So once again, my Long Meta is unfinished and I’m itching to publish something. It’s been bothering me that a considerable portion of the ‘romantic’ chapter of my meta has been devoted to yammering on incredulously about the way John and Mary’s relationship was written, so perhaps it makes sense to pull that out and post it separately, anyway. After, y’know, completely re-writing it. Without further ado, here is my opinion on John and Mary’s romance in the show.
It doesn’t exist.
"very hard to find a pressure point on you, mr. holmes. the drugs thing i didn’t believe for a moment. anyway, you wouldn’t care if it was exposed, would you?”
are you implying that he WOULD care if you exposed john as his pressure point, magnussen? because i wouldn’t care if somebody pointed out that my best friend was in fact my best friend unless i was secretly in love with them
reminder that there were actual, talented, trained and experienced people who stood in a room and decided, “yes, this is the angle we’ll use. yes, we’ll have sherlock drop to his knees before john rather than stoop. yes, we’ll do it this way rather than from the side or a close-up of hands removing the bomb vest. this is the one. this captures exactly what we want to capture.”
God I LOVE screencaps like this, and I love the shippy readings, and I just fucking love transformative fandom. But. When we say there were “people who stood in a room and decided” to pose it this way, and when we imply undeniably that they intended the shippy suggestion, then, well, I start to be really uncomfortable. Sherlock’s on one knee for 3.2 seconds, so this is one frame out of 95. And more importantly, it’s a 3.2 second shot from a completely non-sexual context, where John and Sherlock think they’ve just escaped a madman. It matches the angle and composition of all the other long and medium shots of John in the vest, and there haven’t been any other extreme close-ups of body parts, like hands and the vest. It’s the obvious shot for the moment. Saying they intended it to imply a blowjob is really far-fetched.
Look, I hate to play the heavy. I don’t want to lose the shippiness. (And yep, I take this image and fill in the missing blowjob with gusto, please and thank.) I want other people to dig the shippiness, too, including casual audiences. But if we justify it with arguments like these, that depend on validating out-of-context images with creators’ intent, I think we make the shippiness seem silly to many people. And it’s not. The homoerotics are there, they’re inherent in the situation and the whole history of detective fiction. But if we link sexualized images like this to showrunner intention, I’m sorry, I think we end up looking foolish. And I for one want people to take fans and their shipping seriously.
What if I don’t want to take it seriously? What if I just do this in my spare time—get on Tumblr, reblog silly things, write silly stuff—just to have fun? Because this is fun for me and it’s fun for other people and I really don’t care if, in this context, the creator didn’t actually want it to appear like a set-up for a blowjob. If they didn’t? Cool. My bad. But it does appear like a set up for a blowjob in the very brief period of time it’s on screen. That actually happened. People see it. I’m pretty sure that if we see it, people associated with filming—people trained in this stuff—saw it and decided to go with it [on purpose or anyway or in spite of it or whatever]. I wasn’t exactly performing a scholarly scene analysis in my post, which was written in approx. 1 minute and encapsulated a fleeting thought I had while looking at caps.
This is how I do fandom. This is how a lot of folks do fandom. This is how we have fun. I really don’t give a fuck if some random person thinks I’m “foolish” for having fun with a ship I love dearly, that means a lot to me, that helps me get through some days, because fandom isn’t about that random person or anyone outside of the fandom itself. If me and 600+ people looked at that cap and what I wrote and got some form of enjoyment out of it, good. That’s all I wanted. The end.
It is intentionaly filmed that way, the characters refer to the erotic reading mere seconds (!) later. A brief fourth wall down - because yes John, someone did ‘see that’ and yes Sherlock, they do, indeed talk. We do little else I ‘m afraid. Of course we are set up, the joke here is on us for getting the ‘wrong ’ idea. But the sexualised staging is completely intentional by the showrunners, it ‘makes’ the joke.
Remember how when Sherlock had his relapse the first and only person John called was Mycroft
They are allies in Sherlock’s well being
And then Sherlock gets fucking SHOT
Don’t you think Mycroft and John might have had a conversation about that???
What if John…