Loquaciousness Fandom Magazine Volume 2, Issue 5 (January 2017) - Page 9

By the time you're reading this, Season 4 of Sherlock will have already aired, and fans will be dead yet again until the next Christmas special or possibly the 5th season, if there will even be one. This article will contain spoilers for the first two episodes of Season 4: The Six Thatchers and The Lying Detective, as it was written before The Final Problem has aired. Today, we are going to do an analysis of the character John Watson, the first two episodes of Season 4, and how his character has developed over the two episodes, compared to the previous seasons.

Episode 1, Season 4: "The Six Thatchers." This is the episode we find out something major about John Watson that none of the fans expected. While Mary, his wife, was busy with their daughter Rosie, he was having an affair with a woman he met on the bus. Nothing physical, just through texting, but he still thought about and wanted more, as stated in Episode 2 ("The Lying Detective"). Everyone knows that he loved Mary, even past her untimely death, but what would push him to act that way? The pressures of

fatherhood could be one thing. Maybe he just couldn't cope. Maybe he thought everything was too good to be

true. We don't know yet, and it's possible we may never know. However, we do know two things: Mary is now dead, and Watson is deeply regretting those decisions. Nobody saw the affair coming, sure, but we knew that things weren't going to end well. And, after Mary's death, Watson is worse off.

In Episode 1, Mary dies after jumping in front of a bullet to save Sherlock's life, after her previous life as an assassin finally caught up to her. Watson, having no other way to cope, essentially isolates himself from Sherlock, blaming him for her death, while Sherlock isolates himself from the world. Watson pushes everyone away, save for his therapist. People try to get him to help with Sherlock, but he keeps refusing, at least until Mrs. Hudson in her sports car races to his house with a very obviously high Sherlock in her trunk, and one of Mycroft's security helicopters in the air above.

Watson begrudgingly agrees to help him with his next case, although we think it's only to prove Sherlock wrong. Sherlock believes that philanthropist Culverton Smith is a serial killer, and he needs to prove himself right. John continues to place blame on Sherlock and call him a liar, thinking the drugs is all some kind of trick, even after Molly Hooper takes a look at him and says that if Sherlock keeps using at the rate he does he'll have weeks left to live. Even when they're in the mortuary with Culverton (His "favorite room"), Watson beats up Sherlock after he grabs a scalpel and threatens Culverton. Sherlock allows it to happen, saying that he "killed his wife" (Which isn't true, it was just the answer Watson wanted to hear). Culverton continues to manipulate everyone else around him, and it ends up leaving Sherlock alone in the hospital with him.

Watson eventually finds the video tape Mary left for Sherlock and watches it alone in 221B. He realizes Sherlock is probably in trouble, and races off to find and save him. According to Mary in the tape, "John Watson never accepts help. Not from anyone, not ever. But here's the thing - he never refuses it. So here's what you are going to do. You can't save John, because he won't let you. He won't allow himself to be saved. The only way to save John is to make him save you. Go to hell, Sherlock. Go right into hell and make it look like you mean it. Go and pick a fight with a bad guy, put yourself in harm's way. If he thinks you need him, I swear... he will be there." He needed to believe Sherlock was in danger, even dying, in order to save himself.

Watson makes it to the hospital to find Culverton attempting to suffocate and overdose Sherlock, and finds a recording device in his old cane that he gave to Sherlock, containing the entire confession from Culverton and rendering him locked up behind bars, hopefully for good. John and Sherlock have a discussion back at 221B, and Watson finally admits that Mary saved Sherlock, and Sherlock didn't kill Mary. The hallucinated Mary that's been haunting him throughout the episode is there and listening as he reveals the affair to Sherlock, and he breaks down in tears. What follows in an act you don't expect, Sherlock embraces Watson and comforts him, in an act that brings some fans to tears. We find out at a later meeting with his therapist, that she not only was the woman on the bus, but the girl posing as Culverton's daughter giving information to Sherlock to help him complete the case. She then reveals that there wasn't a third Holmes brother like everyone thought, but she was actually their sister. The episode ends with a red screen and a gunshot being heard.

The character of John Watson has certainly developed over the series. Watson has gone from an army doctor stricken with PTSD after returning hom from war, to the assistant to arguably the world's most famous detective, to a husband and a father, and finally a widower stricken yet again with more PTSD, accompanied this time by anger and grief. Sure, he has made some mistakes, such as with the affair, but he does admit to his mistakes. He apologizes, and learns from everything he, and Sherlock occasionally, has done. As much as he doesn't like admitting it sometimes, he truly cares for Sherlock, even, as I believe, considering him family. If going from disliking a man, to working side by side, to having him as your best man at your wedding, to dislike again, to respect and even a familial bond isn't true character development, then I don't know what is. 

A Curious Case:

An Analysis of Dr. Watson

by olivia h.