a letter from Zelda Fitzgerald to her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald
You know...we're all going to look like fools if none of this turns out to be true. And we're only going to have ourselves to blame when we become the laughing stock of the whole fandom and the press and the writers and the cast. We'd be completely alienated. This is what I fear the most. The Johnlock community would never be able to live it down if nothing ever happens.
Yeah it would be terrible if we all had a lot of fun, and made friends, and thought about stuff, and learned a lot about analysis and queer history and filmography, and then a bunch of people we can’t see somewhere were thinking mean things about us because we got queer-baited.
Okay, okay. I’m not totally unsympathetic — I have trouble caring about that sort of thing but I get why people do — but if you can’t be wrong on the internet, where can you be wrong? Being wrong isn’t a tragedy, fear of being wrong keeps people from doing worthwhile things, and anyone who’s going to look down on you for being wrong is a shitty person anyway.
You know what I do with people like that in real life? I don’t associate with them. And that’s so much easier online. People spend actual minutes of their life writing me rude stuff and I just delete it after spending two seconds on it. I get a huge grin on my face when that happens. That’s why I encourage it in my FAQ. It’s awesome.
Plus, just for perspective, as a fandom we have stuff like Red Pants Monday (which I love) and are renowned for being batshit and obsessive (which I love), but you’re worried people are going to think less of us for serious, critical analysis of the show?
Past that, we’re in good company. Do you think the people at The New Yorker are worried that people are going to think mean thoughts about them because they said Sherlock is a literal homosexual romance?
And past that, is it even the majority of Johnlockers who think it’s canon now? I can only think of maybe half a dozen blogs that are hardline about it (including mine). If it turns out to be wrong and the rest of the fandom wants someone to burn in effigy as a show of distancing themselves, I nominate myself. You’re safe.
Relax, have fun, enjoy yourself. People are always going to find reasons to tell themselves they’re better than other people, don’t shackle yourself by trying to be bulletproof.
Hate to say this, but, the ship is sinking like fucking titanic. Hey hey hey! Women and children to the lifeboats first!
Excellent! Agree totally. Everyone reblog!!
Being yet another very long, long post about what’s going on in Sherlock.
**MAJOR SPOILERS for Sherlock Season 1, 2 and Season 3 up to “The Sign of Three”**
There have been so many wonderful metas and dialogues floating around about johnlock and signposts and all of that (especially by…
This is so brilliant and seems completely logical when you lay it out this way. Gods, I hope.
Sherlock has long held romance to be an embellishment or distortion of the truth. When The Sign of Three begins, Sherlock is about to realize his error too late.
Fine-grain analysis of The Sign of Three under the cut (spoilers):
[[snipped for my initial blather]]
But if you are trying not just to work out your own interpretation of the text, but to predict what will happen next from what you are seeing (which many, though certainly not all, of the metas that deal with this are…
I’m about certain that John and Sherlock are going to get together. I mean romantically and even sexually. Not in the subtext, not in some happy alternate reading of the show, but in actuality, on screen. Before The Sign of Three it was only an inkling I had,…
Dear sweet Gatiss, I hope you’re right … I really do. That would be mind-blowing and VERY satisfying.
But let’s say they acknowledge the tangible/romantic/physical love between Sherlock and John… then what? I cannot see the series continuing after the fact. I fear it would mean the END of the series. No more subtext? no more ‘Sherlock’.
Actually, this is even more speculative than what I talked about in the original post, which is why I didn’t include it, but… Well, take this with a huge grain of salt:
The fact that they’ve announced that they have series 4 and 5 mapped out makes me think they’re arranging it around their romance so they don’t “milk it” (as was alluded to in Sherlock’s best man speech) overmuch. As someone who writes queer romance, that’s something I was actually looking for as a possible sign, because you have to plan the pacing out ahead of time so the tension is sustained. You can only get so much mileage by having circumstances and confused assumptions about sexuality setting them apart. (Fanfic authors, you know what I’m talking about.) Most TV shows don’t set themselves an endgame because their objective is to survive forever: they ruin their romances by driving them into the ground with increasingly dumber obstacles, and if the characters ever hook up it becomes boring shortly thereafter.
By contrast, after series 2 I wasn’t sure what to think, because iirc for some time after it aired they said they hadn’t really written much. That made me skeptical that there was a romantic arc intended, even though I was getting vibes. It also made me worried that it was intended, and they didn’t see the importance of planning it out — but that seemed unlikely. It really seems like they understand the importance of tension and how it works.
I have never thought their objective with Sherlock was to simply survive forever in its current format. It seems clearly to be to show the transition of Sherlock from a “great man” into a “good one” who has some appreciation for sentiment. That’s planned, that’s intentional.
Now, it’s totally possible they’ve planned stuff around a villain, and that was their guiding force. They are writing a very character-driven show, though, and the villains have tended to just be something for John and Sherlock to bounce off of while developing their relationship together. The show we’ve been watching isn’t one arranged around the crimes and villains.
Also, consider this: if they were only ever aiming for a platonic relationship, they pretty much already blew their load with TSoT. If that’s their aim, there’s hardly anywhere else to go from here; Sherlock thinks he’s lost John’s friendship, okay, but that’s going to be a hard sell for two series. We already know they’re willing to die for one another. They’ve both admitted their intense platonic feelings aloud, and hugged. So… What would they have mapped out for series 4? ”Extra squishy hugs and cuddles?” Series 5? ”THE FRIENDSHIP IS OFF THE CHARTS?” What tension would we be looking at for series 4? All the stuff that caused them platonic grief is practically resolved. Sherlock’s not such a dick, rather nice actually, prioritizes John above The Work. John is better at expressing his feelings. Sherlock has become surprisingly selfless — selfless than most of us, really. There’s barely any room for character growth along a platonic axis.
The real danger of the show getting boring is that they don’t intend Johnlock to be actualized. To continue on with increasingly thicker and increasingly physical subtext would be queer-baiting in the worst way. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, I’m just saying that, to me, the most appealing option is that Johnlock is actualized and the show ends in its current format. That they have the next two series mapped out is at least consistent with that, though it doesn’t have to mean that either.
I suspect that we’ll be left with something going into series 4, but they won’t actually be together. Some form of blatant acknowledgement, even if small and they don’t act on anything. This is why I’m not as convinced as others that Mary will die, or for some absurd reason, Mary must die or it means Johnlock isn’t going to happen. Mary can stay around for a bit, and if I were writing the show, that’s actually what I would do because there’s still plenty of tension to milk there and everyone is expecting her to die so it’s more surprising if she lives. Plus it’s a considerably much less meaningful choice on John’s part to go with Sherlock because, whelp, Mary died, that was a freebie! (Unless he has to choose which one dies, I guess, but I feel like that’d put them together too quickly.) John needs to choose Sherlock, whatever happens. Sherlock shouldn’t just be the new comfortable default, that’s not very meaningful.
Then Series 4 will be about resolving something and end with them possibly beginning to get together. That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if the baby is real and nothing happens to it or Mary. I don’t know what Mary’s secret is, but I suspect it’s sympathetic. I can’t see John just up and leaving her immediately when it’s revealed, but it would cause a huge rift in their relationship, I think. John would be the type to try to forgive and work things out, especially if a baby is involved. He forgave Sherlock for faking his own death, so Mary would have to do something pretty horrible to not be worthy of forgiveness. I also get the impression John would take marriage seriously, so. I’d be very… shocked if there was actual infidelity, but they could always creep toward it or something, forcing John to make a decision before he does something shitty. (Although a fucked up part of me would LOVE a season of a hot angsty can’t-stop-themselves sorta dynamic. I just don’t think we’ve seen their characters built up to be better people to fall into that, and the better part of me doesn’t really want to see their relationship depicted as sordid in any way.)
This season we’ve gotten some foreshadowing that John rushed their relationship to force himself to get over Sherlock, that his relationship with Mary is sincere but still an embellished whirlwind between two romantics (one of whom we know to be shortsighted), that John really believes he’s happy but isn’t, that sort of thing. I don’t know if I would set that up and then resolve it that quickly, but we’ll see what happens. Personally that’s something I’d set up for the cracks to show in series 4. All the tension would be John realizing that it’s not what he wanted, and feeling drawn to Sherlock. Possibly Sherlock tries dating anyway, maybe something like that even in the next episode to spur a conversation? I dunno. Point is, we saw Sherlock realize that John is the only one for him. It would be healthy if Sherlock tried it on with other people, and good for them both if he got relationship experience. But John doesn’t yet realize Sherlock is the only one for him. Unlike Sherlock, John can have a passable relationship with plenty of people. So I’d like to see a conscious choice, one that isn’t just made for John. And for it to be meaningful, his life with Mary can’t just be awful either. It would be sad as shit if it was actually pretty okay, functional, and he didn’t get a real breaking point handed to him, but had to decide to leave anyway because it’s just what he wants.
Series 5 will take them home. (Unless they have a longer endgame in mind.) I have inklings parentlock is going to happen, which I have mixed feelings about. I’m not into kids, personally, and I gravitate toward slash because kids aren’t the default. But, eh, consider: the first episode we see Sherlock have a meaningful interaction with a kid is the same episode Mary gets pregnant, and it actually goes pretty well. And then he makes a vow to always be there for John and Mary’s kid, too. That sent off bells in my head.
And then consider:We already know Sherlock is protective of John’s child — telling Mary not to eat fish — and is now capable of utterly devoting himself to expending effort on John’s behalf and isn’t compelled to spend *all* his time on cases anymore. Sherlock likes John’s baby momma, and it’s entirely feasible that John would end a relationship on okay terms with her, so there’s that settled. Joint custody means time for cases, or a babysitter when necessary. Mrs. Hudson could babysit. I dunno.But I do know if John Watson had a baby, and that baby was an inherent part of having John Watson in his life, Sherlock would absolutely accept it without question. He would research everything — he already is and Mary’s not even showing yet — and put in whatever effort it took. He would be an unconventional parent, certainly, but as weird as it is to say, by the end of TSoT he has the potential to be a rather good one. It does, after all, mark the point where he’s grown up.Plus, one reason John has only dated women (that we know of) might be that he’s always wanted kids. He might say “I’m not gay” because like some bisexual guys, he hasn’t had a relationship with a man. We don’t really know, but if he wants kids, it would suck if it was like, IT’S DICK OR A BABY, PICK ONE. My preference would be that John isn’t dead-set on kids, but if he is, he ought to have one.Just getting a lot of parentlock bells. Who knows though.
Having a kid would risk a sitcom-ish element, but if they intend to end the show around that time, it would be fine. And it would be cool to see that kind of family arrangement depicted, even though it’s not my thing.
And that — or whatever — would be the end of the show proper.
Then they’ll do what they’ve always suggested they might do, which is revisit them sporadically over the years, perhaps not for proper full series, just one-offs. This would be incredibly well-suited to an established relationship: there’s no pressure to keep a set quantity of episodes interesting, you just go years until an interesting idea occurs and then write/film it.
By the way, the fact that they have that “we’ll switch to one-off episodes in the future” idea in mind has always hinted to me that Johnlock is the plan, because that’s what you’d have to do. Anyone who writes romance knows that established relationships are a completely different beast and have to be handled carefully. But as I said, it could mean other things too.
Whether it happens like the above or not, I actually hope Sherlock has an preplanned endpoint. The only thing worse than having your favorite show end is watching your favorite show deteriorate until it’s a shadow of its former self. I personally see Johnlock beginning to proceed as evidence that the show only has a few seasons left, and it’s bittersweet in that regard. But I wouldn’t want any of the alternatives, either, and there’s always the promise that we’ll see them later.