Ah, conspiracy theories. Faked moon landings. Clinton murder sprees. Ancient aliens.
Whether or not that last one actually exists might be a moot point . . . since it involves a creation that's not finished in its birthing process, the Johnlock conspiracy itself could actually influence it's own endgame (a Holmes-Watson romance being the goal of BBC's Sherlock). It's a massively built-up theory. Were Sherlock a completed Canon, as the ACD one is, one can compile evidence all day long and it would remains a theory. But with all that's been built around it, and with the show's creators being aware of that building, and the devotion of some fans being at a level where what the actual show does not really matters . . . .
Well, Johnlock does exist.
But is it Canon or Alternate Universe at this point?
Admittedly, I have certain biases, and one of those is against physical violence. Which is why this topic came up again this morning, as I considered Sherlock's particular take on the post-hiatus reunion of John Watson with the no-longer-dead Sherlock Holmes, compared with that of the ACD Canon.
With ACD Canon, Watson grabs Holmes's arm just to feel the physicality of his friend, consciously aware of the "sinewy arm" beneath the shirt. Watson covers this touch with the impression he truly was making sure Holmes was not a ghost. But there is still a warmth to it. A love, even if that of just pure male camaraderie.
But in the Canon of Sherlock?
Anger. Rage. Joy never crosses Watson's face. And on it comically goes.
Now, one might posit that Watson's rage comes from love and all the grieving he went through. But in my experience, that's not how love works. Love's initial reaction to such a reunion is Lestrade's. Or ACD Watson's. Grabbing that long-missing piece of one's heart to make sure it doesn't disappear. Anger comes later.
John Watson's rage in "The Empty Hearse" is that of a frustrated friend who saw his troubled partner commit suicide at the end of a campaign of ruination, the fallout of which affected Watson's everyday life, as the chronicler and made a lie of his life to the general public. Watson's rage is that of a business partner who has watched a rising enterprise crumble only to find that the associate whose amazing skills it was all built around seems to have been off on a lark after a practical joke.
It's that moment that says more to me about John's relationship with Sherlock than all the Mary Morstan weddings in the world. To have someone you really loved back from the dead? That's a moment of joy, not fury.
Sherlock was after all, a very irritating friend with worthwhile and admirable qualities that made him worth the freight. In a meet-cute romantic comedy, the two protagonists can fight like cats and dogs for two hours straight, then realize their one true love in a climactic moment . . . which works great in the "happily ever after" end of a movie. In any kind of sequel, they'd be divorced in a year after realizing all the fighting was their status quo. But, hey, Sherlock is a series of TV movies, so who knows how the last one might go?
Sherlock and John could, according to whatever the showrunners of that time decide, finish their last episode in bed. By the time the careers of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are finally winding down, Moffat and Gatiss could have been replaced by some very career oriented Johnlockers. But until then . . . ?
That moment of rage in "The Empty Hearse" outweighs all the minute production details one might interpret as support for a Johnlock conspiracy, for me at least. Sherlock and John might be together in a few million alternate universes, but in the one I'm watching . . . I just can't see it.