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Ho Yay / Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

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  • It would probably be easier to list the ways in which the trailer doesn't fit this trope.
  • "Lie down with me, Watson."
    • Cue the two of them lying side-by-side on the floor, Holmes half-dressed with smeared lipstick. And smoking.
    • The way he SAYS it really tells you something.
    • And then the shooting starts, and what do these two manly men do? Spoon. Watson is on top, if anyone is interested ...
  • All the hand holding that happens when either Holmes or Watson gets injured, or hungover in Watson's case. Plus the way they were clutching at each other while getting shot at in Germany.
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  • Don't forget Holmes mooning about at Watson's wedding, staring at the happy couple like the friend-zoned guy watching the love of his life marry someone else, complete with sad music and Holmes wistfully watching them from afar. Also worth noting is that Watson's happy smile fades the moment he sees Holmes quietly leave. There's also a Reaction Shot of Holmes looking particularly miserable/jealous just after Watson and Mary kiss.
  • Holmes and Watson dance a waltz with each other. In public. While wearing tuxedos. Yes, really.
    • Watson doesn't miss a beat when Holmes asks him to, either - just replies, "I thought you'd never ask."
    • Don't forget Holmes commenting on Watson's good dancing skills to which Watson replies that he taught him to dance.
    • Followed by a bashful smile and downward glance, no less.
    • They can't even pretend that these dance lessons were to practice for the ladies either, seeing as Holmes apparently taught him the girls' steps. And they moved seamlessly into position, no bickering (for once) about who would lead, further indicating that they've done it plently of times before.
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    • This crosses over directly into Tear Jerker territory: this dance was Holmes's and Watson's goodbye.
  • An Indirect Kiss between Holmes and Watson with a cigar.
  • Holmes and Watson begin fighting one another on the train, Watson rips Holmes' shirt open, and by the time the henchmen run in Sherlock is lying on his back half naked in drag with makeup smeared across his face and Watson's head between his thighs. No, really.
  • Holmes telling Watson that he shouldn't repress his feelings.
    • Even better is that the argument comes completely out of nowhere. They derail a perfectly normal conversation about hedgehog goulash into an argument about repression for no apparent reason. They just can't contain their need to bicker.
    • Specifically, Holmes's line is, "Unlike you, Watson, I repress nothing." The barely subtextual dynamic of their relationship in the film is that Watson seems to be in denial about his love for Holmes, while Holmes would be happy to embrace it.
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    • And the way Simza gives them these curious looks several times, like she's figuring out what's going on, especially during the repression argument and on the train just after Holmes nearly died.
  • This line: "You're not dying on me, you selfish bastard!"
    • How about the symbolism of Watson using his wedding gift to save Holmes?
    • How about Watson almost losing it so completely Simza has to hold him back?
  • The scene in the beginning Holmes appears to be flirting with Watson when they meet up with one another. Holmes even asks Mrs. Hudson to leave so they could be alone.
    • In fact he looks incredibly annoyed by her interruption, which came just as he and Watson were leaning quite close together, staring into each others eyes...
    • Or possibly seducing him since he invades his space while wearing a skin tight outfit.
  • Watson stays in the room while Holmes changes clothes.
  • The ending when Watson is finishing typing his last Sherlock Holmes story with a very heart felt voice over, just like the ending to another movie.
  • The fact that Holmes really doesn't dwell much on Irene Adler's death, but goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure Watson's safety.
  • As much as the Ho Yay between Holmes and Watson was cranked Up to Eleven in A Game of Shadows, there's also plenty between Holmes and Moriarty, Moriarty and Sebastian Moran, and Mycroft and his effeminate manservant. The only major male character who doesn't come across as flat-out Ambiguously Gay is Watson.
  • Moran looked and sounded very upset when Moriarty got hurt.
  • Holmes still tries to talk Watson out of marriage before his stag party. The way he goes on about dying alone if Watson gets married is also interesting, given that he's supposed to have feelings for Irene and he doesn't know she's dead yet.
  • Holmes calls off the other chairs to be alone with Watson.
  • The way Holmes looks at Watson after he shows up, when he's done fighting together with Sim for the first time, and he sees just how drunk his friend is can only be described as fond.
  • There's another odd moment when, given that Holmes and Watson have a few moments to kill for the first time in the entire movie, Holmes abruptly asks Watson if he's as happy with him as he would have been on his honeymoon with Mary. Holmes actually appears to get teary eyed when Watson won't answer him. In fact, just about every time Holmes gets a quiet moment with Watson and the subject of their relationship ("Okay— 'Partnership'") is brought up, he gets an incredibly pained look on his face, and there's a genuine sense that he's about to break down and cry.
  • Also, Holmes refers to Paris as a more desirable honeymoon spot than the one Watson had chosen... with no Mary in sight...
  • Even Roger Ebert pointed out the Ho Yay between Holmes and Watson in his review of this movie:
    Once this game is afoot, it seems too large to be contained by the eccentric investigator of 221B Baker Street and Watson, his intimate. (I am using "intimate" as both a noun and an insinuation.)
  • A reviewer on the British show 'Film 2011' pronounced that where the first film had gay subext, the sequel has done away with that and just has gay text.
  • A Canadian film magazine showcasing Downey and Law on the cover had the rather amusing blurb of "This holiday's hottest couple''".
  • Even the plot ships it. Look at it this way: Holmes seems to have a romantic affair with Adler at the beginning of the movie, but she gets killed off and Moriarty then tries to kill Watson. In this type of plot, the first victim usually is an example, less important to the hero than the second, real victim. (eg: the villain will bomb a small city before trying to do the same with the metropolis, to be sure the hero take him seriously.) In this movie, the side-victim is Irene, and the real victim, more important in Homes' eyes, is Watson. In short, even if we accept that Holmes was in love with Adler, we can't deny the plot suggest that he loved Watson even more.
    • The plot doesn't just ship it, the plot rests upon it. Consider this: Holmes would probably go after Moriarty, but it's only after Moriarty outright threatens to hurt Watson that Holmes goes to interrupt Watson's honeymoon and drags John with him. Also, at the end of the movie, Holmes seems completely content with destroying Moriarty's empire and letting Moriarty himself go. Only after Moriarty threatens Watson again does Holmes decide to fight Moriarty and ultimately sacrifices himself. Not to mention the fact that Holmes very clearly states to Moriarty that Watson is married now and therefore out of the equation, which has to make us consider: if there wasn't the threat of Moriarty, would Holmes still have let Watson leave him? Long story short, Holmes didn't need to kill Moriarty to keep Europe safe, since he had already dismantled his empire and had enough evidence to convict him, which means that he sacrificed himself just to keep Watson safe.
    • Just like the man earlier in the movie who killed himself to protect his wife and children. Moriarty does that a lot.
    • Besides the fact that, as Watson said in the first movie, "Suicide is not in his repertoire, he's far too fond of himself for that."
  • The film in general resembles a really well-done, big-budget slash fic (general disregard for canon, conveniently removing female love interests from the equation early on etc.). Possibly the most blink-and-you'll miss it examples is both times when Holmes appears to have died. We see him looking at Watson, and then smiling and closing his eyes. The second time, as he goes down the waterfall, there is a very deliberate shot of him keeping his eyes closed all the way down. He's making sure Watson's face is the last thing he sees. The look on Watson's face when he does this....
  • Watson sits away from his wife at Holmes' funeral, curled up on the floor, no less.
  • In fact, one could argue that the subtext is blatant enough to be complete and utter text.
    Watson: Will your beard be with us the whole night?
    Holmes: Don't worry, I'll remove it once we reach the Trafalgar Square.
  • A rather blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment of Ho Yay occurs when Holmes embraces Watson, upon which Watson remarks that he's lost a few pounds. Holmes responds that Watson has gained a few. This exchange passes by very quickly, but the fact remains: a person needs to quite frequently hug another person to be able to determine their weight loss/gain by the means of a rather quick and awkward hug.
    • You'll note that in the books Holmes can tell Watson has gained a few pounds just by looking at him. Holmes just likes looking at Watson.
    • You'll also note that Watson, not Holmes, was the one to point it out first. He also did it right after the hug.
  • Let us not forget the hook scene, which has Freudian symbolism galore. While Moriarty is busy emasculating Holmes with a phallic symbol, Moran uses another phallic symbol to keep Watson away. And how does Watson respond to this? He pulls out a very large phallic symbol. (So big, in fact, that Moran complains that it isn't fair.) With said phallic symbol, Watson puts down the biggest phallic symbol in the scene, symbolically destroying Moriarty's erection. And when Holmes is rescued, he clings to Watson like a Damsel in Distress and shakily remarks that's always nice to see him. Their reunion smiles are incredibly tender.
    • ... I think its enough internet for you, son, go to your room.
    • Zis, obsession with phallic symbols is... fascinating. I think there may be a deeper significance. Now, tell me about your mozzer...
  • Of course there's enough Ho Yay between the main characters, but the club in which Watson stag party takes place also qualifies, especially with its crossdressing women.
  • There is no romance/sexual tension between either male character and Simza, that's Noomi Rapace and they're like "yeah, whatever - lets bicker and cling to one another."


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