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.
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.
Awesome Ego: Sherlock himself. Moriarty could count as a villainous example.
Initial reactions to the camp Moriarty seem to range from 'obnoxious voice and looks like a twelve-year old' to 'deliciously creepy re-interpretation similar to the newer versions of the Master and the Joker'
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.
Complete Monster: Moriarty ticks all the boxes with gleeful aplomb. His whole M.O. can be boiled down to him wanting Sherlock to notice him... on the occasions he isn't just incredibly bored with life. As a Foil to Sherlock, he also has the insane genius to pull off such complicated plots as stealing the crown jewels, opening the vault in the Bank of England, and releasing thousands from prison - and then, at his own trial, threatening the jurors via television to let him go free. He has no respect for human life, either, as one of his plans involved kidnapping two children, doing something unknown to make one of them terrified of Sherlock, and then poisoning them with mercury during the ordeal. He's strapped children, senior citizens, and Watson to bombs, murdered said senior citizen (and eleven others) for trying to describe her insane kidnapper to Sherlock. The worst part of his crimes is that the world believes Sherlock is the worse monster, as Moriarty framed Sherlock as a complete fraud of an investigator, pawned off most of his crimes onto Sherlock, and then shot himself to ensure that no one would ever know... and to force Sherlock to kill himself.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 in light of the 2012 allegations about the late entertainer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.)
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). 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.
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 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."
Special Effect Failure: 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.
Every speaking Chinese character in the second episode is one or more of the following: an assassin, a circus artist, a gang member or a smuggler. Except for Soo Lin who's only a former smuggler. And she ends up dead. In fact every ethnicity shown is a stereotype, as the episode opens with Sherlock fighting a living embodiment of an Arabian stereotype, complete with curved sword. A similar stereotype shows up in Belgravia - modern day terrorists so stereotypical that they execute their prisoners with swords.
This is a textbook example of a Setting Update not quite going far enough. This story might have flown at the time the original stories were written, but certainly not now.
Though to be fair, most characters which turn up in the show are either criminals or victims, and if you really pay attention, there are a lot of different ethnicities sneaked into the cast in minor roles. For example Corporal Lyons from The Hound of Baskerville seems to be of Asian descend. And The Blind Banker features with Soo Lin's boss at least one an entirely non-stereotypical ethnic person in a position of authority. Plus, The Blind Banker is actually the only episode which features non-European criminals in the whole series.
Moriarty being changed from English to Irish might count (though to be fair Moriarty is very much an Irish name so the subtext might have been there all along.)
Irene Adler labels herself as "gay", has Les Yay with her bodyguard, but it is her feelings for Sherlock that are ultimately presented as the most genuine. On one hand, she is reduced to a helpless pawn by Mycroft and must be saved by Sherlock from getting her head chopped off. On the other hand, while Sherlock may have bested her in the end, she still managed to beat him twice. That's more than most of his adversaries can say. Also, he apparently had difficulty realizing his interest in her was more than intellectual.
It's worth taking note that before she even met Sherlock, Irene has had affairs with both parties of a married couple.
As referenced in the Irene entry above, what reason was there to introduce presumably-Islamic extremists who nearly chop off Irene's head? An assassination attempt could have been depicted any number of ways that were less... that.
A good amount of people could help but think it was a little messed up that Irene walks in naked on Sherlock to make him uncomfortable, and not in the aroused All Men Are Perverts way, drugs and attacks him (although the attack wasn't particularly life threatening), a very mild form of Double Standard Rape: Female on Male. But then there's the fact that after Sherlock went loopy from the drugs and unconscious, Lestrade and others filmed him because they thought it was funny. Completely ignoring the fact that they had no idea what she gave him and it could have had serious ramifications This is all Played for Laughs, basically. This would be VERY different if the genders were reversed.
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 her 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...