These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Accidental Innuendo: Molly tells Sherlock that if he ever needs help, he can "have her." And later on, Sherlock says he "needs" Molly though he means he needs her help to fake his death.
Angst? What Angst?: John Watson seems to have PTSD in the first episode to the extent he'd developed psychosomatic pain... but gets over it pretty quickly. Somewhat justified as being away from the war is what's causing his issues. Getting back to adventure solves that nicely.
Although as the Fridge Brilliance page shows there is the implication he didn't get over it, a subtle one but it's certainly there.
Mrs. Hudson casually mentions how she found out her husband was a drug dealer and a murderer then rants how their relationship was mostly physical.
Award Snub: Sherlock, its cast, and crew were nominated for thirteen Emmy categories in 2012, but won none of them. Naturally, rage from the fans ensued.
And this was for Series 2. The show received 4 noms for the first run of episodes, but failed to earn recognition for the top prize or for its performances.
Series 3 aired too late to qualify for the 2014 National Television Awards. But somehow, reruns qualified, and Benedict Cumberbatch won the new Best TV Detective category. The trope was averted this time despite no new episodes airing!
Awesome Ego: Sherlock himself. Moriarty could count as a villainous example.
To a lesser extent, Charles Augustus Magnussen. He's a disgusting sociopath, but if you had a mind capable of storing countless facts in your head and could easily recite them from memory, and could do a Sherlock Scan as well as the great man himself, wouldn't you also find it hard to brag? Deconstructed as his having no backups allows Sherlock to easily shoot him in the head.
Initial reactions to the camp Moriarty seem to range from 'obnobxious voice and looks like a twelve-year old' to 'deliciously creepy re-interpretation similar to the newer versions of the Master and the Joker'
Interestingly enough, the Joker comparisons are used by both Moriarty's fans and detractors.
The fan reactions to Irene Adler are contrasting at best. Either she's a clever, competent woman who managed to best the great Sherlock Holmes, or her character was oversexualised and reduced to a Damsel in Distress at the end. Not to mention how the hate for her can reach well into Ron the Death Eater territory.
As of His Last Vow, the fandom seems split over John's reaction to Mary's secret. While some fans think it shows his dedication and love, others think he's only staying with her because of the baby.
Broken Base: Pretty much all of Series 3 is subject of the debate, we half the base calling it brilliant and the others calling it horrible. No, Moriarty's supposed return hasn't helped matters. Then there are fans who think that season 3 is both brilliant and horrible.
Complete Monster: Moriarity is world's only "consulting criminal", a man hired by various people who need his genius to help them commit their own crimes. Throughout the series, Moriarity turns a dying, old man into a Serial Killer by promising to pay money to his children for each person he kills, manages to sneak the Black Lotus organization into London then kills their leader when she fails in her task, and sells information to terrorist cells. He does all of this to distract himself from his boredom and catch the attention of Sherlock Holmes. In the first season's finale, Moriarity decides to play a little "game" with Sherlock, selling out his clients and challenging Sherlock to solve the crimes they committed. For incentive, he kidnaps people, including one young child, and strap bombs to them. If Sherlock doesn't solve the crimes in the allotted time, the bombs detonate. When one of his victims, a blind, traumatized, old woman only begins to describe the sound of Moriarity's voice after Sherlock solves the case, Moriarity detonates the bomb, killing her and eleven others. In the second season, Moriarity sets about his plan to destroy Sherlock's reputation and life utterly. He has a man that looks just like Sherlock kidnap the seven and nine-year-old children of the Ambassador to America, then kills his accomplice after he outlives his usefulness. He then feeds the children chocolate laced with mercury to kill them if Sherlock can’t find them. In the end, after framing him as a master criminal who committed both the crimes Moriarity was blamed for and the cases Sherlock himself solved, Moriarity tries to convince Sherlock to commit suicide by threatening to set his assassins on Sherlock's only three friends in the world, John Watson, Greg Lestrade, and Mrs. Hudson, if he doesn't. Moriarity was ultimately a man so committed to winning his "game" with Sherlock, that when Sherlock points out as long as Moriarity's still alive, he can force him to call off the assassins, Moriarity responds by merrily eating his gun to give Sherlock no choice but to kill himself. Moriarity was the dark reflection of Sherlock, a sociopathic genius that would let nothing stand in his way to escape from his excruciating boredom.
He's Sherlock Holmes, and crazier than most portrayals. He keeps eyeballs in the microwave and a severed head in the fridge, and gets rid of boredom by spray-painting a smiley face on the wall and shooting at it. And the thumbs in the refrigerator. Poor Mrs. Hudson.
Bonus points for shooting the wall being canon to the source material- in "His Last Bow", he shot the Queen's initials into his wall as target practice.
Also Mycroft in his own way. His use of phones and CCTV cameras is quite impressive.
Averted with Molly. Despite the HUGE slash fandom that this show has, Molly doesn't have much of a Hatedom mainly because she's just so damned adorable (and to a lesser extent, as Moffat's personal Chew Toy, so damned pathetic, no one really has the heart to hate her.)
Irene also survived the shippers relatively unscathed. Mainly because, despite the enormous amounts of Foe Yay, she's also a Shipper on Deck.
Both Averted and Played Straight with Mary. Many fans were annoyed that Mary would show up and hoped for her eventual demise, but reaction to her has been good so far. It helps that she's sweet, funny, likes Sherlock and has great chemistry with John (being played by Martin Freeman's real-life partner).
Worth mentioning that, after His Last Vow, many people are, once again, looking forward to Mary's eventual demise.
Brief kerfuffles in early 2012 with the fandom of the K Pop band SHINee, for overtaking the #Sherlock tag on Tumblr for the band's new album.
Fights with Elementary fandom have naturally have gotten ugly, mainly for Watson's Gender Flip and Race Lift. And, ironically, Sherlock fans flooding the Elementary tag on Tumblr.
The 2013 National Television Awards have made enemies of Downton Abbey fans for winning over Sherlock. Cue more tag-flooding on Tumblr...of the wrong tag.
Fights got nasty with Teen Wolf fandom on Tumblr, in March 2013. Teen Wolf's Season 3 airdate was posted by a fan, but only mentioned the show in the tags. Fandom outrage, once again, as confused Sherlockians thought they were being deliberately mislead.
This line is itself a nod to the popularly held bit of fanon that "Hamish" is Watson's middle name (something that was never confirmed or denied by Doyle).note It originated from an attempt to explain away an obvious typo in one story, where a character called Watson "James" instead of "John", and Watson didn't bother to correct her. One fan theorized that the "H" in Watson's middle initial stands for "Hamish" (the Scottish variant of "James") and that the character was just addressing Watson by his middle name. It stuck.
As of this writing, it hasn't even been officially confirmed that Sebastian Moran will appear in this show at all. Though browsing the insane amounts of Modern!Moran fan art on deviantART might give you a different impression.
A Lord Moran appears in the first episode of Season 3, though that seems to be where the similarities end. The true Sebastian Moran is seemingly Mary Morstan of all people, who is something of a Composite Character.
There's also the Star Trek fandom (namely the rebootseries) due to Cumberbatch's involvement with the franchise. Hell, his character even dresses like Holmes at certain points in the second film as well.
John: Do people usually assume you're the murderer?
Sherlock: Now and then, yes.
There's actually dozens of these if actually look close enough especially references to "The Reichenbach Fall". It seriously adds to the rewatch value.
This line from John's blog, regarding an incident between Sherlock and himself in Baskerville- He'd used me as an experiment. One day I will kill him.
When John wanders past a dummy hanging by the neck from the ceiling of 221B, he jokes, "So... did you just talk to him for a very long time?" Incredibly harsh when you consider that, after Jim Moriarty talked to him for a very long time, Sherlock apparently committed suicide before the end of the episode. Ouch.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The show is popular in many countries across the globe from America to India but none of them are as obsessed with it as China is. There is even a Sherlock themed cafe in Shanghai.
The first episode. Sgt. Sally Donovan says: "One day we'll be standing around a body and Sherlock Holmes will be the one who put it there." Fast forward to "The Reichenbach Fall" and ouch.note Sherlock "committed suicide" as part of a Thanatos Gambit by Moriarty, so technically there is a body the police will be standing around, and Sherlock will have put it there.. because it's his body. Although he may not be quite dead.
And then there's the climax of "His Last Vow", where Sherlock shoots Magnussen in front of three police helicopters and Mycroft.
One of John's last lines to Sherlock in "The Reichenbach Fall" becomes this when you puzzle out who, exactly, is protecting whom.
Sherlock: Alone protects me John: No. Friends protect people.
Also, Mrs. Hudson's comment in "A Scandal in Belgravia", considering how Moriarty finds out Sherlock's life story:
Mrs. Hudson: Family is all we have in the end, Mycroft Holmes.
John's quote "The press will turn, Sherlock. They always turn, and they'll turn on you." from The Reichenbach Fall echoed eerily in the minds of some fans when they read somearticles written about Benedict Cumberbatch, which used quotes that were no doubt taken completely out of context and twisted around. They media is definitely taking advantage of this self-proclaimed "PR disaster".
The cab driver's words to Sherlock: "I'm not gonna kill you, Mr. Holmes. I'm gonna talk to you, and then you're gonna kill yourself."
The allusion to Jimmy Savile when discussing Moriarty's modus operandi as a criminal "Jim'll Fix It", in light of the 2012 allegations about the late entertainer. It doesn't help when we learn in "The Reichenbach Fall" that Moriarty moonlights as an award-winning children's storyteller.
The words "love is a far more vicious motivator" from "A Study in Pink" hurt much more since Sherlock commited suicide to save the people he loves, his only friends.
All of these lines from "A Scandal in Belgravia" sound like wicked foreshadowing after watching "The Reichenbach Fall":
Sentiment is a chemical defect found in the losing side.
I've often thought that love was a dangerous disadvantage. Thank you for the final proof.
This is your heart, and you should never let it rule your head.
They're just as painful in relation to "His Last Vow", knowing that Sherlock kills Magnussen to protect John, and is almost sent on a suicide mission to Eastern Europe as punishment.
Doubling as Reality Subtext, in "The Sign of Three", Major Reed's suspicion of John's motives for investigating the case, coupled with Sherlock breaking into the barracks and the (attempted) murder of Pvt. Bainbridge shorty after, leads him to immediately assume that they were responsible. After the 2013 murder of Pvt. Lee Rigby, his paranoia about security come across as very justified.
Heartwarming In Hindsight: A lot of Sherlock's behavior towards John in "A Study in Pink" seems like just common courtesy (thanking him for the phone, trying to turn him down gently when he thinks John is into him, waiting for him at the top of the stairs) until we reach later episodes, and we realize that Sherlock normally couldn't care less about common courtesy. The whole of season 3 also doubles as Tear Jerker in Hindsight.
He's Just Hiding: Sherlock is this in-universe, although in this case the speculators are correct. As well as Moriarty for some, who expect Joker Immunity to be in play.
Indeed, Moriarty is seemingly alive at the end of "His Last Vow".
Sherlock is being investigated by a reporter from The Sun and finds a recording device planted in 221B at a point in the show's timeline (June 2012) that is four months after five Sun reporters and editors were arrested on hacking and bribery charges. Considering that particular episode was written and filmed several months before the News of the World scandal broke, it becomes either a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment and/or doubly hilarious.
There's also the fact that The Sun was giving Benedict Cumberbatch A LOT of attention around the time Series 2 aired in America. According to the polls, brainy has indeed become the new sexy!
Sherlock's line "Oh I may be on the side of angels, but don't think for one second that I'm one of them." Benedict Cumberbatch went on to play the Angel Islington on the BBC radio drama of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.
In 2012 episode "The Hounds of Baskerville," after Sherlock complains about experiencing emotions, Watson sarcastically calls him "Spock." In the 2013 film Star Trek: Into Darkness, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Khan Noonien Singh, who has several showdowns with Spock.
John's "Holy Mary!" reaction to Molly's dress in "A Scandal in Belgravia", when his wife as of series 3 is named "Mary".
In "The Great Game" Sherlock goes "I am on fire!". A couple of years later, he literally becomes fire.
The finale ending. Both seasons. THEY CANNOT LEAVE US LIKE THIS OH GOD.
The ending to "A Scandal in Belgravia." Irene's dead. No, she's alive. Irene's escaped. She's in love with Sherlock. She's dead without that information. Mycroft confims she's dead...and Sherlock's saved her. HSQ indeed.
The ending to the The Reichenbach Fall. Even when you know it's coming. Especially when you know it's coming. John saw Sherlock fall. He touched his body. How on earth do they come back from that? Possible answer: It helps attempting to fake a death when you have a forensic pathologist who do nearly anything for you.
The entire show, really.
Season 3's finale is probably the greatest one yet. Sherlock leaves by plane after murdering Charles Magnussen, the villain of the season. Cue a fake-out cut to the "credits". But wait! A threatening message spreads through the country! Who could it be for? Who's it from? It's from Moriarty.
Hypocritical Fandom: CBS' Elementary, as announced in January 2012, is a modern day retelling of Sherlock Holmes, except in New York. While there is concern the basic idea is a ripoff of Sherlock, the fanbase has been livid, asking why Americans can't make anything original. Which is ironic, because the very premise of Sherlock is derivative. The books are probably the most influential fictional works in history, which have been adapted into or inspired in whole or in part countless other works, including several successful TV series. Sherlock's main virtue in that regard is that it stayed in England when it modernized, and is based directly on the Doyle canon, instead of just the basic premise with serial numbers filed off.
The main issue seems to be that Elementaryapparently is based off of an American remake of Sherlock that the BBC rejected permission for, hence some of the cause for concern that it will be a knockoff of Sherlock and not a new adaptation of the books.
Idiot Plot: Moriarty's plan in The Reichenbach Fall relies on the police becoming suspicious of Sherlock for a weak reason and Sherlock reacting by acting very suspicious, and it works. However, this is Moriarty — he likely had contingency plans and leverage on relevant parties ready to make it work one way or the other. We also find out in the third series that Sherlock was deliberately playing to Moriarity's plan so that his own and Mycroft's plan to take Moriarity down would work.
Like You Would Really Do It: Sherlock is quickly revealed at the end of the second season to not have died, but to have somehow faked his suicide.
Moriarty, Big Time. He's the mastermind behind all cases Sherlock goes into throughout the series, manages to avoid capture, and personally runs into Sherlock twice without getting captured. Fooling him with a disguise the first time.
He takes it even further in The Reichenbach Fall, turning everyone, up to and including both Holmes brothers into Unwitting Pawns as part of his sadistic plan to absolutely destroy Sherlock. And no matter how far he skips over the Moral Event Horizon one cannot help but applaud (albeit while hiding under the bedsheets).
Mycroft, who not only is the British government, but can fake plane crashes and order assassinations.
Charles Augustus Magnussen runs the entire Western world from one room in his house where he stores the privates information of celebrities and world leaders. The room is just for meditation- in fact he stores all that information in his mind.
In "The Reichenbach Fall", there is a short scene in which Donovan rushes into Lestrade's office to tell him that there's been a break-in. Lestrade, who has his feet up on the desk and is eating a doughnut, simply replies "Not our division." The fandom went nuts with the line.
Moral Event Horizon: Moriarty strapping one of his bombs onto a little boy and forcing him to count down to his own demise. Everything he did in that episode was horrifying, but that moment reveals just how sick a bastard our heroes are dealing with.
In "His Last Vow", Magnussen crosses it by threatening Mary Morstan with blackmail, that would doubtlessly be catastrophic for the Watsons. How bad is this? It's so bad that Sherlock outright murders him, something that he didn't even come close to doing with Moriarty. This is assuming he didn't cross it by driving a man to suicide or trying to burn John Watson alive
Narm/Narm Charm: For some, virtually every word out of Moriarty's mouth in The Great Game and A Scandal in Belgravia. (He seems to have graduated from Cesar Romero to Heath Ledger since.)
Two glorious examples in "His Last Vow": First is Sherlock dramatically crawling up the stairs back to his mind palace complete with infinitely swelling music, second is Magnussen enjoying himself just a little too much while going through the files in his own mind palace.
Older Than They Think: When the series was first announced, there was some minor purist outrage at the very idea of taking Sherlock Holmes out of his Victorian milieu and into the modern day. Both Moffat and Gatiss pointed out that the Basil Rathbone movies, among others, had adapted Holmes' stories to a contemporary setting as well.
Paranoia Fuel: Have you ever taken conventional wisdom as a given, because you heard it in the news or read it in a history book?
Ron the Death Eater: Donovan and Anderson have been hit HARD by this in the aftermath of Reichenbach. It frequently gets uncomfortably sexist in Donovan's case (witness the Edit War over her page on the fan-wiki). Though Anderson seems to have redeemed himself with his Atoner personality in Season 3. Irene gets this too.
Although considering Mycroft is Big Brother (both literally and figuratively), since Lestrade is on the police force, and both are closely tied to Sherlock Holmes, it's not a far reach to assume they do know each other. Besides, when has something like that slowed down fans? After "Baskerville", when it's implied that Mycroft sent Lestrade to Dartmoor to check up on John and Sherlock, the ship has gained even more steam.
Barring that, they might have simply paired them together because they don't share any screen time, as a way to create something new without interfering with the shows already delicate and convoluted web of shipping. Basically a long-term Fanfic Magnet.
Sherlock/Molly, and Sherlock/Moriarty gained massive popularity in the fandom after the Season 3 Premiere
As Sherlock/Molly has become more popular after Series Two, it has had its own run-ins with Sherlock/John fans. Surprisingly, Sherlock/Molly shippers get along fairly well with Sherlock/Irene shippers.
The Johnlock shippers have their own wars with the John/Mary and the John/Mary/Sherlock shippers after season 3.
The Blind Banker. Seems not to even happen in the same time continuum as A Study in Pink or The Great Game- the events of A Study in Pink play a large part in The Great Game but are never mentioned in The Blind Banker. The only carry-on from the Blind Banker is Sarah and the can of spray paint. Plus, no Lestrade, no Mycroft, no Donovan, no Anderson. Sherlock and John play a friendly game of Idiot Ball halfway through, and there's no mention of John's blog. Despite being completely Bad Ass and having an incredible amount of Character Development in "A Study in Pink", John randomly becomes the Butt Monkey, and there's some casual racism to boot. The continuity fail seems to almost imply that Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, who wrote the bookend episodes respectively and who work very closely together, simply left The Blind Banker writer Stephen Thompson out of the creative loop, not discussing or showing him anything from either episode. "It's Sherlock Holmes, and it's in the modern day. You figure out the details."
In The Blind Banker, the villain fires a gun repeatedly in a museum. There's no sound of bullet impacts, and nothing at all gets hit, even when he's firing directly towards Sherlock while he's surrounded by glass cases. While it's not beyond the realm of possibility the bullets missed -everything- that would have broken visibly, it does strain belief and indicate they were probably running around in the real museum just after hours and couldn't move anything around to set up prop cases.
Actually, in the draft of the script, there was a line indicating that the bullets were in fact blanks. The line was removed in the final version, but the possibility remains.
In "A Study in Pink", in a scene while Sherlock is in the foreground in the police station, the room around him goes dark to increase the contrast of the graphic effects playing out showing Sherlock's thought processes while dissecting a clue. When he's finished (twice!), the graphics go away and the room lights up again. But rather than having darkened the scene in post-production, they had literally turned the lights off in the room, so when they come on again, a dozen ceiling florescent bulbs flicker madly to life.
In "His Last Vow", after being shot, Sherlock falls backwards in stylistic slow motion as the room tilts along with him. While otherwise being very well done, in the background, a large flower vase begins to slide across the floor as the room tilts out from under it.
Squick The entire sequence between Charles and Elizabeth Smallwood. He touches her hand, fights her attempts to break away and describes the underage girl her husband exchanged elicit letters with as "delicious," "yummy" and "yum yum." He even licks her face.
The Woobie: Molly. Part of the reason why Watson, Lestrade and Mrs Hudson are so kind to her because they clearly recognise that absolutely nothing ever works out for her. Nothing.
Let's focus on Scandal in the morgue. When Sherlock tells her she didn't have to come in, she says "It's all right, everyone else was busy with Christmas." Apparently, the girl is completely alone as well, which just makes her clinging to Sherlock all the more gut-wrenching.
Plus, her blog which she documents her falling in love with Sherlock to falling in love with Jim to finding out that Jim is Moriarty. Unlike the other characters' blogs, this one ranges into Tear Jerker territory. A fan asked Moffat if anything was going to go right in her life. All he got was a vague "Well…", implying that her Woobie status isn't going anywhere for a while.
Molly falls into this so hard that even Sherlock feels bad for her, after he humiliates her over a present he deduced she meant to give to a boyfriend only to find out that it was her present for him. She tells Sherlock, in the most heartbreaking way possible, that he only ever says nasty things to her. Sherlock just looks horrified, before apologizing and kissing her on the cheek. This is from a guy who describes himself as a "high-functioning sociopath".
Henry. His mother died when he was very young, then he watched his father DIE by the hands of Dr. Franklin, but he was manipulated into thinking it was a monsterous Hound, becoming an orphan from the age of seven, which left HUGE mental scars on him, so much so that everybody takes him as mentally disturbed. And he apparently doesn't have much of a lovelife or any nearby relatives. And what's worse is Dr. Franklin is STILL DOING IT TO HIM until Sherlock and Watson solve the case, and Henry almost commits suicide over it. It's amazing he even survived the episode.. Poor guy...