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January 15, 2017 2:45 pm  #1

​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

I believe, most of users are already convinced, that in Sherlocks live happened something bad enough, to make him suppress most of emotions, and concentrate on his - unique - intellectual skills. "What made him like this"?

Sherlock's background looks very usual:
He has "ordinary", loving parents. In retrospections we were able to see Sherlock as young boy, behaving typically for his age. He has exceptional understanding with his older brother, even, if they do not like each other very much. In his childhood he had beloved dog (obviously dog can not be still alive).

On the other hand, presently Sherlock appears to be incapable of normal emotion, especially empathy. His uni colleagues "hated him" because it, so change must have happen prior to his university studies. Ocassionally uses drugs, apparently to achieve relief from unpleasant emotions.

end of the boring introduction


- Redbeard - barely mentioned in HLV, but in TAB, when imaginary Watson asks "What made you like this?", Sherlock thinks about Redbeard, and is unable to hide it. In the end, in series "reality", on Sherlock's "list of everything" Mycroft can see framed word "Redbeard", and undoubtfully understands it's meaning. 
Could the death of dog (even loved one) be for little boy shocking enough to change his attitude so entirely? Natural death - I don't think so. But if the circumstances were dramatic, traumatizing, or dogs death was only a part of incident?

- Blond-haired client in T6T - killed his brother, and don't knows it, because the medicine, he takes, can cause memory loss. Another cases in the beginning of the episode are only mentioned, this one - explained. Why was this case more worth of explaining, then any another? 

- At Welsborouh's - Sherlock expresses his condolences in beginning of the conversation - but obviously he don't means it really, his mind is somewhere else. But soon: David Welsborouhg "Charlie was our whole world, Mr Holmes. I... I don't think we'll ever get over this.". Sherlock (sounding very honestly) "No. Shouldn't think so." After explaining of the case he repeats his condolences - this time really gravely. Did this case remind him something personal? And why was he so sure, that Welsborouhgs are never to recover? I - obviously - assume: from his own experience.

- Accusation of causing Mary's death (eventually coming to this part!). John is utterly unfair, and everybody can see it. But Sherlock never says a word in his defence. He knows, there was nothing, he coud do, but - besides of his own sense of responsibility - I believe, he understands, that as long, as John is not ready to see it too, no words can help. When Molly repeats John's message ("anybody else"), Sherlock is sad, but not surprised. Later, when he can anything to help John, he does it (costs don't matter) - and still waits.
But how this "unemotional", "unsensible" man can understand grief and mourning so good? Again, I found only one answer: he knows it from experience. Any another explanation? Please, discuss!

BTW, Sherlock's knowledge, concerning "Faith's" scars, is also surprising - "I think you discovered that pain stimulated your memory" - these words also sound a bit to personal, and partial lose of memories was recurring theme of last episodes.

Last edited by Naavy (January 15, 2017 4:39 pm)


January 15, 2017 2:55 pm  #2

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

Oh, but he is emotional! Haven't you heard Mrs. H.? Sherlock is all about emotions.

"The posh boy loves the dominatrix." Context matters.

January 15, 2017 3:05 pm  #3

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

I should put the quote characters earlier!

     Thread Starter

January 15, 2017 3:59 pm  #4

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

I agree with all that, Naavy, except that as Ewige says, he's shown as emotional throughout (even if he doesn't always express it in the usual way).   Ages ago, Steven Moffat said something about it being a very emotional decision to suppress his emotions (I'm paraphrasing).   I think he has been consistently shown as an emotional being who constantly tries to keep those feelings under control. 

Redbeard was also mentioned in TSOT and Sherlock looks like he's about to cry just at the mention of the name. 

I mean, just look at him!!  It's partly Benedict's acting, but even the suppressed emotions are constantly bubbling up to surface level and showing in his face. 


January 15, 2017 4:28 pm  #5

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

Of course, he is emotional! I used the expression "appears to be incapable of normal emotion" because  most people consider him like that (often including John), not because it is the truth. (He would be never so interesting, if he really had no emotions.) He is also really capable to distance himself from some feelings, for example - in order to avoid any romantic relationship... And you must admit it: he can be really not empathetic! But maybe I should use more conclusive word, like "seems"?

Last edited by Naavy (January 15, 2017 4:31 pm)

     Thread Starter

January 15, 2017 4:42 pm  #6

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

I actually think Sherlock is a lot more empathetic than he likes to show.


January 15, 2017 4:54 pm  #7

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

I see what you mean, Naavy.  But I do think that from the beginning he has been shown to be emotional in varying degrees, so it's really difficult to believe that anybody could see him as unemotional.   I think John does at the beginning, but not later on.  For instance, he worries about Sherlock's feelings for Irene in ASIB - he doesn't really understand Sherlock at that point, but he does seem to think he's probably emotional.   I'm not disagreeing with you at all - I'm agreeing!  But I just think this isn't a subtext thing - it's something the team have been banging on about since the beginning.   And Redbeard has been flagged up as having a huge emotional impact right from the first mention. 

As for Sherlock's empathy - I do think he lacks social graces, and could appear unemotional to people who don't know him well.   But one little scene always comes to me in TRF - do you remember when he seemed rude and almost aggressive towards the house mistress at the school where the children have been kidnapped?  That's the surface view, but it turns out that he needed that information quickly because he was trying to save those children's lives.  And afterwards he asks the paramedics to take care of her.  He's rude, but he cares.

Last edited by Liberty (January 15, 2017 4:58 pm)


January 15, 2017 4:57 pm  #8

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

He just cuts to the chase!


January 15, 2017 4:57 pm  #9

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

Maybe right now - yes (his mask is not as good, as previously, and defence mechanisms not as strong),  but do you remember SIP? Sherlock wondering, how anybody can be sad ten years after child's death?...

EDIT: crossposting, of course. It is about Sherlock's beeing empathetic.

Last edited by Naavy (January 15, 2017 4:59 pm)

     Thread Starter

January 15, 2017 4:59 pm  #10

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

No, I think he meant it couldn't be just that...he deduced there was something more recent.


January 15, 2017 5:09 pm  #11

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

As I said - He has emotions, no one can suppress them completely, this part is obvious. And yes, he always kind of revoked his manipulations, when he has got all necessary informations. 

But why are we discussing this part, when we think basically the same? I hoped to talk Sherlock's secret childhood...

     Thread Starter

January 15, 2017 5:10 pm  #12

Re: ​Hints of sorrow/trauma/tragedy in Sherlock's past - spoiler free

Which we will all know roughly 4 hours!


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