January 15th, 2014

making sense of His Last Vow’s final scene

This whole post is pretty much one giant spoiler for the tail end of “His Last Vow” and everything leading up to it. If you haven’t seen it and are avoiding spoilers, you should probably stop reading now.

Still with me? You’re sure you don’t want to stay spoiler-free? Good.

Setting aside certain not-dead-after-all (perhaps) consulting criminals, the very last scene in “His Last Vow” gives us Sherlock, John, and Mary saying goodbye at an airstrip. Sherlock has shot an unarmed Charles Augustus Magnussen in front of dozens of MI6 types. The audience expects him to go to jail. I’m sure Sherlock expects a life sentence somewhere thoroughly boring; his last words to John outside Magnussen’s house certainly gives that impression. Instead, he’s being sent on what Sherlock and the audience knows is a suicide mission in eastern Europe. John doesn’t know that aspect of things, but Shelrock does tell him, quite plainly, that this will be the last time they’ll ever meet. The game, in Sherlock’s words, is over.

It should be a gut-wrenching scene on par with John’s eulogy at the end of “Reichenbach.” But it isn’t, at least on first glance. I’ve seen lots of fans of the show get quite frustrated, because to them it simply doesn’t seem like John cares about Sherlock any more. This is the man who he bawled for two years over losing, who just sacrificed himself again for John’s future, and he’s… discussing baby names? Really?

Hold on to that fantasy, if you can. When the truth (or what I think is true) hit me, the only thing keeping me from screaming was that I was in public. I’m not exaggerating on that none.

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Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.