Sherlock has been still on the sofa for hours now, head (and toes, wriggling in time with some music John can’t identify) pointed towards the window where the curtains are flung open and—if he didn’t know any better than to think Sherlock is anywhere but deep inside his…
hey. i dunno if somebody asked this already. what do you think about john punching sherlock on his face in TEH wherein he punched sherlock on his nose. does that mean that john's love for sherlock has changed since in aSiB, i remember irene saying that the person who punched sherlock must've loved him since that person avoided punching his nose and mouth. just wondering. :-)
Hi! That’s an excellent, outstanding, fantastic question. And actually I think I have a few asks about it, so here we go!
In ASiB, Sherlock and John have just come from a fun afternoon at Buckingham Palace, where they giggled about Mycroft and stole an ashtray. They’ve been getting along perfectly fine.
As part of his disguise, Sherlock asks John to punch him. John is understandably confused, so rather than take the two seconds to say “if I look like I’ve just been mugged she’ll probably let me into her home without asking for identification” Sherlock just punches John, knowing he’ll retaliate. And of course, John does.
Sherlock grates on John’s nerves frequently, for sure. John doesn’t understand Sherlock’s “non-human” emotional state, the way he seems to care more about the case than the lives at stake. (Note I said “seems to.” We all know Sherlock cares very much.) John’s got a lot of pent-up frustration when it comes to Sherlock – emotional frustration, sexual frustration, all kinds of frustration. Sherlock’s punching him in the face, seemingly out of nowhere, triggered this attack.
Obviously John didn’t want to truly hurt Sherlock here. As Irene says, he avoids Sherlock’s nose and mouth. He jumps on Sherlock’s back and chokes him (sort of?), but Sherlock can still speak, and other than the mark on his cheek, is unharmed in the next scene.
John’s a doctor and a soldier. He knows how to sprain people. This is just an outburst of frustration and an excellent excuse for physical contact with Sherlock.
Onto the TEH violence.
This could not be more of a different context than ASiB. John’s been grieving Sherlock’s death for two years, and here he just waltzes in with a goofy waiter disguise and goads John about his mustache. So yeah, John attacks. (I cheered out loud the first time I saw it.)
It gets worse when John learns that (by his understanding) Sherlock employed the help of Mycroft, Molly, and twenty-five tramps, but didn’t trust him enough to let him in on the secret.
Still, if Irene were here she’d be watching with a sly smile (and no doubt a high level of enjoyment). Because both times, John just tackles Sherlock and takes him to the ground, hands around his neck.
Is John actually intending to strangle Sherlock to death? Of course not. But he does want to hurt Sherlock – for leaving, for lying, for all kinds of shit pre-Reichenbach John still doesn’t know how to handle.
There’s stuff you wanted to say, but didn’t say it. Say it now.
It’s not just Sherlock’s death. John’s repressed all. kinds. of. shit. ALL KINDS OF SHIT. regarding his relationship with, and feelings for, Sherlock. There’s a reason his therapist tried to get him to acknowledge it. And the moment John – in his own words – attempts to “move on” from whatever that relationship was by proposing to Mary, that bastard just strolled right back into his life.
The first two attacks were about the betrayal. They were about Sherlock treating the whole thing like it was just a big joke, about his not trusting John when he trusted so many others with his plan. But this last attack is different. What triggers it?
You have missed this. Admit it. The thrill of the chase, the blood pumping through your veins, just the two of us against the rest of the world …
It’s that. It’s all the other stuff, the stuff John wanted to say, but didn’t say it. It’s the two of them against the world, back when no one else mattered to either of them; it’s what their relationship was, and what it wasn’t. All of those feelings and all of that frustration exploded right here.
Somebody loves you! If I had to punch that face, I’d avoid the nose and teeth too.
So does this mean John doesn’t love Sherlock anymore? Pretty much the opposite. John had every right to be pissed as all hell at Sherlock, yet he still avoided the nose and teeth not once, but twice when he took his anger out physically.
But the moment Sherlock reminded him about that unspoken stuff, just the two of us against the world, that’s when John cracked – not because he doesn’t love Sherlock, but because he does. And it hurts.
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Happy 88th Birthday, Your Majesty! (b. 21st of April, 1926)
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The Queen has been photographed by David Bailey CBE to mark her 88th birthday tomorrow.
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