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September 1, 2015 10:32 pm  #1


John's evovlement throughout the show

This idea got sparked in a different thread, and I hope we don't have a similar one so far.

This isn't just about how you wish John to be in S4 (as we already have a thread for that), but how you think John has evolved as a character throughout the show so far (and how you think, or hope, he will evolve in the future).

Personally, I see John's evolvment a bit like this:

He started out as depressed and lonely man in the beginnig of ASiP, a man without meaning or purpose. He meets Sherlock, who gives him a sense of direction and interest again. However, throughout S1 he has the slight feel of an "underdog". Sherlock is rude and John hasn't quite learned how to deal with him yet.

In S2, we see a much more balanced John. IMO, we see John at his very best in HoB. He shines in this episode. He has learned to deal with Sherlock being Sherlock, they are both on equal footing, John is secure in himself, who he is and his friendship with Sherlock. 

This starts the slow decline from TRF. Mostly because of the strain of what's going on, and of course, the loss of Sherlock. That doesn't just mean the loss of his best friend, but the loss of purpose and a way of life.

In S3, we never see John back at the top of his game anymore. He's more angry, tense and frustrated. Mostly because of outwards circumstances that he has to deal with hitting him more or less constantly - Sherlock returning, getting married, almost losing an old friend (Sholto), Sherlock starting drugs again, John not being content with his newly-wed life, becoming "a bit smoked", his wife turning out to be an assassin, Sherlock being shot and almost dying from said wife, Sherlock killing a man in cold blood, Sherlock being sent away for good (they think).

That is a lot to handle for a guy who already has issues with expressing his emotions. He doesn't have the time to deal with one issue before he gets hit over the head with another one. This all leads to him becoming angry, snappy and short-tempered, more so than in any other seasons.

For future series, I would hope that he get a chance to breathe and calm down, so that he can find the equilibrium he had in HoB. However, from what I understand from Mofftiss, that is not to be. So it will be very interesting to see where John will go in the future.

I will end this (rather long) start post by saying that outside of HoB, my favorite John is found the pilot. It's a subtle difference from ASiP in the series, but in the pilot John is a bit more pro-active. His smiles are broader, bit more active (taking notes) and a bit more direct and outgoing towards Sherlock. (I absolutely LOVE the restaurant scene with John going "Because we are idiots" with his not-looking-away stare and delibarate chewing).

To me, Pilot!John is the John I read about in fanfics. I wish they would've kept him in the series, although we see him a bit more in HoB.


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September 1, 2015 10:47 pm  #2


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

Hmm...I'm not sure I would agree about Pilot John, at least not totally, but it's interesting to think about.

As far as the earlier part of your post, I think you've got something there.  I would say there is something that grows up until series 2 and then in series 3 he goes back to something between pre- and during series 1, although not exactly because he still seems happy with meeting Mary and marrying her, at least at first.

But here's what I think, if it's adding anything onto what you've already said: John is used to what he encountered in the war and he's depressed from not being in it anymore.  I don't want to get too deep into this because there's another topic discussing it, but I think it's a combination of being upset by what he's experienced but also missing some of it.  And then he meets Sherlock and he can have some of that back, but it's new and it's probably better.  And for a while, that's good, through series 1 and then through most of series 2.  Sherlock asks if he wants to see some more.  John's answer of course is "Oh god, yes."  But then at the end of series 2 it hits too close to home as he's experienced his best friend's death.  And he's depressed again, because the meaning of his life, this time the life that Sherlock gave him, has been stripped from him again.  He finds Mary and that helps but he's still not quite the same.  The pain is still there.  It's not a perfect substitution or improvement on before, if it could be called an improvement at all.  And with what happens in series 3, there are more things hitting him very personally, unlike the other exciting things that have happened where even if he was in the thick of the investigation he was somewhat removed from.  And that's hard for him to handle.
 


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September 1, 2015 10:51 pm  #3


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

I think you have a good point. I think that if Sherlock had never returned (if he was actually dead), and Mary's backstory had never been revelead, I think John would be as happy as he could be (without Sherlock) with Mary. But it could never be a proper replacement, I agree.

So I think some of his frustrations in S3 comes from him not being happy and content with his new life. Yet because of his new life, and everything that happened, they can't just go back to who they were either. It's like a lose-lose situation, ending up with a frustrated John.


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September 2, 2015 12:04 am  #4


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

Yes, John needs to find a way to be happy again with things having changed.  Maybe things won't be the same between him and Sherlock, but maybe they can go from there and still be close and comfortable in each other's presence without having hard feelings.  I think both of them came out of the events of the series 2 finale worse for wear, and I don't think the problems (if I can call them that, perhaps baggage would be a more fitting word?) that resulted are completely resolved.  They are still experiencing negative effects.  And I think John is frustrated, yes.  Because he thinks he should be happy with what he's got since he did want it, and yet it's still not quite right.  It's like how you think of how things could be a certain way but if you get it it's not exactly how you hoped.  Sherlock was alive, but he was still very hurt by him seeing appear to die and he was angry that he had two years of grievning before he knew that.

And I think while it still wouldn't have been the same as what he used to have, I think you're right in saying that he would have been happy with his marriage and child only if Sherlock hadn't come back.  Because he would be getting all he could considering the circumstances. But once Sherlock's back, there's still the promise of the action in his life that Sherlock represents, the possibility of it that keeps him from being satisfied with only "domestic bliss" that he did want but doesn't realize until he's in the middle of it that it's not everything he wants.  He wants more than just that. He needs to figure out what to do about that, but there's no easy answer even if he has found out that his wife has a not-so-pleasant past.


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September 2, 2015 1:11 am  #5


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

I think one of the issues is that John has to make a choice about what he wants-- not just get swept up into something, or do it "because that's what people do"-- and, we've never seen him do that. 

 

September 2, 2015 1:15 am  #6


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

I don't think he really does things just because it's what people do.  I think he does things he thinks he wants to do, but then he's not as happy with them later on, at least as far as what he's done in series 3.  He expects it to be better than it actually is, than he actually ends up feeling.


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September 6, 2015 8:48 pm  #7


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

I actually agree with you about pilot-John; he seems a little more open and to me, friendlier. I must admit, like you he's more the sort of John I imagine in fics. He's softer around the edges and a little gentler. Kinder and easier. 

John does seem very angry and grumpy in Series 3, especially in HLV. I was watching HOB last night and I noted that he seemed very content and balanced with what he had, despite some difficulties along the way, Sherlock locking him in a lab and going into 'I don't have friends' mode being the most prominent! All that changed in time. It's one of the reasons why S3 is so hard to watch because John's grumpiness seems to make him somewhat unaware of the effect it can have on those around him - again, in HLV, he's offensive towards a neighbour, he's struggling with married life and missing the thrill of the chase and he even calls Mycroft when it comes to Sherlock's drug-taking, which to me indicates impatience and a kind of 'I'm not doing this on my own,' approach which he might not have taken three years earlier. 

So yes, I'm hoping John calms down and lets himself breathe, if only to save his skin from angry fans like me who would like to see him be a little less snappish. At the moment, I must admit I'm more fond of pilot-John than I am of real-John. 

 

September 6, 2015 9:19 pm  #8


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

I agree with you. I have to say, though, I fully understand John's behaviour in S3 consideirng all the stuff he goes through. It could make anyone of us grumpy, I think. But as you, I hope that this will calm down in future seasons so that he will be more in peace with himself, and the people around him. 


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September 9, 2015 4:02 am  #9


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

I have to wonder how much disgruntlement with John's ..well..prickly, snappish, punch-first-think-later attitude ( from s3) actually comes from a lot of people having Fanon John for what 2-3 years-- where we had "Saint John" , who was cuddly, and cute and sweet and put up with all of Sherlock's wierdness, only to have his heart shattered by the Fall (which some  thought  at the time was just Sherlock being mean to John) --

Then we have extremely damaged John--- and he doesn't seem to haved moved past that. 

Has John (on the show) actually changed that much? Or do we think that his character is following a logical progression? 

Last edited by RavenMorganLeigh (September 9, 2015 4:02 am)

 

September 9, 2015 4:26 am  #10


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

RavenMorganLeigh wrote:

Has John (on the show) actually changed that much? Or do we think that his character is following a logical progression? 

I think what you wrote about fanon John is absolutely right. I would like to add that S1 and S2 show John's POV. We see everything from his perspective - including himself. In S3, we get Sherlock's view. Sherlock has to deal with the fact that he did not return to the same world he had left. That could also be partly responsible for why John appears to be different than before.


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September 9, 2015 9:59 am  #11


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

RavenMorganLeigh wrote:

Has John (on the show) actually changed that much? Or do we think that his character is following a logical progression? 

I think these are interesting questions. The progression I've seen I've written in the starter post. I find John's behaviour in S3 very understandable considering what he's going through. In a way I hope that whatever mess they will get into in S4, it will not involve John as directly as it did in S3, so that he can get a break and get back to becoming more supportive. 

Previously when John has tried to be actively supportive (ASiB and TRF) he has more than once been brushed aside by Sherlock. What I would love to see for the future is the evolvment of both of them in a way that can make John become the supportive one again, and Sherlock accepting it openly this time. 


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September 14, 2015 8:08 pm  #12


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

So, something came up over in the Mary thread which should be better discussed in here. I said that John was not necessarily always "Petey Pureheart" or the good guy in comparison to Sherlock. One thing that brought up this idea is this here:

http://johnnlocked.tumblr.com/post/129000699571/watsonshoneybee-desperately-unspoken

An interesting reading of the fireplace scene. And I would add some scenes from series 3 as well. The "drama queen" scene for example. Or the "dancing behind closed curtains". Minor instances, maybe, but they show how John be quite unfeeling towards Sherlock or does not always recognise when his friend needs help. Or the "not knowing who Sherlock would protect" remark. 


------------------------------
"Love conquers all." (Benedict Cumberbatch about Sherlock)

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

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September 14, 2015 8:23 pm  #13


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

SusiGo wrote:

So, something came up over in the Mary thread which should be better discussed in here. I said that John was not necessarily always "Petey Pureheart" or the good guy in comparison to Sherlock. One thing that brought up this idea is this here:

http://johnnlocked.tumblr.com/post/129000699571/watsonshoneybee-desperately-unspoken

An interesting reading of the fireplace scene. And I would add some scenes from series 3 as well. The "drama queen" scene for example. Or the "dancing behind closed curtains". Minor instances, maybe, but they show how John be quite unfeeling towards Sherlock or does not always recognise when his friend needs help. Or the "not knowing who Sherlock would protect" remark. 

I'd also like to include some of the things he's said on his blog-- including saying that Sherlock was "spectacuarly ignorant"-- about some things. There's a side of John that seems to enjoy seeing Sherlock taken down a few pegs... 

In the Blind Banker, when Sherlock and John met in Seb's office, Seb said some fairly hurtful things-- and John-- just smirked about it. He didn't want to be introduced as a friend-- but a colleague. And you could see how hurt Sherlock was. 

I've got to go to work, but I'll check in later. Too interesting a topic!

Last edited by RavenMorganLeigh (September 14, 2015 8:23 pm)

 

September 14, 2015 8:28 pm  #14


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

See you!

I expressly do not wish to paint John as a baddie in any way. I just want to state that I think they are equals in many ways, flawed, with weaknesses, but eventually good men. The nice and fluffy John Watson IMO is indeed a product of certain fanfics and not the character we see in the show. 


------------------------------
"Love conquers all." (Benedict Cumberbatch about Sherlock)

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

September 14, 2015 8:34 pm  #15


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

Oh, they are definitly equal. As I've said in other threads, they are both dysfunctional when it comes to emotions, but in slightly different ways. John struggles both with expressing his emotions, and it seems he also struggles with how to react when other people express theirs.

Nuanced discussion about both John's strengths and weaknesses is interesting, but I just want to say that I hope this thread won't turn into a John bashing thread.


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September 14, 2015 8:37 pm  #16


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

I hope I made myself clear that this was not my intention. 


------------------------------
"Love conquers all." (Benedict Cumberbatch about Sherlock)

"It is what it is says love." (Erich Fried)

“Enjoy the journey of life and not just the endgame. I’m also a great believer in treating others as you would like to be treated.” (Benedict Cumberbatch)

http://up.picr.de/28609194so.png

 
 

September 14, 2015 8:45 pm  #17


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

Oh, you did, I was just being pre-emptive - and probably a tad paranoid.

John is nice, but I would never call him fluffy. He is much more capable of blending in socially than Sherlock. He knows - in general - how to behave, and can almost be seen to be a bit anonymous, especially in contrast to Sherlock's more flamboyant persona. (Also, he has cuddly jumpers). But John is dangerous, repressed and damaged.

 


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September 14, 2015 9:31 pm  #18


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

Does anyone think that John's tendency to be more focused on the emotional aspects of a case (TGG) makes him a liability at times?

 

September 14, 2015 9:33 pm  #19


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

No, I've never seen him as a liability in cases. I see him as the catalyst for Sherlock's emotional development.


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September 14, 2015 10:34 pm  #20


Re: John's evovlement throughout the show

I was thinking about when (TGG) he got angry with Sherlock for not outwardly being upset and disturbed about the human element-- so, at first he wasn't going to help. Until Sherlock called him on it: " Not much cop, this caring lark--".

 

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