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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

blogger on blogger on blogger

That title is actually 'me (a blogger) assessing a fictional blogger on my Blogger blog'.

Disclaimer- I've been trained to psychologically and medically assess, but I'm not certified in either field. I also have a B.S. in Sociology. I love to overthink things. What I've written below is the TV show only, no comparisons to other novelizations and film, whether anything is cannon, or what the fans think. This is just me sharing what I thought about today as I was once again fording flooding streets running errands and noticing that, despite the torrential downpour in heavy traffic, I was drving around with the least amount of anxiety I've had in ~years~, because I was so preoccupied thinking about this.

I think a lot about John Watson.

Of course, he's the blogger, not the mastermind. Right off the bat, we understand that John is the interface between Sherlock's inner monologue and the outer world at large. If we use a medical analogy, John is like the nurse who interfaces between doctor and patient, which involves a lot of note taking and data entry. It's a job, and John takes it seriously, just as a med assistant would him being a surgeon.

So let's look at John.

All the attention is on Sherlock when he says he doesn't have friends. Well, neither does John Watson. John has acquaintances that he goes to for rebound, like when he goes out for a drink with Mike Stamford to get some air away from Sherlock, but he doesn't have a regular gang or hobby or meetings outside of his circle with Sherlock. He can't keep a girlfriend for the longest time. When we first met John, he was so alone that he didn't know what to do with himself. I think veterans probably appreciate how much of themselves they might see in John when they watch this show. After the cultural shock of coming home, who wouldn't want a Sherlock to give life direction again?

John likes handheld weapons, and he's really good at them. He's highly skilled and special trained in more than one field. He has focus that rivals- Sherlock's. He may not notice something under his nose (he doesn't play deductions), but we don't know if he's sarcastically not noticing, do we? The mind games run both ways between the two boys. John says he's not stupid at the most obvious times, and then leaves it hanging because Sherlock evidently misses the deduction that John might know exactly what's going on (to a point) but is too pissed off to allow Sherlock to take over and win the information game. John dropping a point, to me, is like a bowling ball hitting the floor that Sherlock completely misses. Unlike Sherlock, John doesn't feel the need to point out what someone else misses. He understands kindness, even when he's pissed off. John is quite possibly the kindest character I've seen on TV in awhile. (The Christmas scene with Mary is my favorite.)

John needs direction, a captain or commander. Once he has direction, he self motivates and thrives. He's trained for this. He had a previous commanding officer that he fell out of touch with. Why? What viewers want to know is just how much of Sherlock's jealous affection is John not understanding? What I want to know is just how much of John's choice to be around Sherlock all the time is Sherlock not understanding? John may stomp off here and there, but he always comes back. Always. He never leaves Sherlock to go find a new friend to take his place. So why did he fall out of touch with his old commander that he seems to have such high regard for?

The whole sexual orientation thing that has the fandom going crazy is a distraction. Viewership is off the rails because the show leaves so much room for fill in the blank, which means anyone can identify with the characters, a smart writing technique. What I see- John accepted immediately that Sherlock could be gay and didn't blink an eye. That's what military people do, don't ask, don't tell. While he adamantly keeps espousing that he himself is not gay, he seems to keep missing that Sherlock never denied it, but I don't believe the whole point of other people bringing up he and Sherlock being a couple is lost on John at all. He has no problem being well known for being Sherlock's live-in bestie, so why does he keep saying "People will talk"? Which Sherlock never really addresses...

Click for meme history on Defensively Heterosexual John Watson
It feels like John isn't fretting so much as prompting. John is already deeply committed to the friendship, loyal soldier no matter what Sherlock drags him through, and he's pushing Sherlock to commit back. The people will talk thing is just John saying "HA, you're admitting you care about a friend", because Sherlock also doesn't care how it looks. Neither one cares how it looks. John is waiting for Sherlock's verbal commitment. Sherlock plays that back on him, forcing John to spill in the train car when he thought death was imminent. Why? Because when Sherlock first called John "friend", John corrected him to "colleague". The mind games started there. Ever after that is like a ball being tossed into each other's court- who will be first to admit how deeply the friendship impacts them personally? Sherlock finally gives John a very carefully thought out full confession on the day of his wedding.

Whether any of that has anything to do with Sherlock possibly being gay might be beside the point. I loathe having to step down to the audience and say you guys were well played by writers and ate it all up like candy, but brava. Alpha and beta male bonding is as natural and common as women bonding like sisters, sex or no sex. I'll take it either way, it's a fantastically well done story. My personal opinion is that Sherlock never intended to 'fall for' someone, male or female, accidentally found a soulmate (the other side of his coin, as it were), and might have allowed it if John had been gay, even though Sherlock is 'married to his work', which becomes extremely Freudian when Sherlock calls Molly 'John' during crime scene investigations later. I think Sherlock might have allowed it even if he himself weren't gay, because John is his best and only friend, and he wouldn't have risked losing John to another man.

Why do we find out Sherlock's laptop was in the bedroom while he was using John's laptop? He block-mocks by saying if he wanted to look at naked women, he'd use John's laptop (meaning Sherlock snooped through the history). Well, he was using John's laptop, looking up John's old commander. Do you think John looked at the history later to see what Sherlock had been up to? John knows Sherlock is jealous. (Mary was already in on this from John's point of view by the time of the wedding, they'd talked about it.) It looks to me like John kinda gets that Sherlock is fixated on him and politely ignores it, because Sherlock is also his best friend. He doesn't mock Sherlock back. John is kindPissed off, but still kind. John doesn't berate Sherlock like Sherlock does others.

Which brings us to the delightfully cunning way Moffat sneaks in Sherlock equally berating women in this time of political correctness.

John came home from 'brothers in arms' to no relationships at all, estranging himself from his own sister, who was evidently a hardcore alcoholic spiraling down a drain. They must have fought and parted not very amicably, Harriet rather spending her money on booze than helping out her own brother. It's funny that John never asks Molly out, since he seems to have no specific preference in women and is seemingly open to getting friendly with any woman he happens to bump into in a very basic unsuave kind of way. Sherlock, on the other hand, is dismissive of nearly the only woman near his age he has regular contact with. I get tickled watching him irreverently heckle Molly, who doesn't seem to get that she fills in for the little sister Sherlock never had but probably desperately needed in his life after all the crap he took from Mycroft.

There's a sort of unwritten rule that guys don't date best friends' sisters. I think that's why John never asks Molly out. I'm not sure it's a conscious thing, but John seems to get where lines are drawn, and Sherlock draws a great big line around Molly. Molly is his. Sherlock might not realize he's already established Molly being his territory as big brother, which is what's confusing poor Molly, since she's getting a lot of his attention, even if it is pretty negative. We think Molly is sweet when she notices Sherlock looking sad, like her father used to look. They say girls are attracted to men who remind them of their fathers. If this is true, Molly's father probably didn't know how to cultivate deeper relationships, and she noticed the sadness reflecting back through him as he aged. She recognized this in Sherlock because she'd already seen it, she'd already learned to be aware of it. When she later slaps the living daylights out of him several times and gets after him, it's because he is also already hers. Consciously or not, Molly accepted and committed to this kind of relationship with Sherlock, and over time came to own him as family. Family is allowed in to the deeper more familiar places. After John moved out, Molly stepped up at work and marked her territory right back all over Sherlock as sister bossing back.

Mary gets Sherlock. She totally gets John and Sherlock. There is no question that Mary understands their deep connection and Sherlock's jealousy of another man (for whatever reason, maybe Sherlock just needed to 'own' someone after growing up under his brother being so hard on him), and it's beautiful that Sherlock is the one who metaphorically hands John to Mary. Mary is an automatic bestie extension of bestie John, and through Mary we get to see how far and deep and even viciously Sherlock will go protecting someone he loves. "Love is a much more vicious motivator."

Which is what Moriarty needed. Sherlock had never heard of Moriarty before he met John, although we find out later Mycroft has known of and even been in contact with Moriarty for a long time. Mycroft has carefully kept Sherlock away from everything connected to Moriarty. Until John came along. John was the key. Moriarty needed something, someone Sherlock cared about so he could get to him, manipulate him, use him to get to Mycroft. Moriarty had been working out how to get to Mycroft for a long time, lying in wait in the shadows watching everything Sherlock did, waiting for a weakness to exploit and twist up to start the game going to pull Mycroft down.

"Here be dragons." I can't help wondering if Mycroft was actually giving Sherlock permission to protect him from Magnussen here, although I doubt he knew it would go so far.

When it turned into Sherlock protecting John by protecting Mary and ultimately protecting everyone else Magnussen had abused, including Mycroft (one has to wonder how far Mycroft had already kowtowed to Magnussen himself), Sherlock had to be removed for his crime. His parting last words to John, "Sherlock is a girl's name" is, again, extremely Freudian and could be as close as he was able to come to saying "I love you" in an "As you wish" kind of way.

Did John get it? Possibly later, laughing about it with Mary, yes, I imagine they understood. I don't think John Watson is so stupid that it would never occur to him. Sherlock made a puzzle out of it for John to solve. If that plane had never turned back around, I can only wonder if John would later himself regret not having said more. After all, he was a soldier, he understood missions. I think even if Sherlock had gone off and not come back and then been reported having died, that John would never again believe it. I think he would always, in the back of his mind, believe that Sherlock was still out there somewhere. I don't think John could go through accepting losing him twice. Saying goodbye, for John, is not an option, and so he laughed, saying he'd never name his baby girl 'Sherlock', which was, in his own way, saying "I know".

I'm so ready for season 4.

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