Sherlock, John is the most precious gift that heaven decided to give you.
First: I think it’s really sweet that John never judges Sherlock for not being able to tell the difference between behaving well or badly when it comes to other people’s feelings. I mean, once he understands that Sherlock actually can’t tell, or gets so caught up in his discoveries that he forgets to take his own behaviour into account.
I know the fandom gets a lot of mileage out of the “bit not good” thing, which I enjoy, but I also think it’s a sort of bittersweet phrase coming from Sherlock’s mouth. It sounds like something he’s been asking himself for most of his life. Because he doesn’t say, “Oh, was that inappropriate?”. He asks, “Not good?”, as if his goal is to be good.
But good is never his goal. Great, maybe. Right. Clever. Brilliant, certainly. Flawless. Impressive. But never just good. Never morally good, either. He is not yet, I don’t think, a good person. The fact that it comes up in ethical or moral situations makes it sound like a really old criticism.
We don’t dissect cats on the pavement, Sherlock. That’s not good. It sounds like something you tell a child, because more complex words and meanings are either too harsh or will be lost on them. You’d say something is not good rather that telling a child they’re doing something bad. As opposed to using language even stronger and more precise than that. I like this element of the show, because it demonstrates that for all Sherlock’s sophisticated and mature intellectual prowess, he reverts to childhood notions of good and not good when it comes to social interaction. As if the more mature distinctions and nuances are completely beyond him. Or maybe he simply doesn’t remember to care about them.
I also appreciate that John says one word to Sherlock to get him to realize his behaviour is inappropriate. “Timing.” It suggests (as most things in Hounds do, thank god for you, Mark Gatiss) that they have had a previous conversation wherein John attempted to explain to Sherlock that the timing of his commentary can sometimes be improved, because people are frequently not ready to hear about Sherlock’s deductions in moments of pain and weakness. John’s “timing” line here sounds like he’s reminding Sherlock of that conversation (or set of conversations). This rings especially true because Sherlock knows exactly what John means with that one word. He’s instantly frozen by it, too. He listens to John. He takes John’s direction extremely well.
This relationship is so well-written. *dreamy sigh* That’s fine, you can go on about Cumberbatch’s cheekbones. I’m going to be over here pining over that character development and relationship building. I have such a crush on these narrative structures!
Someone else has a crush on the narrative structures, too….