Dec 14 2014 3:00pm

Shipping Sunday: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (JohnLock)

I love Sherlock Holmes. I will take him in every iteration—BBC's modernization with Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr. in a historical action version, and Johnny Lee Miller in Elementary, or The Great Moust Detective. What I have loved even more is tracking the allusions to a relationship that is slightly more domestic and less platonic between Holmes and his faithful friend, John Watson.

In canon, there are hints that this domestic duo, were a little bit more than just roommates and partners in in life maybe?

BBC's Sherlock has been a particular favorite of mine—I'm a big Doctor Who fan and I feel Stephen Moffat, the writer of both, brings intelligence and hijinx to both. In Sherlock, the hints of a relationship are a lot more overt than in more historical adaptations. Sherlock and Watson, no matter what iteration we find them in, do tend to act more like an old married couple than two male roommates/crime fighters.

So this week's Shipping Sunday is going to focus on that tension between these two and all the times that Sherlock and Watson acted or were mistaken for a couple. #SecretlyMarried anyone?

First, let us establish that everyone thinks Sherlock and Watson are a couple in Sherlock! Mrs. Hudson first assumed that John was moving in with Sherlock and they wouldn't need the second bedroom. Mary, John's fiancee, even could see there was something special between them. Irene Adler famously responded “Yes you are” when John insisted they weren't a couple. John, you should know by now, no one believes you!




As someone on the internet pointed out, in their infinite wisdome, while John protests their status (me thinks the lad protest too much?), Sherlock never does. In fact, he's perfectly happy to let his sexually ambiguous status continue on to the point that people thing—is he or isn't he? Is it apathy or secret love?

In Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as the iconic duo, the two spend much of their film franchise on the outs. Almost like a couple having a spat, no? In the below set of gifs these two literally have a fight that a married couple might have...if one half of the couple set the flat on fire and did experiments on the dog.


Note: Sherlock says “OUR rooms” and “OUR dog.” Sure, he might just be trying to win a fight and make Watson less angry with him, but a shipper on the lookout could take that to mean he's being possessive.

^^^Then, there's that role play (wink wink, nudge nudge) these two have, to keep things interesting in the bedroom for a case. I know Sherlock Holmes is a famous pipe smoker...but when else do you smoke?

Sherlock is the smartest and one of the most impressive people John has ever met. While there was always ribbing of “Come now, Watson, hurry up” when it came to following Sherlock's deductions, there was an innate respect that Sherlock had for Watson. And vice versa. They listened to one another and cared deepy what the other thought.


From the outside, it would appear these two weren't equals. After all what do a genius sociopath, and a ex-military doctor have in common? Mutual respect, admiration, and a deep understanding for one another—they don't need to be the same, in fact, God help us if there was ever another Sherlock out there. And that's what made them work.

At the end of the day, whether you ship them or not, you know they would drop everything, do anything, to help one another.



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Lynne Connolly
1. Lynne Connolly
My Sherlock Holmes is like the one in "Sherlock." He's asexual. He doesn'g care about sex. He's quite willing to let people think what they want, even tease them, but he doesnt have a sexual orientation. He's the opposite of Captain Jack of Torchwood.
In the books there is absolutely no indication of Holmes's sexuality one oway or the other. Lots about Watson, who is firmly straight. Even with Irene Adler, it is her mind Holmes admires. But she's the nearest he ever gets.
Maggie Boyd
2. maggieboyd66
That would be so sad. Imagine that your only friend also happened to be your lover. That would mean you had literally only one relationship in life. As Sherolck told John in the Hound episode "I don't have friends". He went on to explain that there was just one friend, John, for him but he really was emphasizing the friendship part. There was no hint that he was looking for more.

I think it is also pretty clear that for John the relationhsip doesn't do it for him sexually. He's had quite a few girlfriends and finally has married and is having a baby. Sherlock's intellect mixed with John's friendship may be enough for him but it's not for John. He clearly needs a bit more human companionship and some semblence of normal life and healthy relationships.

I think of them as a super-duo like Batman and Robin. And I really hope nobody is going to ship that one. How icky would it be to fall in love with the kid you raised?????
3. Travelover
I also love the various iterations. I regularly watch Elementary (the amount of dialog Johnny Lee Miller memorizes is AMAZING!), and each new Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch.

My "love affair" with Sherlock Holmes began with Basil Rathbone, an English actor who usually played villains until he was cast in this iconic role. In real life Rathbone had been a World War I Intelligence Officer - a hero. As a little girl, I remember watching those old films from the 30's and 40's - and I was spellbound. And I cannot help myself - I always compare every iteration against that very first unforgettable Sherlock Holmes.
Susan White
4. whiskeywhite
While Benedict Cumberbatch is a joy to watch, my favourite Sherlock is Jeremy Brett, who played the great detective from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s in various British Sherlock Holmes TV series. I believe he is considered to be the actor whose Holmes was truest to the original. More strict and grim than Benedict's version, arrogant, clearly a drug user, and with no sexiness at all. I personally think Brett's Sherlock was the definitive version (on TV at least). Unfortunately he became ill and died before he could film all of the stories. Many episodes of, for instance, "The Adventures of Sherlock Homes" are available on YouTube.
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