Monday, December 12, 2016

Children of Watson.

I don't think it really hit me until today what we're going to see in BBC Sherlock that we've practically never seen in mainstream Sherlockiana before: Watson and a baby.

Now I'm sure fanfic, that ready generator of potential alternate reality, has hit upon the subject. Heck, Watson has probably popped multiple babies out of his own birth canal by now in alternate universe territory. But bookstore pastiche, despite more than a hundred years of effort, along with movies and television, has been pretty well mum on the subject.

I mean, babies don't solve mysteries, right?

Watson's grown children and grandchildren find their Sherlocks, find John's hidden tin dispatch boxes, carry the name forward into the present or future. But almost without variation, we encounter them as grown adults. We never see John H. Watson as a father. We never consider John H. Watson as a father.

When the primary relationship in a man's life that anyone is interested in is that time during his single years when he lived with another man on Baker Street (so, maybe he wasn't single . . .), there is little room for a father/child relationship. In fact, there is so little room for a husband/wife relationship outside of his partnership with Holmes that we surely unconsciously ignore the possibility of fatherhood and the abandonment issues it brings up.

There is that line in "Blanched Soldier" that Holmes has about being abandoned by Watson: "The good Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife, the only selfish action which I can recall in our association. I was alone." This comes in 1903, more than a decade after Watson speaks of marriage multiple times, so why would this desertion be different to Holmes? And why is Watson still "good" in Holmes's eyes?

Well, if you're one of those who believe in Watson's heterosexual monogamy, well, perhaps 1903 was the time in which a new baby kept Watson from Baker Street once and for all. Even if you are a Victorian Johnlock fancier, there could have been a similar moment when a mid-life crisis Watson wanted offspring enough to go the traditional route -- this was Victorian England after all, and other options were slim indeed.

Watson as a father. If there was ever a man so perfect for fatherhood, just by the loyalty and devotion he has shown to another human being, it is Watson. And now we get the chance to see just what that looks like with the new season of Sherlock.

So many things coming up, for a show so low in episode counts!

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