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A Study in Pink (Unaired 60 Minute Pilot)
Sherlock and John's conversation in the taxi is similar to the aired version. But there are heartwarming additions. Sherlock's small snippets of insecurity- his response to John's compliments are "really? You really think so?" He's not being sarcastic; he's genuinely touched.
After Sherlock abandons John at Lauriston Gardens, John begins to wander off on his own but stops when he spots Sherlock standing on a rooftop, the moon shining behind him and basically looking like Batman watching over Gotham City. The moment itself is hilariously cheesy and was cut from the broadcast version because Word of God felt it was felt too 'Mills and Boon'. But what is adorable is the look of amazement on John's face, his brief but adoring smile, as well the symbolism of him honestly seeing Sherlock as a super hero.
Sherlock goes after the cabbie (pretending to be drunk) and the last thing he says to John is "Watch. Don't interfere." When the cabbie drugs Sherlock, bystanders can't tell the difference between Sherlock pretending to be drunk and Sherlock actually drugged. But John, watching from a considerable distance away, can:
John: Something's wrong...
Angelo: No, no. All part of the plan. Sherlock always has a plan.
John: Yes- and it's gone wrong.
In that scene we also have a weak, drugged Sherlock desperately calling out John's name, as his helpless body is being dragged off by the cabbie, even though John is too far away to hear him. He's surrounded by a crowd of strangers that he could try to alert but in that terrifying moment he wants John to save him.
On noting that Sherlock's plan had "gone wrong" John ignores Sherlock's order not to interfere, jumping up, running after the cab and then calling the police, prompting Sherlock later to smile and muse "Good old Dr Watson. I underestimated him."
Even more heartwarming, the cabbie tells Sherlock, who is rapidly losing consciousness, that "your friends all think you're acting... that's the problem with people. They're all stupid." John is already Sherlock's friend by this stage, and what the cabbie doesn't realise yet is that he doesn't think Sherlock is acting and is certainly not stupid.
There's a heartwarming difference in the pilot from the aired version in just how John's psychosomatic pain leaves him. In the aired version, he simply dashes off with Sherlock (both of them show heaps of common sense in running in front of a moving car) because he's excited and has forgotten the pain. In the unaired pilot, he leaves the restaurant and dashes after the taxi, the driver of which has just drugged Sherlock and abducted him. It's more poignant, though perhaps a bit saccharine, that his concern for Sherlock's safety is the primary motivator in his physical recovery.
As in the aired version, Sherlock and John go to a restaurant, primarily so that Sherlock can keep an eye on the taxis outside. As in the aired version, John eats (or at least orders) and Sherlock doesn't. The difference is that when John remarks on it and asks if Sherlock isn't going to eat, Sherlock asks him what day it is. John replies that it's Wednesday, and Sherlock's comment is "I'm all right for a bit." John is completely appalled, turns all doctor-y on his new flatmate, and tells him "For God's sake, you've got to eat!"
In the end scene, he bitches out Lestrade for pursuing the issue of the cabbie with Sherlock, saying that Sherlock hasn't eaten in days, and that before anything else, he's going to get him to an actual meal. When Lestrade asks him who he is (expressed in the charmingly blunt "who the hell are you?") John falters, then says "I'm his doctor"- and Sherlock backs him up, agreeing that he has to listen to "his" doctor. It's adorable.
Also, unlike the aired version, Lestrade was taking notes as Sherlock ran through his deductions about the shooter. After the exchange mentioned above, Lestrade smiles a little bit to himself, pulls out his notepad, rips the page out, and throws it away.
Sherlock's reaction after figuring out that it was John who shot the cabbie. In the aired version he looks merely surprised and a little disbelieving. In the pilot he looks over to John and seems more touched and a little overwhelmed that this man who he's known for less than a day would go to such lengths to save his life.
After realising that John was the shooter, Sherlock goes over to him. His first comment to him is very serious and concerned:
Sherlock: Where is it?
John: ... Where's what?
Sherlock: Don't- just don't. What did you do with the gun?
John: Oh. Bottom of the Thames.
As in the aired version, Sherlock asks John if he's all right, as he has just killed a man. John's response in the pilot is very different to the aired version and next door to both fridge horror and a Tear Jerker, especially when Sherlock responds in tones that are next door to affectionate:
John: I've seen men die before- and good men, friends of mine. I thought I'd never sleep again... I'll sleep fine tonight.
ANGELO. The man is like a big, friendly Teddy Bear. As soon as Sherlock and John walk into the restaurant, Angelo rushes up to shaker Sherlock's hand with a warm smile, and immediately offers him anything he wants, on the house, for him and his friend. John's food is free simply on the strength of his accompanying Sherlock. And how many people do you imagine Sherlock has ever brought into the restaurant with him? This kind of makes it doubly adorable when Angelo excitedly goes to get a candle, because even if he has misinterpreted Sherlock and John's relationship (despite John insisting that he's not Sherlock's date), he's clearly happy that Sherlock, who has no doubt consistently come to the restaurant alone in the past, finally has come with another person, and so Angelo wants to make the evening as pleasurable as possible for them. He also brushes off Sherlock's snarking at him ('I'd have gone to prison.' 'You did go to prison.') and treats him incredibly kindly in general. This is after Lestrade seemed to tolerate Sherlock with gritted teeth, Donovan called him a freak and a psychopath and warned John away from him, and the mystery man in the warehouse point blank told him that the closest thing to a friend Sherlock Holmes is capable of having is an enemy. John's just spent a couple of hours seeing people treat Sherlock like he's some weirdo with no emotions, and suddenly this random restaurant owner is acting like Sherlock can do no wrong and admiring him as much as John does. It also really speaks to how much Sherlock helps people, whether he does it for their sake or not, to have Angelo gushing over him for getting him off a murder charge - and it's all showcased for John's benefit, with Angelo quickly and proudly explaining to John what Sherlock did for him while Sherlock pretty much ignores him. Oh, and apparently Angelo likes Sherlock well enough to leave his restaurant, which was presumably still open, and personally deliver John's cane to 221B Baker Street. It probably wasn't that much of a walk, and he was probably only gone from the restaurant for about 15 minutes, but he still took the time to come over after Sherlock texted him instead just telling Sherlock to walk back and pick up the cane himself. Man is awesome.
Heartwarming and counts as a Crowning Moment of Acting on both sides- at the beginning of A Study in Pink, both Sherlock and John seem absolutely incapable of actually, genuinely smiling. John's been through a lot, is depressed, and hasn't got a lot of reason to even bother pretending to smile. Sherlock does try to smile on occasion, with hilarious results (he seems to think 'move lips outward at both ends briefly but enthusiastically' is the definition of 'smile.' You can really see it after he tells John "prospective housemates should know the worst about each other" and it crops up in other places where Sherlock evidently feels a smile is in order. It's awkward as hell. You can see John's pathetic attempt at a polite smile when he hands the phone over) In any case, the ice-breaking conversation at the restaurant and the chase after the cab are a watershed of sorts for both of them. They laugh about "welcome to London", and by the time they arrive back at Baker Street they're both giggling like loons, which is hilarious and adorable. (And the most laid-back and amused that we see either of them for an entire series.) In fact, Sherlock is having so much fun that at first he totally misses the drugs bust going on upstairs.
Mike Stamford, FULL STOP. He is something of a One-Scene Wonder, but he still manages to turn every single thing he says into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. When he meets John on the street, he is very happy to see him and their interaction suggests that Mike was very fond of John when they were training together at Bart's. He doesn't even seem to mind that John doesn't recognise him right away and acts rather distant and cold during their conversation. Instead, Mike is immediately willing to help him and very eager to introduce him to Sherlock. This is doubly heartwarming, as Mike thinks high enough of Sherlock to consider him a decent flatmate for an old friend. Even more so if you take into consideration that Mike knows both of them well enough to see how well they would fit together, although probably every one else would have expected their personalities to clash. Mike also is one of the few people who seem to honestly get along with Sherlock. They might not consider each other "friends", but Sherlock still talks to Mike about very personal problems, such as his troubles to find a flatmate who can put up with his moods and general wackiness. And Sherlock usually does not do that. Then again, Mike must be the most accepting and tolerant human being the series - or really, any series has ever seen. Look at his face when he says "Yes, he [Sherlock] is always this way." There is no hint of annoyance or spite. Just affection, even pride. He genuinely appreciates Sherlock for what he is and firmly believes that John will eventually do the same.
When Sherlock begins with "Afghanistan or Iraq?" there's a shot of Mike beginning to smile. He knew Sherlock would start on John the minute he saw him, and at least highly suspected that instead of being irritated or creeped out, John would freaking love it.
There's one throwaway line in particular that warms this troper's heart: "Couldn't Harry help?" And John's response of "Yeah, like that's going to happen." Despite it being how many years since they trained at Bart's together, Mike still remembers off the top of his head that John has a sister named Harry who probably lives in London somewhere and who might be able to help. John's line and Mike's response to it seem to indicate he also remembers that John and Harry don't get along, and John assumes he'd remember, so he doesn't need to explain why that's never going to happen.
Plus, his comments on John's blog are pretty much completely adorable. He's like a one-man John Watson cheer squad. He clearly thought incredibly highly of John in the past, and still does. Mike is also the one who let Sherlock know that John was blogging about him, and gave him the link to John's blog. He thinks John is awesome for having a blog at all (he points out that he himself can hardly work his phone) and obviously gave Sherlock the link because he wanted him to see John's compliments toward him. This is heartwarming of John, as well, since it's clear that he wasn't writing those things for Sherlock's benefit- he in fact never initially intended for Sherlock to know about his blog or read it.
On Sherlock's forum, there is this exchange between Mike and Sherlock, after Mike has pointed John's blog out to him:
SH: He's blogging about me? Ha! Arrogant, imperious and pompous am I?
Mike Stamford: Well, you are!
Sherlock doesn't seem offended, however. For him to take this as the gentle ribbing it's obviously intended to be, they must be fairly close.
In the scene at the park, John and Mike drink coffee at the same park bench Mike had been sitting at. There's a jump-cut so it's not explicitly said, but given John's disability and Mike's excitement to see his old friend again, it's heavily implied that Mike rushed off, bought them both coffee, and brought it back to where John was waiting. It's quite a lot of care and effort toward someone who he hadn't seen in years- someone who doesn't seem all that excited to see him and who has made no effort to keep in touch in recent times.
There's a shot of Mike starting to smile when Sherlock asks John how he feels about the violin. In retrospect, Mike must have been pretty amazed that the high-functioning sociopath who is incredibly rude to just about everyone immediately accepted John, was about as respectful and pleasant as he's capable of being toward him, and in literally just under sixty seconds asks him to move in with him.
The fact that Sherlock and Mike seem to be on a first-name basis ("I told Mike this morning that ...") is amazing and heartwarming in and of itself. Remember, he didn't even know Lestrade's and they'd known each other for five years.
John freely gushes about how amazing and extraordinary Sherlock's deductions are, despite the fact that Sherlock has just bluntly, almost brutally, revealed a sensitive family issue concerning estrangement from his sister. Not everyone would react so well to a stranger blurting out to them that their "brother" has a drinking problem and they were into "his" wife.
Regarding Harry Watson, this is heartwarming when you think about it. John, like Sherlock, has a sibling who is worried out of their mind about him and who makes repeated failed attempts at contacting him/helping him. A feud that on both the parts of Sherlock and John seems to be one-sided/a personality clash.
Sherlock and John's first meeting in the lab. Sherlock, as usual, is very keen to show off his amazing deductive skills to impress John, but when John asks about how he does it, Sherlock ignores the question entirely. This is quite out of character for Sherlock, who just loves to explain how he comes to his conclusions on later occasions. But think about it this way: We later learn that it's not the deductions themselves that people find annoying or creepy, but the explanations of how Sherlock came to his conclusions. It is possible that Sherlock deliberately chose not to tell John the details because he didn't want to scare him away. He must have felt as immediately drawn to John as John felt drawn to him (on his blog, he says he found Sherlock to be oddly "charming"). Obviously, they had some kind of instant connection that became the foundation of their epic friendship. You could say that, in a way, they are soulmates. Aw.
When John offers Sherlock the use of his phone, Sherlock looks taken aback that a stranger would do him a favour for no real reason, and awkwardly says "oh- thank you." He doesn't say "please" when he asks to use Mike's phone and although he does say "thank you" when Molly brings him coffee, a second later he's insulting her "too small" mouth so it's hardly a sign of his taking the time to use manners.
Blink and you'll miss this one but when John offers Sherlock his phone, Sherlock's eyes dart between John and Mike just as he says "thank you", as if he's saying it to the both of them. Obviously thanking John for the use of his phone but also subtly thanking Mike for finding him such a generous potential flatmate.
When Molly brings Sherlock coffee, he says "Ah, Molly. Coffee. Thank you." However, if you look carefully, Sherlock's looking at John and handing the phone back to him when he says "thank you." It's entirely possible that he wasn't thanking Molly for the coffee, he was thanking John for the phone. Again. He'd already thanked him for it only about a minute before. You can count how many times Sherlock thanks somebody in the course of two seasons on one hand (excluding when he's pretending to be someone else, e.g. a priest who's just been mugged) and in The Reichenbach Fall in particular it's hammered home that Sherlock really doesn't say "thank you" unless he really wants to/is prompted by someone else to say it.
John's generosity with his phone is even more profound when you find out later that he owns next to nothing, and the phone is his "one luxury item"- a second hand gift from his sister and one of the most valuable things he owns.
Mrs Hudson addresses John as "Dr Watson" all of once, and after knowing him for less than five minutes- starts addressing him as "dear." note In The Great Game, she even addresses John as "love", which is something she doesn't even call Sherlock. To this troper's memory, the only time Mrs Hudson ever calls him "John" is when she's trying to console him at Sherlock's grave. John in his turn almost instantly clicks with her, rather adorably pushing his luck when she offers him tea by asking for biscuits as well.
On that note, the way Sherlock interacts with Mrs Hudson. The so-called high functioning sociopath- posh, serious, and stand-offish- breaks into a smile when Mrs Hudson opens the door, throws his arms around her in a big hug, and happily accepts her kiss. Later he kisses her on his way back out the door. As Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss remark in the commentary, Sherlock doesn't have psychological issues with showing people physical affection, he simply doesn't go around hugging and kissing anyone and everyone. Mrs Hudson is like a mother to him and he hugs and kisses her simply because he adores her and loves to show his affection for her (when he's in a good mood.) note This is extra heartwarming when the DVD Commentary reveals that none of Sherlock's hugging or kissing Mrs Hudson was ever scripted- it was simply that Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't stop doing it naturally, as he's known and loved Una Stubbs since he was a small child.
When Sherlock and John go look at 221b Baker Street together, and agree that it will do nicely. Sherlock remarks how he already went ahead and moved in just as John is saying they need to get the rubbish cleaned up. Sherlock pauses, then starts fluttering about trying to get papers out of the way, saying he can straighten things up a bit. The only time we ever see him embarrassed, one of only two times he seems flustered (the other being after ripping the bomb vest off John), and an example of him going out of his way to accommodate John, which he really doesn't do for anyone else, even though they've only just met.
When John comes in and looks around the room, watch Sherlock. Sherlock Holmes, this "strange child" who doesn't have friends, who doesn't concern himself with what other people think, is so obviously thinking "Please like it, I do so want you to like it, please please please like it." And John, of course, can't help but like it — in a way that shades strongly into Tear Jerker territory: 221B Baker Street, with its Kimax on the kitchen table and its general you'll-have-to-move-something-if-you-want-to-sit-down ambience and its endlessly entertaining assortment of wallpapers, is an infinite improvement over John's tiny bare flat.
On the above scene, a very small moment: when they first go to look at the flat, Sherlock waits for John at the top of the stairs before opening the door for him and leading the way in. This troper has a physical disability, and can tell you that common courtesies like walking slower or waiting for someone with a disability is sadly not as common as it should be. That Sherlock didn't just self-interestedly wander into the flat leaving John to get there in his own time really is surprisingly considerate of him, without being condescending.
And later, he invites John out with him, saying Northumberland Street is a five minute walk from there- meaning it's probably a ten minute walk at the least for John. Unlike the well-meaning Mrs Hudson (who assumed John needed to rest simply from getting up the stairs) and unlike the probably less well-meaning Mycroft, Sherlock refuses to treat John like an invalid who can't cope with a ten minute walk, cane or no cane. Which is exactly, psychologically, what John needs.
When John tells Sherlock that he found his website, Sherlock looks all proud of himself and asks; "What did you think?" John gives him a doubtful look and Sherlock's face falls rather adorably as if to ask; "What did I do wrong?" He really did want John to be impressed with him. The same bloke who claims to never care what anyone thinks of him. Which also becomes something of a fridge Tear Jerker later on, as that line in Sherlock's 'note' appears to be the only thing that wasn't a lie.
Just before Lestrade comes to fetch Sherlock John again asks how Sherlock deduced all those things about John's military service, limp, Harry and her drinking and once again, Sherlock ignores him. Again, this is an example of the relatively gentle and respectful way Sherlock interacts with John from the beginning.
In fact, when Sherlock finally does tell John how he made all of those deductions on the way to the crime scene, he's doing it because John had hurt his feelings by calling him an "amateur", so he lashed out at him... and then expected John to tell him to "piss off" for doing it.
Mrs Hudson indulgently watches an excited Sherlock practically fly out the door on his way to a crime scene. She tells John, "Look at him, always rushing about... my husband was just the same...". That is, she's comparing Sherlock to her husband, just as a mother might compare her son with his father. Which is adorable and completely establishes her maternal relationship with Sherlock inside of about one minute of screen time.
The part of this that always makes THIS troper smile is the way she says it. "MY husband was just the same." She's already got them married off in her head.
The fact that after Sherlock rushes off, John acts like he has every intention of hanging around, at least for a bit. He has only met Sherlock the day before, and has only met Mrs Hudson, who he's now being left alone with, five minutes before. He'd only gone there to look at the flat. But Sherlock tells him to make himself at home, and he does. Instantly. (Sherlock even gives a general "don't wait up for me" before he leaves; he may have only been addressing Mrs Hudson, but it seems more likely that he was addressing John as well- he's assuming that John is staying there that night.)
Also, given the pre-existing relationship between Sherlock and Mrs Hudson, the fact that Sherlock has exactly zero qualms in leaving his adored landlady in the company of a man he really doesn't know. Mrs Hudson doesn't seem in the least worried by being left alone with a strange man either (she's not even particularly perturbed when John abruptly turns on her after she tells him to rest his leg.) She's evidently decided that anyone Sherlock brings home should be addressed as "dear" and mothered accordingly.
Sherlock coming back to the flat for John. It wasn't just a matter of him needing an assistant. He chose a man he hardly knows, with only his word for it that he was a "very good" doctor. The conversation he has with John shows that he completely understands that John is missing his life as a soldier, and is up for examining a corpse, and anything else exciting that comes his way.
Then there's the extremely gentle way that Sherlock says "a lot of trouble too, I bet." He's not talking about injuries and violent deaths- he's just differentiated that from "trouble." He may, in a very small and hesitant way, be referring more to John's war trauma. He seems to be trying to empathise with him (after all, whether or not John has PTSD aside, he has psychosomatic pain and was shot, and Sherlock had already deduced that this must have been traumatic) and be gentle with his mental state. At this point Sherlock and John have known each other for a cumulative ten minutes or less. But they're connecting on an incredibly complex level and Sherlock is showing more regard for John than he has so far shown for anyone else. And Sherlock's regard for John is even more remarkable when you see how utterly clueless he usually is about reading the emotions and body language of others.
Also, why exactly did he change his mind and come back for John? Might have only occurred to him spontaneously on the stairs that his new flatmate could come in handy, but ... John's "Damn my leg" outburst was certainly loud enough to be heard on the stairs. And all of a sudden Sherlock's back, offering to take him along. Again, a rather amazing level of empathy, given it's Sherlock we're talking about.
On the above note. Sherlock complains that Anderson "won't work with me", even though he needs an assistant. He took John because he knew John would work with him. Keep in mind that this happens before the conversation in the cab where John praises his abilities for the first time. So far, John has reacted to Sherlock's deductions by either complete disbelief, or by being very uncomfortable about them and standoffish with him.
It's just a tiny thing, but when you think about it, John and Sherlock's first conversation in the cab is one. Sherlock deduces John's life from his phone, and we learn that the usual response from people when he does this is "Piss off." John? John tells him it's amazing. It can't be something Sherlock's heard very often.
John not telling Sherlock that he actually got a major detail wrong- the gender of his sibling- until the absolute last minute, when Sherlock directly asks him if there was anything he got wrong. All that gushing over how amazing Sherlock is, and he wasn't 100% right anyway... and John wasn't quick to point that out. He goes through everything Sherlock got right before mentioning the one thing he got wrong.
This little line:
Sherlock: You're a war hero who can't find a place to live, it's unlikely you've got an extended family, certainly not one you're close to.
Sherlock just called John a hero, when the emotionally neutral term is veteran. It's a staggering compliment to John, especially when later Sherlock cracks a joke about the invasion of Afghanistan being 'ridiculous' and in The Great Game half-sneers at John's "Queen and country" attitude. It's highly implied that Sherlock's politics might be considerably to the left of John's- but he still called him a "hero."
It's entirely possible that John *is* a war hero - after all, on the blog Bill Murray (the nurse) once comments that John deserves "a medal - another one". And Sherlock probably knows about that medal and whatever John got it for by the time of their taxi conversation - initial deduction aside, he probably would have done some Internet research at least about his prospective flatmate by that point; just as John is seen googling "Sherlock Holmes", only more so, knowing Sherlock.
In The Great Game, Sherlock tells John not to make him into a hero. By this time we've seen multiple instances of Sherlock being quietly impressed with John's bravery, "nerves of steel" and general badassery, so it's possible that just a tiny part of Sherlock is guilty of making John into his hero.
More than that! Sherlock says that "Heroes don't exist, and if they did [he] wouldn't be one". Surely it would have to be more than "just a tiny part" of Sherlock for him to call John a hero seemingly thoughtlessly, if he really doesn't believe in them.
When Sherlock drops the bomb on Anderson "So's Sergeant Donovan", John seems pleased when Sherlock scores points off both Anderson and Donovan. In his blog entry, he remarks on Donovan's calling Sherlock a psychopath by pointing out that it was "hardly a professional diagnosis". Even at this point, John does not appreciate the police bullying or insulting Sherlock. For extra heartwarming, there's no reason why he wouldn't be firmly on Sherlock's side at this stage. Sherlock has so far been (for Sherlock) ridiculously nice to John, remembering to say "please" "thank you" "sorry", telling him to make himself at home at 221B- things that aren't that unusual for socially normal people, but which are really quite amazing for Sherlock.
Sherlock's determination to not exclude John from helping him with the case. He clearly overheard John get upset about being left out of the excitement because of his injury and from then Sherlock is keen to make sure he's in on the action. When Sally blocks John from following Sherlock into the crime scene, John acts bashful and suggests waiting outside but Sherlock lifts up the barrier for him.
And then there's this bit, where Lestrade meets John for the first time note the scene at 221B doesn't count as Lestrade completely blanked John. :
Lestrade: Who's this?
Sherlock He's with me.
Lestrade: Yeah but who is he?
Sherlock: I said he's with me.
Double heartwarming. Firstly for Sherlock's fierce defence of his potential new friend. Secondly for Lestrade not kicking up much of a fuss at Sherlock bringing another civilian in on the crime scene. He allows it, knowing full well how many rules he's breaking, but doesn't care and seems to be more baffled as to why John is with Sherlock in the first place.
Whether Lestrade let John in or not, I actually thought it was really rather rude of Lestrade to talk like that, as he's essentially treating John like a doormat or a piece of furniture. He doesn't say, "Who are you?", he says, "Who's he?". This is especially rude because he already saw (and ignored) John in Sherlock's flat. Sherlock doesn't invite a lot of people to his flat, and now here he is inviting John into a crime scene and still Lestrade is blanking him. Bonus heartwarming points to Sherlock, however, who becomes visibly annoyed at Lestrade's choice of words.
On the above note, Sherlock goading John into admitting that he's not just a doctor- he's a very good doctor. Sherlock had been introduced to John simply as "John Watson." Sherlock had to deduce that John was a doctor. But he introduces him to Mrs Hudson as "Dr John Watson", addresses him as "Dr Watson" in front of Lestrade (when he'd previous called him "John" as he'd rushed out the door to the crime scene- no doubt this was Sherlock's way of answering Lestrade's "who is he?" in his own good time) and a couple of times actually reminds John that he's a doctor. John's self-esteem is at an all-time low at the beginning of A Study in Pink. He's broke- and while the tremor in his hand would exclude him from the operating theatre, there's really no reason for it to have stopped him from taking up work as a GP. In fact, in The Blind Banker he proves that he's such a good doctor that he literally walks into a clinic and is hired the same afternoon by a fellow doctor who is deeply impressed with his resume and work history, and baffled that someone so patently overqualified would even want a job there. It's possible, if not probable, that John hasn't even bothered to see about locum work in A Study in Pink- something that would help alleviate the boredom and pay the rent- because he's totally lost confidence in his ability to do anything, including practice medicine.
Another tiny thing, but this troper always smiles at this bit-
In the above scene with the body of the pink lady, Sherlock comes out with an absurd number of deductions, and Lestrade tells him "oh for God's sake, if you're just making this up...!" He's smiling and enjoying himself hugely (contrast with the unaired pilot, same line, Lestrade is much crankier.) Lestrade genuinely being entertained watching Sherlock do his thing heartwarmingly cuts across his assertions that he only puts up with Sherlock because he's desperate- or even that he puts up with Sherlock because he altruistically thinks he could be a good man. For all Sherlock's many faults, Lestrade seems to genuinely like him and be one of the very few people in Sherlock's life who appreciates the gifts he has.
Retroactive example. At one point, John is approached by a sinister gentleman in a suit who offers him money to keep an eye on his new friend Sherlock and inform the man in the suit of Sherlock's activities, discretely of course, because he 'worries about him. Constantly.' The moment seems sinister when we, like John, think that the man is some sort of 'criminal mastermind' but becomes a bit more touching when we learn that he is in fact Sherlock's older brother Mycroft; despite their clearly factitious relationship, Mycroft obviously really does care about his brother and worries about him running around the city solving murders.
Also from that scene, John turning down the bribe. He's not that well acquainted with Sherlock at this point (and has just been ditched by him) but still won't spy on him, not for any amount of money.
Again from that scene, the chair. John seems to assume that it's there to intimidate him or put him in a vulnerable position. The line "the leg must be hurting you, sit down" could be taken as passive-aggressive bullying, or you could also read it as a much more heartwarming straight line- Mycroft might be OK with kidnapping and bribing John, but he's not mean-spirited and wants to accommodate John's physical limitations. He not only arranges for John to be dropped off at the door of Baker Street, he even has the car stop by wherever John was currently living so he could pick up the gun on the way.
After Mycroft finishes his meeting with John, Anthea reappears and says she's to "take [John] home". John gives the address as 221B Baker Street. He hasn't even moved in yet, in fact he only went there that afternoon to check the place out and since then he's been abandoned by his potential flat-mate, been warned off by a police sergeant to stay away from him because he's a "psychopath" and intimidated by said flat-mate's apparent "arch-enemy". In spite of all that, he's already decided that 221B is now his home. Aww.
There's extra heartwarming in that remark, too: at the time John makes it, he's still in such pain with his leg that he needs a cane to take three steps across a room. And yet the fact that he needs to climb two flights of stairs to even get to the living room of his new abode is not, apparently, a problem for him. For most people in his position, the stairs would be an instant dealbreaker. There's an emphasis on how long it takes him to negotiate them- Sherlock has to wait for him on the landing. Yet John thought negotiating the stairs, probably multiple times a day, was worth it. Mycroft, probably very deliberately, has tripped off John's protective instincts: on leaving Mycroft he genuinely believes Sherlock to be in danger, so he's determined to keep close to him to protect him.
Related to the above: Mycroft tells John that he's "very loyal, very quickly." John protests, with a hint of embarrassment, that he's not, he's just not interested in being bribed to spy on Sherlock. It seems like he's protesting a bit too much, but over the course of two seasons we see that John really isn't overly loyal- at least, not overly loyal to anyone except Sherlock.note And, arguably, Mrs Hudson. She becomes a mother figure for John as well as Sherlock; also, she presents herself as someone he needs to look after. He's estranged from Harry (so clearly not sentimental about the importance of family) and while he has friends and gains a few more in Bill, Mike, Lestrade, etc- he doesn't seem to have any more loyalty to them than you'd expect someone to have for their buddies. That fierce protectiveness- that drives him to shoot people dead or punch them in the face- is something he really doesn't show for anyone except Sherlock.
John's reaction to Sherlock's "could be dangerous" text. On the one hand, we know John is a closet adrenaline junkie and wants in on anything "dangerous" for kicks. But at the time the text comes through he's with Mycroft, who he at that point believes to be a danger to Sherlock. He didn't just rush over to Baker Street for his own benefit. He thought there was a high chance that he needed to protect Sherlock.
Sherlock seems to really like that skull and even looks a bit forlorn when Mrs. Hudson confiscates it. He gets over it pretty quickly though because he now has John instead; who he's already clearly enjoying having around with him.
John: So I'm basically filling in for your skull?
Sherlock: (smiling) Relax. You're doing fine.
Sherlock: ... Problem?
John: Yeah. Sergeant Donovan.
Sherlock:(Looking exasperated) What about her?
John: She said you get off on this. You enjoy it.
Sherlock: And I said 'dangerous'- and here you are.
John: ... Damn it!
John's response to being called out is gold. Sherlock knows full well that for all his exasperation, John is having the time of his life that evening, including the parts where he was kidnapped and later, the part where he shot someone dead. Sherlock understands John completely in this respect, and he has no room to judge John for it. For all their differences, this is a point where they are actually very similar, and very misunderstood by a lot of people.
John initiating a conversation about relationships with Sherlock. It's easy to miss because of abrupt editing but an amount of time seems to pass between Angelo setting the candle down and here because John suddenly seems to be eating moments having just picked up the menu. When he starts talking, Sherlock takes a few seconds to acknowledge him, implying not much has been spoken between them in that time. It's sweet that the first real conversation John wants to have with Sherlock outside of investigating criminals is a rather personal one.
Sherlock: What do real people have then in their real lives?
John: Friends. People they like, people they don't like...
What's heartwarming about this is that John has so far had two people inform him that Sherlock doesn't have friends and there seems to be good reason for that. Instead of being warned off, John is making it clear here that he wants to be Sherlock's friend, despite knowing he would most likely be the first and only one Sherlock has ever had.
As we see both here and various other moments throughout the show, friendship means a lot to John, even more than any relationship he has with his girlfriendsnote It's later implied that Sherlock is part of the reason many of John's relationships fail but not once does he choose them over his friend. In this conversation, 'friends' is the first word on his lips, with 'girlfriend' and 'boyfriend' more as afterthoughts. This seems to be the start of a running theme of John trying to teach Sherlock how important friends are; as he later tells him in The Hounds of Baskerville that he should listen to John because he's Sherlock's friend, then lecturing him about how "friends protect people" in The Reichenbach Fall. Just the fact that John is willing to put in the effort to help Sherlock understand friendship is heartwarming when so many others appear to have given up hope with him being anything other than a "freak" or "sociopath" - even Sherlock himself.
What's also massively heartwarming about this is that at the point where Sherlock meets John, he already has at least THREE friends- Mrs Hudson, Lestrade and Molly. Probably Mike Stamford, too. Part of John's influence over Sherlock is not just being a friend to Sherlock, it's facilitating his friendships with others and eventually getting Sherlock to the point where he realises that even then he did have friends- he just couldn't understand friendship because it had never been really translated to him. John is the only person who takes the time to explain (patiently and without insulting or demeaning Sherlock) not only such basic human interactions as tact, courtesy, appropriate topics of conversation, saying please and thank you, being polite even when you don't like someone, the difference between romantic and friendly social behaviour, etc- as well as some broader and more resonant issues such as the meaning of loyalty, compassion, bravery, sacrifice and devotion.
Sherlock, misinterpreting John's intentions, is surprisingly extremely delicate about turning him down. The conversation at hand seems to be pretty much over before Sherlock makes a point of starting it up again with "Umm, John..." We see later in Belgravia in particular that Sherlock is awkward and very underexperienced in matters concerning the heart, so going to the effort of talking about his sexual orientation to someone he barely knows, and genuinely seems to think is hitting on him, must have been difficult for him. His tone is quite gentle, explaining that he's "flattered" and overall showing a high level of regard for John's feelings. Since when does Sherlock go out of his way to be that polite to anyone?
And on that note, John telling him that if he is gay, it's fine, is heartwarming too. Not that we expect John to be a raging homophobe (especially not when his sister is gay) but for him to go to the trouble of directly addressing the issue in that way, instead of awkwardly ignoring it, really is lovely. John seems intent on assuring Sherlock that if he (Sherlock) is gay, that's not a flatshare dealbreaker for him. And while Sherlock turns what he perceives to be John's attentions down, the way it's worded indicates that Sherlock wouldn't consider John being gay to be a flatshare dealbreaker either. The misunderstanding isn't even particularly Played for Laughs- John correcting Sherlock is quite gentle and tactful. Twice in A Scandal in Belgravia John indicates he still thinks it's possible that Sherlock is gay. But while he self-identifies as straight, Sherlock being possibly gay has never been a barrier to their friendship. Even when it leads others to conclude that John is gay.
During the chase to follow the taxi, Sherlock and John climb up to the top of a building and Sherlock jumps from one rooftop to another. John hesitates from doing the same for a brief moment and Sherlock has to prompt him saying; "Come on, John! We're losing him." before he can make the jump. We're losing him? Sherlock could have easily just kept focusing on the task at hand, kept on running and not given a a damn as to whether John was catching up with him. Remember he did that very thing earlier that evening when he abandoned John at Brixton to find the suitcase. It's a wonder that he noticed John had stalled at all. But now he's prepared to wait for John and encourage him to realise how much he's capable of.
The moment where John answers the door, realises for the first time that he left his cane at the restaurant and ran halfway across Soho without it... and turns back in amazement to Sherlock, who is grinning at him in pride and real cameraderie. Sherlock wasn't just trying to prove that he was right about John's limp being psychosomatic, or even simply trying to prove that John was capable of more than he thought he was. Sherlock has a tendency, even later in the series, in making everything about him, but this was all about John. It seems that the man who claims not to care about other people genuinely enjoyed making John happy and perhaps even had his first foray into being happy for someone else- after all, John's physical recovery was, from a practical point of view, neither here nor there to Sherlock.
It's disturbing, and an entirely separate Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, to realize that if John had gone on favoring one leg and relying on a cane for very much longer it might have induced muscle weakness and an entirely somatic limp. Sherlock saved John from physical disability as well as aiding him with his psychological issues.
When Lestrade says they're there for a "drugs bust", John tries in vain to defend Sherlock, mostly baffled at the thought of someone as intellectually focused as Sherlock using. Sherlock cuts him off and practically takes him to one side. He doesn't try to lie about his past but he's also too embarrassed, and possibly scared of losing his new friend, to say it out loud. He just gives John a really intense look as if to say; "This is who I am. Please accept me at my worst as well as my best."
And he does. His response is simply a surprised but non-judgmental "No. You?" John is a doctor as well as a soldier, a well respected, law-abiding member of society. It's a personal risk to continue living with someone he now pretty much knows is a user who probably has drugs on the premises. He does anyway. Remembering that part of the reason he's estranged from his own sister is because she's an alcoholic- and at one point in his blog, he actually throws that in Harry's face by suggesting they "do drinks" together. He's judgmental of Harry, but not of Sherlock.
During the preceding scene, there are a number of both background and cut-to shots of Lestrade's reaction to John in general and the way he interacts with Sherlock. There's one particularly interesting shot while Sherlock blurts out his inability to understand why a woman would still be upset about a stillbirth that happened "ages ago." John says nothing but looks absolutely appalled, and then Lestrade seems to be watching the both of them, wondering what will happen next. John's horrified look and the dead silence that falls over the room is well enough to tip Sherlock off that what he's just said is really, really bad. And it's one of the very few times he seems unsure of himself and willing to admit that what he's just said is "not good."
When John goes with Lestrade and Sherlock in to view the body of Jennifer Wilson, there's a shot of each of their faces, and John is the only one to show any kind of real emotion- and it seems to be pity. You can see it again in the revelation that Rachel was Wilson's child and had been stillborn. There are two reaction shots of John as Lestrade is telling this to Sherlock- he reacts to "she's dead" with pity as it is, and when Lestrade is quite matter-of-fact with "technically speaking she was never alive... Rachel was Jennifer Wilson's stillborn daughter..." John winces and looks noticably upset to hear this. Sherlock is surprised that the baby's mother would still be upset! John's compassion and respect for the dead is in sharp contrast to Sherlock's frank disinterest in them as anything other than puzzles to solve.
Related to the above. Lestrade has just given Sherlock the equivalent of a parental lecture about the way he is going off on his own and witholding evidence; Sherlock's gotten into it with Anderson and then Donovan, and is massively on the defence due to the whole drug bust thing anyway. When he questions "... not good?" John's response is not to call him a sociopath or a psychopath or a child or a lunatic or a freak; he simply replies "A bit not good, yeah." We've seen earlier in the episode that Sherlock is used to being insulted or nagged or yelled at, but John takes it at face value that he honestly didn't mean offence, and corrects him without getting him offside, which is kind of sweet.
Bonus heartwarming that he asks the question at all. It sounds surprisingly vulnerable and you don't get the impression he'd have asked anyone but John. Sherlock already trusts John enough to open up like that and not be called a freak in return, but to get an honest answer to an honest question (which, again, few of those present would understand it to be).
The fact that all John has to do is look horrified and it instantly stops Sherlock dead in his tracks. John has already made it abundantly clear that he thinks Sherlock is brilliant and fantastic and amazing- or at least that his deductions are brilliant and fantastic and amazing. Sherlock now wants John to actually like him, and for John to think he's not just a clever person but a decent person. (Hours before, he'd actually told Mrs Hudson "who cares about decent?") And here, Mr I-Am-Always-Right-And-Brilliant stops as abruptly as if he's been slapped when he realises he's just said something that would make John think less of him as a person.
The apologetic look on Sherlock's face after John basically tells him about the moment he thought he was going to die. It's quite a lot pity from the man who barely a minute ago was being looked on as a monster for not understanding why the woman would still be upset about her stillborn daughter. While Sherlock clearly has problems with empathy, it doesn't mean he's beyond sympathy too. And though he's only recently met John, he clearly cares enough about him already to hate the thought of him suffering.
When Sherlock finally figures out that the murderer is the taxi driver waiting for him, he kind of spaces out and wanders out the door looking all pale and distracted. John is the only person to notice something is wrong- even though he barely knows Sherlock or what he's like. If John had thought Sherlock had just got distracted and was off larking about somewhere, and had not bothered to keep checking the phone GPS...
This is awesome:
Lestrade: Why'd he [Sherlock] have to do that? Why'd he have to leave??
John: [shrugs] You know him better than I do.
Lestrade: I've known him for five years, and no, I don't.
Really? In under two days John got closer to Sherlock than Lestrade did in five years? Aww!
And brilliant when you see the comment in the context of what Lestrade has just seen from the two of them. He's seen Sherlock barge John into a crime scene (has he ever done that with anyone before? Lestrade's reaction seems to indicate he hasn't). He'd heard John gushing praise at Sherlock and Sherlock telling him that doing so was "fine"- when he'd told Lestrade to "shut up" for thinking. He saw Sherlock respect John professionally, honestly wanting to know his opinion and taking those opinions as fact, even though he thinks most people are stupid. He saw John back at the flat, defending Sherlock, even though the last time Lestrade saw him Sherlock had ditched him. He saw Sherlock back up with "not good?" when he thought he'd offended John, and the way he reacted to "I don't have to." He saw Sherlock bouncing ideas off John when he was rambling about the password. And he definitely heard Sherlock address John by his first name- we later find out that Sherlock doesn't even know Lestrade's first name. Of course this would all lead him to realise that somehow, Sherlock had found himself a friend and they were already (for Sherlock) close- closer than Lestrade is to Sherlock.
And then, on his way out the door, Lestrade tells John that he "puts up with" Sherlock because 'Sherlock Holmes is a great man. And I think one day, if we're all very, very lucky, he may even be a good one." Lestrade usually acts like a man at the end of his tether with Sherlock. So far that evening, John had already been told that Sherlock was not capable of having friends, that he was a psychopath, a sociopath, a child, a freak and a lunatic who will always let people down. Lestrade might call Sherlock a "child" to his face, but when Sherlock's not around, he reveals that he thinks he's a great man who has the capacity to be a good one. Even at this point John isn't the only person who thinks Sherlock is amazing and fantastic, he's just the first who has said it to his face. Lestrade calls Sherlock a "great man" seemingly out of earshot of the rest of the officers he's arrived with. His trust in Sherlock and high opinion of him makes him a laughing stock at Scotland Yard, but he seems to know that John, of all people, will understand what he means and be one of the very few people who actually agree with him.
When John realises that Sherlock is in danger, he doesn't just call 999. He tries specifically to get in touch with Lestrade. Probably because he's seen that Lestrade, for all his snarky impatience toward Sherlock, genuinely cares about his welfare, will believe what has happened without holding things up asking too many questions, and will do everything he can to help Sherlock.
On the above note, Lestrade's attitude toward Sherlock after the shooting. He'd been so annoyed and snarky at and about him before, but now he just seems incredibly relieved that Sherlock is okay. Here more than anywhere else in series one, Lestrade is behaving less like an annoyed "colleague" of Sherlock's, and more like an older brother or father to him.
Sherlock realizing mid-flow that John killed the cabbie, and choosing to protect his friend rather than prove his intellect by claiming that he was wrong and it was the shock speaking.
Also from the end scene. Sherlock tells John: "We need to get the powder burns ut of your fingers. I don't suppose you'd serve time for this, but let's avoid the court case." We? Let's? Not only did Sherlock choose to protect John by claiming he had no idea who killed the cabbie, with these lines he's just offered to make himself an accessory after the fact. Sherlock seems confident that John wouldn't serve time, but it's hard to figure out why he thinks this. John, a trained marksman, has shot someone dead using a concealed firearm he probably doesn't have a permit for. It was entirely intentional and not manslaughter. It wasn't self defence either, since John was not in danger, and if it came down to it, John couldn't prove it was in defence of Sherlock, either. After all, the cabbie was unarmed and Sherlock was not hurt. If John was discovered to have been the shooter, and actually did do time for it, Sherlock couldn't be implicated by just playing dumb about knowing it was John. (He even points it out in a joking way: "you're the one who shot him, not me.") But Sherlock could be implicated in the shooting by helping John get the powder burns out of his hands or otherwise helping him cover his tracks. John's just demonstrated in a fairly dramatic way that even if Sherlock's being an "idiot" he still has his back. Sherlock, in a much smaller way- but massively heartwarming, for him- has done his best to return the favour by helping John get away with what a jury might literally decide to be murder.
When John calls Sherlock an "idiot", Sherlock's response is simply a foolish smile- as if to admit "okay, well played." Extra heartwarming when you realise just how much of Sherlock's self esteem hangs on his reputation for being intelligent; any serious accusations of being an idiot would have hurt him deeply.
Despite the fact that it's clearly very late by now (Sherlock makes a reference to the Chinese restaurant he has in mind staying open until two) Mycroft shows up at the crime scene, still dressed in his suit and looking sharp. When he heard that his brother had been involved in a shooting, he went to the scene to make sure. And then no doubt found out that John was the one who'd taken out the cabbie and saved Sherlock's life, prompting his reluctant compliments toward him after he and Sherlock leave.
At the point of taking the pill, all Sherlock cares about is being right and proving he's clever. The gunshot really only a couple of feet away from him causes him to drop the pill- and the first thing he demands of the dying cabbie is whether he got the right one. He even asks twice. He never finds out which pill was which (and neither do we.) You'd think, through all this, that Sherlock would actually be angry that John had interrupted him, and that he'd chew him out for interfering. He doesn't. He compliments John's terrifyingly good marksmanship, enquires if he's all right, talks about how they're going to get away with it, giggles with him and finally invites him out to dinner. Because even on that first night, his friendship with John was far more important to him than simply being right all the damn time and proving himself to be clever.
When Mycroft shows up, John suddenly looks very nervous. He didn't look nervous earlier on meeting him, because he didn't have Sherlock with him at the time. He's not worried for his own safety. He's worried about Sherlock's. The fact that he drops his arms to his sides (from having them behind his back) may indicate he was ready to defend Sherlock physically if he had to. Remembering that he still had the gun on him somewhere.
Virtually the last conversation that Sherlock and John have involves Sherlock still trying to impress John, and John taking down every one of his boasts. ("I can always predict the fortune cookies" "No, you can't." "I never guess" "Yes, you do.") It's really quite adorable, especially in the subtext- Sherlock's just shown John how vulnerable and stupid and human he can be. He's making a recovery by boasting, and John is casually reminding him that no, he can't literally read minds and yes, he does sometimes guess (he admitted that the conclusion that Harry was an alcoholic was a guess). And that that's perfectly okay, and there's really no need to keep showing off or trying to impress him.
The final shot of Sherlock and John walking together, side-by-side, smiling at one another. One man who at the start of this episode was "so alone" and another who "didn't have friends"; now they have each other and they're both so happy.
The Blind Banker
The look on Sherlock's face when he's told that he's not going to be working with Lestrade on this case and instead has to work with Dimmock, who is a complete stranger to him. Poor Sherlock looks totally lost for a few seconds. He and Lestrade might drive each other up the wall on a regular basis, but it's clear even at this early point in the series that Sherlock likes Lestrade- he likes working with him, and thinks highly of him. In Baskerville, John and Lestrade have a discussion that speaks to this issue. Sherlock has a small but select group of what he eventually finds out are friends surrounding him, and they're the only people he feels comfortable with. Throw a stranger into the mix, and he becomes very insecure.
Watching carefully, you can see he shoots John a quick look that just screams 'help!'. Already he's starting to trust and rely on John in situations that require social skills.
At the beginning of A Study in Pink, John seems genuinely incapable of picking up regular work, even though that would ensure he'd be able to live in London. On top of his hand tremor and psychosomatic pain, he's also very withdrawn, depressed and moody, and is implied to not sleep properly. It's heartwarming that after just a month of living with Sherlock, John is now physically and mentally at the point where he's able to take control back over his own circumstances and re-enter the workforce. He even tells Sarah he doesn't care if the work is mundane- because life with Sherlock at that point is so jam-packed full of excitement and drama that adrenaline-junkie John hints that he needs a break from it.
Ho Yay implications aside, this conversation really is quite adorable in its own right:
Sherlock: I need some air. We're going out tonight.
John: Actually, I can't. I've got a date.
John: It's where two people who like each other go out and have fun.
While Sherlock wasn't intending to go out with John the same way John plans to go out with Sarah, or at least John hopes not, he did want a break from searching for the cipher to go out and have fun with his friend. Aw.
Extra heartwarming both in that the only fun Sherlock seemed to have before meeting John was when some poor unfortunate got themselves horribly murdered, and even though Sherlock already had the Chinese circus in mind, it's still a step up from the "fun" of a woman lying dead in Brixton. And on top of this episode being the first where Sherlock calls John his "friend", Sherlock's remark here basically betrays the adorable sentiment "I like you, and I assume that you like me too." Awwww.
When John, on a date with Sarah, refuses to help Sherlock snoop around after clues, Sherlock throws a fit about it, borderline begging that he needs his help. He doesn't seem to have had a regular "helper" before meeting John, so one would think he'd be more than capable of working on his ownnote However in the previous episode he does say to Lestrade that he needs an assistant, before he even considers taking John on the case with him. It's unclear why, but considering John's role at the crime scene, he presumably needed someone with medical or forensic skills to take a look at the body/crime scene. Earlier in the episode, Sherlock had made a point of doing most of the sleuthing himself, expecting John to trail behind/wait for him outside/stay out of it altogether.
Mrs Hudson rushing to the rescue with something edible to serve to Sarah when John brings her home. Nobody asked her to. When she noted that John had brought Sarah home she no doubt realised "oh God, they have nothing in that fridge that's fit for human consumption" and made to cover John's social embarrassment (some of it. Sherlock's still acting like an ass.) She even sneaks in through the kitchen side door while Sarah and Sherlock are in the living room, so as not to embarrass John. In response, John falls over himself in gratitude and calls her a "saint." Aww.
In the middle of being strangled at Soo Lin's flat, Sherlock tries several times to gasp out "John." It's either a warning or a call for help, either of which are heartwarming. Especially when you remember the conversation Sherlock and John had in A Study in Pink about what a person would say if they were dying, if they'd been murdered. In what he may have thought were his "very last few seconds", Sherlock didn't say anything remotely clever or imaginative. He simply said "John."
Although he loves to disagree with Anderson, Sherlock never contradicted him when he snarkily pointed out that it was totally normal for a dying person to think of someone they loved in their last moments.
Sherlock comforting Sarah as he's untying her, by briefly putting his hands on her shoulders. He soothes her with something like 'it's all right, you're safe, it's over'. It's such a small but remarkable gesture of compassion and empathy, considering the earlier scene in Baker Street where it's clear he barely tolerates the woman.
Sherlock also chooses to untie and comfort Sarah, even though she was no longer in any danger, instead of running after General Shan, who he could probably have overtaken on foot if he'd acted quickly. This was a sacrifice on his part, because he's later upset that she got away.
Regarding the scene in Baker Street, it's heartwarming in its own weird way. Sherlock is jealous of Sarah- she's nicked his best (only!) friend. Remembering that previously, John himself seems to have had few friends, and apparently had all the time in the world to do whatever Sherlock wanted him to. Although Sherlock is barely polite to Sarah, you can see how much he's making an effort with her. We've seen how rude he can be when he's really trying to be. It's a genuine moment of character development- Sherlock is trying to comprehend why on earth John is bothering with this woman- and showing he has enough respect for John to respect Sarah (or try to) for his sake.
It's a small thing, but when John has to reluctantly ask Sherlock for cash, Sherlock responds instantly with "take my card." It could also indicate that Sherlock just doesn't value money, but giving a friend unrestricted access to your bank account (for several days!) is also a massive act of trust and familiarity... and the way the scene plays out may imply that Sherlock has actually offered John his card before. In-universe, they've been flatmates for all of one month.
Continuing that thought, at that point John asks Sherlock for cash just to cover the shopping (which seems fair enough as he appears to have been shopping for both of them.) The fact that Sherlock offered him his card may indicate that his patented Sherlock Scan picked up that John was completely broke, full stop, and the card (John still has it days later) was a way of lending/giving him cash without embarrassing him. Considering the fact that Sherlock is constantly embarrassing John, both deliberately and otherwise, it seems that Sherlock recognised just how humiliated and upset John was when he returned to the flat, and knew better than to be insensitive or rude about it. Sherlock is totally deadpan even when John explains about his row with the Chip and Pin Machine.
Drawing the two main points above together, in "The Blind Banker," it's not explicitly stated, but I'm of the understanding that Sherlock paid for John and Sarah's tickets to the Chinese circus (they were in Sherlock's name, John was pretty much broke and living off Sherlock's card already, etc). If so, then that just might be the sweetest thing ever.
On the above note- Sebastian's cheque. Sherlock initially declines the first (smaller) cheque, causing John to awkwardly tell Sebastian that he was only kidding about not wanting it. In the scene toward the end where they go to the bank and pick up the rest, Sebastian's giving the cheque not to Sherlock, but to John. Sherlock's not even present- he's busy messing with Eddie Van Coon's secretary over the hairpin, something he'd find a lot more interesting than dull old money. It's even possible that Sebastian is writing the cheque out in John's name, not Sherlock's- since John's possession of a cheque in Sherlock's name nearly got him killed earlier in the episode. While John no doubt did sensible things with the money (common household bills, common household rent), it still seems that Sherlock maintained his position of not being interested in the financial side of it, and rather selflessly gave all of that money to John. We know that Mycroft is wealthy and Sherlock never seems to have any lack of funds either, but John urgently needed that money, and Sherlock knew it all the way from the opening scene where he offers John his bank card to tide him over.
Maybe only Heartwarming In Hindsight, but Sherlock's interaction with an old "buddy" from university in the Blind Banker. The old friend in question casually insults Sherlock's deductive abilities, mentioning that it made all of Sherlock's fellow students hate him. Sherlock is clearly hurt when he says this, but is careful to conceal this and refuses to rise to the bait. So John's most likely the first real friend Sherlock's ever had who truly appreciates his amazing deductive skills.
Not to mention the way Sherlock pointedly introduces John as "my friend" to this banker, almost proudly.
When Sherlock tries to convince Sebastian that one of his employees has been murdered, Sebastian brushes him off, and Sherlock, urgently, says "Seb," trying to get his attention. It's the only time he uses the shortened version of Sebastian's name and unlike all the other times he makes an emotional appeal to someone, he doesn't seem to be faking it. It seems very possible that Sherlock did once regard Sebastian as a friend, and maybe even that part of him still does, even after how rudely Sebastian treated him during the episode.
Putting aside the fact that John abandoning the unarmed civilian, who was being targeted by an assassin was a hugely stupid moment for the ex-soldier; the reason he left Soo Lin was because he was worried about Sherlock and couldn't bear the thought of him fighting a gunman on his own. It walks a thin line between heart-warming and Fridge Horror that John is so protective of Sherlock that he would throw aside any duty to help others in danger just to make sure Sherlock is safenote Which John also does again, though to a less extreme degree, in A Scandal In Belgravia where he presumably cancels plans to spend Christmas with his alcoholic sister to look after a depressed Sherlock.
Running around the gallery, John never produces his gun- he probably did not have it on him. Which means he went to try to protect Sherlock against an armed assassin when he was totally unarmed. Pity only knows how he thought he could help Sherlock, but he didn't hesitate to literally put himself in the line of fire for him.
Sherlock informing the woman at the end how much her hair pin was worth and thus making her a millionaire. If not the fact alone that he didn't need to tell her about it - they'd only had a brief conversation before this and he didn't owe her anything - but also the huge grin on his face at how thrilled she is. You'd almost think the sociopath was starting to enjoy making other people happy.note Extra heartwarming when you remember that the actress is Olivia Poulet, who at the time of filming was Benedict Cumberbatch's long-term partner.
I always thought it was cute that Sherlock calls Amanda a "lady" when discussing Eddie having expensive soap in his flat. It's a small thing, but it's unusually courteous for Sherlock.
It's a brief moment but, after the previous scene, where John and Sherlock are sat in Baker Street, John notices that Sherlock is disappointed that General Shan got away, even though Sherlock is silent about the whole thing. It's a heartwarming sign of how John is starting to be able to see through Sherlock and read when something is bothering him. John then tries to reassure him by praising how he cracked the code and gives Sherlock hope in that, because of him, the police might be able to capture her.
The Great Game
John's support of Sherlock when he's on the phone to the hostages. You can particularly see this when the young man in Piccadilly Circus calls Sherlock while he's at the police station- he wanders out of the room and John, seeing that there's something wrong, follows him out. He doesn't interrupt him or say anything, and he can't really do anything to help, but he's there, and he's clearly trying to be as supportive as possible. He does it again when the old lady calls for the first time, maintaining supportive eye contact with him the whole time, and despite the fact that they've just had something approaching an argument, he's right by Sherlock when he solves the case but the old lady is killed for it anyway.
In the scene where the hostage is revealed to be a child, John again is put in a position of being very powerless to help Sherlock. Nonetheless, watch him during this scene. Sherlock points out (quite correctly) that the whole point of these puzzles is that he has to get the right answer, not have another person hand it to him. John knows this, he heard him point it out (and watch his reaction to it.) But despite this, and despite admitting freely that he's not a consulting detective, you can practically see John's brain ticking over during the countdown. He's trying his best to work it out for Sherlock.
Mycroft realising that the best way to get to Sherlock's reasonable side is through John. During his first conversation with Sherlock regarding the Andrew West case, he goes to give Sherlock the file, then changes his mind and gives it to John instead, talking directly to him. When blowing up Sherlock's phone with text after text doesn't get any kind of response from Sherlock at all, he starts texting John instead. Mycroft is having to face the amazing fact that Sherlock is capable of having friends. Well, one, at least. And that John also holds some influence over Sherlock, in his own way. In fact, Mycroft really is treating John like Sherlock's other half- what's said to John will reach Sherlock, and vice-versa.
When Lestrade calls Sherlock about the pink phone and tells him to come down to New Scotland Yard, Sherlock asks John if he's coming. John's somewhat surprised answer is "If you want me to, of course," Then we get this line, with just the ghost of a smile:
Sherlock: I'd be lost without my blogger.
The night before, Sherlock had attacked John over the contents of his blog, and then finished up with telling him quite nastily, "better still, stop inflicting your opinions on the world." It was this last line that caused John to storm out. Sherlock's comment, apart from being an approximation of something said in the books, is really quite sweet and appreciative, letting John know that he really doesn't mind his blogging and that unless otherwise specified, he's welcome to accompany Sherlock on his cases. It's the closest Sherlock can probably get to saying "I'm sorry I snapped at you about your blog last night."
The look on John's face when he sees that Sherlock is okay after abruptly leaving Sarah's to return home when he'd heard Baker Street had been bombed.
It's hard to imagine anyone being more gentle or kind than John is with West's fiancee when he goes to interview her. He's dealt with other grieving family and friends in the episode (Prince's brother, Woodbridge's flatmate) and used diplomacy and tact, but there's a difference between them and this girl- not only has she lost her fiancee, but the government thinks he was a traitor. He has to bring this up and she predictably reacts badly, but while he remains honest with her about what everyone thinks might have happened, he does it in the best way possible. (Can you imagine what would have happened if Sherlock had interviewed her? Or even if he'd been there?)
John describes the first hostage to Sherlock as "the woman- the crying woman." Sherlock then calls her "just a hostage", which disgusts John. He obviously found her phone call to Sherlock- particularly her crying- very distressing.
When John sees news of the explosion at Baker Street on the TV at Sarah's and rushes home, he finds Mycroft is already there. He's apparently only there to ask Sherlock to take the Andrew West case, but given how protective he is of Sherlock and how he "worries about him, constantly" it seems likely that he, too, got news of the explosion and rushed over because he was worried about Sherlock.
Several times in The Great Game, Sherlock encourages John to solve the case. Although John doesn't quite manage it, it's both interesting and heartwarming that Sherlock, who is so defensive of his skills and desperate to be the only brilliant person alive, lets him try anyway and seems honestly pleased when he steps up. He's essentially trying to train John up as a sort of student of "the Science of Deduction." He doesn't really bother trying to teach anyone else.
In the scene where John tries to deduce the Carl Powers case from his shoes, Sherlock seems to be telling the truth when he says a second point of view is useful to him. And his reaction of 'I mean, you've missed practically everything of importance...' is played for laughs (and directly out of the books), but his praise of 'really good' and 'you're in sparkling form' seems genuine, not snarky. Besides, his own deductions required scientific equipment and research. He couldn't possibly have expected John to be able to deduce that the shoes had been in Sussex simply by looking at the mud on the soles. Or to be able to tell that the miniscule flakes on the laces were human skin without using a microscope.
Sherlock's comments over John's deductions about the shoes are even more heartwarming because John had initially flatly refused to tell Sherlock his impressions; he protested "I'm not going to stand here while you humiliate me." Sherlock had apparently, for a change, been really listening to John's concerns- his compliments toward him were his careful efforts to absolutely not humiliate John in any way. The comment about John missing practically everything of importance was meant as a statement of fact, not a put-down, and despite feeling that John really did miss every important detail Sherlock still enthusiastically encouraged him and told him he'd done an excellent job.
Sherlock had been (literally) following John during the entire investigation of the Andrew West case. We know that Sherlock loves solving cases, showing off, being right and pissing off his brother. He had already solved the Andrew West case. But he waits patiently until John realises on his own how Andrew West was killed, before revealing himself and then taking John to Joe Harrison's flat. Sherlock is usually shown to have no patience with the 'funny little brains' of people he thinks are 'idiots', so the fact that he followed John around and waited for him to solve it on his own really is extremely patient and sweet of him. It's also somewhat implied that he was following John around to keep an eye on him as well, and make sure he wasn't in any danger.
A tiny, almost throwaway moment, but it's adorable. While Sherlock is shut into the kitchen hard at work on the Carl Powers case, John is apparently pacing around anxiously in the living room. He opens the sliding door and blurts out, "Can I help?" When Sherlock ignores the question, he continues with, "I want to help. There's only five hours left." His tone is so earnest, almost pleading. John has no ego to protect in that way. He doesn't want to be the hero, and he doesn't care if Sherlock doesn't praise him or even credit him, he just wants to help.
Even more cute, Sherlock calling John 'quaint' for wanting to help Mycroft's matter of national importance. It's mostly meant as teasing but it's still rather sweet. As is the next moment where he refers to John as his 'best man'.
The 'best man' remark is even more adorable when John at first has no idea who Sherlock is even talking about. It seems to never have occurred to him, even yet, that he is Sherlock's best man (especially given the bickering between them in this episode), and that Sherlock trusts him and values him. Awww.
John grabbing hold of Moriarty, ready to risk his life to take down the guy in order to save Sherlock. Sherlock repays this moment of heartwarming by tearing off John's bomb-rigged jacket in a panic as soon as Moriarty is gone, seeming totally freaked out by the whole thing.
Especially when you remember that Sherlock had told John earlier that "heroes don't exist." While John certainly isn't perfect, what he did for Sherlock in this scene, and the fact that he was perfectly willing to die to save him, is almost indisputably heroic.
When John grabs Moriarty, Sherlock is visibly shaken, but he shows no signs whatsoever that doing what John told him to- running away, and leaving John there to be killed- ever occurred to him as an option. Later, we see that (assuming he's not bluffing) he's prepared to kill Moriarty, John and himself, but he's not going to leave the scene without John or allow him to be harmed as a sacrifice for his own life. They were in it together, whether they died or lived.
Also, John letting go of Moriarty when he realised Sherlock was now a target. He backs off far enough from Moriarty that he had no reason to believe he wasn't going to be shot by the snipers then and there for attacking him.
The normally lightning-fast thinking Sherlock pacing, rubbing his head with a loaded gun, and this graceful bit of dialogue: "That-uh-thing that you did- that you offered to do- that was - um... good." D'awww.
As Sherlock is frantically trying to get the bomb off John, John says his name several times and appears to be trying to calm him down. As for whether he's all right, John says he's "fine", promptly buckles at both knees, grabs onto the side of a change-room door, sinks down onto his heels... and then, characteristically, thinks to ask "... Are you okay?" He doesn't specifically mention the loaded gun Sherlock is waving around, but he can see how shaken his friend is- and his priority is Sherlock's wellbeing, not his own. Most people would probably be too busy thinking holy crap I just nearly died to be able to process anything else around them.
Sherlock, despite claiming to be a high functioning sociopath, not even hesitating to give Moriarty the USB when he saw that John was in danger. He pointedly asks John "are you all right?", and waits for John to nod before holding the memory stick out to Moriarty. It strongly implies that there was no chance in hell of him making that offer if John had been hurt, or was otherwise not "all right."
When Sherlock tells Molly that Jim is gay, he seems surprised that he upset her. As he told John, he only wanted to save her the pain of finding out for herself. He's gone from someone who doesn't care about Molly, outside her ability to get him corpses to play with, to someone who genuinely wants to help her in his own blunt and tactless way.
In a rare moment of social awareness, Sherlock seems to immediately understand that blurting out "gay" was unacceptable and out of line, because when he's called on it, he mumbles "nothing... um... hey." This is the same man who in earlier episodes told John to his face that he was an idiot and responded to John telling him about the time he thought he was going to die with "yeah, but if you were clever...". The same guy who crashed John's date and blatantly told Sarah to go home so he and John could pull another all-nighter over the book code. He seems genuinely sorry for what he's just said. Unluckily for him, Molly heard him the first time, which leads to him launching into his rundown on why he thinks Jim is gay.
There's another in that scene, too. When Sherlock is... well, being his usual blunt, tactless, brutally rude self previously in the series, John never actually intervenes. Sherlock is rude to Lestrade, Donovan, Anderson, Mrs Hudson (!!), Mycroft, Dimmock... yeah, pretty much everybody, and generally John shrugs it off and lets it go, or at least waits until afterward to chew Sherlock out. After Jim leaves Molly, upset, confronts Sherlock on his "gay" remark. Sherlock brutally points out his case for Jim being gay, and John interrupts him with "Sherlock..." as a warning. When Sherlock ignores it, John goes in to argue with him, and then chews him out when Molly runs off. Obviously watching Sherlock absolutely destroy the series' resident Chew Toy was a bit too much for him to take, which is sweet of him, considering that Molly completely ignores him and five minutes before couldn't remember his name.
Any time we see them in a restaurant with only John eating. Even though Sherlock doesn't like to waste time eating when he's on the case, he'll still take the time to sit there for John's sake. Even if they do usually have to run out after just a few bites. This is particularly obvious in the scene where they receive the information about the Connie Prince case in some sort of cafe/canteen place. Sherlock opens the scene by asking John "feeling better?" and John, midway through eating as if he hasn't for days, replying that they'd hardly stopped for breath so far.
Also, the look on Sherlock's face in this scene is very sweet and heartwarming on its own.
After the old lady is shot and her call to Sherlock is cut off, there's a heartbreakingly sombre moment as the three men take in what has happened. Sherlock may claim not to care later but the expression on his face and the way he sinks back into his chair tells a completely different story. Also, John's hand comes to rest on the back of Sherlock's chair, very close to Sherlock's neck. It looks as if John is ready to comfort his friend if he needs to because he knows that Sherlock must feel some guilt, deep down inside, over not saving her when he had the chance.
The scene at the art gallery, when they hear that Moriarty's newest hostage is a child. Lestrade blurts out "it's a kid, oh God, it's a kid!" Elsewhere, he uniformly shows a lot of sympathy for the "poor buggers" Moriarty's using as bomb mules, but this, and his panicked shout of "Sherlock!" while Sherlock is dicking around laughing about how brilliant the answer is, shows a lot about what a decent person he really is.
In the Connie Prince case of "The Great Game", John calls Sherlock thinking he has a lead, and pretty much orders him to get himself over to the Prince place ASAP. Sherlock immediately agrees and follows every single one of his instructions. Sherlock had solved the case well before John called, and presumably, before he even sent John out. He went out to the Prince house anyway. Although John was wrong, Sherlock seems quite proud that he had come up with a very plausible theory; he's even more proud of him a few minutes later when he correctly deduces how Andrew West was killed.
Shortly after the resolution of the Andrew West Case, Sherlock is watching trashy telly and John is (probably) typing up on his blog about recent events. While the easy domestic scene would be heartwarming enough by the virtue of being there, considering previous tense scenes, it's made even better when John mentions that he's still waiting for Sherlock to admit knowing something about the solar system would have helped in figuring out why the painting in the fourth "round" was fake. Sherlock retorts that it didn't help John any. John replies that while that's true he is not a "consulting detective." What is Sherlock's witty reply? Sherlock simply grins to himself and concedes the point.
In The Great Game, Sherlock is seen boredly firing John's gun at the wall at Baker Street. A few moments later, John comes charging up the stairs and into the doorway, amid the gunfire. His absolute fury when he realises Sherlock is firing a freaking gun indoors because he's bored is that of someone who's just needlessly had the crap scared out of them. (After all, he says not one word about the actual vandalism of the wall.) We frequently see John irritated or annoyed and snarky, but moments where he's angry enough to shout at people are rare. In a situation where, for all he knew, Sherlock could have been being shot at, John raced up to the flat to see that he was okay.
Given John's past experience at war and probable PTSD, his overreaction to the sound of gunfire could be seen in another light.
John praising Sherlock for deducing that the painting was a fake simply from the dead security guard. This scene takes place immediately after the one where John had shown himself to be upset that Sherlock didn't care about the victims whose lives were at stake and Sherlock had all too bluntly told him not to place him on a pedestal. Yet John still can't help calling him; "fantastic!" with as much amazement in his voice as when he had praised him on their first case together. Granted, back then he barely knew Sherlock and now he's seen him at his worst as well as his best. None of it seems to make a difference because, to him, Sherlock is still a hero.
There's also cute moment in that scene where Sherlock nods to John, giving him the go-ahead to give his preliminary thoughts on the security guard's cause of death and the overall condition of his body. John, in turn, looks at Lestrade and waits for his permission before doing so- something Sherlock arrogantly never does. While John is talking to Lestrade, Sherlock is searching on his phone and probably barely listening, and it's highly unlikely John told him anything he didn't already know, but he let him have his turn anyway.
In the scene referenced above, where Sherlock tells John not to make him into a hero, he asks if caring about the victims will help save them. John confidently answers "no" so quickly it's almost before Sherlock finishes asking the question. John anticipated the question, and the point. It didn't change his mind or even his perspective- people with normal emotions and normal levels of empathy don't make a choice to care about people as a tool to helping save them, they care about people because they just do, they can't help themselves, that's what empathy and compassion is. As Sherlock bitingly pointed out at the hospital when John asked him to remember that there was a woman involved who might die, John is a doctor. No matter how good a doctor he is, a combat medic in particular would have had patients die on him. Doctors are trained extensively to cope when that happens, to not blame themselves, to be philosophical about it and move on to help the next person. John knows that "crying by their bedsides" will not do them any particular good.
Sherlock's line to John:
Sherlock: Don't make people into heroes, John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.
While it's delivered to sound quite brutal, there is an underlying heart-warming factor to it in that, just like with letting Molly know Jim was gay, Sherlock believes he has to be cruel to be kind. He seems genuinely put off that John is disappointed in him. Instead of trying to regain John's approval or impress him again, Sherlock simply lays it out flat - this is who he is and John is only going to be upset if he expects him to be something more. For someone with such a huge ego, it really is an impressive display of how humble he can be when he tells John that he's NOT a hero and also shows how even Sherlock is aware of the type of potentially twisted person he is.
During the fight in the Planetarium, the Golem grabs Sherlock in a headlock in an attempt to strangle him or snap his neck. John, in a moment that can only be described as heart-warmingly badass, aims his gun and utters this line with such quiet menace:
John: Let him go. Or I will kill you.
And, as previous events have shown us, he would have.
In the first scene between Sherlock and John, Sherlock mentions having seen John's writeup of the taxi driver case, and John ventures "... Did you like it?" When the answer is a resounding no, he continues "Why not? I thought you'd be flattered..." John's blog is supposed to be therapy. Initially, he never even meant for Sherlock to know it existed. Now that Sherlock does know it exists, he's trying to use it as a way of complimenting Sherlock without all the awkwardness of doing it face-to-face. He cares if Sherlock "likes it" and much of that entry was written so Sherlock would feel flattered. When he ignores all the nice things John had written about him and picked up on one thing that was less than complimentary (and completely true) John is genuinely hurt. note As you'd expect, Sherlock doesn't seem offended by the multiple references to him being a psychopath. He storms out of the flat because of this- when he blazed up but cooled down very quick over Sherlock shooting the wall, and barely scolded him for putting a head in the fridge.
This line, from one of the most coldly analytical, scientific-minded men in Britain, looking up at the stars note And it's so heartwarming we'll forgive the glaring fact that you'd NEVER see those stars anywhere near Vauxhall Arches:
Sherlock: Beautiful, isn't it?
It's the first time we've ever seen this part of Sherlock's personality, one who points out that he doesn't need to know about the concept of heliocentricity to be able to appreciate the beauty of a night sky. And it's extra heartwarming that not only did he notice something beautiful, he pointed it out so that he could share it with his best friend.
During the standoff at the pool, when Moriarty mentions "thirty million quid just to get you to come out and play", there's a shot of John's face. His eyes are closed and he looks really pale and haggard. Then a shot of Sherlock glancing at him twice in quick succession- he seems to be trying to look at John and Moriarty at the same time. It's just after this that he asks John if he's all right and hands over the memory stick, which unfortunately doesn't end the standoff. But Sherlock was hoping it would. He had previously called Jim's criminal consulting "brilliant" and was otherwise showing himself to be fascinated by him, but by this time he's no longer overly interested in hearing more of Moriarty explaining how brilliant he was and how he engineered all those "little problems." He could see that John really wasn't okay, and just wanted to get him out of the bomb jacket and somewhere safe before he passed out.
Sherlock's smile to John after the two of them joke about how people might talk. Considering they've spent most of the episode arguing and coming close to falling out, it's beautiful to see them acting like real best friends once they've escaped the danger. Too bad it doesn't last.
Just before John leaves Sherlock watching crap telly to go to Sarah's, he pauses to sort out what Sherlock is going to do left on his own for the night- specifically, what Sherlock's going to do about dinner. Sherlock is a grown man and more than capable of opening the fridge and finding food on his own, but we know that he has a tendency to forget to eat when he's preoccupied. Presumably he's been eating very little over the course of the previous few days, as he's been hard at work on the various cases throughout the episode. John won't be there with him for dinner, but he reminds Sherlock that he still has to eat anyway.
That whole scene is adorable in itself in how domestic it is. After John reminds Sherlock there's risotto in the fridge he comments that they're out of milk and Sherlock says he'll go get some. John is briefly stunned at him offering to do so and prompts him to get some beans as well which Sherlock agrees to. John still looks disbelieving but he's smiling anyway. He most likely knows that Sherlock won't get either items but he appreciates him offering.
Sherlock himself most likely knew he wasn't going to get the milk or the beans. Why? Because it's evident at that point that he's already made up his mind about going to meet Moriarty and hand over the missile plans. He knows how dangerous this is and he doesn't mention a word of it to John which is rather odd considering everything else they've gone through together in this episode alone. But this time he doesn't want John involved. He lets him go to be with somewhere safe with Sarah and is probably aware that they might never see each other again. He doesn't want their last conversation together to be another bitter row so he just generously offers to do the shopping for him so they can part on good terms.
Another domestic moment at Baker Street that's easily missed- when John storms out of the flat to go to Sarah's, he's that annoyed that he barges past Mrs Hudson and ignores her "Sorry, love!" as he does so. Seconds later, Mrs Hudson is worrying aloud that John should have wrapped himself up a bit more, since it was so cold out. Aside from setting up an element of the last scene, it's another sign of the little family at Baker Street looking out for one another. John is more than capable of deciding whether he's dressed warmly enough or not, but that's not going to stop Mrs Hudson from worrying about him if she decides he's cold.
A Scandal in Belgravia
Lestrade serves no practical purpose in this episode. He isn't involved in the main story's plot, aside from the brief montage of cases at the beginning. His involvement in any scenes after that are purely for social reasons - not to be a typical Inspector Lestrade. He calls the D.I in charge of the hiker murder just to ask him to try to not punch Sherlock. He's not seen again until the Christmas party at 221b where he's there purely as a guest with the rest of their closest friends. And then the last time he's seen is when the ambulance takes away the CIA agent that Sherlock beat up. Break-ins are not Lestrade's division but he visited anyway because he was concerned for his friends.
There's something rather adorable about Sherlock and John having their own little codes between each other, such as "gotta be an 8, at least" or "Vatican Cameos."
The latter example isn't actually a Sherlock-John code, as explained here but it's still heartwarming.
When John arrives at Buckingham Palace to find Sherlock sulking on the sofa wrapped only in a sheet- he's not even wearing underwear- there's no sign of exasperation or annoyance or embarrassment on John's part. That's just who Sherlock is, John's accepted that he has a stubborn and childish streak, and thinks the fact that his best friend is a thin white sheet away from being stark naked at the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II is absolutely hilarious. And, in turn, Sherlock's transition from dead serious, sulky pouting to cracking up laughing too. He's learning to laugh at himself and some of the absurd things he does. So far it seems John is the only person who brings out the silly giggling schoolboy in him, who gets him to crack jokes about invading Afghanistan and his brother being a "queen" and steal ashtrays for no other reason than to have a laugh about it. Did Sherlock, before meeting John, ever have anyone to have fun and laugh with? For a few moments in this scene, the pair of them are having so much fun just enjoying each other's company and revelling in most definitely not behaving 'like grown ups.'
During the scene in Mrs Hudson's kitchen, when it's revealed that she was faking a lot of her distress over being held hostage by the CIA note It's entirely probable that there was some, if not quite a lot of REAL distress there, given the flashback of her being hauled screaming up the stairs and the fact that she was beaten so savagely her face was bleeding and her clothing was torn John doesn't look remotely annoyed that Mrs Hudson had more or less played him for a sucker and wrought misplaced sympathy out of him. You could forgive him for being hurt or angry that she'd fake her distress (or part of it) to him and cause him to be so worried about her. But he doesn't seem to mind. He just looks slightly baffled but otherwise just incredibly relieved that she's more okay than he'd first thought.
By the time of the Christmas scene, several months after Sherlock first met Irene, John comments that Sherlock has received 57 texts from Irene- that he's heard, anyway. On New Year's Eve, when he meets Irene, John asks her what she "normally says" in her texts. Despite clearly being curious and worried about what the hell was going on between Sherlock and this woman, it apparently never occurs to John to check the phone himself while Sherlock is preoccupied. John is extremely worried about Sherlock during the Christmas-New Year period, and Sherlock won't talk to him about it, but he still won't sneak around checking the texts for himself. note It's possible that Sherlock has been deleting the texts anyway, but this seems unlikely—people keep flirty or romantic texts for sentiment. In any case, it's significant that John actually tells Sherlock he's been counting up texts for months, as a way of letting him know he realises there's an issue and would like Sherlock to talk to him about it, but apparently refused to actually breach his privacy by trying to check out what was happening without Sherlock's permission.
Despite still teasing him about the texts even as Sherlock excuses himself from the Christmas party, John sees that his friend is upset and goes to hover outside his bedroom door while Sherlock is on the phone to Mycroft. He then gently asks Sherlock if he's ok. Becomes somewhat of a Tear Jerker when Sherlock lies that he's fine and closes the door in John's face.
John seems so determined to respect Sherlock's privacy that he never even asks Sherlock what Irene is texting him... until right at the end, when he (John) believes Irene to be dead. Despite telling Mycroft that Sherlock wouldn't care if he never saw her again, and "despised her in the end", the fact that he refuses to tell Sherlock she's dead tells a different story. He knows Sherlock cared for Irene. And for the first time, he downright asks Sherlock if he got a text from her, and then, what it had said. And Sherlock, who has been so cagey about Irene and who has spent an entire episode almost systematically shutting John out of things, immediately responds with the simple truth: she had texted "Goodbye Mr Holmes."
After Sherlock, drugged, is taken home and wakes up later, he calls for John, who appears to have been sitting in the kitchen at the time. John doesn't come across as overly worried or sympathetic as he puts him back into bed, but he does say he'll be 'next door' if Sherlock needs him. John's bedroom is upstairs and the living room is down the hall/two rooms away. For the time being, John was apparently hanging out in the kitchen (not exactly the most comfortable room in the house), on his own, presumably so that if Sherlock needed him and/or called out, he'd hear it straight away and be on hand. It's not clear what time of night this takes place, and could be very late/early hours of the morning.
The reason John doesn't seem overly worried may be because it hadn't been the first time Sherlock had called out to him but just the first time he'd been somewhat lucid. His line; "No reason at all" in reply to Sherlock asking why he'd need him implies that John's been constantly checking in on him and having to sort him out possibly a handful of times already, to the point it's become a bit of a joke. Which kind of leads into Fridge Horror territory as to when and how Irene was able to sneak in without John noticing when constantly on guard.
John's actions are even more heartwarming when you look back at the hell of a day he'd had- including having his best friend punch him in the face for no reason, and being half a second away from being shot in the head by the CIA. The last is the sort of thing that would lead plenty of ordinary and otherwise stable people to have to have quite a lot of therapy to get over, and the former incident doesn't seem to be something that John has taken personally at all.
Sherlock's earlier reading of John had revealed a few things that make his vigilance even more heartwarming- he deduced that John actually had a date lined up for that evening (that he no doubt cancelled), that he had a lot on his mind regarding Harry (who had recently fallen off the wagon, as we discover from the tie-in blogs) and that the night before he'd had a night out with Mike Stamford and was implied therefore to be overtired already and/or just plain old hung over.
They may be small details but anyone who's either had to put someone to bed or had to be put to bed themselves because they were too intoxicated to even move knows there's a huge difference between just throwing someone onto a bed then leaving them to it and putting in the effort to make sure they're comfortable. John seems to have taken the time to remove Sherlock's jacket and shoes as well as tucking the duvet over him. Twice.
There's a nice bit of Fridge Brilliance that goes with this. The following morning John tells Sherlock, regarding his phone, "I wonder who could have gotten hold of your phone, 'cause it would have been in your coat, wouldn't it?" We know that Sherlock usually keeps his phone in the left hand breast pocket of his jacket. John knows this too, because on at least one occasion he actually was asked to get it out while Sherlock was WEARING the jacket. How does he know the phone had to have been in the coat? Because he'd taken Sherlock's jacket off him the night before and remembered that there was no phone in any of the pockets, leaving the coat as the only place it could possibly have been.
On the above scene- John more or less admits that Lestrade helped him with Sherlock, even if he was filming the process on his phone. Getting Sherlock up two flights of steps while he was unconscious/semi-conscious must have been a fun challenge. We never see Lestrade during this sequence but we're reminded that any time Sherlock's in trouble, Lestrade's around to help out, even if it falls well outside his job description.
In the scene where John is talking to Mrs Hudson just before leaving the flat on New Year's Eve, he asks her if Sherlock's ever had a "girlfriend... boyfriend... a relationship of some kind, ever?" When Mrs Hudson says she doesn't know, John blurts out, almost angrily, "How could we not know??" So far as he's concerned, they're Sherlock's best friends, and they should know this stuff about him.
A bit of Fridge Heartwarming- in A Study in Pink, Sherlock finds himself asking John if he's all right, because "you did just kill a man." In Belgravia he makes an almost identical remark to Irene, commenting that she was very calm when "your booby trap did just kill a man." For someone with such a huge lack of empathy, he's shown himself twice to be downright shocked that others can kill someone (regardless of the circumstances or reasoning) and then carry on as normal.
Bonus points: he simply makes a casual observation to Irene about her being calm, but he actually goes to the trouble of asking John if he's all right.
Also worth pointing out that up until this point we have never seen Sherlock kill anyone. We've seen him torture people and show no objection to when others take a life for good reason (and what concern he does have in those moments is more for the state of mind of the one who killed them). We know that John has killed at least two people and god knows how many lives he had to take on his "bad days" in Afghanistan. But so far Sherlock, who has confessed to how little he cares about the lives of others, has never felt the need to take one and is surprised when others are unaffected by doing so. In fact, when Sally Donovan's prediction that one day they'll be "standing around a body and Sherlock Holmes will be the one that put it there" finally comes true; the body is Sherlock's. And it's not even dead.
"Mrs. Hudson? Leave Baker Street? England would fall." Notable because Sherlock hugs someone.
He hugs Mrs Hudson on first seeing her in A Study in Pink, but it's a beautiful line/scene anyway, and demonstrates also that Mrs Hudson is the only person he's openly affectionate toward.
Doubly heartwarming on Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson's relationship, because Sherlock immediately brushes off John's suggestion that she leave for a while, and actually says 'shame on you, John' for even considering such a thing. John reacts with shock at Sherlock's accusatory tone, not understanding what the problem is. It highlights how much longer than John Sherlock has known Mrs. Hudson, and how he realises that insisting she stay and standing solidly with her after her ordeal will make her feel better than would running away.
In the Buckingham Palace scene- when Mycroft trolls his brother by stepping on the sheet he's wrapped in so that it slides off, John makes a brief move as if to save the sheet (and Sherlock's modesty.) He's too far away to really help, but the reflex was there. It's a damn good friend whose first instinct is to protect your dignity instead of laugh at your embarrassing but hilarious misfortune.
John's obvious jealousy at finding out that Irene has been text-flirting with Sherlock.
John's reaction to finding out Irene isn't dead. He's furious, and actually threatens to "come after" her. His insistence that she tell Sherlock that she's alive is the first thing out of his mouth, and at one point he becomes so angry/emotional he can barely get the words out:
Irene: It's for his own safety.
John: So's this. Tell him you're alive.
Irene: I can't.
John: Fine. I'll tell him, and I still won't help you.
John's devotion to Sherlock during that week deserves a mention. He cancels his plans with his girlfriend and, presumably, his sister to stay with Sherlock as Mycroft asked. Unlikely because Mycroft asked but because he knew it was doubtful that Mycroft himself would be willing to stay with his own brother and look after him like John would. Jeanette even goes as far to describe him as a great boyfriend...to Sherlock. And even refers to it as 'heartwarming' how John will do anything for him when Sherlock can't even remember his girlfriends. Thing is, neither can John as he forgets that Jeanette isn't 'the one with the dog', doubling as a Crowning Moment of Funny.
And then, extra heartwarming when it's revealed that Sherlock heard the whole thing. He heard how much John cares about him.
Then there's why Sherlock was there; because he'd followed John. Despite moping around in his dressing gown when John left, he must have realised that the car wasn't sent by Mycroft and so he rushed to get dressed and chase after them to make sure John was okay.
Initially, on seeing Irene, John isn't even angry- for a minute or two he just looks incredibly sad. No doubt this is pity for Sherlock, who's been heartbrokenly moping about for a solid week, starving himself and doing himself all sorts of harm- and for absolutely no reason. It takes him a little while to work up into being angry at Irene for hurting Sherlock like that. John isn't just physically protective of Sherlock. He's aware of how emotionally vulnerable Sherlock can be in a lot of ways, and reacts badly against people who mess him up emotionally, too.
Mycroft, for all his animosity toward Sherlock, can't help but introduce him as his "little brother." (Younger brother, or just plain brother, would be a much less loaded phrase.)
Mycroft also, in the same scene, gets all parental on Sherlock and addresses him in the same tone you'd address a naughty three year old:
Mycroft: We are in Buckingham Palace, the very heart of the British nation. Sherlock Holmes,put your trousers on.
It might just be a sarcastic throwaway line, but if there's any truth to this exchange then this says loads about Mycroft and Sherlock's relationship:
Mycroft (pouring tea): I'll be "mother." note i.e. He'll serve the tea.
Sherlock: And there is our whole childhood in a nutshell.
Lends much more weight to the wordless scene of Mycroft's reaction to Moriarty's gloating text. He's terrified of what would happen to Sherlock if anyone else found out that he had deliberately decoded a message for Irene, when he knew she'd nicked it from a government official, and that it was meant to be highly secret government information. Treason. Is. Serious. Business.
Life-imprisonment would be devastating to someone like Sherlock with his intellect, confined to a bare room and nothing to do... it'd be a Fate Worse than Death for him, he'd simply go insane. And Mycroft's reaction shows he is completely aware of this.
And what is Mycroft prepared to do in order to protect his little brother? Irene demands 'protection' that she claims will blow a hole in the wealth of the nation. Mycroft is hesitant at first but doesn't dismiss it outright as you would expect of someone who believes 'caring is not an advantage'. When Irene says he doesn't have time to think on it and makes another threat against Sherlock's freedom, Mycroft is ready to do as she says before Sherlock figures out the code. For a moment there, Mycroft was prepared to screw over his country for the sake of his brother.
In the abovementioned scene on the plane, he acknowledges that he deliberately steered his socially awkward and sexually inexperienced little brother into the path of a dominatrix and that he shares some of the blame for the failure of the Bond Air plan.
Mycroft: That's all it takes. One lonely naive man desperate to show off, and a woman clever enough to make him feel special... I drove you into her path. I'm sorry. I didn't know.
Mycroft gives Sherlock a cigarette after he identifies the body in the morgue as Irene Adler. There's nothing overtly sentimental about the scene (quite the opposite, in fact) but it's still obvious that Mycroft is trying to comfort Sherlock.
Sherlock: Do you think there's something wrong with us?
Sherlock ordering John to leave the flat and go downstairs when he has the CIA agent tied up and is about to throw him out of the window. It clears John and Mrs Hudson from any blame if Lestrade decided to dispute the guy 'falling' out of the window. The fact that he ordered John to take Mrs Hudson downstairs might not only have been to make sure John and Mrs Hudson weren't there when he committed a felony, but to also make sure Mrs Hudson didn't have to see it.
John's reaction to what happened. He's horrified, and rushes over to give Mrs Hudson a hug. He then takes her downstairs, comforting her, making her a cup of tea, making a fuss of what really was a tiny cut on her face, and sitting with her while all sorts of "fun stuff" is apparently going on outside that he's missing. Although it isn't needed and doesn't work, he also tells Sherlock what is and isn't going to happen regarding looking after Mrs Hudson. John pretty much never uses those decisive tones with Sherlock or argues the point like that.
Lestrade gets one, too. When Sherlock asked for an ambulance, the way he answered that none of them were hurt sort of implied Lestrade showed concern. Later, when Sherlock gives a vague answer about how many times the guy fell out of the window, he simply walks away. His two friends and an innocent civilian weren't the ones hurt, meaning he'll just ignore the rather obvious fact that someone deliberately threw the person who hurt them out a window. Several times. He may or may not be a good officer, but he's a damn good friend.
John mentioning he's going to spend Christmas Day with his sister. He declares that she's straightened herself out and is off the booze, then ends with "shut up, Sherlock." He knows she's still drinking but is going to spend time with her anyway. Aww.
And the way John turns on Sherlock when he mentions that Harry is still drinking. It's the only time in two seasons so far that John has ever, seriously, snapped at Sherlock to "shut up." After all, he doesn't tell Sherlock to "shut up" when he insults his girlfriend, humiliates Molly or outs Lestrade's marriage breakup in front of everyone. John clearly has issues with Harry, but he also loves her, and her drinking is always going to be a sore point.
Sherlock playing his violin. "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is an odd choice for Sherlock; Mrs Hudson's appreciative, tipsy comments imply that she'd specifically asked him to play, and he was obliging her (though he flat-out refused to wear the reindeer antlers.) What's extra heartwarming is everyone truly listening to Sherlock perform and genuingly applauding him when he's finished. Lestrade claps, John calls him 'marvellous' and Mrs. Hudson is beaming. Considering these three people spend most of their time being exasperated with the man; it's lovely to see a moment of them all complimenting his talents together.
Half a second before his apology, Sherlock goes to walk off. That he changed his mind and apologised fully and very publicly was incredibly brave of him, considering how socially challenged and viciously proud he is. Also worth noting, to the careful viewer, that as he moves to turn away, he clearly gets a lump in his throat, which he swallows back, and his eyes are rather shiny.
Sherlock might not have been trying to hurt Molly. He was clearly irritated to see her there, but after John warns him to behave, Sherlock's tone became much less annoyed and he finally makes an effort to actually take some interest in Molly (namely, her bags of gifts). Him going on his rant about the gift she intended to give to a man she was keen on pursuing could have been him attempting a sort of, "Oooh who's your crush, tell us all about him," light teasing, the way friends do (but in a pushy, obnoxious way since he is so inept), and it crashing around his ears once he reads the tag. This could make his subsequent apology even more heartwarming, because while he could justify himself with, "I was just teasing," and be in the right (which he loves, how many times has he opined that other peoples' emotions are their own failings and evidence that they are inferior?), he instead accepted full culpability for her hurt feelings.
Molly accidentally lets slip that Sherlock was "complaining" about John spending Christmas Day with his sister. Complaining? Sherlock nowhere else appears to have ever met Harry, let alone have a problem with her personally, indicating the reason he was complaining is because he wanted to spend Christmas with John. Presumably, he's now gonna have to spend it with... Mycroft. Or perhaps even on his own, as he and Mycroft wish each other a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year that evening, as if they weren't intending to see each other again over the holiday season. If Mrs Hudson also spends Christmas Day elsewhere, leaving Sherlock on his own for the day, and Sherlock is complaining about not spending the day with John, that's a borderline Tear Jerker.
The implication that this party was absolutely none of Sherlock's doing; John (perhaps along with with Mrs Hudson) apparently organised it (as well as decked the place out to a blinding level of Christmas cheer. Even the skull gets a Santa hat.) It was John who invited both Lestrade and Molly, which has its own implications that the man who was "so alone" less than a year before is now hosting Christmas parties and inviting friends he only met through Sherlock.
When Sherlock sees Molly at the morgue later, he apologetically tells her she didn't have to come in to work. Despite acting like a total scrooge for most of the Christmas sequence, Sherlock figures that Molly might like to be elsewhere at Christmas. And, then, of course, this remark of his is extremely empathetic and sweet when you remember that despite his cold exterior he's actually very upset about Irene at the time.
Lestrade's reaction to Sherlock telling him that his wife is having an affair is mostly a mix of funny and tear jerker but is also a little heartwarming. Most guys would go ballistic if someone accused their wife of cheating before finding out about it themselves. But by now Lestrade knows Sherlock enough to understand he's not the kind of person who would say something like that to be deliberately cruel and he trusts his judgement to know that he would only say something like that if he was certain. The most he does is sneer a bit but he doesn't call Sherlock out for it even though the state of his marriage has just been humiliatingly exposed to his friends. He doesn't even tell him to "Shut up" like John does. In fact he offers him a drink barely a minute afterwards note even if it is mostly an offer to get him to stop embarrassing Molly. Basically Lestrade trusts Sherlock more than he trusts his own wife.
Not to mention that Lestrade would sooner spend his Christmas Eve with his buddies at Baker Street (and one of those 'buddies' is always, always incredibly annoying and rude to him) than spend it with his own wife/family. Molly even remarks on how surprised she is to see him there.
YMMV, but Mycroft's initial reaction to Sherlock's phone call. He starts with "Oh good Lord, we're not going to have Christmas Phone Calls now, are we? Have they passed a new law?" It initially sounds like he's rebuking Sherlock for calling. But considering that these two are masters of snark and rarely communicate in any other way, it's entirely probable that what Mycroft said was his idea of affectionate teasing.
When the American agents burst into the room at Irene's house, with John at gunpoint, he blurts out "Sorry, Sherlock." It's a wonder how on earth he could possibly imagine the situation to be his fault- sure, Sherlock did tell him to man the door and let no-one in, but I don't think he thought that would involve wrangling with armed CIA agents.
John is visibly, though briefly, upset by Mycroft's news of Irene's death. He and Irene were hostile and jealous of each other, met only three times, and Irene never even got around to calling him by his first name. He's no doubt partly upset for Sherlock, but part of John still thinks Sherlock "despised her." (And evidently part of him doesn't, because he chooses to lie to Sherlock about her being in witness protection rather than tell him she's dead.) It seems that at least part of John's reaction is simple, basic empathy: the woman was apparently beheaded by terrorists. That's pretty damn grim.
Despite their being well into adulthood, Mrs Hudson still addresses John and Sherlock collectively as "boys."
When Mycroft tells John that when he was little, Sherlock wanted to be a pirate.
That entire scene, really. Mycroft doesn't want Sherlock to know that Irene is actually dead - even if he did order her execution - and asks John to help him sell the lie that Irene's in Witness Protection. He doesn't know that Sherlock's beat him at his own game and is concerned about his little brother's emotional health.
Point of fact; Irene got herself "killed', since Mycroft had cracked her phone, giving him the leverage. She even says she'll be dead in six months without it, and nearly was. He doesn't need to sanction a hit.
On the abovementioned scene. For the first and last time, Mycroft seems to be making a monumental effort to make John comfortable and defer to him.
Irene deducing that not only was John the one who hit Sherlock (the knuckles on his right hand would have been a dead giveaway) but that he cared about him, because despite the epic beating he gave him, he was careful not to break his nose or his teeth. (Also makes you wonder exactly how much damage John could have done if he had truly lost his self control and was trying; in any case, even being totally and unfairly provoked, John couldn't bring himself to really hurt Sherlock.)
Heartwarming also in that Sherlock did the same thing to John- he hit him square in the face to provoke him, and it looks fairly brutal the first time you see it, but not for a second is there the slightest mark on John's face, meaning he can't have hit him all that hard.
Sherlock's panic when some armed agents break into Adler's house and threaten to execute John if he- Sherlock- doesn't come up with Irene's safe combination on a count of three.
There's an amazing piece of Fridge Brilliance that goes along with this. In The Great Game, Sherlock asks if caring about victims will help save them, to which even John admits that it won't, thus Sherlock remarks that he'll continue not to make that mistake. When John is held at gunpoint, Sherlock is adamant that he has no idea what the code is. What motivates him to work it out, along with Irene giving him the clue, is the fact that John is three seconds away from being murdered. Because he cared, he was able to save John's life. If John had meant nothing to him and thus he'd had no real interest in figuring out the code then John would be dead.
Irene trying to help Sherlock out by insisting he didn't know the code. She looks down at herself as a last-ditch clue, which may have been the moment Sherlock realised what she'd meant about already giving him the code. Remember that Sherlock came to Irene's house as an adversary- he was trying to steal the phone, without which Irene would be dead in six months. And as for John, she doesn't know John Watson from a bar of soap. She lacks integrity in a lot of ways, but she's not a monster.
Both Sherlock and John immediately bitching out Mycroft for telling Mrs Hudson to "shut up." Mycroft seems genuinely taken aback- as if Sherlock and John were going to think that this was perfectly all right. (Incidentally this is the only interaction Mycroft and Mrs Hudson have in two seasons.) Mrs Hudson pulls him up on it, when she generally lets Sherlock walk all over her- she pretty much demands an apology from Mycroft but doesn't even react to Sherlock's "but do, in fact, shut up." Because she loves Sherlock, and knows he really doesn't mean her any harm, so she takes a lot of comments from him that she simply wouldn't put up with from someone else. John doesn't remark on Sherlock's comment either, when he'd turned on Mycroft with "hey!" when he'd told Mrs Hudson to shut up. Mycroft seems to have absolutely no idea how much Sherlock and John value Mrs Hudson- he looks so confused when they jump in to defend their landlady.
Small thing but kind of adorable. When John is teasing Sherlock about how Irene got a hold of his phone, Sherlock hides behind the newspaper, a surprisingly bashful gesture for him. Then we have this:
John: I'm not stupid, you know.
Sherlock: What on earth gave you that idea?
Sherlock's reply is mostly sarcastic but it's a big step-up from the man who last series had no problems with casually telling John that he was an idiot to his face.
Also, the fact that John checks over his shoulder that Mycroft is preoccupied and out of earshot before he starts questioning Sherlock about his new text alert noise. He's happy to tease Sherlock about his feelings toward Irene, but he's not going to let Mycroft start on his brother too (earlier at the palace, Mycroft had clearly hurt Sherlock's feelings by pointing out his sexual inexperience. Mycroft goes too far to get a rise out of his brother, and John's seen it happen more than once.)
Mycroft's friend at Buckingham Palace and his respect for John, formerly of "the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers." Unlike most people, this guy doesn't treat John as Sherlock's less important buddy or assistant; he actually introduces himself to John first. It's the first sign of a character in-universe giving John mad respect for his military service. It's also the first time in-show that John's military service is referred to without the added or implied PTSD/injury reference.
There's a nice bit of Fridge Heartwarming here too. At the beginning of A Study in Pink, John has such little self-confidence and self-esteem that he finds it difficult to talk to Mike, someone who describes him as an "old friend." Here, he shows up underdressed to Buckingham Palace, (though he kind of wins by virtue of being dressed at all) to a situation that is clearly out of his comfort zone. But look at how at ease he is. Sherlock and Mycroft are implied to be at least half a class above John and seem to move in these 'circles.' Sherlock knows in advance that he's being taken to Buckingham Palace, but he doesn't seem particularly surprised at being summoned there (whereas John reacts by nervously giggling because it's so unusual to him.) Sherlock's refusing to get dressed could also indicate he knew Mycroft was behind this and wanted to piss him off, but either way, this is something in Sherlock and Mycroft's world of experience, not John's. But John doesn't seem to care or notice these things- he shows impeccable manners note (temporarily zoning out fantasising about hot girl-on-girl BDSM aside), a lot of self confidence, and otherwise rolls with the situation in a way that's really quite impressive. This, from someone who a year before was retreating from his own friends and couldn't even be civilised to his therapist or his sister.
When Sherlock wakes up feeling horrible and confused after being drugged, he immediately shouts for John. And then this cute exchange as John picks his friend up off the floor and unsentimentally dumps him back into bed:
John: What are you- what- no, no, no, no. Back to bed. You'll be fine in the morning... just sleep.
Sherlock: Of course I'll be fine. I am fine. I'm absolutely fine.
John: Yes, you're great. Now I'll be next door if you need me.
Sherlock: Why would I need you?
John (wryly): No reason at all.
Four words, or should we say, four letters. Also a Tear Jerker.
I AM SHERLOCKED
In the scene in Mrs Hudson's kitchen, Sherlock opens Mrs Hudson's fridge without asking and helps himself. He's exercising "Refrigerator Rights"- if you're truly close to someone, you have the right to their refrigerator and its contents without asking permission.
Also in that kitchen scene: John explicitly says that he couldn't care less about the stupid phone and that no phone is worth Mrs Hudson being hurt over. Mrs Hudson herself clearly disagrees when it turns out that through all of that she managed to smuggle Irene's phone in her bra.
There's something adorable too about Mrs Hudson's affectionate scolding:
Mrs Hudson: You left it in the pocket of your second-best dressing gown, you clot.
Also a bit of a Crowning Moment of Funny, in hindsight: Sherlock asks Irene why he would want to have dinner with her if he wasn't hungry. At least once an episode, Sherlock takes time out of his day to sit with John for some sort of meal...where John eats, but Sherlock doesn't.
At the start of the scene, Sherlock starts speaking, believing that he's talking to John because he often doesn't realise John has left the room. When he it hits him that the only other person in the room is Irene, he suddenly looks completely lost and rather adorably asks; "Where's John?" Considering this woman not only sexually intimidates him but had also drugged him and beaten him with a riding crop it's no wonder he feels uncomfortable to be left alone with her. He's had no problem with her staying in their flat thus far because John was with them. Sherlock immediately asking for him when he and Irene are alone is almost like a child asking for their mum when they've been left alone with a stranger. When Sherlock tells Irene "but I was just talking to him..." the "but" comes out through a trembling bottom lip.
Sherlock's habit of always assuming John is in the room with him can also count as a CMOH seeing as he doesn't seem to do it with anyone else. Usually he goes as far to ignore whoever is around him.
This is also seen when he wakes up in bed after being drugged. He's still on the tail end of the effects of the drug; he's slurring, can barely stand, has just found himself alone in the dark and seems to take longer than normal to realise where he even is. The very first thing he does is call out for John. He gets no response the first time, and when he calls out the second time, even though there's only been a delay of a second or two and John hasn't even had a chance to respond yet, he sounds like he might be starting to panic.
This small, simple line:
Sherlock: Happy New Year, John.
And then, instead of replying to John's question with words, Sherlock plays 'Auld Lang Syne' on his violin and John doesn't press him anymore. He just takes his seat and happily watches Sherlock perform. He cancelled plans to go out for a drink with his mates to spend his New Years Eve like this with Sherlock and you get the impression that he wouldn't have it any other way. Aww.
John giving Irene's phone to Sherlock at the end. He knew full well that it needed to be returned to Mycroft and even denies Sherlock's request at first (which initially seems a little out of character for John to side with the elder Holmes brother instead of his best friend). Then Sherlock says 'please' and John simply cannot refuse him. Again, aw.
Sherlock provides the heartwarming in this scene too. He knows that John is lying to him, that Mycroft may have persuaded him to it, and probably knows that the lying is to protect his feelings. John's clearly finding lying to his best friend, especially about something so important, excruciating. In fact, after spinning the spiel about America, he appears to change his mind and says "Well, actually-". Sherlock cuts him off. He must have known that John was about to tell him what he believed to be the truth, and spared him the ordeal of apparently telling him that Irene was not only dead, but that she had basically been murdered as a direct result of Sherlock depriving her of her 'protection.'
The Hounds of Baskerville
Just after they meet Lestrade, John points out the receipt he'd pinched from the inn the day before, pointing out that he hadn't been idle (a Call Back to something obnoxious Sherlock said to him in The Great Game.) Sherlock's terse response? "Excellent." This is about as enthusiastic as his praise gets when he's on an even emotional keel, but "excellent" here probably means less "this is an excellent turn of events" and more "John, you have done an excellent job in both seeing and observing, and then deducing. Well done." Especially heartwarming when you remember Sherlock's comments earlier in the episode, to the effect that while John can be trusted to report the relevant data, he "never understands a word of it himself."
When Henry first comes to 221B with his story, Sherlock is blatant in disbelieving him and, predictably, quite rude about it. John, on the other hand, at least appears to be taking him seriously. Later we see that John is even more incredulous and skeptical than Sherlock is, and doesn't for a second believe there's "some kind of monster" out on the moors. But he hears out his frankly bizarre tale without dismissing him as a liar or mentally unstable. (There's a faint implication of Fridge Horror here in John's interaction with Henry. John too has been in therapy after experiencing trauma, and may also have had periods of questioning his own memory and reasoning- after all, he had a psychosomatic limp, but the pain was very real to him, so he understands that there's sometimes a difference between an established empirical fact ("there is nothing physically wrong with your leg") and the reality for an individual ("but nonetheless your perfectly normal leg causes you agony and you can't walk without a cane.") Later we discover that Sherlock has never before doubted what his intellect and senses were telling him, which partly explains why he's so dismissive of Henry's mental state- he simply can't empathise.)
Back in A Scandal in Belgravia, when Sherlock and John are at Irene's, Sherlock tells John to man the door and let nobody in. In this episode, when he takes Stapleton to her computer to check out everything they can find about the H.O.U.N.D project, all Sherlock has to say is "John-" and instantly John replies that he's on it- they don't even have to talk in full sentences anymore.
When Sherlock upsets Mrs Hudson in the opening scenes, John straight-up orders him to go and apologise to her. John rarely tells Sherlock what to do, and certainly not in those tones. We've never seen him even suggest that Sherlock go and apologise to someone that he's upset before. And while we've seen that Sherlock is acting out because he's gone cold turkey, and John has mostly been accepting of that fact that he's tearing the living room to pieces and being even ruder to him than usual, he's not going to let Sherlock use his lack of cigarettes as an excuse to be a dick and upset Mrs Hudson. His reaction when Sherlock blurts out the news about the wife in Doncaster is also the only time to date that John has ever used that tone of voice with him and protested that strongly against something he's said.
Another oddly heartwarming moment from that scene- Sherlock begging "please." The first time he says it, he's just blurting it out without being strategic in his wording- it's now a word he sometimes uses naturally. Hearing himself say it, he seems to realise this and repeats it again, but this time he's clearly being manipulative and hoping John will respond to it.
As he did in The Great Game, Sherlock says he's not going to take the case but he's putting his "best man onto it"- John. He even pats his shoulder while he says it, which is a bluff but surprisingly sweet gesture from someone who rarely touches anyone affectionately, other than Mrs Hudson. He then goes on to explain that he can trust John to send him all the relevant data, even though he doesn't understand a word of it himself. It comes across as an insult, but Sherlock seems to have meant it as a compliment. John has much more patience than Sherlock for painstaking collection of data. He's constantly writing things down, photographing them on his phone, etc. He's thorough and organised. note You can really see this in The Blind Banker, in the sequence where they're trying to decipher the book code. There's a reason why Sherlock's role seems to be to read aloud the first word of page fifteen and then carelessly throw the book onto the pile beside John. The wrong pile. Twice he puts a book down on a pile next to John, and twice John, who is patiently writing things down, moves said book onto another pile. Sherlock might have a really organised Mind Palace and sock drawer, but he's got a terribly organised living room. If Sherlock can't be there to collect clues or evidence- or, as we've seen in the episode, if he's incapacitated and can't- he absolutely needs someone he can rely on to hand over the "relevant data" exactly as it was found.
Sherlock and John pretend to have had a £50 bet going to see if the tour guide could prove that he'd seen the hound. After the guy finally does show them the proof, Sherlock still gives John the £50 even though there was never any bet in the first place and no need for the charade any further once they got the information they needed out of the guy. Afterwards, it's never shown or implied that Sherlock demanded the money back.
After John pulls rank at the Baskerville base, Sherlock gives him this sly, sideways look of impressed amusement. He clearly didn't intend for John (or anyone else) to actually see it. Later, the only thing he says is "Nice touch." This passes for a massive compliment, considering that this is Sherlock we're talking about- but what John did wasn't just a touch, since at the point where John took over Sherlock seemed to be struggling, and they would probably not have got anything close to "the full tour" without John's ability and willingness to quite literally order it to happen.
Sherlock also specifically asks John if he enjoyed pulling rank (a rather unnecessary question, because he clearly did, and Sherlock clearly enjoyed watching John enjoy it.)
John, up until now, almost always does exactly what Sherlock tells him. He's deferential to Mrs Hudson, and to Lestrade. It's entirely possible that Sherlock has never seen John in a situation where he gives someone an order and expects it to be obeyed without question- and in a situation where it is obeyed, because other people respect his authority. This may be the first time Sherlock has ever seen this side of John's character (as it's the first time the audience has ever seen it) and he's clearly impressed- and amazed, as if John's ability to command respect and obedience from others is something that had never occurred to him before, even though he knew from the day he'd met John about his military service.
Sherlock telling John that he doesn't have friends, only one friend. Then spending the rest of the episode trying to say sorry and make it up to him.
The scene where Sherlock makes John coffee. Not because he actually made John coffee since he honestly believes he's poisoning him with hallucinogens, but because John drinks it, even though, to him, it tastes revolting. Why drink it then? 'Cause Sherlock made it for him. Aww.
Bonus points: it tasted revolting to him because it had sugar in it. Those who like their coffee with sugar may not understand, but this troper, who also takes his without, can tell you that that is a really amazing sign of friendship.
Extra bonus points: John doesn't just tolerate the horrible stuff in silence (and you can see it is horrible to him, he nearly gags at the first sip), he goes out of his way to praise it for Sherlock's sake.
More extra bonus points: John, misreading Sherlock's intentions, gently tells him, "you don't have to keep apologizing." He'd walked away from Sherlock's efforts to apologies earlier on in the graveyard, but recognized it as "you were saying sorry a minute ago, don't spoil it." So far as John is concerned, Sherlock apologized the best he could in his own weird, socially-awkward way; the incident at the pub is now totally forgiven and forgotten, and he's not about to humiliate Sherlock by expecting him to "make it up to him." In direct contrast to Mycroft, John isn't keeping a running tally of "old resentments."
The scene by the fire, where Sherlock is nearly out of his mind with terror and self-doubt. And doesn't mind showing John how vulnerable he's feeling, for a change. There are implied to be very few people that Sherlock would ever admit "I'm afraid" to.
The conversation John and Lestrade have about Sherlock being happy that Lestrade was there. The way the conversation goes, they seem to both believe that instead of just being eccentric or grumpy, Sherlock has an actual problem bordering on a disability (John references Asperger's, but there's no indication he means this as an actual diagnosis). In any case it certainly does seem true that Sherlock does better out of his comfort zone when he has people around him that he knows, and who are tolerant of his issues.
There's something nice, also, about John and Lestrade's exchange of their first names as greeting. It really cements the idea that although they met through Sherlock, John and Lestrade have a friendship outside of Sherlock- so much so that John's on a first-name basis with Lestrade, and Sherlock isn't. So far, as of the end of season 2, John is the only character to ever address Lestrade by his first name. It's partly a gag, but it also seems that of the principle characters, John's the only one who gives a damn about the guy when he's off duty and not necessarily being useful as a cop.
And on the subject of Lestrade, Mycroft sending Lestrade to keep an eye on Sherlock. Presumably, he's given up hope of John "keeping an eye" on Sherlock, because while John is fiercely protective of Sherlock's safety, the two of them can't "behave like grown ups."
The fact that Mycroft trusts Lestrade to look after his brother.
Still on the subject of Lestrade: he has very little idea what the hell is going on in this episode. He never speaks with Henry, he has an idea that it has to do with the "hound of hell" and probably knows that the reason Mycroft sent him is because Sherlock was breaking into military bases and such. But he's really not clued in on most of what is happening. So when, late one night, Sherlock calls him and tells him to go out to Dewer's Hollow- and to bring a gun- it's pretty awesomely heartwarming that Lestrade doesn't ask questions, he apparently just grabs a gun (and perhaps a map- he's never been to Dewer's Hollow before) and rushes off on his own, in the dark, into a dangerous situation, just to help. He's also rather sweet, along with John, in trying to comfort Henry (who he's shown no sign of ever meeting before.)
He seems to know about Henry, probably from Mycroft; when the innkeepers tell him their dog was "just a joke, you know," he's disgusted, and snarks "Hilarious. You've nearly driven a man out of his mind!"
The beginning Baker Street sequence is more or less played for laughs, but there's a couple of rather heartwarming implications there. Sherlock and John "agreed" to Sherlock giving up smoking cold turkey; this has apparently called for a complete strategy, including Sherlock paying off local cigarette merchants. John's job is apparently to deny Sherlock his nicotine fix no matter how much he begs, but there's a secret stash and John knows where it is- just in case Sherlock becomes a complete mess and John judges that it's better that he relents and gives him a cigarette for the sake of his health and sanity. Otherwise, why not just throw out the cigarettes altogether, instead of hiding them?
Also, while Sherlock is tearing the flat apart, John is able to keep his patience, though clearly getting a bit worried for his friend. He then gives this line of genuine reassurance and encouragement:
John: Sherlock. You're doing really well. Don't give up now.
Look at how much empathy Sherlock has, trying to talk Henry Knight down at the end. The understanding he has of human emotions, the ability to at least pretend to understand about being a vulnerable child (and it's probably real understanding, not pretend.) How he admits that he was just as fallible and susceptible as Henry was, and the strong implication (also elsewhere in the episode) that terror is terror and having a superior intellect doesn't make you any less scared than the next guy.
In the graveyard scene, Sherlock tries to tell John that he not only felt fear, he felt doubt. It was valiant enough for him to admit to feeling one without also admitting to the other. Admitting he felt doubt would have been huge for Sherlock. Fear is a physiological response. It's a chemical in your brain- that's how the drug apparently works. Doubt is a more complicated feeling and a much more intimate one- given the right stimulus anyone can be afraid, but Sherlock's doubt made the issue incredibly personal to him. It's remarkable and brave of him that he would share that with John.
When the hound turns up in the Hollow in the penultimate scene, Henry completely freaks out and starts screaming. John looks to Sherlock for an explanation and Lestrade is completely floored by what he's seeing, but Sherlock starts almost frantically trying to reassure Henry, telling him that the dog isn't what he thinks it is/sees it as. Even though what Henry thinks he's seeing, and his mental health, are both completely irrelevant to solving the case.
And then Sherlock did one of the most human things I think I've ever seen him do - he made Henry look at the dog's body. He didn't need to, he'd solved the case but it was as if he knew that the truly important thing was showing Henry what was real and what wasn't. Maybe the fear and doubt he'd felt, and maybe his experiences with Irene Adler, had humanised him?
Your mileage might vary on this one. Although Sherlock's "experiment" in locking John up in the dark, on his own, under the influence of hallucinogens and deliberately trying to make him hallucinate the hound is really quite cruel, the second John admits to being able to see the hound Sherlock rushes to rescue him, and does seem quite concerned about his welfare. Although he still has serious problems with empathy, and wanted above all else to be proven "right" about the sugar, Sherlock wasn't above noticing how distressed John was and didn't prolong his experience any more than "necessary."
Not to mention that he does attempt to comfort John, touching his shoulder as soon as he reaches him and asking; "Are you all right?" in a tone similar to the way he asked in The Great Game. Even when John flinches away from him, his first priority before explaining anything else is to reassure John while giving him space to breathe.
Sherlock: It's all right. It's okay now.
A minor one: When Sherlock sends John a text telling him to interview the therapist, he signs it not with his trademark "SH" but just with "S". Also, he may have been trying to drug John the first time around, but at the end of the episode he makes coffee for him again, this time without any apparent ulterior motives.
Sherlock didn't just tell John to interview the therapist, he asked. And then he even gave John a reason (a picture showing she is pretty), instead of just ordering him to do it.
Despite the fact that they'd just had an argument and been quite cruel to each other, Sherlock texts John for help with the case. And John responds to the text instantly. He responds with a hostile "SO?" but it was better than ignoring the text entirely and leaving Sherlock to do his own investigating. We've seen in A Study in Pink that John ordinarily texts in case sensitive, so his "SO?" and "WHY SHOULD I?" appears to be the Capslock of Rage. Which is strangely adorable, and sort of ties in with John walking away from Sherlock the next day- this is about as far as John Watson is prepared to go to demonstrate to his best friend that he really is pissed at him this time.
The fact that John ended up locked in that laboratory courtesy of Sherlock could be counted as one, too. The fact that in a specialised, top secret army base, probably filled with people better trained and equipped for dealing with these kind of situations, John was still the only one Sherlock trusted enough to do what was needed to be done.
When Lestrade shows up in Dartmoor, Sherlock is outrageously rude to him, greeting him with "what the hell are YOU doing here?" and not really getting any more polite from there. Lestrade seems surprisingly hurt by this. John goes out of his way to explicitly tell him, "you might be just the man we want", giving him something to do that neither he nor Sherlock are qualified for, and later takes Lestrade aside to assure him that Sherlock is actually pleased that he's there. We're not actually shown any evidence of this, so it may or may not have at that point been a comforting lie.
Bonus points for the sideways compliment of Lestrade being a "nice, scary detective from Scotland Yard."
Lestrade, in quite injured and embarrassed tones, tries to explain that "I'm not your handler. And I don't just do what your brother tells me." Given his tone and the context (especially when you look ahead into The Reichenbach Fall,) it seems that what Lestrade was trying to say was more along the lines of "I'm not your handler, I'm your friend. And I'm not just here because Mycroft told me to, I want to be here, because I care about you/want to see that you and John are okay/want in on your adventures."
Sherlock suggesting John go and "interview" Henry's pretty therapist. Sherlock must have known that there was little a medical professional was going to reveal about her patient (if she was ethical about it, which she was.) It seems he pretty much threw the suggestion at John as a first move to apologise for his behaviour earlier that night... even if Louise Mortimer doesn't tell John anything overly important (she doesn't) he can still have a drink with a nice-looking woman instead of spending the evening being snapped at by strung-out Sherlock. More and more in the series, particularly here, Sherlock also silently acknowledges that when it comes to being social and charming and sensitive, that's John's strength, not his own. Remembering that Sherlock doesn't like to admit that he's not good at things. Things like tact and social graces.
Furthermore, even though John's plan to charm Louise gets interrupted and she walks out in disgust at his deception, he obviously made a good impression on her overall. When Henry loses the plot, threatens her with a gun and races off onto the dark moor at the end, the first person the distressed, crying woman can think to contact isn't the constabulary, it's that nice sympathetic John Watson bloke she'd met... once. She's still huddled on the floor, so she must have put John's number into her phone address book on speed-dial. Obviously John didn't do the same, because when the call comes in he looks with some confusion at the incoming number and doesn't know who it is until she starts speaking.
John's line about wanting to know Louise's opinion on the matter because of Henry... and his "other friend" who is now acting the same way. It's not all giggling over a bottle of wine for him, he's seriously worried about both Henry and Sherlock, and hasn't forgotten that he's meant to be investigating, not just having fun flirting. While he reacted badly to Sherlock's earlier assertion that he didn't have friends, and aggressive request to be left alone, John's worried about him, not angry at him. He's still referring to him as his "friend"- because his friendship toward Sherlock isn't then and never was dependant on that friendship being acknowledged or reciprocated, however much it might have hurt when Sherlock pushed him away.
John, despite still recovering from a serious shock and clearly having his mind on other things, making a point of sniping Dr Stapleton for her lack of compassion toward her child. He's the only character to reference the fact that at the heart of the Bluebell story is some poor little girl who's lost her pet rabbit and who was so desperate to get Bluebell back that she got on the internet and consulted a detective.
In the same scene: Stapleton may be rather cold-blooded about Kirsty and Bluebell, but she seems honestly concerned about John, who still looks like he's about to pass out. He's nursing a cup of tea/coffee and, especially given that she presses him if he's all right (in a way that implies that she'd already asked him at least once before) it's likely she made it for him. The coffee cup is a light pastelly pinkish feminine thing that neither John nor Sherlock would probably choose offhand if there was anything else available.
Sherlock's "conductor of light" speech to John. It's one of the nicest things Sherlock has ever said to him, in its own Sherlocky way.
That line is taken directly from book canon, not that it makes the emotion behind it matter much less.
And right before that, Sherlock specifically brings up the Morse Code letters John had brought to his attention earlier in the episode. This is Sherlock, who probably knew long beforehand that the letters didn't mean anything at all, and who, in earlier episodes, would have completely dismissed and forgotten them had John not asked if he wanted information on it. It's a complete role-reversal.
Also something of a role reversal- John gets up and walks away, leaving Sherlock to trot after him trying to get his attention, and get him to bloody stop so he can talk to him. Which is essentially what Sherlock did to John earlier in their relationship, particularly in The Blind Banker and The Great Game.
John's reaction to Sherlock's blatantly manipulative line about not having friends- only having one. John: "Right." He then proceeds to walk away, leaving Sherlock with absolutely no other card to play except gushing at him that he's "amazing" and "fantastic", but the fact that the word he responded with was "right" says a lot: "You're right. You DO have me as a friend, even though I'm actually really hurt, and pissed at you, and walking away right now."
'Blatantly manipulative?' YMMV on that one - it seemed quite sincere and sweet to me.
Sherlock's hilariously awkward joke to John, the gist of which was "did you get laid last night?" It's said in such a contrived way that you get the impression that Sherlock had been thinking the punchline out all morning- because he's so bad at "breaking the ice" that these things don't come naturally to him, especially a joke that's ultimately about John's sex life. Given that he suggested John go and "interview" Dr Mortimer probably partly as an apology for snapping at him earlier the evening before, Sherlock is probably being genuine when he says that John not getting anywhere with her romantically was "too bad." Which is a surprisingly non-grudging thing for Sherlock to say when you remember that he's got almost no personal experience with this kind of thing at all, that he's jealous and hostile towards John's girlfriends, and that he frequently makes disparaging remarks about them, about John, and about "sentiment" in general.
Sherlock didn't just tell John he was amazing and fantastic- he shouted it to him over a short distance. Half of Grimpen would have heard that on a calm day, and it's quite likely that Lestrade would have first realised Sherlock and John were in the vicinity by hearing "John, you are amazing! You are fantastic!" It's so much that John's first impulse is to try to get Sherlock to shut up and calm down and stop "overdoing it."
Also consider that these are the exact same compliments that John usually gives to Sherlock. These might be the only compliments that feel genuine to Sherlock because John said them to him, and therefore they have to mean something when he says them to John!
John's reaction to finding out that it was Sherlock who locked him in the lab and experimented on him could count. He's angry for barely a minute and then forgives him and suddenly they're smiling like nothing happened. It's a stark contrast to how upset John was over Sherlock implying they weren't friends. That hurts him but by now he's come to accept the crazy, deceptive schemes Sherlock gets up to, even when they cause him mental and emotional anguish. Sherlock explains that he was examining the whole thing and, while the flashback we see of Sherlock watching with his feet up comes across as kind of cruel and aloof, John trusts that Sherlock would never have allowed any physical or long-term harm to have happened to him.
Then there's this rather cute moment:
Sherlock: I knew the effect it had on a superior mind so I needed to try it on an average one. (John looks annoyed) You know what I mean.
That is basically the closest thing to an apology from Sherlock. It's also a call back to their conversation in A Study In Pink where Sherlock calls John an idiot before telling him not to take it to heart because "practically everyone is". Now Sherlock is acknowledging that John is of 'average intelligence' which is quite a step-up from 'idiot'. Meaning, while John's intelligence isn't on the same level as his own, Sherlock values John's mind above many others.
The Reichenbach Fall
A man's weak point should not normally be considered as a heartwarming but in this case it is. Sherlock, this genius who does not need anything from anyone and who is apparently very arrogant and self-centeric – he solves crimes for fun after all – has a weak point to give up his life in order to keep friends away from hurt.
He is too clever not to choose this way when there are other ways to save his friends. Anyway it seems such an obvious fact about him that Moriarty plans his whole scheme to make him kill himself based simply on it.
John's reaction to Mycroft asking him to watch out for Sherlock "if it's not too much trouble." He's been hostile and bitchy to Mycroft throughout the entire conversation so far, but here he just looks wry, nods very slightly, and leaves. Before closing the door behind him, he actually smiles at Mycroft. Of course John's going to keep an eye out on Sherlock. But it was touching that Mycroft had to lower himself to ask for that help from John, and John seems to "get" that. (Further to this, John may have an idea that it explains why Mycroft was even ruder to him earlier than usual- to the extent of trolling him, and making nasty incredulous remarks about Sherlock having friends. In order to say something heartfelt to John, he had to give him a hard time first.)
Sherlock's efforts to find the children. We've seen him bribe the Homeless Network before, but here it's implied that he had next door to an entire army of people out looking all over London for the right site. He comments that he's bribed them, which probably cost him a small fortune of his own money. We know that Sherlock loves solving cases simply for his ego and so that he can always be right, but here it really does seem that he also wanted to find the children for more compassionate reasons too. (It ties in with the point made below about how he makes a surprising effort to be kind and compassionate toward little Claudette when he first goes in to interview her. On some level, he really honestly cares about the welfare of those children.)
John's support of Sherlock during Moriarty's trial. Heartwarming firstly because, even though he knows the papers are already making snide comments about his sexuality and his relationship with Sherlock, it doesn't prevent John from accompanying him to the "trial of the century"- an extremely high profile situation which was just going to fan those flames. He doesn't seem to care, putting Sherlock's interests before his own (he even takes on the temporary role of Sherlock's bodyguard, helping protect him from the crowd of reporters and photographers outside 221B and directing him to get into the near side of the police car to avoid them.) Secondly, even more heartwarming, going to Moriarty's trial means John will have to come face to face, for the first time in a year, with the man who tried to kill him in one of the most horrible ways possible. After all, he didn't just pull a gun on John. He strapped him with enough Semtex to (as Lestrade said) "take down a house"- deliberately set up a scenario to make his best friend think he'd betrayed him, and then used him as a mouthpiece against his will. There's a reason victims of violent and serious crimes now are often video linked to the trials of the people who allegedly hurt them- to avoid the trauma of being in the same room with them. Being right there in front of Moriarty must have been upsetting for John. Further heartwarming in that Sherlock seems to appreciate the effort John went to- he pointedly says "you were there for the whole thing, in the gallery from start to finish"- even after he'd been locked up for contempt and John was there on his own, taking mental note to report to Sherlock later what happened.
In an odd way, Kitty Riley's devotion to "Richard Brook" is heartwarming. Think about it: she arrives home one night to find that two men- one of whom she believes to be a criminal mastermind of epic proportions responsible for bombings and kidnappings- have broken into her house and are waiting for her. Sherlock presses her fairly aggressively to give away her source. She refuses, even though there's no way she can't have felt very threatened by him and by John. For all she knows, Sherlock is going to hurt her. * It's inside the realm of possibility that if Moriarty hadn't stumbled in, Sherlock might have. We know he's not had a problem in the past torturing people. When Moriarty arrives, her primary concern is for his safety, and she even attempts to physically protect him from Sherlock. It's misguided, but it's still heartwarming when you look at it this way. She earlier had told Sherlock he could "trust her"- it seems that Moriarty can trust her.
Sherlock's call to John from the hospital roof was an extreme Tear Jerker, but it's incredibly heartwarming that the call was ever made in the first place. Pretty much the very first thing we ever learn about Sherlock? He doesn't like talking on the phone and much prefers to text. He could have just texted "Goodbye, John." He could have left a comment on John's blog. He could have just jumped and said nothing to John at all. While he spends most of the phone conversation lying to John and trying to convince him he's a fraud in order to complete Moriarty's story, just convincing the snipers (and everyone else) that he was dead would have been quite enough without it. The only really compelling reason for him to be on that phone is because, feeling terrified and completely alone, he wanted to talk to his best friend- who stepped up and absolutely refused to believe anything about him being a fraud. Look at his reaction when John tells him that he could be that clever.
In the scene where Sherlock asks for Molly's help, he says he's not okay and he thinks he's going to die. Molly says once "tell me what's wrong," and then switches to "What do you need?" That is incredible loyalty, not to ask what a person has done or what's going on, but asking what they need. Sherlock's just told her he thinks he's going to die. Molly doesn't ask (as most of us would) "WHAT? What the hell are you talking about, what's going on? Tell me the whole story." She's addressing his immediate need and putting that above her own desire for information- and implying that she doesn't care who started what or whether Sherlock is to blame (remembering that he's been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping.) She's not interested in judging right and wrong, she simply wants to help. Plus, Sherlock then more or less asks her if she'd help him if she didn't think he was some kind of romantic hero. That she simply asks him again what he needs is the most heartwarming way of saying "yes" possible.
In the scene where Lestrade goes to the flat for the first time to ask Sherlock down to the station, he comments that he "bets it was Sally Donovan." But even though Donovan has been- er- less than kind to Sherlock in the past (and the feeling is mutual) not once does Sherlock even imply that Donovan brought up the accusations due to her being stupid or having a vendetta against him. He simply says that Moriarty is smart, rather than Donovan is stupid. And we all know that Sherlock thinks practically everyone is stupid. Sherlock nowhere seems to take Donovan's accusations personally or resent her particularly for them.
There's a reason cops travel in pairs- accountability and safety. When Lestrade, who is on duty, first goes to 221B to ask Sherlock down to the station, he has Donovan with him- but she never gets any further than the front door. Lestrade knows that if she goes up with him things are likely to get very ugly, very quickly. And he's not the least bit apprehensive about going up on his own, because Sherlock and John are his friends, and he trusts them. He's asking Sherlock privately in the desperate hope that he won't have to humiliate him publicly.
In the scene where Sherlock is arrested, John goes from helpless, frustrated fury to cracking jokes and wondering aloud who's going to post bail for himself and Sherlock. No doubt part of it was because punching the Chief Superintendant felt great, but also, by being arrested himself he was able to stay close to Sherlock. We've already seen how badly Sherlock does socially without John. Imagine how "well" he'd do in a police interview. John would probably not be allowed with Sherlock in the interview room, but you just know that if they hadn't escaped, he would have tried. John seems to think that as long as he's there he can protect Sherlock from pretty much everything. He's proved heartbreakingly wrong by the end of the episode.
At the boarding school, Lestrade points out "Miss Mackenzie, housemistress... go easy." Sherlock responds by whipping off her shock blanket and viciously shouting at her. When she gives him the information he needs and begs him to believe her, he says "I do. I just wanted you to speak quickly." His tone, and for a second his facial expression, is surprisingly gentle. And then he announces "Miss Mackenzie will need to breathe into a bag now"- he cared, on some level, that the woman was now hyperventilating, even though it was his fault. He simply saw the need for information, quickly, outweighing the down side of upsetting her further.
Later, with the kidnapped little girl, we see Sherlock make a truly concerted effort to be kind to a victim/witness... adjusting his clothes (to look more like the much more approachable John), speaking kindly and telling the little girl he understands that talking must be difficult for her just now. Which makes it all the more sad that those efforts of kindness and empathy were responded to by the child screaming.
When he speaks to her, Sherlock starts with "Claudette..." This is from the man who didn't know Lestrade's first name for five years and who absent-mindedly calls Molly "John." Not to mention that others in this episode refer to Max and Claudette as "the boy" and "the girl"- even Sherlock himself does it when they were actually at the school investigating. He used the little girl's name. He was trying to be kind and empathise with her.
Although he never did it a lot in the past, in this episode John refuses to criticise Sherlock in front of other people, particularly the police, even when he completely deserves a lecture. Most heartwarmingly, when they're at the school after the children are kidnapped, John gets down beside Sherlock on the floor and asks "having fun?" in gentle tones. When Sherlock, missing the point entirely, says he's starting to, all John says is "maybe don't do the smiling... kidnapped children...?" It's a far cry from how aggressive he got over Sherlock's treatment of the hostages in The Great Game. (Remembering that, although they were keeping their voices down somewhat, he and Sherlock got into it over the old woman at the police station.) The only sort of criticism John will give Sherlock in front of other people now is simply to say his name as a reminder to behave himself, and that's only if it's important that Sherlock shuts up right about now (for example, when they're trying to find the kidnapped children in the disused factory.) We see John taking Sherlock to task privately a few times, but in front of others? United front.
You can particularly see this in the scenes where Sherlock is arrested. Lestrade comes to the flat the first time; John says not one word until he leaves, then tells Sherlock he should have gone with him. They get into an argument about whether John is or isn't loyal to Sherlock. Lestrade calls John to let them know he's on his way with a few cops and an arrest warrant. John's response is to get angry; he gives Sherlock a lecture about "every police officer you've made to feel like a tit, which is a lot of people." He's not so much blaming Sherlock for his imminent arrest, but pointing out with some justification that things mightn't be THAT awful if he hadn't alienated most of Scotland Yard, who no doubt were going to love the subsequent arrest. Once the police arrive, John is back to being "100%" on Sherlock's side- so much so that he's threatened, by a friend, with an arrest for interfering with Sherlock's own arrest, and subsequently ends up punching someone for criticising Sherlock.
When Sherlock comes up with the location of the kidnapped children, Lestrade jumps up and immediately orders everyone to get moving- it takes him about half a second. Donovan looks reluctant. Lestrade believes in Sherlock so much that he instantly believes everything he says and was prepared to rush a whole bunch of cops out to the scene, knowing it wouldn't be an embarrassing false alarm.
So Sherlock and John are both arrested one night- and the next day, John shows up at the flat again. Mrs Hudson automatically assumes that Sherlock "sorted it out"- the idea that Sherlock might really have kidnapped and poisoned two children apparently never even occurs to her, even though the police apparently had enough evidence to arrest him on suspicion. (She also isn't particularly surprised to see John, which may have led her to assume he'd managed to "sort out" the whole issue of assaulting the Chief Superintendant of Scotland Yard, too.)
This line from Mycroft:
Mycroft: John... I'm sorry. Tell him, would you?
Even if you believe that Mycroft didn't simply accidentally sell his brother down the river over a computer code that Moriarty never divulged to him and which never existed, and that he and Sherlock had about six aces up each sleeve the whole time, the line is still heartwarming. Who hates apologising? Sherlock. Who hates apologising even more? Mycroft. Mycroft has also spent the past five or so episodes in constant conflict with John, who he's consistently tried to one-up. Here, he's not just asking John to pass along apologies to Sherlock. He's also apologising to John. Even if he doesn't actually mean it and it's part of an act, it would still absolutely gall him to have to say something like that to John- who responds with complete contempt.
The scene in which Lestrade presents the deerstalker gag gift to Sherlock. John helpfully points out that Lestrade's public remark about Sherlock's "customary diplomacy and tact" was sarcasm, which Sherlock already understands- even though he's not been all that great at picking up sarcasm previously. So he's learning. Even more, though, even though he really hates that hat, he wholeheartedly takes John's suggestion and just smiles and puts it on, instead of making a scene and cutting Lestrade or the other cops down with some devastating personal remarks (as he has done previously and is prone to do.) Even though he's aware that Donovan and Anderson are laughing at him.
Although we don't yet know how it all went down, we do know that Sherlock places huge importance, while on the roof, for John to stay where he is and keep his eyes on him. He's too far away to stop him from going into the building if he insisted on it, and he's too far away to really see if John is keeping his eyes on him or not. The whole thing seems to hang on Sherlock being able to trust John to do exactly as he tells him, without knowing why, even though this involves him fighting the urge to look away from something upsetting, and fighting the urge to save his best friend from harm. And John, who has always been totally reliable and said and done exactly as he has promised, does it. It may well turn out that this unquestioning loyal obedience saved both of their lives. In any case, it goes to show how much trust Sherlock has in John.
This one really is Heartwarming In Hindsight. When John confronts Mycroft over his indiscretion and then storms out, the last thing Mycroft says to him is that he's sorry, and he asks John to tell Sherlock. John gives him a non-commital, frustrated "you are unbelievable" kind of reaction and continues on his way. There's no scene where John tells Sherlock that he's even seen Mycroft, let alone what they discussed. If John told Sherlock Mycroft was "sorry", he would have to explain what exactly Mycroft was sorry for. John is under the impression that Sherlock doesn't know. The source of the leak is of no importance in keeping Sherlock safe- it's all out now regardless of where it came from. Ratting Mycroft out to his brother would accomplish nothing but more bad blood between Mycroft and Sherlock, so while John's refusal to pass on Mycroft's apologies seems harsh, his refusal to tell Sherlock that Mycroft had screwed up at all can be seen as heartwarming. Particularly when John points out that there are exactly two people on earth who could have been the leak- Mycroft or himself. Sherlock might start to wonder if he was the leak, but he still won't voluntarily rat out Mycroft.note This in turn suggests that Sherlock knew exactly where the leak had come from- he doesn't seem surprised that his entire life story has fallen into the hands of others, even though, as aforementioned, only two people alive would know that information. He never seems to even suspect the leak was John. It's entirely possible that Mycroft was playing John, and Sherlock had known from the beginning that his brother had screwed up and accidentally sold him down the river.
On that note, the fact that John apparently knows so many details on Sherlock's early life, and is the only one beside Mycroft to know this stuff, is incredibly heartwarming. Even at this stage of their relationship Sherlock is still quite distant, so it's a huge sign of his bond with and trust of John that he would ever discuss issues that are clearly quite private to him. There are huge hints, for example, that Sherlock's family background was not a happy one, and smaller hints (judged on how he was treated at university, where everyone hated him) that his schooling wasn't much of a picnic, either. In any case it's even more interesting in that we the audience aren't told these details either. We're never (so far) even told Sherlock's age.
There's another implication of John and Mycroft's meetings in The Reichenbach Fall, and it's heartwarming for Sherlock and rather a Tear Jerker for Mycroft. John has repeatedly complained that Mycroft doesn't have to keep freaking kidnapping him to talk to him; he can just phone him. (On one occasion, in Belgravia, he actually does, but that appears to be because kidnapping him was not good logistically just then.) John is now used to Mycroft's people bundling him into a car to take him to an undisclosed location for a chat with Mycroft. These pretty much always involve Mycroft asking John to do something for Sherlock; to protect him or look after him in some way. Mycroft, even 18 months after he and Sherlock met John, does not understand that John doesn't need to be kidnapped, threatened, humiliated, bribed or otherwise manipulated into looking after Sherlock. He's John Watson. It's what he does. It's pretty much his full-time job. He's Sherlock's friend. Mycroft's attitude toward John heavily implies that not only does he not really understand that John is genuinely Sherlock's friend (heartwarming) it implies that Mycroft doesn't understand what a friend even is, because he doesn't seem to have any himself (tearjerker.) Mycroft has "colleagues." He has people who help him advance in his work, and people he helps to advance in theirs. He has Sherlock. He has people he's polite to for his own ends, and one unnamed person (perhaps the guy at the palace) who he refers to as a "friend"; but I sincerely doubt that That Palace Guy would shoot someone to save Mycroft's life, or crash-tackle the craziest bastard in Britain, expecting to die for it, for no other reason than wanting Mycroft to live.
Molly's first speech to Sherlock in the lab, where she earnestly speaks her heart. She genuinely cares for him, and it's obvious, perhaps... that he cares too. Even if he has difficulty showing it.
Molly: You look sad. When you think he [John] can't see you.
Especially when this speech comes just after Sherlock has more or less said that Jim's being "naughty" is Molly's fault. He snidely refers to Jim as Molly's "boyfriend" (not even old boyfriend. She'd 'ended it' with him over a year before!) and downright tells her "for the sake of law and order, Molly, I suggest you forgo all future attempts at a relationship"- as if Molly daring to want a relationship has any connection at all with the kidnapping of two kids. It's by far the cruellest thing he's ever said to her. And she helps him anyway.
In the above scene, he surprised look of plain disagreement on Sherlock's face when Molly initially tells him she "doesn't count."
The look on his face is almost as if to say "what on earth gave you that idea?" which may be yet another indication that he has, as yet, little to no idea of exactly how badly he treats Molly and how rudely dismissive he sounds whenever he speaks to her.
Molly comparing Sherlock to her father. Her father? She's spent four episodes with a massive crush on Sherlock, but now she compares him to someone she's loved in an entirely different way. (Someone she's loved... and lost.) She's not helping Sherlock because she "loves him" in an unrealistic, obsessive, teenage-crush kind of way. She's helping him because she loves him on a deeper and more profound level, a level that is self-sacrificing and has nothing to do with expectations of romance.
When Molly embarrassedly finishes up, she mentions going to get some crisps, asks Sherlock if he wants something, then says of course he doesn't. Sherlock protests "Well, maybe I-" but she repeats that he doesn't, and walks off. Sherlock, who's quite happy not to eat for days on end, was prepared to take up her offer, not because he really did want something, but just to let her do something nice for him- the sort of thing friends do for each other all the time. It's such a small moment, but it seems Sherlock's abruptly realised that sometimes you let people help you, even if you could just help yourself, and you do it for their gratification as well as your own. It's part of being human and having human relationships.
Sherlock later telling Molly that she's wrong when she says she doesn't count. Also, that he has always trusted her.
"What do you need?"
"If I wasn't everything that you think I am, everything that I think I am...would you still want to help me?"
"What do you need?"
Sherlock pretty much proves that he trusts Molly; he absent-mindedly calls her "John." She's understandably annoyed and corrects him, but the fact that he accidentally called her John says a lot about how (relatively) affectionate he felt toward her at the time, since John is his best-loved and most-trusted friend.
Not so much a moment as a running theme...When things are at their most difficult, with the police turning on Sherlock, the papers slamming him as a fake, and Moriarty playing his usual mind games, you wouldn't blame his best friend for questioning who's right. But John never wavers. Not once. Not even with Sherlock trying to convince John that he's a fraud.
Sherlock tells John to tell everyone that he's a fraud. And what does John do? He writes one sentence in his blog. One sentence. He could have posted what Sherlock told him to, but he doesn't. He writes, "He was my best friend and I'll always believe in him."
And comments are disabled. He absolutely refuses to hear anyone else's dissenting opinion. It's not up for discussion. At all.
John's resolute statement at Sherlock's grave.
John: No one will ever convince me that you told me a lie.
The phone call. "Remember when we first met?"
The whole section is worth a quote. Especially when John gets Sherlock to laugh while he's crying.
Sherlock: I'm a fake.
Sherlock: The newspapers were right all along. And I want you to tell Lestrade, and I want you to tell Mrs Hudson, and Molly- in fact, tell everyone who will listen to you- that I created Moriarty. For my own purposes.
John: Okay, Sherlock, shut up. Shut up. The first time we met- the first time we met- you knew all about my sister, right?
Sherlock: Nobody could be that clever.
Sherlock starts to smile when John mentions "the first time we met". It was probably the first time anyone, ever, had straight-up told him he was amazing and extraordinary, and Sherlock's expression when John brings it up says so much about just what John's friendship has meant to him. Which would have made telling John that he'd lied to him that day even more painful.
When Sherlock tells John that the reason he knew all about him and Harry was because he 'researched him', watch John's face. He reels back and grits his teeth, clearly trying to control his anger. Just for a second it looks as if he's accepting that it was all a lie. But no, he still refuses to believe a word of it and is only furious because he knows Sherlock is lying to him. Rather badly too, considering Sherlock wouldn't have been able to research him before Mike introduced them as he hadn't told Sherlock anything about John before then. John isn't just angry because he's being lied to; he's angry because Sherlock actually expects him to fall for it so easily, as if he hadn't done enough in the past eighteen months to prove how loyal he is and always will be.
Lestrade gets a subtle one when he calls John informing that he's coming with a warrant to arrest Sherlock. He's essentially just tipped off the suspect about the arrest, which could lose him his badge if discovered. To reiterate: He's just put his friendship with Sherlock before his career.
John's steadfast defence of Sherlock when the police arrive. He runs down to the front door where Mrs Hudson already is; off-screen we hear this:
John: Got a warrant? HAVE you?
Lestrade:Leave it, John.
When Sherlock is arrested and cuffed, John intervenes again:
John: He's not resisting...
Sherlock: It's all right, John.
John: He's not resist- no, it's not all right, this is ridiculous!
Lestrade: Get him downstairs, now.
John: You know you don't have to be-
Lestrade: Don't interfere. Or else I'll arrest you too.
And of course, Sherlock's line. Even in the middle of his world crashing down around him and the humiliation of being arrested, he himself is quite calm and quiet, and his primary focus is on reassuring John. Extra poignant because this is Sherlock's only line during the scene- until he and John speak at the police car, that is. He doesn't say anything else to anyone- he doesn't try to protest his innocence or say anything to Mrs Hudson or Lestrade at all. And it's really in Tear Jerker territory that if John hadn't got himself arrested and ended up on the run with him- something Sherlock couldn't possibly have expected- the last thing he ever said to his best friend would have been "it's all right, John."
And the fact that after Sherlock is arrested and the superintendent comes up and starts insulting Sherlock in front of John — even though Sherlock isn't there — John loses it and punches the superintendent of Scotland Yard, earning himself an arrest. Also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
Sherlock doesn't look at all surprised when John is arrested along with him. But when he hears that John punched the superintendent for him, he briefly smiles to himself, both touched and proud to have a friend who's willing to get himself arrested to stay with him.
This one is part heartwarming and part funny- after the kidnapped girl is terrified of Sherlock Lestrade makes every excuse under the sun for it, in defence of his friend. Sherlock appears to be upset about it. so he tries to cheer him up, in his typical snarky way:
Lestrade: Well don't let it get to ya. I always feel like screaming when you walk into a room. In fact, so do most people. (Glares at Sgt Donovan.)
Extra heartwarming when we remember that Lestrade dealt rather aggressively with Sherlock when the girl started screaming- though he was probably only trying to get him away from the child as quickly as possible and panicked a little at how she reacted. It's possible that Lestrade feels guilty about his own reaction, and is wondering if that might be part of why Sherlock seems so pensive, needing him to smooth over the situation by something that functions as "of course, I didn't really think she had a sinister reason for screaming like that, Sherlock- shut up, Donovan."
Another one from Lestrade, when he's up before the Chief Superintendant, getting an epic bollocking for consulting Sherlock on "twenty or thirty" cases over the past six years. This guy could have Lestrade's badge for that, and even if he doesn't, he's still humiliating Lestrade in front of his team and lower ranking officers, including shouting at him and calling him a "bloody idiot." He accepts the name-calling. Lestrade is being careful (well, he doesn't punch the Chief Superintendent) but he never backs down. He tries to justify his decision(s) to use Sherlock, but never apologises for it.
Which ties in a little with another heartwarming moment earlier, when Donovan snottily points out that "none of our boys" could have solved the kidnapping case on the strength of a footprint. Without any hesitation or misgivings, Lestrade responds "well that's why we need him, he's better!"
More on Lestrade: he takes a ridiculously long time to "get" the insinuations Sally Donovan is making about Sherlock. Either he's so touchingly loyal and believes so much in Sherlock's gifts that it honestly never occurs to him that Sherlock might be a fraud until it's spelled out, or- like John- he knows exactly what's being implied and he's making a very conscious decision to ignore anything that might indicate Sherlock is implicated in the kidnapping. While the case against Sherlock falls down if you think about it for more than five minutes, it seems that Donovan and Anderson have a rough time getting him to even consider the idea from that angle- which is his job. He's a cop. He has to look at crimes from as unbiased a perspective as possible. He doesn't- like Donovan and Anderson- immediately have to conclude that Sherlock is as guilty as sin, but he doesn't seem to question the little girl screaming, and never makes any basic enquiries that would eliminate Sherlock from the investigation.
John rushing out to be with Mrs Hudson, after learning that she is apparently dying. He's extremely upset, so much so that he misses a few things: Sherlock's pitifully bad acting, and the fact that they're both sleeping in the lab of St Bart's because they're fugitives. Either it never occurs to John that going to Mrs Hudson will probably result in his re-arrest (or that it may even be a police trap) or he plain doesn't care.
It's unclear whether the fake phone call was by arrangement of Sherlock or by arrangement of Moriarty himself. If it was Sherlock, he must have known (based on what we've seen in the past, particularly John's defence of her in The Hounds of Baskerville) that Mrs Hudson is the only person that John would turn on him in order to defend. note Because really, a more appropriate choice of fake victim would have been Harry. John is her only family, it seems, so it would make sense for John to be called if she had a medical emergency. It would also make more sense that Sherlock wouldn't go with him to see her. However, John has chosen Sherlock over Harry before, so there was no guarantee that he wouldn't do so again, even if he thought Harry was dying. If Moriarty set the call up, then he knew that John loved Mrs Hudson so much that he'd react the way he did, and leave Sherlock on his own in order to go to her.
When Sherlock calls John from the hospital roof, John answers the call with "Hey, Sherlock. Are you okay?" John's just been through an emotional wringer of first thinking that his landlady/mother figure was dying, then seemingly having to deal with Sherlock being a real asshole about it, only to find out that Mrs Hudson is fine but that he was lied to and made to leave the scene on purpose, then the anxiety and stress of desperately trying to get back to St Bart's. You could forgive him for answering the phone by angrily demanding to know what the hell was going on. But he doesn't sound angry or resentful or aggressive. All he sounds is concerned. He might be planning on "discussing" the diversion with Sherlock later, but just at that moment his number one priority is making sure that Sherlock's all right. And of course, he's not.
When John bails Sherlock out after his contempt of court business, Sherlock seems surprisingly sheepish. He takes John's "I told you so" scolding with a very meek "well I can't just turn it on and off...". Later back at Baker Street, when John tells him to stop giving him "The Look", he again seems honestly to want to know what he's doing to annoy John. When John spells it out that he doesn't know what Sherlock means, so Sherlock's smug assumption that he does is annoying, Sherlock responds by simply explaining it without being condescending or mean about it, and without insinuating that John was somehow stupid for not understanding it the first time around. By this time, Sherlock is really taking most of his public social cues from John; in these scenes he's demonstrating an honest desire to not annoy John and a willingness to be guided or instructed on how to tone down some of his more irritating habits.
There's a lovely piece of Fridge Heartwarming here too. In A Study in Pink, Sherlock casually told John that he was an "idiot" regarding the pink case. In Baskerville John's intellect has gone up in Sherlock's estimation to "average." Here, he's being pulled up for assuming that John is following right along with his deductions, and is just as clever as he is. And he's being pulled up by John himself- nowhere in six episodes does John ever pretend to "get" something when he doesn't understand it for ego's sake. He's secure enough in his own intelligence to not feel threatened by Sherlock's, and has never behaved like it's somehow shameful to say "I don't understand" or "It's not obvious to me" or "I don't know."
In the scene where Sherlock is climbing the furniture looking for the hidden camera, Mrs Hudson starts fretting about it because she's in her "nightie." Perfectly in character for a woman of her age and habits, but she doesn't seem to care about being in her nightie in front of Sherlock and John, because everyone at Baker Street is so familiar with each other that it's just not a "thing" now.
Lestrade's reaction to Sherlock and John escaping. Yeah, Sherlock has a gun to his best friend's head. Yeah, the supposed psychopathic genius has a loaded gun. And Lestrade's reaction is more along the lines of, 'Christ, I have to deal with another mess he's made,' rather than, y'know, actually showing any sort of panic at the psychopathic genius with a hostage and loaded gun running about.
Not only does Sherlock have a hostage; the 'hostage' is John, Lestrade's friend. The fact that Lestrade is clearly not all that concerned about John's safety says all you need to know about how he feels about Sherlock and his innocence- Lestrade knows Sherlock wouldn't dream of actually shooting John.
Lestrade's situation in this scene is a borderline Tear Jerker- he's forced to arrest two of his best friends against his will and better judgment. When they escape, he does everything possible to help them, by ordering the other cops to stay back and then, after they make their escape, stalling as much as humanly possible before reluctantly going after them. Moreover, Sherlock and John end up at St Bart's. In the lab. Where they practically live anyway. There is no way that Lestrade didn't at least suspect that they might be there, but he apparently never goes looking for them.
Which also sort of ties in with the earlier moment where Sherlock rather adorably and sadly touched Lestrade's forehead and told him he needed to be strong against the niggling doubts forming in his mind. Lestrade was doing that; despite all the supposed evidence, despite Sherlock's stunt, which really didn't help his case at all, Lestrade still believed in Sherlock's innocence and genuineness.
John gets in a very subtle and unintentional one as well. When Sherlock holds a loaded gun to his head, John doesn't so much as flinch. This is the man who has more reason than most to know guns are dangerous- he has killed people with one, and in turn once nearly died himself after being shot. He simply trusts that Sherlock not only wouldn't dream of shooting him on purpose, he wouldn't do it accidentally, either. Given how ridiculously careless Sherlock is with gun safety, it becomes an even more amazing sign of trust.
Calling someone an annoying dick is generally not considered heart warming in the slightest but...
John:No. I know you for real.
Sherlock: One hundred percent?
John: Nobody could fake being such an annoying dick all the time.
Why this is heartwarming comes from what John is implying. By this time, unlike most of the world, John isn't overawed by Sherlock or intimidated by his genius or his snark. He sees him, as far as possible, for who he really is, and that includes him often being such an annoying dick. He's supporting Sherlock not because he's got the wrong idea about the sort of person he is, or because he's in it for the reflected glory; if he was, he'd have jumped ship the minute the shine started to wear off Sherlock's media image. But he's his friend, in it for better or worse, and not even the worst of Sherlock's particularly dickish behaviour is going to stop that. Aww.
It's also an excellent contrast to The Great Game which shows John becoming increasingly agitated by Sherlock's cold behaviour until he finally snaps and has a borderline HBSOD when Sherlock forces him to face up to the fact that he isn't the great and good hero John thought he was. In this episode, John knows what an "annoying dick" Sherlock can be, he knows he isn't perfect and has serious problems with empathy. He's spent the majority of the series either being ignored by Sherlock (like in Scandal) or cruelly manipulated (Baskerville). Seeing as how the rest of the world is turning against Sherlock, John probably has more reason than any of them to join in, but not once throughout the entire episode does his faith waver or he even questions the possibility that Sherlock is a fraud or a criminal. That is until he receives the phone-call about Mrs. Hudson where John finally does abandon him only because Sherlock needed him to believe he was a 'machine'.
Also, because after John's punchline, just for a second, both he and Sherlock look like they might be about to smile. In much the same way they reacted to John's "because you're an idiot" in A Study in Pink. That they don't smile or laugh is testament to how serious the situation really is, but you can still see the cameraderie by their expressions.
Sherlock deducing that the little boy would have left the clue with the linseed oil, from seeing detective stories amongst his belongings. It's implied, but not said, that Sherlock was easily able to make the deduction about what the boy was like and what he was likely to have done, because Sherlock had once been that lonely kid at boarding school, obsessed with spy and detective stories. If this is true, then it has to be one of the first, if not the first time that Sherlock has directly used empathy to arrive at an important deduction.
To take it one step further, another interpretation would be that Sherlock was not only that lonely kid at boarding school, obsessed with detective stories, but that he was kidnapped as well as a child (coming from a rich family, he would've been a likely target), and that Moriarty (having access to Sherlock's life story by now) deliberately conducted the crime in a way that would mirror Sherlock's own abduction (presumably both to screw with Sherlock as well as to make Sherlock connect the dots in a way that is more suspicious than normal.) It also explains why he's so unexpectedly vicious to the teacher who was supposed to be taking care of the kids - he would have a lot of resentment for irresponsible authority figures after that - the "I just wanted you to speak quickly" thing being just a cover, since it's hardly the first time he's impatient with a witness, but he's never gone to the trouble of outright attacking them like that before.
John calling Sherlock "the best man [that he's ever known]" at his friend's grave. As well as being a line from the original books, it's also a lovely Call Back to the times when Sherlock has referred to John as his "best man".
After everything that John has ever done for Sherlock, John finally asks Sherlock for just one thing in return. "Don't be dead. Would you do that just for me?" Yes. He does.
To add to the above scene, the fact that Sherlock is there, watching John from afar. The placing of the gravestone and how overgrown the burial mound is shows that a considerable amount of time has passed since he faked his death. And yet, Sherlock is still watching over John to make sure he's safe. It's a mix of heart-warming and tear jerker to wonder how often he looks in on John, watching his friend grieve without being able to show himself or comfort him. And John, all the while, not knowing that Sherlock is alive and still protecting him.
The look on Donovan and Anderson's faces when explaining their theory to Lestrade, that Sherlock may be the kidnapper...neither of them look happy about it. No matter how much Anderson and Donovan profess to hate Sherlock and vice versa, neither really wants to believe Sherlock is guilty - or else they'd be positively gleeful at the suggestion. Either they don't hate Sherlock nearly as much as they claim to, or Donovan has a soft spot for kids. I'd think it's the former, though; like with Lestrade, Donovan's response to Sherlock taking John as his hostage is to just roll her eyes.
When Moriarty stumbles in on the scene at Kitty's flat, John doesn't for one second believe anything he or Kitty says. He confidently challenges Kitty to "explain", but he barely glances at the "proof"- he's not interested. The only person's explanation that he'll accept is Sherlock's, even though the case seems to be material proof vs Sherlock's say-so. Just how trusting and loyal John is toward Sherlock is really highlighted here, because this scene had some fans thinking Jim really was Richard Brook- and made many more seriously question whether it was at least possible that Sherlock really was a fraud and that Moriarty never existed. John doesn't question this at all.
This episode is packed full of moments where John demonstrates how protective he is of Sherlock. But there's one subtle moment near start of the episode that proves how it goes both ways. When Sherlock is approached by Kitty in the Men's before Moriarty's court case, he's initially dismissive of her and shows no interest in wasting any time with her. Then Kitty threatens to write about him and John being "more than just platonic" and that's when Sherlock turns on her. He knows John is upset by what his press nickname "Bachelor John Watson" implies and while Sherlock doesn't care what people say about him, he knows that John cares and he doesn't want John to endure any further humiliation. Sherlock doesn't simply make some tactless deductions about Kitty, he enjoys verbally ripping her to shreds for daring to bring John's name into things. Shame that this act of defence on his best friend's behalf is what comes back to aid in his downfall later in the episode.
Moriarty gives us some excellent foreshadowing during his 'tea party' with Sherlock:
Moriarty: Everyone has their pressure point. Someone who they want to protect from harm.
The very next thing Sherlock asks is how Moriarty intends to burn him and Moriarty replies that he already told him. A few lines later he talks about how adorable ordinary people are and makes a point of reminding Sherlock; "You know. You've got John." It's possible that Sherlock understood Moriarty's intentions from that moment as Sherlock becomes noticeably more tense after that. He may as well be confirming for anyone who hasn't been paying enough attention this series that yes, John is his pressure point and he would go to any lengths to protect him [[note]his mind seems be already made on this before he has to think that Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade are targets as well[[/note]]. Which, in the end, he does.
Sherlock committing (fake) suicide to save the lives of his three friends. The moment which Stephen Moffat himself described as the turning point for Sherlock from being a ruthless, potentially amoral man to becoming a real hero. Even though he doesn't literally die for them, he allows himself to be smeared as a criminal, his genius discredited and goes into hiding, leaving behind everything he knows and lives for, just to protect those he loves. It's the first truly selfless act he ever does as it leaves him with nothing in the end. Though it seems cruel for him to make his friends grieve unnecessarily, even a mind that isn't as narrow and logical as Sherlock's would still argue that it was better they mourn him than be dead themselves. Not to mention he has no other choice but to remain 'dead' for as long as necessary to carry on protecting them. Kind of makes you feel bad for the guy in advance when the warmest welcoming he's most likely going to receive on his return is a punch to the face. That's if he's lucky.
In his "note", Sherlock not only apologises to John (which can function as an apology for what he's about to do) but also tells him that he researched him, trying to find out everything he could about him in order to impress him. He's basically telling John that he cared enough about John's approval that he wanted to impress him. Earlier in the episode Sherlock had explicitly said he didn't care what other people thought.
Even if the only point of this was to make their get-away easier and to avoid hurting their wrists, every viewer in the country let out a collective 'aww' at these three words:
Sherlock: Take my hand.
While avoiding having the handcuffs chafe their wrists is the most logical reason for this, there's nothing to say there wasn't more to this moment. In fact the reason behind it is never mentioned and it's only afterwards that John tells Sherlock that they need to co-ordinate. After that, John clutches Sherlock's sleeve or they don't bother at all. It could possibly be that, in that moment after more or less "proving" to the police that he is a criminal and forced to go on the lam, Sherlock honestly wanted some physical reassurance that he still had his best friend with him and that they were in this together. The next time they properly hold hands is when they jump in front of the oncoming bus.
What was originally a cute line in the midst of all the tension becomes a tear jerker later in the episode when John tries to take the hand (or rather, the wrist) of Sherlock's corpse and has to have his fingers prised off by the crowd to keep him away. The same goes for when Sherlock is on the roof and the shot of their outstretched hands makes it look as if they're reaching out to each other.
Lestrade being one of the three friends which Sherlock would kill himself in order to protect. We knew that John was a given, he'd already been used as collateral against Sherlock twice, as has Mrs. Hudson who we've seen that he loves like a mum. But Lestrade? We've not seen any example so far of Sherlock showing concern, affection or even much respect for the D.I. In the previous episode Sherlock didn't even know his first name and was incredibly rude to him for just showing up when Lestrade only wanted to help them. We've seen Lestrade show loyalty and trust in Sherlock as well as being willing to go against the law for him several times but there's been little to no examples of Sherlock doing anything as heartwarming for him in return. Now we find out that, despite his ungrateful attitude, he really does care about Lestrade and is willing to throw himself off a building to save his life.
When he got warned by Lestrade that he was about to be arrested, he did choose to stay and let this happen, rather than flee. He knew that suspicion would likely fall on Lestrade if he was not present, so he chose to stay and get himself arrested, *then* attempt an escape, rather than go on the run outright (which would have been considerably easier) in order to protect Lestrade.
Many Happy Returns
The fact that Anderson, of all people is convinced that Sherlock is coming back and is trying to convince Lestrade of the fact.
On that note, the gentle way Lestrade tells Anderson to "take care" and promises to try to get him his job back.
Sherlock's birthday video ends with this.
The fact that a beaming Inspector Prakesh of New Delhi addresses only-one-friend Sherlock as "my friend", and wants him to take credit for a case he solved.
Heartwarming when you think about it - Sherlock tells Lestrade that all of John's friends hate him, but he doesn't include Lestrade himself in that comment. Given that Lestrade refers to John as "an old friend" in his absence, looks in on him, cares how he's doing, and thinks to give him Sherlock's old things, John's been left with at least one genuine friend who doesn't hate him.
The Empty Hearse
Mycroft rescuing Sherlock from a cell in Serbia. Despite Sherlock thinking his brother enjoyed seeing him beat up, this seems to not be the case, with Mycroft personally going to bring his brother home, instead of sending one of his agents.
Mycroft: You're safe now.
The very first thing Sherlock asks about when returning to London, brushing off what information Mycroft is trying to tell him about the terrorist plot.
Sherlock: What about John Watson?
There is something rather cute (and maybe a little bit sad) about Sherlock's naive expectation that his best friend will be so happy that he's alive.
Sherlock: I think I'll surprise John. He'll be delighted!
On the above, Mycroft admits that he's kept an eye on John... for two whole years... so much so that he knows where John has a date that night (and, judging by his hints about the champagne menu, he also suspects John will be proposing to Mary, and that Sherlock would not be welcome there and then.) Anthea has John's file immediately on hand to give Sherlock. Since John's assassin in The Reichenbach Fall was "invited to reconsider" by Mycroft's men, he doesn't seem to have ever been under real threat since Sherlock's "suicide." Mycroft looked out for John both out of deference for the absent Sherlock and because he actually cares about him.
Sherlock subtly and not-so-subtly telling Mycroft that he needs to make some friends.
What's more, we finally see for the first time that Mycroft and Sherlock really are friends and their bantering in past episodes really was just playful brotherly banter. Crosses into Tear Jerker territory with the implications that Sherlock is Mycroft's only friend and, before John, Mycroft was Sherlock's.
Mrs. Hudson's commentary as the two brothers talk.
Mrs. Hudson: He's secretly pleased to see you under all that.
Mycroft: Sorry, which one of us?
Mrs. Hudson: Both of you.
We finally get to see Sherlock and Mycroft's parents. And they, from what we can see, are completely normal, friendly people. After all the dire speculation about them, it's kind of sweet. Although considering who they are, there's probably some Obfuscating Stupidity going on...
Sherlock does eventually promise them that he'll get in touch more often.
Plus, they were played by Benedict Cumberbatch's real life mother and father. D'awwww.
The fact that cold, distant Mycroft promised to take his parents to a matinee of Les Mis and actually went through with his promise, even though he describes it as pain and horror and abjectly begs Sherlock to take over. He doesn't just make an excuse about being busy and refuse to take them at all.
Then there's the fact that Mr and Mrs Holmes are dressed very similarly to John and Sherlock. Apart from the fact that we now know that the great Sherlock Holmes dresses like his mother, it gives us a clue as to why Sherlock took such an immediate liking to John- consciously or unconsciously, John reminds Sherlock of his father.
Mary immediately gets on well with Sherlock - probably having heard all about his quirks already from John - and doesn't hesitate to encourage John to go hang out with him again. Plus the fact that when she figured out someone was sending her threatening messages about John she went straight to Sherlock despite just having met the man in person.
Sherlock barges his way back into John's life right in the middle of what is pretty obviously a marriage proposal to her, pisses John off so much that they get kicked out of three restaurants, keeps trying to make jokes at John's expense instead of explaining himself properly - and she still decides she likes him and that John needs to make up with him. She's able to see past all his eccentrics (and the fact that he was accused of being a mad criminal a few years ago) and recognize that he really does love John and he really is sorry for upsetting him. And when she sees John is shaving off his mustache the next day, she playfully jokes about him doing it because Sherlock didn't like it in a way that suggests she is completely fine with John doing things because Sherlock said so. And John half-proposes to her right then and there, with a lot more confidence than he had in the restaurant, because she's the first girlfriend to get his relationship with Sherlock.
Rather tellingly, Sherlock actually takes the time to do a Sherlock Scan of Mary and seems pleasantly surprised with what he finds. Remember, this is the same guy who in "A Scandal in Belgravia" appeared to either never bother to get to know John's girlfriends or intentionally mixed them up with past girlfriends in an effort to annoy them.
Becomes more Heartwarming In Hindsight. Word of God is the reason Sherlock didn't pick up on the fact that she's an assassin is that he wanted to like her. John's happiness means enough to him that he subconsciously ignored any red flags so he wouldn't ruin their relationship.
Sherlock asking Molly to help him solve a crime. Pretty much everything he says to her is so sweet and shows how much their friendship has shifted since the second series.
Molly: Should I be taking notes? John says that's what he does, so if I'm being John-
Sherlock: You're not being John, you're being yourself.
And after the case is done, when he congratulates her on being engaged, complete with a kiss on the cheek.
Sherlock: I hope you'll be very happy, Molly Hooper. You deserve it.
Lestrade giving Sherlock a hug when he comes back. Though at first, especially considering John's reaction (at least three times), his sharp indrawn breath seems to indicate that he's coming in for a punch... And then the hug, instead. D'aww.
Fridge heartwarming, if it could be called that - John repeatedly failed to recognise Sherlock when he was standing right in front of him. After two whole years, Lestrade recognised Sherlock by briefly hearing his voice. He instantly believes in him, despite how convinced he was of Sherlock's death. He asks no immediate questions and embraces him without hesitation, even if he does acknowledge he's been a "bastard." This is the reaction Sherlock clearly wanted from John.
One line from John. "Of course I forgive you." Sherlock's face really says it all.
Sherlock actually trying to comfort a woman who's stopped hearing from her online boyfriend and is clearly heartbroken. And when he figures out that the woman's stepfather was posing as said boyfriend to break her heart, he seems genuinely angry.
This is the most…domestic…we’ve ever seen Sherlock and Mycroft, playing games, being less tense, and you hear a bit about how hilariously weird their childhood was. But the best part is when Sherlock starts to hint that Mycroft is lonely and should get a friend like he did, maybe even a significant other. It’s not just the concern that Sherlock has for his brother that’s heartwarming, it’s HOW its implied this concern developed, because there’s no way Sherlock would have felt it before he met John. His retort “how would you know?” isn’t just payback for what Mycroft said in “A Scandal in Belgravia”, it’s a comment on how would Sherlock have known what it’s like to have any kind of companion until he got one, basically saying to Mycroft, “take it from someone with a very similar personality, it’s a lot better than you think to have someone to love; especially if you find someone who knows you’re a ‘freak’ but doesn’t care, maybe even likes it!” Sherlock never had a real friend until John, and now he doesn’t want to do this without him. The two years Sherlock spent without John (and even now he’s in the same city again with him but John won’t see him) were more painful than he thought possible, and they’ve changed him just as much as the two years he had WITH John.
It's implied that the reason Sherlock thought he didn't need friends/emotional attachments in the first place is because his brother convinced him of it. Rather than being angry at his brother because he kept him from figuring out he wanted friends for a long time, he recognizes that Mycroft thought he was doing the right thing and tries to convince him otherwise. After he's had to go into hiding for years because of his emotional attachments to people and still hasn't properly made up with John, no less.
Sherlock recognizes the benefits of having friends, and he cares about his brother enough to try and get him to see those benefits too.
It’s lovely to see throughout the episode that Sherlock is trying to be more of a human being even without John there to tell him how, though he doesn’t always succeed. He still doesn’t get WHY people react and feel the way they do (‘Why would John be angry with me!?’) but he at least tries to demonstrate empathy when he gets what’s going on. It gives him insight about the isolation of the hat owner, something Mycroft doesn’t pick up on, and it makes him a better detective, just as John’s empathy makes them a better team.
All the scenes involving just John and Mary. It's obvious that this isn't just another of John's passing girlfriends. She genuinely makes him happy, understands him, doesn't feel threatened by Sherlock but respects how important he is to John. The fact that she's played by Martin Freeman's real-life partner, Amanda Abbington, only adds to how natural their chemistry is and how smitten John acts around her.
The first scene we get of the two of them together is Mary coming with John to visit Sherlock's grave. She doesn't say anything, she just lets him have his moment with his 'dead' friend and then appears to hold his hand. As if John was introducing the two most important people in his life to each other.
John awkwardly trying to propose to Mary in the restaurant.
John: You're the best thing that could've happened to me.
Mary: I agree.
Mary: I agree, I'm the best thing that could've happened to you.
Also his hesitation. John says; "You're the best... (pauses) ... yeah. You're the best thing that could've happened to me." It makes it sound like he's weighing what happened with Mary against what could have happened if, at any point, Sherlock returned, and he decided Mary was better for him than Sherlock resurrecting.
The scene of the two of them together in their bedroom with John shaving off his moustache and Mary reading John's blog. It's so adorable that it's a mixture of heartwarming and Crowning Moment of Funny. Especially with Mary giddy at the thought of John going to see Sherlock again.
John: Shut up.
Mary: Or what?
John: Or I'll marry you.
Mary: *bright, goofy smile*
Also when Mrs. Hudson finally meets Mary, she's clearly very happy for John and warmly welcomes Mary into the fold. Cemented by the final scene when everyone is celebrating Sherlock's return and Mary and Mrs. Hudson are sitting together and happily discussing Mary and John's upcoming wedding.
Everything about Sherlock in the above scene in 221B. Most notably, when Mary gives him a good-natured jab about his interrupting her first proposal, Sherlock, who is pouring champagne (remember what a miserable git he'd been at Christmas several years before? He's learning to relax and celebrate) gives her the most adorable, shamefaced, affectionate smile.
John tells him the journalists outside are waiting for him and want the full story of the terrorism case he solved. Sherlock smiles and mutters that the journalists can wait - his friends are in the living room having a little celebration in honour of John and Mary's engagement. Sherlock has just blatantly pushed aside an opportunity to go outside and show off at length about how clever he is and instead concentrate on John and Mary's happiness, even though he outright says weddings are not his thing and he really doesn't understand why marriage is important to people.
And then when Molly's fiancé turns up, Sherlock most notably does not deduce him into the ground, say anything rude, or even point out his obvious resemblance to himself. He just shakes his hand and excuses himself.
Repeatedly Sherlock attempts to diffuse John’s grief and rage by making him laugh, though his methods of inspiring this laughter are characteristically in bad taste and almost always make things worse. He disguises himself, tricks John into thinking they’re going to die, bursts in on his new life and makes insultingly flippant remarks, but WHY is he so bent on making John crack up? Because, no matter how much John loves Mary, he still looks so old, tired and sad…until the layers of armour are stripped away and he’s sharing a joke with his best friend again. “I can’t be seen with an old man” isn’t just vanity, he wants the old John back for both of their sakes.
Sherlock's reaction when he finds out John has been kidnapped and his determination to rescue him. He literally drops everything to rush out.
And the later scene in 221B when he asks "how are you feeling?" The look on his face is almost a Tear Jerker, practically screaming "oh God, I was so worried about you."
The ending with Sherlock and John facing the press as a united duo again. Before they do so, John tells Sherlock about his speech at the end of The Reichenbach Fall.
John: I asked you for one more miracle. I asked you to stop being dead.
Sherlock: I heard you.
The way Sherlock says the last line is so soft and gentle. As if he's saying; "I stopped being dead, for you. It's okay now."
This is followed by a call back to the scene earlier with Sherlock and Mycroft discussing the hat, which culminated in Sherlock making a point that the guy didn't care about the hat regardless of how ridiculous it was, by putting on the deerstalker he utterly despised in series 2, because he no longer cares that the hat makes him look stupid or weird, his friends love him regardless.
Small one, but Sherlock now calls Anderson "Phillip" (his name) and made an effort to call Lestrade "Greg" (though he got it wrong.)
In the last scene with Anderson, Sherlock also (standoffishly, but still) completely absolves Anderson of the guilt he felt over his "death", saying he was right all along (a brief hint that Anderson was cleverer than anyone else for guessing it, even if his conspiracy theories were hilariously wrong.) And when Anderson starts sobbing, Sherlock awkwardly pats his shoulder in an attempt at comforting him.
The Sign of Three
The over theme of this episode, as pointed out in one review especially, is that it's basically just "one big love letter to John Watson".
It's mostly the setup for a gag, but when Sherlock texts Lestrade for help at the beginning, he uses the word "please", and seems to mean it. Lestrade in turn completely flips, rushes out on making an arrest he's been dying to make for eighteen months, and pulls out every backup crew possible to ensure Sherlock's safety.
And on that note, Sally Donovan. She's here shown to have a good working relationship with Lestrade, tolerating his angry rants, addressing him as "Boss" when she's trying to compliment him, and calling him "Greg" when she's trying to calm him down/admonish him for throwing a tantrum and kicking his car tyres in a rage.
John asking Sherlock to be his best man. Sherlock takes a while to realise that John is asking him and when he finally realises it he practically freezes with shock.
John: I want the two people that I love and care about most in the world.
John: Mary Morstan.
And when Sherlock finally 'snaps out of it', he's practically stuttering, completely taken off-guard.
Sherlock: I'm your best-
John: Yes, of course you are. Of course you're my best friend.
Sherlock plays the violin at John and Mary's first dance after their wedding. And it's a piece he composes for them! He even taught John how to dance to it!
John trying to reassure Sherlock that him and Mary getting married won't change their friendship.
John: The thing about Mary is that she has completely turned my life around. Changed everything. But, for the record, in the past few years, there have been two people who have done that and the other one is- [looks to where Sherlock was sat which is now empty]-a complete dickhead!
Sherlock's best man speech. Also probably doubles as a Tear Jerker.
"The point I’m trying to make is that I am the most unpleasant, rude, ignorant, and all around obnoxious arsehole that anyone could possibly have the misfortune to meet. I am dismissive of the virtuous, unaware of the beautiful (glances at the Maid of Honour), and uncomprehending in the face of the happy. (camera briefly pans to Mary and John) So if I didn’t understand I was being asked to be best man it is because I’ve never expected to be anybody’s best friend. Certainly not the best friend of the bravest, and kindest, and wisest human being I have ever had the good fortune of knowing. John, I am a ridiculous man. Redeemed only by the warmth and constancy of your friendship. But as I’m apparently your best friend, I can not congratulate you on your choice of companion. Actually, now I can. Mary, when I say you deserve this man, it is the highest compliment of which I am capable. John, you have endured war, and injury and tragic loss. So sorry again about that last one. So know this, today you sit between the woman you have made your wife, and the man you have saved; In short, the two people who love you most in all this world. And I know I speak for Mary as well when I say we will never let you down, and we have a lifetime ahead to prove that."
The reactions to Sherlock's speech, which prompts this:
Sherlock: What's wrong? What's happened? Why are you all doing that? John? Did I do it wrong?
John: No, you didn't. Come here. ( as he stands up and hugs Sherlock)
Sherlock: I haven't finished yet.
John: I know.
And also a Tear Jerker, but just the fact that John started crying in front of about a hundred people and hugged Sherlock so publicly. This is a man who before Sherlock's return refused to cry in front of his therapist.
John seems to know he's not going to be able to resist hugging Sherlock when the speech begins to get more touching.
John: If I try to hug him, stop me.
Mary: Certainly not.
When Sherlock is in his mind palace, he sees Mycroft goading him to find the logical answer. In the end, he rejects Mycroft and yells, "You! You! It's always you. John Watson, you keep me right...don't solve the murder; save the life." - at John. He uses John to guide him.
Mary, John, and Sherlock when Sherlock reveals that Mary is pregnant. They freak out, he freaks out with them, then tells them that they will be great parents because they've already had practice with him, before Mary starts crying and John grabs them both in a hug.
Sherlock's line about them already being great parents says a lot about his feelings for the both of them but especially Mary. We've seen John and Sherlock interact for two series and can see why Sherlock thinks the protective, wise and caring John would make a wonderful father. But Mary is also Sherlock's idea of the perfect mother. At the beginning of the episode, Sherlock shows signs of resentment towards his own mother and comments that she 'never understands a word'. Sherlock loves Mary because she does understand; she's able to see through his lies and can tell when he's scared, encouraging his friendship with John instead of coming between them.
Everything about Major Sholto, John and Sherlock. Sherlock's jealousy that he isn't the first anti-social man John's befriended, describing John as "bouncing like a puppy" around his ex-commanding officer. He's right, John is beaming! And it turns out that John, a man who used to hate opening up to his therapist, still sees her occasionally even now that he's happier. His hint to Sholto that talking to someone might help him, and that seeing a therapist doesn't have to mean you're crazy or weak, is such progress for him and his concern is very sweet. And he even calls his C.O. by his first name later! John must have meant a great deal to Sholto: he rarely leaves his house, he's disfigured and has one working arm, he's had multiple death threats, he's lost his career and reputation, and yet he put on his dress uniform and attended the wedding of a subordinate who was invalided out of the army four years ago. John is one of the few people who remained loyal to and continued to believe in both Sholto and Sherlock. The two men explicitly identify with each other, culminating Sherlock begging Sholto not to kill himself at John's wedding. "We would NEVER do that to John Watson!" is enough to get this suicidal man to ask for John's help.
But Sherlock did do that to John. And even though he wasn't actually dead, he originally didn't see how his fake death deeply impacted John. It wasn't until it smacked him straight in the face that Sherlock even recognized that he owed John an apology. The character development in Sherlock saying "We would NEVER do that to John Watson" is astounding. He recognizes how badly he hurt John, and he knows that Major Sholto's death would likely do something similar. It's his own experience in hurting John and having to make amends that allows him to talk Major Sholto down.
Major Sholto is, as Mary says, "almost a recluse"; the conversation he has with John implies the two haven't been face-to-face in years, and John doesn't even know where Sholto lives (presumably the wedding invitation was emailed to him or something.) But in the flashback to the table-napkin scene in 221B, John is absolutely convinced Sholto will be there, even though Mary quietly tells Sherlock that she doesn't think he's coming and points out he hasn't rsvp'ed. And John is right - Sholto does come through for him. It's John's faith in people he loves - just as he entrusted the best man duties to Sherlock, even though everyone thought it would be a disaster - that inspires them to step up and be worthy of it.
Sherlock's relationship with Archie, John and Mary's young pageboy. He successfully gets a kid who originally refused point-blank to go through with his ceremonial duties. Not only did Archie do them well enough for Sherlock to compliment him on it, but this kid just adores him, throwing himself at him and clinging to his waist after the ceremony. We're then shown how Sherlock convinced Archie to go through with it... by talking to him like he was an adult and indulging him in gory crime scene photos of maggots in people's eyes and beheadings. Sherlock is really a man-child himself, and it's so clearly demonstrated with how well he gets on with this little boy. The kid was also eager to help solve the case, and Sherlock allowed him to give his opinion. And he was right.
Sherlock notices that Mary's ex still loves her...so makes an implied threat that he would be watching him closely should the man try and ruin Mary's relationship with John. The man is quite obviously terrified.
Mary's casual mention that John talks about Sholto all the time to her. Sherlock seems quite jealous of how close John is to his new wife and how much of his past life he's confided in her.
Mary notices this and hugs Sherlock sympathetically.
Mary: Oh, Sherlock! Neither of us were the first, you know.
Sherlock's repeated assertions that John's role in their adventures is just as remarkable as his own and more noble: Sherlock may solve murders, but on many occasions, John has saved people's lives.
Also, his choice of stories to tell during his speech. He chooses two cases that he couldn't solve. In season 2, he objected to John mentioning unsolved cases on the blog—now he's voluntarily recounting them to all of John's wedding guests. The second was chosen as a "funny" and "embarrassing" story about John, but he didn't choose a story that's embarrassing because John couldn't follow Sherlock's deductions or because Sherlock was pulling a trick over on him. Instead, he chose one that's at least as embarrassing for Sherlock as for John.
Sherlock's absolute pride in his friend, most notably during telling the story of The Bloody Guardsman. He stares at John with admiration, first when John is demanding that the Major let him examine Bainbridge and then when he's trying to save his life. Remember is from a man who spent the first two series believing that solving the crime was all that matters, not caring for the lives at stake.
During the drunken "Who am I?" stag night game, Sherlock hilariously takes a bunch of clues that obviously refer to himself and concludes they apply to John. It's played for laughs (particularly "not as tall as people think" and "people don't like you because you tend to rub them up the wrong way"), but one of the clues drunk!Sherlock is sure applies to John? Clever. Remember in series one, he called him "an idiot", and in series 2, he only admitted he had an average intelligence.
Despite no longer living in 221b, John still shows concern when Sherlock doesn't eat, interrupting his Mind Palace scene to ask if he's okay and noting he hasn't touched his food. Considering what John saw Sherlock go through the the last time he was leaving his breakfast untouched, he obviously isn't ignoring Mary and Mrs. Hudson's warnings about the effect his upcoming marriage might be having on Sherlock.
Sherlock actually manages to befriend and flirt with a bridesmaid, enough to create hints of mutual liking and even attraction, even if nothing comes of it.
When Sherlock and Janine are practicing waltzing in private, Sherlock says they have to practice because Janine's dancing skills are "appalling." Far from being offended at all, Janine laughs and says "Well, you're a great teacher, and a brilliant dancer." She didn't just brush aside the insult to herself to praise Sherlock's dancing, she praised him as a teacher, and teaching requires interpersonal and communicative skills that most people, Sherlock included, assume he does not have. We later find out he also had the skills and patience to successfully teach John to waltz, too.
Not only does it actually occur to Sherlock to ask after Molly's fiance, he even remembers the guy's name (even if he's guessing a bit). From anyone else that might not seem like such a big deal, but this is Sherlock, who's been as dismissive and derisive of Molly's dates as he was of John's girlfriends. And he still refrains from making a single snarky comment about Tom, which speaks quiet volumes.
It's also sweet that the moment he thinks he might have accidentally insulted Molly by implying that she has a drink problem he tries to make it up by complimenting her and asking about how her relationship is going.
Sherlock snapping at John to "keep [his] wife under control!" is a bit shocking even for Sherlock, although it's mitigated somewhat by the extreme circumstances. But he makes up for it a minute later by kissing her on the forehead, echoing his kiss on Molly's cheek after he humiliated her. He clearly cares about this woman for her own sake and not just because she's important to John.
When Sherlock calls John to arms to try to save Sholto, his immediate reaction is to turn and kiss his wife.
And when she goes against his wishes and follows them out, he doesn't for a second try to send her away or act annoyed that she has a mind of her own. They run up two sets of stairs hand in hand, and when Sherlock tells him to control her, John tells Sherlock she's right.
Mary has only known Sherlock for a few months and she, unlike John, can tell when he's lying.
All the scenes where it's obvious that Mary adores Sherlock. After they've found out Mary is pregnant, Sherlock tells them to go dance, and it's Mary who tearfully reaches for Sherlock and asks; "What about you?"
Sherlock wasn't just John's best man. He was practically the wedding planner. He helped organise the colours, the napkins, the music, the seating arrangements, as well as seeing to the guests and others involved in the ceremony. All John asked of him was to make a speech. But Sherlock heard John when he said that this would be the biggest day of his life and Sherlock, for all his cynicism about weddings, was determined to make it perfect.
Despite everything, Sherlock still thinks about Irene. And while he thinks about her in her "battle dress", she does not outwit him or manipulate him or hit him or slap him... she tenderly caresses his face.
Doubles as a Tear Jerker: when Mary and John are waltzing, Molly isn't smiling and watching them - she is smiling and watching Sherlock play the violin for them.
Similarly, when Mary and John go off to dance, Sherlock looks around and, seeing he is alone, leaves the wedding. Molly notices and looks visibly upset to see him go. She may have a boyfriend, but she still very much care for Sherlock.
The skill and effort that Sherlock puts into his best man duties are ridiculously heartwarming. As he says in the episode, he doesn't really grasp exactly why the wedding day is so important to John, but he goes out of his way to make it as special and as personal an experience as he can muster. Observe the pub crawl Sherlock organises for the stag; firstly, how far it puts Sherlock out of his comfort zone, considering he's rarely seen eating, never mind recreationally drinking; and, more importantly, precisely how much effort he puts into the whole thing. He shuns conventional pub crawl ideas, instead favouring the "personal touch", he enlists Molly to help him work out the exact amount of beer necessary to have the best possible time, and he ends up totally pissed in 221B, to the extent that John's finishing his catchphrases. That's an impressively thoughtful stag night by anyone's standards, but for Sherlock? It's an unprecedented amount of care and attention paid by a character who has a notorious lack of awareness or respect for the wishes of others.
Many of Sherlock and John's interactions during the stag night are just completely adorable. The fact that it's just the two of them and John doesn't seem to kick up any fuss about none of his other friends being invited (though he might not care if thinking, from Many Happy Returns, all his other friends hate him). When Sherlock is drunk after John accidentally spikes his drink and starts a fight with a stranger, John quickly rushes in to rescue his friend and drag him away before he gets beaten up. The two of them then return home ready to have a 'cosy' nap together on the staircase before Mrs. Hudson wakes them. The whole 'Who Am I?' game scene with the two of them giggling at each other is precious. It should also be noted that, when Tessa is explaining the case to the boys, it's the only time in the series we see them sat on the sofa together rather than in their separate chairs as they usually do when interviewing a client. Sherlock even starts falling asleep at one point with his arm around John before waking up.
Sherlock organised a memorable stag, looked after the best interests of his friend's relationship, played a huge role in wedding planning, give a speech that reduced members of the audience to tears, set a lovelorn bridesmaid up with a suitable guy to the apparent detriment of his own happiness, wrote a waltz specifically for the bride and groom, and delivered the happy news that Mary was pregnant. Oh, and he solved two outstanding mysteries and prevented the murder of John's beloved commanding officer to boot. He was a best man worthy of the name, despite all of his natural limitations.
His Last Vow
John turning Papa Wolf on Sherlock when Molly confirms that he's been taking drugs.
John: If you were anywhere near this kind of thing again, you could have called, you could have talked to me!
To parallel John being worried about Sherlock's habit, Sherlock also seems to show concern for John's adrenaline addiction. He looks surprised, not amused, when Wiggins hints that John attacked him - probably knowing Wiggins was harmless despite appearances. Sherlock later goes as far to turn Mary's confrontation into an intervention for John to get him to face up to his need for a dangerous lifestyle because he can see that trying to repress or deny it is affecting him badly.
Anderson when he is conducting the Drug Raid on Sherlock's apartment. Unlike the first time in "A Study in Pink" where he did it just to tick off Sherlock, this time he is doing it because he wants to help Sherlock if he does have a drug problem. He even tells Sherlock he is sorry when Sherlock returns home but believe it is for his own good.
John and Mary's conversation in front of the fire in the Holmes' cottage. He's found out that she's not really a nice nurse and an orphan who loves him and his carrying his child, but a nice nurse who's also a retired former professional killer who loves him and is carrying his child. Both Sherlock and Mary have pointed out to him that he's deeply attracted to dangerous people and he knows Sherlock trusts her because when she was in a position to kill Sherlock, she only wounded him instead. John's been brooding in silence about this for months. Then he stands in front of her and tells her he's rehearsed what he wants to say:
John: The problems of your past are your business. The problems of your future are my privilege. That's all I have to say. That's all I need to know.
(They finally hug.)
John: All this doesn't mean that I'm not still basically pissed off with you. I am very pissed off, and it's gonna come out now and again.
Mary: Oh, I know.
A few moments later, Mary asks John if he realises there was a very specific reason why Sherlock invited them to Christmas with his parents, who despite being apparently mismatched are obviously still in love.
John: Invited us to Christmas with his lovely mum and dad, fine example of married life - I got that much. That's the thing with Sherlock, it's always the unexpected...
Sherlock pulls himself out of being clinically dead. Why? Because John is in danger.
"Also, your loss would break my heart." Oh, Mycroft.
Magnussen identifies only two "pressure points" for John. That one of them is his pregnant bride isn't a surprise. The other is Harry... a sibling he barely speaks to and maintains he dislikes. She didn't even show up to his wedding.
The short scene showing Mary's rapport with and obvious affection for Sherlock's father, and his frank adoration of his wife. Fridge Brilliance when one considers the obvious resemblance, in personality and demeanour, between Mr Holmes and John. Mary even asks him if he's "the sane one."
Suffering from a bullet wound, Sherlock immediately thinks of previous instructions from Molly and Mycroft to save himself from dying of the wound. He clearly appreciates their expertise.
Sherlock's comfort place to save himself from shock is seeing his deceased dog, Redbeard.
Just that the fact that the information in his mind palace is represented not by a collection of inanimate objects or shelves of files, but by the people he respects most in various fields (including, surprisingly, his former chew toy, Anderson), and that in his mind, he's willing to ask for their help and opinions- something he's rarely seen doing in the real world.
Mummy Holmes was a brilliant career mathematician, but she gave it all up to raise her family and she doesn't regret any of it.
This ties into the previous revelation that Sherlock essentially pried the knowledge of John's middle name out of him; hell, he had to dig up his birth certificate to find it. For someone who is incredibly bored by the mundane, and even calls his straightforward ordinary parents "his cross to bear", the name "William", so commonplace and simple, must have pissed him off to no end. It's easy to understand why he chose to go by Sherlock, which is far more unique. So the fact that he divulges his full name, with its ordinary nature completely exposed, speaks volumes to how much he trusts and respects John.
Also possibly Fridge Brilliance - earlier, we learned that Myrcroft's first name is Mycroft. Could it be possible that Mycroft got picked on for his eccentric name, leading his parents to give a more common name to Sherlock, who then rejected it in order to be like his big brother?
Combined with a Tear Jerker, Mycroft repeatedly insisting, "Don't fire. Do not fire on Sherlock Holmes. Do not fire on Sherlock Holmes."
Also at the same scene, Mycroft sees Sherlock, his little brother, as a small, crying kid - just as he once was.
The runway scene at the end, when it's made clear that despite the fact that Sherlock likes to constantly make fun of Mary for shooting him dead, he doesn't hold a grudge against her for it.
Sherlock: You will look after him for me, won't you?
Mary:(she kisses his cheek and hugs him) Don't worry. I'll keep him in trouble.
Sherlock: That's my girl.
Even though she shot him, Sherlock seems more hurt over the fact that Mary didn't trust him enough to come to him for help rather than having almost killed him. Mary threatens him twice more after that and still Sherlock does all he can to encourage her and John to reconcile rather than coming between them.
The earliest scenes with John and Mary. They're awoken at an ungodly hour by a crying neighbour who is invited in and given tea and a shoulder to cry on... John is less than tactful once or twice, but Mary is wonderfully sympathetic. Then both of them go to a smack den to retrieve the neighbour's kid, even though Mary is still in her dressing gown and slippers. John is gentle and fatherly with Isaac, calling him "mate" and checking he's physically all right without judging him or castigating him. And it ends with the Watsons taking Sherlock and two other drug addicts to a hospital for medical attention. Mr and Mrs Psychopath? Hardly.
On that note, Isaac Whitney. The kid may be an addict baked out of his brain, but he's mild-mannered and kind of sweet, calling John and Mary "Dr Watson" and "Mrs Watson" and respectfully asking Mary if he could please get into the car.
Sherlock killing Magnussen, sacrificing his freedom and being sent to certain death, in order to protect John and Mary, fulfilling his last vow from the previous episode.
Sherlock: Give my love to Mary. Tell her she's safe now.
And note the choice of words. It's not "Give my regards to Mary," or even "Give my best to Mary" — it's "Give my love to Mary." He really does care for her because of her, not just because John does.
Earlier when he sees her in Magnussen's office, once he gets over the initial shock he tells her that he can help her.
A dark one, but: Sherlock deduces one of the knocked out guards is a white supremacist and orders John to focus solely on Janine. It's not so much the implication the white supremacist doesn't deserve medical attention (no matter how horrible, he does), it's the fact this is evidence Sherlock truly cares about Janine and jumped on the first thing he knew might sway John to make sure she was prioritised above a stranger.
The development of Sherlock and John's friendship. What starts simply as two lonely men wanting cheap accommodation quickly becomes the both of them giving the other purpose in life. Sherlock gives John the excitement and danger he's been missing from the war while John gives Sherlock the admiration and praise for his talents that he seems to so rarely get. By the end of the first episode alone they've affected each others lives tremendously. Sherlock has cured John's limp and John has saved Sherlock's life. Over the next two episodes, the initial spark seems to have faded as both have become used to each other and so the 'infatuation' stage if you will has worn off. Sherlock takes advantage of John's loyalty and treats him like a dogsbody that he expects to follow him everywhere and do anything for him regardless of whether John may have his own plans (The Blind Banker). John, in turn, is exasperated with Sherlock's coldness and things almost reach breaking point (The Great Game) when he's forced to accept that Sherlock isn't a perfect hero. Had their friendship been any weaker then the two would have probably parted ways at that point. The pair don't seem to realise how strongly they really do care for each other until Sherlock sees John strapped to a bomb and John witnesses Sherlock's panicked reaction that shows he really does care. While series 1 was all about establishing their friendship, series 2 revolves around how domestic their situation has become. As Irene points out (in Scandal), they are a couple in whatever sense of the word. However they're still discovering new things about each other and the series focuses on how they'll stick by each other through the good and the bad. John still becomes annoyed at Sherlock's behaviour at times but it's no longer a surprise for him. That's just how Sherlock is. And John no longer defends him simply out of some fanboy 'crush'; he genuinely adores him and will do anything to protect him. He knows now, more so than he did by the end of The Great Game, that Sherlock's bad points often appear to outweigh the good. But John simply doesn't care. If anything John's devotion is strengthened because he recognises how human his friend is. Sherlock, in turn, is so used to John's company that he feels he can ignore him or experiment on him but the thought of John either being killed or losing faith in him for good causes him to panic. For all the crap he pulls, by the end of the series he appreciates everything John has given him and, in return, Sherlock willingly sacrifices his life (more or less) to save John and his other friends.
Mycroft vs John never gets old. Mycroft tells John the first time he meets him that he (Mycroft) is the closest thing to a friend that Sherlock is capable of having- an enemy. When he realises that he's wrong and that John is actually Sherlock's friend, he's not particularly happy about it. From the conversation in the morgue in Belgravia it's clear that Mycroft is very controlling and manipulative, and influences Sherlock more than Sherlock would be happy to admit to- but as John's influence over Sherlock grows, Mycroft's dwindles. It seems that overall Mycroft is even more messed up than Sherlock and he honestly believes that developing human emotions is bad for Sherlock and that therefore John is a bad influence on his brother. John, of course, feels the same way about Mycroft- even before their last conversation in Reichenbach it's clear how much John resents Mycroft and the way he influences Sherlock. Mycroft might be wrong in how he's brought up Sherlock and the sort of behaviour he encourages in his little brother, but it's heartwarming because he honestly seems to not know he's wrong- he's simply doing the best he can with the only person in the world he seems to care for besides himself.
Equally as heartwarming is the number of times when Mycroft and John get into it in front of Sherlock and Sherlock reacts by being unashamedly delighted. We first see this in The Great Game when John points out to Mycroft that having secret missile plans on a memory stick given to a minor MOD worker is pretty stupid, and it shows up in other places as well. We know Mycroft is just as clever and witty as Sherlock and, as the older brother and with a lot of implied history between them, is domineering and knows how to push Sherlock's buttons. It's fairly obvious that Sherlock loves the fact that he now has John to stick up for him, and not only that, but John is at times snarkier than both Holmes brothers put together and is able to push Mycroft's buttons. See Mycroft's reaction in Belgravia when John gets the punchline "though... not how she treats royalty."
John can, and does, put so much meaning into two words: "'You okay?" The same phrase, said in the same gentle, concerned way, crops up again and again- everywhere from A Study in Pink (when Sherlock wanders out of 221B and gets into a taxi with a serial killer) to The Great Game (after collapsing himself at the swimming pool after Jim leaves) to A Scandal in Belgravia (when Sherlock, drugged, has just more or less collapsed on his bedroom floor, and on overhearing Sherlock telling Mycroft that Irene was dead) to The Reichenbach Fall (before Sherlock takes the cab on his own, and most heartwrenchingly, when he answers the phone call from the roof). And it's always said in the context of John knowing full damn well that Sherlock isn't okay and probably also knowing he isn't going to say so either. John continues to reach out anyway, just in case Sherlock ever wants to admit he's not okay and ask for help/support.
Which makes it rather a Tear Jerker when Sherlock finally confesses to Molly "You were right. I'm not okay." She'd earlier pointed out both that he wasn't okay and that hell would pretty much freeze over before he would ever tell John that, or let John see how sad and afraid he was.
And on the other side, whenever Sherlock takes a moment to ask John if he's "All right?". From the uncharacteristically soft way he delivers the question after John has just shot the cab driver (even though he'd been the one who'd narrowly avoided being another murder/suicide) to his utter panic when John is strapped to explosives or even after the experiment at Baskerville which Sherlock himself had set up. Even when he's being arrested and humiliated, all he cares about is reassuring John that it's "all right" even when they both know it's really not. These small displays of empathy are not limited to John either, as Sherlock's attempts to comfort both Sarah and Mrs. Hudson show.
At the beginning of A Study in Pink, Sherlock seems to take himself very seriously. He's certainly hilarious, frequently, but it's generally snark or social awkwardness, and not him intentionally being funny. At the conclusion of the chase after the cab, John starts laughing at the absurdity of it all and how golden Sherlock's punchline "Welcome to London" was- Sherlock looks confused by John's laughter and demands "what...?" By the time they get back to the flat, he's giggling and making jokes just to get John to keep laughing as well. Later, in Belgravia, he's stealing ashtrays and making jokes at Mycroft's expense- again, for no other reason than to make John laugh. He tries to do it again in Baskerville, trying to "break the ice"- John doesn't respond to it this time, which helps clue him in that he might actually have to apologise. He doesn't deliberately joke with John often, and he doesn't seem to do it for anyone else's benefit. But there are definite moments where you can see his sense of humour developing and becoming more "normal." Also, it's extremely heartwarming that sometimes he just wants to cheer John up by, oh, say, nicking him an ashtray from Buckingham Palace. He genuinely likes to see John happy.
It might not seem very heartwarming, but Sally's attempts to make John stay away from Sherlock. Of course we, the audience, know that Sherlock is no criminal and that he and John will become best friends, but Sally doesn't. Even though she is very snarky about it, she is genuinely worried about John, a man she barely knows, and simply wants to protect him from the possibly dangerous 'freak' she believes Sherlock to be. On the other hand, John ignoring her and staying loyal to Sherlock (even if that might not be the smartest option) is heartwarming in its own way.
There's one moment in The Reichenbach Fall particular- although she's gloating at the time, she reminds John that she had told him Sherlock was a psychopath "the first time we met." There's a few "first meetings" mentioned in The Reichenbach Fall- the first time Sherlock met John, the first time they met Moriarty- that the first time Sally met John scores a mention really is quite oddly heartwarming, considering that Sally hasn't been seen at all since The Great Game and even then only had a few lines. And the majority of those lines weren't her disdain for Sherlock- they were her suggesting hobbies that John might like to take up rather than hanging around with Sherlock. Line for line, she really does spend a surprising amount of time not snarking about or to Sherlock, but trying to convince John to protect himself by staying away from him.
In The Great Game, Sally (probably unintentionally) gives an indication of her regard for John, with this:
Sally: Still hanging 'round him, then?
John: Yeah, well...
Sally: Opposites attract, I suppose.
John: No, we're not...
Although John exasperatedly assumes this is simply yet another jab at the nature of his relationship with Sherlock, it can also be seen as a backhanded compliment. Sally has made it clear that she pretty much hates everything about "Freak." John, however, she'll admit is his "opposite", basically saying she quite likes him as far as she's seen him. (Incidentally, in hindsight, she also betrays that she knows next to nothing about John and is making superficial assumptions about him. She doesn't know that kind, mild-mannered Dr Watson is actually a Bad Ass adrenaline junkie who so far has offed two villains, one by shooting him through two windows from the next building, the other by tripping a rigged crossbow shaft straight through his torso using his foot. There is just no way that John is going to take up model trains instead of hang around with Sherlock.)
John's general character development over the course of the whole series. It is obvious that John is a good influence on rude and callous Sherlock, but actually, it goes the other way around as well. At the beginning of A Study In Pink, John lives on his own, complains that nothing happens to him, has no friends and won't even go to his own sister for help. It's not that he has no one to take care of him - almost all of the few people he meets are very nice to him - it is that he actively drives them away. He doesn't want anyone in his life, maybe because he thinks no one understands him and what he has gone through in Afghanistan. Look at his interactions with Ella, his therapist: She just wants to do her job and help him, he mocks her for all its worth and lies straight to her face. There is also his encounter with Mike Stamford. John reacts very reserved and it takes Mike a lot of effort to get him to talk about his problems. And even then, John keeps up his mask of dry wit and sarcastically brushes them off as if they're nothing. John is a man who has already given up at this point - and then he meets Sherlock. Someone who doesn't treat him like an invalid. Someone who has some use for him, gives him a new home and something to do with his life. Sherlock understands his need for a thrill, even cures him from his psychosomatic limp. Watch how John developes after that: He warms up, becomes a lot friendlier towards people, makes friends again, dates several women and attempts to get his own life right again, e.g. getting a job in The Blind Banker. In the second series, we see John happier than ever. He laughs and smiles a lot more and has become confident enough to not only play the part of Sherlock's bumbling sidekick who follows him everywhere and does all the dirty work, he considers himself an essential part of their team and asks questions or looks for pieces of evidence on his own, without having Sherlock tell him what to do (especially obvious in The Hounds of Baskerville). Sherlock, for his part, seems heartwarmingly pleased with these developments and often refers to the two of them as "we" where he would have used "I" in the first series.
On that note, more from the power duo of mutual heartwarming:
Sherlock and John, before they meet, are actually not that different from each other. We already know that Sherlock hardly eats or sleeps when he is on a case. Judging from A Scandal in Belgravia, the same thing seems to happen when he is depressed. In addition, he doesn't talk, which is exactly what he warned John about during the meeting at Bart's. Now watch the beginning of A Study in Pink and pay attention to John's behaviour: He is clearly very depressed (possibly even suicidal, depending on how you interpret why he keeps his gun ready in the top drawer of his desk), doesn't sleep much and maybe doesn't even eat properly note Look at his breakfast - an apple and a cup of coffee - he puts them down next to his laptop and we never actually see him eating. His meal may be that simple because of his poor financial situation, but from the looks of it, he doesn't have much of an appetite anyway., hardly talks and never really smiles (see the A Study in Pink folder). It's hard to believe this is the same John Watson who, upon meeting Sherlock, is constantly seen eating, seems to get a healthy amount of decent sleep (when he's not working on a case with Sherlock), shamelessly uses his charm on everyone and everything and jokes around a lot. The difference is astounding, and almost instant, as he starts smiling during the cab ride to the Brixton crime scene and even hits on Anthea on the way back from the Brixton crime scene. Later that same night he's giggling at the absurdity of the chase across Soho.
And then there's the fact this rubs off on Sherlock, too: Apart from him talking practically nonstop for the entire series, the second season quite often shows him with a quick snack in his hand and in one scene in A Scandal in Belgravia, it is implied he has developed a habit of sleeping in late. Seems like he actually took some advice from his doctor ...
So in two series, John has put up with a lot from Sherlock. Apart from him being probably the worst flatmate in history, simply being friends with Sherlock has (directly or indirectly) caused John to be, among other things: kidnapped twice (and that's if you don't count Mycroft's efforts), threatened with execution by gunshot, strapped to explosives, held at gunpoint no less than four times, knocked unconscious twice, drugged once and arrested twice. He's killed two people, pointed a loaded gun at several more, committed housebreaking, fraud and arson, conned his way into a top secret weapons base, assisted in the hacking of a computer system and encouraged a fellow doctor to violate doctor-patient confidentiality by getting her drunk and chatting her up. Let's not go into the fact that Sherlock has apparently, deliberately or otherwise, also sabotaged no less than four of John's relationships. He's had national newspapers make sly insinuations as to his sexuality because of his friendship with Sherlock. He's been ignored for days at a time, insulted, dismissed, used as the butt of numerable mean-spirited jokes and cruel put-downs, had doors literally shut in his face and has had Sherlock hang up the phone on him mid-sentence. And he's still Sherlock's friend. Twice in Season 2 do things reach a crisis between Sherlock and John: during the fireside conversation in Baskerville and the conversation about Sherlock being a fraud in Reichenbach.note Since the "Mrs Hudson has been shot" argument is a set-up and Sherlock is incredibly passive, it doesn't really count as a two-sided conflict. And both arguments were about the same thing: John will simply take all of the above listed crap, that comes with being Sherlock's friend, but he can't stand the idea of Sherlock saying or implying that they aren't friends.
John's ridiculous level of loyalty and wanting to be Sherlock's friend, despite taking so much crap from him when John gives nothing but devotion in return, almost crosses the line from heartwarming to terrifying in how codependent their relationship is.
On the issue of codependency: Sherlock's continually commandeering John's computer without his permission might annoy John, but he can hardly talk, considering that over the course of two seasons Sherlock has casually offered John his bank card, and apparently known but not cared that John was walking around with a three-figured cheque in Sherlock's name, that he frequently picks up Sherlock's phone and checks the messages, and that he apparently rifles through his belongings looking for drugs if and when Mycroft decides it's a "danger night." Sherlock doesn't just use John's computer because he's intent on invading his privacy. He just has a different concept of what privacy is. And judging from John's long-suffering sigh when Sherlock tells Henry he's been reading John's private emails to his girlfriends, he's kind of just resigned to the fact that Sherlock just doesn't have the same privacy boundaries as everyone else- and while Sherlock must simply trust that John isn't going to mishandle his money and that he's not going through his belongings out of sheer morbid curiosity, John in turn realises that Sherlock isn't going to use any information he finds on his computer maliciously. Now that is a trusting friendship.
Sherlock's repeated attempts to please John by giving him things, and the fact that John gradually recognises that that's Sherlock's "love language" and the only way he really expresses emotions like gratitude or sympathy or remorse. Some of it takes a while to sink in, but there's a definite pattern. In A Study in Pink, Sherlock ditches John at a crime scene- then apologises later by taking him out with him to dinner, then on a chase across London, "curing" his psychosomatic pain, and offering to give him Lestrade's badge. Later, Sherlock's gratitude isn't "thanks", it's "good shot" and "... dinner?" In The Blind Banker Sherlock, seeing John flustered, embarrassed and probably totally broke, offers him his bank card. After having kept John up all night deciphering book code, he suggests they go out and when John tells him he has a date, it's highly implied that all three of the circus tickets were funded by Sherlock. In their last scene together in The Blind Banker, Sherlock tries to make up for what John has been through (being partly Sherlock's fault) by making him a cup of coffee. In John's blog, there's a mention of Sherlock's reaction to finding out John had broken up with Sarah, largely due to Sherlock-related reasons: Sherlock responds to the news by buying John beer. In Baskerville John is so used to this that Sherlock can manipulatively use making coffee for John as a way of poisoning him (or so he thinks). John even tells him he doesn't have to keep apologising. At the end of the episode, Sherlock does bring John a presumably non-poisoned cup of coffee, as a way of apologising, as well as offering him various ketchups while avoiding admitting to what he did, clearly guilty about the whole thing.
Mycroft seems to do this too. His offering Sherlock a cigarette in A Scandal in Belgravia was more to test his willpower on a possible "danger night" than anything else, and we later see that Sherlock saw through it- though Mycroft thought Sherlock would buy the "Merry Christmas" line. Since both Holmes brothers apparently equate showing repressed affection for someone by giving them stuff, or taking them somewhere cool, the obvious and very sad conclusion is that their parents were the same way. note It's practically a given that Mycroft and Sherlock came from money, probably Old Money. No doubt they were given both plenty of expensive things and expensive opportunities like overseas trips, elite educations, etc. It seems more and more clear, the more we learn about Mycroft and Sherlock, that they were deprived of ordinary parental affection, and thus find it nearly impossible to show "normal" affection to others.
There are two instances in particular where Sherlock is unable to express himself by his usual methods, and so tries to do so in the usual way- verbally. In The Great Game, he tries to thank John for selflessly risking his own life to give him a chance of escaping, and in The Hounds of Baskerville he tries to apologise to John for telling him to his face that he doesn't have friends (and therefore, that John is not his friend.) Both times he finds this excruciating, and although both times John knows what he's trying to express and appreciates it, it's worth noting that nowhere in either scene are the expressions "thank you" "thanks" "sorry" or "apologies" ever found. It's what makes his apology to Molly in Belgravia so amazing- in two seasons of wronging people left, right and centre, it's the only instance of him using the magical phrase I am sorry. Forgive me.
On the above note, Sherlock, having some sociopathic tendencies, is a skilled manipulator and lies very convincingly. Except when it comes to telling lies to John, where he is almost always awful at it, and has to rely on John's naivete or fear or other factors to avoid being caught out. (Examples include lying to John about what happened in Soo Lin's flat in The Blind Banker, lying to him about giving Mycroft the memory stick in The Great Game, lying to him about the hound glowing in The Hounds of Baskerville, lying to him about not caring about Mrs Hudson in The Reichenbach Fall and, later in the episode and the most epic example of all, lying to him in the phone call at St Bart's. In all these examples he's so awkward or acts so badly that it's clear he's not comfortable telling those lies.) He finds lying to others easy when he's able to put on a fake persona, but with John he's genuine, making it difficult for him to effectively lie. By the end of series 2, he actually goes out of his way to avoid having to directly lie to John (examples include simply ignoring John in Belgravia if he doesn't want to tell him the truth, and his behaviour in Baskerville when forced between lying to John about locking him in the lab, and admitting to doing that to him, neither of which he wants to do.)
In The Reichenbach Fall, at Sherlock's grave, Mrs Hudson tells John that Sherlock made her feel angry with his eccentric, borderline-criminal behaviour- the cadaver parts in the fridge, the shooting in the flat in the middle of the night, vandalising the place, etc. The thing is, in two seasons Mrs Hudson hasn't ever shown her anger to Sherlock. She adores him through it all and is very gentle with him. In A Study in Pink, where it's implied that Sherlock has taken about five minutes to trash the place with all his stuff, she simply says gently "Sherlock, the mess you've made...!" Her response in Belgravia to the thumbs in the fridge? "Oh dear!" She casually tells one of Mycroft's people that Sherlock shot the doorbell. She makes a comment in John's blog where she more or less admits to doing Sherlock's laundry for him, so she was probably highly unimpressed in The Hounds of Baskerville when his clothes turned out covered in pig's blood. The closest she's ever come to being angry with Sherlock is when she sees the spray-painted smiley face and the bullet holes and demands "what have you done to my bloody wall?! I'm putting this on your rent, young man!" But the way she says it, and probably her choice of words, simply causes Sherlock to smile at his own handiwork. Mrs Hudson comes across as so incredibly sweet and good-natured and "fluffy old lady", that it's a surprise, and very heartwarming, to find out that after all Sherlock's bad habits do make her angry- she just loves him too much to really take that anger out on him.
Furthering the above note, Mrs Hudson's relationship to Sherlock and John in general. All three residents of Baker Street start out as lonely people who really need each other. Mrs Hudson may not come across as keen of intellectnote except for that time when she outwitted three angry CIA agents but she must be, because Sherlock respects her, and he doesn't respect fools. One of the first things we see the "high-functioning sociopath" do is throw his arms around Mrs Hudson in a big hug, and on his way out the door to the Brixton crime scene, he kisses her. She in turn just adores Sherlock (as we've seen above, she really is never truly angry with him no matter HOW much of an annoying dick he's being.) On first meeting John, who at that stage in A Study in Pink is standoffish and terse and very messed up, Mrs Hudson instantly sees his vulnerability and loneliness, and decides he needs to be mothered as well. note It's interesting that neither Sherlock nor John seem to have had a biological mother in the picture, or at least, not in recent times. Mycroft's reference in A Study in Pink to "You know how it always upset Mummy" is in the past tense, implying Mrs Holmes is either dead or at least no longer in contact with her sons. Neither of John's parents are mentioned in any way, shape or form, though he's not old enough for the assumption that they have died of natural causes. In The Blind Banker she's saving the day by bringing up something decent to serve Sarah, and in The Great Game it's revealed that while Sherlock is off doing whatever it is that Sherlock does, John and Mrs Hudson frequently watch "crap telly" together- something Sherlock seems not to be aware of until John mentions it. There's a brief moment that indicates Mrs Hudson now buys food for Sherlock and John- she brings some in just after John storms out, and although she leaves the receipt on the table, you get the idea that Sherlock isn't going to pay her back, though John probably would. In A Scandal in Belgravia Mrs Hudson is cooking and cleaning for both her "boys". She's just as worried about Sherlock as John is, and never fails to compliment him on his violin (or, online, his lovely hat.) She's the sole witness of John getting dumped and despite the fact that John pretty much deserves it, she never tells him so, just remarking that it "wasn't very good." She takes a beating for Sherlock's sake on New Year's Eve. We don't see much of her in Baskerville but we do see that by now John will openly and strongly defend her if Sherlock upsets her- and Sherlock upsets everybody. This all pays off in The Reichenbach Fall. By now she's a credible reason for John to turn on Sherlock- look at his reaction when he thinks she's dying, he's practically in tears and rushes off with no regard for either Sherlock or for his own safety or liberty. Sherlock, meanwhile? We know what Sherlock does for her sake, and for John's and Lestrade's.
Mark Gatiss has said that the only personal picture that Sherlock keeps in his bedroom is one of him and Mycroft.
There's certainly something to be said about the relationship between Sherlock, John, and Mary. Sherlock Holmes, who previously seemed to enjoy actively pissing off John's girlfriends, and never bothered to remember their names, ends up accepting Mary's presence with grace. He helps plan their wedding, delivers a fairly touching speech as the best man, takes a bullet, and kills someone, all to protect Mary (and, of course, John). Compare this to the Sherlock in "A Scandal in Belgravia", who freely insulted John's girlfriend to her face. Mary is also amazing. When Sherlock reenters John's life, shes quick to understand the depth of their relationship, and pushes the two of them to work things out. During the engagement, she encourages the two men to spend time together, because she wants to assure them that the marriage won't change their friendship. She's not yielding her relationship with John: she realizes that John needs Sherlock just as much as John needs her. Just as Sherlock realizes the same (although he seems to believe that John and Mary can do without him). And John loves them both, and says as much to each of them. Even though things go downhill fast in the end, their commitment to each other is unwavering.
In A Study in Pink, Sherlock tells John he didn't realise the case would be pink because he's "an idiot." John looks offended, but this is what he later wrote about it:
He'd found the woman's missing suitcase because he'd known it would be pink, like the woman's clothes. It hadn't even crossed my mind and when I said this, he told me I was an idiot. He didn't mean to be offensive, he just said what he thought. I've been called worse things but his bluntness was still a bit of a surprise. He just didn't care about being polite or anything like that. I was starting to understand why he didn't seem to have many 'colleagues'.
That's a pretty stunningly accepting attitude right there about a guy he'd just met.
There was one other thing though. Before the taxi driver died, he said a name. A name of someone or something that had helped him. Moriarty. I've never heard of it and neither has Sherlock. Of course, he loves it. He thinks he's found himself an arch-enemy. He's a strange child.
John's not much older than Sherlock, but he acts a lot older, and calling him a "strange child" is unbelievably adorable. And given later events, these same lines become really,really painful.
And just below that, the man who a fortnight before was having a borderline breakdown, who was so bored and frustrated he developed a hand tremor, who honestly believed that "nothing ever happens to me", and probably thought it never would again, writes this:
And since that night? It hasn't stopped. Oh, there's so much more I've got to tell you.
John, over the course of both seasons one and two, posts a number of things about Sherlock that are just adorable. He talks about how charming he is, how much he admires him, but he also writes sometimes about how vulnerable Sherlock can be. We know Sherlock reads John's blog, as every now and again he pops in to make some witty sarcastic comment, to correct John or bitch about how he doesn't describe the cases in the dry, logical way Sherlock prefers. But he never addresses some of the more emotional things John posts about him: about how he thinks Sherlock sometimes doesn't know what he's feeling, or how Sherlock pretends to be fine when he's actually upset, and one particular incident where John describes Sherlock as looking like a "little, lost child." You'd think Sherlock would find so many readers finding out about his softer side to be embarrassing, but apparently not. It's also heartwarming in that John, from what we've seen, would never actually say these things to Sherlock's face. It's just not his way. But he knows that if he puts his thoughts on how Sherlock might be feeling, or expresses concern for him on his blog, Sherlock will read it.
Harry, Logging Onto The Fourth Wall, posts obsessively on John's blog; it's probably the only way she can get in touch with him. When anonymous poster "theimprobableone" shows up to his blog to insult John, Harry is a little bit upset. So upset, in fact, that John has to delete a couple of her comments and start scolding her for her language. note It's interesting how John censors Harry apparently swearing up and down, but is apparently cool with being trolled by someone insulting his intelligence. Although theimprobableone has already been making uncomplimentary remarks toward him on Sherlock's website, it would have been easy and understandable for him to have deleted the whole conversation between theimprobableone and Harry when it took place on his own blog. Sherlock never responds directly to theimprobableone's somewhat creepy obsession with him, and totally ignores the insults to his flatmate. The only time John ever reacts to 'theimprobableone' is on a comment on how he 'sounds stupid' on Sherlock's forums- he simply responds with 'why don't you pay us a visit? I'd love to meet you.' He must have the best self-esteem of any fictional character in existence. Harry and "theimprobableone" get into it on several occasions. It's barely touched in the actual series, but the supporting stuff online suggests Harry loves her brother and is very protective of him. note Harry Watson actually has an unusually prominent place in the tie-in blogs, when you consider that she is mentioned twice in the first half hour or so of "A Study in Pink" and then not again until A Scandal in Belgravia. Whether the writers are intending to introduce her as a minor character in the series, rather than just a reference point for Sherlock's deductions and an extra element to John's character, remains to be seen. Certainly it changes John's character somewhat. There is nothing in what Harry Watson writes to her brother online that indicates she's anything other than a friendly, happy, outspoken person who perhaps is going out of her way to ignore John's barely concealed hostility toward her. Oh yes. And she's well aware of John's thing for Clara, and apparently has been aware of it for some time!
John's very first blog post post-A Study In Pink mentions offhand the events of that adventure, including the fact that he, you know, almost came face to face with a sadistic serial killer. Judging by Harry's rather alarmed response, she apparently spends a lot of time following this trying to get in touch with him to make sure he's okay.
At one point Ella, John's therapist, also comments asking him to answer his phone. Making it possible that Harry was so worried about John (and suspected he might be avoiding her on purpose) that she got in contact with his therapist and asked her to try to contact him. YMMV, however, as not long before Harry seems to have had no idea her brother was in therapy.
There's a rather subtle but sweet exchange between John and Sherlock in the comments on John's blog after he posts about having broken up with Sarah:
Sherlock: I went shopping earlier. There's some cans of beer in the fridge. Next to the feet.
The time lapse between the second comment and the third suggests that Sherlock specifically went out to buy the beers to cheer up John.
The smiley face conveys so much, and also adorable when you consider that John has complete contempt for anyone his age using the expression "LOL" and doesn't know what "PMSL" means. And that John completely ignores Sherlock telling him there are apparently human feet in the fridge and takes the message in the well-meant spirit it was intended. Aww.
Sherlock's comment in itself is amazingly heartwarming when you see it as him scolding John for not telling him about something like that. It's pretty rough to find out your best friend's girlfriend broke up with him weeks later on said best friend's blog. Sherlock's comment indicates that so far as he's concerned, John should tell him these things, because he's interested in what's going on in John's life and wants to know if something is upsetting him. It's entirely possible if not probable that Sherlock already knew that John and Sarah had broken up, but the point wasn't that they'd broken up, it was that John told his blog about it before he told Sherlock. Especially when you consider that John had pointed out that a large part of why it hadn't worked with Sarah was because of his devotion to Sherlock. Reading that about yourself on a public blog would be pretty awful, especially as it's implied that John didn't tell him directly because he didn't think Sherlock would care. Sherlock's response is basically "I do care, and I'd like you to tell me these things in person because I do care." And instead of sulking childishly about the fact John doesn't confide in him, Sherlock just goes out and selflessly buys his friend a presentnote we've never seen Sherlock drink beer so far and it doesn't seem to be his preference of beverage to cheer him up and, at the same time, apologize in his own way for being the part of the reason him and Sarah broke up.
Since the events of The Great Game, John seems much more appreciative of his sister. Initially, if he responded to Harry's comments at all, he was being hostile or sarcastic. He becomes a lot more affectionate toward her, making comments that indicate they're now texting if not actually literally talking, asking her if she's okay and, at one point, telling her he's proud of her efforts to stop drinking. Awww.
At one point, one of Harry's comments suggests that she's posting drunk, having fallen Off The Wagon. John's (almost instant) response is to gently reply that he's on his way, presumably to make sure she's okay.
On the same blog post, the next day, Molly unexpectedly comments for the first time in ages. (Predictably, she's defending Sherlock, who is being incredibly rude to a prospective client.) John interrupts the proceedings to ask Molly if she's okay, as he apparently hasn't heard from her in a while. Awww.
And without fail, pretty much- friends Mike and Bill are there to comment on every case and congratulate John, no matter how he downplays his role in the action, on a job well done. Bill at one point insists he should get a medal ("well, another one") and Mike is clearly thoroughly enjoying watching his friend make a comeback from the guy he used to be. Let's all say it: awww.
I could see the look in Sherlock's eyes - a flash of, not anger, but hurt. For a second, he looked like a little, lost child. I should have been horrified that he'd even doubt me for a second but, to be honest, it was so refreshingly human of him. He actually did value our friendship. He did, despite himself, care.
In the above, he also speculates on the person holding the rifle, and refers to the unknown assistant of Moriarty as "his John Watson". He naively, adorably assumes, comparing this guy to himself, that of course he wouldn't kill Moriarty, an assumption he was working on when he tried to get Sherlock an escape route.
Considering that said sniper was most likely Sebastian Moran, he was probably completely right.
He also reveals he thought, at the time, about whether Sherlock would have done the same for him. He doesn't mention what his conclusion to that was, however. The implication is that this doesn't matter to him, and that his protection of Sherlock is not dependent on whether he reciprocates or not.
He then writes up his feelings on possibly the crappiest festive period anyone could ever have, including telling every single one of his readers that Irene Adler was alive (!!), but there's a sweet mention that, as he remarked in an earlier blog post, he and Sherlock got Mrs Hudson her own laptop for Christmas so she doesn't have to go next door and use Mrs Turner's anymore. Awww. You can definitely see why Mrs Hudson overlooks the thumbs in the fridge and the bullet holes in the wall.
In the same blog post, he mentions that despite originally having New Year's Eve plans, he'd had to cancel them so he could stay home with Sherlock (who ignored him all night, as we saw in the episode) and keep an eye on Mrs Hudson, who'd been hurt that day. D'aww.
In an earlier not-so-festive blog post, he comments that he can't bring himself to bitch at Sherlock about how he was rude to pretty much all of their guests, and got him dumped as well, because he was clearly so upset about Irene.
Kirsty Stapleton's message to Sherlock. She's an 8 year old girl asking Sherlock to please find Bluebell. Her rabbit. She's just so precious in the way she writes, asking him if John is a real doctor, telling him that she likes his stories, ending her message with "lots of love"... This kid is simply adorable.
Kirsty Stapleton: It's not ridiculous and I know my spelling is good because Mummy's computer has a spell-checker so I know it is all right. You are rude.
After the third episode of series two, John posts just a single line. He was my best friend and I'll always believe in him. This doubles as a tear jerker.
In the comment section of this particular blog post, there's a lot of sad stuff implied ... and then Mrs. Hudson comes along and is her usual adorable self:
You remember Chris Melas from The Geek Interpreter?. Check the comments section on this. He's happy, recovered from his brush with insanity, and he has a girlfriend.
From the tie-in book; Sherlock: The Casebook, we get a number of adorable post-it notes from the characters on John's 'scrapbook' of the cases. On one we get to see Mrs. Hudson's Christmas card to Sherlock and John, which reads like a mother's card to her sons.
To my lovely boys, Hope the new year brings you all the dead bodies and things you like. Mrs Hudson x
Look at how long this page is. This show only has six episodes aired so far.
The "I believe in Sherlock Holmes" movement. Basically, the Sherlock fans have been putting "I believe in Sherlock Holmes" and variations thereof everywhere in every way possible from t-shirts to bracelets to signs to fan videos ever since he was declared a fraud in The Reichenbach Fall.
The creators gave a Shout-Out to it in "The Empty Hearse", going so far as to have Anderson explicitly say "I believe in Sherlock Holmes" and showing that Sherlock was vindicated after investigation.
Chris Melas and Henry Knight comment that they haven't lost faith in Sherlock and are grateful to him for saving their lives. Henry gets extra heartwarming for remembering John's role and telling him to call if he needs anything.
John's final blog post after having watched the dvd Sherlock made him from Many Happy Returns.
John: [Sherlock] was rude, yeah. Arrogant. Apparently lacking in anything resembling empathy. But I’d forgotten just how funny he could be. He was so charming. So… human. It’s bizarre because most people would say he was the most inhuman person they’d ever met. But he wasn’t. He was everything a good person should be. He’d just often say what he was thinking rather than lying to protect our feelings. Maybe we should all be more like that? Maybe we should all be more honest?
On that note, there's something great about the blog fully launching itself up again, especially after The Empty Hearse.
On the same entry we get this rather sweet interaction between John and Molly in the comments that shows there's no hard feelings between them about Molly lying to him about Sherlock faking his death.
Molly: It was a real honour to spend the day helping Sherlock. I'm not John though.
John: He said you were really good.
theimprobableone is a frequent, somewhat annoying commenter. In Death by Twitter, s/he makes a comment indicating hurt depression and disappears. John tries to comfort him/her, and John's therapist mentions sending an email and asks him/her to respond. When s/he comes back in The Empty Hearse, several commentators show relief.
The blog entry "Happily Ever After". A woman goes to them believing that her husband is having an affair. Eventually, they learn that it was the wife who was having the affair...with another woman. She had been desperate to leave her unhappy marriage, as her husband had blackmailed her into marrying him so he could live off her family's money. Sherlock gives her all the evidence of the affair, removing any hold he had left. She came out to her family, was accepted, then divorced her husband and ended up with the woman she loved. Mrs. Hudson commented "And people say he hasn't got a heart".