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March 11, 2017 5:44 pm  #1


What happened to John Watson?

I am posting this here because it belongs to S4 as a whole and extends back to HLV and TAB. I have been feeling that something is missing about John, that he has been diminished as a character for quite some time. And then I wrote this and some people have added their interesting observations. 

http://loveismyrevolution.tumblr.com/post/158274582932/john-is-not-a-doctor-anymore

 


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

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

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March 11, 2017 6:15 pm  #2


Re: What happened to John Watson?

Very interesting thoughts. I remember Arwel going wink-wink when asked about blog.jpg. I'd love for a grand plan to explain all the odd characterization in the end but I rather think it will be Sherlock's changed view of John and not something that would negate a whole season's developments.


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March 11, 2017 6:16 pm  #3


Re: What happened to John Watson?

I would concur.


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March 11, 2017 7:06 pm  #4


Re: What happened to John Watson?

Interesting post. My first thoughts:

1. From what I recall, John did for a second try to put pressure on Mary's wound. My thought was that - because he was a doctor - he immediately realised that there was nothing to be done. And so he focused instead of being close and giving comfort instead of futile efforts that would've only added to the pain (pushing on the wound would've hurt even more, for instance).

2. As for his attitude towards Sherlock in TLD, I think we've discussed this in other threads. John didn't really like Sherlock much at that point. If I remember correctly, I think Martin actually used the word "hate". And so all John saw, was a man again being lost to drugs, losing control. Just confirming for John why he is "right" in not spending any more time with Sherlock. I do think you can become rather jaded and cynical after a while, when close ones are drug addicts. Not saying it's right, only understandable.

3. The car-birth scene doesn't make sense either. Only thing I can think of is that it was done that way for comedy effect. Also, to put focus back on Sherlock (if John was in the back with Mary, Sherlock would have been reduced to being a chauffeur for the scene, and the focus would have been on John and Mary. The show is first and foremost about Sherlock as the main character, so instead of making it a dramatic scene about John and Mary, they made it into a comedic scene centering around Sherlock).


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March 11, 2017 7:06 pm  #5


Re: What happened to John Watson?

SusiGo wrote:

I am posting this here because it belongs to S4 as a whole and extends back to HLV and TAB. I have been feeling that something is missing about John, that he has been diminished as a character for quite some time. And then I wrote this and some people have added their interesting observations. 

http://loveismyrevolution.tumblr.com/post/158274582932/john-is-not-a-doctor-anymore

 

Very good points, thank you very much for sharing. I also loved that people actually discussed your points and noone accused you of "hating John Watson" or something similar. Lovely debate.

In my opinion John isn´t the only character who was treated like this in the narrative. Other characters like Mycroft, Lestrade or Molly also didn´t evolve past their introduction in ASIP, but slowly made way for the original characters of "strong females" like Mary, Janine or Eurus, who, in turn, got plenty of screentime. It´s like the authors made the place for these new characters by sacrificing the old ones (maybe they were too uninteresting for Moftiss to be made important in the storyline?). Because John is one of the main heroic duo, in his case this treatment of his is especially conspicuous. 


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I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window there. Was there ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them?

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March 11, 2017 7:08 pm  #6


Re: What happened to John Watson?

I think John has a pretty traumatic S 4, but I feel he comes through well at the end.


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March 11, 2017 7:09 pm  #7


Re: What happened to John Watson?

nakahara wrote:

Other characters like Mycroft, Lestrade or Molly also didn´t evolve past their introduction in ASIP, but slowly made way for the original characters of "strong females" like Mary, Janine or Eurus, who, in turn, got plenty of screentime.

I agree about Lestrade, but I thought Mycroft and Molly evolved quite a bit. 

I also think John evolved quite a bit as a character, moreso than I would have expected in a show about Sherlock Holmes. What I think is the main issue isn't that he didn't evolve, but that he evolved differently than what most of us expected).
 


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March 11, 2017 7:11 pm  #8


Re: What happened to John Watson?

We certainly saw a different side to John, but it was a very human side and he has always been very human.


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March 11, 2017 7:22 pm  #9


Re: What happened to John Watson?

Vhanja wrote:

nakahara wrote:

Other characters like Mycroft, Lestrade or Molly also didn´t evolve past their introduction in ASIP, but slowly made way for the original characters of "strong females" like Mary, Janine or Eurus, who, in turn, got plenty of screentime.

I agree about Lestrade, but I thought Mycroft and Molly evolved quite a bit. 

I also think John evolved quite a bit as a character, moreso than I would have expected in a show about Sherlock Holmes. What I think is the main issue isn't that he didn't evolve, but that he evolved differently than what most of us expected).
 

I don´t want to pass my opinion as the correct one, so of course, I respect that. But in my eyes these people were diminished rather than evolved:

- Mycroft was gradually stripped of his mystique and cleverness untill he looked quite silly and irresponsible (he allowed Eurus to meet with Moriarty? really?). Finally, his parents stuck the last nail into his coffin when they declared Sherlock to be more responsible than him.
- Molly was deprived of her image of a sweet girl helping Sherlock when she started slapping people around and sticking them with a fork, but other than that, was there actually anything new we found out about her in S3 or S4? 
- I agree with Susi that John was gradually stripped of his image of a doctor (and a blogger). In my eyes that is devolvement rather than evolvement.

Just my two cents, of course. 


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I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window there. Was there ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them?

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March 11, 2017 7:25 pm  #10


Re: What happened to John Watson?

My response may seem a bit prosaic: but just to say, John was shown to be doctoring still, in TFP and it is made very clear that he is top blogger in TLD.


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March 11, 2017 7:36 pm  #11


Re: What happened to John Watson?

besleybean wrote:

My response may seem a bit prosaic: but just to say, John was shown to be doctoring still, in TFP and it is made very clear that he is top blogger in TLD.

I have to disagree here. He constantly had to remind people that it was HIS blog, but they barely believed/remembered him. I think it underlines the point that John isn't perceived as Sherlock's blogger anymore. "Where would I be without my blogger?" Well, in a hospital room, half dead.

Last edited by ewige (March 11, 2017 7:36 pm)


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March 11, 2017 7:36 pm  #12


Re: What happened to John Watson?

nakahara wrote:

I don´t want to pass my opinion as the correct one, so of course, I respect that. But in my eyes these people were diminished rather than evolved:

- Mycroft was gradually stripped of his mystique and cleverness untill he looked quite silly and irresponsible (he allowed Eurus to meet with Moriarty? really?). Finally, his parents stuck the last nail into his coffin when they declared Sherlock to be more responsible than him.
- Molly was deprived of her image of a sweet girl helping Sherlock when she started slapping people around and sticking them with a fork, but other than that, was there actually anything new we found out about her in S3 or S4? 
- I agree with Susi that John was gradually stripped of his image of a doctor (and a blogger). In my eyes that is devolvement rather than evolvement.

Just my two cents, of course. 

Then we view it quite differently.

Molly did have a limited amount of development seeing as she was only a supporting character (and was even supposed to be only a one-off). Her development was from being this timid girl who had a huge crush on Sherlock and barely dared to pipe up her voice in his presence to someone who put her foot down and dared to speak her opinion to his face. (No matter what opinions we might have about the slapping, that is still the development her character got).

I absolutely loved how fleshed out Mycroft became. Starting out as this distant, arrogant "iceman" whom Sherlock (secretly) looked up to as a mentor for how "caring is not an advantage". And then we firstly see that he cares quite a LOT about Sherlock, and his entire iceman personal crumbles completely in TFP. 

And I loved what we got from John. Not because I would have chosen to develop him the same way, but perhaps I love it so much for that exact reason. I love it when a show/book/movie can surprise me. If John had developed more to our expectations, that would of course have been nice. But it wouldn't have been a surprise. I had never expected what we got in S4, and I had never expected we would get so much about John. 

My only "complaint" is that I would have wanted MORE. More John, more about where he goes after the end of TLD. Due to the narrative of TFP, there weren't any development of him there, naturally. But I guess that is the nature of having such a short season - they don't have time to go too deeply into things. (And, again, the show is first and foremost about Sherlock, not John. We got more than I thought we ever would already).


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March 11, 2017 7:47 pm  #13


Re: What happened to John Watson?

Vhanja wrote:

2. As for his attitude towards Sherlock in TLD, I think we've discussed this in other threads. John didn't really like Sherlock much at that point. If I remember correctly, I think Martin actually used the word "hate". And so all John saw, was a man again being lost to drugs, losing control. Just confirming for John why he is "right" in not spending any more time with Sherlock. I do think you can become rather jaded and cynical after a while, when close ones are drug addicts. Not saying it's right, only understandable.

I still find this scene to be quite incomprehensible.
John says to Lestrade: "No long ago, he shot Charles Magnussen in the face. We did see it coming. We always saw it coming. But it was fun."

So John considers shooting people in the face fun, but going after them with a scalpel is over the top?

Very bizarre. And so un-watsony as it gets.

Vhanja wrote:

3. The car-birth scene doesn't make sense either. Only thing I can think of is that it was done that way for comedy effect. Also, to put focus back on Sherlock (if John was in the back with Mary, Sherlock would have been reduced to being a chauffeur for the scene, and the focus would have been on John and Mary. The show is first and foremost about Sherlock as the main character, so instead of making it a dramatic scene about John and Mary, they made it into a comedic scene centering around Sherlock).

The authors confessed they wrote the plane scene into TST in order to allow Amanda Abbington to flash her "American accent", so I wouldn´t read too much into this scene either. It is illogical, but it was obviously not meant to be serious.

Maybe Sherlock was too busy tweeting to actually drive? http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/tongue.png

Last edited by nakahara (March 11, 2017 7:48 pm)


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I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window there. Was there ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them?

http://49.media.tumblr.com/eb0e156f55878fcd6f89dcf91ae89811/tumblr_o0eyyzrphE1spvwrzo2_1280.gif
 

March 11, 2017 7:48 pm  #14


Re: What happened to John Watson?

Could be it, nakahara!


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March 11, 2017 7:53 pm  #15


Re: What happened to John Watson?

Vhanja wrote:

And, again, the show is first and foremost about Sherlock, not John. We got more than I thought we ever would already.

I think that almost every Sherlock Holmes adaptation is about John Watson just as much as about Sherlock Holmes. He is the narrator and the character the audience can relate to, so it is unwise to let him be pushed aside.

Otherwise, good points. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png


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I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window there. Was there ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them?

http://49.media.tumblr.com/eb0e156f55878fcd6f89dcf91ae89811/tumblr_o0eyyzrphE1spvwrzo2_1280.gif
 

March 11, 2017 7:54 pm  #16


Re: What happened to John Watson?

I don't see John as having been pushed aside at all:  much of S 4 was abut John's relationships: with Sherlock, Mary and Rosie.


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March 11, 2017 8:07 pm  #17


Re: What happened to John Watson?

I'll add to the examples the rather strange insight into John's "doctor" work in TEH.   There is definitely a kind of odd view of John as a doctor.  Even when we do see him "doctoring", it's more like first aid.    I suppose it would have been nice to see a bit more ... I always think it's interesting that the inspiration for Sherlock was a doctor.  (It's as if Sherlock and John are aspects of the same person, in a way?).  But perhaps that doesn't really resonate with Moftiss.   It's a while since I've read an ACD story, but I seem to remember John's doctoring didn't play a central role.   He's a doctor, but he's not in the Holmes/Watson team as a doctor, if you know what mean - just as himself. 

I think the driving can easily be explained - Sherlock probably wasn't insured by the car.  But I agree that it had to be that way round for comedic effect.  And perhaps John being a doctor just didn't feature much in the story towards the end.   (Except perhaps, if he has an interest in psychiatry, when he seems really switched on about Eurus when they're at Sherrinford).

 

March 11, 2017 8:10 pm  #18


Re: What happened to John Watson?

More importantly, he's the one alert to Sherlock's dangerous situation.


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March 11, 2017 8:17 pm  #19


Re: What happened to John Watson?

Yes, and it's maybe interesting that Sherlock chooses a hospital as the setting for John to save him (I know he doesn't exactly choose it, but still, John's a doctor and he saves Sherlock in a hospital, an environment he has trained in and is familiar with). 

I agree with what you said above, BB, about John playing a big part in S4.  I think TLD in particular is John's episode - there is a lot there about John and his relationship with Sherlock.  Also Eurus approaches John twice, and Sherlock once before the reveal - John is important.  Even in TFP, there is a big theme of Sherlock saving his friend (Redbeard/Victor/John). 

 

March 11, 2017 8:19 pm  #20


Re: What happened to John Watson?

Yes, after all, the whole thrust was showing John in his true purpose: to save Sherlock Holmes.
They both become better men for it.


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