NOTE: the following essay contains spoilers so if you have not seen both seasons please go do it now and then come back and read this. Thanks!
So I have just finished watching the second season of BBC's Sherlock. I am completely in love with this show. It's very intelligent and filled with such depth and complexity. I LOVE it. The story is thick and interesting. But most of all the characters are so rich I just can't get enough of them. It's been a long time (if ever) that I have encounter such deep characters in a television show. I definitely recommend giving it a watch. Season 1 is available on Netflix and is for sale in most stores. Season 2 is a bit trickier to find but there are places on the net where you can get your hands on it.
Second season is my favorite season. The first season was fantastic, the very first episode in particular will reel you in. It is full of great character development. John Watson and Sherlock Holmes are beautifully crafted in this series. They are both very real people with a lot of baggage. Most of all the series explores the complex relationship between Sherlock and John. I find this the most interesting aspect of the entire Sherlock story. What interests me the most perhaps is how vastly different fans of the show seem to feel about it. From the small amount of exploration I've done on message boards the fans seem to be split into two categories. One camp consists of the stout literary followers. They seem to be very adamant about John Watson and how he is very much NOT gay. That he only views Sherlock as a friend and how he ends up marrying a woman, and will most likely do the same in the TV series. Perhaps even in season 3. Then you have the other side of the camp of fans who view their relationship as gay and that the show will eventually follow suit. Then there's everyone in between. I guess perhaps I'm in between? Let's first explain a bit about myself.
Here's my tangent: So I am not a person who has actually ever shipped two same sex characters ever before. I've just never seen the point actually. Lets Be honest, TV does a shabby job of exploring same sex relationships. In fact most of the time they simply just avoid it completely. I have high expectations when it comes to what characters I ship. I'm not going to just start shipping a couple for no reason. I'm also not going to ship a couple that is badly written. For example, there are many people who ship Sirius and Remus. I have nothing against this idea, in fact I can see it as being totally plausible. I've just never cared, cause lets face it, there is no evidence for it. So anyways I have never encountered a same sex relationship I could actually support. Then this show comes along and totally throws me for a loop. What is this? An incredibly complex, deep and interestingly compelling relationship between two men. Well then, I can support this! And gosh darn it, if only for the sake of there ever having been a same sex relationship in TV history that ACTUALLY goes there and does it beautifully then I hope beyond any hope that this is the couple that breaks the boundaries! I would hate for the writers to be like, "oh we were just playing with the whole gay thing as a commentary on society and how quick they are to judge when they see two men together." That would just be a damn waste.
As for the literary snobs out there who say that there is no possibility that John has anything more than platonic feelings for Sherlock well I would say that you are so far correct. John has said perhaps only forty thousand times in the show that they are not a couple and that he is NOT gay. So yeah there you go. And he does date many women. Though every woman he dates eventually finds out about Sherlock and his importance in Watson's life, they then tuck their tails in and run. So yeah, if indeed they do introduce Watson's "wife" in the next season I would be interested to see what kind of woman will be ok with Sherlock's place in Watson's life. And most of all how will Sherlock react? Cause let's face it Sherlock is a more interesting case. And then there is the mystery of where the show will actually go. It is a show that is loosely based on the books? They have used the story as inspiration but you can't say that it is word for word just like the books. There are glaring differences. Someone (on one of the message boards) said that the show is simply commenting on how people tend to view two men living and working together. That the many characters in the show commenting that Sherlock and Watson are a couple are just examples of how we tend to judge platonic same-sex relationships. Hmmm... perhaps. And very likely perhaps (though again, I think it would be a damn waste). I have a couple of exceptions to this argument.
One example being the very first episode in the dinner when Sherlock and Watson discuss their sexual preferences a bit. Watson asks Sherlock something about weather he has a girlfriend in which Sherlock answers with a very strong "no" and then Watson says something about it being ok if he's gay in which Sherlock answers "of course it's ok" and then Sherlock explains in a apologetic manner to Watson that he is married to his work and Watson very awkwardly says something like "of course." Now my experience with shows is that usually the pairing that the writers are intending to explore throughout the series, the pairing to be rooting for is often the pairing that is introduced in the first episode. So this immediately interested me.
Second example is found in the episode "Scandal in Belgravia". Irene Atler and Watson have a very interesting conversation. She suggests that Watson is jealous of her relationship with Sherlock in which Watson emphatically states (for the umpteenth time) that he is not gay. The interesting part is that Irene replies, "I am a lesbian." She is saying to him "so what? I'm a lesbian and I have fallen in love with a man, you can be straight and in love with a man." This comment really interested me, and its true meaning can only be revealed once you have seen the entire episode and know Irene is in fact in love with Sherlock.
Either way you go, wether Watson loves Sherlock platonically or not, doesn't really matter to me. I ship them as a team. As two men who fulfill each other in a way that no one else in their lives does. I do think it would be interesting to see Watson in a fairly long term relationship with a woman and how his dynamic with Sherlock would change. I must be honest that I have no interest in that relationship continuing permanently simply because I feel like it would interfere with the Watson/Sherlock dynamic and that it would change in permanently in way that I would not like to see happen. But perhaps I can be proven wrong.
Sherlock in himself is a very interesting study. While it is obvious that John is not gay, Sherlock is more of a mystery. From the Irene episode we know that he is a virgin(or am I just imagining that? I thought I picked it up in that episode though as usual it went by so fast I'm not sure) but more than that, that he is not aroused by the likes of Irene. It's been suggested that Sherlock is asexual which is see as totally plausible. He is after all married to his work. And his mind is pretty much on one track at all times. Never straying to something as useless as sexual matters. But it is proven that he does feel. In fact it is proven to Watson, who may have even doubted that Sherlock did indeed have feelings, when at the end of "Scandal in Belgravia" he asks for Irene's phone. And of course when he's on the rooftop talking to Watson, whilst crying, in an act to save the people he cares most for. So Sherlock DOES feel, perhaps more deeply than anyone could know.
How I feel about Sherlock/John is perhaps as complex as the characters themselves. I feel that Sherlock is a lonely man, trapped in a world of his own, his mind is so far from everyone else's. But then John comes along, he's so down to earth, so real and grounded that Sherlock actually feels like he now has a connection to reality with him around. And John who lives for action, who thrives on adventure has a means to that world now. And yes John is a normal bloke, he thinks women are hot and hangs at the local pub every now and again, watching sports and drinking beer. And Sherlock is lofty and solitary and estranged from the world. But there is this place of their own making when they are together. And they complete each other and John would die for Sherlock in a heartbeat and Sherlock would kill anyone who dared to hurt John. And they would be lost without each other. So yeah. It's not a stereo typical cookie cutter relationship. And who knows if the writers would have the balls to take it into a non-platonic direction. But dammit, it's interesting, and beautiful. And it's what I love most about the show.
SO yeah, Sherlock is my new obsession. And Sherlock/John are steadily rising as one of my favorite pairings of all time. I would love to discuss this show with others, so if you are also a fan please comment below and let me know your thoughts. You may also be seeing an increase in recommended fanvids for this pairing. I dunno, I'm a bit obsessed right now. I would also love to discuss speculation on Season 3, though I'm not really interested in very spoilery spoilers. Thanks for reading this entire mess of thoughts. I just had to get it out there. Perhaps I will write more on it in the future as well. Perhaps an in depth episode discussion as I re-watch each episode? Anyways please comment and discuss!! :D