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Sherlock is a high-functioning sociopath. But that doesn't mean that he has no heart.

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Series One

     A Study in Pink
The start of one of the most iconic friendships in fiction.
  • When Mike Stamford sees 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 continues to act rather cold during their conversation. Instead, Mike is immediately willing to help John 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, and he is one of the few people who seem to honestly get along with Sherlock. Though he doesn't consider Mike a "friend", Sherlock still talks to him about very personal problems, such as his troubles to find a flatmate who can put up with his moods and general wackiness, which is something Sherlock—especially pre-Character Development—usually does not do.
    • When Sherlock begins on John 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 love it.
  • When John offers Sherlock the use of his phone in the lab, Sherlock looks taken aback that a stranger would do him a favour for no real reason, and awkwardly thanks him.
    • 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.
  • Sherlock, the so-called high functioning sociopath, 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 
    • Mrs Hudson addresses John as "Dr Watson" on first meeting, but starts addressing him as "dear" after knowing him for less than five minutes. 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.
  • 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. 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 with his leg. Unlike the well-meaning Mrs Hudson (who assumed John needed to rest simply from getting up the stairs) and the 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 Sherlock and John are viewing 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, 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.
  • 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. 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'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 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 accepted as a guest.
  • 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 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.
  • 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. 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. John instead 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.
    • And John doesn't tell Sherlock that he actually got a major detail wrong 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; his "brother" Harry is a girl.
  • Sherlock calls John a "war hero", when the emotionally neutral term is "veteran". It's a staggering compliment to John, especially when Sherlock later cracks a joke about the invasion of Afghanistan being "ridiculous".
  • When Sherlock casually exposes Anderson and Donovan's affair, John seems pleased that Sherlock scored points off both Anderson and Donovan. Even at this point, John does not appreciate the police bullying or insulting Sherlock.
  • Sherlock's determination to not exclude John from helping him with the case; 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 interacts with John for the first time:
      Lestrade: Who's this?
      Sherlock He's with me.
      Lestrade: Yeah, but who is he?
      Sherlock: I said he's with me.
    • And after witnessing Sherlock's fierce defence of John, Lestrade doesn't kicking up much of a fuss at Sherlock bringing a 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.
  • 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 him of Sherlock's activities. The moment seems sinister when John thinks that the man is some sort of criminal, but becomes a more touching when John learns that he is in fact Sherlock's older brother Mycroft; despite their clearly factitious relationship, Mycroft does care about his brother and worries about him running around the city solving murders enough to have someone spy on Sherlock for him.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • As soon as Sherlock and John walk into the restaurant, the owner, 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. He also brushes off Sherlock's snarking at him and treats him incredibly kindly, as oppose to Lestrade tolerating Sherlock with gritted teeth, Donovan calling him a freak, and Mycroft saying the closest thing to a friend Sherlock is capable of having is an enemy. 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 ignores him.
    • Also adorable is 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.
    • Sherlock even knows the waiter at the door by his fist name, hinting that Sherlock frequents this place often. Between Angelo and Mrs. Hudson it seems he keeps in touch with many of his clients even after the case is over.
  • John initiating a conversation about relationships with Sherlock. 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.
  • Sherlock, misinterpreting John's intentions, is surprisingly extremely delicate about turning him down. The conversation at hand seems to be over before Sherlock makes a point of starting it up again with "Umm, John..." We see later in A Scandal 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.
  • This:
    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.
  • 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. Sherlock could have easily just kept focusing on the task at hand, but he's prepared to wait for John and encourage him to realise how much he's capable of.
    • Also during the chase, John apologizing for the many things Sherlock does in his haste, such as running in front of a car and knocking a man over. It's small but sweet considering the amount of time they've known each other.
  • 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 camaraderie. 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 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 neither here nor there to Sherlock.
  • In the beginning, both Sherlock and John seem incapable of 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. 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. In fact, Sherlock is having so much fun that at first he totally misses the drugs bust going on upstairs.
  • 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 to say it out loud.
    • And John 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 knows is a user who probably has drugs on the premises. He does anyway.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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. Sherlock now wants John to actually like him, and for John to think he's not just a clever person but a decent person.
  • The apologetic look on Sherlock's face after John 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...
  • 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. Not only does Sherlock choose to protect John by claiming he had no idea who killed the cabbie, he offers to make himself an accessory by helping with the cover up.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Despite the fact that it's very late at night, 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 all was fine. 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.
  • 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. This is the folder image.

     The Blind Banker 
  • At the beginning of A Study in Pink, John seems 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 John needs a break from it.
  • It's a small thing, but when John has to reluctantly ask Sherlock for cash, Sherlock responds instantly with "take my card." Giving a friend unrestricted access to your bank account 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.
  • The upset 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. 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.
  • When John leads Sherlock to the note written in the code and finds it painted over. The very first thing Sherlock did was look around to see if the person who painted over it was still around. It didn't even cross his mind that John might have been making it up.
  • In the middle of being strangled at Soo Lin's flat, Sherlock tries several times to gasp out for John. It's either a warning or a call for help, either of which are heartwarming.
  • 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 safe.
  • Ho Yay implications aside, this conversation really is quite adorable in its own right:
    Sherlock: We're going out tonight.
    John: Actually, I can't. I've got a date.
    Sherlock: What?
    John: It's where two people who like each other go out and have fun.
    Sherlock: That's what I was suggesting.
    • 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.
  • 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 "they have nothing in that fridge that's fit for human consumption" and made to cover John's social embarrassment. 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."
  • 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 (until she ends up helping him make a breakthrough in the case, anyway).
    • 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.
  • Sherlock initially declines Sebastian's 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, and it's even possible that Sebastian is writing the cheque out in John's name. While John no doubt did sensible things with the money, 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.
  • 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.
  • When 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 
  • 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."
    • 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 directly out of the books, his praise of "really good" and "you're in sparkling form" seems genuine.
    • 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.
  • 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 
  • 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 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. 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.
  • When John sees news of the explosion at Baker Street on the TV at Sarah's and rushes there, 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.
    • The look on John's face when he sees that Sherlock is okay after he'd heard Baker Street had been bombed.
  • 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."
    • 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 get to saying he's sorry.
  • 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, which is something Sherlock 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; 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.
  • John's support of Sherlock when he's on the phone to the hostages. When the young man in Piccadilly Circus calls Sherlock while he's at the police station, Sherlock 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.
    • 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, even when Sherlock points out that the whole point of these puzzles is that he has to get the right answer, John can be seen working things out for Sherlock during the countdown.
  • In the Connie Prince case, John, thinking he has a lead, calls Sherlock and orders him to get himself over to the Prince place quickly. 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.
  • After the old lady is blown up 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 about the hostages, 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.
    • This is later reinforced with Sherlock's confrontation with Moriarty. When Moriarty talks about how he's been enjoying "their little game", Sherlock replies, a dead-serious look on his face, with "People have died." No matter how much he would like to deny it, Sherlock does indeed possess a sense of morality, which is what makes him different from Moriarty.
  • 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.
  • 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, but John doesn't want to be the hero, and he doesn't care if Sherlock doesn't praise him or even credit him, he really does just want to help.
  • 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, 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 perfectly the first time, which leads to him launching into his rundown on why he thinks Jim is gay.
  • It's hard to imagine anyone being more gentle or kind than John is with West's fiancée when he goes to interview her. He's dealt with other grieving family and friends in the episode and used diplomacy and tact, but there's a difference between them and this girl — not only has she lost her fiancé, but the government thinks he was a traitor. He brings this up when he has too 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.
  • This line, from one of the most coldly analytical, scientific-minded men in Britain, looking up at the stars:
    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.
  • Shortly after the resolution of the Andrew West Case, Sherlock is watching trashy telly and John is 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.
  • Just before John leaves Sherlock watching telly to go to Sarah's, he pauses to sort out what Sherlock is going to do when 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.
  • 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 Moriarty'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, 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 if he's "all right" and waits for John to nod before holding the memory stick out to Moriarty.
  • John grabbing hold of Moriarty, ready to risk his life to take down the guy in order to save Sherlock.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Sherlock repays the sentiment by tearing off John's bomb-rigged jacket as soon as Moriarty is gone, and stuttering so much to thank him that he begins rubbing his head with a loaded gun.
      Sherlock: That — uh — thing that you did — that you offered to do — that was — um...good.
    • 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 really 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?"
  • 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.

Series Two

     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 and not punch Sherlock in the face. He's not seen again until the Christmas party at 221b where he's there purely as a guest with the rest of their 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. Sherlock had even asked for Lestrade's least irritating officers, but Lestrade decided to spare Sherlock the frustration and come by himself.
    • Also, when Sherlock gives a vague answer about how many times the CIA agent "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.
  • When John arrives at Buckingham Palace to find Sherlock sulking on the sofa wrapped only in a sheet, there's no sign of exasperation, annoyance or embarrassment on John's part; he has accepted that Sherlock 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 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".
    • When Mycroft trolls Sherlock 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.
    • Mycroft also 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 
    Sherlock: And there is our whole childhood in a nutshell.
  • Mycroft's friend at Buckingham Palace doesn't treat John as Sherlock's less important buddy or assistant, he even introduces himself to John first, simply because he recognises John from "the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers" and has great respect for him.
  • Irene deducing that not only was John the one who hit Sherlock, 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.
  • Sherlock's panic when some armed agents break into Adler's house and threaten to execute John if he doesn't come up with Irene's safe combination on a count of three.
    • Irene trying to help Sherlock out by insisting he doesn'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 may lack integrity in a lot of ways, but she's not a monster.
  • After a drugged Sherlock 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 Sherlock back into bed, but he does say he'll be "next door" if Sherlock needs him. Except, John's bedroom is upstairs and the living room is two rooms away. For the time being, John was apparently hanging out in the kitchen, on his own, so that, if Sherlock needed him or called out, he'd hear it straight away and be on hand.
    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.
    • 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.
    • Sherlock's earlier reading of John had revealed 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) 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. And John chose to prioritise Sherlock's wellbeing over all of the above.
    • John also admits that Lestrade helped him get Sherlock to the flat, even if he was filming the process on his phone. 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.
  • Sherlock is obviously very disturbed when he realises 221B has been broken into, especially when he sees the hints that Mrs. Hudson is in trouble. This then upgrades into Tranquil Fury once he looks at her beaten state with his Sherlock Scan. Sherlock maintains a stoic attitude, but during this scene, we get to look inside his head and, with him glancing at her abuser, we see the abuser's body getting littered with the subtitles from the Sherlock Scan, but all listing the various body parts, organs and blood vessels Sherlock can use to inflict terrible pain upon the man.
    • And after ensuring her safety with John, Sherlock goes about just that. Even listing the injuries before he even inflicts them. The matter is clear: "do not hurt the people Sherlock cares about, or you will see the darker uses of his abilities."
      Sherlock: [into phone] Lestrade? We've had a break-in at Baker Street. Send your least irritating officers and an ambulance... Oh, no, no, no, no, no, we're fine. No, it's the burglar. He's got himself rather badly injured.
      Attacker: [tied up but otherwise unharmed]
      Sherlock: Oh, a few broken ribs, fractured skull, suspected punctured lung. [Attacker switches from confused to looking worried] He fell out of a window. [cut to Mrs Hudson and John hearing someone go through a window after some time]
    • Despite his offputting general personality, whenever we see Sherlock interact with victims or people who've been traumatized in some way, he's gentle and kind to them (untying Sarah after her near-execution in The Blind Banker, talking to the little girl—before she starts screaming and he has to be pulled away—in The Reichenbach Fall, from the same episode speaking to the dorm matron after he apologizes for yelling at her out of necessity). But it's combined with his affection for Mrs. Hudson here. He gently touches her to examine her, serious concern mixed with his Tranquil Fury, and then after incapacitating the mook immediately rushes straight to her to console her—before even checking that the man is actually unconscious.
  • 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 the police 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.
    • Sherlock tells John to "take [Mrs. Hudson] down stairs... and look after her". There is a major shift in tone in his voice between the instructions; he's too apoplectically furious to show the emotion, but he does want Mrs. Hudson well cared for.
    • 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 never uses those decisive tones with Sherlock or argues the point like that.
  • When it's revealed that Mrs. Hudson was faking a lot of her distress over being held hostage by the CIAnote , 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. He just looks slightly baffled, but otherwise just incredibly relieved that she's more okay than he'd first thought.
  • Also, 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.
    Mrs Hudson: You left it in the pocket of your second-best dressing gown, you clot.
    • Doubly heartwarming on Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson's relationship after Sherlock immediately brushes off John's suggestion that she leave for a while, and actually shames 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.
      Sherlock: Mrs. Hudson? Leave Baker Street? England would fall.
  • Sherlock playing his violin at the Christmas party, with everyone truly listening to him perform and genuinely applauding him when he's finished; Lestrade claps, John calls him "marvellous" and Mrs. Hudson is beaming.
  • When Sherlock accidentally humiliates Molly and she tearfully calls Sherlock out for his casual heartlessness, What does Sherlock do? He hives her an incredibly heartfelt and genuine apology and a kiss on the cheek.
    • The way he humiliated Molly was using his Sherlock Scan on her and proclaiming all the tell-tale signs that she has a new boyfriend that she's desperately trying to impress...only to find out, from the present she's brought, that he misread all of those signs and it was actually him that she was trying to impress. The My God, What Have I Done? reaction from him is immediate.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • By Christmastime, John comments that he's heard Sherlock receive 57 texts from Irene. On New Year's Eve, when he sees Irene again, 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 Irene, 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.
    • 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 with Mycroft. He then gently asks Sherlock if he's okay, only for Sherlock to say he's "fine" and close the door in his face.
    • It's also 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.
    • 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 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."
  • Mycroft gives Sherlock a cigarette after he identifies the body in the morgue as Irene Adler. There's nothing overtly sentimental about the scene, but it's still obvious that Mycroft is trying to comfort Sherlock.
    Sherlock: Do you think there's something wrong with us?
  • 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.
    Sherlock: Happy New Year, John.
  • Both Sherlock and John immediately calling out Mycroft for telling Mrs Hudson to "shut up." Mycroft is genuinely taken aback- as if Sherlock and John were going to think that this was perfectly all right. Mrs Hudson pulls him up on it, when she generally lets Sherlock walk all over her she demands an apology from Mycroft but doesn't even react to Sherlock's "but do, in fact, shut up." Because she knows 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 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.
    • Something else is the tone. Mycroft is very snide when he tells Mrs. Hudson to shut up while Sherlock sounds rather casual. It comes off as Mycroft insulting Mrs. Hudson, while Sherlock is simply telling her to stop talking.
  • 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 emotional he can barely get the words out:
    Irene: It's for his own safety.
    John: So is 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''.
    • 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.
  • After Irene starts blackmailing the Holmes brothers, Mycroft 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 naïve 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 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.
    • 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.
    • John was in Afghanistan. He may not be Irene's biggest fan, but he likely has at least very close observational experience with the kind of "executions" performed by jihadi terrorists. Mycroft's coolly academic, John knows viscerally what that kind of execution would be like (and given Irene's a woman, the kind of other tortures she could have been subjected to first) and has the kind of human, empathic reaction someone with firsthand experience would.
  • 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. Then Sherlock says "please" and John simply cannot refuse him.
  • Mycroft complementing Sherlock heart and then telling John that Sherlock wanted to be a pirate growing up. Even the Iceman knows that Sherlock is a genuinely good person.

     The Hounds of Baskerville 
  • 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.
  • When Sherlock upsets Mrs Hudson, 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, 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, but he's not going to let Sherlock use his lack of cigarettes as an excuse to upset Mrs Hudson.
  • 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. However, we later see that John is even more incredulous and sceptical than Sherlock is, and doesn't for a second believe there's "some kind of monster" out on the moors. But, he hears out Henry's frankly bizarre tale without dismissing him as a liar or mentally unstable.
  • 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 a 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 collecting data; He's constantly writing things down, photographing them on his phone, and he's thorough and organised.
  • 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.
  • After John pulls rank at the Baskerville base, Sherlock gives him a sly, sideways look of impressed amusement. Sherlock also asks John if he enjoyed pulling rank, which John cheekily says he did.
    • Later, the only thing Sherlock says about the incident is "Nice touch." This passes for a massive compliment, 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.
  • John and Lestrade's exchange their first names as a greeting, showing that, although they met through Sherlock, the two have developed a friendship outside of him, so much so that John's on a first-name basis with Lestrade, and Sherlock isn't.
  • When Lestrade shows up in Dartmoor, Sherlock is outrageously rude to him, while John goes out of his way to give him something to do that neither John nor Sherlock are qualified for — interrogating the locals —, and later takes Lestrade aside to assure him that, deep down, Sherlock is actually pleased that he's there.
  • When Lestrade is told by the innkeepers that their dog was "just a joke" on Henry, he's disgusted.
    Lestrade:"Hilarious. You've nearly driven a man out of his mind!"
  • 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. 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, and the two subtly imply they would be there for him in those events.
  • 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. Sherlock's terse response; telling John he did "excellent." 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."
  • 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.
    • Sherlock telling John that he doesn't have friends, only one friend. Then spending the rest of the episode trying to apologies for his harsh words and make it up to him.
  • Despite the fact that they'd just had an argument, Sherlock texts John for help with the case, and John responds to the text instantly, rather than ignoring the text entirely and leaving Sherlock to do his own investigating.
    • 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. It seems he 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, he can still have a drink with a nice-looking woman instead of spending the evening being snapped at by Sherlock.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • After Sherlock gives him coffee, unknowingly to him to see if he's poisoning him with hallucinogens John continues to drink it, even though it tastes revolting to him. And he goes out of his way to praise it for Sherlock's sake.
  • 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.
  • 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 towards her daughter. He's the only character to reference the fact that the outcome of the Bluebell story is some poor little girl lost her pet rabbit and 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.
  • 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 his name and John instantly replies that he's on it.
  • 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.
    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.
  • A subtle one, but when Sherlock is in Sergeant Barrowman's office trying to work out his computer password, he says his password won't be about his children because this is work-related and he's proud of his job, but Barrowman still has one of his children's pictures pinned to the wall, which reads "For Daddy".
  • 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, the first person the distressed, crying woman can think to contact isn't the constabulary, it's John Watson.
  • Sherlock trying to talk Henry down at Dewer's Hollow. The understanding he has of human emotions, the ability to at least pretend to understand about being a vulnerable child. How he admits that he was just as fallible and susceptible as Henry was, and the strong implication that terror is terror and having a superior intellect doesn't make you any less scared than the next guy. He succeeds in stopping Henry from killing himself.
  • When the hound turns up in the Hollow, 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 or sees it as. Even though what Henry thinks he's seeing, and his mental health, are both completely irrelevant to solving the case, Sherlock still tries to reassure him there's no danger.
  • The entire episode is a lot more heartwarming after watching The Final Problem. Sherlock and Henry are incredibly similar, both rewrote their memories to rationalize the death of someone they love to make it easier to cope with. Sherlock obviously doesnt know this as hes trying to help Henry, but its still there, deep inside, possibly motivating Sherlock to make sure at least one of them gets the help they need.

    The Reichenbach Fall 
  • The scene in which Lestrade presents the deerstalker gag gift to Sherlock. 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 down with some devastating personal remarks. Even though he's aware that Donovan and Anderson are laughing at him.
    • John helpfully points out that Lestrade's public remark about Sherlock's "customary diplomacy and tact" was sarcasm, which Sherlock already understands.
  • John's support of Sherlock during Moriarty's trial.
    • 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 about himself, putting Sherlock's interests before his own, even taking 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.
    • Furthermore, going to Moriarty's trial means John will have to come face-to-face with the man who tried to kill him in one of the most horrible ways possible; He strapped him with enough Semtex to "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.
    • And 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.
  • John's reaction to Mycroft asking him to watch out for Sherlock "if it's not too much trouble." He's been hostile to Mycroft throughout their entire conversation, but here he just looks wry, nods very slightly, and leaves. Before closing the door behind him, he actually smiles at Mycroft.
  • 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. 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.
  • At the boarding school, Lestrade points out Miss Mackenzie as the housemistress, and tells Sherlock to "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 facial expression are surprisingly gentle. And then he announces "Miss Mackenzie will need to breathe into a bag now", showing that 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.
  • Sherlock's efforts to find the children. We've seen him bribe the Homeless Network before, but 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.
  • Molly's first speech to Sherlock in the lab, where she earnestly speaks her heart. 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" and after she points out she broke up with him 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 and then ending it when it wasn't working has any connection at all with the kidnapping of two kids. It's quite possibly the cruelest thing he's ever said to her. And she helps him anyway.
    Molly: You look sad. When you think [John] can't see you.
    • Followed by the surprised look of plain disagreement on Sherlock's face when Molly initially tells him she "doesn't count." He may be an asshole, but he wouldn't be there seeking her help if he thought she was as insignificant as she believes herself to be.
  • When Sherlock comes up with the location of the kidnapped children, Lestrade jumps up and immediately orders everyone to get moving. Though 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.
  • When he goes to question Claudette, the kidnapped little girl, Sherlock makes a 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.''
  • After Claudette starts screaming in fear of Sherlock, Lestrade makes every excuse under the sun for it in defence of his friend.
    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]
  • When Lestrade 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.
    • And when Lestrade does ask Sherlock to come down to the station, he comments that he "bets it was Sally Donovan." But even though Donovan has been everything but 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 having a vendetta against him. He simply says that Moriarty is "smart".
  • When 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 thar 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.
  • 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.
  • John's steadfast defence of Sherlock when the police arrive.
    John: Got a warrant? Have you?
    • 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. 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 the fact that after Sherlock is arrested and the superintendent comes up and starts insulting Sherlock, John loses it and punches the superintendent of Scotland Yard, earning himself an arrest, even though Sherlock wasn't there to hear the superintendent. Also doubles as a 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.
  • Lestrade's reaction to Sherlock and John escaping.
    • 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.
  • Kitty Riley's devotion to "Richard Brook" is misguided, but when the two men she believes to be criminals have broken into her house to press her into give away her source, she refuses to give anything away. When "Richard" arrives, her primary concern is for his safety, and she even attempts to physically protect him from Sherlock.
  • After John finds out Mycroft sold out Sherlock to get the computer code from Moriarty, Mycroft gives him a sincere apology.
    Mycroft: John... I'm sorry. Tell him, would you?
  • John rushing out to be with Mrs Hudson, after learning that she has apparently been shot. He's extremely upset, so much so that he misses 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 he plain doesn't care.
  • In the scene where Sherlock asks for Molly's help, he says he thinks he's going to die, and Molly, after some brief propping, asks "What do you need?" without the need for a further explanation.
  • Sherlock telling Molly that she's wrong when she says she doesn't count. Also, that he has always trusted her.
    Molly: What do you need?
    Sherlock: If I wasn't everything that you think I am, everything that I think I am...would you still want to help me?
    Molly: What do you need?
    Sherlock: ...You.

Sherlock's "Note"

  • A man's weak point should not normally be considered as a heartwarming, but in this case, it is; Sherlock, a genius who does not need anything from anyone and who is apparently very arrogant and self-centeric to the point that he solves crimes for fun, will give up his life in order to keep his friends away from harm.
  • 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; Sherlock doesn't like talking on the phone and much prefers to text. But, instead of just texting "Goodbye, John." or leaving a comment on John's blog, but, feeling terrified and completely alone, wanted to talk to his best friend one last time, even though he spends most of the phone conversation trying to convince John he's a fraud in order to complete Moriarty's story.
  • The phone call itself.
    Sherlock: I'm a fake.
    John: Sherlock.
    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.
    John: You could.
    • 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.
  • Sherlock committing "suicide" to save the lives of his three friends. 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.

Sherlock's Grave

  • John calling Sherlock "the best man [that he's ever known]". 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?"
  • 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.

Series Three

     Many Happy Returns 
  • Despite their former enmity, Anderson has spent the past few years trying to find proof that Sherlock is alive, and even trying to 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.
  • Inspector Prakesh of New Delhi wants Sherlock to take credit for a case he solved, and even addresses him "friend".

     The Empty Hearse 
  • Sherlock spends the entire episode trying to be more of a human being, even without John there to tell him how, though he doesn't always succeed, as he still doesn't understand why people react and feel the way they do about him faking his death, but he at least tries to demonstrate empathy when he sees the plight of others. It gives him insight about the isolation of the hat owner, something Mycroft didn't pick up on.
  • 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 instead respects how important he is to John.
    • The first scene 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 friend and then appears to hold his hand.
    • John awkwardly trying to propose to Mary in the restaurant.
      John: You're the best... [pauses] ... yeah. You're the best thing that could've happened to me.
      Mary: I agree.
      John: Sorry?
      Mary: I agree, I'm the best thing that could've happened to you.
    • And then John's more light-hearted proposal while Mary tells him to try to rec-connect with Sherlock.
      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.
  • Mycroft rescuing Sherlock from a cell in Serbia. Though Sherlock thinks his brother enjoyed seeing him beat up, Mycroft still personally came 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, after brushing off what information Mycroft is trying to tell him about the terrorist plot, is how John is doing and making plans to see him again. There is also something sadly cute about Sherlock's naïve expectation that his best friend will be so happy that he's alive.
    Sherlock: I think I'll surprise John. He'll be delighted!
    • 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 cares about him too.
  • Mary immediately gets on well with Sherlock, and doesn't hesitate to encourage John to go hang out with him again.
    • Sherlock barges his way back into John's life right in the middle of what is pretty obviously a marriage proposal to her, enraging John enough 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 recognize that he really is sorry for upsetting John. And when she sees John is shaving off his moustache 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 understand his relationship with Sherlock.
    • When Mary figures out that someone was sending her threatening messages about John, she goes straight to Sherlock instead of the police.
  • Lestrade giving Sherlock a hug when he reveals he's alive to him. Though at first, especially considering John's reaction, his sharp indrawn breath seems to indicate that he's coming in for a punch... And then the hug, instead.
    • As opposed to John, who repeatedly failed to recognise Sherlock when he was standing right in front of him, Lestrade recognised Sherlock by briefly hearing his voice, and 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.
    • Plus the fact that Lestrade immediately recognized Sherlock's voice after not having heard it for two years.
  • Sherlock asking Molly to help him solve a crime, for no reason other than to spend time with her and enjoy the company of a friend.
    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.
  • Sherlock 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 turns to scold him with genuine anger.
  • In a show of brotherly affection, Sherlock and Mycroft, being less tense, play a game of Operation and swap childhood stories. Sherlock even starts to hint that Mycroft is lonely and should get a friend like he did.
    • 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, Sherlock 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 yet.
  • Sherlock's parents come to visit him after he announces his faked death to the public, for no other reason than they wanted to catch up with him. Sherlock even promise them that he'll get in touch more often as he kicks them out. They are even played by the real life mother and father of Benedict Cumberbatch.
    • It is mentioned that Mycroft promised to take his parents to a matinee of Les Misérables and, even though he describes it as pain and horror and abjectly begs Sherlock to take over, he still goes through with his promise, instead of making an excuse of being busy or refusing to take them at all.
  • Sherlock's reaction when he finds out John has been kidnapped and his determination to rescue him. He literally drops everything to rush out.
  • When explaining how he faked his death to him, Sherlock completely absolves Anderson of the guilt he felt over his "death", saying he was right all along. And when Anderson starts sobbing, Sherlock awkwardly pats his shoulder in an attempt at comforting him.
    • Anderson thinks he's found an inconsistency in Sherlock's account of how he survived the fall, but his skepticism only lasts for a moment before he dissolves into throes of joyous laughter, falling onto the floor and wiping his evidence off the wall. He's just that happy Sherlock's still alive.
  • One line from John. "Of course I forgive you." Sherlock's face really says it all.
  • When Mary gives Sherlock a good-natured jab about his interrupting her first proposal, Sherlock, who is pouring champagne gives her the most adorable, shamefaced, affectionate smile.
    • John tells Sherlock 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 fianc&eacute 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.
  • 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.
    • 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, because he no longer cares how the hat makes him look, his friends will love him regardless.

     The Sign of Three 
  • 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.
    • The skill and effort that Sherlock puts into his best man duties are ridiculously heartwarming: He 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, prevented the murder of a guest, and delivered the happy news that Mary was pregnant. He was a best man worthy of the name, despite all of his natural limitations.
  • 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. 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 he's weak, is such progress for him and his concern is very sweet.
  • John must have meant a great deal to Sholto in return: its mentioned that Sholto rarely leaves his house, he's disfigured with only 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.
    • 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 even showcases that John doesn't even know where Sholto lives. 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 when everyone thought it would be a disaster, that inspires them to step up and be worthy of it.
    • Mary's casual mentions 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 relationship with John and Mary's young pageboy, Archie, who he successfully gets to go through with his ceremonial duties after the kid originally refused. Not only did Archie do them well enough for Sherlock to compliment him on it, but the boy just adores Sherlock, throwing himself at him and clinging to his waist after the ceremony.
    • How Sherlock convinced Archie to go through with the ceremony is quite charming; He talks to Archie like he was an equal 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 young Archie.
    • The kid was also eager to help solve the case, and Sherlock allowed him to give his opinion.
  • Sherlock's repeated assertions that John's role in their adventures are just as remarkable as his own and more noble: Sherlock may solve murders for fun, but, on many more occasions, John has saved people's lives out of moral obligation.
    • Also, his choice of stories to tell during his speech. He chooses two cases that he couldn't solve. Beforehand, 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, this 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.
  • Sherlock manages to befriend a bridesmaid named Janine, 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.
  • Sherlock meets up with David, an old flame of Mary's, ostensibly to brief him on his duties as usher. Instead he starts Perp Sweating the guy, calling him out on his "subtle" attempts to get back together with her after the breakup, and warning him to keep his distance from her and John in the future. He's not going to let anything ruin the wedding or John and Mary's married life.

Episode proper

  • Sally Donovan is 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 and stop him kicking his car tyres in a rage.
  • When Sherlock texts him for help, Lestrade 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.
  • The relationship between John and Mary showcased in the scene where Sherlock is fretting over table napkins and John is barely listening and searching for cases on his phone (because Mary asked him to, as well as because wedding planning bores him.) When Mary discovers John's cousin hates her, she doesn't seem offended, just surprised. She then checks over her shoulder to see that John isn't paying attention before lowering her voice and asking Sherlock "Who else hates me?" She knows John, who is so protective of people he loves, would probably go ballistic if he found out there was an entire list worth of wedding guests who hate his bride-to-be, even if Mary doesn't care what they think.
    • And the fact that Sherlock wrote up the list beforehand means he anticipated her asking. He could have remembered it, if it was just for his benefit. He wrote it down, having recognized that Mary would want to know, and that saying it out-loud might hurt John's feelings.
  • 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!
  • When he's uncomfortable at the wedding reception, Sherlock calls Mycroft, and again tries to convince him to come to the wedding.
  • 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's practically stuttering, completely taken off-guard.
    John: I want to be up there with the two people that I love, and care about, most in the world.
    Sherlock: [still oblivious] Yes.
    John: So Mary Morstan...
    Sherlock: Yes.
    John: And...
    John: [exasperated]
    Sherlock: So, in fact, y-you mean... I'm your... best—
    John: Man.
    Sherlock: Friend?
    John: Yeah, of course you are. Of course you're my best friend.
  • When Sherlock notices that Mary's ex-boyfriend still loves her, he makes an implied threat that he would be watching him closely should the man try and ruin Mary's relationship with John.
  • Not only does it actually occur to Sherlock to ask after Molly's fiancé, 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.
  • It's small, but during the charades game when John asks for a hint about what woman he is, asking if he's a "pretty" woman, Sherlock tells him that beauty is nothing but a construct informed by childhood experiences and role models. Sherlock may be full of himself, but he's incredibly non-judgmental. Petty qualities that ordinary people pay attention to — like looks — don't even matter to him.
  • During a 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, but one of the clues Sherlock is sure applies to John? Clever.
  • Sherlock's best man speech.
    "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 didnt understand I was being asked to be best man it is because I 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.
      • Also an awesome moment for Sherlock. This is a self-identified sociopath- who is also probably a high-functioning autistic from what the writers have indicated- bringing a ENTIRE room to tears of joy through a single speech. It showcases how far Sherlock has come since the very first episode, and how much his friends mean to him at this point.
    • The fact that Sherlock uses what are almost certainly the titles of John's blog entries to allude to the cases, considering how dismissive he was of them at the beginning.
  • 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.
  • When Sherlock is in his mind palace, he sees Mycroft goading him to find the logical answer. In the end, he rejects Mycroft and uses John to guide him.
  • 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: Well, go on. Solve the case and he'll open the door, just like he said.
    Sherlock: What are you talking about? What is she talking about? Control your wife.
    John: She's right.
    Sherlock: Oh, YOU'VE changed.
    John: No, she is. Shut up! You are not a puzzle solver, Sherlock. You never have been. You're a drama queen! Now, there is a man in there who is about to die, "the game is on", SOLVE IT!
  • 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!
  • 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 cares for Sherlock.
  • Sherlock's "first and last vow":
    Sherlock: Mary and John. Whatever it takes, whatever happens, from now on I swear I will always be there. Always. For all three of you.
    • When Sherlock reveals that Mary is pregnant, she and John freak out, and Sherlock 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.

     His Last Vow 
  • John and Mary are 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, but Mary is wonderfully sympathetic. Then both of them go to a smack den to retrieve the neighbour's son, 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, though admittedly one of them had been injured by John.
  • John turning Papa Wolf on Sherlock when Molly confirms that he's been taking drugs. And then Mycroft shows his Big Brother Instinct by turning up at Sherlock's flat when John calls to tell him about the relapse.
    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. 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.
  • When Anderson is conducting the Drug Raid on Sherlock's apartment, unlike when he did it to tick off Sherlock in A Study in Pink, this time he is doing it because he wants to help Sherlock if he does have a drug problem.
  • 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.
  • When 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; 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.
  • 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 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.
  • John wonders who Sherlock Holmes would bother going on the run to protect. He sits down to ponder this, and realizes that his chair has rematerialized. It slowly dawns on him that he's just answered his question.
  • Sherlock inviting John and Mary to his parents house on Christmas. Though he and Mycroft complain about their parents constantly, when Mary and John's relationship is in trouble Sherlock brings them to his parents house. Sherlock views his parents as the prime example of a happy marriage, and a good influence on the struggling couple. This is extremely impressive considering Sherlock's usual disdain for marriage in general. If the Christmas party was just a ploy to get his brother's computer he wouldn't have invited Mary. He wasn't obligated to invite her, she had just shot him after all. With all the irritation he let's out in the part of his home life he still sees his parents as a perfect couple. And of course he's right, even Mary and John agree that the Holmeses helped in their recovery.
  • Mrs. Holmes was a brilliant career mathematician, but she gave it all up to raise her family and she doesn't regret any of it.
  • 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...
  • Mycroft: "Also, your loss would break my heart." This is a man who makes no secret of his and Sherlock's mutual dislike for each other, seems to have even less empathy in general than Sherlock does, and apparently treated him like crap growing up. So you wouldn't be blamed for wondering if he's being sincere or not. But then, not long later, Magnussen identifies Mycroft's pressure point as being Sherlock. And it's the only one he mentions.
  • When Mycroft is in the helicopter, we go from Sherlock with his hands up to Mycroft's point of view—which shows a little boy with tearstreaked cheeks, looking desperately up to his brother. No matter how much he tries to hide it, no matter how much they argue, Mycroft will never stop seeing Sherlock as his baby brother.
  • 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.
  • 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 , 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, scared out of her mind, 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.
  • Before going into exile, Sherlock gives John his full name, "William Sherlock Scott Holmes", just in case John and Mary were "looking for baby names."
  • Doubles as Fridge Horror, because it's completely an act, but Sherlock's expression when "proposing" to Janine via security camera is absolutely bursting of love and happiness.

2016 New Year's Special

     The Abominable Bride 
  • Victorian!Watson is undeniably a case of Deliberate Values Dissonance in regards to women. Yet, despite realising Victorian!Hooper is pretending to be a man in order to work an exclusively male job, he never tries to expose her. In fact, it's only revealed he knows after she insults both him and Victorian!Holmes. He waits until no one else is around, makes a pointed comment to let her know he knows, and literally tips his hat to her. There's definitely some bite to the gesture, but there was some genuine respect in it, too.
  • How did Sherlock help immerse himself in his Victorian mind palace? He read the entry on John's blog telling the story of how they first met. This was after he thought he had just said goodbye to his best friend for the last time.
  • Mycroft's concern for Sherlock throughout the entire present-day sequences. There's nothing snarky or mean-spirited about it. Their conversation on the plane, when Mycroft tells Sherlock that he is always there for him, is a rare moment of genuine concern from a big brother who fears that his little brother is putting himself in danger.
    • The fact that Mycroft makes Sherlock keeps lists of the drugs he uses, and that Sherlock does it.
    • Mycroft asking for John to look after his little brother, complete with a soft-spoken "please".
  • The fact that Victorian!Holmes, who's modern counterpart usually has a difficult time connecting with and understanding women, sympathizes heavily with the with the women in the secret organisation, highlighting their long-present struggles as he gives his exposition speech and telling Victorian!Watson that "this is a war [they i.e. men] must lose".
    • Ditto for Victorian!Mycroft, who has Victorian!Mary in his employ as a trusted and competent agent and flat-out says "They must win. Because they are right, and we are wrong."
  • The scene at the Reichenbach Falls where, after lapsing in and out between present-day and the 1895 dream-sequences, Victorian!Holes and Victorian!Moriarty stand at the cliff side where so many Holmeses and Moriartys have fought in the past. Just as it looks like Victorian!Moriarty is about to throw them both down the slippery slope, Victorian!Watson, instead of being a spectator from a distance, is standing right behind them with a gun raised, beckoning Victorian!Moriarty to step away from his friend and get on his knees.
    Victorian!Moriarty: That's not fair, there's two of you!
    Victorian!Watson: There's always two of us. Don't you read The Strand?
    • John Watson is now officially the anti-virus program of Sherlock Holmes' brain.
    • On a meta-level, getting to see Holmes and Watson triumph over Moriarty together at the Reichenbach Fall, after 128 years of canonical stalemate with Moriarty, can be a crowning moment of both awesome and heartwarming for the fans.
    • When Victorian!Watson asks Sherlock what the Real John is like, Sherlock's answer shows his appreciation for his friend has come along way since calling him an "idiot" in the first episode.
      Victorian!Watson: What's he like then? The other me in that other place?
      Sherlock: Smarter than he looks.
      Victorian!Watson: Pretty damn smart then?
      Sherlock: [smiling] Pretty damn smart.
  • In a curiously meta way, the very ending. Everything is wrapped up, the reveal is given that what we've just seen was simply a drug-induced hallucination/mind-palace episode of Sherlock's, onto the next case. And then the credits music literally slows to a crawl and we arrive back in the 19th Century, with Victorian!Holmes and Victorian!Watson discussing everything we've seen in the 21st Century as a drug-induced hallucination of Victorian!Holmes's. This gives the idea that the entirety of the modern series is all actually Victorian!Holmes' imaginings. To traditionalists and Conan-Doyle purists, it's rather a sweet touch. The "real" Sherlock Holmes could in fact be the original we all know and love.
    • Sherlock's "I've always know I was a man out of my time", can also be taken as "Sherlock Holmes is forever."

Series Four

    The Six Thatchers 
  • Charlie Welsborough opting to try and surprise his father by coming home from his gap year in Tibet and joining him for his fiftieth birthday. Sadly, he died from a seizure before he could surprise him, but the fact that he was willing to come home for his father's birthday counts.
  • Sherlock giving his condolences to a family who lost their son on a case, despite some blusters on his part, a huge development from his behaviour in the first season.
  • John works out that Sherlock didn't want Toby because he's a good sniffer dog after he doesn't move for ages, but because Sherlock wanted to spend time with Toby. Sherlock turns it around and says the same can be true of his feelings for John.
  • Sherlock showing Mycroft a photo of Rosie on his phone for no other reason than he just wanted his brother to see John's new baby.

     The Lying Detective
"It is what it is."
  • The way that John's hallucination of Mary changes throughout the episode shows how he's slowly recovering from deep grief. At the beginning, he argues with her about whether she's dead or not, and in the therapist's office Mary stands to one side, crying for him. But by the end of the episode, she's standing in 221B, giving sass about how Sherlock has to wear "the hat" in tribute to her, and otherwise being all lightness and fun. Even when John confesses to "cheating" on her, she doesn't judge him, but tells him to move on.
    • When John tells Mary he had been talking to another woman and admitting he wanting more besides texting, Mary only just looks at him and quietly says "Well then", before smiling and tearing up just saying one thing: 'Get the hell on with it'. She really wants him to move on..
    • Every positive thing "Mary" says about Sherlock in this episode is really John's own subconscious admitting his feelings for his best friend, showing that the resentment and loathing he gives Sherlock is all just a mask to hide his own pain.
      Mary: Sherlock is the cleverest man in the world, but he is not a monster.
      John: Yes, he is.
      Mary: Okay, he is! But he's our monster.
  • When Mrs. Hudson realises Sherlock needs help, she traps him in a car boot and forces him to see John, while also calling Mycroft, who agrees with her drastic measures and proceeded to get her out of what might otherwise be time in jail.
  • Sherlock's scenes with "Faith" early in the episode. Upon realizing she's suicidal and has self-harmed, he decides they'll get chips, and they share a sweet moment of genuine connection. He tells her he'll take the case but not for free. She offers cash, he wordlessly makes it clear what the actual price is, and she hands over the gun she was considering using on herself. He throws it into the river and gives a beautiful, if manic, speech against suicide wherein it's clear he does have some idea of the past grief John went through and hints at his own grief over Mary's death. The speech itself doesn't condemn those suicidal but does make clear suicide is a painful, tragic thing, especially for those who lose loved ones to it.
    Sherlock: "Taking your own life..." Interesting expression. Taking it from who? Once it's over it's not you who will miss it. Your own death is something that happens to everybody else. Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off it.
  • When Mrs Hudson sees the distress John is in after realising the "Miss Me?" video is of Mary, she doesn't hesitate to kick half a dozen Spooks, including Mycroft, out of her flat to protect his privacy.
    "This is my house, and this is my friend..."
  • Mary's posthumous message to Sherlock: "Go to hell, Sherlock... right into Hell, and make it look like you mean it. If he thinks you need him, I swear he will be there."
  • John and Sherlock reconciling at the end.
    • More specifically, John confessing his emotional affair with the girl on the bus to his hallucination of Mary, and achieving catharsis by crying in Sherlock's arms. What's more, Sherlock doesn't think John's crazy. He even says good-bye to "Mary" in a friendly manner when they leave the flat. Given the events of the episode, Sherlock is perhaps the only person who could understand John's frame of mind.
    • The hug between Sherlock and John deserves a special mention. Confronted by his best friend in tears, Sherlock approaches John the same way most people would approach an unexploded bomb...yet one arm goes around his friend, the other cradles his neck, and Sherlock gingerly hugs John as he breaks down. He attempts an "it's okay" platitude, before finally admitting that no, it's not okay: in John's own words, it "is what it is." No condescension, no dodging the topic, no leaving someone else to deal with it. Sherlock might still avoid the whole "social skills" thing when given a choice, but for John, he'll absolutely make an exception.
    • John also hears Irene Adler's text noise on Sherlock's phone and deduces she's still alive. He encourages Sherlock to reach out and talk to her more, because he knows from experience there might not be another chance. Although he doesn't quite understand the relationship, and knows that Irene is dangerous, he tells Sherlock to take advantage of the fact that someone cares about him and wants to be with him while he still has the chance.
    • When John is telling Sherlock that having a romantic connection would help him to be a better person like Mary did for him, Sherlock begins to explain that John is the one who has helped him to be a better man, before he's cut off by John's cheating confession.
      Sherlock: Forgive me, but I feel you are doing yourself a disservice. I have known many people in my time, made but few friends, and I can safely say that you —
    • And from that noise, he also deduces it's Sherlock's birthday, as Irene would only have texted if it was a special occasion. Then he takes him out for cake.
  • John's fatherly pride over his baby girl.
    "She's beautiful. Perfect. Unprecedented in the history of children. And that's not just me being biased, that's scientific fact!"

     The Final Problem
Mycroft: This is a private matter.
Sherlock: John stays.
Mycroft: This is family.
Sherlock: That's. Why. He stays.
  • At the beginning of the episode, Mycroft's movie is interrupted by a home film of the Holmes family on the beach. Two things stand out from this: one is little Sherlock bear-tackling a younger Mycroft in a hug in the film and the second is that Sherlock chose this film to begin with.
    • Mycroft's reaction to the home movie sells it. First he's confused, but when he sees little Sherlock playing with him, he begins to smile and even show signs of love at seeing his little brother.
  • Before the grenade explodes in 221B, Mycroft, Sherlock, and John are trying to remain calm and discuss "The Importance of Being Earnest." Mycroft reveals that he acted in a school performance of it, Sherlock remembers and appears to sincerely compliment his performance, and Mycroft looks quietly pleased.
    • Sherlock asking Mycroft if John can make a phone call to say goodbye to his daughter. Mycroft doesn't respond to Sherlock, who asked the question, but directly to John, sincerely apologising that it's not possible. John hadn't mentioned Rosie or asked to contact whoever was looking after her just then. But Sherlock thought John might want to contact his child in what was potentially his "very last few seconds", and Mycroft genuinely empathised with John because he couldn't.
  • During Mycroft's rant to the warden, the first thing he says is, "If the safety of my sister is compromised..." While he's extremely worried about the threat to national security Eurus poses, he also wants to keep her safe and is prepared to do not-pleasant things if he finds out she's been hurt or somehow put in danger by others.
  • Several times during the episode, Sherlock and John are able to hold each other together and pick each other back up when the other is on the verge of breaking down from Eurus's emotional torture. The core of it is distilled into the episode-long Arc Words "Today we have to be soldiers."
    Sherlock: [sitting in a corner after a Heroic BSoD]
    John: Sherlock...
    Sherlock: [looks up] ...Soldiers?
    John: Soldiers.
    [John helps Sherlock up]
  • At one point Mycroft points out to John that Eurus is manipulating the two of them into competing as part of her games. John doesn't care, and says that neither of them matters, and that they need to set aside self preservation to save the little girl on the plane. Mycroft, taken aback, commends John for his priorities.
  • Molly admitting, even after all this time, that she still loves Sherlock. What's more, when Sherlock says "I love you" to her, it's clear that in some way he completely means it, be it as a friend, romantically, or otherwise.
    • Also, the fact that, in the background, Mycroft (who claims to care about others even less than Sherlock does) looks just as horrified as the other two about the possibility of Molly dying.
      • Listen closely, when Sherlock is hesitating to say "I love you" as the countdown gets lower, Mycroft whispers, "Say it!"
  • Eurus tries to force Sherlock into a Sadistic Choice: kill John or Mycroft. Immediately Mycroft tells Sherlock to shoot John. Making it worse, it doesn't even seem like he's doing so out of fear, he just appears to assume Sherlock will pick him, and not even for familial love, just the cold, ruthless reasoning that Mycroft is smarter and more valuable. When Sherlock hesitates, Mycroft then starts insulting him over and over. So of course, the heartwarming part comes into it when it's revealed Mycroft was simply lying to goad Sherlock into sparing John and shooting him instead.
    • Before Mycroft starts insulting John, he tells John he is a Soldier and that sometimes means dying for one's country, something John agrees with and genuinely offers to be sacrificed so Sherlock and Mycroft can save the girl.
    • In a tragic sense, it's still heartwarming how, regardless how hard it is for Sherlock, it doesn't take him many seconds to decide to point the gun at Mycroft as he could never imagine shooting John.
    • Just the look on Mycroft's face when instead of shooting either of them, Sherlock turns the gun on himself.
  • Even after everything that Eurus puts Sherlock through, he still feels compassion for her. He talks her down and comforts her when he finds her in their old home that she destroyed, and the end of the episode shows that he goes to visit her and play the violin together with her.
    • The better part is Mycroft and their parents are there too, seeing the two of them play the violin.
  • Sherlock is a lot more gentle towards Mycroft after seeing how shaken he is by the events in the episode. He even defends him from their parents when they call Mycroft out on lying to them.
    Sherlock: Make sure he's looked after, okay? He is not as strong as he thinks he is.
  • Sherlock acknowledges Lestrade by his first name, which leaves Lestrade completely speechless for a second.
  • This Meaningful Echo to the very first episode:
    Lestrade: (in the first episode): Sherlock Holmes is a great man. And maybe one day, if we're very lucky, he'll be a good one.
    Lestrade: Sherlock isn't just a great man; he's a good one.
  • Mary's final message at the end to the men she loved most in her life:
    Mary: PS, I know you two. And if I'm gone, I know what you could become. Because I know who you really are. A junkie who solves crimes to get high. And the doctor who never came home from the war. Will you listen to me? Who you really are, it doesn't matter. It's all about the legend. The stories, the adventures. There is a last refuge for the desperate, the unloved, the persecuted. There is a final court of appeal for everyone. When life gets too strange, too impossible, too frightening, there is always one last hope. When all else fails, there are two men sitting arguing in a scruffy flat like they've always been there, and they always will. The best and wisest men I have ever known. My Baker Street boys. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.
    • The way Sherlock dotes over John's daughter and welcomes both Molly and Lestrade into the flat during Mary's speech.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but during Mary's voice-over, in one of the scenes of Sherlock and Eurus, Mrs. Holmes puts a hand on Mycroft's knee, and he smiles at her. Repeat: Mycroft gives his mother a genuine smile.
    • We also see Sherlock sending a text saying "You know where to find me". While it's not stated, it's definitely implied that he's taking John's advice and seeing Irene again.
    • The way Sherlock and John run out of Rathbone Place at the end, off to another mystery.
  • Despite the extremely emotionally-fraught situation Sherlock is in, he is extremely gentle and kind to the girl on the phone. With maybe the exception of fake! Faith Smith, it is the most compassion and kindness we have ever seen from him, even though when he's talking to her he is stretched to his emotional breaking point. There is a good man in there.

Expanded Universe

  • 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. Sherlock reads John's blog, even popping in to make some witty sarcastic comment, to correct John or simply to complain about how John doesn't describe the cases in the dry, logical way Sherlock prefers. But he never addresses some of the more personnel 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." Rather than finding it embarrassing with readers finding out about his softer side, Sherlock never complains about it.
  • Mike's comments on John's blog are completely adorable. He clearly thought incredibly highly of John in the past, and still does; He's like a one-man John Watson cheer squad. 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.
    • Mike and Bill Murray 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 another medal and Mike is clearly thoroughly enjoying watching his friend make a comeback from the guy he used to be.
  • 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's response was so savage that John had to delete a couple of her comments and start scolding her for her language.
    • John's very first blog post, A Study In Pink, mentions offhand the events of that adventure, including the fact that he 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 the blog trying to get in touch with him to make sure he's okay.
  • 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'.
    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.
    • 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.
  • In his blog entry, John remarks on Donovan's calling Sherlock a "psychopath" by pointing out that it was "hardly a professional diagnosis".
  • John writes up his feelings about being a hostage in the cliffhanger of "The Great Game":
    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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • At one point, one of Harry's comments suggests that she's posting drunk, having fallen Off the Wagon. John's 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. John interrupts the proceedings to ask Molly if she's okay, as he apparently hasn't heard from her in a while.
  • 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: You never told me about Sarah.
    John: You never even noticed I'd been to New Zealand.
    Sherlock: I went shopping earlier. There's some cans of beer in the fridge. Next to the feet.
    John: :)
    • 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 feet in the fridge and takes the message in the well-meant spirit it was intended.
  • Chris Melas from The Geek Interpreter eventually recovered from his brush with insanity, and found a girlfriend.
  • 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 look so lovely in that hat!
  • He writes up his feelings on "A Scandal in Belgravia", 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 wouldn't have to go next door and use Mrs Turner's anymore.
    • 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 and keep an eye on Mrs Hudson, who'd been hurt that day.
    • In an earlier not-so-festive blog post, he comments that he can't bring himself to moan at Sherlock about how he was rude to all of their guests, and got him dumped as well, because he was clearly upset about Irene.
  • Kirsty Stapleton's message to Sherlock. She's an 8-year-old girl asking Sherlock to find rabbit Bluebell. 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"...
    theimprobableone: ridiculous
    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.
  • This is from John's write up of the Baskerville 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?
  • After "The Reichenbach Fall", John posts just a single line. He was my best friend and I'll always believe in him. This doubles as a tear jerker.
  • The "I believe in Sherlock Holmes" movement. 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.
  • After months of grieving, John finally posted to his blog again, with Mary Morstan commenting!
    • 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 Id forgotten just how funny he could be. He was so charming. So human. Its bizarre because most people would say he was the most inhuman person theyd ever met. But he wasnt. He was everything a good person should be. Hed 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".
    John: It's all good. Better than good. It's bloody brilliant. #SherlockLives means #JohnWatsonLives.
    • 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", they makes a comment indicating depression and disappears from the comment section. John tries to comfort them, and John's therapist mentions sending an email and asks themto respond. When they come 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 her who was having the affair, with another woman no less. 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".
    • What makes it even more heart-warming is that it was Sherlock, not John, who talked her into coming out to her family. In the comments, he tries to deny any sentiment by claiming it was "Just an intellectual exercise."

  • In the manga adaptation of "A Study in Pink", John describes how Sherlock made him feel like a happy man again:
    John: Every day was pitch black. There was nothing. On one of these days, at a place I went to with a friend whom I had coincidentally met...there was this strange man. From that day on, all my days were coloured.
  • From the tie-in book, "Sherlock: The Casebook", there are 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


     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 looking over London with the moon shining behind him; 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 superhero and guardian.
  • There's a 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 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.
  • 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 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, pulls rank as a doctor on his new flatmate, and order him to eat something.
    • In the end scene, he stands up to 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, John falters, then says "I'm his doctor"- and Sherlock backs him up, agreeing that he has to listen to "his" doctor.
  • Sherlock, pretending to be drunk, goes after the cabbie and the last thing he says to John is "Watch; Don't interfere." When the cabbie actually does drug 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.
    • 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."
    • Sherlock, in a weak and drugged state, 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 huge crowd that he could try to alert, but in that terrifying moment, he calls for John to help him.
    • The cabbie tells Sherlock, who is rapidly losing consciousness, that "[his] friends all think [he's] acting... [and] that's the problem with people. They're all stupid." However, what the cabbie doesn't realise yet is that John, who is already Sherlock's friend by this stage, doesn't think Sherlock is acting and is already rushing to his aide.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • After John teasingly calls him an idiot after guessing that Sherlock probably would have taken the pill just to prove he's clever, Sherlock gives him a surprised look and the two share a laugh before Sherlock hesitantly asks if he wanted to grab dinner.

  • 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 rarely get. By the end of A Study in Pink 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 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. John, in turn, is exasperated with Sherlock's coldness and things almost reach breaking point when he's forced to accept that Sherlock isn't a perfect hero. The pair don't seem to realise how strongly they really do care for each other until The Great Game, when 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 A Scandal in Belgravia, 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. 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. 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 to save John and his other friends.
  • Mycroft tells John the first time John meets him that he 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 A Scandal 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 The Reichenbach Falls, 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.
    • While they do argue in front of Sherlock, it's heartwarming that neither of them will actively bring Sherlock into the argument or the fight. John never once goes to Sherlock and tells him that Mycroft is a bad example and Mycroft does the same. The latter will try to pull his brother away from John's influence, he never outright places any blame on John. They do not like each other and they do not respect each other, but they both love Sherlock and whether Sherlock admits it or not they both know that Sherlock loves them both back. They know that forcing him to choose between them would do him no good even if it removes a bad influence on him.
    • Meanwhile, it's clear that Mycroft does care for Sherlock in his own way—he's just really bad at showing or expressing it.
  • In A Study in Pink, Sherlock finds himself asking John if he's all right, because he had just kill a man. In A Scandal in Belgravia, he makes an almost identical remark to Irene, commenting that she was very calm when her booby trap killed a man." For someone with such a huge lack of empathy, he's shown himself to be downright shocked that others can kill someone regardless of the circumstances or reasoning and then carry on as normal.
    • 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 had to take more lives 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.
  • John puts 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 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 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.
    • 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 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, but Sherlock just looks confused by John's laughter. 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 A Scandal in Belgravia, he's stealing ashtrays because John said he wanted to and making jokes at Mycroft's expense, for no other reason than to make John laugh. He tries to do it again in The Hounds of Baskerville, but 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. He genuinely likes to see John happy. Also, it's extremely heartwarming that sometimes he just wants to cheer John up by nicking him an ashtray from Buckingham Palace.
  • It might not seem very heartwarming, but Sally's attempts to make John stay away from Sherlock. Of course the audience knows 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 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 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 hates everything about Sherlock. John, however, she'll admit is his "opposite", saying she quite likes him as far as she's seen him.
  • 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 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 Holmes. 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. 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.
    • 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...
  • 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 intellect, 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 cheek. She in turn just adores Sherlock. On first meeting John, who at that stage in A Study in Pink is standoffish, Mrs Hudson instantly sees his vulnerability and loneliness, and decides he needs to be mothered as well. 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. She's the sole witness of John getting dumped and despite the fact that John 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. 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.
  • 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.