The more I watch Sherlock, the more I am convinced it is not quite about Sherlock becoming a good man.( Read more speculation about the "real" Sherlock plot...Collapse )
Sherlock starts as a "great man" and he is not (thank God!) a nice man. He is not "normal". And would you like him to be normal? Does "normal" equal "good"? Normal is always something that comes from the majority, are you sure, it is where we want to go? To be "great" is always to be one of a kind, trying to live up to own standards of morality and honesty, and to fail every so often, sadly. But still great people raise the standards for those around. For us. Being "great" defies being "nice" by definition, in my opinion.(Just for the record, I think "nice" is sometimes useful but boring to no end and not honest very very often, being "normal", in the sense of being like everyone else, is destructive for my well-being and "good" is very far away from where I am now. But I do know a small circle of people who were and are good down to their core. And a lot of people who do good things and are good in certain situations. For me, being "good" means being honest to myself and never to act out of fear.)
I hated the drunken stag night scene. I could not understand the appeal of Sherlock, sharpest mind and beautiful character with the most delicious sense of humour (yes, I find Molly's morbid jokes really funny) made silly and not even handsome any more. I didn't see the appeal. Sherlock was not "human at last", as a lot of people pointed out, but a man intoxicated, not a man "vulnerable" but stripped. "A wasted opportunity", indeed. No, not in the sense of sex. I did not see the innuendo of John's proposal, I did not see any proposal at all, by the way. Is this how you would like to be proposed? You give up your life for this one person, you do everything to protect this person, the person, who is "the one" (friend? really? Sherlock is not anything but careful with his choice of words) in your life, who is about to marry someone else and then you are proposed by this person at their stag night with a knee grop? Really? Great sense of romantics, though. But back to the point of goodness.
The series starts with John suffering a nightmare. John is suffering, he is suicidal. You usually need years to heal and be content with yourself again. Throughout the series, John is not well. Up to Reichenbach Sherlock is his saviour, who gives him purpose and heals him, but even then John is not boyfriend material, sorry to point that out. He is therapist's or, if you wish, a broken hero material. S3 left everyone traumatised and shattered, let alone John.
We start, and look at it! It is the very first sequence of the whole series! We start with a doctor, who's chosen the army (a decent chance for being shot and get a nice trauma, no?), and is not able to cope with normal life. He finds a new battle field, which gives him a purpose, a home, financial support and lets him heal a bit. He is proud to be on Sherlock's side, he is more and more himself as he is meant to be. He is selfless when he offers his life for Sherlock's at the pool and trusts Sherlock with his life when the snipers come back.
He is Sherlock's friend. That's how he would describe himself. A good friend? Well, a good man should be a good friend, right? But yes, of course! He sticks to Sherlock! He doesn't leave his side. He protects him and navigates him through the ordeal of being nice in public. Shouldn't Sherlock be grateful?
Now, I tell you what left a sour taste when I watched s1 and s2. John is not really respectful to Sherlock. Don't build a guillotine for me yet, I've just started. John ridicules Sherlock in public. No, not in public, that's wrong. In front of the whole world there are those words to read, edged in stone, for the permanence of digital eternity, confirming how ignorant Sherlock is of certain things, how lonely he is and what a spectacular dick. Would you want to read things like that about you in your friend's blog? On Facebook, maybe? John doesn't ask, how Sherlock feels about those things on his blog or anything (yes, sometimes you have to ask twice), he is not able to listen to Sherlock, when Sherlock does tell him things ("Spock" during an emotional breakdown, really, John?), he does not see when Sherlock does things for him. I read so many times in fics that John makes tea for Sherlock, him being a caretaker. In the episodes I saw for numerous times Sherlock asking if John is hungry and giving him the opportunity to eat. Sherlock, not John, making tea for them both. (I skip the one coffee cup for now, ok?). And let me remind you of this - "Take my card". Just let me ask you, how many times exactly did you offer your card to anyone who is not close family? Someone unemployed you knew for couple of months, maybe?
But the thing that pains me most is that John puts Sherlock in a neat labelled box "he doesn't feel like that". Full stop. And this is so convenient for John, isn't it? To point out, your actions are not normal, so you are not normal = not good. John judges Sherlock, I very much assume he does not see him as good. And I am talking here about the "will caring help me save them?" thing. Who the fuck cares if the detective was crying while he solved a time-critical kidnapping? Or should he better take his time crying and get the victims killed? (Same logic in Sherlock's fall. Grieving John is better than no John. Simple mathematics.)
Even in Reichenbach Fall, where I feel the both men closest to each other, there were these heart-breaking moments between them. First, "I'll just be myself" in the car on the way to the court, "no one could be such an annoying dick all the time" (argh!!!!! The Hound and the "Spock" all over again!) and "you machine!". And Sherlock knows that he won't see John again. Sherlock knows exactly where John put him, which label John is serving now. And it works. And Sherlock knows that John does not or isn't able to see him as a real human being. Not because Sherlock isn't. He is. He cares. At least, he cares that John is safe and eats well. Sherlock knows he is not "normal" and he doesn't want to, he has enough self-confidence to be who he is. But John cannot take it. For whatever reasons (I really hope we will get that in the next episodes.)
Bare with me, we are now back to the goodness question. My assumption is, that this is John's character arc which we will hopefully see. It is John, who is yet to become a good man. His presumed normalcy and Sherlock's being so unique obscure John's character a lot. He is not good in the sense that I understand goodness. He is not honest to himself. He is not honest to the person closest to him. John is not well and he is not good. He is not good to himself. He is not good to Sherlock. He is not good to Mary-before-the-shot even. I want to see him good and well. For Sherlock.
This whole thing works under one presumption - that the writers know where they are going. There are two things that let me hope they do. One, is the "unaired pilot"-John ("whatever rocks your boat"). "I am his doctor"-Watson is my champion. The other one is Gatiss (was it Gatiss?) mentioning, that it would be so nice for the lead character in a detective show to come home and to be asked by his boyfriend "How was your day?" in the matter of fact kind of way, no emphasizes on queerness of the story. Sorry, if I got it all wrong, but this is practically my solid ground I walk upon. ;)
(For the record again, I saw a glimpse of Sherlock on youtube in November 2013, got hooked, got the DVDs, read tons of fanfiction "post-Reichenbach" and neatly stumbled into s3. I did not like John, actually. I arranged myself to like him after s1 and s2, because, well, Sherlock did, and their dynamics were so great. But s3? To rephrase, "I don't see love and I really don't see good.")
Does it mean, I see Sherlock as good? Well, actually, yes. He has this talent and he puts it to use brilliantly. But often he is not good to himself, but he has people he loves and cares deeply about. To the point of going through heartbreak, torture and death. That's good enough for me.