I've thought about the repeated hitting, and yes... I can see that hitting Sherlock more than once is quite bad.
I think also the feeling of betrayal has a role here. Sherlock gives information to John, yes, but it's "everybod knew but you", and that's a really cruel thing to say to John who suffered so much. I think maybe John feels the instinct to hurt Sherlock equally much, and words just aren't enough again - how to find words that cut so deep that they equal the pain (and guilt!) John must have felt during Sherlocks absence?
I think John manages better when he tells Sherlock that he definitely won't go with him on cases - that's payback, that's giving back the feeling of being left out to Sherlock. But even that - I don't think it makes up for anything John went through, and I think the rest of it... the emotion that is still there after trying to verbally sort things, it has to go somewhere - and John hits Sherlock again. I really would like to, but I cannot come up with a different acting on Johns part for the scene. Maybe the writers didn't as well?
Maybe I cannot see Sherlock so much as a victim here. John was telling him from the very beginning not to stand up to Moriarty, not to get involved... and Sherlock got into it, played the game until the point of no return. That is I think part of Johns point of view. That's what John doesn't get - and it shows again when they're underground, how John shouts at Sherlock "and you did not call the police!"
Sherlock is suffering from his own decisions, and John refuses to take responsibility, that's what I see. Compassion, understanding, yes, but no responsibility. John will have compassion when he sees what Sherlock went through, and he will understand why Sherlock had to jump (to save him, John), but Sherlock got himself into trouble there, and why should John say "hey Sherlock, it's okay, you're just a victim like everyone else, I forgive you".
When he finally forgives Sherlock, it's out of friendship - it's not because Sherlock deserves it, I don't think it's about who deserves what: I think it's completely in this universe of wonderful unconditional friendship where you can give without expecting to get something back which is the reason I'm so deeply moved by John's "I forgive you" and Sherlock's "I've heard you".
John never really went along with Sherlocks games. He goes in there with him, supports him, but he doesn't actively take over the lead - he trusts Sherlock to know what he's doing. And for most of the time he considers Sherlocks actions stupid, but brilliant - yes of course brilliant, because they work out. But THE and also HLV show that they don't always work.
In TEH I get this feeling of John telling Sherlock: "you got us into it, and I don't know how to get out of it, I cannot help you there".
Sure, in TEH Sherlock is passive. But this isn't only about TEH. The power balance doesn't show in this five minutes of the reunion, but it's all over the whole series two already. If I put it all together, I think John and Sherlock ARE on equal terms, in the big picture - just not right there in the reunion scenes. That's Sherlock being the passive one for once, but he has been on the other side many times.
For the way John is portrayed here: it started earlier already - violence IS an output John uses. E.g. hitting the cop in TRF, when he kind of calls Sherlock a liar in the flat at 221b... this I find far more upsetting, because it's a situation where there is NO need for violence at all and John uses it nevertheless. I think in that scene, John acts far worse than in the reunion scene.
Last edited by Whisky (July 23, 2014 3:30 pm)