Friday, June 26, 2015

Holmes and Watson in love: Then, now, and on the way.

T'was a big day in America today. But I'm not going to talk about that just yet. Maybe not even at all. Because this is what I was thinking about blogging today anyway, and y'know, sometimes things just line up.

At his point in our timeline of Sherlockian fandom, I know that there's many an old school fan of the master detective out there who considers Johnlock fanfic a weird little sideroad off the main Sherlock Holmes highway. True, among dedicated fan fiction enthusiasts, Johnlock sometimes seems so vanilla that it often gets taken for granted, but to the world at large, and elder Sherlockians in general, Sherlock Holmes and John H. Watson aren't quite a couple.

They're partners, yes. No one will dispute that.

"I should prefer having a partner to being alone," Watson tells Stamford at the very start of the ACD Holmes Canon.

And the greatest of friends. No one can argue that.

"As to you, friend Watson, I owe you every atonement for having allowed your natural curiosity to remain so long unsatisfied," Sherlock comments in "The Adventure of the Dancing Men"  . . . a story where he curiously refers to the doctor as "friend Watson" more than once, making one wonder what had recently gone on between the two to require such affirmation. But friends they are, indeed.

And love?

"Quick, man, if you love me!" Holmes exclaims to Watson in "Dying Detective."

Ah, but that's the cheaper one. Any good Sherlockian knows to go to "Devil's Foot" for the good stuff.

"You know," I answered with some emotion, for I had never seen so much of Holmes's heart before, "that it is my greatest joy and privilege to help you."

This is the John H. Watson who truthfully called Sherlock Holmes "the best and wisest man I have ever known.

Oh, yes, there was love there. Call it a "bromance," call it what you will, but it was the greatest love two manly men could show for each other in that era. No woman was ever closer to either man than the other. They were true partners, to the last, or at least "His Last Bow," which is as last as it gets with those two.

So now that this next generation of Holmes fandom has taken to letting those two take it a step further in their fan fiction . . . to be partners, friends, and a couple. A couple as in -- dare I say what so many already have in so many ways -- lovers.

The only thing holding them back from being lovers before now was our own preconceptions of what a relationship between two men in polite society could and should be. And that, if you hadn't noticed the headlines today, is changing.

So wrap your head around this, and wrap it well: Within the next ten years or so, we're going to get at least one motion picture with Sherlock Holmes and John Watson as a same-sex couple. It's coming, as surely as babies being born.

What's that you say? "No way, that's fan fiction stuff!" Have you heard of a little film called "Fifty Shades of Gray," and tracked down its roots? Fan fiction today quickly becomes the mainstream media of tomorrow, and these days hungry, hungry producers are looked everywhere for the next new idea, especially if it spins off a marketable old idea . . . like Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

Except they're in love.

It's coming. And the quality of that first attempt in the mass media will totally depend upon how good the Holmes, how good the Watson, how good the script, the director, etc., etc., etc. Because Dr. Watson finding Sherlock Holmes the most fascinating man he ever met, and Sherlock Holmes finding Dr. Watson a loyal and true partner, those are things that don't really change when the kissing starts. Or shouldn't have to.

It's a big day in America. But bigger days are ahead for Sherlock Holmes fans.

Get ready.


  1. Yes, it's called BBC Sherlock, season 5.

    1. Since I was predicting "in the next ten years," I can't help but wonder if that will make it in by then.

  2. I think Sherlock has missed its chance, because I believe the creators when they say they won't go there.

  3. Clarence Clemons already eloquently and perfectly described the kind of relationship Holmes and Watson had, when he said this of his friendship with fellow heterosexual male Bruce Springsteen: "It’s love, you know. It’s more than being married. It’s more than being male and female. It’s two men, two strong, very virile men, finding that place in life where they can just let go enough of their masculinity to feel the passion of love, you know, and respect, and that’s what it is. It’s love, respect, and trust, you know, three qualities that every marriage should have, you know, and it’s based on that. You know, friendships are based on those things, and you seal it with a kiss."

    Andarta Woodland