Ohhh, I’m always up for a discussion about the Battersea scene. :)
You broke the moment down perfectly. My interpretation is that Irene is finishing her thought, and their realization that Sherlock has been listening helps to confirm her point. So what IS her point? Let’s back up a little bit more. (Transcript credit: Ariane DeVere)
IRENE: Are you jealous?
JOHN: We’re not a couple.
IRENE: Yes you are. There …
(She holds up her phone to show John the screen, although he’s too far away to read it. She tells him what she has typed anyway.)
IRENE: “I’m not dead. Let’s have dinner.”
(She presses the Send button. John turns away momentarily and then turns back to her.)
JOHN (quietly): Who … who the hell knows about Sherlock Holmes, but – for the record – if anyone out there still cares, I’m not actually gay.
IRENE: Well, I am. Look at us both.
(John laughs ruefully. Just then an orgasmic female sigh can be heard a short distance away. In the corridor outside the room, unseen by either of them, Sherlock switches his phone off and rapidly walks away. John starts to walk in the direction of the sound but Irene holds out her hand to stop him. She looks at him pointedly.)
IRENE: I don’t think so, do you?
Before they both became aware of Sherlock’s presence, Irene was trying to make a point to John. Regardless of her own attraction to/feelings for Sherlock, she did not hesitate to throw their feelings for one another in their faces. One of her texts to Sherlock even says:
John’s blog is HILARIOUS. I think he likes you more than I do. Let’s have dinner.
Irene knows what people like. She tells us again and again. And there’s no subtext in this scene. It’s blatant. “We’re not a couple.” “Yes you are.”
She knows they aren’t in a sexual and/or romantic relationship. But she also knows that doesn’t mean they aren’t a couple. She knows it’s just a matter of time before they acknowledge it. Note that right before this scene, John tells the fem!lock Irene sics on him (the woman he thought worked for Mycroft), that Sherlock “doesn’t follow him everywhere.”
Now, to John’s comment:
"I’m not actually gay."
(Not “I’m straight.” Not “I’m not interested in dating Sherlock.” But the standard John Watson #notgay.)
And Irene replies with: “Well I am. Look at us both.”
The second phrase is meant to contradict the first. In other words:
"Well I am. [But] look at us both."
Irene has already confessed to flirting with Sherlock. She doesn’t try to hide her interest in him (unlike John). Here’s what she’s saying:
"You’re not gay. I am. But look at us both (in love with Sherlock)."
Sherlock literally enters the picture after the word “both,” with that orgasmic sound. Irene and John are both startled, and John looks very worried. Irene stops him from going after Sherlock, then finishes her thought.
"I don’t think so, do you?"
Irene is saying that their sexual orientations don’t matter, because they’re both in love with Sherlock. She has totally accepted this about herself, and is trying to make John understand it about himself, too. After all, John thought Sherlock wouldn’t follow him – but Sherlock did. They are a couple. Him showing up, the fact that he followed John, helps confirm her point.
Please note that I do not in ANY way believe this means Irene is not gay, or John is not straight (or…not not gay?). We’re told multiple times in this episode that Irene sleeps with both men and women. Irene *gets* sexuality. She’s well aware of the Kinsey scale and sexual fluidity. Being attracted to a man is not alarming to her, and does not change her sexual orientation (in her mind or in reality). It happens to plenty of people. Rules have exceptions.
For John, though, this is an utter mindfuck. Being attracted to/in love with Sherlock does not necessarily change his sexual orientation to “gay.” But, like many people, this is a foreign concept to John. It’s possible he’s never been attracted to a man before and this is intensely confusing for him.
Irene understands. She’s trying to explain it to John. Gay, not gay, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t change how they both feel.
“He doesn’t follow me everywhere. We’re not a couple. I’m not gay.”
“I don’t think so…do you?”
I was inspired to follow up on deducingbbcsherlock ‘s great analysis of this scene with a closer walkthrough using screencaps.
This is John directly after Irene says “Well, I am. Look at us both.” He laughs ruefully and nods slightly to himself. Note that he does not continue to contradict Irene or show indignation that they are not the same. As John said before, “it’s all fine,” but he’s surprised to hear that applied to himself as well. I agree that the purpose of this whole scene is to introduce us, as well as Sherlock and John, to the idea that sexuality is fluid. It also establishes that Sherlock does not have a clear sexual preference (“Who knows about Sherlock Holmes”), and John’s may be more complex than “not gay.”
IRENE: I don’t think so, do you?
deducingbbcsherlock covered the subtext of this exchange brilliantly, but I want to point out that Irene says this to literally stop John from going after Sherlock at that moment. She means it as “I don’t think that would be a good idea” as John starts to walk towards him.
There is a flicker of uncertainty in her gaze as she says this as a question. She understands Sherlock well enough to know that this open discussion about his sexuality will be overwhelming to him. But she doesn’t fully grasp the dynamics of Sherlock and John’s friendship. Sherlock is overwhelmed; he wouldn’t want to talk to anyone at this moment, but is John the exception? Here she displays the limits of her understanding of Sherlock and calls on John for his instead. Would John know if Sherlock wants him to follow after him? In what ways is John the exception for Sherlock?
John doesn’t go after him. There is an understanding that this is not a conversation that they are prepared to have.
It’s the right decision. The camera is zoomed in tightly with blurred edges; Sherlock’s field of vision is narrow and he can only focus on what is directly in front of him. His eyes flicker wildly as they do when he accesses his mind palace. Unfortunately, there is nothing in there that will help him, just as he didn’t have the right resources to read Irene’s naked body. It’s not his area.
Let’s think about the distinct theme that plays at this scene. It’s mournful and dramatic, distinct from Irene’s theme, and occurs several times during the episode. When else does it play?
Earlier in the episode, when Irene takes Sherlock by surprise, forms an unexpected deduction (wearing his coat, about a case where the victim is literally blindsided), and renders Sherlock baffled and incoherent. Just as she does later on again.
Irene and Sherlock are geniuses in their own right. Sexuality is not Sherlock’s area, but it is Irene’s. These scenes are about Irene’s deductions of Sherlock and John’s sexuality, as well as the limits of her understanding.
A final look at the unique framing of this episode can be very telling:
This episode is a story told through glimpses in doors, windows, and snapshots. As the viewer, we are constantly on the outside looking in and our vision is obscured and fragmented. There is a haziness around the edges, a sense that the entire truth is not being told. And yet, we are reminded throughout the episode that images can reveal far too much of the truth and ought to be concealed for protection.
JOHN: There is no usual in this case.
BEAUTIFUL analysis. I absolutely love this. I hadn’t noticed about the theme that’s playing to indicate that Sherlock’s baffled about the whole exchange – amazing. Really well done.
Ben as a father or taking care of children.
I was there the day they filmed the third one. While that is his character Ford with his daughter, in between takes B took the little actress’ fan and fanned her with it. That was all B, not Ford ;)
John Watson - The Great Game …finally done. i think. drawn to go with this Sherlock. graphite pencils 6H-8B on Strathmore Bristol. open in new tab for better res.
Idris. Idris, no. I can’t handle this. I need to go to work. Stop it.
moonblossom | John & Sherlock | G | 872 words
Life is a series of missed opportunities; what if John hadn’t followed Stamford to Bart’s that day?
Oh yes, I enjoyed this concept immensely (how perfect it was that Sherlock and even Mycroft were, on some level, aware of things being not quite right) and the ending, well, you can’t really mess with the fate now can you? Lovely!
Thank you so much! This fic tends to slip under the radar, so seeing it rec’ed makes me so happy <3
I’ve got you right where I want you.
John smiled as Sherlock padded barefoot across the room. Without thinking much of it, he hooked his arms around Sherlock’s waist and drew him into his lap. Sherlock smiled gently and John smiled back as the world narrowed to just the two of them, Sherlock’s hand wrapping around his head as they came together for a tender kiss.
(It inspired a little paragraph)
This is so cute I’m melting
Some HD artworks from upcoming Song of the Sea animated feature film directed by Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells).
Omg! The little bottles.
Aren’t they fab? They are Re-Ment and Megahouse miniatures from Japan. I love them.
Oh no! How much has he been drinking?
Faaaar too much for such a tiny snail!