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Tear Jerker / Sherlock

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In Sherlock, It's not all fun and games and giggling at crime scenes.

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Series One

    A Study In Pink 
  • John wakes up from a nightmare about the war, and tries to stop himself from bursting into tears even though there's no one there to see him if he cries, while his sad piano theme plays on the soundtrack. Then we see his depressingly featureless, likely government-issued bedsit, a blog with no updates, and a cane he deliberately left on the other side of the room that he desperately avoids looking at because his pain isn't real', he shouldn't need it, he should force'' himself to limp over there to get it every morning. He's just so alone...
    • The scene of John sitting on the bed, not doing anything in particular, just... sitting. The bed he's sitting on is made, implying that after having a nightmare and waking up in terror, he got up, made the bed, and then more or less stared blankly into space until morning. The scene then transitions by showing him sat, looking small and alone, before fading away into nothing.
    • What is the only other possession of John's we see in that scene? His Army-issued pistol. How many times has he sat there, tears running down his face, and thought "I can make this all stop in a moment. It would be so easy..."
      • Which in turn makes it rather beautiful when, the day he meets Sherlock for the first time, he comes home, sit down on the bed... and then decides to get up again, and see if he can find anything online about the guy he's just met. Judging from the conversation he later has with Sherlock about it, he spends some time on Sherlock's website that evening- not to mention finally having something to blog about. Even after a five minute meeting Sherlock was, in a small way, influencing him out of his depression.
  • The amount of times John grimaces in the first two-thirds or so of the episode. Psychosomatic pain isn't imaginary. The pain is real, the cause is uncertain. While dealing with all the rest of what's going on with him (PTSD, uncertain future, etc) and trying to process the sheer what-the-hell of getting to know Sherlock, he's also in almost constant pain... it's the only reason he's using a cane and John doesn't seem the type to make a big deal of something like that. He's not exactly looking for sympathy; the reverse. He's embarrassed by it.
  • The killer's victims:
    • Sir Jeffrey Patterson had both a wife and a mistress who both loved him. One of the last things he heard anyone other than the killer say was "I love you."
    • James Phillimore was eighteen; a kid. A kid who had a friend he left behind who wanted to share an umbrella with him.
    • Beth Davenport's friends confiscated her car keys because they didn't want her driving drunk. It was also her birthday.
    • And in a total reversal: Jennifer Wilson had an unhappy marriage, with no mention of her husband being contacted, and her only child was stillborn. This obviously devastated her so much that fourteen years later, she's still using the baby's name as a password to her phone. She had a string of lovers, but it was clearly a sex-based thing- did she have anyone who really loved her?
  • Jeffrey Patterson's mistress, Gwen. It wasn't just about sex- she told him she loved him. And when he died, because their relationship was clandestine and taboo, she had absolutely nobody who understood that she'd loved him and nobody to comfort her.
  • As John approaches the park bench, he sees and recognizes Mike, turns very slightly away, and quickens his pace as best he can. As he walks past, Mike has to call to him twice — the first time John rather obviously pretends not to hear him. In his heartbreaking isolation and loneliness, John doesn't want to (as he'd probably see it) inflict himself on old friends and takes steps to further isolate himself.
    • When John and Mike are having coffee in the park, they discuss John's inability to stay in London on his income. Mike suggests a flatshare. John says "Come on. Who'd want me for a flatmate?" The line is bitter but fairly upbeat; then the camera focuses on Mike. John is slightly out of focus, but- just for a couple of seconds- the look of despair on his face is gutwrenching. Two seconds later he snaps out of it, and is back to putting a brave, sarcastic face on things. This is even worse when you recall Molly's words in The Reichenbach Fall, about knowing what it means when people look sad when they think others can't see them.
      • And in the same scene, John makes an embarrassed attempt to hide his hand, which is shaking quite badly.
    • This can also be read as John's embarrassment over his general situation (wounded, depressed, broke)- presumably he was a very different, much more confident person when Mike last saw him. After all, how would he answer an enquiry about what had happened to his leg? Nothing had happened to it, and even though Mike teaches at a training hospital and presumably has some understanding of psychosomatism, it still has connotations of neurotic or making it up or malingering with too many people. Luckily he can claim "I got shot" and be telling the perfect truth. It's all in contrast to Mike, who has no problems cheerfully excusing John's reluctance to greet him as him not recognising him: "Yeah, I know, I got fat."
  • When Mrs Hudson makes the well-meant mistake of patronising John about his leg, he turns on her viciously and then immediately, in the same breath, falls over himself apologising pathetically for it. It's so badly timed of Mrs Hudson- Sherlock's just jaunted off to what sounds like a really exciting crime scene and left John behind, and he's so angry about going from being a freaking army captain and combat medic to being treated like an invalid who needs an elderly lady to make him a cup of tea. It's the first, last, and only time he's ever disrespect Mrs Hudson, who he ends up very close to. It's incredibly heartwarming that she immediately forgives him and tells him she understands (even if she doesn't, really.)
  • We never do get any details on how "Captain John Watson of the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers" was wounded in action. But from his "please, God, let me live" line alone, it's clear the situation was extremely serious. He was badly wounded, nearly died, and developed PTSD- Sherlock had himself earlier pointed out that the original circumstances of John's injury must have been traumatic, and he meant emotionally traumatic, not just violent and painful. The blunt earnestness of John's response even trips up Sherlock for a second or two, and he's just been ranting and raving about not understanding why a woman would care about her stillborn baby after fourteen years.
    • Everyone in the room agrees that in your last moments, you would think about the people you love the most. John apparently had no one to think about when he was close to dying, only thinking about begging a higher power to let him live.
    • When Sherlock realises that what he just said hurt John's feelings, he looks miserable.
  • When John meets Mycroft for the first time, he maintains a nonchalant laidback outlook almost the whole time- despite assuming Mycroft to be a lot more sinister than he turns out to be, and not knowing if he's in serious danger or not. Then Mycroft starts talking about his trust issues, the tremor in his hand and uses the phrase "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." Immediately, John's face twitches and he emotionally collapses, and looks like he's near tears. He's still trying to sound brave, but he ends up coming close to begging Mycroft to stop.
    • On a similar note, when Mycroft goes to touch John's hand, John snaps "don't!" in distress and pulls away, and then has to take a few seconds to compose himself and let Mycroft touch him. John's fine with being observed, kidnapped, threatened, bribed... not a problem. But this is actually the first time anyone in the show has touched John, outside of shaking hands- something he could anticipate and prepare for, to an extent. Earlier, John had no difficulty, emotionally or physically, touching a woman who'd been dead for hours, while wearing only a thin pair of latex gloves. But this sort of physical contact with a living human being is something he's obviously not had in a while, and something that truly upsets him...
  • When Sherlock races off from the Brixton crime scene ranting about "pink", he strands John. In fact, the minute Sherlock leaves, John is completely ignored, officers even bump into him on the stairs, like he's become invisible. He's quite literally lost, and it's heartbreaking to watch such a proud, self-sufficient person try to explain to Sally Donovan that he's in a bind because he can't walk far with his leg, and doesn't even know where the main road is. Since John is broke, it's also possible he doesn't have the cash on him for an hour's taxi ride either. When Sally asks him who he is, she tells him that he's not Sherlock's friend, because Sherlock doesn't have any friends. John is actually walking away from her at the time, but this causes him to pause for a second, and the look on his face is of being hurt. He's known Sherlock for only a couple of hours and Sherlock hasn't been hugely friendly toward him, but John already wants to be his friend and it upsets him to think Sherlock doesn't really like him after all. If that isn't sad enough, he then falters "I'm nobody..."
    • John looks completely humiliated by the predicament he's found himself in. Sherlock specifically invited him there, but as it turns out, it was only because John was vaguely qualified to give some preliminary thoughts on the victim, and the whole thing was just to mess with Anderson and make a point to Lestrade and Donovan. Once John had told him his thoughts on the body, Sherlock had no further use for him and thoughtlessly ditched him. But even at this point, after just meeting Sherlock, John still goes back to Baker Street later because Sherlock asks him to, and says not one word about being ditch.
    • Lestrade at first treats John like he's invisible even when Sherlock is there. He ignores him when he comes to the flat to ask Sherlock to the crime scene, though he acknowledges Mrs Hudson. Then both Lestrade and Donovan ask Sherlock "Who is he?" in front of John instead of speaking directly to him.
  • Sherlock's gone off with what turns out to be the killer, though nobody's realised it yet. The earlier excitement of the chase and then the drugs bust appears to be over, the police have left, and everything is quiet, and John, left on his own, suddenly realises something feels "off" to him. And he stops to wonder where his cane is. He looks completely insecure without it- which makes for a moment somewhere between heartwarming and awesome seconds later when, having picked it up, he's forced to leave it behind, this time for good, to rush off after Sherlock.
  • When Sherlock and John are in the cab on the way to the Brixton crime scene, Sherlock looks so confused, with his eyes darting back and forth, when John tells him his deductions were amazing. John can't believe he'd even question what he's just said, and has to say "Of course it was", as if there was absolutely no question about it. Sherlock tells John that "amazing" isn't what people normally say, but he probably means that nobody has ever said that. And remembering, of course, that he wasn't at that point trying to impress John. His feelings had been hurt by John's calling him an "amateur". He's poorly socialised and most of his self esteem is wrapped up in his being clever, so in response to what he thought was an insult, he lashed out and launched into an epic deduction which he honestly thought would lose him his potential new friend. He fully expected John to tell him to piss off. Mycroft pegged him totally in A Scandal in Belgravia when he described his little brother as "one lonely, naïve man, desperate to show off."
  • The look on Sherlock's face as he explains "I told Mike this morning that I must be a difficult man to find a flatmate for." He's putting his coat on and facing the wall at the time, so neither Mike nor John could see his face, but for a second, he looks miserable. He knows that other people don't like him and while he may claim to not care, when nobody is looking it's clear that he does care and he's not proud of it.
    • When John refers to Mycroft as one of Sherlock's "friends", Sherlock looks genuinely surprised. Even his response was "Friend?!?!" and when John then says that he said that he was Sherlock's archenemy, Sherlock relaxes a bit, as if he was more used to having enemies, rather than friends. This shows just how friendless and possibly lonely Sherlock is.
  • John's reaction when Sherlock points out that his therapist thinks his limp is psychosomatic. He immediately breaks eye contact for the first time and looks very insecure. It's the only thing that John seems upset by Sherlock mentioning, even though Sherlock has also pointed out issues with Harry and Clara. Later, he turns on Mrs Hudson for mentioning his leg, and has trouble blurting out the patently obvious issue to Sgt Donovan. It all goes to show how ridiculously self-conscious John must feel all the time, since his limp is hardly subtle and he needs a cane to be able to walk at all. Any mental issues he's gained since Afghanistan can be disguised (at least temporarily), he can hide his hand when it plays up and starts to shake, and he presumably also has a scar from being shot that most people would never see either. None of these things would be immediately obvious to people he knows. But he can't hide his limp, and it clearly hurts him that other people are so aware of it. note 

    The Blind Banker 
  • When Sarah is moved so that she is facing the crossbow, John murmurs "I'm sorry... I'm sorry..."
  • When Sherlock and John meet Sebastian Wilkes and Sherlock deduces he had recently travelled the world, Sebastian says "We all hated him [at university]." Sherlock silently looks down — his expression hardly changes, but you can see he's hurt by that comment. He always seems so distant and acts like nothing bothers him, but this one tiny shot shows he's still human and possibly felt excluded from all of his "friends" when he was younger.
    • Considering how difficult it is to convince Sherlock to take a case if it's not interesting (he takes it straight away) and considering he calls Sebastian Seb later on (he doesn't even know Lestrade's first name), it kind of implies that this arsehole was the closest thing to a friend he was capable of having.
  • When Sherlock introduces John as his "friend" almost proudly, John's correction to "colleague" obviously hurts Sherlock to some degree or another, especially when coupled with Sebastian's little looks that says, "Yeah, that's what I thought, you don't have friends."
    • Just the fact that John doesn't consider himself to be Sherlock's "friend" when Sherlock clearly (and proudly) does. He could just be echoing how Sherlock introduced him to Sally Donovan in the last episode or it could be linked to the trust issues his therapist mentioned in that, even after everything they went through in A Study In Pink, he's not ready to declare out loud that he's become close to someone.
    • The initial scene with Sebastian is pretty hard to watch, too, because Sebastian seems to be trying to bully Sherlock via John. After hearing that John is a "colleague" not a "friend", he calls Sherlock a freak, launches into a mean-spirited anecdote about his university behaviour, and tells John that everyone hated him. The fact that the story he tells is about how "this freak" knew who everyone had "shagged" the night before might also indicate that it was well-known among Sherlock's classmates that he wasn't shagging anyone himself. John's reaction to that story isn't shown, but it's kind of painful that he's amused by Sebastian talking about Sherlock's "trick."
      • Later, though, John does call Sebastian a "heartless bastard" — a surprisingly strong term for John to use. This is probably not just because Sebastian acts like he couldn't care less about the death of Eddie Van Coon. John's seen Sebastian be pretty cruel to Sherlock on two occasions now, and for a change, on neither of those occasions did Sherlock do or say anything initially obnoxious to deserve it as retaliation.
  • Sherlock doesn't know what qualifies as a date, and wanted to hang out, for lack of a better vernacular, with John, and got a pretty harsh response:
    John: You know, where two people go out and have fun?
    Sherlock: That's exactly what I was suggesting.
    John: No, it wasn't. At least, I hope not.
  • Everything about Soo Lin. From her being an orphan, to being forced to be a smuggler to survive, to her abandoning everything in order to leave that life, to her being unwilling to have a social life because of said past, to her risking her life to maintain the tea sets that she was restoring before she went into hiding again, to her being marked for death and killed by her own brother — face to face — for refusing to help him find and murder two other people.

    The Great Game 
  • The old lady. Even though Sherlock solves the crime, the old lady begins to describe her captor and is killed for it. Even Sherlock looks shaken by her execution.
  • When Sherlock tells Lestrade he's solved the Connie Prince case, there's a lingering reaction shot of John. It's just dawned on him that Sherlock has had the case solved for some time but hasn't said anything before now, and he's absolutely crushed to discover that Sherlock would be so cold-bloodedly strategic. In fact, so crushed that he confronts Sherlock right then and there, despite the fact that there's just under an hour left and it would otherwise be an urgent priority to get the old woman rescued and argue about it later.
  • In the next scene, Sherlock's line to John: "I've disappointed you." You can see that he's angry with himself because he doesn't want to disappoint John, which is why he's so harsh with the next line: "Don't make people into heroes, John. Heroes don't exist, and if they did I wouldn't be one of them." It's strongly implied that while Sherlock's deductive skills are appreciated by a select few, nobody has ever looked up to him or expected anything out of him morally before.
    • On that note, John's reaction to this. Sherlock tries to brush things over with business-as-usual; seeing how upset John is, he points out that it's hypocritical for John to say he cares so much about the victims and potential victims, but then refuse to help Sherlock save them because he's angry at him. John silently, dejectedly goes over to the nearest newspaper and starts checking it for information. He never mentions this conversation again in the episode. But it obviously had a huge effect on him, because he quotes Sherlock's comment about not being a hero at his grave. Over fifteen months later.
  • Sherlock's reaction to John stepping out into the pool at the end. Considering how amused Sherlock has been by Moriarty's efforts throughout the episode, one would think he'd admire him for being smart enough to get under his radar and feign being his friend for several months. But no, Sherlock is crushed. John later mentions on his blog that he looked like a "little, lost child." Even when John is speaking, he's blinking rapidly to signal S.O.S to Sherlock which his Sherlock Scan would probably have picked up on. But he's so thrown off that he fails to notice and can only utter a rather OOC "What the hell?" that breaks a little near the end. Despite it soon turning out to be a mislead, it is heartbreaking to think how Sherlock was feeling in that small moment. Having spent his whole life presumably with little to no friends and then finding someone who he instantly clicked with only for that person to turn out to be, not only a fraud, but his arch-nemesis.
  • Molly's reaction to Sherlock calling out Jim as gay shows how desperately she wanted things to work with Jim, and, by extension, how lonely she really is. For extra heartbreak, just before she runs out, she glances at John, as if to appeal for his help. He's been defending her so far, but his silence here seems to be the reason she fled; she feels not only humiliated, but dogpiled. That John launches straight into an acidic "Well done" to Sherlock the second she leaves indicates he really is on Molly's side, but she probably didn't realise that.
    • What makes this worse is that Sherlock also considers himself "on Molly's side" and genuinely thinks he's doing right by her, informing her that her boyfriend is gay and is only using her to get to him. Her storming off probably makes no sense to him. He was just trying to be nice.
  • Molly starts raving about Jim-in front of him- describing the pair of them as an "office romance" and "together." Not only is this hopelessly desperate, in The Reichenbach Fall we get the truth- Jim was never Molly's boyfriend, and at the time this scene takes place, they had been on a maximum of two dates together.
  • Molly apparently knows her weight down to the half pound, and cares that she's put on a whole two and a half/three pounds since she last saw Sherlock. Half a pound certainly isn't much, but Sherlock, the man she has a hopeless crush on, asserting that she's heavier than she believes herself to be is really quite cruel, given that she seems to be very sensitive about it. (It's also the first time John steps in and tries to get Sherlock to shut up.)

Series Two

    A Scandal In Belgravia 
  • The look on Sherlock's face when Mycroft cruelly outs him as a virgin in front of his best friend and a complete stranger. He looks so wounded. He and Mycroft score points off each other all the time and it's usually funny, but you get the impression that Mycroft went too far here and touched on something that was extremely personal to Sherlock.
    • Bonus tearjerker in what Sherlock being hurt implies- he maintains that sentiment is a defect found on the losing side, with the implication that he's never had a girlfriend and is still a virgin because he prefers it that way, but if that was the whole truth then he wouldn't be so hurt by Mycroft pointing it out.
  • It's mostly Played for Laughs, but Sherlock is so hurt and so jealous when John's blog takes off. The look on his face when John quite cruelly points out "nobody's reading your website" is genuine hurt, not anger; he walks out of the morgue upset and Lestrade has to go after him. Later, we find he actually went and flounced from his own website, taking down the "tobacco ash" article he was so proud of. He seems to really want to have John's social skills and knack for picking the interesting stuff (Sherlock stealing a bus, the incident where they ended up dressed as ninjas) from the boring stuff (long dissertations on ash and perfumes.) But he really, honestly doesn't know how.
  • Molly at the Christmas party. Right from the get-go, Sherlock ignores her in a room containing a mere five people, and she looks at him with hopeless longing. He inadvertently embarrasses her in front of the group, ridiculing her crush and her physical appearance, almost bringing her to tears.
    • Molly's awkward attempts at conversation at the party are even more painful to watch when you remember that she's just recovered from finding out that her boyfriend was a terrorist who was using her to get to Sherlock, and among other things strapped people to bombs. The trust issues from that alone would be horrendous.
    • When Molly arrives during the Christmas season, Sherlock groans in annoyance, but everyone else greets her warmly and she seems happy and cheerful and does the same with them. Sherlock mutters "everybody saying hello to everyone else, how wonderful" through a forced smile. It's the sort of reaction you'd expect from someone who wasn't just being antisocial, but who was extremely stressed out at trying to interact with five people at the same time and not knowing how to do so. Sherlock is a loner by nature and it's been seen a few times throughout the series that he gets very anxious in crowds or on social occasions, where he doesn't really know what to do. His humiliating Molly may well have been meant as teasing, not cruelty. Extra sad when all present, with the except of Jeanette, are Sherlock's closest friends- and he can't even relax and have a good time with them.
    • Lestrade, too. He tries to brush it off, but his face after Sherlock cruelly tells him that his wife is sleeping with someone else is heartbreaking. In The Hounds of Baskerville Lestrade isn't wearing a wedding ring, leading us to conclude that Sherlock demolished the guy's marriage, at a party on Christmas Eve, in front of everyone, without even taking his eyes off his computer screen.
      • Especially in that Lestrade's wife is apparently sleeping with someone else- something that Lestrade might not only find devastating but humiliating to come out in front of everyone.
  • Molly lets slip that Sherlock was complaining about John visiting Harry for Christmas. It's heartwarming that Sherlock wants to spend Christmas with John, but the poor guy is more than a little upset that John (his best friend) is leaving him on Christmas. Sherlock has literally no one to spend Christmas day with (Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson are going out of town, and he's certainly not going over to Mycroft's). This makes his outburst about Harry's drinking a little more justified: he's ticked that John is going to spend the day with her and leave him when she hasn't actually made any progress.
    • And the look he gives Molly when she lets slip that "Sherlock was complaining" — not only does this mean he clearly sees Molly as a friend if he's willing to talk to her about something other than a case (despite her later assertion that she "doesn't count"), but he's embarrassed. Which may explain why he starts deducing Molly in front of everyone — it's all good-natured teasing, right?
      • He also probably thought that he was entertaining his friends. He's already played the violin, and since deductions are what he does best and how he knows everyone in the room, he probably thought he was behaving in a manner that was socially acceptable.
  • Despite Sherlock being utterly insufferable, and all but impossible to live with, he still gets to experience Christmas with Mrs. Hudson, John, Molly, and even Lestrade came by to say hello. Mycroft, on the other hand, is completely alone.
  • When Sherlock and Mycroft come to the morgue to look over the dead body of fakeIrene Adler, Molly is there in a Christmas sweater. Sherlock, in a rare moment of social awareness, says "You didn't need to come in, Molly," and she says "That's okay, everyone else is busy with ... Christmas ..." and then she abruptly goes on to talk about the body. Molly Hooper has no family or friends to spend Christmas with, and would rather go to work, at the morgue, as a favor to a man who nearly brought her to tears at a Christmas party mere hours before.
    • On that note, Sherlock's face after Molly says the above line. It's probable that he's known Molly for years, but has never bothered to ask or find out about whether she has family or friends outside of him, and where she might spend Christmas (at the party, she discusses with Lestrade and John what they are doing for Christmas, but they never ask her in return). Sherlock, judging by his expression, has just realised that not only was he a complete jerk to her earlier, but that his behaviour was even more awful than he'd first thought, because John, Lestrade, Mrs Hudson and himself are the closest Molly has to friends or family.
  • The entire way that the Sherlock/Irene relationship was dealt with in this episode was a gigantic mixture of funny, heartwarming, awesome, and tearjerker. It's months and months after Sherlock believes Irene to be dead before she shows up again and in all that time he's just trying to come to terms with what feeling something for someone else is really like. And then to learn at the end that Irene herself had fallen for him... and the both of them are too proud to admit to anything. Irene's heartbreak at the end of that episode was really very poignant.
    • The music played during the scene only compounds the emotion. It's called Sherlocked, and is a rendition of Irene's theme complete with sad piano and orchestral swells.
  • "Do you ever wonder if there's something wrong with us?"
    • And Mycroft's response, which is "no, Sherlock, keep it up with your lack of empathy, it's better for everyone." Sherlock, for the first time, openly questions whether his empathy problems are problems, we see that Mycroft is perpetuating those thoughts and attitudes, and now Sherlock is in real conflict between John (particularly) encouraging him to care, and Mycroft encouraging him not to.
  • Irene's dying text message to Sherlock. In what she thought was going to be her last few moments, she texted Sherlock simply to say goodbye.
  • John is very concerned for Sherlock when he learns that Irene Adler is secretly still alive. The anger and hurt in his voice when he confronts her is heartbreaking, and shows how protective he is of his friend.
Irene: What do I say?
John: What do you normally say?! You've texted him a LOT!

    The Hounds Of Baskerville 
  • Sherlock's panic attack after seeing the hound. The uncontrollable tears, the shortness of breath and unsteady hands are all common symptoms. It's especially distressing when you're trying to hold it together but, as Sherlock says, your body betrays you. Panic attacks are incredibly frightening, not to mention humiliating when in public. While John probably had good intentions for how he chose to talk to Sherlock, accusing him of getting "a bit worked up" probably wasn't the best choice of words. When you're in that state, there's nothing worse than having someone accuse you of getting upset over nothing. And eventually you can't help but lash out at them when you don't really mean to. Because it's never nothing.
    Sherlock: There's nothing wrong with me.
    • His expression after he says this line is more tearjerker-in-hindsight as we later learn that it wasn't just fear that was affecting him in this scene — it was doubt. Despite his objections, it's clear that for a moment Sherlock contemplates the possibility that he might be losing his grip on reality and it horrifies him.
  • The entire scene beside the fire at the pub is a massive Tear Jerker. We're seeing two people, who absolutely adore each other and would do anything for each other, hurting each other and then lashing out at the other because they are hurt. John's "I wonder why?" is justified in the context of two seasons worth of Sherlock's behaviour, but it's still the cruelest thing he's said to Sherlock up until that point in the series. Usually, when he corrects or comments on Sherlock's lack of social graces, he's being gentle and tactful, not bitter and sarcastic. And Sherlock has never before questioned whether John is his friend; he announces that John is his friend at the beginning of The Blind Banker. He's said some pretty rude things to John before, but he's never told him he isn't his friend, and he's never before mocked him the way he does during his epic deductive rundown of the retired fisherman and his mother. Then there's why they're both behaving like this; they're both scared. Sherlock's been drugged to be scared, but John's reaction to Sherlock's erratic behaviour is fear too; he trusts and admires Sherlock and his rational, confident attitude, and he's never seen him fall apart before, which can be pretty frightening to witness. It's worth noting that the only previous time Sherlock and John have had something approaching a fight was in The Great Game and while heated words were exchanged, that particular time John almost immediately let it go and started carrying on as normal. Here, he's hurt enough to walk away from Sherlock's attempts at apologising well into the following day. And, of course, Sherlock realises in the first place that, for the first time, he needs to make some sort of apology to John. It's serious business when you think of the things he's said and done to John before that he doesn't see the need to apologise for.
  • The entire beginning of the episode is supposed to be played for laughs, but it can be a little difficult to watch. Sherlock looking like he's coming down of a hard-core addiction is bad enough, but then he starts to lash out at Mrs. Hudson. Not only revealing that she has a date, but that he already has a wife (two, in fact.) Remembering that, before John, she is the only person who Sherlock is actually nice to, and, if the cops at Scotland Yard are any indication, the only person that is regularly nice to him.
  • John winds up locked in a dark laboratory, and the Hound appears to be locked in with him. It turns out that he's been drugged and conditioned to "see" the Hound when he hears the right noises. But watching him frantically try to escape is just... heartbreaking. John is both a doctor and a soldier. He's seen some pretty disturbing stuff. He's had bombs strapped to him and more or less walked it off. But now he's absolutely terrified. He clamps a hand over his mouth to keep himself quiet so the Hound won't hear him, and when he talks to Sherlock on the phone this moan of terror escapes and he panics and covers his mouth again. He begs Sherlock to get him out, his voice is breaking, and when Sherlock finally shows up he's nearly crying. The whole thing is made about ten times worse when we realize that Sherlock did this to him on purpose. For an experiment.
    • Especially when we're later treated to the scene of Sherlock watching this happen on CCTV. Not only does he continue to terrify his best friend, but he does it quite calmly and coldly, feeding him lines with fake concern, with his feet casually up on the dashboard.
    • When Sherlock does finally rescues John, he puts a hand on his shoulder and asks if he's all right. John flinches away from him, darting out of the cage and making sure to keep his distance from Sherlock. When Sherlock starts to tell him they've all been drugged, he takes a step toward him and John backs up. He was upset enough to not want Sherlock anywhere near him.
  • The way Henry brokenly says "Why didn't you just kill me?" after discovering that he'd been deliberately drugged and psychologically manipulated over the past 20 years is heartbreaking because his tone makes it clear that he'd rather be dead than have gone through what he did.
    • This is made even by a conversation Henry and Sherlock had earlier. Henry referred to Frankland as "Uncle Bob", and while it was made clear they weren't actually close, Henry truly believed Frankland was simply concerned for Henry's well-being and wanted the best for him. He also believed his father and Frankland did have a close friendship untroubled by their disagreements regarding Baskerville. So, in conclusion, someone he'd believed all of his life loved and, later, mourned his father almost as deeply as he did and continued to care about him into adulthood was the one responsible for betraying and killing his father and for essentially preventing him from healing and having a chance at the happy life his father would have wanted for him.
    • When the group is in the hollow, just after Sherlock's explained to Henry what's really happened, a dog appears at the top of the cliff. At this point, Henry snaps and he loses it, breaking down and absolutely screaming, over and over again, "NO, NO, NO, NO!!" It is completely heart tearing.

    The Reichenbach Fall
When you find out who is in that grave, you will be devastated.
  • The conversation between John and his therapist in the opening scene. Especially when he absolutely knows for a fact that she's a terrible therapist. But he is so bereft by Sherlock's death that he'll give anything a go, and probably has nobody else to talk to.
    • The first time around with his therapist at the beginning of A Study in Pink, John cops a serious attitude with her. His face and body language are both defiant and he bluffs her, lies to her face, and plays games like pointing out what she's writing about him. He is probably there on referral at the request of the military, and after he meets Sherlock he apparently abruptly stops bothering to go to her (especially on finding out she gave his personal information to Mycroft.) That he has gone back to therapy- apparently, this time, of his own free will- is huge, and indicates that he's desperate for someone to help him, even someone he doesn't really trust. The brittle exterior he showed to her in his PTSD therapy sessions is completely gone. The pain on his face in the opening seconds of the episode is almost frightening- it's the first time we've ever seen John look that emotionally raw. He's still struggling against his emotions, however much of a losing battle this might be; his attempts to speak are a stop-start effort to avoid tears.
    • It's a small thing, but on the sideboard to John's right is the typical items you'd expect a therapist to provide someone in grief counselling; a glass of water and a box of tissues. And you can practically see John's determination that he's not going to cry in front of his therapist or get upset enough to need the water.
  • This conversation becomes extra heartbreaking on repeated viewings of the episode:
    John: The press will turn, Sherlock. They always turn. And they'll turn on you.
    Sherlock: [beat] It really bothers you?
    John: What?
    Sherlock: What people say?
    John: Yes.
    Sherlock: About me, I don't understand. Why would it upset you?
    • Beforehand, Sherlock, who for the past couple of minutes has been ignoring John ranting about his press nickname to complain about the hat that he hates. Suddenly he hears how genuinely worried John is, and it snaps him out of his annoyed ravings and things suddenly go from joking about bachelors and Death Frisbees to serious business. And what Sherlock is serious about is John's feelings and being frustrated at being unable to understand them. But because John is upset, Sherlock knows it's no longer a time for joking.
    • While Sherlock's concern for John's feelings are more heartwarming than sad, what is heartbreaking is the fact that he seems to have no clue as to why John should be upset by what people say about Sherlock. What's more is the rather child-like way he admits; "I don't understand", as if he knows it's his fault for not getting it. Not only does it show how little he understands empathy but he also doesn't seem to get the irony of asking such a question. He clearly doesn't want John to be bothered by any of this, but then why would he care how John feels? The same reason that John cares so much what happens to Sherlock even if it doesn't affect him!
    • To finish it off, we have John's silence in response to Sherlock's final question. We later learn in the therapists office at the end of the episode that there were things John wanted to say, but didn't say them. This seems to be that moment as he looks as if he has a million things he wants to say to try to get Sherlock to understand how much he cares, but he stops himself and simply warns Sherlock to keep a low profile. After what happens at the end, it would no surprise if John looked back on this moment constantly and hated himself for not saying how he really felt the one time that Sherlock seemed to really care.
  • The look on John's face when Lestrade comes to Baker Street the first time to ask Sherlock to come to the station. He's horrified, and has probably just realised how guilty Sherlock circumstancially looks.
  • In previous episodes, whenever there has been a mention of "friends", it's always been a reference to John being Sherlock's friend. Everywhere from Sherlock telling Sebastian that John was his friend in The Blind Banker, to John claiming he was just Sherlock's friend, and Sherlock responding that he only had one friend, in The Hounds of Baskerville.note . In The Reichenbach Fall, the situation is reversed. When John is rushing over to Sherlock's bleeding, shattered body, he changes "Let me through, I'm a doctor!" to "Let me through, he's my friend, he's my friend..." He also tells his therapist, and his blog, about Sherlock: "He was my best friend." There's an enormous amount of difference between John being a best friend to Sherlock (which we've known for two seasons already) and the realisation that Sherlock was a best friend to John. And John has no idea that Sherlock committed suicide to save his life.
  • The last scene in which the two children appear, traumatised after being kidnapped and nearly poisoned.
    • Bonus Tear Jerker: The reason the children were kidnapped so easily is because they were the only children left at the school- it was the beginning of the holidays, but their father was in America. Claudette, the younger child, is seven. And these kids, who have a father who is rich and who attend a posh school and apparently have a lot of privileges in life, were left at school for who knows how long because there wasn't an adult around for them to spend the holidays with.
  • Mycroft reading the paper about Sherlock's death. He doesn't even show much emotion, only putting his head in his hands upon reading the news. It's not what you'd expect, because Mycroft has built a personality about himself that appears to be aloof and above such emotional outbursts, but it's definitely a subtle hint that his usually unflappable veneer is cracking, and it is absolutely heart wrenching when read that way.
  • Molly talking about her dying father. Not only can we see where Molly gets her perpetually lovely attitude from no matter how much she's suffering, but anyone who has ever known a good person who's suffered from a painful and awful disease can identify with the sadness in their eyes when they don't think anyone is watching. It's heartwrenching to hear Molly make the comparison. And Molly realises that Sherlock is hiding that pain from John because he's trying to protect John from his own suffering.
    • This is even more poignant because, in the first few minutes of the episode, John is trying to warn Sherlock to be careful about this "famous" business. Sherlock earnestly asks why on earth John would care about this, since it's not John that the media would turn on. Using that same logic, Sherlock would have to conclude that why should John care much about his dying? Except, perhaps, for selfish reasons? Sherlock's enquiry in the first few minutes of the episode seems genuine and almost childlike. Throughout the episode, Sherlock learns from John's steadfast support of him what it truly means to care about someone not for your own selfish reasons, not because you're afraid everyone else is right and your friend really is a fraud, but because that's just what friends do. And that's clearly a large part of why Sherlock is freaking sobbing down the phone to John, with tears dripping off his chin. The Sherlock of the beginning of the episode would not have understood why on earth John should really care that much if he died, since it's he who will be "dead", not John. After all, this is the man who couldn't understand, just a few weeks before, why someone wouldn't have a dog destroyed if it had become an inconvenience to them.
    • The scene where Lestrade goes off the first time and Sherlock comments that the police are deciding if they have enough evidence to make an arrest speaks to some of these issues. Sherlock simply assumes that John doubts him, and is frustrated and angry enough to shout at him, which is something he very, very rarely does. John is wounded by this, and instead of responding with support for Sherlock, he lashes out and calls him an "annoying dick" instead. It's the closest they come to a genuine two-sided fight in the episode, but instead of the source of conflict being John's doubt, it's that Sherlock doesn't understand the depths of John's loyalty and sells his intentions short.
  • When Moriarty reveals it's not just John who would die, but Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade as well. It's in that moment that you realize Sherlock is more human than he lets on and that the threat to any of their lives probably would've been enough.
  • A rather subtly sad moment in a emotionally charged episode occurs when Sherlock, knowing he's about to get arrested, silently puts on his coat and his scarf and waits for Lestrade and the police.
    • From the look on Sherlock's face alone, the audience knows that this is the last time he is going to be leaving 221B for long time. He's not just putting his coat and scarf on to pop out for a short while; he's about to leave his home and, for all he knows, he might not be coming back at all.
  • John's reaction to Mrs. Hudson's "shooting". He's on the verge of tears and is so angry with Sherlock's non-reaction... made even worse because we know the message is fake; in order to save John, he has to convince his best friend that he's a complete asshole. It's their last face-to-face conversation and it's a fight. And the last words they exchange face-to-face:
    Sherlock: Alone is what I am. Alone protects me.
    John: Nope. Friends protect people.
  • As for Sherlock's seeming indifference to Mrs. Hudson: Sherlock is counting on John to believe the worst in him. And John does. For the entire episode up until that point, John has been fighting Sherlock's corner and defending him no matter what while others have fallen for Moriarty's plan. And while Sherlock is at first indifferent as to whether people think he is a fraud or not, the one time he does care and starts to panic about it is when he thinks John is beginning to doubt him. It's a double tearjerker; firstly for the fact that John's belief in him means so much to Sherlock and then he has to purposely shatter it to save his friend. And secondly; the fact that it worked and John did lose faith in him. It was only for a moment but it was enough for him to turn on Sherlock and leave him all alone to his fate.
    • For extra heartbreak, what does John say at Sherlock's grave?
    John: Um, you once told me that you weren't a hero. There were times when I didn't even think you were human, but let me tell you this- you were the best man, the most human... human being... that I've ever known and nobody will ever convince me that you told me a lie.
    • John pointing out that he knew Sherlock was the "most human... human being..." functions as an apology because one of the last things he ever did was call Sherlock a machine. It may also be a reference to the fact that John had once made the mistake of calling Sherlock "Spock" when he was in the middle of having a panic attack. John never got a chance to tell Sherlock to his face that he didn't mean those things. And while we all know Sherlock is alive, John thinks he will never have a chance to tell Sherlock he was sorry, and probably thinks calling Sherlock a "machine" and turning on him about Mrs Hudson may have been a catalyst in his suicide.
  • This line, where John almost sounds on the verge of tears when Sherlock asks how Mrs. Hudson was shot.
    John: Probably one of the killers that you managed to attract!
    • On top of calling him a "machine" and abandoning him, John essentially says that it's Sherlock's fault that their landlady is dying. Having that sort of guilt on your shoulders on top of the rest of your life falling apart most likely would drive someone to suicide. John can't be certain whether the thing was set-up by Sherlock or an outside party but the accusation, which even he finds too harsh and has to cut himself off, was still heart-wrenchingly brutal and would add to the list of words that would no doubt haunt John until he discovers the truth.
  • When Lestrade first comes to Sherlock to confront him about the Yarders' suspicion of him. Sherlock brushes him off and says that he's not going to play this game, then talks about what a clever move it is. "You can't kill an idea, can you?... Not when it's made its home... there" he says, touching Lestrade's forehead. It's heartbreaking when you realise how serene and resigned he sounds — he has already realised that he has, essentially, lost Lestrade.
    • That little tap on the forehead seems pretty significant when you consider that Lestrade is a good copper, and Sherlock is a suspected criminal: Sherlock reached out to touch Lestrade, put his hand right in his face, as if daring Lestrade to react as a policeman dealing with a suspect and move away, rather than as someone dealing with a friend; someone they trust. And Lestrade chose to react as someone who trusts Sherlock. It's heartbreaking not because Sherlock believes he's lost Lestrade's confidence, but because he just tested it, found that Lestrade actually cares about him, and, if Moriarty has his way, is going to lose him as a friend anyway.
    • This next bit is even sadder considering the above: When Sherlock pulls a gun on John to escape arrest, Lestrade is visibly horrified. When the superintendent orders him to go after Sherlock, he does it silently and slowly, totally in shock. Meaning at least a small part of him believed right up to that moment, that Sherlock was genuine, and learning he might be a criminal has shattered Lestrade. Though it's entirely possible, too, that he understood that Sherlock pulled the gun on John just so John wouldn't be implicated in their escape, and wanted to give them time to escape.
  • In the scene where Sherlock is arrested, Mrs Hudson has no idea what's going on. When Sherlock is cuffed and read his rights, the word "kidnapping" comes up and she gives this alarmed little cry. She's really the one who has been left out of the loop in all the shenanigans of the episode, which may have been to try to protect her from Moriarty, but it makes the police arresting Sherlock look all the more unnecessarily brutal.
  • A small one, but after the girl screams at him and they leave, Sherlock tells John to get a different taxi because he needs to think and John "might talk". When we next see Sherlock in the taxi, alone, his expression doesn't look like he's deep in any serious thought at all. Instead, he looks utterly miserable. And this was only a few scenes after Molly's comment about looking him looking sad when John wasn't around. He didn't want to be away from John because he thought he'd annoy him. He wanted to be alone so John wouldn't see him like that.
  • Lestrade during the "Sir Boast-a-lot" sequence. He's doing everything in his power to defend Sherlock, and he looks absolutely stricken at the idea that Sherlock is a criminal fraud. Especially when you consider that in order to do this, Sherlock would have had to fake his friendship with Lestrade, betraying his trust and using him and manipulating him to get access to cases that he created. It's not just a professional disaster for Lestrade, there'd be elements of feeling personally hurt and betrayed by Sherlock, too. It's unclear how much of what Donovan and Anderson were suggesting that Lestrade truly believed, but even the idea that Sherlock would do that to him, after Lestrade had done so much to defend and protect him, is incredibly painful.
  • Twice in this episode Sherlock is more or less told that "being himself" isn't a good idea by John and Lestrade. That would be pretty hurtful for Sherlock to have to hear; that there's something so drastically wrong with who he really is that in order to avoid being arrested, he needs to pretend to be someone else. And even more sadly, both times Sherlock just kind of passively agrees. Sherlock can be arrogant, obnoxious, intimidating and cold-blooded, but he does have some admirable qualities, enough that instead of pretending to be someone else, he could simply work on his good traits and try not to let his bad ones get the better of him.
  • Molly tells Sherlock that she can tell he's not okay, because he looks sad when he thinks John can't see. Looking back on the episode, John is to some extent doing exactly the same thing. In particular, look at the close-up of John adjusting his tie in the living room mirror before Moriarty's trial, note  and the shot of him just before Lestrade and Donovan allow them in to interview the little girl. In the last one, he looks exhausted and miserable and worried. And this is before all hell broke loose when the girl started screaming. John might not have all the information Sherlock has and he might not be the one thinking he's about to die, but he's just as worried and sad as Sherlock in his own way, and just as determined to hide it from his best friend because he thinks he needs to be the strong one.
    • Also in that same scene is how when Sherlock points out that she can see him looking miserable, she simply says that she doesn't count. Having had her hopeless crush on Sherlock put down at every turn, sometimes quite brutally, she's just given up. There's also the fact that the look on Sherlock's face shows that, as in A Scandal in Belgravia, it's been driven home to him just how badly he keeps hurting her feelings, and he is genuinely remorseful for it. He can't even bring himself to immediately deny what she says, because part of him realises that a) he's given her every reason to think that way, and b) he truly hasn't valued her the way he's valued John, Mrs Hudson or Lestrade. Moriarty seems to have noticed this too, his agents didn't target Molly after all. In addition, Sherlock's eventual affirmation that she does matter seems to be a case of him having to do a bit of soul-searching to come to this conclusion; if one of the other three had ever said that they didn't matter to him, he would have been able to immediately tell them they were wrong, but with Molly he actually needs to consider whether she might be right.
  • John and Sherlock's utter frustration and fury when they meet "Richard Brook" in the apartment. How angrily John shrieks, "No, you're Moriarty! HE'S MORIARTY!" and Sherlock shouts, "Stop it, now!" at him, but the tearjerking part is just that there is no way for either of them to prove that he's lying, because he's just done it that well.
    • To see Moriarty earn the whole world's trust is frightening. But to see Sherlock and John desperately trying to prove to the journalist that he is lying while he begs them not to hurt him and then runs away is heartbreaking. There is no escape. The intensity of that scene and John's obvious panic as he realizes that nobody will ever believe them is truly gut-wrenching.

Sherlock's "Note"

Sherlock: Goodbye, John.
  • When Sherlock first steps onto the ledge of the roof, before John even shows up, he looks absolutely terrified. His lips are white. Cunning fake suicide plan aside, however he did it, it involved having the courage to jump off a freaking building.
    • Not to mention that his conversation with John could literally have been their last goodbye, and Sherlock knew it. He had no idea how long it would be before he could contact John again, or whether John's assassin wouldn't harm him after his "suicide". There wasn't even any guarantee that the suicide thing wasn't some incredibly sick prank of Moriarty's and he planned on killing Sherlock's friends anyway. Whatever Sherlock did or did not do, it was probably highly dangerous, meaning his fake suicide could go horribly wrong and end up killing him for real.
  • Sherlock was crying. Really crying, not shamming it to manipulate John, since he was too far away to see the tears. Sherlock. Holmes. Is. Crying. Sherlock Holmes, the self-proclaimed sociopath, who never cared for anyone to the point where it distracted him, is risking everything to say goodbye to John out of nothing more than pure love. Because that's what it is. It's pure love.
    • Furthermore, he told John that he was a fake, perhaps hoping that John would hate him, knowing that, and not be sad about his death. And although he chose to do it and probably will never regret it, it must have been awful for Sherlock to have to tell everyone he was a fake. Everyone. The whole world. It was on the front page of the newspaper. At the beginning of season one, being a genius, being right, was all Sherlock cared about. He chooses his friends over his reputation and he's right to do so, but he loses both reputation and friends in a way, because he cannot tell them he's really alive, for their own safety. He watches John mourning for him, and can't do anything to comfort him.
  • This line:
    Sherlock: I... I- I can't come down, so we'll just have to do it like this...
    • Sherlock most of all would have wanted to say goodbye to John face-to-face... but John needed to stay where he was and Sherlock couldn't come to him. Sherlock also hints that he's acting under duress by saying he can't come down. If he had decided on his own to take his own life, he could. He makes it abundantly clear that he wants to that.
  • At first, John is just confused about what's going on and determined to go in and find Sherlock. But after Sherlock tells him "Just do as I ask! Please!" he simply stops in confused dread. Sherlock is a) yelling at him, b) saying "please", and c) crying. John's seen Sherlock behave manipulatively before, but the fact is, he's also seen him fall apart before, in The Hounds of Baskerville. There is a huge difference between his manipulative acting tears in The Great Game and A Scandal in Belgravia and the real tears of someone who is genuinely in distress, and it seems that John can instantly tell the difference. Just as he's trying to process why crying, angry, begging Sherlock won't let him into the building, he's told to look up to where Sherlock is standing on the rooftop. Throughout the entire episode, John has trusted that no matter what Moriarty has in store, no matter how many snipers are circling the flat, no matter what, Sherlock has it under control. If Sherlock's not scared, there's nothing to be scared of. If Sherlock's not sad, there's no reason to cry. And being confronted with the final proof that while he might "talk big", Sherlock isn't this emotionless rock who doesn't let things bother him- Sherlock is the sort of person who would make a tearful suicide call.
  • Sherlock's line "Just keep your eyes fixed on me!" is filled with so much raw emotion. He reaches out for John, sobbing down the phone, begging him to not look away.
  • What is most heartbreaking is when Sherlock starts to break down on the rooftop. When he first calls John and tells him he's a "fake", he manages to keep his composure, and you can see him trying to be strong in these last moments. But when he turns away and goes "I invented Moriarty" and all John replies is a "Why are you telling me this?" Sherlock turns back around and you can see his face crack — John has just proven he's only going to believe in Sherlock and what he trusts about him, and that means even not believing Sherlock himself when he lies. The pain of what he's having to do to save John and do to him is so clear on his expression is heartbreaking, and the fact that John is there 'til the very end, no matter what Sherlock is pulling off. You can really see the heartbreak on him — on cold, calculated, unemotional Sherlock. And to add a little more to the heartbreak, he tells John that he didn't know about Harry from looking at the phone, but because he had researched him to impress him. Mind you, this was the scene that established their friendship. John was apparently the first one to be impressed and to actually say so, rather than telling him to piss off. And Sherlock himself admits that he's a show-off, so clearly, he likes impressing people. Particularly his best friend John. He was incredibly flattered when John complimented him. Telling him it was just a trick doesn't just hurt his pride, but even worse, it would have stopped John from being impressed with his best friend, had it worked.
  • Even while Sherlock is sobbing, John is surprisingly calm; intense, but calm. Sherlock knows he is going to "commit suicide" no matter what John says or does. John, right up until the very last moment, probably thinks he may still be able to talk Sherlock down. He's in shock, as he never saw any of this coming. And he's so focused on the only thing that matters to him just then- trying to convince Sherlock that he's not a fraud and to stop it now- that he doesn't have time to fall apart.
  • John's response to "Goodbye, John," is "No. Don't—" Depending on whether Sherlock heard his name being shouted or not, "No. Don't—" is the last thing he heard before stepping off the roof.
    • Up until that point, John almost seems in denial about what is obviously about to happen. But he clearly knows- the first thing out of his mouth when he sees where Sherlock is standing is "oh, God." Not once during their conversation do they bring up the fact that Sherlock is standing on the ledge or that John is trying to talk him down. Even when Sherlock says, "It's what people do, don't they? Leave a note." John naively asks, "Leave a note when?" when he clearly knows the answer to that. After all, their first case together revolved around a woman committing suicide and leaving a note. But John seems unable to accept that his friend is about to kill himself. When Sherlock says "Goodbye, John", he replies with a denial. Because he refuses to accept that this really is "goodbye".
  • John fighting, weak and dazed from his concussion, through the crowds to reach Sherlock, crying and begging; "Please, let me through, he's my friend!" And when he finally grabs hold of Sherlock's wrist his fingers are pried off by someone else and Sherlock's limp hand falls to the ground.
    • It is hard to notice the first few times, but after John is pulled away from Sherlock's body as the stretcher is brought over, he actually continues to beg, saying "Please! Please, let me just—" before he just sort of... Gives up. And collapses. This scene is somehow made ten times worse by that single, easy-to-miss line, because even after John's checked Sherlock's pulse and found nothing at all, he is still begging the crowd to let him back to Sherlock. He's still trying to check his dead friend's body for a pulse.
      John:, no...
      • And just in case viewers weren't in floods by this time, we have Sherlock's body being rushed off and John being left standing in the street, dry-eyed, speechless with shock and grief, entirely on his own, next to a pool of Sherlock's blood, and totally unaware that there's a sniper rifle aimed at his head. It's next door to Fridge Horror to imagine how and when John returned to 221B and what condition he was in by then.
  • In the aftermath of the jump, John sinks down into someone's arms; he really looks like he's about to either throw up or pass out. But a few seconds later he's back on his feet, grim-faced but calm, gesturing for people to leave him alone and not touch him. It took him only a few moments to grieve publicly before shutting down into "stiff upper lip" mode where he refuses anyone's sympathy or help.
    • The brief, wordless shot of John sitting in his chair at 221B, looking miserably at Sherlock's empty chair.

Sherlock's Grave

John: Please, there's just one more thing. One more thing. One more miracle, Sherlock. For me. Don't be dead. Would you do that just for me? Stop it. Stop this.
  • John and Mrs Hudson at Sherlock's graveside. Mrs Hudson both literally and emotionally tries to reach out and comfort John, who has always been a comfort to her. When John says, in a reasonably matter-of-fact and unemotional way, that he "can't go back to the flat- not at the moment", Mrs Hudson doesn't reply in words, but she slips her arm in his in this sweet little gesture which is next door to a hug.
    • It's implied that John is angry that Sherlock needlessly took his life believing he was a fake; Mrs Hudson says she's angry about all the annoying things Sherlock used to do, but she's clearly angry at herself. Because all of the things Sherlock did that she scolded him for, all of the reckless shooting up the flat and keeping cadaver parts in the fridge and bellowing down the stairs to get her attention, all those things- are completely and utterly petty in the context of Sherlock being dead.
      • Look at John's face as she starts ranting tearfully about Sherlock's obnoxious habits. She's not meaning to, but she's wounding John badly with every word, and he's having difficulty taking it, even though he no doubt realises that hurting him is the last thing she would do on purpose.
      • "Listen, I'm not actually that angry, okay?" Although some found this line morbidly funny, the way John says it, with such controlled emotion, seems to indicate that Mrs Hudson is inadvertently upsetting him even more by (quite naturally and as a function of her own grief) carrying on about Sherlock's faults.
  • John's graveside speech at the end, particularly his absolute refusal to believe that anything Sherlock told him about researching him and being a fake was true. Particularly this: "I was so alone... and I owe you so much..."
    • Before John begins to speak the first time, he turns around to check that Mrs Hudson is out of earshot. Just before he reaches out to touch the gravestone and to say "I was so alone... and I owe you so much..." he turns around to check again that she's still at a "safe" distance. John is so deeply emotionally repressed that he seems terrified of Mrs Hudson, of all lovely sympathetic motherly people, finding out just how shattered he is, how vulnerable and alone.
    • To make this even worse, the quick turn John does as he's leaving Sherlock's grave is what one in the military does after being dismissed by a superior officer.
  • When Mrs Hudson leaves John, she seems to understand without being told that there are things John needs to get out that he won't say when she's in earshot. The first part of what John says is very clearly rehearsed. Perhaps he wrote it down; he tries to express that so far as he was concerned, Sherlock was a hero. That he calls him the "most human... human being..." is a touching compliment to a man who few others seemed to recognise as a fallible and fragile human being. John's legacy to his friend is that he will never believe that Sherlock was a fraud; he finishes that part with "there", almost as if to say "I said it, I hope that's enough to make my therapist happy." But when he turns to leave, he turns back again, and this all comes out in a gush that's straight from the heart. In the first part, the focus is on Sherlock- he was a great man, and John won't betray that memory by thinking him a fraud. But this part is about John. Over the course of their friendship he has asked for so pitifully little from Sherlock, which is perhaps part of the reason he blurts out such an outrageous plea for him to not be dead.
  • When John starts beginning for Sherlock not to be dead, he sums up what it's like to lose someone suddenly. How unreal it feels, how dreamlike and absurd, that this person that you love is buried in the ground. How there's still that one tiny part of you that just wants to wake up and have it not be true. As in his therapy session earlier, the aversion John has to actually having to say the word "dead" is painful.
  • He reaches out and pats the gravestone; perhaps it wasn't just words he never got to exchange with Sherlock that he now regrets, but affectionate gestures like this (which Sherlock extended to him more than once, even if in a bluff way.)
  • John's line about not being able to return to Baker Street. It's Baker Street. There's six episodes worth of memories there. The time Sherlock and John spent days going through books trying to crack a code. Where Sherlock would keep all sorts of things in the fridge and through the kitchen. Where Sherlock would play and compose the violin, and where John used to sit blogging away (and one gets the impression, judging from his latest heartwrenching blog post, that John has given up blogging for good.) The place where Sherlock once spray-painted the wall and shot at it. The time there was a bomb blast across the street and the windows smashed. Where they held a Christmas party and watched James Bond films together. Where they used to bicker online when they were sitting in the same room. Where John walked in for the first time, claimed an armchair by the fire, and it remained his chair for two seasons. Not to mention little items like the hideous wallpaper and the skull, which became the household mascot. And then there's Mrs Hudson. John is fervently devoted to her- it's debatable whether he's actually more devoted to her than Sherlock is. She's now left on her own, because John can't go back there. There's too many memories and too many things that belonged to Sherlock for him to be able to deal with. Anyone who's ever had to deal with a dead person's possessions knows what this is like- a coffee cup they casually set down and never picked up again, shoes by the door they'll never wear again...
  • John's awkward mumbling at the grave site. His therapist notes that John has things left unsaid, things he'd wanted to say to Sherlock but didn't. He wouldn't tell them to his therapist, and his awkward mumbling makes it seem like he didn't say it all at the grave site either, apart from his "don't be dead" speech. This is a man who has frequent nightmares about the war in Afghanistan, has been drugged for an experiment, has had a bomb strapped to his chest, has been arrested at least twice, gets kidnapped often, and has committed murder for a man who, at the time, he barely knew. None of that made him cry, so John must be experiencing some extremely overwhelming emotions, must have some incredibly important things to admit to, if Sherlock is the one who made him cry.
  • And Sherlock's watching the whole thing. He can't hear anything, but the fact that John and Mrs. Hudson are there is more than enough evidence of what is happening. He's probably been keeping an eye on all three of them, making sure that Moriarty hasn't left any other traps or the like to kill them anyway after Sherlock's supposed death.
    • Sherlock may not be able to hear anything, but he probably can read lips. So he probably witnesses John's pain in every detail, even though he's watching from a distance. And can't do anything about it.
  • Somebody made a video of various clips from the episode, set to the "Doomsday" music track from Doctor Who. Here it is.

Series Three

    Many Happy Returns 
  • How worn and desperate Anderson looks. One can imagine the guilt has been tormenting him for the past two years. He's even lost his job as a result of his obsession that Sherlock isn't dead.
  • When Lestrade asks John how he's been, he at first gives him an upbeat, "good!" Lestrade gives him a doubtful look and he immediately corrects it to "Much better." It's implied that the last time Lestrade saw John, he was a wreck.
  • Lestrade pointing out the tape Sherlock made, then immediately regretting it when he sees John's reaction.
  • John's reactions throughout Sherlock's video manage to run the gamut from fondness to a resigned sort of grief. And, in order to work up to watching Sherlock, he pours himself a stiff drink from a bottle that is nearly empty.
  • While John is watching the video:
    Video!Sherlock: Right. I just... need a moment to figure out what I'm... gonna do.
    John: I'll tell you what you can do. You can stop being dead.
    Video!Sherlock: [as if in reply] Okay...
    • And the brief look of surprise and hope on John's face when he thinks, just for a second, that Sherlock was agreeing to his wish.
  • The message that Sherlock eventually gives to John is very apt to their current situation.
    Video!Sherlock: Hello, John. I'm sorry I can't be with you right now but I'm very busy. Many Happy Returns. Oh and don't worry. I'm going to be with you again very soon.

    The Empty Hearse 
  • This commentary from Lestrade to Andeson is so heartbreakingly full of guilt and grief:
    Lestrade: Guilt. That's all this is. You pushed us all into thinking that Sherlock was a fraud. You did this, you and Donovan, and it killed him, and he's staying dead.
    • Look at Lestrade's face as the reporter talks about Sherlock's death.
  • The first time we see Sherlock is when he's being captured and tortured, his back terribly scarred, hair long and dishevelled, and forced to be sleep deprived. His faded wounds imply this isn't the first time this has happened.
  • Mycroft breaks it to Sherlock that he can't just walk back into Baker Street and expect everything to be the same, and Sherlock's tragically naïve response:
    Sherlock: I think I'll surprise John. Walk over to Baker Street, who knows, jump out of a cake.
    Mycroft: Baker Street? He isn't there anymore. It's been two years, he's got on with his life.
    Sherlock: What life? I've been away.
    • It's quick, but upon seeing a photo of John, Sherlock remarks how much older he looks.
  • John standing in front of Sherlock's grave, two years on, clearly still mourning his friend. Then Mary appears beside him to hold his hand.
  • It's very quick but the look on Sherlock's face when he walks into the restaurant and sees John for the first time in two years. He just stops dead in his tracks for a moment and looks so nervous.
  • When John recognizes Sherlock, he quickly reverts from happiness to sounding like he did back when Sherlock “died”, too choked up with emotion to speak in full sentences, his face contorting, his breathing ragged, slamming his left fist into the table as he desperately tries not to make a scene.
    • The horror in Mary’s face and words speak volumes about how much she loves John. She clearly knows everything that he has suffered and she’s so warm and understanding when he has difficulty expressing his feelings or controlling his temper, problems he already had because of his PTSD Her cry of "Oh my God! Do you have any idea what you’ve done?!" is just one indication that John was so shattered after Sherlock "died" that maybe this deception and reappearance will rip open John's wounds after all the healing he did while he was with Mary.
    • And Sherlock figures out pretty quickly that this might not have been the best way to tell John that he's alive after that, but, being Sherlock, he has no idea how to make things right or stop John from having a massive breakdown in the middle of a crowded restaurant. John attacks him multiple times after that. Sherlock never fights back or claims that he didn't deserve it.
  • Sherlock grew up thinking that he was an idiot because the only person he could compare himself to was his brother, who was leagues smarter than he was. You think Sherlock's isolated, but at least he has Mrs. Hudson, Molly, Lestrade and John — Mycroft has nobody, because where Sherlock sees "idiots", Mycroft sees "goldfish". Even Sherlock thinks Mycroft needs a friend.
  • Sherlock hears John's voice insulting him inside his head, and seems really affected by John's rejection, particularly when Mrs. Hudson and then Lestrade broach the subject.
    Lestrade: And John?
    Sherlock: Not really in the picture anymore.
  • John's stayed away from 221b for two years, not even giving a phone call to poor Mrs Hudson. Immediately upon returning, he's hit by flashbacks of his old life with Sherlock, including his friend playing the violin and the two of them laughing about John "invading Afghanistan" in A Study In Pink.
  • Molly, engaged and believing she's "moved on" from Sherlock, gets a look on her face as he walks away where she realizes she most definitely has not.
  • Anderson's fanclub could be seen as this, concocting increasingly bizarre theories about how Sherlock is still alive and how he faked his death. They're right of course, but when Sherlock tells him how he did it and forgives him for his part in causing his "death", the poor guy still can't stop obsessing over it, seeming to have completely lost his mind. He even breaks down in tears and begs Sherlock for forgiveness when Sherlock comments on how his fanclub's fake case could have distracted him from a possible terrorist attack.
  • The look of horror and panic on Sherlock's face when he realises that John has been kidnapped, more so when he realises what is about to happen to him. When he's running through the crowd, shouting John's name, it could almost be a parallel to John's rushing to Sherlock's body at the end of the previous episode. Sherlock probably realised then, for the first time, how John must have felt thinking his friend was dead.
  • Before Sherlock finds the off-switch on the bomb and the timer is counting down.
    Sherlock: Go, John. Go now.
  • In the above scene, where John finally addresses a glaring issue that hasn't really been explored before: his own limitations in expressing emotion:
    John: Look, I find it difficult... I find it difficult, this sort of stuff...
    Sherlock: I know.
  • In the train car, when Sherlock and John think that they've exhausted all options and are going to die, Sherlock starts tearing up, not as much at his own death as the fact that John's going to die, and it'll be his fault. Of course, Sherlock was just tricking John, and had already deactivated the bomb, he just can't turn off the countdown device.

    The Sign Of Three
Being Alone in a Crowd sucks, even for a high-functioning sociopath like him.
  • John tries to get Major Reed to take him seriously so he can help Private Bainbridge, but, unlike in The Hounds of Baskerville, his military history earns him contempt instead of respect. Reed sneeringly refers to him as "retired" as though there's some shame in that and says that now John could be a used car salesman "or something". The stricken look on John's face is poignant; he's so wounded by this he can't tell Reed he had to leave because he was shot. Even after he's been unfailingly polite to Reed, Reed's still a dick when John tells him he's a doctor, even trying to have him arrested and accusing Sherlock of murder!
  • Harry didn't come to her own brother's wedding and it clearly bothers John, though he didn't hold out hope when he invited her. Either she's not reliable enough to show up to something important, or her alcoholism is so bad she knew she'd be never be able to spend a day without drinking, or even having just a little, and decided not to embarrass herself and her poor brother.
  • Sherlock's glance at John's empty chair at Baker Street, John's theme playing quietly in the background.
  • Sherlock's heart-warming speech doesn't leave a dry eye at the wedding. More so when Sherlock doesn't understand why people are crying, beginning to panic that he's done something wrong. His worry and naivety is so child-like that even John has to give him a hug to reassure him everything's okay.
  • Although John asking Sherlock to be his best man and admitting that Sherlock is one of the people he loves most in the world is heartwarming, the scene is also incredibly sad. John keeps trying to lead into Sherlock being the best man and Sherlock just isn't getting it. John assumes that Sherlock knows he's going to be the best man and keeps getting exasperated that Sherlock isn't following his train of thought while Sherlock keeps suggesting candidates for the job, and never mentions himself. John finally just has to flat out say that Sherlock is his best friend and that he wants Sherlock to be the best man for his wedding, and Sherlock is in complete shock. And the thing about this situation that Sherlock can't wrap his head around isn't the fact that John wants him to be his best man, it's the fact that he is John's best friend. Sherlock ruined his reputation and faked his death to protect John, he charged into a bonfire for John, in later episodes he'll pull himself back from the brink of death and commit cold-blooded murder all for John's sake. And despite loving John that much he can't comprehend that John might care for him just as deeply.
  • When Major Sholto was about to commit suicide, it was simply heart-wrenching to hear Sherlock say: " Of course, one should, but not on John's wedding! We wouldn't do that, would we? You and me, we would never do that to John Watson."
  • Sherlock, feeling totally out of his depth at John's wedding, humbles himself enough to call Mycroft and beg him to come along to keep him company. And Mycroft makes no commentary on the people at the wedding being "goldfish" or how's he's too busy and has more important things to do than be there. Sherlock starts to tell him that John (who must have been furious with Mycroft after his role in the Reichenbach debacle came out) and Mary would welcome Mycroft to the festivities. Mycroft cuts him off with his sincere belief that they would be "delighted not to have me hanging around." Mycroft's not going, purely because he doesn't feel he would be welcome.
    • In the phone conversation between Sherlock and Mycroft, Mycroft is essentially telling Sherlock that after John is married, he'll abandon him and Sherlock's only companion will once again be Mycroft. Then, to rub it in a little more, he makes an obscure reference to "Redbeard," and Sherlock freezes over.
  • All the conversations people have with Sherlock about how John's marriage means "everything's/nothing's going to change" lead up to the revelation that Mary and John are going to have a baby. Everything's going to change now, it can't be helped: there's no way John's going to be as willing to risk his life and spend so much time with Sherlock if he has both a wife and child to live for and look after. Mrs. Hudson's story about her best friend weeping throughout Mrs. Hudson's wedding, leaving during the dinner and rarely seeing her again foreshadows this of course. The shot of Sherlock completely out of his element at the dance, after he inadvertently hi-jacked the wedding and had all the attention, and he can't even bring himself to stick around for the second dance to show off his secret skills when the partners change, is wrenching.
    • Sherlock spent so much time practising to dance at the wedding and, in the end, he leaves before he can.
      • Made even worse by the moment where it looks like he is going to dance with the maid of honor that he has been kind of flirting with the whole episode, only to see that she is dancing with the man that he told her to go after.
    • This line walks between Heartwarming and Tear Jerker.
      Sherlock: You're already the best parents in the world. Look at all the practice you've had.
      John: What practice?
      Sherlock: Well you're hardly going to need me around now that you've got a real baby on the way.
    • This is the moment in which Sherlock watches the circle of John's little family seal itself closed, leaving him outside. His face gradually falls as the implications sink in; he has forever consigned himself to pressing his face to the metaphorical plate glass window of their relationship like a starving man outside a restaurant. His "place" in the warmth of their triad, despite everyone's best intentions, will be supplanted by the new baby. He will keep his vow to them, and if that's all of John he will ever have, he'll still take it, but the realization must have gutted him.

    His Last Vow 
  • Molly has broken off her engagement. Sherlock, after being a considerably nicer person most of this season, briefly slips back into his old jerkass selfnote  and points it out, after she's slapped him for failing a drug test, that he's thankful for the lack of the ring. Her response is just heartbreaking:
    Molly: Stop it. Just stop it!
  • After John got married, Sherlock couldn't bear to see his chair empty and moved it out of the living room. Though he couldn't bear to throw it out as he puts it back when he thinks John might need to move back in.
  • Sherlock's reaction when Mary is revealed as the assassin. It's the same reaction he had to when John appeared at the swimming pool to look like he was Moriarty — Sherlock isn't angry, but hurt and afraid. He pleads with Mary to let him help and is so certain that she, his friend, won't hurt him that he's visibly crushed when she does shoot him.
    • Mary's expression to as she faces him is heartbreaking. You can see that she's trying to keep up the cold, stoic exterior of a ruthless assassin but there's a couple of moments where the cracks begin to appear at the horror of what she's about to do. First is when Sherlock ignores her threat to stay back and approaches her, knowing he's giving her no choice but to pull the trigger. The next is just after he's been shot and the blood begins to stain his shirt.
      Mary: I'm sorry, Sherlock. I truly am.
    • And Sherlock is so shocked that he barely has time to react or understand what just happened. Just like his reaction to seeing John at the pool in The Great Game, his expression is like that of a "little, lost child".
      Sherlock: ...Mary?
  • We finally find out what "Redbeard" is, a word that Sherlock flinches when hearing, and Magnussen notes as a pressure point. It's Sherlock's precious childhood dog, an Irish setter, which was put down. Redbeard is later the "comfort zone" Sherlock slips into as he tries to cope with a bullet wound.
    Sherlock: They're putting me down too now... Not fun is it?
    • Made even worse after the big reveal in season 4, where we realize "Redbeard" is his mind's way of coping with the loss of his childhood friend, Victor. Meaning that when Sherlock thinks he might die, even subconsciously, he thought of losing his best friend, and how much he missed him.
  • When Sherlock speaks to Mycroft in his mind palace, he regresses to the ten year old version of himself. It's heartbreaking to think how small and childish he still feels in his big brother's presence and how scared he is of letting people down.
    Mycroft: Don't be stupid. You always were so stupid. Such a disappointment.
    Little Sherlock: I'm not stupid!
    Mycroft: You're a very stupid little boy! Mummy and Daddy are very cross!
  • When Sherlock is near-death, he thinks about all the people who will be saddened by his death, as shown by Moriarty taunting him inside his head.
    Moriarty: Mrs. Hudson will cry! And Mummy and Daddy will cry! And the Woman will cry, and John will cry buckets and buckets!
  • Janine sadly points out to Sherlock that they could have been friends if he hadn't manipulated her. That Magnussen gloats to Sherlock about how he used to do the eye-torture on her as well demonstrates that he realises that Sherlock at least liked her.
  • John's reactions during the confrontation with Mary... that turns into an intervention for John. It doesn't matter how much he's suffered and how good of a person he is, he's not allowed to have a happy, uncomplicated relationship. And apparently he should have known his wife was an assassin even if Sherlock himself just figured it out:
    John: You. [rigid with anger, he turns on Mary] What have I ever done ... hmm? ... my whole life ... to deserve you?
    Sherlock: [sadly] Everything.
    John: Sherlock. I told you... shut up.
    Sherlock: Oh, I mean it, seriously. Everything – everything you’ve ever done is what you did.
    John: Sherlock, one more word and you will not need morphine.
    Sherlock: You were a doctor who went to war. You’re a man who couldn’t stay in the suburbs for more than a month without storming a crack den and beating up a junkie. Your best friend is a sociopath who solves crimes as an alternative to getting high. That’s me, by the way. [waves to John] Hello. [points to Mrs. Hudson] Even the landlady used to run a drug cartel.
    Mrs. Hudson: It was my husband’s cartel. I was just typing.
    Sherlock: And exotic dancing.
    Mrs. Hudson: Sherlock Holmes, if you’ve been You Tubeing...
    Sherlock: John, you are addicted to a certain lifestyle. You’re abnormally attracted to dangerous situations and people... so is it truly such a surprise that the woman you’ve fallen in love with conforms to that pattern?
    John: [almost in tears] But she wasn't supposed to be like that! Why is she like that?"
    Sherlock: Because... you chose her.
    John: [losing control] Why is everything... always... MY FAULT? [he kicks a chair, shocking Mrs. Hudson and Sherlock, but not Mary]
    Mrs. Hudson: Oh, the neighbours! [walks out of the room]
    Sherlock: John, listen. Be calm and answer me. What. Is. She?
    John: My lying wife?
    Sherlock: No. What is she?
    John: And the woman who’s carrying my child who has lied to me since the day I met her?
  • Sherlock's voice as he recounts what he knows about Mary is incredibly heartwrenching. He sounds incredibly tired and sad, and at some points close to tears. Sociopathy aside, it's obvious from his voice and utterly defeated expression that he's been hurt by Mary's lies, too.
    • He's also got to be in a tremendous amount of physical agony which would also account for the very uncharacteristically slow, soft and faltering way he is speaking, which is in quite sharp contrast to his normal voice which is precise, and usually rather fast. He's been shot in the liver at point blank range, underwent cardiac arrest and aggressive CPR which almost certainly broke a bunch of ribs, and obviously surgery, and just a week after this trauma he takes a bunch of hospital painkillers, heaves himself out the second story window of a hospital. He's just about run out of painkillers by the time they all enter 221B. Given all that it's incredible he managed to hold on so long during that conversation, and its quite obvious he's hurting by the end of the conversation as his breathing starts to become quite laboured and his words shaky.
  • When Mary goes back to 221B with Sherlock and John after John discovers she is an assassin with a false identity, everything about her face, her body language and her dialogue is just... defeated. She is absolutely convinced that nothing matters anymore because John is going to leave her. Even six months later, at Christmas, she maintains a brittle, bitter exterior, waiting for John to tell her he's read her file, that he doesn't love her and that they're over. It's only when he tells her he hasn't read the file and that it's none of his business, and he accepts her that she finally melts and starts sobbing.
    • When John comes in to see her on Christmas Day with the jump-drive in his hand, she sputters this:
      Mary: Seriously, now? Months of silence, and we're going to do this, now?
      • It seems never to occur to her that John might be approaching her on Christmas Day because he wants to forgive her and reconcile. Her only assumption was that "this" will be John breaking up with her for good, that "this" has been coming for months, and that he has chosen to finally announce the end of their marriage on Christmas Day. No wonder she starts sobbing when he forgives her instead.
  • John's expression of pain when Mary rises from her chair at the Holmes' Christmas party. This is probably the first time he's seen her in months, back when she wasn't showing. He could pretend that there wasn't an approximately seven month count down to decision time if he didn't have to see his child growing inside the woman who betrayed him and shot his friend, but now the reminder of everything is right in his face. Mary has her belly covered by a blanket and is reluctant to stand up. He's missed out on nearly the entire pregnancy, but she saved finding out the gender for if he took her back.
  • The look on Sherlock's face when Magnussen shows him the "vaults". John is confused, but you can see it hit Sherlock just how badly he has miscalculated. He's at a total loss. John asks him if they have a plan, but Sherlock just stands there frozen.
    • Then look on Sherlock's face as he helplessly watches Magnussen sadistically belittle and bully John by flicking him in the eye. Magnussen orders John to try and keep his eyes open as he flicks it. Imagine how painful it is to simply let something touch your eye. Now imagine someone flicking it. Now imagine the person that you love like a brother, the person who keeps you sane, the only person that considers you their friend, and now imagine that you are watching this person being flicked in the eye because you screwed up.
  • After Sherlock shoots Magnussen, Mycroft sees him as the childhood version of himself—his baby brother, with tears rolling down his face, looking absolutely helpless.
    Mycroft: Oh Sherlock... what have you done?
    Along with his panicked orders of, "Don't fire! Do not fire on Sherlock Holmes! Do not fire!"
    • Even more heartbreaking is that this is, at least partially, the fate Mycroft had been trying steer Sherlock away from. He's spent a good portion of the show telling Sherlock it's dangerous to care and now Mycroft is watching Sherlock throw his life away solely because he cared about someone.
  • Sherlock and John's conversation on the tarmac, where Sherlock looks heartbroken to leave John for real this time, and when he gets the opportunity to tell him "something I've meant to say always yet I've never have," he backs out of it to crack a joke and watch John laugh for one last time.
  • When Sherlock wanted John and Mary to name their child after him, that seemed like a bit of humour, but the fact that Sherlock thought he was going on a suicide mission puts his desire to have the baby named after him in a more poignant light. He wanted there to be something left to remember him by.

2016 New Year's Special

    The Abominable Bride
"We have an agreement, my brother and I, ever since that day. Whenever I find him, whatever back alley or doss house, there will always be a list."
  • When Victorian!Watson asks Victorian!Holmes what made him want to be alone, he tries to reply arrogantly that no one made him, he made himself. But as he says this, he's distracted by the sound of a dog whimpering in the distance and whispers; "Redbeard?" — the name of Sherlock's beloved pet that had to be put down when he was a child, a trauma that he never truly recovered from.
    • Also when Victorian!Watson admits that he presents the image of a cold, calculating and emotionless Holmes in his stories but doesn't really believe that's who his friend is, Victorian!Holmes looks like he's about to cry.
  • Mycroft's reaction to Sherlock taking an overdose is one that any relative or loved one to an addict can empathize with. It's the most emotional we have ever seen Mycroft on the show; he's barely able to keep his usual cool and smug persona because he's so disappointed and worried about his little brother. He sees straight through Sherlock's claim that he took drugs purely to help himself be immersed in 1895 to solve the Ricoletti case — because he must have been high before he got on the plane.
    • The brief flashback to Sherlock's junkie days where we see a younger Mycroft sat beside him as he lays on a filthy mattress in a doss house, drugged out of his mind, as his older brother reads the list of what Sherlock has taken.
    • Mycroft's voice when he asks John to look after Sherlock. The tiny, almost broken, "Please?" is full of all the emotion that Mycroft tries to repress when Sherlock is around.
    • To top it all off, Mycroft admits he's not angry with Sherlock. He blames himself:
      Mycroft: This is my fault.
  • "Putting Sherlock in solitary confinement is like leaving you alone with your worst enemy."
  • During the graveyard scene, Sherlock deduces that the cult must have used a second body to fake Emilia Ricoletti's death, just as Molly did when Sherlock needed help faking this. As he recalls this, he notices the anguish on John's face and cuts himself off. We later find out that Sherlock is still dreaming at this point, which means this shows a part of him still feels guilt over how his fake suicide affected John.
  • Victorian!Janine appears as one of the Suffragettes, describing what how the men in Emily's life were basatrds and then we see glimpses of Janine and Sherlock's "relationship" and Sherlock's face. He still feels incredibly guilty how he toyed with her heart and how he lost what could have been a dear friend.

Series Four

    The Six Thatchers
  • A couple find their son, who should have been in Tibet, dead in his car after it exploded during a robbery (which lead to the smashing of the first Thatcher bust). Sherlock tells the parents what did happen to their son: The son actually left Tibet early to surprise his father on his birthday and hid in his car with a vinyl cover that looked like the front seat of his car. He was suppose to pop out as his father took a photo of the front of the car for him, but instead (as Sherlock deduced) the son suffered a seizure and died instead, his body left in the car for a week before the robbery. Even Sherlock feels pity for them as he explains as the two parents grieve the tragic death of their son.
  • Ajay's complete hatred towards Mary. As Mary explained, she and her team were like family and trusted each other with their very fast secret personal information (each keeping a flash drive of their lives in case one betrayed the other) and when a mission went horribly wrong, Ajay was captured and one of them was killed. When said terrorists who captured him gave the passcode only Mary was familiar with and mentioned "The English woman", Ajay flat out went out of his way to track down his flash drive and even find Mary because he believes she betrayed him when that wasn't the case. And even dies believing so.
  • Mary going on and on about how great a husband John is and how she doesn't deserve him, completely unaware that John has been sending flirtatious texts to a random woman who gave him her number on the bus.
  • Mary gives her life saving Sherlock and dies in John's arms. For the first time we see Sherlock truly speechless and devastated. And John? After heartbreaking sobs he lifts his head and stares at Sherlock with a look of pure hatred, reminding him of the vow he took at their wedding.
    • Later, Sherlock comes to visit John, but it's Molly who opens the door, telling Sherlock that John said that he wants anybody to help him but Sherlock.
  • After Mary's death, Sherlock goes to see John's old therapist, admitting that he doesn't know what to do about John and needs help.
  • "Go to hell, Sherlock." While this was revealed to be a portion of her posthumous video to Sherlock asking him to "save John", and never actually meant that, this can still stab you in the heart if the entirety of this saddening episode didn't wrench any tears.

    The Lying Detective
  • John's session with his new therapist at the beginning.
    Therapist: I only mean... it's okay.
    John: I'm letting my daughter down, how the hell is that okay?
  • Sherlock has fallen off the wagon hard since Mary's death and John cutting him out of his life. He's taken so many drugs that even Wiggins bails on him, Mrs. Hudson is terrified for her life, and Molly predicts that Sherlock only has weeks to live.
  • After realising that Faith is suicidal, Sherlock spends an entire night walking around London with her. His speech to her about how her life "isn't hers to take" speaks volumes about how he knows the pain he caused John by faking his own suicide. What's more, he says all this to her while experiencing agonising pain due to his recent drug use.
    • A brief but heart-wrenching moment. Sherlock glances at Faith's cane and has a flashback to John limping on his own cane, alone at night, during their first case together. It's heavily implied that Sherlock's deductions about Faith being suicidal could well have been true of John at that time as well.
  • Mary's casual dropping the information that John is back at work full time, and that he doesn't want anyone he works with to know that he's in therapy. No reasonable person would judge a new father, whose wife had just been violently murdered in front of him, for being in therapy. But John won't talk to anyone or accept help. And he knows this is stupid, because his mental projection of Mary tells him he's an idiot for not just admitting to his colleagues he'd appreciate some time off to look after himself.
  • John delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Sherlock in the morgue. And Sherlock saying that he is entitled to that vicious beating for his part in Mary's death.
    • And just to kick him when he's down (metaphorically this time), John confirms Sherlock's guilt that, yes, he did kill Mary. John later takes this back but it's still awful.
      Sherlock: No, it’s-it’s okay. Let him do what he wants. He's entitled. I killed his wife.
      John: Yes, you did.
    • There's something tragic about their friendship being so broken that John wouldn't have saved Sherlock had he not found Mary's dvd.
      John: She thought that if you put yourself in harms way I would rescue you, but I didn't, not until she told me to.
  • After the beating in the morgue, we see John standing over Sherlock's hospital bed, looking devastated. He leaves his cane as a 'parting gift' for Sherlock, telling the nurse he is there to say goodbye, presumably ending their friendship forever. "Mary" later confirms for us that John is feeling self-loathing for hurting his best friend.
  • As Culverton Smith prepares to kill him, he makes Sherlock admit his desire to live. Sherlock's voice breaks as he quietly repeats, "I don't want to die."
  • John shares his quiet moment with Sherlock in quite a while, taking a shift to watch over him so he doesn't relapse. Sherlock assures him that he can make it the next twenty minutes without supervision until Molly's shift, so John coolly gets up and starts to leave. Sherlock immediately starts up another conversation topic, in a way that implies "Please stay! I don't know how to ask you, but please stay!"
  • John's confession to Sherlock how he cheated on Mary and isn't the hero everyone thinks he is.
    • What does Mary say when John admits this? "Well then... Get the hell on with it!", with a tearful smile. Regardless of his mistake, Mary knows John was regretful and just wants him to move on. Which leads to...
  • When Sherlock goes to hug John during his emotional breakdown.
    John: It's not okay.
    Sherlock: No. But it is what it is.
    • It's worth noting that 'Mary' is not really Mary in this scene. Part of John's breakdown is that everything he has just admitted to her is what he wanted to say but now will never get the chance and that his wife died believing he was a perfect husband when he really wasn't.
  • After being released from the hospital, Sherlock's left eye is still—very realistically—full of blood, from the blood vessels that had likely burst while fighting off his would-be murderer.
  • As Sherlock and John are leaving Baker Street:
    Sherlock Holmes: Isn't that right, Mary?

    The Final Problem 
  • Sherlock's and Mycroft's overall character in hindsight of Eurus. Both the Holmes brothers have made it clear that they never thought of themselves as normal, not even as children. The flashbacks in this episode suggest otherwise; as a little boy, Sherlock is seen as quite normal after all, hugging his older brother, wanting simple childhood things like a dog and having a best friend to play pirates with. Then Eurus, out of petty jealousy, took that all away and traumatised Sherlock to the point of repressing his own memories of the events.
  • Mycroft, Sherlock, and John calmly discussing The Importance of Being Earnest before the grenade explodes in Baker Street. All three know there's a distinct possibility that one or all will die, but they don't discuss it. They try to maintain some normalcy before the explosion.
  • When John is tasked with executing the warden of Sherrinford. He takes the gun from Sherlock, and this happens:
    John: What's your name?
    David: ...David.
    John: Are you sure about this, David?
    David: Of course I'm bloody sure!
    John: Right... do you want to pray or anything?
    David: With Euros Holmes in the world, what the hell would I pray to?
    John: You are a good man, and you're doing a good thing.
    David: So are you.
    John: I'll spend the rest of my life telling myself that.
    • Of course, in the end John can't bring himself to pull the trigger, but he still goes out of his way to humanise, honour and comfort the man begging him to shoot him dead.
    • David is absolutely determined to do anything to save his wife, including kill himself for her. Unfortunately, that wasn't part of Erus's game, so she kills his wife regardless.
  • When Mycroft is goading Sherlock into shooting him, he is strikingly accurate in pinpointing all of Sherlock's insecurities — calling him an "idiot", calling himself the "smart one", mocking John as "ordinary and unimportant". Sherlock quietly implores him to stop, because he knows Mycroft is trying to irk him into shooting him and sparing John.
    • John trying to put himself between the two Holmes brothers. He would rather die than let Sherlock kill of his own family member
    • Which makes it even more heartbreaking when Mycroft reveals Eurus's Christmas gift to both John and Sherlock. He knows that whatever hang ups they had about killing him fall away after Mycroft confesses that he'd allowed Eurus 5 minutes conversation with Jim Moriarty...unsupervised.
    • Mycroft saying his final goodbye to his brother. He truly believes that Sherlock will shoot him because he cares more about John and just asks not to be shot in the head, but in the heart, assuring Sherlock that there is one there.
    • What Mycroft believes will be the last words he'll ever speak to his little brother: "Goodbye, Brother Mine. No flowers... my request..."
    • Sherlock, for his part, can't bring himself to shoot either one. So he plans to shoot himself instead. John, Mycroft and even Eurus are visibly horrified at this.
  • The Reveal that Redbeard wasn't a dog, but Sherlock's best friend, Victor Trevor, whom Eurus killed out of jealousy. Sherlock was so traumatized that he re-programmed the memories into that of a dog being put down, and forgot his sister completely.
    • The brief flashback of a young Victor standing in the well, calling out for help, while a young Sherlock looks and looks but can't find him.
    • The other Reveal that the girl on the plane is what remains of Eurus' conscience, realising she's done something horrible, but unable to snap out of her delusional state and "land" back on the ground.
  • Eurus forcing Sherlock to manipulate Molly into saying "I love you" too him. Especially the way her voice cracks when she says she can't tell him because it's true. The task is the only one that leads to a momentary Heroic Blue Screen of Death for Sherlock; smashing the casket and screaming bloody murder at the fact Eurus attempted to mess with someone he knows likes him and feels such pity for.
    • Worse, it was all for naught, as Eurus admits she was bluffing about her threats on Molly.
    • If you buy into the interpretation that Sherlock actually loves Molly too, it's even worse since such an emotional admittance would be hard enough for someone like Sherlock to make under normal circumstances, and now he's being forced to make them under horrible circumstances.
  • No matter how you feel about Eurus' character, her Freudian Excuse reveals that she felt worse off socially than her own brothers. Even if her attempts at love were restricted only to Sherlock, and there were little to no implications in the flashbacks that she tried to befriend anyone else before she was locked away, being more or less alone with only your family to love you (and fear you, even then) for who you are certainly doesn't constitute a happy childhood, mental illness or not.
    • During The Reveal of Redbeard, she even seems to show some hints of sorrow, possibly even remorsenote , when Sherlock finally remembers and breaks down in tears.
      Sherlock: [in tearful horror] You killed him. You killed my best friend.
      Eurus: I never had a best friend. I had no one.
    • Not to mention the hidden message Eurus meant for Sherlock in the song. It seems like it was a cry for help from Eurus to Sherlock, which has gone unanswered for many years, as Sherlock wasn't able to crack it.
      I am lost. Help me, Brother. Save my life before my doom.
      I am lost without your love. Save my soul. Seek my room.

Expanded Universe

     Expanded Universe 
  • The first few entries of John's blog manage to strike the exact point where Tear Jerker intersects with Fridge Horror. Except for a very perfunctory entry about getting together with old acquaintances, the only thing that's caught this deeply depressed man's attention is a string of suicides. And, disturbingly, John categorizes both the suicides and an old friend's marriage with, "Stuff's happening to other people."
  • Harry's comments and John's responses often manage to be both hilarious and this.
    • On early posts, she repeatedly asks him to ANSWER HIS PHONE, DAMNIT, and to meet. Some of her chats with other commenters suggest she really hasn't known him well, for a long time. When he finally answers, he suggests going for drinks. Remember that Sherlock mentioned her alcoholism as a reason why they're estranged, though This post suggests she's staying off the booze, this one suggests it didn't last. Look at the times — John immediately goes to check up on her, at midnight, though he'd been ignoring her for months before. This also means that by the time John mentions her going sober at Christmas, it's her second attempt, and Sherlock says that failed too.
    • Her forlorn apology for falling off the wagon (again) is really what pushes this from heartwarming (John might not be terribly nice to Harry, but he'll rush off immediately if she needs his help) to a tearjerker; she's aware, even though she's apparently completely loaded, that she's "failed" John. She's primarily focused on that, even though John's tone seems quite gentle when he tells her he's on his way to her; it certainly isn't in the least bit snarky, bitchy or angry.
  • Molly's reaction to finding out that "Jim from I.T." only pretended to be her boyfriend to get close to Sherlock and was in fact the criminal Moriarty.
    "I won't be keeping this diary anymore. It was all a lie. Everything he said. But, got to stay positive. Nobody wants an unhappy person working in a morgue. Not that they want a particularly happy one either.
    Stay happy everyone xx"
    • Molly Hooper's entire blog comments section. She comments on every one of her blog posts. Throughout the whole run of the blog, only one other person ever comments: Jim from IT.
  • The last few pages of Sherlock: The Casebook are John writing up what happened on The Reichenbach Fall. Unlike all the other entries in the scrapbook which contain post-it notes from both Sherlock and John commenting on the events, this one obviously only has John's input. His final lines where he laments Sherlock's passing are heartbreaking.
    "Then he jumped. I owe him so much. I needed him. I still do. But he's gone."
  • "theimprobableone" was mainly an obsessive, bratty Sherlock fanboy who insisted that he would be a much more worthy partner to Sherlock on Watson's blog. Post-Reichenbach he's treated... much more seriously when he becomes overwhelmed with doubt on whether to believe in Sherlock or not. It gets to the point that when he stops responding to comments and private messages, John and others begin to worry. The next we hear of him he apparently has someone "looking after him".
  • John's blog post about the video in "Many Happy Returns";
    • "But then there was this DVD. It was a video of Sherlock recording a message for my birthday dinner. A bunch of us went to this restaurant in Soho. It was great, actually. Everyone was there. Mike, Harry, Greg, Mrs Hudson, the usual suspects. Except Sherlock. He didn't come because he was 'busy'. He wasn't busy, he just... sometimes he struggled to fit in. He couldn't switch off, couldn't relax. He just struggled with people, I think. Yet the video... it showed the other side to him. He was rude, yeah. Arrogant. Apparently lacking in anything resembling empathy. But I'd forgotten just how funny he could be. He was so charming. So... human. It's bizarre because most people would say he was the most inhuman person they'd ever met. But he wasn't. He was everything a good person should be. He'd just often say what he was thinking rather than lying to protect our feelings. Maybe we should all be more like that? Maybe we should all be more honest? Although maybe it was a good thing he didn't come to that birthday dinner..."
  • John's first post in the lead-up to Season 3 could be considered this, with John talking about the past and his process of moving on, and his friends (including his new girlfriend, Mary Morstan) all share their support for him in the comments. But then his sister comes in and breaks your heart with a two-word comment that shows just how cut off she still is from her brother despite her best efforts.
    Harry: Who's Mary?
    • It's also clear from the commments that Harry feels very left out when everyone else is talking about catching up for drinks- something that she, as a recovering alcoholic, cannot participate in.
  • John's second post in the lead up to Series 3 is even worse. He shares some pictures he found of his and Sherlock's old cases. He tries to be jokey and upbeat but the final lines especially are just heartbreaking.
    "He deduced that the victim had faked his own death. I said at the time that it wasn't very likely. In fact, I think I said it was impossible. And he told me that it might be improbable but nothing's impossible. I wish I still believed that."
    • Then there's the implication in the comments that John doesn't seem to visit Mrs. Hudson anymore and doesn't even reply to the comments she leaves on his blog.
    • Someone says that they still don't believe in Sherlock. And someone else says that he hopes Sherlock is burning in hell. John tries to take it all in stride, but that poor man...
  • After John writes that he's engaged in his blog about The Empty Hearse, Harry writes, "YOURE GRETTING MARROIDED!?!?!!?!?!" Not only has John not told her he was getting married, but, even worse, no one answers her.
  • Sherlock hacks into John's blog and posts an entry while John and Mary are on their honeymoon. The entry as well as the comments really gives an insight to how lonely and bitter Sherlock is.
    Sherlock: They're both perfectly acceptable friends in their own way but then they start talking and I wish I really had died. I am, however, quite happy that they have found each other and that they make each other happy. That's nice, isn't it. And it is very nice to have the place to myself without their meaningless chatter distracting me from more important things."
    • The sad thing is, he probably meant it, considering his unfamiliarity with idioms, as demonstrated in a later comment of his expressing incomprehension of Mike's "Pot. Kettle. Black.
    • He then goes on to be rude to everyone who comments, saying how they clearly don't have a life for always being on the internet, when that's clearly what Sherlock is doing. He then begins to practically beg people to ask him about how he solved the case but no one is interested. Even theimprobableone has a date.
      Sherlock: Does anyone want to ask me how I worked it out? And who the potential victim was?
      Sherlock: Anyone?
      Sherlock: John would ask me if he was here. He always asks me what's going on and how i worked it out.
      • The one little typo on the lowercase "i" really twists the knife when you consider how pedantic Sherlock is about grammar- he's so desperate for human company he's just churning out comments without even bothering to proofread. He might have even been drinking a little... or a lot. Mrs Hudson responds, asking if he'd like to play Cluedo (and she makes a typo as well- read into that what you will) and he's so lonely he accepts. The little "i" also hurts on a symbolic level- he feels like he's less significant as a person without John's company.
    • This becomes even worse when you realize that this was around the period Sherlock went to the drug den. He claims it was for a case, but if it wasn't it implies he was so lonely without John around he turned to drugs. And when John asks why Sherlock didn't come to him, he couldn't because Sherlock didn't want to bother him and Mary with his own problems when they were so obviously happy.
  • After the events of The Six Thatchers with Mary's death, the site confirms John won't be continuing the blog.