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June 21, 2012 2:51 am  #1


Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

Hello interested forum fans. I hope we can start a thread here for serious discussion on the relationship between Sherlock and John as we see it and interpret it from the series. It might be even better if this thread could become an actual Index "category" unto itself just in case other threads grow from it.  Well, let's see how it goes and then maybe our Administrator Sherlock Holmes can decide if we eventually need our own "area".

To start off I'm wondering if someone here could define the terms used to describe the John and Sherlock relationship.  I'm kind of new to all this and really don't know the difference between these fan terms: Shipper, Slash, Johnlock.  Do they all have a sexual connotation?  Is one more hard-core or explicit than the others? I just want to know so I don't inadvertently use a term to describe something I didn't intend.  Thanks.

In the broadest sense I'm very interested in where the writers are leading the characters, and therefore their audience, in this series. Along that line I've been wondering what to make of Irene Adler's comments to John when he first walks into the "naked scene" in her living room.  Of course there's her infamous "Somebody loves you" line. And then a moment later, "What's the matter?  Feeling exposed?" then "Oh, I think he knows exactly where to look".  Is she merely baiting him, and Sherlock along with him, by calling into question their sexual preferences?  We do learn at the end of Scandal that Jim Moriarty instructed her on exactly how to play the Holmes boys.  Is this just "playing the game"?  Of course it is - and yet.....and yet, Irene Alder is a world class dominatrix.  You don't get to a position like that without knowing almost intuitively a person's most intimate and secret desires and how to play on them. She says a number of times about her clients, "I know what he likes". Of course she does.  That's her job. So, even though John isn't a client, has she divined something about him he doesn't yet know about himself? Has she put her finger on his pulse? (Oooh, did I say that :-) I don't think she's teasing when later in the show she says to him, "Look at us both".  I do think John might have to start looking at himself.  It seems the writers are leading him in that direction.  Now, where and how far and to what end is the question.....

Feel free to comment on this topic or spin off on your own view of the relationship - or anything else you would like to say about it.  Wherever this takes us....it's all fine.


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And I said "dangerous" and here you are.

You. It's always you. John Watson, you keep me right.

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June 21, 2012 4:03 am  #2


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

Thank you, KP, for starting this thread.
We have needed it for a long time now.
Can't share my thoughts right now – (my job, you know!). But I will come back here laterz.


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John: "Have you spoken to Mycroft, Molly, uh, anyone?"
Mrs Hudson: "They don’t matter. You do."


I BELIEVE IN SERIES 5!
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June 21, 2012 11:39 am  #3


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

Interesting...

I kind of think Irene is just teasing John by insinuating that they're gay or that he's in love with Sherlock. If Jim told her how to "play" the Holmes boys, then she probably already knows that John gets wound up whenever someone insinuates he and Sherlock might be a couple, so obviously she would push those buttons just to annoy him.

It's possible for two people to be in a very close relationship without it being a sexual one or without them being "in love", and I think really that's what Sherlock and John truly have. They will forever be entwined in each others lives and John's friendship and loyalty to Sherlock will probably always end up disrupting and standing in the way of his love life no matter how hard he tries with his dating.

I spend a lot of time roleplaying so I'm familiar with all the slashy Johnlock side of things and it really is a lot of fun although I wouldn't ever want them to put it in the show. People thinking Sherlock and Watson are gay goes back further than Mofftiss...it's been one of those ongoing jokes for years...


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June 21, 2012 11:27 pm  #4


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

Just some random thoughts:

-- KeepersPrice wrote: Is she merely baiting him, and Sherlock along with him, by calling into question their sexual preferences?   I think Irene is definitely baiting John.  But when, in that scene, she says that John knows exactly where to look she's implying he's straight and later, she says that John and Sherlock are a couple, she may or may not be implying he's gay, because she knows that bothers him.  So I think she is just trying to get a reaction out of John and, maybe, keep him off balance a bit.  Like when she lets John think he's going to meet Mycroft instead of herself.  But in the scene where Irene says John and Sherlock are a couple and John says no they aren't, I like your idea that she might possibly see something in their relationship that he isn't yet aware of.

-- Sherlock Holmes wrote: It's possible for two people to be in a very close relationship without it being a sexual one or without them being "in love", and I think really that's what Sherlock and John truly have. And I think that kind of very close relationship is possible only between two people of the same gender.  John became devoted to Sherlock very quickly and I do think he's kind of in awe of his intellect, but I think John also realizes that he, John, is brilliant in his own interpersonal way and as a result, he doesn't get overwhelmed by Sherlock's brilliance.

All I can say is I like how Moftiss and BC have written/developed the character and even though I do enjoy reading the Johnlock fanfic, I don't want to see the shows go in that direction.


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Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.  -- Helen Keller
 

June 22, 2012 5:15 pm  #5


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

I can't say all at the same time - here are just some initial and not exactly well-ordered thoughts:

First of all: I've never been thinking about the nature of ACD's Sherlock Holmes' and Dr Watson's relationship. To me, they were just a famous, fictitious, unequal couple in solving crimes. I haven't wasted any thoughts on how they related with each other. To me, they were just live-in friends or colleagues.
But that was pre-Sherlock.
I'm sure that the reason for my new paying attention to their relationship as one of maybe being more than just a colleague thing is due to the very clever, intelligent and suble writing and Ben's and Martin's acting performances.

KeepersPrice wrote:

I don't think she's teasing when later in the show she says to him, "Look at us both".  I do think John might have to start looking at himself.  It seems the writers are leading him in that direction.  Now, where and how far and to what end is the question...

I like the idea that John - and even Irene herself! - might have to think about themselves considering their self-declared labels. One level down I think that's something we all have to deal with sooner or later. I may have a certain self-image that has been working fine over many years. And then unexpectedly there may happen something that would throw over everything. At such a point, one has to ask oneself - in modification to Sherlock's: "If I wasn't everything that I think I am – would I still accept myself?"

By the way: I find it perfectly natural for two people being very close to each other and apparently being each other's halves to have a physical relationship as well, be them of gay, bi, straight or whatever unlabelled type of sexual preference. But in this case I have a feeling that most of the fun and fascination is because of the unsolved romantic tension between Sherlock and John. Yes, I do feel this tension. Not everyone will necessarily feel it the way I do. One doesn't have to, of course.
In my opinion, the writers are well advised not to allow themselves to release this tension – it would spoil everything. But I like them to go on with teasing and innuendos – it's great fun!


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John: "Have you spoken to Mycroft, Molly, uh, anyone?"
Mrs Hudson: "They don’t matter. You do."


I BELIEVE IN SERIES 5!
http://up.picr.de/25572077rl.jpg



                                                                                                                  
 

June 22, 2012 7:08 pm  #6


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

I think Irene knows they're not gay because she said Moriarity called Sherlock "the virgin". 

I think she does view them as a couple in the way that they are devoted to each other and have a deep love and respect for one another.  And I think she really gets it, because when John said "I'm not gay", she responded "well I am, and here we both are".   She has feelings for him, too.

 

June 22, 2012 7:45 pm  #7


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

Maren wrote:

I think Irene knows they're not gay because she said Moriarity called Sherlock "the virgin". 

I think she does view them as a couple in the way that they are devoted to each other and have a deep love and respect for one another.  And I think she really gets it, because when John said "I'm not gay", she responded "well I am, and here we both are".   She has feelings for him, too.

The more I think about this show, the more confused I get. I used to see it exactly as you do, Maren, but now I wonder... that conversation happened before she manipulated Sherlock into deciphering that email, and she must have at least suspected that he'd be eavesdropping. She's smart enough to put on a performance to get both Sherlock and Watson to drop their guards.

Doesn't mean her analysis of the Sherlock-Watson relationship's off, though. On the contrary, it would have to be fairly accurate to serve a manipulative purpose. But at that point in the story, she hadn't been in Sherlock's presence more than 15 minutes or so. That's awfully quick to be in love, unless perhaps he won her over by being completely non-responsive to texts.

Finally... it's totally possible to be a gay virgin. Maybe S & J are just working up to the physical aspect of their relationship. 

 

June 22, 2012 8:33 pm  #8


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

Perhaps Irene's clue to S and J's relationship was hinted at when she looked at the photo' of them enjoying the 'ashtray nicking joke' in the taxi. They really appeared to be on the same wavelength. She quickly picks up on 'what people like' which makes her an acute observer of behaviour.


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June 22, 2012 8:46 pm  #9


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

JaneCo wrote:

Perhaps Irene's clue to S and J's relationship was hinted at when she looked at the photo' of them enjoying the 'ashtray nicking joke' in the taxi. They really appeared to be on the same wavelength. She quickly picks up on 'what people like' which makes her an acute observer of behaviour.

Yes, definitely. And she also sees Sherlock's emotional reaction when John's threatened by the CIA agent, and John's alarm when he comes back to find Sherlock passed out on the floor.

 

June 23, 2012 1:46 am  #10


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

All these comments are great and I'm in agreement with many of them.  I'm with "Tobe" that the teasing and innuendo on the part of the writers is great fun; but also with "Sherlock Holmes" that the writers are playing on the gay question, ongoing for years, concerning Holmes and Watson. But this is obviously a main stream show and they will never go in the direction of making them a gay couple.  I don't think there's any concern on that point.  And I don't want them to either - I think certain things are best left up to the imagination and creativity of the fans. This show has certainly ignited many passions and talents in the fan base so kudos to the creators for that - did they even imagine it becoming like this!!  But I do like that the show is pushing the envelop just a bit with the innuendo without being too obvious about it. The tiny hints of tension add some kind of extra dimension I haven't seen in any show before.  I'd like the tension to remain for the sake of the drama.

A thought I have continually concerns self awareness and boundaries.  I keep asking myself, what do you do if you're going happily along in life, have always been attracted to the opposite sex and consider yourself conventionally heterosexual, still hoping someday to meet that special someone who is your soul mate.  Then suddenly this amazing, dynamic person comes into your life and quite literally sweeps you off your feet into a world you didn't know existed - giving you purpose and a sense of adventure.  Then one day you realize the bond you have with this person is stronger than anything you have ever had with anyone of the opposite sex - but this person happens to be someone of your own gender.  If you're a heterosexual man how do you process this information?  Do you start questioning yourself and your sexuality even though you might not be having sexual thoughts about this person? Society is somehow more accepting of very close bonds between females.  If it happens between men, society tends to look askance and make sneering jokes. Is that something that would bother you or could you be strong and secure enough to let it roll off your back?  I think at this point, John is still denying but slowly might be starting to question some things he always took for granted about himself.  Suddenly things might not be so clear cut and simple - especially as every relationship he has with a woman eventually implodes. Especially when the women tell him exactly why they are leaving him and very astute women like Irene Adler point out to him exactly what's going on in his head. Oh so interesting and tantalizing to contemplate!

And why do we love this?  Why do we love the idea of John and Sherlock in a relationship either platonic or sexual?  Why do we need them to be together?  Because they are perfect together, that's why - mind and heart, light and dark, storm and calm, wounded and healed.  The writers intended this and the alchemy between the two actors has certainly helped it along. But I also wonder sometimes if we fans who are women - and most of us are - find ourselves strongly attracted to the exotic and intense Mr. S. Holmes ourselves - but his intellect and physical beauty are almost too frightening to contemplate. In reality he would burn us to a crisp in a matter of minutes.  So we put a soft barrier between him and ourselves in the form of John Watson.  He stands in for us and handles Sherlock for us and we can safely fantasize anything we want about the relationship.

Or I could be all wet about this and they are just an adorable couple who gets us all melty just looking at them together .  And maybe as a society we have finally reached a point of totally accepting men together in partnership as public as any marriage.


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And I said "dangerous" and here you are.

You. It's always you. John Watson, you keep me right.

http://i1159.photobucket.com/albums/p635/lianafuller/qwer_zpsbebc7b3b.png
     Thread Starter
 

June 23, 2012 2:40 am  #11


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

KeepersPrice wrote:

To start off I'm wondering if someone here could define the terms used to describe the John and Sherlock relationship.  I'm kind of new to all this and really don't know the difference between these fan terms: Shipper, Slash, Johnlock.  Do they all have a sexual connotation?  Is one more hard-core or explicit than the others? I just want to know so I don't inadvertently use a term to describe something I didn't intend.  Thanks.

"shipper"   is  short  for relationship.  It  usually means that the 2  that are mentioned are a couple.   ("A couple of what?"  )  as Ricky ricardo would say)   John lock  is a term   we sherlockians  like to use,  putting the names john and sherlock together.   like,  brad  and angelina--  brangelina.   I  don't know what slash means tho.   Someone else can explain that,  cos I'm curious.   



think the writers are ENJOYING  this  'are they or aren't they?"  stuff.   I  think they like leaving us wondering.   That is what ACD  did with his stories back then,  but,  back then,  "gayness"  wasn't  even considered to be a public thing like it is nowadays.  We've come a long way,  in tolerance, since then.   But,  I  think the writers are gonna leave it alone.   at least,  I hope they do.  I  don't think I would watch the show any longer,  if they showed Sherlock and John in that way.   Even tho I absolutely LOVE the characters.....I  don't think I would like them,  if the writers made them   'come out'.   Just leave us guessing,  that's all I ask.   

And I'm a lady,  and I am over the moon  with Benedict and Martin.   Why  does it seem like 'all the good looking guys are on TV  and I can't love them that way?'    sigh.    

Last edited by sherlockskitty (June 23, 2012 2:46 am)


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June 23, 2012 4:54 am  #12


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

KeepersPrice wrote:

I keep asking myself, what do you do if you're going happily along in life, have always been attracted to the opposite sex and consider yourself conventionally heterosexual, still hoping someday to meet that special someone who is your soul mate.  Then suddenly this amazing, dynamic person comes into your life and quite literally sweeps you off your feet into a world you didn't know existed - giving you purpose and a sense of adventure.  Then one day you realize the bond you have with this person is stronger than anything you have ever had with anyone of the opposite sex - but this person happens to be someone of your own gender.  If you're a heterosexual man how do you process this information?  Do you start questioning yourself and your sexuality even though you might not be having sexual thoughts about this person?>>>

Have you read much fan fiction? These themes are repeated in countless slash fan fics, regardless of what fandom they're written in. Some fan fic characters consider themselves bisexual, so the leap to a same-sex relationship is not a big one. Some have always identified as straight, and so there's ample opportunity for a really angsty story as they find themselves attracted to someone of the same gender-- the possibilities are endless. Some are what's called only-gay-for-you, where they still identify as straight, but that one person of the same gender just rings their chimes, and for him or her, they will cross that gender divide, even though they never look at anyone else of the same gender.

<<< ....And why do we love this?  Why do we love the idea of John and Sherlock in a relationship either platonic or sexual?  Why do we need them to be together?  Because they are perfect together, that's why - mind and heart, light and dark, storm and calm, wounded and healed.>>>

Exactly. Intriguing, isn't it. And soooo much more interesting than seeing both or either of them hook up with some woman. Unique. Fascinating. Whoever did the Sherlock casting had a keen eye for chemistry, plus I give credit to the two wonderful actors-- their Sherlock and John are endlessly interesting, not just in canon but also to speculate about in fan fic.

<<< The writers intended this and the alchemy between the two actors has certainly helped it along. But I also wonder sometimes if we fans who are women - and most of us are - find ourselves strongly attracted to the exotic and intense Mr. S. Holmes ourselves - but his intellect and physical beauty are almost too frightening to contemplate. In reality he would burn us to a crisp in a matter of minutes.  So we put a soft barrier between him and ourselves in the form of John Watson.  He stands in for us and handles Sherlock for us and we can safely fantasize anything we want about the relationship. >>>

Hey, men have gotten off on the idea of two hot women together since the written word and homo-erotic images first came into being. Why is it so odd that women would want to read about and see two hot men together?

<<<or I could be all wet about this and they are just an adorable couple who gets us all melty just looking at them together .  And maybe as a society we have finally reached a point of totally accepting men together in partnership as public as any marriage.

Probably different reasons for different people. There are some fans who think the idea of slashing S/J is dirty and depraved, and they wouldn't read about a relationship between them if someone paid them. Others like myself think it's the stuff of fun! So it takes all kinds.

 

June 23, 2012 8:08 am  #13


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

The bond between John and Sherlock is likely to be a unique case for Sherlock but may ell not be quinquennial for John. The incredibly strong bonds between men, which are certainly not necessarily sexual, can be seen in the armed forces. The armed forces of which John until recently was a member. Not just a member sitting behind a desk in an office somewhere away from a war zone but a combatant. A combatant who would undoubtedly have had comrades he was very, very close to. After all, that is the motivation that soldiers fight for, the protection of their close comrades, their buddies. These men love their comrades. (The Spartans took this a step further but that is for another day).

Having been traumatised in action in Afghanistan and now out of the army environment John is actually missing the action that being in the Army gave him. I would contend that it is not just the military action he misses but also everything else that entails, especially the close bond with a comrade/s. Meeting Sherlock, with all his foibles, allows John back into a world of 'combat' albeit of a different kind and also provides him with a comrade, a buddy, someone to watch his back and someone he can help protect too. Very like serving in the Army, really.


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June 23, 2012 11:43 am  #14


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

I don't think that John and Sherlock have any inclinations toward a romantic relationship. It seems to this girl's eyes to be a pure male bonding type friendship. However Irene is right that they are a couple in that each one needs what the other brings into his life. They just fit together. John gets the adventure he needs from Sherlock. Sherlock gets the moral compass and interpreter of all things not worthy to be kept in his brain.

I also believe that John is the first rodeo rider that bucking bronco Sherlock has not been able to shake off his back with his annoying, blunt, self indulgent ways. I suspect that Sherlock is capable of some level of emotional attachment. Perhaps some of his disdain for that emotional attachment is a defense mechanism against his one flaw. The reality is Sherlock is so hideously unique he just can't relate to or find suitable friends. The same is true for romance. Irene is the first girl who has hit all his buttons so to speak. He does not want to feel this for her but he does.


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June 23, 2012 11:52 am  #15


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

Brilliant Davina!  Some of those thoughts about the military had crossed my mind too but I hadn't really looked at them closely yet.  I think you expressed it perfectly. I do think being with Sherlock allows John to essentially "stay in the Army" where he is comfortable and also allows him to remain a healer - smoothing out the rough edges of Sherlock's Asperger symptoms, etc.  It's very possible that once John comes to recognize this aspect of himself and the extent to which the military is still controlling him, he may be able to start putting it behind him and form healthier relationships with women; however, I get the feeling that Sherlock will always be able to "seduce" him back to Baker Street at the drop of a text.

Just a little fun thought:  At least twice Jim Moriarty baits Sherlock and talks about John as if he were Sherlock's adorable live-in pet. Sherlock never rises to this bait indicating no emotion whatsoever, but wouldn't you just love to "see" him sizing up JM the way he did the CIA guy - carotid artery, skull, ribs, lungs..... .   Well, maybe he's too busy thinking 10 moves ahead of Moriarty to even let this cross his mind, and maybe occasionally he does treat John like a lab rat, but it's a fun thought anyway.


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And I said "dangerous" and here you are.

You. It's always you. John Watson, you keep me right.

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     Thread Starter
 

June 23, 2012 12:30 pm  #16


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

sherlockskitty wrote:

"shipper"   is  short  for relationship.  It  usually means that the 2  that are mentioned are a couple.   ("A couple of what?"  )  as Ricky ricardo would say)   John lock  is a term   we sherlockians  like to use,  putting the names john and sherlock together.   like,  brad  and angelina--  brangelina.   I  don't know what slash means tho.   Someone else can explain that,  cos I'm curious.

Thank sherlockskitty.  Actually I do know what slash is now.  Believe it or not I "Googled" it and there's a whole thesis about it on Wickipedia.  It all started with the early Star Trek and the Kirk/Spock relationship and the fans who began putting them together in a sexual relationship in fiction and art  The slash between their names is where the term comes from.  I guess it's the same as shipping and putting the names together (BTW, Johnlock has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?  It sounds so permanent  ) .  I'm not sure because I would have to re-read but I think slash might mean there's definitely a physical relationship or the desire for one going on.


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And I said "dangerous" and here you are.

You. It's always you. John Watson, you keep me right.

http://i1159.photobucket.com/albums/p635/lianafuller/qwer_zpsbebc7b3b.png
     Thread Starter
 

June 23, 2012 12:53 pm  #17


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

Davina: Very perceptive analysis of John.  It makes perfect sense.  A piece of evidence to support your thesis is that when John pulls rank on the corporal in Hound and Sherlock asks if he enjoyed it, you can tell from the way John says, "Oh, yeah" that he really, truly did.  John jumped in and rescued them from the situation that Sherlock had gotten them into, and he did it so quickly and naturally that one can tell he was very much at home in the Army.  That scene also shows that John is quick-witted and can think for himself, and will back Sherlock up even if he disagrees with what he's doing or isn't quite sure of why he's doing something: unswerving and unquestioning loyalty which is another feature of military life, as I understand it from reading about it.


KeepersPrice wrote:

I'm not sure because I would have to re-read but I think slash might mean there's definitely a physical relationship or the desire for one going on.

From my discussion of the subject of slash with members of another fandom, the term as we understand and use it most definitely refers to a sexual relationship between people of the same gender.  Just thinking about it wouldn't qualify as slash; we'd refer to that as angst.


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Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.  -- Helen Keller
 

June 23, 2012 1:04 pm  #18


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

Sentimental Pulse wrote:

.......I also believe that John is the first rodeo rider that bucking bronco Sherlock has not been able to shake off his back with his annoying, blunt, self indulgent ways.....The reality is Sherlock is so hideously unique he just can't relate to or find suitable friends. .....

I love the metaphor about the rodeo rider and the bucking bronco. How clever.... and apt. Well put! You made me smile.

And yes, poor Sherlock is hideously unique; you're right. And he knows it. I prefer to think that knowing it causes him some pain, somewhere, down underneath that busy, thinking-everything-to-death exterior, but I believe he's helpless to be any different, almost as though he accepted his true nature long ago and stopped fighting it. Now he just wishes everyone else would stop fighting it, too, I'm sure.

Does it bother him when Donovan calls him "Freak"? I think it does. I think he's torn about it-- wanting badly not to care what she or anyone else thinks of him, but feeling so superior to others that if they need to think he's a freak, then so be it.

John sticks around. Sherlock can't, as you say, buck him off. Perhaps Sherlock is John's calling. His destiny. Whoever created this modern Sherlock incarnation is pure genius, IMO, but I also give loads of credit to Ben and Martin and their acting skills. It's been lovely to watch. They have simply made their Sherlock and John come to life.

 

June 23, 2012 1:07 pm  #19


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

KeepersPrice wrote:

I'm not sure because I would have to re-read but I think slash might mean there's definitely a physical relationship or the desire for one going on.

If two guys or two gals are attracted but not acting on it, it's called pre-slash. Once the relationship is consummated, it's slash. Yes, slash is all about the physical relationship. If there's no sex, only deep bonding, it's called friendship fic.

 

June 23, 2012 1:11 pm  #20


Re: Discussions on the John and Sherlock relationship

Sherli Bakerst wrote:

From my discussion of the subject of slash with members of another fandom, the term as we understand and use it most definitely refers to a sexual relationship between people of the same gender.  Just thinking about it wouldn't qualify as slash; we'd refer to that as angst.

There are all kinds of angst besides sexual angst. So angst doesn't necessarily have anything to do with ship or slash. A story about how a character lost his mother at an early age and then later lost his wife in a tragic auto accident (for instance) can be angsty as all get out but have nothing to do with the character's sexual relationships.  As I said earlier, "just thinking about it" is pre-slash in fiction. Or in the case of a M/F pairing, pre-ship, I suppose.

 

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