John Watson saying goodbye to a dead man.
There’s almost a sweetness to these moments. John’s lost the person who he loves most in the world, and it threatens to crush him, but there’s a warm body next to him who keeps him grounded. If I just looked at these bookend moments, this quiet peace, I might like Mary. I might root for them.
But series 3 happened in between. Sherlock returning, John’s joy at that, all of Sherlock’s sacrifices, and all of Mary’s betrayals. All of them have been on this incredible ride of character development so that to end with this, this quiet moment of a couple holding hands, as if nothing has changed, seems false. It feels wrong. I can only believe it if I believe that John hasn’t changed at all. I would have to believe that John can still accept this warm figure next to him, knowing what she is and what she is not. I would have to believe that the entire journey in series 3 was for nothing.
It’s the same moment. But everything has changed, and now it’s wrong. Now it’s a lie. And I have to wait until the next series to see it righted.
This, this is why I am left so restless. It feels wrong, it *is* wrong and it’s *pretending* to be right. It’s so infuriating (when I think about it too much) that I easily understand the strong reactions we find here in fandom. I mean I can be an “adult” about this, I see we are simply watching a story and it’s just paused in the middle. In fact it is paused with that plane turned around and John Watson pretty happy about that I might add.
So… it shouldn’t feel quite so bad (right?). But it does, it feels really bad and it hurts still. And I think it’s because of the pretending, it’s fake and we know it and they (the characters) should know it too. And we are left with so many unanswered questions and a absolute desire to right that which is so wrong. And there’s a damn baby, shit (it still really kicks my gut, fucking baby… lol).
I guess I’m just trying to say, even though one side of me understands and knows it’ll be okay eventually and it *is* a story, there is still something about it that churns in my gut, and I can’t let go. And I feel like a big kid the way I am so obsessed with this story. And this little explanation here with the two bookend photographs kind of explains why. Because I can’t stand that warm and fuzzy image. If it was an actual photo in my hand I’d cut Mary out of it or take a sharpy and scribble all over her (in the second one). I feel daggers… And yet I feel bad about feeling daggers. I guess because, look at Sherlock, look how brave and selfless he was when he said good bye. It is quite something what this show has done…
Remember that Moffat said that the cliffhanger for S3 would be far more devastating than the one in S2. He wasn’t referring to Moriarty, as he alluded to emotional devastation. Moriarty was a surprise, and a diversion for the general viewers. No, the end of S3 was a nod to the end of The Sign of Four. In the Sherlockian world, at the end of SIGN, we have a heartbreaking cliffhanger, with Watson off to marry Mary and Sherlock turning to the cocaine bottle. For any Sherlockian, and I include non Johnlockers here, the ending of that novel is tragic; you want to rush to Sherlock and comfort him, drag John home to 221B Baker Street. Moffat knows his historic Holmes, he wanted to recreate this event, just as he recreated the Fall and the subsequent Victorian’s grieving in the streets with the jump from St Bart’s roof and the ‘I Believe’ grass roots movement.
The ending to S3 has reproduced a very similar response to the ending to SIGN; a demand to get the two men back to 221B, anger at John for deserting Sherlock, anger at Mary Morstan, a contingent wanting Mary and John to be happy, some readers/viewers disgusted enough to leave the fandom. Moffat, and Gatiss, know what they are doing, and they are not only modernising the Holmesian universe but fixing it. They are including the fandom responses in this plan, wanting to replicate the moments of public shock, outrage, joy. S3 cliffhanger delivered exactly the same emotions as did SIGN.