- So you realise that Sherlock got us out here to see his mum and dad for a reason?
- His lovely mum and dad. A fine example of married life. I get that.
That’s why they couldn’t air this pilot
this is for rix-maadi who was my 400th follower! They requested “drunk sherlock confessing his love to john, hope you like it, and sorry it took so long!
Sherlock raises his hand to help John when he stumbles up and looks like he is about to faint.
Alright, folks. I’ve written some angsty as hell metas tonight, and I’m seeing a LOT of messages like this in my inbox. It’s time to take a moment for some positivity.
The world sucks sometimes. Shitty things happen. I’m not saying I don’t get angry – I do. But generally speaking, I’m a positive person. I believe the world not only can get better, but will. I have to. I refuse to live my life in misery because of bigots and misogynists and racists and homophobes. I’m a goddamn ray of sunshine most of the time, I really am.
This isn’t my first fandom, but it’s the first time I’ve really gotten *involved.* And it’s not because of my obsession with this show. It’s because I truly do believe something bigger and more important is happening.
Can I guarantee the creators on this show are not engaging in the most epic queerbaiting of all time? No, I cannot guarantee that. But I don’t believe it at all, based on evidence I’ve discussed here and here and here and here.
Here’s the thing. I have to believe this will happen. I just do. It took me a long time to come around to the idea – like you, I saw all the signs in seasons one and two, but never EVER thought it could become reality. Season three changed everything.
Deluded? Nah. The ones who believe what they’re told and not what they’re shown, they’re deluded. And the writers, if they really are playing bait the queers, they’re deluded too. Why? Because there’s no way to end this show now without acknowledging Johnlock.
Not unless they want to completely and utterly destroy the characterization they’ve developed. And I’m talking the type of destruction that even the most homophobic of viewers would notice. Whether you analyze a story or just passively watch, the number one reason for disengaging is false characterization. Characters drive stories; they must ring true, they must be real. When they aren’t, regardless of whether you’re aware of it, that is why you lose interest in their tale.
Take this Anon ask:
Okay honestly, what do you think the chances are that Sherlock and John will both get heteronormative endings? I think the chance that John will get one is almost assured. but Sherlock…I think its likely he’ll be alone but he’ll have his heterosexuality confirmed somewhere along the way.
Sherlock’s heterosexuality confirmed? How can they possibly confirm something they’ve already confirmed doesn’t exist?
- He turned down Irene’s constant advances, despite being fascinated with her (oh yes, he was, just not sexually/romantically), despite her cleverness, despite her attractiveness. She was The Woman, and he declined. Our parting image of the two of them was him swinging a sword at her and deliberately missing – take that subtext as you will.
- His relationship with Molly moves from disdain and borderline cruelty to trust and respect. While he knows about her feelings for him and has for a long time, he never once makes a move, as his feelings are clearly platonic. He even asks her to solve crimes with him when he thinks he’s lost John, a metaphorical “dating” comparison, and it doesn’t work for either of them.
- He genuinely befriends Janine and yet, in the wake of his painful revelation at John’s wedding, proceeds to treat her perhaps more callously than he has ever treated a woman. They “date” for a month and he even proposes, all to break into an office…and in all that time, despite the risk of blowing his cover, despite her practically living with him and sleeping in his bed and clearly desiring sex, Sherlock makes excuses not to sleep with her.
- The writers made us endure an incredibly long sequence consisting of Sherlock pointing to various women in a courtroom and saying not you, not you, not you, not you…and later, after he shouts one last agitated NOT YOU!, what does he say?
It’s always you.
John Watson, you keep me right.
The writers are talking to us. Not in the interviews. In the show.
So I’ll say it again. They will never “confirm” Sherlock’s heterosexuality, because they have already gone out of their way to confirm said heterosexuality does not exist.
As for John’s, this is where the lovely concept of sexual fluidity comes into play. The writers of this show are not afraid of this concept, remember. They blatantly introduced it with Irene. She identifies as gay, yet mentions several times that she sleeps with men, and she develops feelings for Sherlock. She blatantly throws this in John’s face in an attempt to make him see he is the same.
Despite the fact that he seems to identify as straight (although to be fair, he never outright confirms this, it’s always not gay, which is not the same as straight), Irene is telling John that he, too, is Sherlocked. This is not subtext, this is not metaphor. This is actual dialogue about the very real, very important idea of sexual fluidity purposefully written by the writers.
Writers do not introduce these concepts to characters only to fail on providing a payoff. John never revisits his conversation with Irene, never mentions it to Sherlock. Therefore, he will revisit idea in upcoming seasons. This is Storytelling 101.
John Watson married a woman in season three. After the wedding, we never see a single moment between John and his wife that is purely happy, free of lies, masks, deceit, hurt, anger. Not one moment. He literally, without exaggeration, knows nothing about her past, not even her name. She shoots Sherlock and afterwards tells John if he finds out about her past, that is what will make him stop loving her – as if attempting to kill his best friend wasn’t enough. Their eventual reconciliation is laced with tension and tight, controlled smiles.
This is John’s happy, hetero-ending? Really? Someone show me the happy, please. I’m not seeing it. I’m not even seeing the potential for happy.
Because this is the heteronormative lens at work. It’s not just about ignoring or dismissing homoerotic subtext and the blatant attraction between two characters of the same sex. It’s also about convincing yourself two characters of the opposite sex are in love despite all evidence to the contrary.
But they’ll never have the guts to “go there!” The ratings! The negative reaction! The Johnlock fandom is in the minority!
Yes, good, let’s talk about those ratings and that reaction. First of all, I believe they’re building towards a Johnlock ending, so viewers are going to stick it out no matter what they think of the relationship. Those of us who see the relationship for what it is will watch to the end. Those who choose to ignore the signs and believe the interviews will watch too. The ratings for the final episode will be off the charts no matter what. But let’s look at the two options and consider what they mean for ratings and popularity:
Hereronormative ending: Characterization is destroyed. Reviews are lukewarm because viewers disconnected with the unrealistic characters. The show ends having attempted (and failed) to tell yet another “bromance” Holmes/Watson tale, the end of a long, long line of similar tales.
Johnlock ending: The most oft-portrayed literary character in film and television history and his equally famous sidekick, performed by two of the most famous and beloved actors of our time, shock the world by going where no previous version dared, assuring the show and its creators landmark status in the history of an enormous franchise.
If you were in charge of this program, which would you choose?
All of this is why I believe Johnlock will happen. I have to. I refuse to concede to that lens; I refuse to not watch this show for what it is.
If you can’t believe, I understand. Because if the writers don’t deliver, yeah, it’ll be painful. But considering the love, attention to detail, and absolute passion they put into it, I can’t believe it all just comes down to petty queerbaiting – all for us, a minority audience.
Regardless of how you feel, if you ever need a Johnlock pick-me-up to restore a little faith…that’s what this blog is for.
So hopefully I’m not beating a dead horse here by doing a colour analysis on purple, but I’ve yet to see anything specifically on it and the context in which we see it in S3. After reading several meta pointing out the bisexual pride flag lighting we see behind John during the stag night, I started noticing purple and pink-purple everywhere, and this colour is definitely on the johnlock train.
For context, the blue stripe of the bisexual pride flag represents the possibility of different gender attraction, the pink-purple (I’m so good at colours) represents same gender attraction, and the purple overlap in the middle represents attraction anywhere along the gender spectrum.
Purple lighting is seen frequently in other shots of the stag night, and will typically light John’s face, but only on the side of John that Sherlock cannot see (this also comes up in that
very suggestivephoto of the stag night where Sherlock is watching John drink out of that phallicglass).
While Sherlock is leaving the wedding early, the wedding hall is lit very brightly purple in the background the entire time he is walking away - the wedding hall where John still is, and which Sherlock is facing away from in the shot (again, unable to see the purple). (Sherlock is also lit very green during that last scene at the wedding, but that’s a whole other thing).
Purple lighting also makes an appearance in the ambulance in His Last Vow, where both Sherlock and John’s faces are lit purple around when John says “We’re losing you”.
Are you starting to notice a pattern here?This lighting seems to come up in situations where John is probably really showing his cards (I wonder if this is why we don’t get any of John at Sherlock’s bedside in the hospital). Sherlock is never able to see John with his purple lighting (in this case due to his current almost dead state) - Sherlock is unable to see John’s possible bisexuality and thus also not able to see his feelings.
And then there’s the exchange between John and Sherlock about the bridesmaids’ dresses:
John: I like the bridesmaids in purple.
Sherlock: [corrects him] Lilac.
John states purple (the middle stripe of the bisexual flag), and Sherlock corrects him with lilac, which is a lighter, almost pink purple (in the case of Persian lilacs, a colour very similar to that rosey top stripe of the bisexual flag). This conversation then translates to John “swinging both ways”, while Sherlock specifies same gender attraction. Another one for the Johnlock conspiracy.
Thank you so much, and excellent observation!
I have to admit, I quirked my eyebrows at the “mate” thing…but for a slightly different reason. I’d REALLY love to have the Brits out there way in on this (I’m from the US), because I think colloquialism is important here. But my take on it:
It’s super common for guys in the UK to call each other mate, like buddy, pal, etc. So while mate obviously also has romantic partner implications, it isn’t unusual for a guy to call another guy mate and it not mean anything more than that.
However, John never calls Sherlock mate in the first two seasons. Not until TSoT. Like you said, John calls Sherlock “mate” for the first time and looks SUPER awkward about it…then later, Mind Palace John brings it back again.
The first time is when John walks in after Sherlock folded all the serviettes (this just…happened). John was just in the kitchen with Mary, when she was trying to make him understand that Sherlock was terrified – her word, terrified – about the upcoming wedding.
"Sherlock…" (long pause) "Mate….”
Here’s his own reaction to saying this word.
John has just completely weirded himself out. Why did he say that? I’m not entirely convinced it’s because the word “mate” has a romantic partner meaning. He’s called Sherlock his friend, but he’s never gone super bro and addressed him this way before, and it’s awkward. His fiance has just told him his best friend is terrified about their wedding. But, as John says, why would he be?
John knows exactly why, but he’s terrified, too. He can’t acknowledge it. So he decides to stomp it out. Heads into the living room and finds Sherlock stress-folding serviettes. Oh god, he really is terrified…but why? we’re friends, no reason to be upset about your friend getting married, that’s all we are is friends, pals, mates…
"Sherlock…" Friends, we’re just friends, that’s all… “Mate…”
Sherlock’s reaction is interesting, too.
He gives John a strange look, then glances into the kitchen, where Mary is. His brain definitely takes in that word mate and stores it away for future analysis.
I’m honestly not sure how to read this. All we know for sure is John calls Sherlock “mate” and it weirds them both the hell out. Either it’s because:
1. There’s a romantic connotation and they don’t want to address it, or
2. It’s a super buddy-buddy platonic thing to call someone, and they both realize that doesn’t fit their relationship either.
I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this.
Next time we hear mate, it’s from Mind Palace John. Proof Sherlock took notice of the word. Interestingly, it resurfaces in his Mind Palace when he’s trying to focus on the Mayfly Man mystery, but MP!John is trying to nudge him into recognizing their feelings for one another.
"You’re missing the obvious, mate."
Sherlock briefly gives him that same WTF look.
Something about the word mate throws them both off. I’m hesitant to say it’s because of the romantic connotation. If you replace it with something equally casual and platonic, like “pal,” it’d still freak them out. They are not just “pals.” They’re so much more.
Actually, Mycroft calls them “pals” in TGG. And he really puts a lot of weight and sarcasm in the word.
"Sherlock’s business has been booming since you and he became…..pals.”
Sherlock’s reaction to that is even more WTF than it was to John saying “mate.” Which is interesting, because Sherlock never bats an eye when someone mistakes him and John for a couple. But when Mycroft insinuates something, it catches his attention.
So whatever it was about the use of the word mate that freaked them out, the reason ends up being the same: it sets parameters on their relationship that they’re uncomfortable with but unwilling to address.
ETA: The general consensus seems to be reason #2: that John essentially calling Sherlock his bro doesn’t fit their relationship. So many great thoughts on this – I’m going to quote anigrrrl2:
“I think if John could just stop trying to define them and just let them be, it would be much easier for him to see what’s really going on between them.”