“This blog is the story of two men and their frankly ridiculous adventures—of murder, mystery, and mayhem. But from now on, there’s a new story, a bigger adventure.”
John Watson’s wedding was always going to be the end of an era. I was prepared for that. I was prepared for mysteries and heartache. I was not prepared for stag night debauchery, drunken deductions, dancing, or that best man speech. This episode was a gift. It opened on Lestrade kicking his car tire with angsty crime-solving rage, and from that point on, we were in for something special.
Seriously though, Greg Lestrade is better than you. He gave up all the credit on his big case just to rush off and save Sherlock. He called in maximum backup. GAVIN LESTRADE IS A MAN AND GOOD AT IT. They really should have invited him to that bachelor party. He cares so much for these bastards, and Sherlock has no idea. He doesn’t know that Greg and Molly conferred on his best man speech, or that Molly and Mrs. Hudson are worried about the telegrams, or that Mycroft (who will not be attending the “night-do”) is still watching out for him. And he has to be told that he’s John’s best friend.
For all of his “What life? I’ve been away” blustering, Sherlock knows that John managed to get on without him. He found Mary. He got engaged. It’s natural for Sherlock to assume that he needs John more than John needs him, and to find out that he’s John Watson’s best friend, that he’s one of the two people who mean the most to him, leaves him adorably speechless and, eventually, more comfortable with himself than we’ve ever seen.
It’s like Sherlock finally understands that he does play a role in the lives of his friends, and that it’s a perfectly important role to play. He uses “high-functioning sociopath” to intimidate Mary’s old suitors. He plays along with Janine as her wingman, using his deductions to find her a hookup just like he uses them to show Mary how people really feel about her. And of course there’s that toast. Sherlock’s best man speech plays into everyone’s worst fears about him. He rejects the institution of marriage and insults just about everyone—until he calls himself on it.
I am dismissive of the virtuous, unaware of the beautiful, and uncomprehending in the face of the happy. So if I didn’t understand I was being asked to be best man, it is because I never expected to be anyone’s best friend—certainly not the best friend to the bravest and kindest and wisest human being I have ever had the good fortune of knowing. John, I am a ridiculous man, redeemed only by the warmth and constancy of your friendship. But as I’m apparently your best friend, I cannot congratulate you on your choice of companion. Actually, now I can. Mary, when I say you deserve this man, it is the highest compliment of which I am capable. John, you have endured war, and injury, and tragic loss. So sorry again about that last one. So know this: today you sit between the woman you have made your wife and the man you have saved. In short, the two people who love you most in all this world. And I know I speak for Mary as well when I say we will never let you down, and we have a lifetime ahead to prove that.
BYE. Nice knowing all of you.
Sherlock knows exactly what people expect of him, but he’s so much bigger on the inside (I went there), and it’s about time for everyone to know what John already does. John and Sherlock are the perfect pair because they each bring something completely different to the table. Sherlock “will solve your murder, but it takes John Watson to save a life.” The wedding itself proves that, as Sherlock recognizes all the signs of a murder plot in progress and solves the case in time for John Watson to bust through a door and be a doctor. They have each other’s backs. I love that moment when John hears “Vatican Cameos,” stands up like a soldier at attention, and asks “What do I do?” because it’s just unquestioned that he can and will do something. They’re a team.
It’s so great of Mary to recognize that and encourage it. She finds cases for Sherlock and John to solve and tricks them into thinking that they’re doing each other a favor, when really she’s running the show. Mary’s a star. She can tell when Sherlock’s lying, she can remember the room number of every guest at the wedding, and she seems entirely comfortable with the fact that she’s essentially marrying the pair of them. From that best man speech to their touchy-feely game of celebrity (“I don’t mind”), Sherlock and John are hanging onto each other for dear life. They’re having fun, right? Nothing has to change. Don’t think about change, just dance.
That is a double pirouette brought to you by Benedict Cumberbatch. THIS SHOW IS ART AND ANYONE WHO SUGGESTS OTHERWISE HAS NEVER SEEN IT.
Oh but wait, this is Sherlock, and everything happy is really just waiting to rip your heart out if you think about it long enough. Sherlock loves dancing. Look at his smile when he admits that to Janine. He loves to dance, and he’s always loved it but never had a chance to show it off before. Sure, he’s waltzed John around 221B Baker Street to prepare for his first dance with Mary (hello fan fiction), but never with so many people around. And now he’s left the wedding just as the dancing starts. Who leaves a wedding early?! Why did you have to go there, Hudders?
Mary’s got the boys convinced that nothing will change, but maybe Mrs. Hudson is right. Maybe it’s unavoidable that marriage changes people. It gives you a new family, and John and Mary are about to become a family of three. Baby Watson! Sherlock’s thrilled for them, more genuinely thrilled than we’ve ever seen him be, and the revelation is a joyful one, but it’s still the one thing he wasn’t prepared for. He can’t be their surrogate child if they’re having a real one. There are limits. Three people can solve crimes, but can three people dance?
Sherlock’s had the room in his hands all evening, but in that one moment, he’s alone. He almost has Janine—his face lights up when he sees her, because she likes him, and he’s sure he can hang with her—but he’s done his job too well. His deductions netted her a man, and everything that makes Sherlock different makes him lonely after all, at least in this moment. It kills me when she tells him that she wishes he weren’t “whatever it is” that he is, and he replies with “I know,” like he’s apologizing for himself, like it’s his fault that he’s alone. Even Molly, the only one to see him go, is with Tom because Sherlock pushed her away when she wanted him. Not that she doesn’t want him still. She stabbed Tom with a fork, so I’m holding out hope.
At least we’ll always have Sherlock and his coat.
Bits and Pieces:
The track playing in his big sexy detective sequence is called “Lestrade – The Movie.” Where can I buy tickets to this movie?
“Marriage changes you as a person in ways that you can’t imagine.” “As does lethal injection.”
My favorite Benedict Cumberbatch moment of the night is his little “hmm” after Archie says maggots are cool.
Are we going to get an episode about the elephant in the room? A webisode? Anything? Gatiss, since you clearly troll the internet, hear me and know that I need this.
“The thing about Mary: she has completely turned my life around. Changed everything. But for the record, over the last few years, there are two people to have done that, and the other one is—”
“I have an international reputation. Do you have an international reputation?”
“Beauty is a construct based entirely on childhood impressions, influences and role models.”
“I could go on all night about the depth and complexity of his jumpers.”
“Cardigan? Sitty thing??? Deaded?”
“Imagine someone’s going to get murdered at the wedding. Who exactly would you pick?” “I think you’re a popular choice at the moment dear.”
“We would NEVER do that to JOHN WATSON.”
“Down, girl.”–Sherlock, to every last hopeless one of us.
What did you think of John’s big day? Is it really the end of an era?