Some stories stay with us forever
The way Sherlock is watching John as he’s buttoning up his jacket. He’s not looking at his own reflection, he’s looking at John.
And then John’s eyes flick over to him.
That’s a pretty intense look, boys.
Something about that look, man. Something about it makes me feel it just encapsulates them, in a way (and the blatant mirror imagery doesn’t hurt, what with the mirroring everywhere in the show and stephisanerd's meta on the parallels with ‘Through the Looking Glass’). I mean, John’s very concertedly not looking to see the obvious on Sherlock’s face— except he is, of course he is. They’re getting dressed (not undressed), but the very fact that there’s this fleeting tension is blatantly eroticizing the moment, underlining all the barely concealed, sublimated potential.
The thing is, and this is so great: one of my favorite things about BBC Sherlock is how it consciously plays with viewers’ assumptions and expectations, and with the longtime cinematic coding of queer desire in film history. This is what ‘hiding in plain sight’ means. This is actually amazing, because people can look at this moment— this utterly transparent moment, on one level— and not see it, because even if we’re looking (just like John is), we’re not really looking, because, in the end, we’re looking in the mirror. We’re seeing ourselves; we’re seeing what we want to see, even as Sherlock watches.
It’s not simply about the broad cultural heteronormativity at work, because many people who ‘see’ the slash still don’t think it’s really happening, because it can’t. It can’t be happening, therefore it isn’t; therefore if there’s any romance, surely it’s with Sherlock and Molly (for example). Even though we don’t even have a tenth of this kind of subtext with them, certainly not with the frequency that moments like this occur between Sherlock and John, it all flies past, invisibly coded. At most, people cry ‘queer-baiting’ because of moments just like this. And that’s the beautiful, beautiful thing, because I feel in a way that this show is a small bit of redemption not just for ‘The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’, but for all the films where things never moved beyond the coded looks.
Maybe I’m overstating things; certainly, it’s too early to celebrate. But I’m just so happy, you know? Because I see it, and the fact that it does currently exist in silent looks doesn’t make it any less ‘real’ to me; the fact that it’s a queer coded dynamic and an actual building romance is just so beautiful. It’s an homage. And it’s about damn time.
Making of “Little Favour” / stunt rehearsal, filming
THANK YOU SO MUCH SWEETIE!!