#I want to point out one small thing from this scene #did anyone else notice #that john looked at irene for like #two seconds #and instead of stammering over his words #asking how #or even why #what the hell is going on? #john just closes his mouth #and the first thing he says is an order #tell him you’re alive #because john knows how sherlock is #how sherlock thinks #and while sherlock may not be in love #john knows he was heartbroken #so when he said this to irene #my heart skipped a beat #because it’s exactly what people say #a study in pink is the story of how sherlock fell in love with john #and a scandal in belgravia is the story of john falling in love with sherlock #and the rest of this scene only proves it #we’re not a couple #yes you are
What I thought was interesting about this isn’t so much that John has his fingers on the pulse of Sherlock’s inner workings, because actually it demonstrates the opposite. He has no idea what Sherlock’s feeling right now, and it’s completely unclear throughout what Sherlock is actually feeling. I think that’s the point.
What’s sweet, though, is that John doesn’t say “what the–” or “OMG” or anything else when he first sees Irene alive. He goes straight to “Sherlock is hurting, we need to fix this now, because I can’t stand to see him suffer.” Because that’s honestly the only thing on his mind, and it rules over even shock.
John is obsessively worried about Sherlock’s heart throughout this episode, though he doesn’t actually know anything about Sherlock’s feelings on this. And admits as much. Like he’s been playing an elaborate guessing game about this for ages, and it could go either way. He asks Mrs Hudson about Sherlock’s romantic history with some urgency, and gets no answers. We don’t see any scenes of him asking Sherlock directly whether he’s had any love affairs in the past, which I think is interesting. These scenes makes it feel like he might never have asked. So John just has quiet obsession with Sherlock’s emotional (and, apparently, sexual) life, which, if Sherlock didn’t already know, he knows now (since he followed John and heard this conversation).
Which suggests Sherlock’s a bit obsessed with John as well, because, well. He tails him.
This episode shows off this giant wedge of questions between John and Sherlock that they never address with each other, and all of them are intimate.
That’s partly why I loved Hounds so much. We went from a sort of gap between them in the form of these questions and unknowns to a very intimate story where they share a room (and seem perfectly willing to share a bed), John stops correcting people’s assumptions about their relationship, they have a “domestic” over Sherlock suggesting he and John aren’t as close as John thinks they are, and we have all the longing looks from Sherlock at John. Because those questions were actual questions in Scandal and appear to be answered in Hounds.
At the end of this scene in Scandal, Irene doesn’t think either of them should go after Sherlock, which is also kind of interesting. Because two things came out of it: Irene isn’t dead, but managed to fool Sherlock into thinking that she was (which he would have deduced instantly, obviously, the moment John started talking to her, maybe even before that), and that John is completely obsessed with the workings of Sherlock’s heart, and will do anything to heal it for him, including launch a (wo)manhunt or pairing Sherlock off with Irene, if that’s what he wants. Irene actively suggests not only that John is in love with Sherlock, but also that Sherlock is in love with John. (That is the flip side of the “couple” comment, really, isn’t it. If it’s a one-way thing, couple would be the wrong word.) And Irene didn’t think either of them should go after Sherlock afterwards.
Why shouldn’t John go after him? The suggestion is that they both revealed more than they meant to to Sherlock, their secret audience. We know what Irene revealed. John only revealed that he has been obsessively tracking Sherlock’s actions and reactions, trying to see if he’s in love, without ever actually asking about it. I think everyone’s said it, and I concur: this is the scene where John’s love for Sherlock is most obvious. So Irene reveals her deception, and John reveals his.