A Clusterfuck of Psycho, Part 1
In which Jim is still running the show, Mary’s secret past isn’t so secret, and Sherlock discovers his sexual orientation.
This started out as a fun little meta about dicks. I never intended it to be part of the Clusterfuck of Psycho series I’ve been working on. I just wanted to examine the train-tunnel imagery in TEH. And I ended up making a few more deductions than I was expecting. Namely, that The Empty Hearse mystery, much like The Sign of Three mystery, is a giant metaphor for something much deeper. Pun so very much intended.
With me? Here we go.
First: if you aren’t familiar with the train-tunnel trope, it’s one of the most oft-used metaphors for sex in tv/film. For a classic example, take half a minute and watch the ending of Hitchcock’s famous film North by Northwest.
On to TEH. The writers kick things off with a fun fake-out Anderson-fantasy scene (in which Sherlock makes out with a woman!), and Sherlock informing his torturer about his wife’s infidelity (with a coffin maker!), so we’ve all got sex on our minds. Cue the opening credits, and then…
Doors close, train speeds through the tunnel, John’s on board and looking haunted. Check.
Take note of the episode title, the way it’s slapped on the door as if labeling the train. Because that’s exactly what it’s doing. Yes, “The Empty Hearse” is the name of Anderson’s fan club. But just like the Skeleton Mystery they planted, it’s a bit of a fake-out to divert our attention from the real empty hearse – the vanishing train car.
Yes, we get it. Trains move through tunnels.
what the hell’s up with this porn soundtrack
so many trains in tunnels oh my god. There’s even a fast-slow pacing going on here (I didn’t adjust the speed on the gifs).
and here comes the first in a line of this season’s most epic transitions:
It’s even more epic with the music. It’s porn music, guys. Music for pornography. Seriously, go back and listen. Oh, and the whistle blows.
Anyway – extended trains-speeding-through-tunnels sequence with porny music and varying fast-slow speeds, a train comes at/by you, WHISTLE SCREAMING EVERYTHING’S FAST AND BLURRY fadingfadingfading and then John’s swaggering away from the tunnel exit (YUP), putting his key in to unlock 221B, walking inside, and the bow-chicka-bow-wow music comes to a close.
Hitchcock would be proud. And we’re not even ten minutes into the episode.
Oh, then John hears himself and Sherlock after their first
datecrime solving adventure, panting and laughing about “the most ridiculous thing he’s ever done” as they lean against the wall side-by-side in what totally does not look like the stock over-the-bed shot of a post-coital couple. (And let’s not overlook that lip pucker.)
We do get a break from trains for a little while. John visits with Hudders, Sherlock visits with Mycroft. Let’s examine their dialogue, because Mycroft has a secret.
MYCROFT: I need you to give this matter your full attention, Sherlock. Is that quite clear?
SHERLOCK: What do you think of this shirt?
SHERLOCK: I will find your underground terror cell, Mycroft.
Primping, preening, not focusing on the entire reason Mycroft brought him back. Here’s our first hint to the metaphorical mystery: what Sherlock’s mind should be on (Mycroft’s case) and what it is on (John).
"ANTHEA": One of our men died getting this information. All the chatter, all the traffic, concurs there’s going to be a terror strike on London – a big one.
SHERLOCK: And what about John Watson?
Parallel could not be more clear. And remember this little tidbit about one of Mycroft’s men dying to get this information – it’s repeated later, which means it’s important.
SHERLOCK: Mmm. Have you seen him?
MYCROFT: Oh, yes – we meet up every Friday for fish and chips.
Heyo, we’re gonna see more fish and chips later. (Also, Sherlock says “mmm” a lot in this episode when John is referenced or speaking.)
MYCROFT: I’ve kept a weather eye on him, of course. You haven’t been in touch at all, to prepare him?
Okay, this begs several questions. Clearly Mycroft “keeping a weather eye” on John means he knows pretty much everything going on in John’s life right now. Like his relationship with Mary.
Yet Mycroft doesn’t prepare either of them. He doesn’t prepare John for Sherlock’s return, or Sherlock for John having…well, as John puts it, moved on.
(Looks at picture of John with mustache.)
SHERLOCK: Well, we’ll have to get rid of that.
SHERLOCK: He looks ancient. I can’t be seen to be wandering around with an old man.
Not only has Sherlock come back expecting they’ll be best friends, he’s acting like they’ll be a couple. (Wonder why)
SHERLOCK: I think I’ll surprise John. He’ll be delighted!
MYCROFT: You think so?
SHERLOCK: Mmm. I’ll pop into Baker Street. Who knows – jump out of a cake.
MYCROFT: Baker Street? He isn’t there any more. Why would he be? It’s been two years. He’s got on with his life.
SHERLOCK: What life? I’ve been away.
Let’s look at Mycroft’s reaction to that.
He knows exactly what Sherlock’s in for when he reunites with John. And despite their arguments and childhood issues, Mycroft does care about Sherlock. He doesn’t look amused at the thought of the hurt his brother is going to experience. He looks worried. And exasperated. But mostly worried.
Yet he doesn’t take the opportunity to warn Sherlock. In fact, he does the opposite…
SHERLOCK: Where’s he going to be tonight?
MYCROFT: How would I know?
Childish response. His immature reaction indicates there’s something deeper, more emotional going on here – that’s consistent with all Holmes brothers interactions.
SHERLOCK: You always know.
MYCROFT: He has a dinner reservation in the Marylebone Road. Nice little spot. They have a few bottles of the 2000 Saint-Emilion … though I prefer the 2001.
So he knows precisely where John will be, he knows Mary will be with him. And there’s no way Mycroft doesn’t know John bought an engagement ring. He knows what’s going to happen tonight.
SHERLOCK: I think maybe I’ll just drop by.
MYCROFT: You know, it is just possible that you won’t be welcome.
He turns after dropping this one tiny little hint to gauge Sherlock’s reaction.
SHERLOCK: No it isn’t.
Again, Mycroft doesn’t look amused. Well, maybe a little bit, just at how confident Sherlock is that nothing’s changed. But his eyebrows pull down a little. Worried again.
"Sherlock, John’s dating someone and he’s proposing to her tonight. Perhaps not the best time for you to come back from the dead." Why doesn’t Mycroft just say it?
Because he can’t.
Think through all of season three. Do we ever see Mycroft and Mary together? Once – at the very end of HLV when Sherlock is leaving and Moriarty returns. Do we ever hear one of them mention the other by name? No. Even when Sherlock calls Mycroft from the wedding, Mycroft only says “the happy couple.” The closest we get is Christmas, but they remain in separate rooms. Sherlock has been shot, damned if Mycroft doesn’t know exactly who shot him, and yet Mary’s name never passes his lips.
This scene marks the beginning of a trend: Mary is implied, but never outright mentioned, in nearly every scene with Mycroft this season…until Moriarty returns.
There’s a connection there, absolutely. So if Mycroft wants to warn Sherlock about tonight but doesn’t, that should worry us. Because someone is forcing Mycroft to stay silent. And seeing as Mycroft “is the British government,” I’m pretty sure there’s only one person powerful enough to keep him quiet. Miss me?
So Sherlock’s reunion with John goes as poorly as Mycroft probably suspected. I’m saving most of my analysis of that scene for Part 2 of this series, but I do want to point one moment out. It’s when John says he doesn’t care how Sherlock did it, he wants to know why – no, not why Moriarty needed to be stopped. But why wasn’t John included.
"Actually, um, that was mostly Mycroft’s idea."
And as Mycroft’s name is mentioned, we move over to…Mary.
"Oh, so it’s your brother’s plan."
"Oh, he would have needed a confidante…sorry."
This is a great little piece of foreshadowing, because it doesn’t just hint that Mary knows a thing or two about pulling off big identity schemes, it also immediately connects her to Mycroft (and Moriarty – he had to be stopped). And she’s subtly throwing a little bit of support behind the idea of keeping John in the dark.
Anyway. Back to trains and dicks.
but guYS, when johnlock becomes canon, think about everything we will have.
- the kiss gifs
- the new icons of them kissing
- THE FANVIDS OF THEM KISSING LIKE WITHOUT CUT EDITING
- CANONICALLY KNOWING HOW SHERLOCK LEANS DOWN TO KISS JOHN, SEEING THEIR REACTIONS TO IT AND EVERYTHING.
- SEEING JOHN AND SHERLOCK KISS.
JOHN AND SHERLOCK KISSING
hopefully this will happen before I grow old and die
all day the darkness and the cold upon my heart have lain like shadows on the winter sky, like frost on the pane
And then he swung, and it was too late. There was nothing I could do.
BLESS YOU for standing up for john watson's bisexuality! *hugs*
bless you too, pretty anon *hugs back*
it’s not sarcasm, right? lol
*runs that through the Sherlock translator engine*
"Don’t bother, John’s already fulfilling all my needs. The ones I’m aware of, anyway. But should I discover some more, I’m sure he’ll fulfill those too."
told by lil shit that just few seconds ago tried so hard to ‘impress a girl’.
He’s not gay, he just has a tendency to fall in love with charismatic, commanding men. But, no, not gay at all.
bb is not gay! he is bi :)
Hello. I just re-watched the pilot episode, and I could be absolutely wrong, but I think there is Anteros (the Greek god of requited love) in it, when the title shows. Subtext? I can't help it, I'm 'clueing for looks' all over the show, because you spoiled me. :P I love your blog & metas btw, and I think you're brilliant! Also, sorry if that's already been answered.
You guys. Uh, yeah. This is true.
For reference, here’s Anteros, the Greek god of requited love… the wiki picture is this exact statue. That’s REQUITED love. REQUITED. Anteros is specifically the avenger of unrequited love.
SINCE THE PILOT. WHAT HAVE I BEEN SAYING? WHAT HAVE I BEEN SAYING?
Bless you, anon. Bless you.
please, all johnlock shippers, just click on that link and read it! omg!!!
bonus: ANTEROS is basically the Anti-EROS. Instead of causing people to fall madly in love, he takes a more long-term view of relationships and coaxes deeper, less chaotic emotions. Like his brother, he fires arrows, but he deals in selfless mutual love, not the sexy madness of hormones. (cr.godchecker.com)
*clicks ‘adult manga’* *clicks ‘yaoi’ tag* time to read some bedtime stories with pictures
Aww that’s so-
Oh hey shes getting olde-
I don’t even wanna think about that!
WHOEVER MADE THIS GET HELP CAUSE NOBODY SHOULD EVER DO THIS TO US
That was FUCKED up
WHO IN THE FUCK THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE AN OKAY IDEA.
-.- this is depressing
here. take my heart. i don’t need it.
Tatiana Maslany twirling on the Red Carpet!
when ur trying to escape from bad guys in a video game but it attracts more bad guys
I’M LAUGHING BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY ON THE ROOF, THAT SOME OF THEM ARE FALLING OFF