I’ve been rewatching the opening scenes to A Study in Pink, particularly Sherlock’s and John’s first meeting in the lab at St. Bart’s. I’ve seen this scene several times now, seen it interpreted through fanfic and certainly replayed it in my own imagination; it’s our first introduction to Sherlock’s deductive prowess, and it’s simply so iconic. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t rewatched it in a while, or perhaps my mind is simply on Sherlock’s character with the approaching new series, but I noticed something I hadn’t ever seen before.
Fair warning: I refer to events throughout series two. I don’t think I ave anything substantial away, but if you’r avoiding series two spoilers, you may not want to read this.
If you haven’t seen the scene yet, watch the clip here. John’s acquaintance Mike Stamford has heard John is looking for a flatmate to split costs with and has suggested he meet another acquaintance of his, Sherlock, who’s also looking for a flatmate. The two men have never met each other, know nothing about each other before the meeting, and almost the first words out of Sherlock’s mouth are what he considers his worst selling points as a flatmate: that he plays the violin at all hours. (Which is a hilarious underestimation, but a different story altogether.) John’s quite taken aback that this virtual stranger would want to jump into a flatshare, and this is Sherlock’s way of convincing John just how much he’s worked out about him.
The thing that struck me here: when Sherlock deconstructs John, pretty much everything he notices also describes his own character. Let’s take this bit by bit.
1. “I know you’re an Army doctor, and you’ve been invalided home from Afghanistan.”
John is coming out of a professional path – doctor, veteran – and is landing in a situation where he’s not able to use them. He’s got, we know, a shoulder and a leg wound which give him mobility problems making him a liability in the more exciting kinds of medicine he practiced in the military, to say nothing of his very real psychological problems. (PTSD and medicine don’t mix.)