If you look on Sherlock's website, it is noted by him that he had to leave his previous flat following a 'disagreement with the landlord', which seems to be a rather blatant euphemism for 'I got evicted'. This apparent eviction occurs at the same time as Sherlock apparently having 'something' in the flat that he is worried abut Lestrade and his 'drug team' discovering. It is therefore quite possible that the reasons for Sherlock's eviction could have been drugs related.
If this was true, this could also add another dimension to Lestrade's decision to carry out his 'mock' drug bust in this episode. We know that Lestrade is very aware of Sherlock's drug history, and also that he has previously used his blog as a means of communication. Therefore, learning of Sherlock's apparent eviction, and knowing his previous drug history, it's possible that Lestrade may have put two and two together, and become worried that Sherlock may be back on drugs. Thus, his decision to carry out a drugs bust in Sherlock's new flat may not just have been a ploy to take Sherlock down a couple of pegs, but also Lestrade taking the opportunity to see for himself if Sherlock really is as 'clean' as he claims to be, or if he is back on drugs and needs his intervention.
During his epic deductive rundown in the cab, Sherlock mentions "Then there's your brother..." John's response is easily missed, but it's a vague "... Hmm?" If Sherlock was paying as much attention to John himself as he was to his phone, he would have realised that John had no idea what he was talking about, because he doesn't have a brother.
Sherlock: (shortly afterwards) ***, Its always something...
Also in the cab, Sherlock remarks "You're looking for cheap accommodation, but you're not going to your brother for help? That says you've got problems with him..." Well, Sherlock would know all about having problems with a brother. His website reveals he's just been kicked out of the last flat he was in, but there's no way he'll go to Mycroft for help.
Sherlock and John's first interaction is when Sherlock asks to use Mike Stamford's phone - Mike tells him he left his phone in his coat pocket, and John offers his own phone to Sherlock. Sherlock's need to use someone else's phone is apparently because there's no signal on his own. Later in the series, numerous times, we see that the reception in the lab is absolutely fine, and Sherlock's phone even gets a strong signal at an underground weapons base in rural Devon. He was lying about there being no signal on his phone. He knew Mike's phone was in his coat pocket. He wanted to prompt John into offering him his phone. By doing so he was not only able to deduce from the phone itself, but he worked out that John was left handed (he pulls the phone out of his left pocket using his left hand) and was able to see that he had no tan above the wrists when he held the phone out to him - he'd already deduced from John's comment about "my day" and his haircut and bearing that he was an army doctor, and wanted to know where he'd been deployed. He was also, of course, able to deduce that John was the sort of guy who would lend a stranger his phone and ultimately, Sherlock figures that yeah, he could share a flat with this guy. Remembering that not only would few people want to live with Sherlock, Sherlock himself would want to live with few people - he doesn't tolerate fools.
He told Molly to text him about the bruises - now why would he do that if there was no reception in the lab? Also, note his glance when John and Mike enter. He knew right then what Mike brought John along for, and the phone business was indeed the start of his flatmate audition for John.
When Sherlock launches into his initial scan of John, he gets Harry's gender wrong. The knowing look on Mike's face is not just amusement at watching John's reaction to the scan, it's also because Mike knows Harry, or knows about her - he'd previously asked John if Harry couldn't help him. Mike and John both knew that Sherlock had made a mistake and neither of them called him on it.
John telling Mike; "I'm not the John Watson you know." He's not just addressing Mike in that scene but also the audience. At this point the show is still busy establishing John's character; a depressed war veteran with trust issues and nothing going on in his life. We're later explained that while he may or may not have PTSD, he misses the danger of the war, therefore is also a bit of an adrenaline junkie. While there are similarities to ACD!Watson, as well as other adaptations, this John Watson is a much darker, more sombre character than the Watsons we've come to know before such as Nigel Bruce, David Burke, Edward Hardwicke or even Jude Law. He's much more broken, which also comes across in the bitter way he delivers the line before trying to hide the tremor in his hand.
When Sherlock and the villain are talking, the latter at one point mockingly says "Who would be a fan of Sherlock Holmes?" Well, the audience of the show? A fanbase that's been around for over a century? Sherlock Holmes is one of the most enduring and well-known characters of all time. Audience, meet irony.
John, as a soldier in a place like Afghanistan, has probably undergone training in what to do if you're kidnapped/used as a hostage. It may well be part of the reason he seems unconcerned about his safety while being "kidnapped". After all, when he's kidnapped for real twice over the next two episodes, both times involve him being knocked unconscious, held at gunpoint, and told outright that there's a very good chance he's going to be killed. Mycroft never actually threatens John (he even points out that he's not threatening him). John voluntarily gets into the car, can clearly see the route he's being taken on, and is never threatened with violence or confronted with any kind of weapon. By the time he actually arrives at the warehouse for his chat with Mycroft, it's no wonder he feels free to snark that Mycroft could have just phoned him. Whether Mycroft really is a criminal mastermind or not, John's decided he almost certainly isn't going to harm him.
John may have initiated the conversation with Anthea not just as an audaciously confident pass at a beautiful woman, but in part also to test what sort of situation he was in. Kidnappers are less likely to harm you if they know your name and have some kind of emotional connection to you, however small that might be.
When Mycroft is finished lecturing John, Anthea approaches and tells John she's been instructed to take him home. She asks the address, and John tells her that it's 221B Baker Street, but that he needs to stop off somewhere first. He referred to 221B as "home" and the flat where he was still living, and where all his stuff was, as "somewhere." Mentally, he'd moved into 221B well before he literally had.
There's no way he doesn't know where John is staying or where he's meant to move in to, Anthea is instructed to ask John the address specifically to see where John will ask to be taken.
Mycroft had said "And since yesterday you've moved in with him, and now you're solving crimes together..." John never contradicts this information and his expression never changes, which for someone with Mycroft's skills is as good as a confirmation that he was indeed moving into 221Bnote It's a similar trick to the one Sherlock uses later on Irene, saying "the photographs are in this room" and using her lack of contradiction to deduce that he's right.
Upon meeting John, Mycroft says that he would pay John "to ease [his] way" if John decides to move into Baker Street. When John asks why, the answer is 'because you're not a wealthy man.' For John to spy on Sherlock properly, he'd have to be living with him. And he's not living with him yet. Mycroft may not just be trying to bribe John for information, he may well think at this point he needs to bribe John to move into 221B in the first place - and that the bribe might not just be a bonus, but a necessity. He knows John is broke and would know that a location like Baker Street would ordinarily be wicked expensive to live in. He also knows that Sherlock has ditched John at a crime scene and may well think he needs to bribe people to put up with his little brother's antics and general dickish behaviour.
Alternatively, given what Mycroft says in A Scandal in Belgravia about not using his own people 'because they spy on people for money' (showing that he clearly despises them for that), It may be that Mycroft doesn't really want John to spy on his brother. He is very protective of his younger brother so wants to be sure that John is someone who can be trusted around Sherlock. In his own way, Mycroft scans John and learns all he needs to know about him, and his possible loyalty to Sherlock. It's not about getting information on Sherlock. It's about making sure Sherlock has a true friend in John, who until that day had been a stranger to both Holmes brothers. If John had said yes to the deal and taken the money, Mycroft would no doubt have made sure he (John) didn't stick around for long.
Mycroft, on meeting John, makes a point of offering him a chair twice. But he's already psyched John out; he knows his psychosomatic pain is linked to boredom and frustration. John's in a high-stress situation and he's loving every second of it. Sherlock mentioned earlier that John's pain comes and goes when he forgets about it. Mycroft was checking that his theory was right- John didn't need that chair.
Throughout the whole meeting between Mycroft and John, Mycroft seems to be putting John to several tests, as if auditioning him for the role of his brother's flatmate. In addition to testing his bravery by trying to intimidate him, he tests his principles by trying to bribe him, and his temper by insulting him by calling his bravery stupidity. There's one small moment that probably also helped clinch things, even though it came at Mycroft's expense. Mycroft asks to see John's hand; he leans on his umbrella. He's expecting John to come over to him. John simply and literally digs his heels in and holds his hand up, as if to say "you're the one who wanted to see my hand, come here and see it, then." Mycroft, who we've seen is even lazier than Sherlock at times and loves manipulating people and using them as puppets, is forced to go over to John. On the whole, from that meeting, we can see that although Mycroft and John have a personality clash they'll probably never get past, Mycroft respects a lot of John's qualities. His "welcome back" is almost affectionate.
After John shoots the cabbie, Sherlock seems pretty desperate to know whether or not he picked the right bottle, only giving up on that after realizing the cabbie is about to die and he still needs the name of his sponsor. We never do find out if he won or not. The answer? He did. Watch the beginning sequence again where we see the three victims taking the pills - every single one of them takes the bottle closest to them, presumably the one that the cabbie pushed toward them, and they all die. Sherlock, on the other hand, takes the bottle closest to the cabbie. It's highly likely that the cabbie kept the arrangement of the bottles (poison nearest the victim) the same, to see if Sherlock would do better than everyone else. So in all likelihood he never was in any real danger.
This is more Fridge Tear Jerker than anything, but Lestrade, coming to the flat to beg Sherlock to come to the Brixton crime scene, asks "will you come?" Sherlock says yes, but not in a police car. In The Reichenbach Fall, Lestrade uses the same phrase and tone of voice to ask if Sherlock will come in for questioning on suspicion of kidnapping and attempted murder. Only in this case, Sherlock says no, and is later arrested, cuffed, taken downstairs against his will and, had he not escaped, would have definitely had a ride in a police car. What a change two seasons make.
When the drugs bust turns to the conversation about Rachel, John suggests to Sherlock: "You said that the victims all took the poison themselves... he makes them take it. Well... maybe he... I don't know, talks to them?" Later, the cabbie tells Sherlock: "I didn't kill those four people, Mr Holmes. I spoke to them, and they killed themselves." John, of all people, called it first- and although he thought it had to do with "the death of her daughter somehow", he was still on the right track. Not bad for someone Sherlock had earlier assumed was an "idiot" like "practically everyone."
"Talking his victims to death" was even more true in Sherlock's case than the previous victims. They all had the excuse of being threatened at gun point and deciding to take a 50/50 chance of life and death over being shot in the head. Sherlock knew the gun was fake and was free to walk off. But the cabbie manipulated him into agreeing to take the pill anyway, using Sherlock's 'addiction' to avoiding boredom and needing to be proved right, even if it meant risking his life. In that sense, Sherlock was just as vulnerable as the previous victims had been.
It's never stated exactly how the killer picks his victims in the initial episode. But it's implied the whole time: The cabbie considers himself a genius and resents all the people who ignored him, thinking they were smarter. The people he goes after are a businessman who's hiding a mistress from his wife, a politician, and a teenage boy. The woman in pink worked in media and had a string of adulterous lovers. Sherlock even hammers it home that the woman is exceptionally clever. The cabbie is going after the sort of people who think they're so much smarter than everyone else that they can ignore all the rules. And then he targets Sherlock...
The very first time we see Sherlock, he's about to whip a corpse with a riding crop. He says that a man's alibi depends on knowing how quickly the bruises form...perhaps the man in question was visiting someone like Irene Adler?
When Sherlock first meets John, he offers "I like to play the violin when I'm thinking... sometimes I don't talk for days on end... would that bother you?" as "the worst" about him. He never asks John what the worst is about him. Because he's already figured that out. He's talking to a depressed war veteran with a real injury, psychosomatic pain, and PTSD. It wouldn't be hard to deduce the sort of behaviour that might produce.
There's a few really heartwrenching parallels between A Study in Pink and The Reichenbach Fall.
Sherlock and John say goodbye at the same place they met- St Bart's.
There's a painful parallel, too, between the scene in Pink where John races to Sherlock's rescue, only to find himself seemingly too far away to help him and watching in agony. Only in Pink, Sherlock is in danger because of his ego, and in Reichenbach he's in danger because of his love for his friends.
In A Study in Pink John surprises everyone by saving Sherlock, even though he was so far away. In Reichenbach, he can't.
A Study in Pink is the first time we see Sherlock prioritise a friend over his own ego and self-image ("Ignore all that. That was the shock talking.") In Reichenbach, he chooses to risk death and be remembered as a fraud rather than endanger his friends.
In the climax sequences of both of these episodes, Sherlock was never in physical danger from the villains, who were, in both cases, attempting to drive him to commit suicide. This re-inforces the emphasis of this particular Holmes adaptation's preference of "mind-over-matter."
The cabbie's line, "I'm going to talk to you, then you're going to kill yourself," pretty much sums up Moriarty's strategy in the rooftop scene. It's possible that the reason Moriarty is so confident this will work on Sherlock is because of his reaction the first time, and the fact the he had to be saved by John.
John's enquiries into Sherlock's sexuality are hilariously awkward, but certainly well-meant. John isn't gay, but his sister is. It's probable that he's seen people treat her badly, or at least with ignorance or at arm's length, because of it. Which makes him actually going to the trouble of saying to Sherlock "if you're gay, that's perfectly fine, I'm cool with it" pretty heartwarming. Also, his suspicions that Sherlock might be gay aren't exactly a leap of logic at that point. He barely knows the guy, having only one five minute meeting and a couple of hours in knowing him. But of the people he's now met through Sherlock, and who seem to know him very well, three of them have automatically assumed that he's Sherlock's boyfriend. In the one night.
Sherlock's response to John's aforementioned hilariously awkward inquiries into his sex life is a look of profound confusion. Confusion? Sherlock knew practically everything of importance about John within thirty seconds of meeting him. Sherlock is confused because John's words really do sound like a come-on, but his initial scan of him hadn't told him John was gay. (Remember, in The Great Game, his initial scan of Jim from I.T. told him he was gay, so Sherlock can apparently pick someone's sexuality during a Sherlock Scan. We're told exactly how Sherlock makes all of his initial deductions about John - except for one. We're not told how on earth Sherlock knew John "liked" Clara. Evidently something about John indicated to Sherlock that he was at least heavily into women, if not altogether heterosexual.) In The Great Game, John actually offers his own personal habits as proof that Jim isn't gay - "because he puts a bit of product in his hair? I put product in my hair!" and Sherlock's response is "You wash your hair, there's a difference." The exchange: John says if Jim's gay, he must be gay too; Sherlock doesn't respond with something like "yeah, but you're gay as well," he responds that there's a difference.)
Lestrade tells Sherlock he only has two minutes with the body of Jennifer Wilson to come up with something. Sherlock brushes this off, but makes his analysis - in two minutes. Plus an extra whole sixty seconds or so for John to come up with a tentative cause of death. Are these two the best guys at their respective jobs in the entire of the UK or what?
John suggests that since the victim choked on her own vomit and hadn't apparently been drinking, she could have had a seizure, perhaps drugs. We see in the earlier sequence Sir Jeffrey Patterson in his death-throes evidently having some kind of seizure, and we know that the victims were forced to take some kind of drug, so John was dead right.
Sherlock's comment about hubris and the "fragility of genius" explains why he tests his intellect by solving crimes rather than committing them (as Sgt. Donovan suggests he will someday): it allows him to be incredibly clever and then brag about it, whereas criminals can't very well flap their mouths about their evil schemes without being caught. It also makes the end of A Study in Pink a bit more heartwarming, since Sherlock chooses to protect John rather than prove to Lestrade (again) how clever he is.
Another reference in A Study in Pink which may turn out to be epic Fridge Brilliance: Sally Donovan tells John that one day the police will be gathered around a body and "Sherlock Holmes will be the one who put it there". In that context, of course, Sally is talking about Sherlock becoming a murderer. But given most fan theories of how Sherlock got out of his own death scene, it does appear that whatever happened, whether the body John sees is Sherlock or a someone else, the police were left gathered around a body and Sherlock literally put it there.
Could be Fridge Horror or Fridge Brilliance or both, but at the end of A Study in Pink, John calmly tells Sherlock that he really was shot in Afghanistan- in the left shoulder. This, minutes after he's killed a man - by shooting him in the left shoulder. (More or less.) Shoulder wounds are usually used in film/TV because it's considered a "safe spot" with no squishy parts to really damage, but it's perilously close to a person's heart and other vital stuff. As we the audience have just found out. It backs up John's earlier claim that he doesn't have to use his imagination to tell Sherlock what he'd say if he was dying.
Lestrade's "drug bust" was brilliantly played.
The biggest question about it is that Lestrade seems to be assuming he won't find any drugs, but what if they did find some? What then? Lestrade says the bust "stops being pretend if we find anything", but as he points out, he isn't on the drug squad and neither is anyone on his team. He's heavily implied to not have a search warrant. If they did find anything, it would be totally inadmissible as evidence in court- but Donovan and Anderson and the rest of the cops who hate Sherlock would still know about it. Sherlock doesn't want to give them any more ammunition.
The focus during the drugs bust is on Sherlock and whether he does or doesn't have drugs in the flat. They never do find any. You can forgive John, at least, for being slightly nervous though. Because while Lestrade is being smug and Mrs Hudson is flitting in and out in a flap and Sherlock is insulting Anderson and fielding enquiries as to whether the eyes in the microwave are human, there's John standing there amid about ten police officers with a loaded firearm concealed in his beltnote While the issue of whether John's gun is legal is never directly addressed in-universe it's extremely unlikely that the army would simply allow a soldier to keep his service pistol. It's impossible that they would allow him to do so when he'd been diagnosed with PTSD. And it's equally as impossible that anyone with known psychiatric issues would be given a concealed weapons permit or the opportunity to acquire a non-service weapon.
As it happens, Mrs Hudson had previously confiscated that human skull of Sherlock's that used to sit on the mantelpiece. It's back by the next episode, but Lestrade's team would have had a field day with that one.
Lestrade protests that he didn't break into the flat. Without a search warrant (he's implied to not have one) he couldn't very well "break" in by force. But since he's known to Mrs Hudson, who was upset and wanted to know what Sherlock had done, he probably simply knocked on the door and asked her to let him and his team into 221B.
If Sherlock shutting down John's defence of him wasn't evidence enough that he'd at least had a past drug problem, Sherlock then declares himself to be "clean." People who have never used drugs don't use that expression- it means he used to use but doesn't right at the moment. To further back up the point, Sherlock says "I don't even smoke." But he's pulling his sleeve up to show Lestrade his nicotine patch at the time. What he means is "I don't even smoke anymore", just as he means "I don't use drugs anymore."
Sherlock tells Lestrade he doesn't even smoke, and rolls up his sleeve to show him the nicotine patch he's wearing. Lestrade pulls his sleeve up, showing off a similar patch, and tells him "neither do I [smoke]. So we don't smoke together." But what we're seeing isn't two people who "don't smoke", we're seeing two smokers who are in the process of weaning themselves off cigarettes. One of the unfortunate side-effects of doing so, for 99% of people, is that you become really, really frustrated and emotional, and have next to absolutely no patience or tolerance at all. The slightest provocation can make you insanely angry or ready to burst into tears. (Sherlock's behaviour at the beginning of The Hounds of Baskerville might seem entirely as if it were Played for Laughs, but it's actually a pretty accurate depiction of someone going cold turkey from nicotine. On the extreme end, but accurate.) Not only does this go a long way to explain Sherlock's behaviour in this scene (he was quite mellow once he'd gotten his three-patch hit and when he was running around Soho and had forgotten about his addiction, but now the patch has lost its buzz, he's under stress from the drug bust, and he no doubt really wants a freaking cigarette. His petulant "everybody shut up!" moment seems to speak to the state of his nerves, and he's probably being genuine when he tells Anderson that he's putting him off.) But Lestrade seems to also be telling Sherlock that just then he is not in the mood to put up with any unnecessary drama either (he turns on Anderson in a way that is fairly out-of-character too.)
There is no indication that 221b is in fact free of recreational drugs. When John questions the possibility of Sherlock being a junkie, Sherlock says his name quietly. When John insists that Lestrade could search the flat all day and not find anything recreational Sherlock tells him that John probably wants to "shut up, now." When Lestrade asks if the flat is clean Sherlock returns the focus to him and the fact that he is clean. He never answers the question of the state of the flat.
Sherlock: I am clean!
Lestrade: Is your flat? All of it?
Sherlock: I don't even smoke!
Sherlock texts John "could be dangerous" as an incentive to get him to come to Baker Street after being ditched in Brixton. All he wanted at that point was to use John's phone because he was too lazy to go downstairs and ask to use Mrs Hudson's. John takes the 'dangerous' line at face value (and why not, since he's in the middle of being kidnapped and is standing in front of Mycroft when the text comes through) and stops off at wherever he was living at the time to fetch the gun. If he hadn't, he wouldn't have had it on him to save Sherlock's life with it later. That one manipulative little text saved Sherlock's life.
Angelo's mistaking John for Sherlock's date is a little more understandable when you see that the waiter takes them to the window seat and removes a "reserved" card from the table. Sherlock probably frequents the place alone (he seems well known to all the staff) but on this particular night, while John was getting back from his chat with Mycroft, Sherlock phoned ahead and probably for the first time ever booked a table for two. One next to the window.
Sherlock ditching John at the Brixton crime scene was pretty thoughtless, but certainly not malicious. Given that he raced off ranting about "pink", his habit of fixating on detail and having a one-track mind, and his later habit of always assuming John is with him even when he's not even in the country at the time, it's entirely possible that it didn't even occur to Sherlock to wonder where John was until he'd found the pink case and was back at Baker Street. We see later in Belgravia that Sherlock has spells in his own little intellectual world and can be quite bewildered and lost coming out of them, especially if he assumes John is around and he isn't. "Could be dangerous" was deliberately placed to get John interested; Sherlock knew he'd treated him pretty poorly and supposed he needed to give John some extra incentive to come back to Baker Street. John is only back at Baker Street for five minutes when Sherlock offers to take him out for dinner, and even during a chase across the city on foot, he doesn't ditch John again.
When John leaves Mycroft to go back to 221B, his limp seems to have vastly improved overall. When he goes to his flat to get the gun, he uses the cane to get to the desk, packs the gun, and then seems to walk back to the door without using the cane. Arriving at 221B, he takes at least three steps into the living room doorway without using the cane. (Listen for the sound effects. His step is a lot quicker and steadier than normal, and he only puts the cane on the floor as he enters the room.) He's still using the cane in this scene, but much of it is probably out of habit, and he doesn't seem to be in pain... because for most of the scene he's excited about possible danger. When he and Sherlock go out to dinner, he's able to walk with him at a pretty normal pace and he's barely leaning on the cane. (Compare that to his gait when he's trying to get home from Brixton.) There's no way this wouldn't have gone unnoticed by Sherlock.
In The Reichenbach Fall, Sherlock tells John he doesn't care what people think. But in this episode, not only is it obvious that Sherlock cares what John thinks of him and wants him to think well of him, it's clear that he cares what John thinks about things in general. The amount of times Sherlock uses the word "think" when talking to John is astonishing. When he first blitzes John with his deductions, he says "that's enough to be going on with, don't you think?" When they look at 221B for the first time, Sherlock asks John what he thinks about his website. In the cab, when John asks him who he is and what he does, he doesn't tell him straight away- he asks "what do you think?" instead and waits for John to guess. He takes John to the Brixton crime scene because he specifically wants to know what John thinks of the body. When John gets back to 221B, Sherlock patiently takes him through his deductions about the pink case. It's after he calls John an "idiot" that he asks him if he's noticed what's missing from the suitcase, and then encourages him to think logically about what might have happened with the phone and who now has it. When they go out to dinner, instead of just thinking by talking out loud, Sherlock encourages John to also "think"- he's assuming they're solving this crime together. At no point, ever, does he ask Lestrade what he thinks. Sherlock might have called John an "idiot" in this episode, but if he truly thought John was so far beneath him intellectually, he wouldn't have spent half the episode looking to John for validation or encouraging him to "think."
When John points out that Mycroft could have just called him on his mobile phone instead of the ridiculously elaborate lengths he goes to to have a chat with him, Mycroft makes mention that he's trying to avoid the attention of Sherlock. But Sherlock wasn't with John at the time, and since Mycroft was monitoring John at the time, he must have known that. What Sherlock could do, however, was later look at the call history of John's phone. Sherlock is tech savvy and may well know how to trace a call from a withheld number - or he may even have been able to deduce Mycroft's call from the time of the call and the fact that it was withheld. He's Sherlock Holmes, after all. Later John, on his blog, sheepishly explains to Harry that he didn't return a text from her that morning because Sherlock had confiscated his phone. (No reason for said confiscation is given.) Looks like, as with all of John's other possessions, Sherlock assumes to help himself to John's mobile phone/call history/texts if and when he feels like it.
Angelo returns John's cane to him, telling him that Sherlock had texted him saying John had forgotten it. If, as it's implied, Sherlock and John ran all the way back to Baker Street after discussing Lestrade's stolen badge, there's no way that Sherlock could have texted Angelo any time between leaving the restaurant and arriving back at Baker Street. (Sherlock might be a genius, but even being a genius doesn't mean you can run and text at the same time.) So when did Sherlock text Angelo, exactly? While he and John were still at the restaurant, of course- well before John had rushed off and left his cane behind. Sherlock was so confident that John would react the way he did and rush off with him that he plain old pre-empted it. While at first John's recovery seems to be something that happened incidentally while they were busy hunting down a serial killer, it becomes more and more obvious that Sherlock actually planned it quite carefully.
Sherlock's decisions about the restaurant that night were pretty much entirely centred around John. He chose an address five minutes away, across the street from a restaurant. Why a restaurant? Sherlock doesn't eat when he's on a case, but it's fairly late by now, so it must have occurred to him that John was probably hungry (as well as tired and fed up after having been ditched at the crime scene). Not only that, but John is also broke, so Sherlock's choice of restaurant? One where the owner adores him and will provide food "on the house" (John eats for free, but isn't made to feel embarrassed by it or patronised by Sherlock offering to pay for it). Sherlock could have chosen to observe the cab from anywhere. He also points out that the cab was a "long shot anyway". Unlike the unaired pilot, here Sherlock doesn't seem to have expected to catch the murderer then and there.
When Sherlock asks the cabbie how he planned to get his victims into the warehouse, he simply pulls out a gun. Sherlock's response is to roll his eyes and sigh with a casual "dull". At first this could be perceived as "Damn, why didn't I see that coming?" or "Oh, a gun, how completely predictable." Later on when it's revealed that the gun's a fake (and Sherlock knew) that his reaction suddenly makes sense: it's him groaning as if to say "Really? You think I'm falling for that?"
Sally says in confidence to John that Sherlock is a "freak" because "he gets off on it," and says that "one day we'll be standing around a body and Sherlock Holmes will be the one who put it there." Now think to the last scene. Scotland Yard is in fact standing around a body, but Sherlock wasn't the one who killed him: John was. Out of the two of them, John is more freakish, because Sherlock, despite all his "I'm not on the side of the angels" stuff, has never killed a person. Tortured, yes. Humiliated, hell yes. But John is the one who gets off on the danger, and he's the only one capable of cold-blooded murder.
The Cabbie's talk of Sherlock's 'fan' gives the impression that Moriarty at the very least gave him the all clear to attempt to kill Sherlock - but later in the series Moriarty outright says he's saving Sherlock's death for 'something special'. So why would he sanction the death of Sherlock as simply the fifth (or possibly sixth, see fridge horror below) in a run of apparent suicides without even introducing himself first? Because this is a test. He wants to make sure Sherlock is really intelligent enough to be a worthy opponent before he begins his game, and the best way to test that is to see if he can outsmart the cabbie. Granted, it didn't go exactly as planned, but the bottom line is that Sherlock survived.
Fridge Brilliance: The Blind Banker
Sherlock is being strangled at Soo Lin's flat, and pretty badly, too. It looks like he passes out for a few moments and can barely talk afterwards. Why did the attacker simply stop? Because John, sarcastically bitching outside, has just said that he is Sherlock Holmes. Good luck for Sherlock that John is a Grand Master of Snark and the Black Lotus is entirely populated with total morons. It saved his life. And put John and Sarah's in danger.
When John goes to Dimmock to get the diary, Dimmock starts with "That friend of yours..." John, who has just been arrested for something he didn't do thanks to Sherlock, heads him off with "Listen, whatever you say, I'm behind you 100%," and is surprised at how "mild" Dimmock's reaction of "he's an arrogant sod" is. In The Reichenbach Fall, which like The Blind Banker was written by Steve Thompson, he punches the Chief Superintendent of Scotland Yard for calling Sherlock a "weirdo", which is an even milder term of disdain. Of course, John was already extremely worked up and upset at the time, so he was probably ready to snap at the slightest provocation, but it's still very much a sign of the development of his relationship with Sherlock - in The Blind Banker he's still only known Sherlock for a few weeks, so he's nowhere near as loyal as he is to him in The Reichenbach Fall.
It may also be a case of John responding to the nature of the insult. "Arrogant sod" is a pretty accurate description of Sherlock's behavior toward people he doesn't like (and even people he does like). "Weirdo" implies that there is something intrinsically wrong with the person being insulted. Basically, Sherlock chooses to act like an arrogant sod and so John doesn't mind people calling him on that. He can't help being weird, however, and so John takes offense.
Sherlock tells Molly he prefers her hair parted on the side. This is probably just a line he doesn't mean, but Molly takes it at face value. She's never shown with middle-parted hair in the series ever again.
The amount of failed attempts on Sherlock and Johns life seem to be part of the total idiocy of the villains of the week, but there is a reason they're 'not really trying'. Shan is shown to be working for Moriarty, who, after seeing Sherlock is intelligent enough to survive the taxi driver incident, has decided he's going to have some fun with a worthy opponent and is probably already setting up the events of the next episode. It's unsurprising he's therefore warned everyone that Sherlock Holmes is off limits until further notice.
Fridge Brilliance: The Great Game
Twice in this episode, John asks Sherlock if he's okay- once after coming home when Baker Street was bombed, and the other after Moriarty leaves at the swimming pool. Sherlock's reaction is the same in both cases- the first thing he does is a confused "hmm?" and then a brief explanation that he's fine. Sherlock clearly isn't used to having someone care enough about him to ask if he's okay after he's experienced trauma. Even Lestrade didn't seem overly worried about him when he came close to death in A Study in Pink. Sherlock's so used to being self-reliant that he's confused as to why John's even asking. Mycroft is already there at the flat after the bombing and given his admission to John in A Study in Pink that he worries about Sherlock, he probably came around with the Bruce-Partington files as a semi-cover for his being worried about the bombing. But it seems he would never actually ask Sherlock if he's okay.
Janus Cars: "The clue's in the name." John correctly recognizes Janus as the god with two faces, but - more pertinently - he is also the god of endings and beginnings, which is exactly what Janus Cars is selling.
In the swimming pool scene:
Jim Moriarty stands for a moment next to a sign that says "deep end." If anyone is precariously close to going off said deep end, it would definitely be Jim from IT.
There's also a "no bombing" sign present. Considering the jacket, there's an added double-meaning.
One of the first things Moriarty says to Sherlock is "Is that a British Army Browning L 9 A 1 in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?" Sherlock, producing the gun, readily says "both." Which is an odd and cringeworthy thing to say, as he apparently doesn't get the double meaning behind the expression. But then, why would he? He's spectacularly ignorant of pop culture, would probably not know the name "Mae West" let alone seen any of her films, and has zero sexual experience. It would be more out of place if he did understand the sexual double entendre behind Jim's words. Jim may or may not have started calling him 'The Virgin' after this scene between them. Also, someone as literal as Sherlock would just assume Moriarty was asking if he was finally glad to meet him after everything that had happened, even if he did recognize the reference.
Sherlock points out that "People have died." Why is this so important to Sherlock now, and still not to Moriarty? Because Sherlock is finally understanding just how those close to the hostages are feeling when he sees John, his only friend and one of the few people he cares for in the exact same position, with Sherlock being essentially helpless to get him out of the situation. Moriarty doesn't care since he's never had anyone close to him, or at least not close to him and put in that situation.
When John is seen in the parka, you can see that he is blinking very rapidly. It turns out he is blinking S.O.S. in morse code.
When John comes into 221B to find Sherlock shooting holes at the wall, he takes the gun off him, unpacks it, and locks it up in a strongbox on the desk. You see him pocketing the key. The next time we see the gun is at Vauxhall Arches- John starts to say that he wished he'd brought it, and Sherlock pulls it out of his coat and hands it over. Sherlock later brings it to the swimming pool. So either Sherlock regularly pickpockets John for the key, or he picks the strongbox lock. Either way it's significant that he makes a point of giving John the gun at Vauxhall Arches- even Sherlock and his ego couldn't deny that John is a much better shot than he is. We've so far only seen Sherlock shooting at an actual target twice. He hit the smiley-target on the wall quite impressively- and then missed the Golem by about eleventy billion miles, notwithstanding the flashing lights. He seems to know some impressive, Bad Ass looking tricks with a gun when given time and opportunity to plan it all out calmly, but under pressure, apparently not.
Lucy, Andrew West's fiancee, addresses John as "Mr Watson." Of course she would. John only ever introduces himself as "John Watson" and since he's there investigating West's death, there'd be absolutely no need for him to mention that he was a doctor.
When Sherlock tells John to fetch him his phone out of the jacket he's wearing at the time, all he says in response to John's "where is it?" is "jacket." Instantly, an exasperated John rolls his eyes, goes over to him and non-too-gently gets the phone out of his left-hand breast pocket. In a jacket that presumably, like most men's jackets, has at least four pockets, John knew exactly which one the phone was in and went straight for it- probably because this wasn't remotely the first time Sherlock had asked him to do this.
Mycroft asks John what Sherlock is like to live with: "hellish, I imagine?". At first it seems odd for him to ask someone what his own brother is like to live with. Doesn't he know? Perhaps not. There's about a ten year age gap and both Holmes brothers probably spent much of their childhood at boarding school, which means they may not have lived regularly with one another ever. Another possibility is that he recognises that it would be be hellish for a more "normal" person like John. Mycroft is, if not smarter than Sherlock, at least his intellectual equal, and his much older brother, meaning that Sherlock could hardly boss him around or belittle him to great effect. John has neither advantage, and thus has no defence against the full Sherlock Treatment.
While John may have been infuriated by Sherlock's strategic drawing out of the Connie Prince case, Sherlock may have been doing it partly to help the next unknown hostage. He'd solved the first mystery, when he'd been given twelve hours, too quickly for Moriarty, who upped the ante and gave him only eight for the Ian Monkford case. He gave him twelve again for the old woman on account of it being a "funny one." Sherlock is anticipating five problems. He probably knew that if he came up with the solution to the Connie Prince case too quickly he'd be given less time on the next one. He wasn't going to make that mistake again.
Fridge Brilliance: A Scandal in Belgravia
Moriarty's designating Mycroft as "The Ice Man" and Sherlock as "the Virgin" aren't just petty jabs at them- he was specifically instructing Irene on how to "play the Holmes boys." Remembering that her main target, and Moriarty's, isn't Sherlock- it's Mycroft. Moriarty (correctly) pegs Sherlock as someone who can be played by a beautiful clever woman who makes him feel special. He's underexperienced, so that's part of how she plays him. Mycroft even calls him "naive," and John is all too aware that the fact that he's apparently never had "a relationship, ever" is part of the intense reaction he has toward Irene. On the other hand, Moriarty warned Irene that, even though he's apparently got more sexual experience than his brother (or Sherlock would have pointed this out when Mycroft mocks him for being a virgin) any attempts at seducing or manipulating Mycroft were going to be hopeless. Sherlock cares about people, despite himself, and so Irene sets out to make him care about her. Mycroft (according to Moriarty) cares about absolutely nobody- except, as Irene correctly deduces, his own little brother. The assumption Mycroft takes lack of empathy to truly frightening levels is confirmed when he seriously suggests torturing Irene, lets her go knowing someone was going to kill her, and is implied to have sanctioned the Karachi hit.
At the time of John and Mrs Hudson's searching 221B for drugs, it's implied to still be pretty early- John has plans to go out somewhere with Jeanette, who is there for the whole thing. Molly's gone to the hospital to help out with the body. Lestrade has apparently left. He knows Sherlock has a history of drug use and "usual places". As a senior police officer, he probably wouldn't want to compromise himself and his job by being there if and when cocaine (or something else) was found in the flat. He does something similar a week later, on New Year's Eve. He asked Sherlock how many times the guy fell out of the window, and Sherlock's response isn't technically a confession that he did it. Lestrade confirms, in his own snarky way, that Sherlock is responsible, and then stops asking questions and literally walks away so he can't be seen to have helped to conceal a crime.
When the palace employee remarks that Sherlock looks taller in his photographs, he remarks that he makes use of a "good coat and a short friend." That remark alone indicates the sheer amount of times Sherlock has been photographed with John, to the extent that a stranger might literally have no other frame of physical reference for him. Sherlock is tall but not particularly so (both Mycroft and his friend are taller), so if he'd been photographed beside a variety of other people, that would have become evident.
In the Christmas interlude, most of the characters at 221B interact with each other well- Lestrade and Molly get chatty, John's fielding what seem to be at least two conversations at once, Molly and Mrs Hudson discuss her bad hip. Sherlock might have told Lestrade quite cruelly about his cheating wife, but they're talking to one another. One of these characters is not like the others: Jeanette. The only character to talk to her apart from John is Sherlock, who insults her to her face. Everybody else flat-out pretends she's not there. Molly, who is such a darling, makes an effort to chat with everyone in the room except Jeanette, who she probably has never met before. As for John, the only person present that she seems to know well, he responds to Sherlock's insults toward Jeanette by making excuses for him, and otherwise makes no attempt at all to include Jeanette in the general conversation, or introduce her to Molly (as you'd expect that the two young women might be able to find something to talk about.) It's pretty obvious from this, as well as Jeanette's impression of a wallflower and her cold body language with her own boyfriend, that she and John were probably headed for Splitsville even if Sherlock wasn't a jerk with a drug problem. For all that they bicker and drive each other crazy, John and Sherlock and Lestrade and Molly and Mrs Hudson are really very close to one another, and Jeanette simply doesn't "belong" with that crowd.
Sherlock realises he's overstepped the line when he reads the card on Molly's gift and realises it's for him. Nobody else in the room, except for Molly, has ever read that card or ever does read it. And yet John, Mrs Hudson, Lestrade and possibly even Jeanette all realised before Sherlock did that the card would have said something along the lines of "Dearest Sherlock, Love Molly xxx". For once, Sherlock Holmes was the last to know.
Molly ends her message to the card with "xxx". In A Study in Pink, Sherlock had pointed out to John that the use of three kisses in text indicates a romantic attachment.
In the sherlocked scene, Sherlock stands up, moves slowly towards the woman, leans forward, takes her hand softly and whispers in her ear that he knows about her elevated pulse. He certainly knows things about how to raise heartbeats. Of course he is talking about a few hours ago in Baker Street, but he holds her wrists at this moment too which indicates that her pulse is probably elevated again. In fact we can see that the woman is lost for a second as she lets him approach.
Sherlock embarrassedly tries to tell John that "somebody" personalised their text alert noise on his phone for a joke. It stays that way for months. Even though he looks mortified every time it goes off, Sherlock never takes the ten seconds or so necessary to simply change the text alert noise back to something else. Why not? Because it's turning him on, on some level. And as John remarked in his blog (over Sherlock's Heroic BSOD over Irene's 'death') it's highly likely that Sherlock, having had pretty much no experience in this kind of thing before, doesn't really understand what he's feeling every time he hears the text alert noise.
At Buckingham Palace, After Mycroft apologises on Sherlock's behalf for turning up in nothing but a bedsheet, Mycroft's friend remarks to the effect that Sherlock must be a full-time job. He's only half right in the assumption. Sherlock is a full-time job, but not for Mycroft- for John (who befriends, protects and assists him) and Mrs Hudson (who feeds, clothes and shelters him.)
Sherlock might be a virgin partly because he chooses not to get involved in sentiment, but also because, on some level, sex scares him. (Probably because that sort of thing is likely to mess with his intellect/deductive faculties, but there may be deeper and much more personal reasons for this.) Mycroft assumes that sex "alarms" Sherlock (and Sherlock says it doesn't in the voice of one who doth protest far too much) and Irene assumes that seeing her naked has given Sherlock a "fright." (Presumably she's already been in contact with Jim and has heard Sherlock referred to as "The Virgin.") Remember that Mycroft is unlikely to be wrong about Sherlock: he's his brother, has known him all his life, and can Sherlock Scan better than Sherlock can. And Irene, as well as being able to Sherlock Scan as well (of sorts) is a professional sex worker with a gift for knowing what makes people tick and what they "like." Sherlock is definitely not comfortable being alone with Irene, probably because he's feeling sexually intimidated. His "fright" is over once John returns from Irene's kitchen, and he's confident enough to get close to Irene in the "Sherlocked" scene because Mycroft is there. When he and Irene have the "Coventry" conversation, he seems alarmed at first that John isn't there, and then watch his body language when she asks if he's ever "had anyone"...
On a similar note, during the above-mentioned scene Sherlock tries to cover how awkward he's feeling by projecting onto John with "I don't think John knows where to look." Irene, seeing through this, promptly puts him in his place with "No, I think he knows exactly where. Not sure about you... Sherlock is behaving like a kid trying to look cool in front of the Coolest Kid (Irene) by trying to gang up against John. He tries it again with the reference to "If I wanted to look at naked women, I'd borrow John's laptop" with the implied meaning of "I would never bother with the sort of puerile things John and his lesser mind are interested in." He's immediately corrected- by John, this time- with "you do borrow my laptop." In many ways, Sherlock'' is the odd man out in this scene, not third-wheel John Watson.
Despite John being the one who was sent out on location to trudge around a muddy field with his laptop, so that Sherlock could solve the crime in the comfort of his own home, Sherlock never tells John the solution to the case of the hiker with the bashed in head. Or at least, if he did it's never shown. Sherlock and Mycroft agree that the solution was simple, but they don't explain it, and when Sherlock begins to explain it to Irene, he actually sends John out of the room before doing so. On top of this, Sherlock describes Irene, to her face, as "moderately clever" when even in the following episode, John's mind has recently been upgraded to merely "average." Ouch, Sherlock. No wonder John was so jealous of Irene and so blatant in his "Hi, you two, get a room, I'm right here" snark.
Sherlock's wildly out of character "Laterz" at Buckingham Palace is not only a passive-aggressive sign of contempt (and parting shot at Mycroft, who almost got him to behave himself)- it may also refer to Sherlock's secret guilty pleasure of watching what John freely admits in The Great Game to be "crap telly," or to the decidedly middle-class origins of the "young female person" whose photographs he is to retrieve.
When Sherlock and John are in Buckingham Palace discussing the issue of recovering Irene Adler's photographs, Mycroft describes it as "a matter of the highest security, and therefore of trust," when asked why he isn't going to the Secret Service for help. John asks him why he doesn't trust his own Secret Service, and Mycroft points out that Secret Service agents spy on people for money. Remember what John flat-out refused to do in the first episode?
When Sherlock first meets Irene, she's naked, and he can't read her. Not to mention his dickery in the Christmas interlude. In the end, he deduces that she sort of fancies him, it's complicated that way- by reading bodily cues. He's learning how to socialize with people.
If Irene had been wearing clothes in her first meeting with Sherlock and John (and depending on the shape/fabric of said clothes) Sherlock may not have been able to deduce her measurements, or guessed them wrong. Irene's "battle dress" literally saved all their lives- or at least John's.
That CIA guy that messes with Mrs Hudson and finds himself thrown out the window was also the guy at Irene's, who Mycroft casually threw into Sherlock's path- the one who coldly ordered John to be killed unless Sherlock told him the code to the safe. While in hindsight it seems fairly likely that this was a bluff, and Sherlock's rage and revenge is primarily for Mrs Hudson, Sherlock no doubt hasn't forgotten to pay him back for the threat to John's life. In the aforementioned scene this guy also threatened Irene, and Sherlock has just found out that she's not dead.
Sherlock tells Mycroft, regarding an indiscreet MOD worker, that he should screen his MOD workers more carefully. In the previous episode, much was made of the case of a 27 year old MOD worker who despite being lower down in the echelons of the ministry somehow was given access to a top secret missile plan. And then was allowed to leave work with it in his possession on a memory stick. And then went to his own engagement party with it in his pocket, got raving drunk, and had it stolen by his drug-dealing future brother-in-law. Sherlock may have missed the point in that particular conversation, as Mycroft swiftly tells him, but he was damn right about the MOD and their apparently very lax security measures!
In the latter twenty minutes or so of the episode, the connection between "007" and "Bond" becomes crucial. Something about "007" triggers a connection in Sherlock's brain, but for someone who just solved a code in under five seconds, he takes a surprisingly long amount of time to "get it" and connect it to the name "Bond." We're never told in-episode how he suddenly makes the connection. But if you go to the tie-in blogs, you can see that, nearly a year before, John had made him sit downand watch his very first Bond film. He'd been disparaging at first, but had quickly become totally enthralled with it. He had only a very passing acquaintance with the name "James Bond" prior to that and probably didn't know about the 007 part. And those posts have been there for well over a year, making it possible that they were written well before the episode was. It's never mentioned in the context of the film how someone like Sherlock would have any knowledge of lowbrow spy films.
If you believe "theimprobableone" to be Irene Adler, their conversation on Sherlock's website, where she disparages Bond films as rubbish and lowbrow, becomes even more awesomely brilliant.
John even unintentionally gives him a hint in the actual scene. He says it as "double-oh seven". Sherlock, being less pop-culture savvy, had seconds before read out the same numbers out as "zero zero seven."
Mycroft presumably felt free to say "Bond air is go, check with the Coventry lot" in front of his little brother because he assumed Sherlock was so ignorant of pop culture that he would never connect "Bond" with "007" in a million years (and possibly wouldn't get "Coventry" either.) He vastly underestimates, then, what months in the company of his "live-in ordinary person" has done to Sherlock.
When John is taken to the Battersea Power Station, he bitches "can't we just meet in a cafe?" Although he doesn't know it, he hasn't been abducted by Mycroft, as he assumes, and Mycroft knows nothing about it. Still, when Mycroft does have a chat with him at the end of the episode, he chooses... a cafe.
When John punches Sherlock, he flinches in pain and has obviously either skinned or bruised his knuckles doing so. It's the only pain either of them show, even though they both get punched in the face. Irene later points out that John was surprisingly careful with Sherlock, given that it appeared at the time that he really went to town on him, but he wasn't careful about lining up his knuckles to avoid damaging them. Typical for him, John actually hurt himself more than he hurt Sherlock.
Given that Mycroft offered a dangerous case to Sherlock in this episode (assuming he'd be able to dodge the CIA with no problems), it's possible that Mycroft's "worrying about him, constantly" doesn't mean he's worried at all about Sherlock running around London risking his life solving murders. No, when he offered to bribe John, what he really wanted to know was whether Sherlock was still using drugs. He's worried about his brother being an addict.
There's a real contrast between both Moffat episodes, Study and Scandal.
What was an absolutely funny, ridiculous "drugs bust" in Study becomes a deadly serious attempt at avoiding a drugs bust in Scandal. In Study, John and Mrs Hudson watch in some confusion as the police raid the place searching for Sherlock's drug stash. In Scandal, they're the ones who are searching for Sherlock's drug stash.
At the power station, assuming he's speaking to Mycroft at the time, John starts up with "He's writing sad music. Doesn't eat. Barely talks, only to correct the television. I'd say he was heartbroken, but he's Sherlock. He does all that anyway..." From absolutely refusing to "spy on" Sherlock for money in A Study in Pink, John's now volunteering what Sherlock is "up to" to Mycroft before he even asks for that information, as well as rifling through Sherlock's belongings with Mrs Hudson - not for money, but out of concern.
Regarding Sherlock's mysterious "sock index:" This is generally seen as a throwaway line sprinkled with a nice mixture of Big Lipped Alligator Moment, Noodle Implement and obvious Crowning Moment Of Funny. Yet this becomes much more understandable when one remembers that throughout the years the character of Sherlock Holmes has been consistently diagnosed with Aspberger's Syndrome. If so, disruption of one of his perfectly arranged systems would be highly distressing to him.
When Sherlock (deliberately) addresses Jeanette as "Sarah", John jumps in and explains "he's not good with names." Not only does this make it sound like Sherlock isn't being an asshole on purpose, thus not really taking sides between Sherlock and Jeanette, it's also a well-played put-down of Sherlock. He's a genius with a mind palace and almost eidemic memory, someone whose entire self esteem hangs on his being clever, so a claim that he's actually so absent-minded that he can't remember the name of his best friend's girlfriend would have stung. Of course, John might have won the battle, but Sherlock won the war by retorting that the only possible way he could remember Jeanette was by "process of elimination."
Unlike the first season, which takes place over two months, A Scandal in Belgravia alone encompasses well over a year. Is it a nod to the ridiculously long real life time between seasons one and two? If so, it functions almost as an apologetic explanation of how much has been going on since we last saw Sherlock, John, etc, and brings us up to speed 18 months later.
Moriarty's ringtone is "Stayin' Alive", which goes off when Irene phones him at the swimming-pool, causing him to call his snipers off and leave. Considering Sherlock's "plan" was seemingly to shoot the bomb-jacket and take the whole building down, the ringtone (and call) were the distraction that lets Moriarty and Sherlock, well, stay alive.
In the scene at Buckingham Palace, Mycroft's friend tells John his employer reads his blog, and particularly liked the story about "The Aluminium Crutch." If you read John's write-up of the case on his tie-in blog, you can see that nearly the whole entry is comprised of a word-for-word writeup of a couple of epic voicemails that Sherlock sent John. (It's pretty funny in and of itself.) John wasn't even there, he was on a date. The compliment is therefore Sherlock's- or at least, can be equally shared between Sherlock and John, who took the trouble to type it up. Brings more significance to the "I-told-you-so" look John throws to Sherlock.
Going back to the "my employer reads your blog" bit, it's quite obvious that the man works for the royal family. The royal family reads his blog.
Sherlock, on first seeing Irene's photograph, had to admit he knew nothing about her whatsoever. Mycroft tells him he should have been paying more attention, because she'd recently been in a high-profile sex scandal involving a prominent novelist and their spouse. In The Great Game, Sherlock had specifically said he didn't care "who's sleeping with who." If he'd brushed up on his society gossip, he may not have underestimated Irene the way he initially does.
A Scandal in Belgravia is all about Sherlock becoming more fallibly human. It deals with his loyalties, emotions and sexuality (or lack thereof.) But one aspect that's always present but never made obvious is that it deals with Sherlock being as fallible, physically, as everyone else. There is no scene in the entire last series of Sherlock showing him eating (though he tells Mrs Hudson in A Study in Pink that he might need some food and presumably goes out to dinner after the episode's events are over.) There's no instance of him sleeping, either; even the location of his bedroom isn't shown until Belgravia. In Belgravia, he's shown both eating and drinking. (In one scene he opens Mrs Hudson's fridge without comment, helps himself to a mince pie, and talks with his mouth full.) The infamous bedsheet scene begins with him rolling out of bed after presumably being there asleep all night; he's also drugged and shown to be just as susceptible to it as everyone else is. Also, when you punch him, he bleeds. It's all very cleverly woven to enrich the depiction of his character and his frail humanity.
When Sherlock cruelly cuts down Molly on Christmas Eve, he makes a particularly horrible remark about "the size of her mouth and breasts." It seems out of place for Sherlock to comment on Molly's breasts, considering that he's not interested much in Irene's and the episode really emphasises that. But then- as someone who is extremely sexually inexperienced and deeply repressed, Sherlock's entire knowledge of sexuality and reproduction is probably anthropological/psychological. From that point of view, the males of the human species are attracted to women with luscious, full lips (supposedly suggests sexual health) and large breasts (suggests good breeding stock.) He's therefore judging Molly because she doesn't fit up to textbook ideals of what women should look like, and completely ignoring personal taste and preference, because he has no personal taste or preference in that respect. Contrast with Lestrade and John. When Molly took her coat off, John burst out with "Holy Mary!" (in front of his girlfriend. No wonder she dumped him) and Lestrade's jaw dropped as he got out "... Wow." Neither John nor Lestrade would have been passing judgment on the size of Molly's mouth or breasts; all either of them saw was a pretty woman in a nice outfit, and probably it never occurred to either of them to nitpick the details. It's the difference between viewing attraction and sexuality from experience and personal involvement, and viewing it from the outside as something other people do. How many naked women has Sherlock seen, outside of (mostly John's) porn and a bunch of cadavers? Probably, one: Irene. He really doesn't have a whole lot of variety by which to judge what perfectly normal, healthy, living, non-augmented women actually look like, with one woman, who does have the "measurements" of a traditionally ideal woman, and who at the time of meeting him had luscious, full lips painted "blood" red.
At first, Sherlock's motivation for attacking poor Molly isn't clear. However, moments before he starts his tirade, Molly jokes that Sherlock was complaining about John going to see Harry. She was teasing Sherlock in a friendly way, but (being Sherlock) he reacts by lashing out - but in his mind, all he's doing is finding something to tease her about. Once he opens the card, he realizes what an ass he's being and that he's crossed the line.
In the scene where John and Irene meet, and Irene reads out some of the texts she's sent Sherlock. If you watch the end, they all come up on the screen. She stops reading aloud one short of the message she sent which read "John's blog is hilarious. I think he likes you more than I do." Which is exactly the conversation she and John proceed to have.
Irene tells Sherlock that any disguise is inevitably a self-portrait.
Moriarty's first disguise was as a gay guy with intentions toward Sherlock. As it turns out, Moriarty is fixated with Sherlock but probably not in that way, but was enjoying the absurd nature of literally flirting with your enemy.
He also pretends, during "Fall", to be an actor Sherlock payed to act like master criminal, who fears that Sherlock will turn on him for 'revealing' Sherlock's 'plan'. We can guess that Moriarty actually fears Sherlock and/or Moriarty plays up his villain act because Sherlock is around.
Irene also pretends to be interested in Sherlock as a disguise, and this time there are romantic undertones harboured under the guise.
Sherlock is dressed as a priest or vicar of some description. Probably a Catholic one, given the snide comments by Mycroft and Irene in that episode.
When we see John lie, it is generally a slight bending of the truth. In "Scandal" we get "I'm a doctor, I saw it [the attack on Sherlock] all happen." In "Hound" we get John pulling rank, when someone questions the validity of Sherlock's pass (one he stole from Mycroft). If we missed it elsewhere, it's showing us how honest John is.
John has proved himself the master of telling the truth so it sounds like something it isn't. After all, in the Belgravia example, he is a doctor, and he did see it all happen (because he did it!). In the Baskerville example, in the entire tour he never once tells a lie, even addressing Sherlock as "Mr Holmes." He also rolls with Sherlock's lie about having had a bet with him, by saying that the guys in the pub said that Fletcher had seen the monster (they had, indeed, told him that.)
The only time we see John outright lie is in "Scandal" when he tells Sherlock Irene Adler is with a witness protection scheme in America, after Mycroft told John she was beheaded in Pakistan. He lies very very badly, small wonder he's mastered the art of twisting the truth. However, the fact that he hangs onto the hope that Sherlock (who can probably read him better than anyone) won't notice his lie shows how desperate he is for Sherlock to avoid dealing with Irene's death all over again.
Sherlock asking John to let him have Irene's camera-phone at the end of "Scandal in Belgravia" is obviously confirming for John and the viewers that Sherlock cared for Irene. Going deeper, when Sherlock explains to John about his first Sherlock Scan of the series (Sherlock analyzing John's cellphone) Sherlock deduces that John's sibling must have left their partner because "people tend to keep things [for] sentiment" if they are left by a partner - Sherlock keeping Irene's phone could be seen as this. The last conversation Sherlock had with Irene was one about how she "lost" the "game" because "sentiment [is] a trait found in the losing side", but it seems Sherlock isn't devoid of the trait he despises. This is possibly also a reference to the fact that in the original story "A Scandal in Bohemia" Holmes asks to keep the photograph of Irene.
Sherlock asks John for the phone. John starts to tell him no — and Sherlock, who earlier told Irene "I never beg", says, very quietly, "Please."
During the Christmas sequence, Sherlock in part uses the red wrapping paper on Molly's gift and her red lipstick to deduce that the man she was giving the gift to was someone she was sexually attracted to. A few seconds later, he gets Irene's text telling him of her own gift on the mantlepiece. Wrapped in red paper. Like the blood-coloured lipstick Irene had been wearing the first (and at that point, the only) time she and Sherlock had met. There's a shot of Irene's mouth/lipstick. It takes Sherlock a few more months to figure out the implications of something he just said about Molly, and apply it to Irene. It seems Sherlock is good at deducing/interpreting how others interact with each other, but he's spectacularly blinded to these things when they apply to himself.
Also during the Christmas scene, when Sherlock humiliates John by calling Jeanette "Sarah" and then revealing that she's the last of a long line of girlfriends that John's had over the past ten months or so, he asks "who was after the boring teacher?" Jeanette, unimpressed, mutters "nobody," implying that she's the "boring teacher". Nobody that Jeanette knows about, that is. Given that Sherlock uses the plural in The Hounds of Baskerville ("If I wanted poetry I'd read John's emails to his girlfriends- much funnier") and also given that John is an established skirt-chaser (his friend from the army calls him "Casanova"), it's possible that Sherlock's just gone and outed him for two-timing Jeanette.
Also during the Christmas sequence, Mrs Hudson tells Molly that it's the one night of the year that "the boys have to be nice to me, so it's always worth it." Sherlock is apparently a man of his word, because Mrs Hudson is the only person he doesn't insult and humiliate that night.
When Sherlock tells Irene that he doesn't have the phone, John suggests that Molly and the homeless network help them out by retrieving this priceless piece of international security. It's brushed aside because it turns out that it isn't needed, but even at that point there's a hint that Molly isn't just the silly lovelorn girl she's frequently been portrayed as- she's smart and reliable and loyal and brave and resourceful, and someone Sherlock would be able to trust. Or so John seems to think. Justified two episodes later.
Irene drugging Sherlock is possibly a reference to the Ritchie film. Except in this version, Irene exits basically naked. In the film, Sherlock is left naked. Both sequences involve some sort of needle, and a little BDSM.
Sherlock has loved ones; John, Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, Mycroft. Irene by on-screen evidence has nobody she really cares about until Sherlock comes along, and she both loses, and thinks that he hates her (look at these facial expressions), until he saves her burqa, so to speak. Who's sadder, really?
Regarding how quickly Sherlock figured out the password at the end; the information he was originally working from was 'she knew she was dying and wanted me to crack the password' versus at the end when he knows 'she knew she would live and didn't want me to crack the password'. Given how he usually figures out passwords (by guessing what someone would have used from what he knows about them) it's not surprising this has a huge effect on his ability to deduce Irene's password.
Irene, upon meeting Sherlock, starts with an approach that would have just about any normal het/bi man tumbling into her lap. All she succeeds in doing is confusing the poor dear. Then she switches to the intellectual approach, which was probably originally planned for later on in the programme. So she loves control, and in her first meeting with Sherlock, she learns her normal methods of manipulating people aren't going to work.
The reason Sherlock knew where Irene was and created a plan on how to save her was because he'd been keeping tabs on her ever since she pleaded for help when he cracked her phone code.
Ultimately, what gives Sherlock his eureka-moment and enables him to guess the pass-code for the phone? Irene taunting him about being a virgin. If she'd kept her mouth shut, she may well have gotten away with it.
It may be that when John is approached by a strange, beautiful woman standing outside his door, he initially assumes that she's a prostitute. note And hey, she works for Irene, which means she may well be a sex worker of some description. She asks what he's up to on New Year, and he responds by asking what she had in mind, which all sounds very much like a PG rated proposition. If this was the case, it would show that John has been emotionally tense over Sherlock's moping around to a point where he's willing to abandon his friend for a random prostitute.
Jeanette tells John that his devotion to Sherlock is heartwarming when he [Sherlock] can't even remember her name. The thing is, it's fairly clear that Sherlock can remember it. Sarah hadn't been in the picture for nearly an in-universe year, is totally different to Jeanette, and once Sherlock had gotten in the insult about her being the "boring teacher" he easily came up with her name. Seconds after Jeanette says this to John, he confuses her with "the last one"- a dick move that gets him dumped on the spot and which is played as a genuine mistake on his part. Sherlock can keep perfect track of John's girlfriends- John himself can't.
When Molly tells Sherlock in the lab that "we all do silly things", he responds with "Yes- they do, don't they? Very silly." She said that we all do silly things, but Sherlock changes the tense as if she'd said people do silly things. Because Sherlock is arrogant enough to exclude himself from ever having done silly things. "They" do. "He" doesn't. On the other hand, he says "They do, don't they," not "You do, don't you." Which would have been more natural for both Sherlock and the grammatical circumstances. It might be significant that while he's excluding himself from silly humans, he brought her into the bubble with him.
Mycroft looks so taken aback and confused when his telling Mrs Hudson to "shut up" doesn't go over very well with Sherlock, John or Mrs Hudson herself. Word Of God more or less spells out in the commentary of A Scandal In Belgravia that Mycroft and Sherlock come from Old Money. The "Sherlocked" scene, as well as a couple of earlier ones including Mycroft's HBSOD, apparently take place in Mycroft's home, which the writers speculate is actually the Holmes "ancestral pile." The reason Mycroft may have been so dismissive of Mrs Hudson, and then shocked when called on it, may lie in Mrs Hudson's claim to not be Sherlock and John's housekeeper, but then behaving like their housekeeper anyway. In Mycroft (and Sherlock's) upbringing, it was probably perfectly acceptable to speak to "the help" in that fashion. Mycroft doesn't understand that to Sherlock and John, Mrs Hudson isn't just their housekeeper or "the help", she's their surrogate mother.
Mrs Hudson is convinced on first meeting John that he and Sherlock are lovers. This carries on into The Great Game where she makes an offhand remark about them having "a little domestic." But she stops doing it in season two- and that's probably because between The Great Game and A Scandal in Belgravia John's implied to have had next door to a parade of women in and out of Baker Street.
Mycroft and Sherlock have a conversation in a morgue corridor about how "caring is not an advantage"; Mycroft tells Sherlock there's nothing wrong with not caring about people. But then the two brothers part ways with Sherlock wishing Mycroft a Merry Christmas, and Mycroft in turn wishing him a Happy New Year. They're both 'guilty' of caring, even if this comes out in odd ways or isn't extended to every soul they know.
Mycroft may be claiming that he doesn't care about people, but watch his face when he first sees the "bashed up" face on the corpse Sherlock has just identified. Sherlock's face doesn't change in the least, but Mycroft looks briefly perturbed.
Walking the line between Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror- when Sherlock calls Lestrade about the break-in and the burglar, it's fully light outside. By the time the police and ambulance actually arrive, it's much later, and completely dark. It seems that once he'd been reassured that Mrs Hudson and John were both fine, Lestrade made no effort at all to hurry sending the ambulance over. He also doesn't pursue the issue, even knowing full well that Sherlock has just nearly killed someone. Lestrade seems to have more in common with Sherlock than you'd first think. He's fond of Mrs Hudson and of John, and probably completely supported Sherlock badly injuring someone who would threaten or hurt them.
However hurt Sherlock must've felt after finding out Irene was actually alive and was just screwing with him, it seemed like part of him was actually happy to find out she's okay. One of the first things he does was to finally breaks his "fast" and nabs some food from Mrs. Hudson's fridge. Of course, throwing a guy out a window multiple times probably helped too.
It may seem strange how Sherlock deduced Irene's attraction to him through her physiological cues when Molly has been all but throwing herself at him and yet he didn't notice until this very episode. However, Sherlock always seems to think faster whenever he's under duress, whether it be a time limit, a kiss, or anger.
There was a lot of flak over Irene Adler being a high-class dominatrix in this episode, believing that it's degrading to have a brilliant character reduced to sex work. It is true that the original Irene Adler's former profession was as an operatic contralto (a seemingly much more dignified profession), but in the Victorian Era, a woman in the performing arts (be she an actress, singer, dancer, or in Irene's case, a former opera singer) was considered to be no better than a prostitute. In addition, Conan Doyle's Adler is described as an "adventuress" — defined in Merriam-Webster as "a female adventurer; especially : one who seeks position or livelihood by questionable means", in thefreedictionary.com as "A woman who seeks social and financial advancement by unscrupulous means", and in the OED as (in part) "a woman who looks for chances of personal advancement, esp. by using her sexuality". The implication, especially in the context given above, is obvious. No wonder the King was concerned about the picture of him and Irene Adler—it was the equivalent of a royal member being caught on camera with an infamous dominatrix. So, Moffat wasn't degrading Irene—he was using applicability to maintain Irene's provocative side.
There are two times when Sherlock gets the upper hand dealing with Irene Adler and in both he somehow involves or at least mentions John while he neither is present nor has any significant role. It shows either John's high position in Sherlock's mind or Sherlock's particular interest to impress John above all people.
First when he has deciphered the email and John has left him alone with Irene (who has some potential intentions to have Sherlock right on the desk) for a couple of hours and what Sherlock does is talking to John who is not there and totally ignoring the presence of the woman.
The second time is when Sherlock has deduced the password during which only Mycroft and Irene are present. He begins his deduction with mentioning what John Watson believes about love in his (Sherlock's) opinion and then goes to explain his true one (which is so brilliant and so scientific).
When Sherlock thought Irene was dead, he was obviously going through a serious grief reaction ("He doesn't eat, barely talks"); but shortly after learning that she was alive, we saw him making teasing conversation in Mrs Hudson's kitchen ("England would fall!") while raiding her refrigerator. John later asks, "So, she's alive then. How are we feeling about that?" — but he already has his answer.
What Irene achieved with Sherlock is quite remarkable, aside from beating the great detective with a whip and having the privilege to flirt at him over messages; she was the woman, who kissed him when he was out in bed, slept in his bed wearing his cloths and had his intense grief – a sentiment after all - over her fake death. And finally she was the losing opponent that he considered not boring to save from a deserved ending.
Look carefully at the sequence of events surrounding Phil's visit to Baker Street. He arrives unexpectedly; Mrs Hudson shouts towards the staircase and upwards, towards John's bedroom, "Boys! You've got another one!" Later we see Sherlock dressed entirely in a bedsheet, handling the case via John and Skype — but Phil is still in the flat. Obvious conclusion: either Sherlock was dressed when Phil arrived and stripped to his skin while a client was there, or Sherlock was in John's bedroom in a state of complete undress.
On first watching the scene where Irene seems to be winning, you might think that Sherlock feels hurt when she says that Moriarty calls him "the Virgin" and then adds that he's (Moriarty) "her kind of man". It takes another viewing to realize that this is when he finally puts all the fragments of the puzzle together. She can't refuse herself the enjoyment (remember, she's a dominatrix) of humiliating him by addressing his lack of sexual experience and praising his archenemy, despite the fact that she has seemingly already won. Just the kind of person who could not refuse herself the thrill of knowing that the precious password is there in plain sight, all this with her life being at stake. Then there's of course the big hint that she can't help herself making erotic allusions.
Fridge Brilliance: The Hounds of Baskerville
The name of the episode puts the word "hounds" plural- it might be assumed the real one [the biggish dog bought by the pub owners] and the vision everyone puts on it. Actually, those hounds are one and the same -fear and stimulus. The other hound is the one in the lab John only sees because Sherlock told him to.
When Lestrade shows up in Grimpen, John, for the very first and last time to date, addresses him by his first name. This may not just be a gag (we finally learn the first name of a man ACD didn't even bother to give a first name to!) and a demonstration that John and Lestrade seem to have a friendship outside of Sherlock (who doesn't know his name is Greg.) Lestrade has just mysteriously shown up in Grimpen with a heavy suntan, wearing casual(ish) clothing and sunglasses indoors. He's clearly not on duty or, if he's there as a police officer, it may have occurred to John that he might be undercover. Which makes it rather horrifying that the deductive genius who is SHERLOCK very loudly addresses him not as "Lestrade" but as "Inspector," as well as helpfully tacking on words like "spy" and "incognito." If Lestrade had been undercover during something important, Sherlock could have got him killed or, at the least, ruined the whole operation by outing him as a police officer in the most blatant way possible. It's only after learning that Mycroft sent Lestrade that John comments on him being a detective from Scotland Yard.
In Belgravia, Sherlock tells Irene that he's never begged for mercy in his life. Although Irene was talking about begging for mercy in a BDSM kind of way, Sherlock seems to have meant he'd never begged for mercy about anything, and he probably hasn't. Then, in the opening couple of minutes of Baskerville, we see Sherlock go straight from demanding John get him some cigarettes to pathetically begging him- "Tell me where they are, please... please... I'll let you know next week's lottery numbers!"
By this episode, Sherlock seems to have realised that John will probably never have his deductive observation skills, and he- in turn- will probably never have John's people skills. They seem to have worked out an actual strategy about this, and it's used no less than three times in-episode: on first arriving at the pub, in the Baskerville base, and just before the 'mind palace' sequence. That is: Sherlock looks, John talks. At the pub, John manages to get as much info as possible about the Grimpen Minefield while Sherlock snoops around the premises. In the Baskerville base, John is the one asking most of the questions while Sherlock trails behind looking about. And while Sherlock is testing the sugar, John manages to get Stapleton, who had earlier refused to tell Sherlock anything about her work at Baskerville, to talk about all sorts of incredibly unethical experiments, including human cloning, and to make a full confession about Bluebell the rabbit. It's worth noting that when Sherlock attempts to do the talking, it frequently ends in disaster. He makes a terrible mess of talking to Dr Stapleton in the Baskerville base, arousing a serious amount of suspicion (they would have been caught anyway once the security breach came in, but Sherlock's questions are that incompetent, and show such ignorance of the Official Secrets Act, that Stapleton laughs at him in disbelief). He also manages to immediately put Fletcher on the defensive so that he refuses to have a normal conversation with him, prompting the need for the pretend bet.
Sherlock comments early in the episode that people who don't believe in coincidence lead "dull lives." He's referring to the fact that he just happened to come across Kirsty Stapleton's mother. Later in the episode, his efforts to deduce where the drug was failed (initially), because he didn't factor in that John would be coincidentally dosed with it, from a source that Sherlock at that point wasn't even aware of, at more or less the same time that Sherlock had attempted to drug his coffee. That he and John could have been coincidentally drugged in quite different ways never seems to occur to him.
Remember when Sherlock told Lestrade that his (Lestrade's) wife was sleeping with a PE teacher? Guess who's not wearing a wedding ring.◊ Guess who's in fact very obviously not wearing a wedding ring any more.
When Sherlock and John are leaving for Dartmoor, they see Mrs Hudson arguing with the man she's been "after" and who Sherlock had revealed had a wife already. John says wryly "looks like Mrs Hudson finally got to the wife in Doncaster." The conversation between the three of them, where Sherlock had told Mrs Hudson about the wife in Doncaster in quite a cruel way, is implied to have happened the day before. Finally? The word heavily implies that although Sherlock thought he was the only one who knew about the wife in Doncaster, John did as well- or at least suspected. Only he didn't tell Mrs Hudson about her in such a brutal, tactless way. It puts an extra spin on John's horrified "Sherlock!" when Sherlock blurts out the news. He wasn't scolding Sherlock for knowing about it, after all, he was trying to get across that all because you know something doesn't mean you have to share it.
Once Sherlock is out on the moors and has his experience in seeing "the hound", he goes to pieces and his reasoning skills are put to the test. The point he makes, and he's correct, is that emotion clouds his abilities (and that's why he tries to not get emotions involved.) This is neatly demonstrated much earlier than this, though, way back when he's tearing through 221B like a whirlwind desperate for his cigarettes. He's Sherlock Holmes, and John Watson is the most transparent liar in the world. If he'd calmed down instead of getting angry and aggressive, he'd have no doubt found the cigarettes inside of three seconds flat. They weren't exactly cunningly hidden, and he can read John like a book by now. Plus, there's the issue of outside stimuli/drugs. Sherlock might like the idea that he was acting so out of character because of a drug, as if his mind in its pristine drug-free condition was perfect. But in the opening scenes in Baker Street Sherlock's moods are going crazy- and his judgment is off- because he hasn't got access to a drug he's addicted to.
There's another remark made in those scenes that comes back in a surprising way. John orders Sherlock to apologise to Mrs Hudson for upsetting her. Sherlock responds that he envies John. While he turns this into a typical Sherlock insult about John's mind being "placid, straightforward, and barely used", throughout the rest of the episode we see that Sherlock, in a way, really does envy the way John's mind works. John is straightforward; Henry describes him as exactly that. When he sees the need to apologise, he does; when he sees the hound, he has no qualms with bursting out with "I was wrong", when he discusses the issue with Sherlock later, he points out with no shame that he was "terrified" and "scared to death." Sherlock on the other hand suffers a great deal in the episode because he can't just apologize when he's hurt people, he can't freely admit that he was wrong, and he can't bring himself to properly express ordinary human emotions like fear. The scenes in Baker Street at first glance seem to be funny banter before the story gets underway, but many important themes are laid out very clearly there.
After the night at the inn, Sherlock is trying to apologise to John in his own weird way - by making John feel appreciated. He compares John to a 'conductor of light,' but before that, the first thing he exclaims is "You are amazing! Fantastic!" Sound familiar? He's effectively repeating John's first compliments back at him, which shows that he's trying to exercise some rudimentary, primitive form of empathy: He wants to compliment John, isn't sure how to do it, so chooses the things that made him feel good when he heard them, assuming that John would appreciate them as well. It really shows how much Sherlock was impacted by John's acceptance of him back in the first episode, as well.
Some of the fanbase complains that Sherlock acts too emotional and manic in Baskerville, clashing with what was previously established of his character. But remember the influence he's under in that episode: Going cold turkey on cigarettes, and a hallucinogenic drug that stimulates fear and paranoia and is implied to affect an overactive mind like Sherlock's on a stronger level. He's doubting himself, has no experience dealing with such a thing, and is honestly freaked out. Making people act like not themselves is exactly what drugs do to people, and watching Sherlock act out is uncomfortable exactly the way watching your otherwise decent friend or relative show withdrawal would be.
In Baskerville: A case of Reality Is Unrealistic: What Sherlock calls his "Mind Palace" actually is a real memory technique that exists, complete with the somewhat ridiculous hand gestures and wild associations.
Also in Baskerville, Mycroft is seen texting Sherlock, despite having been characterized as someone who only texts when he has no way of talking. In Reichenbach we find out that he was at the Diogenes Club, where uttering even a single word is an offense that, if it happens three times, will be met with expulsion from the club...
Before they're about to go into Baskerville for a second time, Sherlock explains to John that he'll have to go searching for the hound on his own because Sherlock has to talk to Major Barrymore. He then uses the line; "Could be dangerous." - a call back to A Study In Pink. We know that, from Sherlock to John, this isn't a warning for caution, it's Sherlock's way of baiting John because he knows he's excited by the idea of throwing himself into danger. At this point Sherlock believes he's drugged John with whatever caused himself to become so afraid on the moors and isn't certain when the effects will begin to take hold of John or if they've already begun. He uses the line even though John doesn't show any resistance to the plan; just to give his confidence an extra boost as Sherlock is aware that the experiment he's going to set up for him will be a terrifying experience.
At the time when Sherlock tells John "I don't have friends", little does he know that Lestrade is already preparing to make the trip to Dartmoor to keep an eye on him, make sure he's okay, and join in on his and John's adventure. Not (just) because Mycroft told him to, but because whether Sherlock realises it or not, Lestrade is his friend- Sherlock is wrong the next day when he counts Lestrade out and tells John he only has one friend... and he's proven wrong less than thirty seconds later! It's also a bit Fridge Horror that after being so distressed at the idea of not having friends, Sherlock's reaction to Lestrade is to be outrageously rude and aggressive toward him- it's like he honestly can't help himself. On some level, he's lonely and longs for friends- and then he treats them like crap, because he's broken like that, and he honestly doesn't know any better.
In the abovementioned scene when Lestrade arrives, John addresses him as "Greg" and Sherlock does a double-take of confusion and, for a brief second, almost anger. It's after this that he assumes "Greg" is an alias of some kind, which means that he would have to have assumed that John was "in on" this little arrangement orchestrated by Mycroft and was playing along with the alias. Even though it's been made abundantly clear to him from the start that John will not side with Mycroft, and certainly won't spy on him on Mycroft's request. Given his words about not having friends the night before, and that he's only just then got John to start talking to him again, you can forgive the poor guy for being intensely paranoid that everyone is in some kind of conspiracy against him.
When Sherlock "sees" the hound, he has an attack of Not So Stoic and is more rattled than we've ever seen him. At first it seems as if he's afraid of the hound—after all, the creature he describes sounds terrifying, and it certainly scared Henry out of his mind. In retrospect, what was frightening Sherlock was not the hound itself, but the fact that he was seeing something that didn't make sense. His mind and his eyes, the only two things he trusts, were contradicting each other, and therefore the foundation of his existence was essentially crumbling. It's no wonder his hands were shaking.
During the climactic scene in the Hollow in particular, we see some pretty varied responses from the characters, all stemming from the same stimulus- fear. Sherlock freezes up (the first time he sees the hound, he simply does nothing) and then, very much in-character, he starts frantically rationalising, not just to Henry but to himself. John goes into fight-or-flight (flight when he's locked in the lab, fight when he's got a gun in his hand) Lestrade verbalises and vents it with "oh my God, oh Christ" and Henry has a full-fledged screaming meltdown. Comparing the scenes where Sherlock first sees the hound and when John is apparently locked in the lab with it, there's so much difference in how these two very different men responded to being afraid. Sherlock was brought to tears; John almost collapsed on the spot. Sherlock assumed he was losing his mind, John assumed he was going to die.
John asks Dr Stapleton about cloning, then urges her about human cloning. She calmly tells him that while human cloning isn't particularly shocking to her or to the research scientists she works with, it isn't done, "not here- not at Baskerville." The emphasis on not at Baskerville heavily hints that she knows human cloning is being done elsewhere. Where? Probably Porton Down, which is also mentioned in the episode and which is a real place.
When Lestrade shows up, he tells Sherlock: "Look, I'm not your handler. And I don't just do what your brother tells me." There's a significant gap between "your" and "brother" which, along with Lestrade's tone, that highly implies that Lestrade doesn't have a lot of time for Mycroft Holmes. The pause could possibly be Lestrade self-censoring an intensifier, e.g. "your bloody brother."
Adorable fridge brilliance from the same scene. The very first time Lestrade sees John Watson in A Study in Pink he totally and utterly blanks him. The second time, at the Brixton crime scene, he asks Sherlock who John is in front of him as if he isn't there. Here, Lestrade actually interrupts Sherlock ranting and raving at him, and makes a point of specifically and warmly greeting John.
When Dr Frankland mentions to John that he particularly liked the story of the Aluminium Crutch, John seems a little irritated. This isn't addressed in the actual series, but the probable reason for it can be found in John's writeup on his blog. He's being praised by all and sundry (including royalty) on his writeup of one of the very few cases that he didn't even help Sherlock with. He was on a date at the time and his writeup consists of Sherlock's voicemails explaining how he'd solved the case.
(YMMV) When Sherlock rips the gasmask off Dr Frankland's face, he sees Moriarty. But why does Sherlock fear Moriarty so much? Because Moriarty is the only person who has attacked Sherlock not physically or intellectually, but by threatening Sherlock's heart, sending Irene after him to toy with his emotions and putting John in actually physical danger. Had neither of those happened to Sherlock, it's unlikely that Moriarty is what Sherlock would have seen, considering how much fun he had been having with him in The Great Game.
In the original Hound of the Baskervilles, everybody except Holmes believed the hound to be a supernatural apparition, but it turned out to be a real (aggressive, large, and glow-in-the-dark) dog. In The Hounds of Baskerville, everyone thinks that a flesh-and-blood, genetically modified dog is attacking people... but it turns out to be the effect of hallucinogenic drugs, essentially a ghost of the mind.
John shoots the dog with the gun he's just taken off Henry, who was about to commit suicide with it. Not only was this handy in that he happened to have a loaded, ready-to-go gun in his hand when he needed one, it also speaks to the fact that Lestrade (it seems) still doesn't know for a fact that John still owns, and uses, his (illegal) service pistol. If John had used his own gun, either he would have had some explaining to do to the DI about why he had one, or Lestrade would have had to turn a very blind eye to what had happened...
In reference to the above, all of them are hallucinating. To each of them, that dog is however scary their own minds can make it. While Sherlock seems frozen, Henry is panicking but Lestrade and John shoot at the dog. And in magnificent callback to John's nearly superhuman shooting skills, Lestrade shoots three times and misses.John shoots twice and kills the dog. While hallucinating.
In the above scene, both Sherlock and John seem very out-of-character when they arrive at the Hollow to find Henry with a gun in his mouth. Logically, by freaking out and raising their voices, both of them are actually fueling Henry's own meltdown (shouting isn't going to calm him down.) They both should, and probably DO, know this. But the so-called high-functioning sociopath freaks out, blurting out "No, Henry, no!" and John, who is rarely reduced to a panicked mess about anything (including Sherlock's own apparent suicide in the next episode) ends up shouting "No no no... Henry, for God's sake!" Why the sudden Oo C reactions? The H.O.U.N.D gas they have no idea they're standing in. Finding Henry with a gun in his mouth is plenty of stimulus for a hell of a lot of fear.
Having coffee with Henry, John declines sugar. Not only is this for the audience's benefit to set up the later coffee/sugar drama, it also seems to be the first time Sherlock has realised that John doesn't take sugar in his coffee- despite being his best friend and flatmate for a total of fourteen in-universe months. John really wasn't kidding when he later says Sherlock never makes coffee, and it explains how he totally buys that Sherlock didn't actually know he doesn't take sugar.
John's initial reaction to Major Barrymore. Barrymore's clearly a cross, alpha-male type, and knows that scowling at people and demanding to know what the bloody hell is going on usually intimidates. Even Sherlock seems rattled, blurting out unconvincing reasons for doing an inspection while almost running away. Corporal Lyons seems terrified of Barrymore. John isn't- because of his previous career as an army doctor. He's no doubt known higher-ranking officers who've behaved like this. He's also no doubt had to treat them at their most vulnerable, when they were sick or injured, where he was in a position of power, regardless of anyone's rank. He's aware that Barrymore isn't some military robot, but a human being who bleeds when he's hurt and probably whines like everyone else when he comes down with the flu. Given those sort of considerations, Barrymore becomes a whole lot less scary.
Fridge Brilliance: The Reichenbach Fall
Moriarty loves newspapers, fairy tales and especially pretty grim/Grimm ones. Beautiful Brothers Grimm's tales or very dark ones? Apparantly both.
After Sherlock is locked up in contempt of court, John faithfully bails him out again, all the while bitching that he told him not to get clever, and generally acting like he's mortified by Sherlock's behaviour. But while Sherlock might have got himself locked up simply for his smart mouth, later John almost cheerfully gets himself arrested for assaulting a police officer. It's a perfect demonstration of the old proverb "a good friend will bail you out of jail. A BEST friend won't, because they'll be right there with you in the cell saying "damn, what are we going to do now?""
During Sherlock's note, he tells John he researched him- looked up everything he could about him to impress him. Of course he didn't (or at least we've been led to believe he didn't). But if you watch A Study in Pink, John goes home after meeting Sherlock for the first time and runs his name through a search engine, finds his website (and possibly other stuff too) and spends some time researching Sherlock. Not to impress him, but because he was impressed with him. Of course, he makes absolutely no secret of this, downright saying at the earliest opportunity "I looked you up on the internet last night... found your website."
There's one line in A Study in Pink that hints that Sherlock's claim to have researched John may not have been entirely a lie. He makes an offhand comment about John being a "war hero." Hero, not veteran. There's a later comment in John's blog from Bill, making a reference to the fact that John has at least one medal (and it's implied not to be a standard service medal.) Running John's name through a search engine might not have yielded anything about his family life, or at least not about an obscure sister named Harry, but it might have yielded mention of him if he'd been honoured by the military or involved in something high-profile or was mentioned as a casualty in a media report. In Baskerville, Sherlock tells John that all because he heard someone calling their dog "Whiskey" doesn't mean it was "cheating", it was simply listening. It's not at all clear that Sherlock would consider researching John to be "cheating", especially since his deductions about Harry, Clara and the psychosomatic limp seem to be honest, non-cheating deductions. It would also make sense that, while John was researching Sherlock, Sherlock was similarly drawn to John and decided to research him right back.
Maybe he read about John somewhere and didn't specifically recall it until after they met, like his memory trick in "Baskerville".
Fugitives Sherlock and John end up in the lab of St Bart's. Molly clearly knows they're there- she had spoken to Sherlock there before John arrived, and evidently spent some time after that doing whatever it was that Sherlock needed her to do for him. It's hard to imagine that she also doesn't know that the pair of them had earlier been arrested and therefore needed somewhere to lie low for a bit. Given that she knows Lestrade well enough to spend the previous Christmas Eve in his company socially, and to know he spends his Christmases in Dorset and that his marriage had been in trouble the previous year, it's highly unlikely that Lestrade wouldn't have been in touch with her that morning. Which leads to the speculation that she either had to lie to Lestrade in order to hide her friends, or that Lestrade knew entirely well that Sherlock and John were in the lab and was working with Molly to hide them.
When Moriarty shakes Sherlock's hand at the end, Sherlock cocks his head in a slightly puzzled manner, looking at him in confusion... at least, that's what you realise when you notice that Moriarty used his right hand to shake hands with him, despite being left-handed (as we see earlier in the episode, with the teacup). Moriarty left his main hand free to grab his gun and kill himself, and Sherlock has just enough time to notice that.
YMMV, as it's generally customary to shake hands with the right hand regardless of whether you're right-handed or not. In A Study in Pink, you can see John (who is also left-handed) shift his cane from his right hand to his left briefly in order to shake hands with Sherlock.
Sure, but would Sherlock know that? Unless it seemed important to a case, that seems like something he'd delete within seconds of learning, if he even paid that much attention to it at all.
In A Study in Pink, the cabbie tells Sherlock "See, no-one ever thinks about the cabbie. You're just the back of an 'ead. Proper advantage for a serial killer." In The Reichenbach Fall, Sherlock gets into a cab that Jim Moriarty is driving, and neither he nor John (who hailed the cab) have apparently learned that it's a good idea to at least glance at your friendly taxi driver before getting in.
They probably did learn, but at this point they seem to be too distracted and shaken to think about it, especially if you remember that in ACD canon,note The Final Problem, no less Sherlock warns John to never get into the first or second cab that drives up to him if he suspects trouble. But Sherlock appears to be in a daze ever since the little girl screamed (which would've clued him in as to what Moriarty was planning for him) - he keeps conversation to terse one-liners and obviously just wants to get back to base and think in peace.
Which in turn could also mean that Sherlock at least partly suspected that something bad was going to happen to him on the drive back to Baker Street. Even if he's too dazed to focus on the cabbie, he seems to be on edge more so than normal and we've never seen him order John to stay away from him like that before. He may have deliberately distanced himself from John so that if anyone did try to hurt him then John wouldn't be caught in the crossfire.
Also, not only was Moriarty's first crime committed also the first Sherlock investigated, but the first crime that Sherlock specifically knew was orchestrated by "Moriarty" was about a cab driver who terrified people into committing suicide "by taking to them for a long time" (further connecting to John's joke about the mannequin Sherlock hanged).
The Chief Superintendent is appalled at Lestrade giving Sherlock access to all sorts of classified information- he tells Lestrade to shut up, shouts at him that he's a bloody idiot, and orders him to bring Sherlock in. Nobody brings up the fact that John Watson was also given classified information. At one point in The Blind Banker, (which admittedly is not a case Lestrade worked on, lamentably) DI Dimmock actually gives John the diary of one of the victims- and Sherlock isn't even with him at the time. John's not even an amateur detective, he's more or less the amateur detective's PA/handler.
While Donovan thinks Sherlock is a psychopath who's crossed the line, it apparently never even occurs to her that John could have helped him. Her attitude toward John has always been a bit ambiguous, but although she's quick to put down Sherlock, she's always seemed quite decent toward John. Lestrade ignores all implications that Sherlock is involved, because he likes him. Donovan ignores the implications that if Sherlock is involved, John either helped or at least knew about it... because she likes him.
When Lestrade is ordered to arrest Sherlock, he calls John the very first chance he gets to warn him. He may well have just wanted John to let Sherlock know what was happening, and for them to both be sorted out and prepared by the time the police arrived. But judging from his reaction when they go on the lam, Lestrade's phone call may have been in the hopes that by the time the police arrived, Sherlock (and perhaps John) would be nowhere to be found...
One of the very first exchanges between Sherlock and John in A Study in Pink involves John making the mistake of referring to Sherlock as an "amateur" and Sherlock launching into a Sherlock Scan of John that he wraps up with "you were right. The police don't consult amateurs."(Implying "because I'm not one.") He's quite offended by the idea. In The Reichenbach Fall, count how many times Sherlock is called or referred to as an "amateur" both by the press and by the police...
There's been some confusion about the significance of the I.O.U. clue. It's probable you missed the third one - that's right, there's three. Watch the scene where Sherlock pretends to take John hostage. Pay careful attention to the wall they back away towards. There's an I.O.U. graffitied on it, with black angel wings, no less. Three gunmen. Three bullets. Three victims. Three I.O.U's. The apple in the flat. The building opposite New Scotland Yard. Baker Street. John, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson.
In an early scene at Baker Street, John casually walks past a dummy hanging in the kitchen by a rope around its neck, and snarks at Sherlock "So... did you just talk to him for a really long time?" Sherlock's response is that the victim in question didn't commit suicide, and "the Bow Street Runners missed everything." The Bow Street Runners being a precursor to Britain's police force, hinting the case is probably at least two hundred years old. In any case? In the end, Jim did just talk to Sherlock for a really long time, and Sherlock didn't commit suicide. No doubt Sherlock is going to later claim that there were plenty of clues in this episode, and bitch that John, Lestrade, the rest of Scotland Yard and millions of television viewers "missed everything."
Sherlock is really quite harsh on the Bow Street Runners, considering that their job was more or less to patrol the streets and arrest anyone caught red-handed committing a crime- they were not detectives, and certainly would not have had the skills or means to investigate whether or not an apparent suicide was actually a murder. Of course they "missed everything."
It's possible that what Sherlock meant was that the man in question never committed suicide but was in fact murdered. However, he never says that. It's possible that Sherlock had been investigating not someone who was murdered but thought to have committed suicide, but someone who was thought to have committed suicide but faked his own death. Although it seems that the man in questioned died by hanging and not by a fall onto asphalt, Sherlock still may then have used aspects of that case in his own fake suicide, making what seems like a random interlude almost an instance of Chekhov's Skill.
It's been wondered how Sherlock could have faked not having a pulse. But he didn't need to. John never takes his pulse; he puts his hand on Sherlock's wrist, but in a way that he couldn't possibly have taken a pulse. He then tries to, pleading "let me just check,"- and then someone literally prises his hand off Sherlock's wrist and he's kept away by bystanders as Sherlock's body is carted off. The bystanders seem to be comforting John and in a way they probably are, but their primary purpose seems to be to keep him away from Sherlock.
In addition, this troper noticed a man in a suit with a stethoscope around his neck. This was not the strange part, however- the man was taking Sherlock's pulse with his fingers. Why would he do that if he had a (much more accurate) stethoscope? Could the stethoscope have been simply a costume?
In the scene at Kitty's house, when "Richard Brook" stumbles into the scene, Brook/Jim tells John that he knows that he's a good man, and begs him not to hurt him. Effectively identifying two things: John is a "good man" (in the sense that he does have a strong moral principle that Sherlock usually lacks) and he is far more likely than Sherlock to lash out at Jim physically (and he definitely seems about to.) Why does Jim know this? Because the last time he had a confrontation with Sherlock, John showed no hesitation in grabbing him and going from being Jim's hostage to taking Jim as his hostage, expecting that he would probably be killed for it, in order to help Sherlock escape. The confrontation at the pool happened an in-universe year before. Clearly, that display of reckless bravery must have made quite an impression on Jim.
The Chief Superintendent of Scotland Yard calls Sherlock a "weirdo"; John punches him. What's interesting is that, in justifying the "weirdo" remark, the C.S remarks "often are (weirdos), these vigilante types." What he doesn't know is that Sherlock isn't a vigilante; he solves crimes for fun, not because of a pressing sense of compassion or justice. John, as Sherlock pointed out the night he met him, has a "strong moral principle." He cares about the victims, and while he does get his adrenaline fix out of solving crimes with Sherlock, he cares about righting wrongs and about justice. John is the vigilante weirdo. Which makes it even more satisfying that he punched someone for saying it.
Kitty Reilly has "Make Believe" on her wall. It's two lines, though, which can be read in three different ways- the usual "fairytale" way, or "make [people] believe" or "invent believable things"- both good mottoes for a journalist with no morals.
When Kitty approaches Sherlock in the men's bathroom, he dismisses her, but he only really rounds on her when she blocks his escape and threatens to run a story on how Sherlock and John's relationship is not just 'platonic.' Sherlock has never, not once, even bothered to react to various people assuming he and John are gay before now. That he does so now is Fridge Brilliance in two ways- the first being that he's finally realised that John doesn't like that. He may have been ranting and raving about the deerstalker at the time, but he surely picked up how annoyed John was about the "bachelor" newspaper story. Secondly, this is the very first time anyone has used the assumption that Sherlock and John are gay in a nasty or threatening way. She's clearly expressing the idea of the story as a threat, indicating she knows there's a pretty good chance they aren't gay, people will assume they are anyway, and that Sherlock can be blackmailed into giving an interview to prevent such a "shameful" story coming out. Everyone else who's assumed Sherlock and John are gay lovers have been totally cool with it and happy for them.
Also, it's been noted by many that, after the above happens, Sherlock's body language changes and becomes (arguably) very sexually charged; there's a mutual invasion of personal space, held gazes, etc. This seems very out of character for Sherlock. But if the sexual connotations of what Sherlock is doing are deliberate on both the part of the filmmakers and the part of the character of Sherlock, then it's possible that the mention of John is why it's deliberate.
In the Reichenbach Fall court scene, Sherlock was his usual self in front of the judge and the jury and got himself locked up for contempt against the court. Sherlock was repeatedly admonished by John beforehand not to do so, which makes his behavior completely unacceptable, except it's not Sherlock trying to be clever and superior. He's shown in the past he can act normal to get into crime scenes and people's homes with little difficulty. In all likelihood, he's suffering from stage fright and nervousness as he usually prefers to avoid direct contact with people, to the point of preferring texting to calling people, so he probably acting defensively in front of so many people by analyzing them to calm himself down.
Yes. He seems honestly very apprehensive in the police car beforehand. Just prior to being held in contempt he looks up at John for some sort of reassurance; on seeing John's disapproving expression his own expression changes, but he just can't seem to help himself, and is quite apologetic to John when he bails him out afterwards.
That Sherlock does so poorly in the witness box is really a heartwarming testimony to his friendship with John. In the sequences where he is being lauded as the "Reichenbach Hero", John is always by his side to speak for him, or quietly correct his manners, or instruct him on how to react and behave. Sherlock, by this time, does what John tells him without too much questioning, particularly when John insists he needs to get the business with the deerstalker "over with" and just play along for civility's sake. Sherlock, in being put in a witness box, is now being separated from John, who is too far away to really do anything to help except try to convey his thoughts via facial expression. Without John's help, Sherlock doesn't really know what to do or say, which gets him in trouble inside of about thirty seconds. Upshot: socially, Sherlock can't function without John.
When Sherlock and Jim are taking tea in 221B, Sherlock asks him how he intends to "burn" him. Jim responds, "I did tell you. But did you listen?" He's just finished talking about how he threatened the loved ones of the twelve jurors to ensure a not guilty verdict. That's exactly how he intended to burn Sherlock. He even then taps out in binary "there is no key." If Sherlock was listening, then the rooftop sequence plays totally differently- although he couldn't have expected Jim to commit suicide, Sherlock knew about there being no key WAY in advance, and told Jim he thought he had a code-key so that he wouldn't suspect that he knew what Jim's real game was, using his friends as leverage- though probably he only expected Jim to use John again, as he had before. If Sherlock understood Jim here, then he was in pretty much total control on that roof, and was in fact in total control for most of the game.
When Sherlock tells Jim he doesn't need the code, " 'If I got you..." he adopts briefly Jim's sing-songy voice. The same sort of tone Jim himself used for "But did you listen?" It may well serve as a code for "yes, I was listening (and noted the above)" but that's perhaps Wild Mass Guessing until the next installment.
Another clue that Jim will use Sherlock's love of his friends as leverage: the last time he had talked about burning Sherlock was by the pool in The Great Game, where he said (in spectacular fashion) "I will burn you. I will burn the heart out of you".
John and Moriarty mirror each other- inadvertently but in the most amazing way- in The Reichenbach Fall. Foremostly, there is a repetition of two phrases: "I owe you," and "For Me." Compare Moriarty's constant use of "I owe you", with John's "I was so alone... and I owe you so much..." (emphasis mine.) On the rooftop, Moriarty urges Sherlock to kill himself, taunting "... for me?". At Sherlock's grave, John begs Sherlock "one more miracle, Sherlock, for me... don't be dead... would you do that, just for me?" It's a brilliant way of comparing Sherlock's worst enemy with his best friend. And then of course as it turns out Sherlock "killed himself," and presumably returned, just for his friends, of which John is clearly the best.
Another example of phrases coming up in different contexts: when Sherlock and John are called to Buckingham Palace in "Scandal", Watson asks Sherlock what they are doing there. Sherlock immediately replies "I don't know." In "Fall", when Moriarty visits him, he asks Sherlock if he has trouble saying "I don't know"- Sherlock sort of shrugs and gives a dismissive "I dunno" which Moriarty admits is a clever way out of an awkward question. Sherlock is obsessed with impressing Moriarty, apparently more than his best friend, who he loves to show off to. This could be Fridge Horror, emphasising Sherlock's unhealthy obsession, but could equally be rather sweet that Sherlock likes John enough to admit what Sherlock sees as a crippling weakness (not being able to know everything).
Sherlock does something that later seems quite out of character in A Study in Pink- he not only gets very obviously annoyed at himself for getting Harry's gender wrong (and starts ranting and raving about it in front of John) but he also admits "I wasn't expecting to get everything right," and "there's always SOMETHING (that I get wrong when I make deductions)". Later in the series he seems, as you point out, almost afraid to admit that he's ever wrong. Though he does conceded in Baskerville that the retired fisherman's "mother" could be an aunt or an older sister, though mother was more likely. He's really uncomfortable at admitting in the same episode that he got the location of the drug wrong; however, since that error came at John's expense, it's an understandable reaction.
There's another significant place that "I don't know" shows up- at Irene's place in Belgravia, when Sherlock, Irene and John are being held at gunpoint. Given the guns, Sherlock snottily says he doesn't know the code; when the CIA agent responds by threatening John with execution, Sherlock immediately panics and shows no hesitation in blurting out "I don't know the code. I don't know the code- she didn't give it to me- I DON'T know it!!" That's a lot of "I don't know"ing from someone who has a need to know everything.
If Sherlock had been nicer to Molly for the last five episodes, Jim would have numbered her among Sherlock's friends. She would have been shadowed by an assassin and she couldn't have helped Sherlock.
Who says Jim didn't "number her among Sherlock's friends"? There were originally four assassins, remember.
Except the assassins Moriarty set on Sherlock's friends were separate from the ones vying for his attention to get their hands on his special secret key code. More on this down under Fridge Horror, somewhere.
Look at what happens after Sherlock falls. Paramedics appear virtually within a minute, with no ambulance sirens beforehand, seemingly out of nowhere - and afterward, cart him off to some dark corner. They also keep John away from him. All part of the plan?
Admittedly, Sherlock falls off the roof of St. Bart's, which is a medical establishment.
St Bart's has no emergency department, so there should not have been any paramedics at the scene. Also, real paramedics would not have bodily heaved Sherlock up on that stretcher without putting a neck brace on him first. So yes—all part of the plan.
Also, if you watch the sequence carefully, you can see that four people pick Sherlock up off the ground, put him onto a stretcher and wheel him into the hospital with practiced precision. Two of them are paramedics, so its likely they are going through a routine they've done many times before. However, the other two are simply bystanders to Sherlock's fall- city boys judging by their clothing. There's no way they'd be that calm and precise, let alone allowed inside the casualty department. A small hint to the revelation at the end.
In the rooftop scene, of Reichenbach, Sherlock gives the audience, and John if he needed it, a big hint that he was lying about being a fake. He describes what he did as "a magic trick", and then tells John "I researched you." What he's doing is describing techniques that pretend "mediums" use to make others think they're genuinely psychic; the "magic trick" is called "cold reading", which is similar to what Sherlock actually does, using visual clues to make deductions about a person. Only, in Sherlock's case, there was never any deception or claims that he could simply do this because he was "psychic"; he told people exactly what he had noticed and how. Researching John is what is known as "warm reading"- researching your subject without them knowing so you can wow them with your information later. The amazed subject thinks it came out of the "psychic's" own head and not from talking to people who knew them, public records, etc. So. Which is it, Sherlock? Did you use a "magic trick" or did you straight up just research John? There is no real reason, given, that he couldn't do both, but he genuinely seems to change tack after explaining that it was a "magic trick" when John doesn't buy such a weak explanation.
There's another thing the "magic trick" line could be referencing: If you hold a rubber ball (remember what he kept playing with?) in your armpit, you cut off the blood supply to that arm, practically stopping your pulse. It's often called a magic trick (mind-over-matter, I-can-stop-my-heart-by-will-alone style) or a science trick.
It's also an echo of The Blind Banker, where Sebastian tells John that Sherlock had a "trick" he used to do in university, and Sherlock, offended, replies that it wasn't a trick and that he "merely observed."
The grammar in this scene is actually brilliant and hints at Sherlock's survival. He tells John "I researched you", using the past tense. Then he takes a pause. The next words out of his mouth are "It's a trick, it's just a magic trick". In the present tense. Considering how precise Sherlock always is, this sounds like he's trying to tip John off that what he's doing at that moment is a trick; he isn't referring to his reading of John at all.
As Sherlock points out to Moriarty, 'Richard Brook" is an English approximation of the German name "Reichenbach." A German friend of this troper immediately made this connection: "The Reichenbach Fall = The Fall of Richard Brook. Who exactly fell off that roof, really?
Also, on the roof Moriarty tells Sherlock, "You're me!" This could mean that Sherlock wasn't in fact the one who fell off the roof. Note that Moriarty says this after Sherlock tells him, "don't think for one second that I am one of [the angels]." Could that have been an illusion to not dying?
However, Fall can also simply translate to case, so it's either The Fall of Richard Brook, or the Case of Richard Brook. Deliberate ambiguity?
Moriarty's suicide. Being predominately of the factor 2 criteria of Psychopathy (criminality) correlates with a high suicide rate. Holmes seems to have predominately factor 1 traits (narcissistic), which correlates with a low suicide rate.
Have a look at the blog post for Sherlock's "death". Watch the video. There is no mention of Moriarty's body! Possible hint as to how Sherlock survived?
I just realised this, at first thinking it was just part of the alarms that had been triggered earlier, but when the police are rushing to the crown jewels, they run through a metal detector, which naturally, continually goes off due to the guns they're carrying.
It makes sense that Sherlock doesn't know what a deerstalker is. After all, who made them famous?
Of course John can't believe that Sherlock is a fake. In their final phone conversation, he says to Sherlock: "The first time we met, you knew all about my sister." Sherlock replies that he just looked all that stuff up to impress him. But he didn't know everything about John's sister — he got her gender wrong. If he had actually "researched" John, he would have known that he had a sister and not a brother. John must have realized this, and that would have made him certain that Sherlock was lying.
Molly confronts Sherlock when she is worried about him and says that if he needs her for anything, she will be willing to help. His response is a faltering "Why would I need you?", implying his lack of understanding about wanting to help someone you love unconditionally. This example of Sherlock's lack of co-dependence is touched on very briefly in Scandal when John tells Sherlock he'll be in the next room over if Sherlock needs anything, to which Sherlock responds "Why would I need you?". He may not want to need the support of people near him, but in Fall he (eventually) asks Molly for help outright, something we never saw in Scandal.
Sherlock is almost heartwarmingly ignorant of how much he does depend on other people- most specifically, John. When he asks John why he would need him, John's response is a good-naturedly sarcastic "no reason at all." Implying "oh wait, let me think. I've quite literally saved your life, I'm basically your PR manager, I take myself out to Dublin and all sorts of other places to facilitate your work, I interview witnesses and run errands, I play referee between you and your brother, I ensure you don't have too many social disasters and defend you when I really shouldn't, I do everything from book plane tickets for you to making sure you eat every now and again. I actually can't hold down a paying job, because making sure you're okay is my job. Also, Lestrade and I just rescued you from being sprawled unconscious on the floor of somebody's flat, took you home, and got you upstairs and into bed. You're right. I'm totally useless to you."
He's heartwarmingly ignorant of his own emotions in general, preferring logical explanations for everything. The kidnapping takes place two months after Sherlock had tea with Jim. So either a) Sherlock's spent two months looking sad around Molly but not John in anticipation of his own death and probably not understanding what he was feeling, or b) Sherlock has already intuited Moriarty's endgame and that this was the beginning of his "fall," but had not yet acknowledged that because of his preference for logic. Either way, it seems Sherlock is most himself around Molly, and she's the one who knows what he's anticipating. He just doesn't recognize that part of who he is or what he's feeling or intuiting.
John's total contempt for Mycroft giving Jim Sherlock's personal information becomes much more profound when you remember that, in A Study in Pink, John found himself confronted by someone he assumed to be a "criminal mastermind" of Moriarty-like calibre, who tried to bribe him to hand over Sherlock's personal information. note Before A Study in Pink first aired in the UK, it was not known which part Mark Gatiss was playing, and reviewers who got early copies of the episode were instructed not to reveal this. On first viewing, the idea that Mycroft is actually Moriarty was deliberately encouraged not just by the events in the episode but the PR surrounding the series. John, although he had only just met Sherlock, had been treated badly by him, and had absolutely no reason to be loyal to him, turned him down. The "criminal mastermind" was of course Mycroft, but John didn't know that at the time, and for all he knew, he was about to be executed and chucked in the Thames. He still said no. Not only that, but he immediately went to Sherlock and disclosed that someone had tried to bribe him, and was able to say honestly that he hadn't accepted the bribe. Mycroft gave out the information on his own brother, and then (apparently) didn't even admit it, neither to Sherlock nor John. (Of course, there's an indication that Mycroft thought it a matter of international security to do so. However, there's also an element in what he tells John of his pride, in being the only one who could get Jim to talk, "just a little." All that, and he didn't even get the information he needed, and even if he had, it was all a lie anyway.)
Sherlock's terse remark to Watson saying "People will talk" (about him ripping the bomb off Watson in The Great Game) to which Sherlock retorts "People do little else," as of Reichenbach Fall turns out to ring true, as the newspapers dash off how he was nothing but a fraud - thus talking about him even though he is "dead," by sheer virtue of that foiling Moriarty's plan since the worldwide Internet movement "I believe in Sherlock/Moriarty is real" sprung up in response and was probably mirrored in-series too!
Sherlock's treatment of Molly in Belgravia seems to have ushered in a totally different element to their relationship. Molly has definitely stopped being slavishly obsessed with him, and she no longer seems anywhere near as willing to put up with his crap. Her heart to heart with Sherlock ends in her demanding to be thanked, in her own gentle but insistent way. When Sherlock obliges, she deliberately says she's going to get some crisps and asks him if he wants anything, so that in the same breath she can finally say no to him. Not to mention that when he and John first demand Molly's help and Sherlock arrogantly tells her she's coming with them, she crossly replies "I've got a lunch date!" Season One Molly was so incredibly obsessed with Sherlock that an afternoon working her backside off with him in the lab would be next door to heavenly and she would have happily ditched any other lunch date in the world. Look at how she behaves when Jim comes into the lab in The Great Game. She ignores the man she's dating because she's too busy fawning over Sherlock, even though he's ignoring her.
On the above note, Molly tells Sherlock that she ended it with Jim- not the other way around, as you'd expect, or because the whole point became moot after he tried to kill John and Sherlock. She specifically says she "ended it"- implying it was entirely her decision- and it's unlikely that Molly would lie about this when she's been shown to be almost painfully honest so far. Blog comments indicating she was still dating Jim at the time of the pool standoff have been retconned out of existence, so it's a fair reading that she dumped him shortly after Sherlock told her Jim was gay, and for that reason.
Consider Jim's Villain Rant near the end of the episode, wherein he expresses his tremendous boredom with life. He cites the title of his ringtone, but it's not just that. The bridge sure speaks to him...
Life goin' nowhere; somebody help me
Somebody help me, yeah
Life goin' nowhere; somebody help me
Somebody help me, yeah stayin' alive.
The gingerbread man that Moriarty sends Sherlock; not only is it "burnt to a crisp" (referencing Jim's fixation with burning Sherlock) but it also seems like a reference to the actual story, considering the fact that Jim uses all of these fairytale references throughout the episode. "Run, run, as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man", anyone?
Which ties in later when John, supposedly Sherlock's "hostage", asks Sherlock what they're going to do now. Sherlock replies that they're doing what Moriarty wanted, becoming fugitives. "Run!"
The episode mentions quite a few different children's stories in relation to Moriarty's plan. But the most important one, one which wasn't even mentioned in depth in the episode, was Humpty Dumpty. For one, Moriarty's plan involved Sherlock's death, and he seemed quite happy that they ended up on a roof. "All the king's horses and all the king's men" wouldn't be able to put back together someone who had just fallen or jumped from the roof of a building. Secondly, he made Sherlock fall in a metaphorical sense, a fall from grace. Sherlock even says in the episode that an idea can't be destroyed once it's made its home, hence why no one would be able to put back together Sherlock's reputation after a doubt had been planted. Finally, Sherlock was crying on the rooftop. This might not have been part of Moriarty's plan, but it's definitely a fall. The almighty, self-proclaimed sociopath that is Sherlock Holmes, crying? That's definitely a fall that can't be fixed.
It's a popular assumption that Sherlock's disdainful treatment of Molly was what eventually lead to her being in the position to help him without being on Moriarty's radar. Moriarty didn't consider her someone Sherlock cared for. What if the same can be said about Mycroft? Moriarty certainly didn't think threatening Mycroft's life would be incentive for Sherlock to throw himself off the roof, as evidenced by the fact that Moriarty didn't arrange a sniper for him. YMMV, but, this might have been lampshaded when John asked Sherlock if Mycroft could help them when they were running from the police and Sherlock replies, "A big family reconciliation? Now’s not really the moment." Perhaps Sherlock didn't want to go to his brother for help because it would have drawn Moriarty's attention to Mycroft as someone Sherlock might rely on.
On this note, it seems to this troper that it's a bit out of character for Mycroft to so vigorously avoid helping Sherlock or at least contacting him. They get along like a house on fire, but in almost every episode, Mycroft involves himself in Sherlock's life and Sherlock tolerates it to some extent, if outwardly ungraciously. Perhaps the most telling piece of support for this claim was in A Scandal in Belgravia when Mycroft is the first person Sherlock calls when he suspects Irene is dead (and even shuts John out). Why this sudden distance between them in Reichenbach? Perhaps Mycroft and Sherlock are aware of Moriarty's general plan and have set it up in advance to play up their dislike of each other in order for Mycroft to, like Molly, be in the position to help Sherlock fake his death. They may not have known Moriarty's exact plan, but he did make it clear that he planned on eventually killing Sherlock. You don't have to have a Holmes' mind to determine that having a fake-your-death contingency plan would be a strategically sound precaution.
A meta-example and a wonderful bit of a turnaround. In His Final Problem Sherlock is willing to die if it means stopping Moriarty. In this episode Moriarty is willing to die if that is what it takes to win. The same insane drive, but in the opposite direction.
It makes even more sense for Sherlock to use Molly when you consider that, in the past, she was the one Moriarty used to get to Sherlock. Moriarty didn't consider that Sherlock would forgive her for that or think to use her again.
This is equal parts Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror, really - Sherlock does his scan on the jurors in the courtroom and their reactions show he deduces correctly. So how could they believe that it was all a set-up? Because Moriarty also claimed that it was *Sherlock* who threatened them in their hotel-rooms ... not really all that surprising that someone knows your job if he also knows your kids and how to harm them, from their perspective.
When I first saw this episode, the big twist about Moriarty living a second life as a television actor struck me as an Ass Pull, until I realized that it actually makes perfect sense as a strategy against Sherlock. It gives Moriarty a respectable cover identity to hide behind, yes, but it also leaves very little risk of Sherlock recognizing him and figuring out his scheme—since, as we know from the show and the blogs, Sherlock is blissfully ignorant of pop culture, and he practically never watches TV. Considering how much research Moriarty did on Sherlock prior to this episode, it's likely that he knew this and decided to exploit it.
Just a small thing, but Moriarty's obsession with chewing gum in this episode could be another indication of his similarities to Sherlock. Sherlock is shown throughout the series to have given up smocking- something that is used to both serious and humorous effect- and frequently relies on nicotine patches. However, chewing gum is another substitute for cigarettes, hinting that Moriarty is also struggling to give up.
Fridge Brilliance: Miscellaneous
Throughout two series, Mycroft's three-piece suits don't always seem to fit him particularly well. This is perfectly in line with the idea that Mycroft struggles with his weight- any rapid gains or losses would mean he would find it difficult to have his clothes tailored/new ones purchased so that they always fit properly.
Anthea's "forgetful" attitude. It seems like she's never paying attention much or able to retain details. Recall "A Study in Pink" when Mycroft confronts Sherlock. Afterward, Mycroft mentions that Sherlock's security status should be updated. Despite being present for the entire conversation, Anthea still asks Mycroft who's status is to be updated. She also seems to have no recollection of John despite interacting with him several times throughout the series. While some are chalking this up to her being absorbed with whatever she does on her phone, I think it's really just a front. Obviously Mycroft uses her in his more subversive operations, such as kidnapping people. Perhaps she's just creating a front of not being able to retain any information so no one would try to capture her to acquire information on Mycroft and his operations.
It's been pointed out that John's devotion to Sherlock, and more or less obedience to him, borders on the co-dependent and slavish. But in The Hounds of Baskerville, we see John pulling rank on a young corporal and giving him an order in tones we've never heard John use before. He's not abusive and doesn't raise his voice, but there's real, quiet authority behind it- and the corporal immediately responds to it. As a soldier, John would recognise the importance of rank and hierarchy in running a smooth operation- those in authority need to be trustworthy and soldiers under that authority need to trust and obey without asking questions. At Sherlock's grave, before finally walking away, John's quick-turn is how a lower ranking officer would leave the presence of a higher one after being dismissed. The whole time, consciously or unconsciously, John has viewed Sherlock as his superior officer, someone he needs to trust and take orders from in order to make their friendship/crime solving work. The fact that he does trust him, and does take orders from him, really is the only reason it works- if John stood up for himself more, argued the point or even questioned some of the ludicrous things Sherlock asks him to do over two seasons (including housebreaking and arson) neither the friendship nor the professional partnership would survive. Sherlock is a typical alpha male. The scene where he offers Moriarty John's chair, and Moriarty assumes dominance by instead taking Sherlock's chair, tells you all you need to know about that. He doesn't react well to attempts to boss him, bully him or dominate him (like Mycroft does. Look how healthy that relationship is.) There can't be two Sherlocks. John can and will lead the way if he has to, or if it's better for everyone at the time, but mostly it's more practical to just roll his eyes at Sherlock's ridiculousness and trust that, in the end, his "superior officer" is a genius who knows what he's doing.
Concerning Sherlock disliking attempts to bully him or dominate him - yes. Consider how he is with Kitty Riley when they first meet - she goes out of her way to be threatening to him, starting with cornering him in a men's bathroom. When she fails to convince him to open up to her, she physically blocks his way when he tries to leave while simultaneously threatening to spin some dangerous yarn about his and John's relationship, and Sherlock's attitude becomes noticeably more charged and aggressively defensive after that.
This interpretation reminds me of the "batmen" in the British Army. A batman was a soldier acting as a valet/servant/bodyguard for a superior officer (which was actually a nice job for a soldier, since it's easier and less dangerous than the battlefield and can offer nice promotions). J.R.R. Tolkien used the relationship between a batman and his officer to create another famous bromance : Frodo and Sam from The Lord of the Rings. (It has nothing to do with the superhero, by the way, even if Alfred is Batman's batman.)
A couple of funny things noticed about John and Sherlock's dress styles - namely, their collars. Note the Lampshading in Hound of the Baskervilles when John tells Sherlock not to "turn [his] collar up so [he] looks cool." Then, in The Reichenbach Fall, when Sherlock goes in to interrogate the little girl and he decides to "not be himself," the first thing he does is turn his collar back down. This is funny, but it becomes adorable in hindsight during the Great Game. While John goes off to investigate Mycroft's case without Sherlock, he flips up the collar on his jacket - he's imitating Sherlock! In the next scene, he's back with Sherlock, and he's turned the collar back down.
Another on their clothing and general "style"- they're practically disguises when you think about it. Sherlock is a tall, dark, handsome Sharp-Dressed Man who is actually a socially awkward dork who's never had a girlfriend, loves science (a traditionally but unfairly designated 'nerdy' pursuit), who utterly fails at normal friendships, has a childish streak, is irresponsible, has serious problems with empathy and basic social interactions, and can't cope with basic stuff like eating every day or holding down an actual regular job. Despite looking the part, he can be extraordinarily fragile. He just happens to have great taste in clothes. John looks completely adorkable most of the time, but he's worldly, practical and resilient. He's clever, witty, and can be very charming. Although he has a blog, he's not in the least tech savvy- he can barely type properly- and has expressed that he has no interest in typically "nerdy" pursuits as chatrooms, textspeak or graphic novels. Further contradicting the adorkable stereotype, he seems to make friends easily when he feels like it, is an enthusiastic and competent womaniser, will punch you- hard- if you piss him off, and has no problems killing people if he decides they're not very nice.
While we're on the subject of clothing, check out Jim's outfits. They're very sharp but the dude is covered in skulls.
As of The Reichenbach Fall, John seems to have given up wearing a tie for formal occasions. He's seen without one in the first three media appearances he makes with Sherlock, in suits he's previously worn a tie with (and remembering he once put on a suit and tie to go and see Mycroft in The Great Game.) He still wears one for Jim's court case, but for the most part he's dressing more and more like Sherlock, who makes a point of saying he never wears a tie. (I could probably go on forever about the tie being a symbol of convention, etc...)
On the Science of Deduction website, all of the Anonymous codes are signed off as "xx". If these are to be believed as Jim Moriarty's messages to Sherlock, then "xx" is actually two kisses, of the kind you'd sign a birthday card with. Now, consider Moriarty's Camp Gay persona... There's also the possibility that "xx" stands in for the initials "JM"; this would be a similar styling to how Sherlock finishes his texts with "SH" (with the original initials left out to keep his identity concealed), leading to another Not So Different moment.
Benedict Cumberbatch seems to have gained some of his weight back for Season 2. A subtle nod to how John's success in making sure Sherlock eats properly?
Yes, according to an interview with Benedict, he lost weight for the first season and put it back on for the second for that very reason.
John apparently not only reads his therapist's writing upside down- he also does it from at least six feet away. Several times throughout two series, he demonstrates having particularly keen eyesight- which may be because of, or may have led to, his being a frighteningly good shot with a pistol.
Sherlock's three friends are more than that - they're family. Consider his real family: He's had a falling out with his parents, Mycroft claims that he "upset" Mummy - from what Benedict lets slip, it seems clear that his father was having an affair and Sherlock, as a child, brought it out into the open, contributing to the household tearing apart like that. His own brother is manipulative and, when faced with what seems like a choice between his brother and his country, chooses the latter - and understandable decision, but not very family-like, and it's interesting to note his reaction in Scandal when Mrs. Hudson berates him about the importance of family. In short, Sherlock's actual family has consistently failed to show the unconditional love and support supposedly characteristic for family. By contrast, his clear maternal substitute in Mrs. Hudson puts up with his eccentrics, takes care of him and does her best to protect him and put his interests first (as in Scandal with the CIA agents). Lestrade is a clear paternal substitute - he's somewhat distant, he tries to rein Sherlock in and get him to follow rules (e.g. not nick evidence), but he's also there when Sherlock needs him and goes to check up on him in Hounds of Baskerville just because he might need his help, and then there's that implied history of being the one to get Sherlock off drugs, it's clear he takes responsibility for him. John, to further this analogy, makes a better big brother than Mycroft ever did, again through his unconditional and unwavering support of Sherlock and his willingness to punch or chew out anyone who hurts him. Their close friendship is something undefinable, something far more than friendship, which everyone assumes must mean it's romantic - but the other alternative, the closest label you can give it is brotherhood. And while she's not mentioned during the confrontation with Moriarty, for whatever reason, we know that Sherlock also cares about Molly, having admitted that she "does count and he's always trusted her". While Molly is clearly romantically attracted to Sherlock, his affections for her resemble more that of a big brother, one who can often appear callous and mocking at times but he doesn't intend to ever really hurt her feelings and shows his protectiveness of her when he warns her off being with Jim from I.T because he's gay and he wants to save her further heartache. And in the end, Molly is the one person he's able to confide in and turn to for support in his darkest hour, in a way he was unable to with either of the other familial figures in his life. Molly even comments that Sherlock reminds her of her father which is much more like a comment one would give to a sibling rather than an intended boyfriend.
Could the idea of Holmes's father having affair tearing the household apart be a gender-flipped reference to The Seven Per Cent Solution, the most well-known of the Sherlock Holmes pastiches?
It's straight out of "Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear", actually. It's a hollywood take on Holmes, and comes across more as "Sherlock Holmes as Young Indiana Jones", complete with scary cults that boil young women alive (No plucking out of hearts though). It's actually rather entertaining. In the movie Holmes, Watson and Holmes' love interest (Hollywood, like I mentioned before) are all drugged with something that causes them to have terrifying hallucinations, said drug has already been used to kill several people by driving them completely batshit insane, after which they all died in various accidents. Bit like the Hounds of Baskerville, in fact! Holmes hallucinated the above scenario, and it's implied that yes, he did inadvertently tear the family apart like that. Watson, on the other hand, hallucinated a gang of cream-filled pastries trying to choke him by jumping down his throat... yes, really!
Regarding Molly Hooper- it seems that part of the reason Sherlock walks all over her isn't because he's deliberately trying to be cruel, it's because he can, and for most of the time Molly never defends herself or fights back. Virtually the first thing we see Sherlock do is insult her appearance. Molly's response? "... Okay." We've seen that Sherlock actually attempts to treat everyone like this- because he simply doesn't know any better. The only difference between Molly and Sherlock's other friends- notably John and Lestrade- is that others are far less willing to put up with Sherlock's bullshit. John is incredibly loyal and adores Sherlock, but if Sherlock insults him or does something particularly heartless, he has no problems in pulling him up about it. John picks his battles, but he wouldn't respond to a downright insult with "Okay." Lestrade isn't afraid to respond to Sherlock's behaviour by calling in a fake drug bust to demonstrate that a DI from Scotland Yard needs to be given a certain amount of respect. Mrs Hudson too loves Sherlock and is never really angry with him, but again, it was most certainly not okay when Sherlock vandalised the living room wall. Sherlock seems to be genuinely so socially awkward and unaware of his own words and behaviour (certainly earlier in the series) that he needs his friends to let him know, without reservation, that what he's just done or said is "not good." Molly at first seems very reluctant to criticise him even when he's being awful to her, probably giving Sherlock the impression that she doesn't really mind that much. It's worth noting that whenever she DOES stick up for herself, Sherlock is taken aback, and responds respectfully and kindly to her (as respectfully and kindly as he's capable of, that is.)
The furniture and furnishings of 221B- most notably, the chairs. John stakes a claim on the armchair virtually the second he walks into 221B- it becomes his chair, and Sherlock only sits in it once, when he's more or less forced out of his own chair by Jim in an interesting little dominance game. John's chair is comfortable, old and old-fashioned. There's a Union Jack throw-pillow. It's very much old Queen-and-Country stuff. Sherlock's chair, on the other hand, is a much more modern and fashionable chair, bringing the old and the new into the same room. The three-seater sofa up against the wall can go either way but tends to be Sherlock's, especially in season one. In The Great Game when John comes home to find Mycroft is sitting in his armchair, he doesn't take the sofa- he sits on the coffee table. And in the latter half of A Study in Pink, Sherlock and John walk into the flat to find Lestrade stretched out on Sherlock's chair like he owns it, as if that in and of itself puts Sherlock on the back pedal. In A Study in Pink Sherlock refers to the desk as "my desk", but it very soon becomes communal property. As for the various knick-knacks, they too marry well the old and the new- very Victorian features such as beetles displayed on cards, old oil paintings, wooden crates, etc are interspersed with painfully new ones- the TV, the phones and laptops lying around, the fridge, the microwave. It's respect to the old, Victorian Sherlock Holmes while updating the story.
In A Study in Pink, there's a fairly subtle moment which may also be a nod toward Victorian meets Modern. When John arrives first at 221B for the first time when he and Sherlock are supposedly only checking the place out, he completely ignores the modern doorbells on the right hand side of the door, and knocks using the huge ornate brass knocker instead.
This one's kind of funny if you've got a mean sense of humor. If you look at Molly's blog, you'll see she's waiting for Jim on April 1st and has presumably found out the truth on April 2nd. That means she might've found out on April Fool's Day. Best prank ever, or best prank ever?
The show has gotten a small amount of criticism for the fact that Sherlock and John are financially struggling enough to need a flat-share, yet Sherlock can afford to wear the very nice clothes the costumer puts him in. Think of it this way: Clothes are probably a very low priority for Sherlock. When he needs new clothes (the old ones are say, burnt or covered in blood,) he probably doesn't pay attention to prices at all. He likely just stumbled into the first store he saw that sold clothing, whether it was a high-end men's boutique or the British equivalent of K-Mart made no difference. Maybe Sherlock's high-end style (and therefore his increasing financial problems) are the result of an encounter with a highly-aggressive salesclerk who worked on commission and decided to take our Sherlock for all he had? (Although how Sherlock got a credit card is beyond me?)
The same way anybody gets a credit card, albeit with Big Brother Watching his account to make sure nothing goes amiss.
Irene never calls John by his first name. Moriarty never does either. Mycroft initially switches between "have a seat, John" to "time to choose a side, Dr. Watson". The CIA in Belgravia call him "Dr Watson" when they're threatening to shoot him. Generally, those who don't address John by his first name use "Dr Watson" as a vague sort of insult/threat. Since John never introduces himself as "Dr Watson", it may well be a term of address that he dislikes. Irene, Moriarty and Mycroft are all clever enough to realise this, and call him "Dr Watson" to annoy him. It's also interesting that in the case of Irene and Moriarty, both of them call him "John"- to Sherlock, but never to John's face. To Sherlock, John is always just John- the only time he calls him Dr Watson is in front of Lestrade at the Brixton crime scene, as a way of letting Lestrade know that the stranger he'd just brought to a crime scene was an MD. The fact that Irene and Moriarty only ever call him John to Sherlock may well be a way of letting Sherlock know how close he actually is to John Watson.
An interesting bit of brilliance with the taxis. Almost always, John and Sherlock get black London taxis, a clear nod to the classic series, where Holmes always traveled by Hansom Cab. But in modern Central London, with the tax on driving, the Cabs are also the best way to actually get around.
Not really. It's plausible that neither owns a car, sure. The congestion charge has made very little difference to the weight of traffic in London, and people who aren't transporting stuff generally wouldn't dream of driving in London. The quickest way to get round is by Tube. Word Of God confirms that they recognise that the taxis are a stretch, and actually Sherlock and John would be tubing it in reality. It gets a handwave because it's Sherlock Holmes and OF COURSE he must take cabs.
Fridge Logic in terms of filming here: if Sherlock and John were inclined to catch the Tube, their nearest stop would, of course, be Baker Street. If you've ever used Baker Street Station, you'll know it; impossible to point a camera anywhere without getting about a hundred Sherlock Holmes silhouettes or reproduced illustrations in the shot.
Epic Fridge Brilliance from John's blog- his writeup of the taxi driver case includes this:
By the time we got there, I could see that Sherlock was going to take one of the pills. It wasn't because he had to but because it was a game of wits. He wasn't going to let this other arrogant, pompous psychopath win. Which is when someone shot the taxi driver.
"I could see that Sherlock was going to take one of the pills"? The only way John could possibly have seen that is if he had- oh, for instance- been watching the whole thing play out through the window opposite, where seconds later someone mysteriously fired a gun and killed the cabbie. John had started this paragraph by claiming to be repeating simply what Sherlock told him, but he forgets himself and goes into directly what he saw.
John's blog entry of 23rd March threatens Sherlock with a Bond night in the comments section, and Sherlock's site later confirms that they had one. Given Sherlock's general disdain for what he considers useless knowledge, it's doubtful he would have correctly interpreted Mycroft's line about the Bond plane in "A Scandal ..." without said night.
There are many items of interest in Sherlock's bedroom- including a Judo certificate- but the most brilliant perhaps is a photograph of Edgar Allan Poe on the far wall. Poe was the creator of detective Auguste Dupin, the first popular detective in literature and very much Doyle's basis for the character of Sherlock Holmes himself.
Fridge Horror: A Study in Pink
Although it seems to mostly be simply because he misses the action, the fact is that John, who is seriously depressed, has a loaded gun in the top drawer of his desk. Think about that for long enough and it becomes very disturbing. John is looking at having to move away from London. Mike says he knows John "couldn't bear" to live anywhere else... it's possible that if pushed too far John might have considered the gun as an alternative.
Sherlock comments that Harry's alcoholism is part of the reason John is estranged from her, but that it's "more likely" because she'd left Clara, who John seems to have fancied. (In his blog, Harry tells Bill that John can't be gay, because of "the way he used to look at Clara.") John does claim that he and Harry have never gotten on, so there may be a basic personality clash/family dynamic issues there to begin with, but blanking your sibling for leaving their partner is drastic and implies that either Harry treated Clara exceptionally badly/abused her and John wouldn't stand for that, or he was that into Clara that it more or less broke his heart when Harry left her and put distance between them. There's obviously something "big" behind the scenes to do with Clara. After all, since when have we seen John fancy any woman that much? In series 2 he goes through girlfriends at a rate of knots and flirts with anything in a skirt, but is never implied to have ever really been serious about anyone and no reference is ever made to him having a long-term relationship in the past. Bill teases him by calling him "Casanova" and tells Harry that John had a reputation for being a bit of a "dirty boy" prior to being deployed, which pretty much spells out lots and lots of casual sex. That he would be so upset about Harry leaving Clara, and wouldn't even answer Harry's texts or let her visit him for six months because of it, goes to show that whatever happened, John was devastated- far more than when Sherlock sabotages his own relationships.
There's an emphasis in the Brixton crime scene on how little regard Sherlock has for police procedure. Anderson has to specifically warn him not to contaminate the crime scene, and then he goes to view the body without wearing the protective gear meant to stop that from happening (it really doesn't take much to contaminate a crime scene- fibres from your clothing, stray hairs.) Given the events of the Reichenbach Fall and Anderson speculating on how many crimes Sherlock could have committed it's horrifying to think how many crime scenes Sherlock might have contaminated by his disregard for the rules, and how many samples of his own DNA the authorities have been ruling out because, well, they're Sherlock's. That's a lot of DNA they're going to have to re-examine.
Not to mention that Lestrade is going to be in dire trouble for not making Sherlock follow the rules in that regard before allowing him into crime scenes.
It's been noted that although John is left-handed (in that he writes left-handed), he consistently shoots and throws punches with his right hand. It could be that he's simply cross-dominant. But it could also be related to being shot in the left shoulder, which may have weakened his entire left arm, making it easier (and in the case of shooting, more accurate) to use his right hand instead. There may also be a (psychosomatic or otherwise) connection between the injury in his left shoulder and the tremor in his left hand. Although he loses the tremor, he may not have lost the impulse to use his uninjured arm/hand.
This would tie in with Sherlock's assertion at the end of A Study in Pink that John was shot in the left shoulder. John says it's a "lucky guess", and it could be, but it's also very possible that Sherlock was deducing, not guessing. He had already noticed that John was left-handed. If he'd seen powder burns from the pistol on John's right hand, it would have been much easier to guess that there had been an "actual wound" and it was his left arm/shoulder. It also explains why Sherlock brings up the topic of the "actual wound" apparently out of nowhere- he's just noticed the powder burns and it's on his mind. John keeps his hands behind his back in front of the police; when he sees Mycroft he drops them to his side. As they leave Mycroft and go to cross the road, Sherlock glances at John, mentions something about Dim Sum, then launches straight into "You did get shot, though"- a topic change that takes even John by surprise in how random it seems. He's not used to the stealth Sherlock Scan yet.
In A Study in Pink when the pink lady takes the bottle, there are three pills left and she takes one, leaving two. But when we next see the bottles, when the cabbie offers one to Sherlock, there's only one pill left. Why aren't there two? Because the cabbie's passenger from California is dead too, they just haven't found the body yet. And he fits the above profile of the other victims: who thinks they're better than other people more so than a tourist from Eagleland?
Or, more accurately, who might the cabby think has an inflated opinion of themselves?
One of the victims, Beth Davenport, only got into a cab because her friends, worried about her driving drunk, confiscated her car keys. It was also her birthday.
At the beginning of A Study in Pink, Holmes is seen whipping a corpse. Molly tells him that the dead man worked at the same hospital, and she knew him and liked him. In The Great Game, we are introduced to "Jim from I.T." It's never explained which part of the hospital Molly's late colleague worked in, but it's not even remotely unlike James Moriarty to have killed him to create a job vacancy upstairs for "Jim" to walk into. Was "Jim from I.T" observing Sherlock from afar well before they officially "met" in 'The Great Game'?
John could not possibly have seen the pills from the distance between two buildings. Nor did he see Sherlock being physically threatened or intimidated, and he didn't see a weapon, because there wasn't one. Sherlock's "immediate danger" was self inflicted, and John shot someone dead because he panicked and reacted in a way that, if you think about it, isn't particularly mentally stable. This wasn't noble heroics, as his later attempts to protect Sherlock are- he barely knows the guy, and Sherlock has been treating him like crap all night, so he's got no reason to be so loyal. Given that Sherlock was at 221B, then left in the taxi, and the phone's GPS showed that, Sherlock himself could easily have been the killer rather than the cabbie. It's lampshaded earlier when John quietly freaks out about Sherlock having the pink case, and Sherlock admitting that now and again, people do assume he's the murderer. Not only did Sherlock have the pink case, he made some incredible deductions about the victim and the killer, suggesting he was working on inside knowledge. (John's only just met him, and doesn't know the extent of his deductive skills.) To sum up: John shot someone dead because, for no logical reason but purely on gut instinct, he assumed the cabbie was the killer and Sherlock was not.
There was a weapon on the table: the fake gun used to intimidate the victims. Viewers see the gun demonstrated to be harmless- but John doesn't.
The gun had been put away long before John arrived on the scene, so he never saw it- or at least if he'd seen it on the table (it's unclear whether he could have from that angle) he certainly never saw it being pointed at Sherlock. Sherlock points out to Lestrade that the gunman didn't fire until he was in "immediate danger". John thought at the time of shooting that Sherlock was in mortal peril and he had to shoot the cabbie to save his life. This is (probably, we don't know what the deal is with the pills) true, but at no time did John ever see the cabbie doing anything other than having a calm conversation with Sherlock.
Someone else noted under Fridge Brilliance: Miscellaneous that there are subtle hints that John's eyesight is well above average, such as his ability to read his therapist's handwriting upside down from six feet away. So it's entirely probable that he did see the pills.
Whether John could see the pills themselves is immaterial. Sherlock was standing there holding the pill up in the air between his thumb and index finger. Even if John couldn't precisely see what small thing Sherlock was holding, what else would he assume but a pill?
John responds to being called out on having just killed a man by smiling wryly, admitting it, and then justifying it because he wasn't a very nice man. He then starts giggling with Sherlock, changes the subject, goes out for dinner, and casually blogs about the whole thing later. Think about that long enough, and it becomes very unsettling. John has a lot of compassion for people he's decided are the victims of crime, but if he decides someone is the perpetrator, this polite, kind, decent, mild-mannered doctor will kill without hesitation, and then won't have an ounce of misgiving or remorse about it. In the unaired pilot, he explicitly says that he'll sleep just fine that night.
This is what he blogs later:
He [Sherlock] wasn't going to let this other arrogant, pompous psychopath win. Which is when someone shot the taxi driver. Someone like that's bound to have enemies so it shouldn't have been a surprise but I hadn't seen anyone shot since Afghanistan. It's something you never really get used to. That someone could have the power of life and death over someone else - but I'm glad whoever it was did it, because they undoubtedly saved Sherlock's life. And, frankly, after everything that man had done to those innocent people who got into his car, a quick death like that was better than he deserved.
Buckets upon buckets of Fridge Horror there- that John (who can't confess to shooting the cabbie, obviously) still has enough of his innate decency and humanity to be much more upset by it than he'd ever let on to Sherlock. Or to his blog- you get the hint that he's understating the feelings he 'never really gets used to." And then summing it up with "better than he deserved" which, while arguably true, is both chillingly vindictive and oddly heartwarming- because he really DID dispatch the cabbie in the quickest and least painful way possible, and probably never found out that in the thirty seconds or so it took the cabbie to die, Sherlock savagely tortured him for Moriarty's name.
Recently, I watched a video on evil in my Religious Studies class. They showed us a clip of Army Veterans being trained before going to Afghanistan. They were being taught to kill without feeling remorse with special psychiatric techniques- one of them being to remember that by killing these people they're protecting someone else. Who's to say John did not also undergo this kind of training?
Which kind of furthers the horror, really. Of the two, John seems much more stable/"normal" than Sherlock, but every now and again we're reminded that John has a whole host of his own emotional/psychiatric issues, and it's strongly suggested that these aren't even close to being dealt with.
When Sherlock reminds him, "You have just killed a man", for the briefest moment we see, not John's warm and genuine smile, but the pinched pseudo-smile from the episode's first half — the expression he gives to his therapist, to Mike Stamford on the line "Got shot", and to Mrs Hudson when he apologizes for exploding at her. This is the face of John's PTSD — and only a moment later, he sees Mycroft before Sherlock does. This is called hypervigilance, and is another symptom of PTSD.
John's total and apparent unconcern for his physical safety during the meeting with Mycroft is pretty Bad Ass, but it may also indicate something very dark- that John is totally unafraid of Mycroft and his antics may be because he couldn't give a damn if Mycroft kills him. Or at least, that he would much prefer, say, dying gunned down in some warehouse in God-knows-where, in defence of some guy he's just met, than continue the completely dull and empty life that he had been living since his return from Afghanistan.
After Sherlock discovers it was John who shot the cabbie, John asks him "you were going to take that damn pill, weren't you?" Sherlock replies "of course not." It's fairly clear he's lying as the idea of him doing so is so absurd once the situation has passed, but John may have had a very serious reason for asking him- because if Sherlock wasn't going to take the pill, then John had just shot the cabbie for no reason. (Of course, he was a psycho who had just killed four people. But as Sherlock pointed out to Lestrade, John wouldn't have shot someone if that was it. The only reason John fired is because he felt Sherlock was in immediate danger- danger that couldn't wait for the police to arrive.) John was probably right in insisting that Sherlock is enough of an "idiot" that he really was going to take the pill, but he really, really needed just then to be reassured of it, for his conscience's sake if nothing else.
Sherlock really puts his foot into it when he rhetorically asks John what he'd say if he were dying, dismisses his response of "please, God, let me live"- and then discovers that that's pretty much exactly what John did say, or think, when he was wounded in Afghanistan. But Sherlock doesn't just ask John what he'd say if he were dying. He asks what he'd say if he'd "been murdered." He'd earlier pointed out that the circumstances surrounding John's injury must have been traumatic- traumatic enough to cause psychosomatic pain. It seems that John wasn't just, for example, caught in crossfire. Someone actively, deliberately and personally tried to kill him.
When deducing about who shot the cabbie, Sherlock casually says this:
Sherlock: He didn't fire until I was in immediate danger, though, so strong moral principle...
Sherlock admits that he was in immediate danger in the seconds where he was about to take the pill. Which is basically a confession (to Lestrade of all people) that his confident attitude with the cabbie was a complete and utter bluff. He had no idea which pill was which, and in all probability picked one up at random and put his hope in a "fifty-fifty chance." It also belies him trying to tell John a couple of minutes later that he had no intention of taking the pill and was biding his time waiting for John to turn up. He was about to take the pill, and he knows it had a fifty-fifty chance of killing him.
Again walking the line between Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror is John's row with the self-service scanner in "The Blind Banker." This Troper's father is a psychologist who works with soldiers coping with PTSD. Although we all hate those horrible scanners, Dad noted upon seeing John's reaction that it is somewhat common for people with PTSD to react ESPECIALLY badly to them, what with the unfeeling insistence of the machine and the pressure from the queue. It's Played for Laughs in the episode, but John's outburst may have been a function of his war trauma.
Damn. THIS troper thanks you for pointing that out. It always seemed a very out of character outburst from John, who reacted better when he got arrested. Also nods to the fact that John does have PTSD, though it manifests because he misses the action, and that although he's over the limp (apparently), it hasn't magically gone away.
On a similar note. The Blind Banker takes place a month after A Study in Pink. John moved into Baker Street (theoretically) to save money. It didn't work. Despite the fact that his living expenses have now dropped, in the first few minutes of the episode it's highly implied that he's so broke he can't afford to buy food, let alone pay the rent or any other kind of bills. He's even desperate enough to begin to ask Sherlock for a loan, even though he's clearly humiliated by it. Since he refuses to go to Harry for help and doesn't make friends easily, it's definitely Fridge Horror to think of what might have happened with him if he hadn't met Mike Stamford completely by chance in A Study in Pink.
The more this sinks in the more unsettling it becomes: John and Sarah were abducted on a busy street in Central London, while Sherlock (not to mention dozens of others) were only really a few feet away- and, apparently, nobody saw it. John was actually knocked unconscious in full view of anyone happening by, at the front door, and would have had to have been carried to a nearby car/cab in plain sight of anyone who happened to glance over. Sarah was probably unconscious as well. Sherlock was standing virtually right there on the street a couple of doors down from 221B and never saw or heard anything concerning. And worse, perhaps? Mrs Hudson was also home that night, and she apparently didn't see or hear anything either, even though John was assaulted and abducted several feet from the internal front door of her flat.
We're shown John's reaction to Soo Lin's death- even though he was to some extent responsible, or perhaps because of this, he's devastated and then later, with DI Dimmock, angry and accusatory. note Significantly, he describes Soo Lin as "a young girl." She's not that young- she's old enough to work in a museum- and John isn't exactly old either, but it's an indication of how he saw her- young and vulnerable and someone he needed to look after- and didn't. Sherlock never comments on it. Yet twice at the museum, Sherlock had shown great concern for objects. He reveals where he's hiding to rebuke the gunman for shooting up the place when there were priceless ancient skulls on display, even using the expression "have a bit of respect!"- and earlier, when he startled Soo Lin and she dropped the teapot she was holding, he caught it, regardless of the fact that it was full of hot water. At this stage- while Sherlock has regard for friends, people he's close to, such as John and Mrs Hudson, he really shows he values museum artefacts over Soo Lin herself. He doesn't really know her, and cares little about her. More than anything, he seems disappointed that the one person they had found who could solve the mystery code was now dead.
To be fair, Sherlock WAS wearing his gloves when he caught the teapot, but on another note, it is creepy and it comes to be an odd fascination for many fans, just WHAT Sherlock's obsession with skulls is. He has a friend "Well, I say 'friend'" who is a skull, a big animal skull he put head phones on hanging on his wall, a picture of a skull on the wall opposing the skull on the fireplace, and the skulls at the museum are his top priority. It all is both disturbing and thought provoking. We know we don't know much about Sherlock, and we likely never will, but his skull obsession is a big point of interest.
It's also been noted that Moriarty's outfits feature a lot of skulls, possibly implying Not So Different.
Despite knowing full well he has a day of work ahead of him, John stays up all night (for at least the second night in a row) with Sherlock helping him with the book code- and he's that exhausted at the clinic the next day that he literally falls asleep at his desk. This is somewhat Played for Laughs, but think about that for a second. This may not be heart surgery in the middle of an air raid, but a doctor working at a clinic like that would be diagnosing patients and prescribing medication. All an overtired doctor needs to do is absent-mindedly write "50mg" on a prescription when they meant "5mg" and you have the potential to kill people. John chose to stay up all night helping Sherlock when he could have said "hey, I need sleep, I'll help you tomorrow"- and then he chose to go to work when he knew he really wasn't up to it and could make serious, life-threatening mistakes. Rather frightening.
It walks the line between frightening and hilarious that despite all of this, John's still up for a date that very night, instead of, you know, some badly needed sleep.
John's "I had a row with a machine...it sat there and I shouted abuse" lines are Played for Laughs...until The Reichenbach Fall when John calls Sherlock a machine and yells at him while Sherlock just sits there and takes it, knowing all along that Mrs. Hudson is fine and is trying to send John out of harm's way. Then he jumps...and John's last conversation with him before his "note" is this one. Ouch.
Fridge Horror: The Great Game
In A Study in Pink, Donovan tells John to stay away from Sherlock Holmes because "he's a psychopath. Psychopaths get bored." Two in-universe months later and John comes home to find Sherlock is firing a deadly weapon indoors. He demands to know what the hell Sherlock's doing. The answer? "BORED!"
John's reaction when Sherlock starts speaking to him while he's beside the train tracks. Sherlock is actually some distance away from him, is not being threatening or alarming in any way, and while he was no doubt pretty stealthy, he's standing right there in broad daylight, with nothing to hide behind or conceal himself with. John is very, very startled and scrambles to his feet- an oddly vulnerable, fight-or-flight reaction from a man who barely blinks when he's held at gunpoint. John has nerves of steel- so long as he can see and hear properly and is not taken off-guard. This sort of overreaction to being startled can be a function of trauma/PTSD.
It's hard to hear, but when John sees the news report at Sarah's about the explosion at Baker Street, there's a mention of a hotline to call, for family and friends worried about loved ones and wanting to track them down. Such a hotline would only be started if there were people involved feared or confirmed dead. This is a busy street in central London- and the explosion was so forceful that it blasted a huge crater in the building across the street, shattered the windows of 221B and knocked Sherlock onto the floor. It's very likely that people were hurt or even killed in that explosion.
When Mycroft returns in The Great Game and asks John how living with Sherlock has been going for him, John's tense response is "I'm never bored." Mycroft returns with this obnoxious, ingratiating "Good, that's good, isn't it?" and a smug smile at him. It can take a couple of watchings to really pull the significance of what Mycroft's said out of his general smugness: "because we've established that when you're bored, you end up spiralling into depression and develop excruciating pain that limits your ability to walk." It could also, thinking on it further, function as a defence of Sherlock in that respect, or a reminder that there are worse things than being "never bored." After all, they've just had a row bad enough that John preferred sleeping in his clothes on a sofa than sleeping comfortably in his own bed.
Moriarty's threat to "burn" Sherlock? That's exactly what he set out to do in the next episode, with Irene Adler.
It seems to this troper, given the use of the word 'burn' in The Reichenbach Fall, that Moriarty's threat was entirely to do with this episode. However, YMMV.
When the second hostage (the young man in Piccadilly Circus) contacts Sherlock, he calls and apparently gets through to DS Donovan first, who pops into Lestrade's office with the phone and gives Sherlock a withering "Freak, it's for you." Despite being a police officer and not a complete idiot, she apparently missed that the caller was completely terrified and crying almost hysterically. Both before and after this, Donovan is seen to be concerned about the victims of crime (particularly the kidnapped children in The Reichenbach Fall) But here it seems taking a pot-shot at Sherlock was more of a priority. Either that, or the person who put the call through in the first place... wasn't the hostage. Given that she knew what had happened with the first hostage, it seems extremely cold of her to be more interested in calling Sherlock "Freak" to notice how distressed the caller apparently was.
On a similar note- that particular young man stood in the middle of Piccadilly Circus for hours, crying and terrified, and apparently not one of the hundreds of people who passed by thought to check if he was okay. And Moriarty would have banked on that.
This goes for all of the hostages (except John.) The woman from Cornwall sat in a car for hours in a busy carpark, and not a soul noticed she was strapped to a bomb and crying (the bomb wasn't even hidden by her clothing or anything.) The young man, as mentioned, standing in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. The old lady, who apparently had nobody in her life who would have checked on her- called her or visited her- for twelve hours. And the little boy, who would have had to have been either kidnapped or unattended in the first place to have been found by Moriarty.
This is actually a fun part of social psychology: in order for most people to act in an altruistic manner, for something as trvial as a person scraping their knee to instances of people bleeding to death in broad daylight on a public street, four variables need to be met: first, the person has to notice the issue. Second, they have to view it as an emergency. Third, they have to see it as their responsibility. And THEN they choose whether or not to be a good person at that particular moment.
This troper thinks it's also notable that the most public hostage is in the middle of London - which is pretty notorious for people minding their own business (it's called urban solitude, and if you interrupt it on the tube or the street, you're most likely not from London). Is it embarrassing to admit that people have definitely seen me crying in very public areas of London and just looked away? I don't find it hard to believe at all that he could stand there for hours, with no bomb visible, and no one would offer help.
Bonus points? The more people are in a location, noticing or not noticing the person in need of help, the less likely any given person is to see it as their responsibility.
A homeless woman asks Sherlock for spare change; when he asks her what she wants it for, she responds, "Cup of tea, of course." He hands her a fifty pound note along with (presumably) a note asking her to make enquiries after the Golem. She does, and later hands him back a note saying "Vauxhall Arches." Fine, right? Except, by her sarcastic comment about the cup of tea, she wanted change for either booze or drugs. Sherlock uses the Homeless Network to spectacular effect, but he's probably also supporting the alcohol/drug habits of other people's children in doing so.
Doubly so: fifties are famous for being hard to spend because so many cashiers have never seen them. What kind of trader would accept one from a homeless person without question? Oh, right.
You think he doesn't know? Consider this: how do you imagine Sherlock met a lot of the members of his homeless network? Common interests, my friend.
John is lucky that Joe Harrison was smart enough to heed his "Don't... don't" and not try to attack him when he walks into the flat and finds them there. There's no reason to believe that John wouldn't have shot him. And while Lestrade and Mycroft are both implied to be really good at turning a blind eye to both Sherlock and John's blatant disregard for the law, John would probably have found it difficult to explain why he and Sherlock had broken into Harrison's flat and ended up shooting him for no real reason. (After all, it's later revealed that West's death was an accident, and Harrison had done nothing with the memory stick, so his greatest crime is drug dealing- not exactly a saintly thing to do, but on par with breaking, entering and then menacing someone with an illegal firearm.)
Professor Cairns was killed because Sherlock and John didn't arrive at the Planetarium on time. They didn't arrive at the Planetarium on time because they were mucking about at Vauxhall Arches. And they were at Vauxhall Arches because Sherlock arrogantly refused to listen to John trying to tell him about Woodbridge's astronomy hobby. Sherlock's actions, or lack thereof, directly caused the death of someone who was totally innocent. (Yes, and John could probably have been more assertive in trying to tell him what he'd learned from Woodbridge's flatmate.)
When John suddenly grabs Moriarty during the pool scene, watch Moriarty's face. He's genuinely surprised. What does he say? "Good. Very good." He's just realised that he's underestimated John, and is probably already devising new and evil ways of using John's loyalty against Sherlock in the "something special" he is saving up for him.
The little boy almost died because of Sherlock's next to non-existent knowledge of astronomy, which Moriarty had to have read on John's blog.
The scene where John comes out by the pool and Sherlock thinks he's Moriarty is a lot more horrifying in hindsight. Think about it. John, who underdresses most of the time, is wearing a winter coat. He's blinking out SOS, which is exactly what a soldier would do in a situation like this. There's probably a million other little clues that Sherlock could have picked up on. But Sherlock's scanning systemcompletely shuts down, even though it's implied to be instinctive. That's how badly he was rattled by John's supposed betrayal.
Fridge Horror: A Scandal in Belgravia
What Sherlock later deduces as "CIA trained killers" interrupt the proceedings at Adler's house. Although Sherlock deduced that Mycroft knew they were sniffing around and sent himself and John in there anyway, it's heavily implied that this wasn't just a coincidence of two parties wanting the same phone happening in at the same time and crossing each other. They knew John as "Dr Watson"- when his surname nowhere makes it into the scene before. They'd researched them. And evidently also knew that the quickest and easiest way to get Sherlock to comply with what they wanted was to threaten John. There's no reason for them to otherwise naturally assume that John was a weak spot for Sherlock. And it begs the question- who told them that John was easy leverage to get Sherlock to do what they wanted?
They probably just read John's blog. Which, incidentally, offers far too much sensitive information about his and Sherlock's methods, routine, and weak spots.
No doubt. They would still have to know, or suspect, that Sherlock was even aware of Adler, let alone after the phone (and that morning, he admitted to not knowing her or anything about her at all.) Incidentally, John's blog has a Fridge Brilliance moment between seasons when entries now have some vague attempt at censorship- names like "Lestrade" are blanked out. The Irene Adler incident isn't written up at all, or rather was, until Mycroft threatened John with the Official Secrets Act and made him take it down. Oops. Still, there really is far too much private/sensitive information on John's blog.
Although we don't have much sympathy for them... what was going to happen to the CIA guys themselves? The CIA will know, as a matter of course, who Mycroft is, and therefore will have Sherlock on file as a relative, if nothing else. The odds of an agent who hurts or kills Sherlock getting out of the country alive may not be considered very high, so somebody higher up in the CIA either thought those men were disposable (maybe even planning to use them as trading material later on), or was getting back at them for something even worse.
The above threat to John is all the more powerful because it really does seem that they would have done it. (Although it's interesting that Mr Archer was meant to shoot John on the count of three, and they got to three and nothing happened.) The CIA need Irene because she knows how to get into the phone. They need Sherlock because he knows how to get into the safe (or so they think, anyway.) Why would they need John? No reason at all.
John's expression when he's awaiting execution at Irene's. Keep in mind he's had a gun to his head for the entire scene so far, and he's been fairly unbothered by it, even snapping at the CIA to ask Irene if they want the code to the safe so badly. But then, Mr Archer is ordered to shoot him and he suddenly looks terrified and blurts out "WHAT?" He's been threatened with death on a number of occasions by now. But this is the first time he's had to sit through a countdown while Sherlock, the man who has saved his life before, is insisting that he doesn't know the code and can do absolutely nothing to prevent the upcoming execution. John has his head down and apparently can't see what's happening- but he can hear how desperate and genuinely terrified Sherlock sounds. When you take all this into account and then remember Please God, let me live, this becomes a borderline Tear Jerker.
Further to this, Sherlock later tells Irene he's never begged for mercy in his life. His frantic "no, stop!" when the countup reaches "three" apparently, to him, doesn't qualify- since he's begging for them to take mercy on John, not himself.
At the beginning of the episode, while they're still at the pool, Sherlock looks to John, who gives a curt nod, before shifting the aim of the gun from Moriarty to the bomb. John's just given Sherlock permission to kill them both — after having been in fear of dying for some little time — if it takes out Moriarty, too. It made me wonder if something more than the bomb being strapped to him had happened in the meantime.
When Sherlock wakes up still very groggy after being drugged, John's been there the whole time watching over him, getting him back into bed, etc. Remember that his sister is an alcoholic? He's done this before... Maybe many, many times. That's probably why he seems so matter-of-fact and slightly unsympathetic about it. Another similarity is that at the time at least, he probably cared deeply for his sister, too. In other words, this evening is bringing back some bad memories for John. And, if Mycroft has already shared his concern about "danger nights" and is getting him to pull surprise drug busts when Sherlock is away, guess too times what must be going through John's mind. Something like, "God, this is Harry all over again" is rather likely, I think. And in future (though if so likely off-screen), he could even be right...!
When Sherlock first met John in "A Study in Pink", he warned him that his worst habits were playing the violin while thinking, and sometimes not talking for days on end. When did he particularly do this to excess? During his borderline Heroic BSOD between Christmas and New Year, after finding out Irene was "dead." Ordinarily and elsewhere, Sherlock has admitted "I like company when I go out, and think better out loud...". The exact behaviour he warned John about doesn't make an appearance for an entire season and when it does, it causes John to seriously worry about his friend. If Sherlock had been doing a lot of silent violin-playing on his own just prior to John moving in, he was probably just as lonely and depressed as John in his own way.
On New Year's Eve, during the conversation Sherlock and John have about his composing and the "faulty" blog, Mrs Hudson rather despairingly removes two plates of food- one virtually empty (John's) and one untouched (Sherlock's.) John later tells Irene that Sherlock isn't eating. He found out she was "dead" on Christmas Eve. It's highly possible that Sherlock hasn't eaten anything at all in an entire week. No wonder John was so worried about him- he was on a fast track to making himself seriously ill, and that's if he wasn't also doing cocaine...
After Sherlock is tricked into giving out information that compromises a government scheme to foil a terrorist plan, Irene attempts to blackmail Mycroft with the information on her phone. However, after watching a second time, it becomes clear that she isn't just blackmailing him using the information on her phone; she's blackmailing him using Sherlock, who would likely be arrested for treason if it was revealed he had compromised government security and given top secret information to terrorists.
Irene breaks into 221B twice; the first time while Sherlock is unconscious in bed and would have been totally unable to defend himself if she had tried to hurt him further/kill him. John, in the next room or very close by, had no idea she'd even been in Sherlock's room. Given that she had no qualms in whipping Sherlock and drugging him, he got off lucky. Although she considers that more or less foreplay, she still had ever reason to make sure Sherlock would leave her phone alone, and Sherlock was totally at her mercy regardless of what she chose to do.
Someone was murdered, on Christmas Eve, because she happened to have a body that matched Irene Adler's and another got herself beheaded later on for the same reason.
Sherlock hopefully found a dead body which looked like Irene. As for the first one, that was probably Jim, or hopefully someone she had in cold storage for just such an occasion. Find a reason the beheaded body is unidentifiable, such as fire, and you have one dead Domme.
While the scene was supposed to be funny, once this bit of dialogue sinks in, it becomes rather unsettling.
John: (With Sherlock in a sleeper hold) Remember, Sherlock, I was a soldier, I killed people.
Sherlock: You were a doctor!
John: I had bad days!
Now think back to John's Blood Knight tendencies. It sends our Adorkable little Watson into Angel of Mercy territory. Then again, he could just be trying to be threatening, and is actually kidding.
There's a possible secondary meaning in the exchange that is quite disturbing. John says he "killed people"; when Sherlock uses "you were a doctor" as an objection to this statement, John responds that he had bad days. He could not (just) be referring to people he killed in his capacity as a soldier, but people he "killed" (failed to save, or assisted to die more painlessly) in his capacity as a doctor. And days when that happened would definitely have been "bad days."
We later have it pointed out by Irene that John was actually self-controlled during this, although he beat Sherlock up pretty good. It may have served as a warning that John doesn't necessarily think he can keep his self control all the time and, if provoked, could genuinely end up hurting Sherlock. (And this is borne out later by John's punching the Chief Superintendant of Scotland freaking Yard in The Reichenbach Fall. He takes a while to get there, but he really does seem to be able to reach a point where he genuinely loses all control and makes really stupid, violent decisions without considering the consequences.) The beating might be a little extra incentive for Sherlock to not forget that John really could mess him up if he wanted to. (It's Played for Laughs, but Sherlock seems genuinely unable to get out of that headlock.)
Moving into potential Tear Jerker territory- at this point Sherlock and John are pretty close, but Sherlock innocently seems to have assumed that John, being an army doctor, wouldn't have killed people in Afghanistan (after all a doctor's job is to save lives, not take them.) He knew from the night John killed the cabbie that he was acclimatised to violence and had nerves of steel, but he seems to have not really understood that the cabbie wasn't the first person John had killed. (Which makes his 'are you all right? You have just killed a man' a lot more significant, if he honestly thinks that this is the first time John's killed somebody.) And why doesn't Sherlock know about this? Because while John adores Sherlock and trusts him more than he trusts anybody else on earth, he does not talk about what happened in Afghanistan. Not to Sherlock, and not to anyone. This is a glimpse of the sort of things John's been through but can't share with anyone except in brief dark hints when he's upset (here, and "I don't have to" in A Study in Pink.)
We know John really has killed people, because two of them were on-screen (one each in the first two episodes). It's possible (but maybe not likely) that John never killed anybody in Afghanistan and here he's just using his favorite method of lying, i.e. telling the truth in such a way that it will be misinterpreted. Of course, we also do know that he got shot in the shoulder, so chances are he was a field doctor and ran into enemy forces at least once. If the nightmare of John's that opens A Study in Pink is actually a disjointed memory (and it seems to be played like one) that's more or less proof that whatever John's role in the war, he did become involved in active combat, which would probably involve killing people (or at least trying to.)
Sherlock insists that he is a sociopath, not a psychopath. The sole difference between these is that sociopaths have had traumatic experiences that could account for their lack of empathy.
When Mycroft tells John that Irene is dead, John asks if he's sure, and Mycroft says he is, because he "was thorough, this time." This time? It's possible that he only meant he'd thoroughly checked that the dead woman was actually Irene, but the way he says it makes it sound as though he had something to do with the dead woman at the morgue at St Bart's; that is, he tried to have Irene offed and somehow got the wrong person, and the later Karachi incident was also a hit by the British Government (i.e, himself.)
So Sherlock first meets Irene and spends what must be less than an hour getting to know her before she drugs him and leaves. As far as the audience knows he never sees her again for the next few months and is only contacted by her via her texts. Still, in that short amount of time he was able to care enough about her for the thought of her death to send him into a Heroic BSOD. One that causes him to become horribly depressed, refuse to eat and worry his friends to death that he might be doing drugs or harming himself. Again, as Mycroft says, he "barely knew her" but it was enough to upset him this much. Now try to imagine what sort of state Sherlock would be in if one of his "real friends", aka the people he's grown close to over several months and who clearly love him back, were to die. Or even say, for whatever reason, some event forced him to stay away from his friends and probably never see them again, leaving him all alone without any emotional support. It really is quite horrifying to think about.
John knows that Irene has texted Sherlock at least 57 times in the space of a few months- but he's pretty much gobsmacked when he finds out that the texts were flirting. It's entirely possible that part of the reason he was so concerned about the 57 texts is because he thought they might be threatening Sherlock- after all, it seems that Sherlock was becoming increasingly agitated by the flood of texts from Irene, and the last John saw of the woman she'd drugged Sherlock and beaten the hell out of him with a riding crop.
Sherlock tells Mycroft to lock Irene up if he's feeling kind toward her, because he doubts she'll survive for long without her "protection" if she's at liberty. Irene tearfully agrees that she won't last six months and begs him for mercy. We see later that Mycroft lets her go, knowing full well that someone was going to kill her. Damn, Mycroft.
Fridge Horror: The Hounds of Baskerville
During the last sequence in the Hollow, Sherlock realises that the drug is in the fog. Lestrade is the only one of them to do the most sensible- if ineffective- thing, and starts breathing into his sleeve. Later, Bob Frankland is the only one who points out the obvious- that they should shoot the hound that is threatening them all- and Lestrade, not John, fires first. Why? Because Frankland and Lestrade have only just arrived and are less drugged and more rational. Although John is the one who actually hit the hound, he seems to have been too dazed to think of firing before Lestrade did, even though he already had a gun in his hand. And all of this makes perfect sense when you remember that the drug was designed as a weapon that would get enemy soldiers to panic in the face of danger and be unable to fight back or defend themselves. Someone standing stock-still and having a screaming meltdown, as Henry is, would be a very, very easy target in a combat situation.
The moment when the mine goes off under Bob Frankland. John's either still has PTSD or only recovered pretty recently (enough that his legs collapsed under him at the pool), that's why Sherlock asked if he could walk when he freaked out in the laboratory. Once his initial shock has passed (he makes a hell of a face), Sherlock will calm down, and probably not thought about it again. Bearing in mind all four are still under the effects of the drug (Lestrade less so, that's why he's cool about it- also he's been in the homicide squad for however long) and Sherlock "I get excited about serial killers" Holmes is making that face, because it must be scary to watch a man blow up. John has the largest dose in his system, because Sherlock only locked him in the lab this morning after hallucinating the night before. John presumably watches people die like this in his nightmares.
Judging from Sherlock and John's conversation in the graveyard, they hadn't spoken to each other since John had left the pub the night before. It's possible that either one of them or neither of them slept in their room at the inn the previous night to avoid each other note though they're both wearing different clothing to the night before. When they see Lestrade for the first time, the clock on the wall says it would have been about ten to midday when Sherlock finally finds John and decides to try to "break the ice." That's a long morning of not speaking to each other, particular on John's part- Sherlock's been around to Henry's, but it's implied that John has simply been moping about on his own all morning. He's in a strange village and knows pretty much next to nobody. Few things suck quite as much as falling out with someone in a strange place and finding yourself more or less on your own.
In Hounds of Baskerville, when John was drugged with a hallucinogenic that induces fear and locked in a lab, he starts to panic at the bright lights, and the piano music that began after his nightmare in the beginning of A Study In Pink began playing. In all likelihood, John was having a PTSD response to the drug even before he hallucinated the hound. And the worst part, Sherlock engineered it to test out his theory of the drug being in the sugar!
Except he wasn't drugged at the time — he was having a PTSD response entirely based on the situation Sherlock engineered to test the sugar. Now imagine if he HAD been drugged.
John is drugged, though, or at least it is heavily implied that he's exposed to the drug. Shortly before he begins to hallucinate, he walks into a room that is shown to have a sign proclaiming 'Keep out! Unless you want a cold'. Inside of that room there appears to be a substantial amount of gas, and it is shown to be coming from a leaking pipe. John neither develops a cold afterwards, which, if the gas was a chemical to cause colds would have done so fairly quickly due to such high exposure, nor is there really any reason to draw attention to both the sign and the gas leak unless it is the hallucinogenic drug. Also, right after he walks out of the room with the gas, the bright lights and the noise affect him much more than it should. It could just be PTSD, but there is no reason for it to be so dramatic. The only logical explanation is that John has just been dosed with the drug. Towards the end of the episode, when John questions Sherlock about why he saw the things he did, he responds that the pipes are 'leaky as a sieve', and that 'they were carrying the gas'. John accuses him of putting the sugar in his coffee, and in that line of conversation, Sherlock says, "I wasn't to know you'd already been exposed to the gas," meaning John was indeed exposed to the gas in the laboratory, which is why Sherlock becomes convinced it was the sugar. He's unaware of the gas as of yet.
Besides the PTSD, John was shown keeping to himself in the beginning of the series, suffering through his episodes on his own and barely trusting his therapist with his thoughts. What does he do now? Immediately call Sherlock and earnestly ask him to save him. John trusts nobody like he trusts Sherlock, and it is very hard to see why sometimes.
In the aforementioned scene, John is flooded with bright lights and loud noises, and then abruptly deprived of both. It's not totally obvious from the audience's point of view, but for at least some of that scene, John would have been next door to completely blind, and probably had ringing ears/trouble hearing accurately too. Now have fun imagining what it would have been like for him, stumbling around in the dark trying to use a torch to work against night-blindness, and trying to judge what he's hearing through ringing ears.
John's last resort is to lock himself into one of the cages. If there had been a literal hound it would have been the only thing he could really have done- and if said hound had been intent on attacking him, it wouldn't have been any protection, considering that it had apparently been able to break out of one of the cages.
When John is finally freed in the above scene, Sherlock tells him that they've all been drugged. He then asks John if he can walk. John's response is that of course he can, and he does, though he's as white as paper for the next two scenes and it takes him ages to get himself back together properly. The fact that Sherlock asks if he can walk either indicates that he thought John was so traumatised he was virtually going into shock right there on the spot, or, even more chillingly, he could possibly be aware that John's PTSD may have been triggered, to the extent that his psychosomatic leg pain may have shown back up again.
When Sherlock goes to test the sugar, in light of what happened to both John and himself, he's sure he's right. When the sugar turns out to be perfectly all right, he reacts by smashing the slide in a fit of rage. This is obviously out of character- not only have we never seen him behave like that before, but John, who by now deals rather calmly with Sherlock's behaviour, responds by flinching, ducking and giving an alarmed "Jesus!", even though Sherlock threw the slide in the opposite direction to him. note Remembering, of course, that John could still be coming out from under the influence of the drug and therefore a bit more sensitive to violent theatrics on Sherlock's part than he usually is. One of Sherlock's first observations about John is that he has "nerves of steel", but not here. Sherlock is convinced that narcotics are behind it, but since he was not in the lab with John, he had no idea that he had been exposed to the gas until the end, where he has to deduce it. There are only a couple of conclusions that Sherlock could draw from the sugar being fine; one of them was that John wasn't drugged at all, and so his terror was entirely induced by outside influences- that is to say, by the set-up Sherlock had used. To wit: Sherlock's rage may have been partly because he was having to face the possibility that he'd just traumatised John for absolutely no reason. note It's perfectly possible for ordinary, mentally healthy people to hallucinate under the right stimulus- and Sherlock pushed all of those buttons with John in the lab. Sherlock had a flash of seeing the hound for a few seconds, out of the blue, with no real set-up. John was systematically terrified over a greater length of time, and had to be almost coerced into admitting that he'd seen the hound. On the other hand, Sherlock himself is facing the fact that he did see a hound, and if he hasn't been drugged, then he's either mentally ill or he's so highly suggestible that he couldn't possibly function any further as the world's only consulting detective.
On that note: when Sherlock first sees the hound, what he's actually seeing is a vicious black dog, and his drugged mind added on details making it more vicious, and much bigger, and adding the glowing red eyes. When John sees the hound in the lab, what he's actually seeing is presumably absolutely frigging nothing at all. His mind created that from scratch.
It can also be that John was looking at Sherlock's silhouette coming to rescue him. When Sherlock was outside the cage behind the covers, John sees shadows of Sherlock moving, and during this period John was still on the phone saying "he's seeing it". Sherlock could well have arrived on the scene since the moment John starts saying he sees it, using his silhouette to form John's object of terror, and simply took his time to pull the covers back. The light that comes on the moment Sherlock pulls the covers off (not sure how he timed that) probably helped to prevent John from continuing to see Sherlock (as he is and not as a silhouette) as the hound.
In the last scene in the Hollow, we find out that the drug is being administered in the fog- tripped by pressure pads in the ground. When Sherlock had earlier been dosed with the drug and seen the hound, he had been the only person standing in the Hollow at the time and hadn't been there for more than a few seconds. John had been dosed by walking past a leaking pipe for a few seconds, so it had taken him longer to become truly afraid and actually see the hound. In the last scene, one person at the Hollow had become three had become four and finally five, and they were all constantly walking all over the hidden pressure pads to the extent that by the time Sherlock finally realises that the drug is in the fog, it's so thick that they can barely see each other. Small amounts of the drug caused the fear, paranoia and hallucinations. Spending that amount of time in that much of it meant they'd all taken a huge dose of it- particularly Henry, Sherlock and John (who had barely recovered from the last time he'd been drugged with it when the call from Louise Mortimer had come through.)
On the hound again- Sherlock's meltdown was not simply fear of the hound, it was because he was seeing something that didn't make sense and was worried he was losing his mind. When John "sees" the hound, it never for one solid second occurs to him to question whether the hound is real or not- when Sherlock finally arrives to rescue him, virtually the first thing out of John's mouth is astonishment that Sherlock didn't see the hound, since he was so convinced it was really, physically there. Sherlock may not be highly suggestible, but John may well be- either that or he trusts his senses so much that he's prepared to trust them even if they contradict his intellect.
So much of the emphasis during the Baskerville scene with John and Sherlock by the fire is on Sherlock's fear that John's lines can be overlooked altogether, at least initially. They appear to be blokey chatter to try to ignore the fact that Sherlock is really unnerving John by being so wired. However, if Sherlock had been in a position to listen to John, the case could have been solved a whole lot sooner. Many of John's suggestions are dead on or at least huge, broad hints. He describes Henry as "manic", which hints at someone deliberately trying to break him down mentally, astutely points out that there is no God-given reason for there to be a secret mutant super-dog,, introduces the idea of the morse code (which Sherlock is too upset to realise is so helpful until the next day), gives another broad hint in that they all heard the dog and saw footprints, indicating that something real was out there, and then puts that idea together with "Maybe we should just look for whoever's got a big dog." The pieces were all there, but Sherlock was incapable of putting them together- something he frequently accuses John of not being able to do.
Which rather neatly underpins Sherlock's point: Emotion is really disturbing the function of his mind. It's not just a line, it's real. Which makes it fall neatly into Nightmare Fuel.
We have now seen what Sherlock is like going cold turkey from cigarettes. Now imagine what he'd be like on something like heroin. No wonder Mycroft is so desperate to keep him clean. And also consider that drug and nicotine addiction is basically Sherlock self medicating to stop himself becoming completely and perhaps dangerously erratic when nothing interesting is going on.
Sherlock wasn't smoking in The Great Game, and was proud of his own restraint. Mycroft offered him a cigarette in A Scandal in Belgravia, to test his willpower, and then at the beginning of The Hounds of Baskerville he's going crazy looking not for patches, but his cigarettes. Neither Sherlock nor John seems to have objected to the patches before now, so it seems Sherlock's going cold turkey from cigarettes. He's not shown smoking anywhere else in Belgravia, but that doesn't mean he's not smoking (and may well be for practical/political reasons; some critics objected to the one cigarette Sherlock has in Belgravia, any more would have provoked outrage.) This troper has quit smoking, and can tell you that for some addictive personalities (Sherlock is one) sometimes one cigarette is all it takes to completely fall off the wagon. Good work, Mycroft.
Look at Stapleton's face when Sherlock shows her the word "BLUEBELL." She's alarmed, bordering on scared, and it's probably not just because she made the kid's rabbit glow in the dark and then had to unfortunately get rid of it. She blurts out "have you been talking to my daughter?" Imagine how she must have felt being confronted by a tall, dark, slightly creepy stranger who has apparently been in contact with her eight year old daughter without her knowledge. He recognised her as Kirsty's mother by their surname. For all Dr Stapleton knows, Sherlock could be anybody, including your typical internet chatroom creeper pretending to be a nine year old girl making friends... yick. Somebody needs to supervise her child's internet access a bit better.
Worse than that. As far as she knows, this man is from the government. Someone has been supervising her child...
On the subject of Kirsty Stapleton: there's something deeply disturbing about Dr Stapleton's daughter having a cute little bunny named Bluebell while her mother spends all day experimenting on animals- including rabbits. The glow-in-the-dark rabbit seems to be a fairly harmless and non-cruel thing to do, but Stapleton hints darkly that all sorts of horrifying stuff is going on at Baskerville and that much of this horrifying stuff would include their experiments on rabbits, monkeys etc. At eight years old, Kirsty probably has no idea what her mother actually does for a living.
Sherlock reassures John that the effect of the drug isn't permanent and they'll both be fine. But what about Henry Knight? He's been dosed with it regularly for twenty years. (We know he left Grimpen for a time and came back, but it's not clear how long this was for.) Throughout the episode he shows distinct signs of being very unstable (random flashbacks, crying jags, manic episodes, not sleeping), very paranoid and suggestible even when he's not breathing in the gas at the time (floodlights scene) and having fits of uncontrollable aggression (attacks his therapist.) All symptoms of prolonged use of the hallucinogen. Finding out the truth about the hound was no doubt helpful to him mentally, but he's heavily implied to have permanent mental damage from years of being drugged without his knowledge.
Look at the difference in the looks on John and Sherlock's faces when the mine goes off. Sherlock is clearly shocked, John much less so. That was not the first time John saw something like that happen to a man.
Fridge Horror: The Reichenbach Fall
The sniper for Lestrade is one of the police department staff. Sheer horror but not surprising when we know that Jim has had access to the security men of the most secured places in the UK before.
Okay, so the code was false. But the only people who know that are Moriarty, probably some of his closest associates, and Holmes, now that Moriarty's revealed that to him. There are still loads of powerful people (like Mycroft, for example) out there who think that this code is capable of hacking every security system in the world, that it was what allowed Moriarty to execute his triple break-in, and that this code is now in the hands of Sherlock Holmes. Hell, they even posted assassins at his flat! Now that Sherlock and Jim are, to all intents and purposes, no longer capable of providing this code, who are these powerful people gonna go after? Why, Sherlock's live-in PA, of course! John is gonna have no idea what's hit him.
Moriarty brought a loaded gun to the rooftop confrontation, though neither the audience nor Sherlock is aware of it until he shoots himself. Moriarty would be as unlikely to shoot Sherlock as Sherlock was unlikely to shoot him at the end of The Great Game. Moriarty would know that Sherlock does not own a gun, and rarely carries John's, anyhow. The gun was never intended to be used against Sherlock, not even as a threat. It was specifically for Moriarty to kill himself with if that's how things turned. It plays out as shockingly abrupt, but was actually planned out.
Sherlock's expression when he sees "IOU" on the windows at Scotland Yard. He'd been quizzical about finding "IOU" in the apple at Baker Street, and we don't outright know if he even saw it on the wall outside when he's later fleeing the police. But his expression here is fear and sudden comprehension. He's no doubt realised what this "IOU" means- it's a threat against Lestrade, who is calmly talking with John just behind him and has no idea that he's now one of Moriarty's targets.
This goes a long way to explain why, later, Sherlock seems to know, before being told, that Lestrade is one of Moriarty's targets. The other two instances of "IOU" were in or close to Baker Street- it would be easy to guess that these meant John and Mrs Hudson, who had both been used as collateral against Sherlock before. In-universe, Sherlock has only known Lestrade's first name for a few weeks, and probably doesn't really consider him a "friend" so much as a "colleague." His expression when he realises that the Scotland Yard IOU is a threat to Lestrade may also be him realising that Lestrade IS his friend, and that he cares about him.
When Sherlock is shown into a jail cell for contempt of court, the wardens who take him there roughly shove him through the door. They don't seem to shove Moriarty in the same way, and in fact earlier had permitted him to chew gum in court- something most judges consider to be contempt of the highest order and won't tolerate in their courtroom. Either it's setting up that the world and the justice system were already against Sherlock (just because of his dickish, know-it-all behaviour) or, worse, it might indicate that everybody involved in that trial was threatened or paid off, from journalists and bailiffs to the judge himself.
Why is Lestrade's reaction to the prison break-in a mild "oh no" instead of a stronger word, rather understandable given the situation? He deals with Sherlock Holmes on a daily basis. This is a man who is an expert at keeping his cool.
So it seems that Mycroft feels guilt over Sherlock's (apparent) death for inadvertently aiding Moriarty; John feels guilt over Sherlock's death for abandoning him in the lab. What about Lestrade? If his actions (or lack thereof) when Sherlock takes John 'hostage' are indeed him trying to help Sherlock and John escape, then he must be carrying around huge amounts of guilt over Sherlock's suicide. After all, in hindsight it's not going to take the police long to figure out that the case against Sherlock really doesn't hold up. If Lestrade had made more of an effort to bring Sherlock in, or keep him from escaping in the first place, Sherlock might have had to face a kidnapping trial, but he'd still be alive. Of course, Lestrade has no idea that he was one of Moriarty's targets. So far as he's concerned, someone who should have been in his custody and who wasn't because he helped him escape then went on to commit suicide. That would be a disaster even if Sherlock and John were strangers to him, much less his friends.
On discovering that he had been deliberately sent away from Sherlock, John immediately doubles back to St Bart's- but throughout the whole trip there in the cab, he apparently never tries to call Sherlock's mobile phone. Sherlock calls him. This seems to indicate that while John had no real idea what was happening, he suspected Sherlock was in serious danger and his phone ringing would distract him or put him in worse danger.
Lestrade's involvment in Sherlock and John's arrests may not simply be his following orders from the Chief Superintendant. Any officer could have made those arrests. Lestrade is once again taking responsibility and may be involved as a way of protecting his friends. As a rule, police officers don't treat people who assault or kill one of their own particularly well. And they certainly don't treat people who hurt children very well. Given that these cops already don't like Sherlock and already seem convinced of his guilt, it wouldn't be surprising that the only thing separating Sherlock from intimate acquaintance with a phone book down at the station is Greg Lestrade.
- This would like to patriotically highlight that though many in England dislike the police, now that we're out of the 1980s [and even then Gene Hunt's interrogation technique would have been rare and a punishable offence] the police tend to treat suspects okay, with most questionings taking place in the presence of a lawyer.
[[spoiler At this point they still only had a vague idea of how they could pinpoint him, which is the beauty of Moriarty's plan- Sherlock's suicide takes place well before anyone realises exactly how easy it would be for him to provide an alibi. Which is worse for Lestrade and John in the probably three years they'll have to think about it before Sherlock inevitably returns- all this could have been averted if they'd taken a moment to think that while this monstrosity would be easy to conduct by remote control, most of the others wouldn't have been and Sherlock has both a professional [John] and an elderly [Mrs H] witness to alibis at least covering most of the things he was about to be accused of.]]
At one point between Baskerville and Reichenbach, Moriarty hacks John's blog and leaves a video of him simply walking into the flat while they're not home and filming their stuff. It's quite chilling as it is, but then think about it from the point of view of someone who thinks Moriarty was hired and Sherlock was a fraud/psychopath: how did Jim get into the flat? Sherlock arranged for him to get in and also arranged that he and John would be out at the time. And then, how did he hack John's blog? Sherlock had already shown on many occasions that he could and in fact frequently did use John's computer by getting past the password protection. It would be child's play for Sherlock to "hack" the blog, especially if John's blog 'remembers' his password.
So a part of Jim's plan to bring down Sherlock was to first publicly disgrace him- and part of that was the business with the kidnapping of the children. It's been well noted that there is just no way that those accusations would have stuck. But Jim had arranged it so cleverly that they didn't need to stick. Sherlock wasn't found guilty of kidnapping. In fact he wasn't even charged with kidnapping. He was arrested on suspicion only, then escaped, and was apparently dead the next morning. Which in terms of tarnishing Sherlock's memory is perfect. He will only be remembered as "that guy who [probably] kidnapped those kids" when he was never charged and never had the opportunity to fight the accusations and clear his name. (Even if he had, everyone knows that dramatic accusations are first page news and anticlimactic acquittals make size-10 font on page 23 if they're lucky. It's just the way the press works.)
Walking the line between Fridge Brilliance and Fridge Horror- the head jurywoman at Moriarty's trial. We see that Moriarty ensured an acquittal by threatening her children. The eldest two children are the slightly older versions of the two in the cabbie's photograph in A Study in Pink, and although the mother had been cut out of that photograph you can still see some of her, and... it's her. Her ex husband was the cabbie in A Study in Pink. She now has a young baby, implying she'd gotten on with her life after divorcing the cabbie and may have remarried, and now Moriarty's threatening all her children. God only knows what the poor woman's done to have Moriarty constantly ruining her life like that.
Woah. You're as brilliant as the writers.
I thought the exact same thing! I was actually going to use this for a fanfic idea. I wondered if I should put my little blurb up here, but someone beat me to it. Ah, well C'est la ve! Great minds think alike, huh?
Jim's first text to Sherlock tells him to "come and play- Tower Hill." Tower Hill is a traditional place of execution- hundreds if not thousands of people over centuries. Sherlock would know that, and would probably have realised with a message like that that Jim meant to kill him this time around- this was the "something special" he'd promised he'd been saving up.
Sherlock tells John that he researched him. But the deductions he makes the very first day of meeting Sherlock in the lab could only have been "researched" by Mike telling him. On that day, John actually asks Mike "... You told him about me...?" and Mike promises that he never said a word. So not only is Sherlock telling John he lied to him, he's telling John that Mike was in on it and told him a cold-blooded lie as well, and that he and Sherlock decided to 'trick' him.
Not necessarily. There are special search engines that only P Is know about/can access, and aside from Mycroft, Sherlock likely knows some very high-up people. Whether he would or not, he certainly could contact them and get information on someone. Even a very tenacious, intelligent person in his homeless network could probably find out about someone like John.
Sherlock would need to know about John first, and know he was being taken to meet him. The only person who knew that was Mike, who had met John completely by chance. It's unclear whether Mike had any opportunity on the way to Bart's to covertly call or text Sherlock so that he had a chance to pull off his "trick" and impress John by knowing so much about him on their first meeting. It seems he probably went off alone to buy coffee and bring it back, and could have done so then, which makes John's "... you told him about me...?" at least plausible.
Sherlock could not possibly have been able to guarantee that Jim would want him to kill himself by stepping off the building. Jim had a gun on him. He could have simply handed it over and ordered Sherlock to shoot himself... he got lucky when Jim chose the obvious option.
Not only this, but Jim tells Sherlock that his problem is he "always wants everything to be clever." This from the man who has spent an entire episode (and three months) organising a massive persecution of Sherlock and an elaborate scheme to force him to commit suicide by stepping off a building- thus giving him a glimmer of hope and some faint but real chance of controlling the situation. Jim's plan failed because he didn't just go for the simple, effective method to kill Sherlock. He couldn't just shoot him- he wanted it to be clever.
This line, when you think about it, is chilling:
Kitty: I wanted to be on your side, remember? You turned me down... so...
"So I decided instead to run a story that would ruin your life." Kitty's story isn't just the usual tripe bad newspapers are filled with. Even if you factor out Sherlock's suicide, it would have ruined him (it seems it accused him of a ridiculous number of felonies and may have resulted in him being charged with the same.) Kitty apparently didn't believe any of it. She simply wrote the story because she has no morals and, being humiliated by Sherlock's rejection, she decided to get her revenge like that. Not only this, but in the above line, she's blaming Sherlock. "Well I WANTED to have ethics and morals, but your turning on me after I threatened to tell everyone you were gay sort of meant I had no choice but to run a bunch of lies about you to discredit your good name. Don't blame me!" Holy overreaction, Batman. The girl has rejection issues aplenty.
The books also had a character called Kitty. She'd been romantically rejected and responded to that man by throwing vitriol.
Having read this particular short story several times, it's also probably worth noting that Kitty was not simply rejected. The man involved began an affair, manipulated her for all she was worth, and dumped her - just like that. He even had a book full of the juciy deets about the women he had used, abused, and discarded. Several of his former wives were found dead, and, of course, all their assets were left to him in their wills. The case involved Sherlock and John trying to convince his latest girlfriend of his immorality, effectively saving her life (they succeed). As stated below, it's very likely that Rich Brook/Moriarty is living/sleeping with Kitty, in essence manipulating her for her position in the press, however inconsequential. Over the course of the series, has Moriarty manipulated any other prominent female characters? Why, yes she has. We first knew him as Jim from IT - Molly's boyfriend.
It's been noted that Irene seemed to sexually intimidate Sherlock, who appears on some level to actually be afraid of sex. In their first scene together, Kitty isn't just trying to dominate or bully Sherlock into giving her a story- she's sexually intimidating him, by cornering him in a men's bathroom, invading his personal space, being creepy about "wow, I'm liking you," and asking him to sign her shirt (translation: "look at my boobs.") This wouldn't necessarily intimidate every man, but remember that Sherlock is spectacularly ignorant about ordinary social interactions. He's probably still a virgin with zero sexual experience of any kind, and precious little practice in the art of flirting/romantic interaction. Picture the scene with their genders reversed and you'll see how unsettling what she actually does is. Especially when she tries to block his escape and implies that Sherlock is actually gay (why? Because that's a natural assumption from his being uninterested in her breasts?) No wonder he reacted badly toward her. He uses his deductive skills in this scene as a way to try to dominate her and gain control back- as he did in the first scene with Irene Adler, when he walks her through the case of the dead hiker.
By being alone with him in a men's toilet, she was also setting up a possible story either about an inappropriate but consensual sexual interaction, or a claim to being downright sexually assaulted by him. The press was poised to turn against Sherlock as a matter of course. Pick the right moment, and she could have the general public believing just about anything.
Jim calls Kitty "darling"- he's living with her, apparently, and they're possibly/probably sleeping together. Which, for the purposes of Jim's plan, is totally unnecessary. He's not just messing with Sherlock, he's messing with Kitty as well- in the same way he messed with Molly. For, apparently, no other reason than because he can.
In the scene where Sherlock and Jim are having tea at the flat, Jim turns the conversation to "ordinary people" and brings up how Sherlock "has John." He suggests he should get himself a "live-in one" and Sherlock quietly murmurs "why are you doing this?" as Jim comments "it must be so funny." Later, Jim does get himself a "live-in ordinary person"- Kitty Reilly. But judging from how tense Sherlock becomes at the mention of John, and how he tries to redivert the conversation away from him, he may well have taken this as Jim threatening to harm/abduct John again.
John losing it and punching the Chief Superintendant of Scotland Yard is generally (and by this troper) seen as a crowning moment of both awesome and heartwarming, but if you think about it long enough it becomes very disturbing. John's never met this guy before, so he has nothing personal against him beforehand, and calling Sherlock a "weirdo" is extremely mild. It seems that this was just the last straw that caused John to go ballistic. Who was he really angry at? Lestrade, a little, but mostly Sally Donovan, who had deliberately come up to the flat for no other reason but to give him an "I told you so" lecture, rubbing it in about what an awful person Sherlock must be and how she was right all along, etc. It was Donovan that he wanted to lash out at. It would have been neither heartwarming nor awesome to see or have it implied that John Watson hit a female police officer, and wouldn't have been cool if he'd hit Lestrade either, so it's just kind of handy that an acceptable male target happened to walk in at the right moment for John to take his anger out on. Of course, we've earlier seen the Chief Superintendant chewing out Lestrade unfairly, yelling at him, name-calling, making snap judgments on a guy he's never met and basically being an overbearing dick, so we don't like him already, but this is the first time John's ever laid eyes on him.
YMMV, but John may have punched the Chief Superintendant partly so he couldstay with Sherlock. He goes from furious and upset (even before Sally starts in on Sherlock) to pretty relaxed and making jokes despite having just been slammed up against a police car and handcuffed. The main difference? He's now "joining" Sherlock in his arrest.
YMMV again, but this troper, who lives in West Ham, reckons that in some places the use of the phrase "bit of a weirdo" is a little more complex in that it's often used as a euphemism for the more disturbing side of potential criminals- occasionally stereotypical serial killers who live with their mums first [which I'd punch someone for accusing a friend of], but more often paedophiles [to which John's response is positively saint-like]. Pair this with the chief-sup giving their homely skulls a dismissive once-over as if this is typical behaviour for especially unsanitary criminals, where John's been living for two years, and the fact Sherlock got handcuffed when he oh-so WASN'T resisting, and it begins to being Fridge Horror about the too-fast certainties of the Met.
Not to mention the guy has literally no reason to be in the flat at this moment. It's plausible enough that he supervised the arrest, as Lestrard had apparently been proven to be untrustworthy where Sherlock was concerned, but both Sherlock and Lestrard were outside at this point. To recap, this guy has just walked into his home, uninvited and with no general purpose other than to bully Sally along and make snarky comments, and calls Sherlock a 'weirdo' in a tone of voice that defiantly makes it seem like he meant 'sex offender' in front of Sherlock's already extremely provoked best friend. Really, he had no right to be surprised he came out of it with an injury,
More from John- when he and Sherlock leave Kitty's flat, just after Kitty tells Sherlock that he repels her, John shoulders her out of the way to get past, without even glancing at her. You only see it for a second, but it takes Kitty by surprise and is alarmingly out of character for John, who uses "please" "thank you" and "excuse me" like they're going out of fashion.
This is either Fridge Horror or Fridge Brilliance, and all depends on Mycroft's character and motivations in Season 3, but: in his phone conversation to John from the roof of St Bart's, Sherlock asks John to tell Lestrade and Mrs Hudson and Molly that he was a fraud. He never mentions Mycroft in any way, for good or bad. Really? It's his "note", and he's not mentioning his own brother? Either their relationship is that awful that Sherlock didn't spare Mycroft a thought in his possibly-dying moments (there was no guarantee that things wouldn't still go wrong) or Mycroft has a yet-undisclosed role in things that Sherlock doesn't want John to know about. The fact that he has no message to Mycroft, not even "I was a fraud", is telling. It may also imply he knows about John confronting Mycroft on how badly he had screwed up. Which John never told him about- so he could only have heard that from Mycroft.
It's also entirely probable that Sherlock doesn't want John to be thinking about Mycroft at the moment because he's the one person who's known Sherlock all his life, and could disprove this 'fraud' thing in an instant. John's also had both of them Sherlock Scan him, one of the many instances of doing so that Sherlock doesn't want him to be thinking about right now.
So for all you know, your best friend just died in front of your eyes and now everyone thinks he's a fraud- the best friend who is, by the way, the main reason you recovered (for lack of a better term) from your PTSD. Yep. Fun times ahead.
One of the main differences from the books is the relationship between Sherlock and Mycroft. Now, in the book, after his fake death, the first person he talks to is his brother... something he probably won't do in this series, seeing how Sherlock rules out the idea of asking for Mycroft's help while the police is after him and a weird team of killers are following his move. So, for all that Mycroft knows, he killed the only person he cares about. Isn't this going to be a jolly year.
Unless Mycroft is a part of the plan.
So everyone thinks that Sherlock is a fraud. Isn't it nice to know that for the next year lots of money is going to be wasted to re-open all the cases he worked on.
Before the phone call, the last thing Sherlock says to John is "being alone protects you" and John replies with "friends protect you." John then finds Mrs. Hudson, alive and well, and realizes Sherlock knew and rushes after him. In their next meeting Sherlock is about to commit suicide to protect his friends (who don't know) and John's on the other end knowing he cannot protect his best friend and is about to be left alone. What a bitter realization for John.
On the other hand, Sherlock is actually right about that one, since his friends are exactly the means Moriarty uses to get to him.
On the mutant third hand, without Molly's help, Sherlock would indeed have died. So you can make a case either way.
The creepiness goes further. Moriarty's nickname for Sherlock is "The Virgin". This could be referencing the fact that (according to this series' take on Sherlock) Sherlock actively avoids "sentiment" but isn't entirely asexual. However, it could also be suggesting that, though Mycroft (nickname: "The Iceman") and Moriarty are both on mental par with Sherlock, they have slept with someone (making them more well-rounded members of society? goodness knows what the implications are meant to be, this is Moriarty). The point being, the best you could hope for being Moriarty's ex would be never finding out he is a psychopath and moving on. The worst that could happen is best left uncontemplated. Even more worrying, did he ever sleep with Molly? Fingers crossed his maybe-fake Camp Gay persona meant that never happened.
Molly corrects Sherlock's assertion that Jim was ever her "boyfriend" and maintains they only ever dated three times. Given this, and Molly's personality, and the aforementioned Camp Gay, it's highly unlikely they slept together.
One horrifying implication of Sherlock's rooftop confession of having "made up" Moriarty: "Oh and John, that time you were abducted, knocked out, strapped into a bomb jacket and held at gunpoint by snipers? That was me who organised to have that done to you." Sherlock's not just admitting to being a fraud- he's "admitting" to never being John's friend in the first place, using him to further his "own purposes", and deliberately putting him in situations where he could have been killed.
This "confession" in turn would, though, only strengthen John's faith that Sherlock wasn't a fraud. He saw how absolutely floored Sherlock was when he first saw him at the pool and for a second wondered if he, John, was actually Moriarty. In his blog, he describes that look as being one of a little, lost child. Of being hurt and betrayed. John knows there is no way that Sherlock could have or would have faked that reaction, regardless of how good an actor he is.
In Reichenbach, the reporter clearly suspects someone is in her home, and just walks in and turns on the light anyway, in a manner that would leave her entirely vulnerable. She really isn't too bright. Which is also why Jim chose her.
Said reporter also says Holmes won't hurt "Brook" because she's there, as a witness. She completely ignores the possibility that the monsters she thinks Holmes and Watson are could simply hurt her too.
If she even cares whether Holmes is guilty, she could very well be knowingly going along with Moriarty's flase "exclusive" to get back at Sherlock for not giving her an exclusive.
Irene was able to do a Sherlock Scan, of sorts. Which is why Sherlock asks the reporter if she can. Irene's become the standard any other woman who's even possibly romantically involved with him has to live up to.
If it was really Sherlock who fell and Moriarty's body was left on the rooftop for a short while, Sherlock will have been posthumously framed for the suicide of a children's presenter.
Probably not. The police would be able to determine the direction of the bullet and the distance of the gun, so they'll know that Moriarty shot himself. The police will accurately dub it a suicide, given their predisposition to err on the side of suicide rather than murder.
If Sherlock went to the rooftop suspecting he was going to die, then the argument he has with John over the Mrs Hudson diversion was probably deliberately designed for two reasons: one, so that Sherlock could reassure himself that John genuinely loved Mrs Hudson and would look after her if a time came where he couldn't. And secondly, more horrifyingly, he may have constructed it so that John would conclude he was a heartless bastard after all, and be shielded a little from his subsequent grief if Sherlock ended up dying (real or fake death, either was the same to John.) Of course, and as usual, Sherlock vastly underestimates John's loyalty and faith in him, so it probably wouldn't have worked even if that had been the last time they spoke. It seems Sherlock didn't really know if John was going to be there when he finally jumped, and that he was there was simply the way it happened to pan out. The phone call was extremely moving, but the last time Sherlock could guarantee he was going to ever see John was one in which he deliberately started an argument with him and caused him to storm out in disgust.
Sherlock's "death" not only deprived John of Sherlock himself. The events of the episode and the fallout from what happened at St Bart's means that John has now been deprived of almost everyone he knew through Sherlock. He has complete disgust for Mycroft (who he was never really friends with anyway, but still). Mrs Hudson he still loves, but he can't support her the way he wants to when he can't stand to be anywhere near Baker Street and is trying to cope with his own grief. note The tie-in-blogs make it clear that John, even while living at 221B, worries about Mrs Hudson- specifically about her bad hip. He seems to be concerned that she'll have a fall- at one point he actually comments back to her online to ask if she got down the stairs okay. Elderly lady, bad hip, now lives on her own? Not a good combination. For all his worry, John still can't bear to go back to the flat. His story with Lestrade isn't tied up properly but the last time they speak, John's ready to punch him, and clearly believes Lestrade put his work before Sherlock. It will be interesting to see whether his friendship with Molly survives Sherlock's death.
And it's not just John's relationships with actual friends that has been hurt. The episode focuses mainly on Sherlock's public image- but what about John's? He was prominent enough in the press to earn his own tabloid nickname and was photographed a number of times. And now, well over half of London probably believes him to be the gay lover of that fake genius who probably committed heaps of crimes. And who either is a total idiot/lunatic for still believing in him, or who may actually have been in on it and helped him commit said crimes. I can't see John being all that successful at making any friends after this. And he's got next to no chance of forming romantic relationships with women when he's widely believed to be gay. note It's interesting that although he's always corrected people's assumption that he was Sherlock's lover, he never really got upset about the assumptions until they made page six of the national newspapers. Because that kind of thing must really put a dampener on your dating efforts.)
It works both ways, since Mrs Hudson is left at Baker Street living on her own, and John- who was so devoted that, according to his blog, he used to regularly check on her downstairs to see if she needed anything- is not able to even come around to see her. Mycroft is an Ice Queen, but he's lost the only person in the world he cared for besides himself. As for Lestrade, he's alienated his team, is in trouble with his superiors, Sherlock apparently committed suicide after escaping from his custody, and he's probably lost John as a friend. Sherlock's actions might have saved the lives of his friends, but they're all in miserable straits and that's after you factor out simple grief at his loss.
This could also partly be Fridge Brilliance and partly orchestrated or at least anticipated by Sherlock. If John, Lestrade, Molly, Mrs Hudson and Mycroft are all to varying degrees or for various reasons not speaking to each other, or not speaking much, they're unlikely to ever compare notes on what happened on the apparent last day of Sherlock's life, and therefore unlikely to figure out that a lot of the details simply don't make sense. Each (excluding Molly, who seems to know Sherlock isn't dead, and perhaps excluding Mycroft for the same reason) may already have a feeling that something isn't "right" about the details of that last day or two, but they're unlikely to individually pursue things. Because after all, making enquiries into Sherlock's death- which Lestrade, if he's retained his rank of DI, has a professional right to do- will put them all inadvertently back in danger. Sherlock, too, if Moriarty's network had the slightest idea that he might be still alive.
Imagine being Molly in this scenario. You've managed to help save the life of the man you've been crushing on for at least two years, and that's great and all, but now you have to keep it secret from that man's best friend, who is completely falling to pieces. And you know how badly he's hurting and you know you could stop his pain with just two words; "Sherlock's alive", but you also know that doing so could easily put Sherlock's life in danger. You also know that if/when Sherlock eventually comes back John will probably be furious with you for knowing the whole time and not saying anything. To top it all off, it's heavily implied that you have literally no one you can talk to, about this or anything else. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Molly stops hanging out with John out of sheer guilt.
It will be very interesting to see. It's entirely probable that nobody will realise just HOW much John is suffering, considering that he is the repressed stiff-upper-lip type who doesn't want to be pitied. But Molly's not an idiot, she can read people's emotions well- as she proved to Sherlock himself.
Given that John punched the Chief Superintendent in the face it's not unreasonable to assume that, after everything else that happened in the episode, he was given no leniency and was given a prison term. That visit to Sherlock's grave with Mrs Hudson was probably his first. He could well have missed Sherlock's funeral entirely.
Sherlock's claim that he researched John before meeting him at St. Bart's hangs entirely on him knowing about John beforehand. And remember, they met entirely by chance because John happened upon Stamford. John could just confirm with Stamford if he phoned in to tell Sherlock about him, but he most likely wouldn't have to. John is by no means stupid. So the situation at the rooftop could very possibly be John watching his best friend committing suicide, knowing that he's lying about the reason, with no indication why. Just... fuck.
Yes, that's exactly what it appears to be. John knows Sherlock wasn't lying or faking his abilities. He saw him in action far too many times for him to possibly have been faking. All of Sherlock's friends did.
John would have probably been the one to have to tell Mrs Hudson, Lestrade, Mycroft and Molly that Sherlock was dead. Certainly Mrs Hudson. Although he's feeling hostile toward both Mycroft and Lestrade, I doubt he'd want them to find out Sherlock was dead while watching the six o'clock news that night. We're never shown these scenes, or anybody's initial reactions, but it's a fair assumption that Mrs Hudson would have been gutted, as if she'd lost her child. And John would have to deal with that, on top of his own grief. Moreover, he also knows Molly has a massive crush on Sherlock and if Sherlock was actually dead, she'd be devastated. As far as he would be concerned, he'd have to be the one to tell (fragile, blindly adoring, or so he thinks) Molly that the man she adored was dead. And imagine Molly being in the position of having to pretend to be grieving in that way, as a cover for Sherlock. Like John, she's very emotionally honest, so I can't see her acting the part very well. It'd be excruciating for her to see John in a state, as well as concerned for her own emotional state, if she knows Sherlock isn't dead.
Also, John clearly feels that it was mostly Mycroft's fault that things ended like this; he probably also partially blames Lestrade, even though it's clear that Lestrade wasn't happy about things either and was only doing his job. Cue one massive blame-game among Sherlock's survivors.
Though it's not outright stated, it's pretty much implied that Mycroft knew all about Moriarty's game right up until the end. Also, being related to Sherlock he would also know whether or not his brother was a "fake genius" or not (as the papers put it). He's also a prominent, respected member of government and/or the intelligence services. Yet he did nothing to help the situation after it started to spiral out of control beyond inform John on how bad he fucked up. A man with those connections and insider knowledge (as it were) could have stepped in at any point after the arrest warrant and at least eased matter somewhat. Yet He Didn't. He pretty much deserves John's contempt after all that.
There is only so much he can do though. Particularly when any order would be trying to get the police to stop hunting a suspected serial killer. Having some minor government official who's supposedly said serial killer's brother step up and say "no, seriously, he's telling the truth" isn't going to impress the media either. Nor the government, come to think of it...
That 'minor' government official is trusted with discreetly handling scandals involving the royal family, top secret missile plans and terrorist plots. Of course it would have been necessary to make sure that his own position wasn't threatened from the fall out.
That's the genius and the wonder of the man. As far as most people who even know of his existence know, he's just some minor functionary. He can't clear Sherlock without exposing himself.
Wouldn't put it past Mycroft that he could have stopped that press hunt, but didn't. Mycroft knew just how dangerous Moriarty was, and had enough trust in / gambled the life of (depending how charitably you view it) his brother to end this threat, one way or other, if he let things run their course. The third season might have him play a role in the restoration of Sherlock's reputation via those means to control/influence the press that he chose not to use this time around.
In A Scandal in Belgravia, Mycroft and Sherlock have a conversation in the morgue corridor where Sherlock shows signs of his emerging empathy. He's immediately shut down by Mycroft, who scolds him that "caring is not an advantage." Now think about how horrifying this line becomes when you think that Mycroft gave Jim Sherlock's information to gain an advantage over him (and, it's implied, to impress his colleagues as being the only one who could get Jim to talk a little.) Caring about Sherlock was not to his advantage just then, so he didn't bother. Then think about how Jim's advantage over Sherlock on the rooftop scene is that Sherlock now cares about his friends. If he didn't, he'd just throw Jim off the roof and view John, Mrs Hudson and Lestrade as co-lateral damage in getting the biggest psycho in Britain off the streets. After all, he was prepared to regard John's life as co-lateral damage at the beginning of A Scandal in Belgravia (though, mind you, he was also prepared to blow himself up, as well as looking for John's nod of approval before aiming his gun.)
During the case with the abducted children, Sherlock, out of the blue, starts digging out details from his imagination - he talks passionately about how the little boy obsessed with spy stories would deal with the second or so of time between seeing his kidnapper and being taken, he re-enacts the kidnapper silhouetted as he approached the door. What are the chances that Moriarty deliberately set the crime up to mirror an experience from Sherlock's own childhood? Considering that Sherlock's family is rich and powerful, the youngest child getting kidnapped for ransom is not much of a stretch, and he would absolutely be the type to try and leave a meaningful trail behind. Moriarty knows Sherlock's life story by now and would undoubtedly delight at the chance to give the crime a personal touch (as with Carl Powers's trainers). Most importantly, Sherlock identifying with the victim causes him to come to his conclusions in a way that's even less transparent than usually - he really does seem to know things he could only have known if he'd been there. Since Moriarty wants the police to start suspecting Sherlock, this would fit right into his plans. It would also explain why Sherlock is so unexpectedly vicious to the teacher who was supposed to be watching the children.
When Sherlock yells at John in 221b because he thinks John is doubting him, Sherlock doesn't believe that John could trust him "100%". After what passes for a heart-to-heart between them, Sherlock realises John's belief in him isn't swayed at all. And then Sherlock needs to fake his own death. This conversation in the flat may be what prompted Sherlock to try and convince John via his "note" that he was a fake, because before then Sherlock thought it was possible that John would have doubts about Sherlock. John listened to Sherlock spend the last moments of his life lying to John because John had convinced him that he believed in Sherlock entirely.
Moriarty, a highly intelligent, bored adrenaline junkie with a bit of an obsession with Sherlock, actually became so depressed at the idea of beating Sherlock and thus having no more to "distract" him that he committed suicide, both to prevent Sherlock of (he thinks) having any chance of beating him, but more so (it seems) to solve the problem of "staying alive... it's just... staying..." Hmm. Highly intelligent, bored adrenaline junkie with a bit of a fascination for Sherlock? Does this sound like someone else in Sherlock's life? The idea of life without Sherlock drove Moriarty to suicide. It's not a difficult leap to suspect that life without Sherlock has led John to at least once ponder the merits of "staying alive."
Bear in mind that before he met Sherlock, John routinely kept a loaded handgun in his desk drawer. Immediately accessible, right next to his laptop.
In A Study in Pink, John's therapist encourages him to blog about everything that happens to him. He really doesn't have much success until he meets Sherlock, where all of a sudden tons of things happen to him. This sort of therapy is particularly useful in cases of trauma and PTSD where the person feels unable to properly express the terrible things that have happened to them- the idea behind it is if they record little, fairly trivial things regularly, and express themselves that way, that it will eventually lead the way to them being able to fully express their pain, fear and trauma. Freud believed that psychosomatic symptoms were usually caused by the patient being unable to fully express a thought or a memory or a fear that society had deemed unacceptable. The Fridge Horror? John, by the time of writing up Baskerville, quite openly writes about his feelings, his fears and doubts and faults and how he feels about other people. Then- he does not blog a single detail about anything that happens after The Hounds of Baskerville. He posts nothing about Moriarty's crimes, nothing about the trial, nothing about anything at all that happened in the two months between Moriarty's release and the kidnapping of the children, absolutely nothing- just the single sentence at the end about believing in his best friend. And he is neither able to tell his blog, (and as we see at the beginning of The Reichenbach Fall, he finds it excruciating to tell his therapist), that Sherlock is dead. On his blog, he has to post a video to make the death announcement for him. He's back to square one with being totally unable to express how he feels. He's not simply grieving, as you'd expect anyone to be if their best friend committed suicide. He's also badly traumatised and may or may not be suffering from a more common form of PTSD than the one he acquired in Afghanistan. note Mycroft correctly pointed out that John missed the action and his hand tremor was a symptom of boredom, but Sherlock also correctly pointed out that the original circumstances of John being shot in Afghanistan were 'traumatic'- emotionally- enough so to cause psychosomatic pain, night terrors, insomnia/broken sleeping patterns, depression, moodswings, distancing himself from other people, etc. So while John's missing the action, and "getting off" on danger, is a new take on the idea, there's plenty of evidence to suggest that not all of John's post-Afghanistan issues are simply because he's missing the danger. He was badly emotionally traumatised at around the time, or during the incident where he was shot- and as yet we haven't been let in on details of how or why.
As in the beginning of A Study in Pink, at the end of The Reichenbach Fall John is a severely depressed war veteran who owns a loaded gun. While we can pretty much rest assured that Moffat and Co aren't going to deviate from the basic structure of the original stories far enough for us to worry about John invoking the Ate His Gun trope, it doesn't detract from the horror of someone in such a hopeless situation having such easy access to a violent, impulsive way of killing himself. Bonus horror in that if he did so, he'd be doing exactly what Jim Moriarty did- and for the exact same reason- because life without Sherlock Holmes isn't worth living.
It seems odd and next door to completely implausible that John would be told that Mrs Hudson had been "shot." Really, shot? Even with contract killers hovering around Baker Street? They were, so far as John was aware, there for him and Sherlock and had absolutely no motivation and nothing to gain from shooting their landlady. It would have been far more realistic to simply claim she'd collapsed, perhaps had a heart attack, or a stroke, or fallen down the stairs at Baker Street or something along those lines. But if it was Jim and not Sherlock who set up that phone call, it becomes a really sick prank, since Mrs Hudson is just then at 221B with the man who really was to shoot her if Sherlock didn't kill himself as instructed.
Even worse- part of John's emotional reaction to hearing the news may have been because he knows all too well what it feels like to be shot. He'd been traumatised by being shot in Afghanistan, and hearing that his beloved landlady was suffering the way he had would have been sickening to him. And, as an army doctor, he'd know in great detail the physical damage even one bullet can do. Sherlock, on the other hand, doesn't have any first-hand experience of shooting someone or being shot or trying to repair the damage a bullet can do. note Which lends some insight into why Sherlock is so reckless with guns. He's never shot anyone, nor been shot. If he ever does have this kind of experience with firearms he might be a bit more respectful of guns. Presumably Jim doesn't either. Choosing to tell John that Mrs Hudson was shot rather than injured or hurt in any other way hit home and was horribly effective.
There were initially four assassins living around Baker Street, up until one of them was shot in the chest for shaking Sherlock's hand. Cut to the end of the episode, when three assassins are poised to take out Sherlocks friends: Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, and John. If the fourth assassin hadn't been killed, he surely would have been poised to kill a target as well. And the most likely fourth target as Sherlock's friend: Molly. Moriarty used her to get close to Sherlock the first time they met in person after all, and he's unlikely to forget that. He has to know of her devotion to Sherlock and he probably knew that she was invited to the Baker Street Christmas party in Belgravia. If Molly was being watched by one of Moriarty's assassins she wouldn't have been able to help Sherlock fake his death without Moriarty and the other assassins knowing and probably killing Sherlock and the other three unknowing hostages for it. Not to mention that Moriarty would still be out there, now completely unhindered. The only reason this didn't happen was because Sherlock nearly got himself run down by a car.
Except the assassins Moriarty set on Sherlock's friends were separate from the ones vying for his attention to get their hands on his special secret key code. If I remember correctly at least one (possibly two going by the name) of the assassins Mycroft tells John about were women, and none of the people we see towards the end are. And, more tellingly, Sherlock gets two of those original assassins killed, not just the one (the first is the one that saves just him, and the second is the one that saves him and John).
Mycroft's interactions with Moriarty are framed as him being the aggressor, with Mycroft interrogating Moriarty, and Moriarty being the resilient, uncrackable criminal. But think about it the other way. One very effective method of interrogation is to ask the suspect very easy questions, questions that they would have no trouble answering and would not deem important, and then move up to larger ones. If your end goal is "where are the hidden papers?", you might start by asking, "what's your name?" or "where are you from?" Moriarty was interrogating Mycroft, and Mycroft never saw what it was until it was too late, probably because he's used to relying on his deductive skills and intimidating people, and not being manipulated by the person he thinks he has at his mercy.
Fridge Horror: Miscellaneous
A bit of a meta-example: In the original stories set in the late 1800s, Dr. John Watson is returning to London from a war in Afghanistan, having been wounded in action. In Sherlock, some 150 years later, Dr. John Watson is returning to London from a war in Afghanistan, having been wounded in action. Both wars are real. Afghanistan just can't catch a break.
Sherlock's reputation as a psychopath who crossed the line from solving crimes to committing them makes some of his online comments horrifying where they used to be hilarious. Especially a comment he makes on his own website: "I would kill every one of you for a cigarette." And one he makes on John's blog, where he tells John the beer he's bought for him is in the fridge "next to the feet." His last comment on John's blog, ever? "John, fetch me my revolver." Ouch.
Moriarty doesn't just use Sherlock's "fame" against him. Who set up that "fame"? John, and his blog. John's blog began as therapy for a lonely, injured war veteran; John then used it because he wanted the world to know about how freaking amazing his best friend was. Moriarty used something that was intended to honour and appreciate Sherlock as a way of disgracing him and ultimately, or so he hoped, killing him.
John is a closet Blood Knight and Harry is an Alchoholic. What was their childhood like? One clue: John is in his early thirties, at most - too young to have lost both of his parents through natural causes - and yet, Harry is apparently his only living family member.
In the pilot, the cabbie mentions that the people he picks up are deliberately people who are disorientated, maybe on their first trip to London, who don't know exactly where they're going. That American guy that Holmes and Watson catch up to in the cab during A Study in Pink? He was going to be the cabbie's next victim.
John constantly tries to point out the social faux-paus of Sherlock. Thing is, the man is shown to have a lack of basic human empathy and remorse, so odds are he wouldn't really care about correcting his behaviour except if it suited (i.e was more beneficial for) him. Teaching him to fit into society may not be a good thing, like teaching a wolf how to wear wool.
Except Sherlock does have basic empathy. Take "Is caring about them going to help save them?" He's not saying he doesn't care, he's saying he doesn't allow himself to care. And he's right to: over the course of six episodes, the three people he does demonstrably care about - John, Mrs Hudson, and Lestrade - are repeatedly targeted because of his relationship with them. He is socially awkward, true, and definitely doesn't give a damn about most people's feelings, but that's not the same thing. However, this brings up an entirely new species of horror: what happened to Sherlock to make him think this way???
Well, "Why should I care? What reason would I have for it to matter to me?" is also pretty much the definition of a sociopath's attitude. There's no reason for them to care and they don't instinctively care, so they don't care.
It may be a coincidence, but when someone else fires a gun unexpectedly in his presence (Sherlock in The Great Game and A Scandal in Belgravia for example), John instinctively pulls back his left shoulder. The one he was shot in.
One of the very earliest things we ever learn about John Watson- before even the opening credits of A Study in Pink- is that he has trust issues. Mycroft later says it too and expresses amazement that John, who he also says doesn't make friends easily, has chosen to trust Sherlock Holmes of all people. And in The Reichenbach Fall, Sherlock lies to him again and again and again, and finally fakes his own death. It's not clear whether Sherlock will ever explain to John exactly why he faked his own death. But in any case- John decided to trust Sherlock, and will probably not understand why Sherlock ultimately told him an outrageous amount of lies. They may as well rename Series 3 Sherlock, Series 3: Trust Issues.
And on the other side of the fence, Sherlock is going to have serious trust issues of his own. He's let himself get close to John, probably more so than any other person, ever- and Moriarty responded by trying to kill everyone he suspected even vaguely qualified as his friend. You couldn't blame Sherlock for concluding "I can't have friends, only bad things come of it", leading him to spend Series 3 in a regression of keeping John, Lestrade, Mrs Hudson and pretty much everyone else at arm's length to avoid having to go through that again. And I very much doubt he will be able or willing to explain that to them.
Think about the hell of grief, to the point of a Heroic BSOD, Sherlock went through when he thought Irene Adler was dead. He knows what it's like to lose someone you care for — and he's putting John Watson through that for over a year.
It's often said that we're least tolerant of our own faults when we find them in others- and this seems to be behind most of Sherlock's cruelty toward Molly. Molly herself has never treated him with anything but kindness and respect, but he often is projecting issues with himself onto her, particularly in season two. Sherlock's attitude toward Molly is a reflection of the attitude that many others, particularly Mycroft, hold toward him. Right from the beginning, he treats her as if she really has nothing better to do than be in the St Bart's Lab helping him- but then the police, including Lestrade, often treat Sherlock like he's got nothing better to do than run "CSI Baker Street" 24/7. Mycroft has so little regard for Sherlock's schedule, such as it is, that he downright has him more or less abducted to Buckingham Palace when he refuses to go. Sherlock later tells him "I was in the middle of a case, Mycroft." Mycroft acts like he couldn't care less, and as if Sherlock works for him- the exact same attitude Sherlock has toward Molly and her lunch date in The Reichenbach Fall. He's not trying to ruin her social life for the sake of it; he simply is so self-centred, and focused on the case at hand, that he can't understand why Molly's priorities may well be elsewhere. Sherlock humiliating Molly at Christmas in Belgravia is cruel and difficult to watch, but there's so much self-frustration and self-loathing in the way he lashes out at her. He mocks Molly's apparently "forlorn" hopes of romance, but he's not exactly one to talk about that kind of thing. After all, previously in this episode, and probably most of his adult/teen life, he is the one who has been mocked, as girlfriends are not "his area" and his own brother has no problems humiliating him about it. He's been pining after Irene in a rather forlorn hope of something- though perhaps not a "relationship" as such (both he and Irene seem a little too twisted for ordinary dating.) In effect, he's saying to Molly what he's saying to himself- "Don't be ridiculous, who'd want to be in a relationship with you?" In the same scene, he snaps at her "Don't make jokes, Molly"- when in the next episode, John says something very similar to him ("'You being funny now? ... Funny doesn't suit you... stick to ice.") Sherlock's attempts at "making jokes" are often as painfully awkward as Molly's. In fact, he's spectacularly awful at even making basic conversation, so in The Reichenbach Fall when he tells Molly to not bother making conversation because it's really not "her area", he's aware that it's not his area either- he can't even have a civilised conversation about Christmas amongst friends in A Scandal in Belgravia. And when Sherlock tells Molly in The Reichenbach Fall that her boyfriend had been a bit naughty, and that she should forget all future attempts at a relationship because it only causes havoc for law and order- remember that Sherlock's "girlfriend" used him the same way that Molly had been used by Jim. In reality, Jim wasn't Molly's "boyfriend" any more than Irene was Sherlock's "girlfriend" and the (initial) ploy they used was similar in both cases. note It got complicated with Irene, but in terms of her original strategy, she made a careful and clever campaign of playing Sherlock for a sucker, as Mycroft correctly recognises. Jim dated Molly in order to target Sherlock; Irene spent six months flirting with Sherlock in order to target Mycroft. Both Jim and Irene used someone who was naive, lonely, inexperienced in love and very easy to manipulate. Jim nearly killed Sherlock and John; Irene nearly caused a major international incident, foiled a counter-terrorism operation, and used Sherlock as co-lateral in her negotiations with Mycroft. Sherlock and Molly really are not that different from one another, something they seem to at least partly realise by the end of The Reichenbach Fall.
John's blog entry about taking Sherlock Christmas shopping is Played for Laughs, but imagine what it must have been like for Sherlock: the sounds, the lights, and the sheer amount of information flooding off the shoppers. that kind of sensory bombardment is enough to make anyone explode.
In which case his asking for a nice juicy murder from Father Christmas was a Batman-Gambit to get himself escorted home and get some nice policemen to harass in order to work off his nerves.
Here's something this troper just realized. Moriarty was already established as Sherlock's Shadow Archetype. But really, what's his most dangerous quality? His ability to make others think he's harmless. He can be completely psychopathic to the point of Ax-Crazy, and yet still pull off a performance of "normal everyman" so well it fools even Sherlock. People do not notice him if he doesn't want to be noticed. Who do we know who's like that? John. Sherlock's brilliant, sure but John is the one that can pull off "completely normal, nothing to see here" despite having a fair number of psychiatric and emotional issues himself. When the Chief Superintendent yells at Lestrade for all the things he's allowed Sherlock to do (collect evidence, be on crime scenes, the like), he doesn't even consider the fact that John does this too. And can we forget the scene in the first episode where John was coolly standing outside after killing the cabbie? Moriarty's basically Sherlock's brilliance combined with John's skill at fooling other people into thinking he's an Innocent Bystander.
That what makes it a fridgebrilliance as well as fridgehorror. In the original stories Moriarty had a right-hand man, just like Sherlock had John, who was a Afganistan war veteran named Moran, who act as John's Shadow Archetype. However since they didn't cast Moran in the show, they decided to fused both of them into Moriarty.
The sheer brilliance of the cast and art directing appears to make some of not very believable plots over looked.
In "Study", John shot a man dead without any obvious vision that he is a threat to Sherlock.
In "Banker", the man who have climbed up a building as secure as a bank which is next to one of the most famous buildings of London should have drawn attention or have been recorded on some far CCTV cameras but no.
Also in "Game", people who abducted and placed victims in public areas of the city and then waited somewhere for hours aiming them with riffles should have been recorded on some camera in a city with so many ones.
Then again in the same episode the woman in the museum knew the name of Moriarty as well as the cabbie in the first episode and also Irene Adler later did too. It shows that Moriarty is not a very secret name among criminals. So how police have never heard of him before?
In "Scandal" the idea of Sherlock knowing Irene’s whereabouts after being released is not very feasible. He didn’t know about her connections or past. Even if he did know, going undercover in a foreign terrorist camp and beating them all to save her is absolutely unbelievable.
In "Baskerville", nobody inside that important and secure facility suspected some the staff were conducting illegal experiments or export the results out in the form of gas mines or glowing rabbits.
In "Reichenbach", Moriarty is apprehended and interrogated at least for his triple breakings, but at the end not only he is released he also had achieved exactly what he wanted, i.e. Sherlock’s information! Then he threatened the jury and got absolved and not a single authority or media got surprised and requested further investigations.
The only reason Moriarty's plan in Reichenbach worked was because there was no one but Sherlock and Moriarty who knew the truth. This would normally be fridge brilliance, all the crimes in Series 1 were controlled by Moriarty and the killers died anyway. Same goes for Series 2, the world thinks Irene Adler is dead and the killer from Baskerville's committed suicide. However, take a look at John Watson's blog and there's a lot of crimes that were likely unconnected to Moriarty and those responsible survived. No matter which way you look at it, there's fridge horror here:
These people would have likely provided proof of Sherlock's innocence, voluntarily or not. If Sherlock had merely waited, the issue would have been resolved.
Moriarty likely wouldn't want to leave loose ends. These people may well be dead or otherwise incapacitated, including at least some innocents who didn't commit the crimes but were connected in a way that means they could have testified for Sherlock's innocence. And if Sherlock could find Irene Adler, Moriarty may well have also been able to.
When John asks him how they would be able to afford the Baker Street flat, Sherlock says he helped Mrs. Hudson when her husband was on trial. John immediately assumes that Sherlock saved him from the death penalty, to which Sherlock replies "no, I ensured it." This comment, and several other moments (Mrs Hudson jumping when Sherlock sets something down, Sherlock and John's reaction to Mycroft telling her to shut up, her uncanny ability to keep calm enough to grab the phone while being threatened) suggests Mrs. Hudson was abused by her husband.