ‘do something.’ He states that he let 25 people he doesn’t really even know in on his secret and trusted all of them to keep their mouths shut, but he didn’t trust John to do so.
And he didn’t say anything at all about setting people to watch out for John. That’s pure assumption. Lestrade and Mycroft both state they kept an eye on him, but it’s not because Sherlock asked.
So yes, he needlessly inflicted devastating pain on John for two years.
And I’m okay with that. It’s consistent characterization for him to do terrible things to people he cares about because it’s convenient or because he just wasn’t thinking about the human consequences.
But what I don’t understand is how this could be held up at the end of the episode as a detail that we, from appearances, are meant to find somehow uplifting and positive.
I will solve your murder.
Erebor. The Lonely Mountain. The last of the great Dwarf kingdoms of Middle-earth.
our time is running out
the fact that john knows sherlock’s full name, but not mary’s full name really says something
That’s why they couldn’t air this pilot
" I’m not in this job for fun. I’m in this job to help, err, end apartheid."
Sleeping Baby Avengers.
I just… I can’t even…
And baby Clint is holding baby Natasha’s hair.
And baby Tony has a taped-on mustache.
And baby Coulson moved from his spot to sleep next to baby Steve and he has a Cap doll!
And baby Thor just cracks me up for some reason
and Little Loki covering his ears
BABYVENGERS I HAVE FOUND YOU AGAIN AT LAST