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This afternoon and tonight I flew back from fun in the sun to... reality. It felt good being there, not so good being back but glad to have my own bed to sleep in and . Theoretically there is sugar of some variety in the kitchen, which I will hunt out momentarily. For the moment, though, I'm just tired. Those four flights are a killer, and because it was after dark and rainy I decided to take a cab home rather than trying to spot my bus stop, which was about twice as expensive as I expected and... blech. Not the best financial move I've made lately.

But it was fun. I soaked up some vitamin D, managed to see Guardians of the Galaxy and did some light clothes shopping that was productive for once in my life (photos once I've unpacked, I'm sure), came home with clean laundry and feeling more pampered and creative than I have in a long time, and really connected with my friend's kid who I described, not the baptisee but the older kid who was such a good tour guide at Epcott. And introduced both my friend and her husband to the wonder that is Cabin Pressure while we were getting ready for the dinner. She was blase, but he laughed as hard as I did the first time. And there's just something about flying in the early evening, it's beautiful. So there's lots to be happy about, really. I'm feeling more than a bit blah at the moment, which I think is the depression talking more than anything, but... yeah.

Anyway, beauty. Here's a photo I nabbed from the ride home:


In more fannish news, on the plane I found myself thinking (for no good reason that I can work out except it's been bugging me off and on since I saw the scene for the first time) that moment in TBB where Sherlock introduces John as his friend (to Sebastian) and John pointedly corrects him to colleague. It's so out of character in its way given that this is a man who just shot the dude threatening Sherlock, within (what?) thirty-six hours of meeting Sherlock. As a statement of just how close Sherlock and John are, it's such a backward statement in its way. It's a regression.

But sitting in the plane watching the night sky roll by, there's really not much to do but think, and that's where my mind insisted on focusing tonight. And the more I think about this, the less it seems to be about closeness and more to do about value and respect. John is coming into this scene being reminded viscerally that he isn't hacking it financially or professionally. He's just been humiliated not being able to provide basic necessities like food. He's had to make himself extremely vulnerable by asking Sherlock (that to-all-appearances independently wealthy flatmate who doesn't have to work at anything, can just laze about and work crime scenes for free with the he-is-the-British-government, seemingly-omnipotent brother), by asking that man for a loan. He perked up a bit when he saw 221B back in ASIP, but it's not like his home; he has a room but no real privacy (I'm thinking of Sherlock's using his laptop) and no real security either (he can't trust they can have nice things that won't be wrecked; I'm thinking here of the scratchd kitchen table that Sherlock doesn't feel any need to even explain), he can't afford the basics of life there -- I can see that bedsit starting to look not so horrible after all, and the handgun he was keeping in his desk drawer a little bit better still.

(Poor John. Poor John. He needs a hug. Back in a minute.)

Anyway. When a man coming out of this situation is taken into a large, ornate financial institution in the British equivalent of Wall Street, arguably the closest thing we have to a secular temple, I can see him feeling a bit overwhelmed but also dwarfed by it all. And when Sherlock introduces him as his friend, that can make it seem like someone who's there not because he's needed or has something of value to offer, but like someone who's tagging along for purely personal friends. "Colleague," on the other hand, seems like a professional status. He is here not because Sherlock likes him but because Sherlock thinks he can offer a useful service. John may think of Sherlok as a friend at this point (I think he does, though I'm sure other people would disagree and I'm too knackered to defend my opinion there), but the important thing is that's not all he wants to be as Sherlock. As a person, he needs his presence at a place like this, on an important case, to be coming from something other than the fact that Sherlock liked him.

Interestingly, over at Tumblr mid0nz noted that Holmes often called Watson his "friend and colleague," underscoring the importance of both sides of that equation. And I think in his own imperfect way, Sherlock is getting closer to valuing John in this way. He asks him to help analyze the Carl Powers case, he sends him to interview Connie Prince's brother, he lets him handle the Brue Partington Plans case more or less on his own and makes sure John realizes that he was willing to trust a matter of national security to him ("knew you'd get there eventually"). Of course he's a first-class jerk about it, and anyone looking at this from the outside would be excused for misreading it. But I think there's a real drive here that these two are driving toward not just personal affection but actual recognition that the other has something to value. And John can be excused for insisting on the second part of that identity. At least it makes some sense to me.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
scfrankles
Sep. 16th, 2014 12:13 pm (UTC)
Can I just chuck in my two penn'orth about that bit in TBB?

When I first got involved in the Sherlock fandom, I was taken aback by the angst surrounding that part because for me that bit was funny (and not terribly important). And it wasn't just my personal interpretation: the day after TBB's first showing, a workmate spontaneously mentioned that bit, and she'd apparently experienced exactly the same reaction.

Now, it might be because I'm British and middle-aged but for me there are two different meanings of "friend" in that exchange. Sherlock pointedly says: "This is my friend", which I took to mean that he's telling Wilkes: "You lot never liked me, did you? But now I've got a real friend." However, I think Wilkes misinterprets Sherlock's emphasis, and his own: "Friend, eh?" means: "Oh, I see. He's your boyfriend." John picks up on the implied boyfriend meaning and is embarrassed and uncomfortable. He uses "colleague" to try and get the conversation back on a formal footing - to remind Wilkes that he and Sherlock are there on business.

So, I would say that John is definitely not implying that he and Sherlock are not friends - though he is probably implying they're not boyfriends. (It's essentially another "He's not my date!" scene.) He is mainly using "colleague" to deflect prurient interest away from their private lives - to point out they're there as professionals. To be honest, I'd say that would be a perfectly reasonable response to the situation even if John and Sherlock had been a couple.

Using "friend" in this mildly euphemistic way to mean "lover of the same sex" is perhaps slightly old-fashioned, which may be why younger people aren't picking up on it. And maybe I am misinterpreting the writer's intentions - but that was my instinctive reading of the scene when I first watched it.

And that's a gorgeous photograph ^^
marta_bee
Sep. 16th, 2014 06:12 pm (UTC)
It's ironic this is coming up now. Just this weekend I was having a conversation with a relative about my gay uncle (literally, my father's brother in a long-term romantic relationship with another man, A.; that's not a euphemism), and the other person referred to A. as his "friend." It took me a minute to work out just what she meant by that because to me friend by itself doesn't mean anything sexual. Special friend, maybe, or even good friend, but friend by itself is just a friend to my ear.

But I like this perspective a lot, if only because it's a nice way back around to the basic point I was trying to make in this interpretation: that this isn't so much a way of distancing John from Sherlock as asserting his value independent of that. Though I can also easily see how Sherlock (this version of Sherlock) might misread that.

I'm glad you liked the photo, too. :-)
shadowfireflame
Sep. 16th, 2014 03:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, I adore this explanation so much--John' feeling undervalued with his skills and wants to reassert his professional competence: he's important too, he's there for a purpose. Whereas Sherlock thinks he's just given John the highest compliment he can imagine and will fret until The Sign of Three, thinking he and John aren't friends. *cries* Brilliant reading of the scene!
marta_bee
Sep. 16th, 2014 04:21 pm (UTC)
Well, to be fair they work out the friend bit behind THOB, don't they? But even so, so much of the show's characterization seems to be about Sherlock overestimating his importance to John and I wonder whether how much can be traced back to moments like this where John feels the need to bulk up the fact that he's good and sufficient on his own.

It's heartbreaking, really. Beautiful, though. I'm glad you liked this reading.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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