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November 13, 2015 11:36 am  #1


Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

I got to thinking about Sherlock, John and anger. I used to think that out of the two, John was the one who easily got annoyed or angry with Sherlock whereas Sherlock never got angry at John. (I'm not including Sherlock's impatient "Don't be an idiot"-remarks as those aren't anger, just more or less part of his personality since no one can ever match him in deductions).

My suggestion is that it's not that Sherlock doesn't get angry at John, it's that he shows it very differently. (Everything in this post/meta is of course only my own subjective interpretations of the characters).

We see John showing everything from light exasperation to violent fury towards Sherlock, and everything inbetween. When John is annoyed or angry, he shows it. However, we rarely if ever see Sherlock doing the same.

Sherlock and John's first (and only?) proper quarrel was in TGG. The "do not make people into heroes"-scene. Here, Sherlock reacts with sarcasm and a sort of detached arrogance. There is of couse also the solar system quarrel, where Sherlock again turns to sarcasm and a bit of a childish sulky way of quarreling.  In ASiB we see a bit of annoyance ("Don't mention the unsolved ones!"), and his reaction to John's remark about "no one reads your blog" is to sulk and walk away.

To me, it speaks of very different pattern of reactions in Sherlock and John. Sherlock, as we know, represses emotions of any kind, wanting to keep a cool intellectual approach on all things. I believe that might explain why he reacts with either sulkiness or with detached sarcasm. The sulkiness comes from him having repressed any emotional reactions from such a young age that he never learned how to deal with frustrations and interactions in a mature way. 

The detached saracasm I recognize in myself to a certain degree. If someone comes and yells in my face, I turn quiet and cold - it makes the contrast even bigger, and makes them look like the bigger fool. (Also, yelling back will usually just escalate the situation).

The only time I've seen Sherlock showing any kind of proper anger is in moments of fear and despearation - when he can't keep control of those emotions any more because they are too strong, it shows as anger. 

"I have no friends!"
"Fly in the ointment, grit on the lense..."
"There is nothing wrong with me!"
"Stop it! Stop it now!"
"You are insane!"
"Why do you never feel pain?"

Let me just also say that I don't think either Sherlock or John are "better" or "worse". It's just different ways of coping with frustration and anger, because of their background and their personalities.
 


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November 13, 2015 12:26 pm  #2


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

Thinking of all the episodes I think the most angry Sherlock ever got with John was in TRF when for a moment he thinks that John has come to believe Moriarty's lies about him.  There's a real desperation in his "can't you see what he's doing" outburst that we usually don't hear from Sherlock. Of all the things that have happened to him the one that hits the hardest is to think that John doubts him.
 His Hounds rant is much more dramatic but there I don't see him really being angry at John.  Sherlock is angry at himself and John is, of course, in just the right place to dump his feelings on.


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November 13, 2015 1:48 pm  #3


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

Oh, I forgot that TRF line. Good one. I agree - it's probably the only angry outburst directed to John in the series, and it comes from fear and desperation. It seems Sherlock only reacts with that kind of anger when he loses control of his own fear and desparation.

I agree, I don't see the Hounds one as anger towards John. Not directly. It was anger born out of fear, and I think anyone who would have sat there would have been at the receiving end of it. It had very little to do with John and very much to do with Sherlock himself.


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November 13, 2015 3:18 pm  #4


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

I agree, I never saw Sherlock's outburst in The Hounds of Baskerville as him being angry at John.  Even if you just listen to what he's saying, it's not about John.

From what I remember and from reading what you two have already said, I think it is true that usually Sherlock gets angry when he's having trouble controlling his emotions in an intense situation.

He does mention how he hates Magnussen, but we don't always necessarily see "rage" or "pure anger" when they are in the same room.  I just took a quick look at a couple scenes and I found that in the presence of Magnussen, in the flat at Baker Steet, you can see it in Sherlock's expression.  He's pretty quiet, but anger is not always loud, is it? In the restaurant scene, they're both trying to put on a front, play with each other.  Sherlock isn't really angry.
In Appledore, Sherlock seems frustrated with some of that silent anger again.  But he's calculating, too.  Later, as John is in distress, for a while he no longer looks angry but upset by what he is seeing and not knowing what to do.  As it continues, Sherlock looks angry again.  His anger is rising.

In between those scenes is Sherlock's revelation of Mary to John, and while I don't think it's the only thing Sherlock expresses in that scene, for some of it he does seem angry with her.  But I think it's more for keeping a secret that could hurt John, rather than the idea of keeping something like that secret.
Sherlock does follow his shooting of Magnussen with "Give Mary my love," so either he stops being angry at her or his anger is override by wanting to help her for John's sake.

Now, after writing this I've realized that I have veered off the topic a bit, talking about Sherlock getting angry other that at John.  But perhaps from this we might see that more often he gets angry at other people and not John? Or that when he gets angry and it relates to John, it's not because of John's doing but someone else's, how that hurts John?

Last edited by Yitzock (November 13, 2015 3:18 pm)


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November 13, 2015 4:11 pm  #5


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

Yitzock wrote:

Now, after writing this I've realized that I have veered off the topic a bit, talking about Sherlock getting angry other that at John.  But perhaps from this we might see that more often he gets angry at other people and not John? Or that when he gets angry and it relates to John, it's not because of John's doing but someone else's, how that hurts John?

Actually, this is an interesting way to take the discussion - compare Sherlock's propensity for anger at other people (specifically allies) versus anger towards John.

In HLV, he gets very angry at Mycroft, to the point of causing him physical pain.

In HoB, he gets mildly angry when he discovers "Greg" had followed them.  (Though it is possible that he is acting out of anger for Mycroft - this can be an important distinction as it may hint that Mycroft is usually the only one who can push him towards real anger.)

He also gets angry in ASiB, at the palace, when he didn't know who his client was.  Was his anger there for the situation, or towards Mycroft?  Or was it easier to express anger at the situation because Mycroft was involved?

Sorry, I'm going all over the place here.  But it implies the question: Is Sherlock less likely to get angry with John, or more likely to get angry with [Mycroft] other allies, given similar behavior.

 

November 13, 2015 8:01 pm  #6


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

I think there will always be a bit of little brother anger from Sherlock towards Mycroft, though it will normally be the situation that annoys him.
I think Sherlock does get angry with John, though more out of frustration....less so than he does with Lestrade.
He doesn't ever get angry with Molly, does he?

Last edited by besleybean (November 13, 2015 8:02 pm)


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November 13, 2015 8:37 pm  #7


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

It has been suggested that his verbal assault on Molly at xmas (ASiB) was in retaliation (therefore indicating a degree of anger) for her mentioning his complaints about John going away for the holiday.  I'm not sure if "anger" in that instance is fact or an interpretation, however.

Other than that, I can't recall any instances where he showed anger at Molly.

 

November 13, 2015 8:41 pm  #8


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

Oh I don't think it's anger: I think it's a combination of teasing and showing off...


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November 13, 2015 9:15 pm  #9


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

I think it's interesting to see that it usually takes a lot more for Sherlock to show pure anger than it does with John. I think it's partly because Sherlock is better at controlling his emotions - it takes more (like proper fear or desperation) for that anger to come out. And partly because it does come out, but in a different form (sulkiness or detached arrogance).

But as you guys have mentioned, the execption here is Mycroft. It seems his brother manages to hit all the right (or wrong) buttons, so Sherlock's anger is always right under the surface whenever he deals with Mycroft.


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November 13, 2015 9:39 pm  #10


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

I tend to think Sherlock is never really angry at Mycroft. It´s more acting than anger - he does it to show his defiant independence from his "big brother". Still, when he´s in trouble (like in TRF, TEH or HLV) he does not hesitate to ask Mycroft for help - or at least he expects Mycroft to make everything better.

The only occasions when Sherlock seems to be angry at particular person and not merely frustrated and uneasy about his loss of controll happened in TRF (Sherlock screaming at Moriarty in Kitty Riley´s flat) and HLV (Sherlock being angry at CAM for flicking John´s face and shooting him with a sneer "Merry Christmas" on his lips). Otherwise, he seems to never be angry at people - probably because he considers more of them to be foolish and you cannot really quarrel with fools. It is better to unfase them with sarcastic remarks or to overlook them in pride....

John was similar at the beginning. His anger manifested through sassy wit and thin quiet smiles not through stormy screaming fits... but during the ride through S3 he somehow infected himself with "Latin telenovela virus" and now he shouts and screams at the slightest provocation...

Last edited by nakahara (November 13, 2015 9:41 pm)


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November 13, 2015 9:49 pm  #11


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

Please don't make this into another John bashing thread. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


I agree with tonnarree that Sherlock also seems angry with John in TRF when he shouts "Can't you see what's going on?" But like in most other instances when Sherlock shows anger, it's born out of overwhelming fear and desperation. Or so I see it.


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November 13, 2015 9:59 pm  #12


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

I agree with you.
Sherlock loves John and can't bear to think John's humanity will fail him.


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November 13, 2015 10:04 pm  #13


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

I think than in this particular occasion Sherlock was angry at his own loss of controll over the whole situation and would burst anyway - John as such has nothing to do with that. So I would not take that for the real anger at John.

Plus, in hindsight, when we already know that Sherlock deliberately tried to persuade John that he is a fraud, it seems even more implausible that he would be truly angry at him...


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November 13, 2015 10:04 pm  #14


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

Yeah, he doesn't seem angry when Lestrade comes to arrest him. He doesn't even seem hurt or disappointed, it's more as if he was expecting it. But he loses it when he thinks John might doubt him. I do believe it was anger born out of fear in that moment. 

He might want to persuade John to believe he was a fraud (although I'm not sure if that was already a set plan at the time this scene occured as they didn't know of Moriarty's ultimatum by then). But it's one thing having to persuade John to not believe in him and to have John lose faith in him on his own, I think.

Last edited by Vhanja (November 13, 2015 10:06 pm)


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November 13, 2015 10:07 pm  #15


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

besleybean wrote:

Oh I don't think it's anger: I think it's a combination of teasing and showing off...

In the Christmas scene with Molly I don't see teasing at all.  It was much more harsh than his occasional "you're an idiot" comments.  What he said to Molly was mean with a capital M.  I won't say for sure why he was mean to Molly, weather it was anger at what she said about John or something else, but you can't convince me it wasn't cruel.


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November 13, 2015 10:11 pm  #16


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

True, but on the other hand... in TRF we cannot precisely know what in Sherlock´s behaviour is acting and what is a genuine emotion... so we can never be sure what really possesses him in that scene. He is supposed to act as Moriarty´s victim and this "fit of anger" would fit into that act.


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November 13, 2015 10:29 pm  #17


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

tonnaree wrote:

besleybean wrote:

Oh I don't think it's anger: I think it's a combination of teasing and showing off...

In the Christmas scene with Molly I don't see teasing at all. It was much more harsh than his occasional "you're an idiot" comments. What he said to Molly was mean with a capital M. I won't say for sure why he was mean to Molly, weather it was anger at what she said about John or something else, but you can't convince me it wasn't cruel.

Yes, I agree with this completely.

Even Sherlock himself realized how utterly cruel he had treated Molly. His reaction upon seeing his name on the gift seemed to be a profound realization that he had hurt somebody who loved him. And his follow-up apology (a rare occurrence for him) strongly implies his intentions were were much worse than a simple tease.

This scene is, incidentally, probably my favorite of the whole show.
 

 

November 14, 2015 7:54 am  #18


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

I view it slightly differently. I always saw it as a friendly tease, at least to begin with. His "she got loooove on her mind" sounds quite teasing to me, and so does most of his deduction. He goes into cruel-mode when he starts commenting the size of her mouth and breasts (a line that I find very OOC, to be honest. I can not believe Sherlock would ever say something like that to anyone).

I think he doesn't realise how cruel his teasing is until he he read the To Dearest Sherlock-note, That's when it all clicks into place.

I also get the feeling that he was perhaps being a bit more pushy in his deduction towards Molly than usual to let out some steam from the frustration and tension of having a Christmas party to begin with. 

But I might be wrong, of course.


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November 14, 2015 10:36 am  #19


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

For a number of reasons, I tend to think it's very much about Irene rather than Molly (including the OOC comments about small breasts, red lipstick, etc.).  He does not intend to hurt Molly in that way, and is genuinely apologetic when he realises what he's done.  I don't think he's even angry with Irene, he's unsettled by her. 

There is that time when he get angry with the father who deceives his daughter for her money - it's in the books, but also seen as one of the minor cases in the TV series (I can't remember which episode!).   And he's furious with the CIA agent who hurts Mrs Hudson.   But there's not much with John. I agree that it's mainly sulking, if anything.  Even that line in TRF is probably more anger at Moriarty than at John, even though John is getting the brunt of it!

 

November 14, 2015 10:58 am  #20


Re: Sherlock and anger - has Sherlock ever been angry at John?

Yep, as Sherlock's friend, John is the sounding board Sherlock needs.


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