And another answer to an ask I received following my post Defending John Watson. Reposted from my Tumblr.
drrjlng asked you:
January 13th 2014, 10:02:00 pm
Just wanted to thank you for your post about John. I really hope you are right about this, because I feel wierd about John’s lack of emotions towards Sherlock. John seems to usually put what he thinks is his duty first, so maybe he feels like he has now picked Mary, and has to stay with her. Also, he probably doesn’t have the courage to tell Sherlock how he really feels, maybe he doesn’t even accept his own feelings. “New” Sherlock seems to almost push John in the opposite direction… So sad.
You’re welcome, and thank you as well!
I have to admit that I never perceived it as that; I just didn’t see it. There was nothing that bothered me (well, not as far as this part of the plot is concerned), that’s why I was so confused when suddenly so many people started criticizing him. So when I went back, I saw what they meant, but at the same time also realized what I’ve written in my post. I guess subconsiously this is how I saw it all the time, simply due to my own experiences.
I do believe I am right (have to, it is my theory, after all ;)) because there are so many hints at it. John is way too unemotional and detached, simply too much for him, that’s why I never even began to believe his behavior in the first place. Plus, there are also glimpses of realization in him that hit me so hard.
And yes, I absolutely agree that John might act with a sense of duty here. He has Mary, and he has also a baby on the way, which is always a significant game-changer. He is a responsible man, and as some people have already stated here, he obviously has/had some serious family and abandonment issues, so he’ll try and keep as much normality as possible. A wife and child is his definition of normality (for now, because he can’t yet admit anything else).
I think he is just in the progress of recognizing and understanding the full extent of his feelings for Sherlock. It will need and take time, which is good, because this makes it so believable. Had they jumped right in, it wouldn’t have been credible for me. John is deeply anchored in his heterosexuality, and it’s an anchor he clings to for now because this is what he always had, what worked for him. He has to take tentative steps past that, he has to accept Sherlock’s love for him, and then he has to accept that he reciprocates. And from there they can find a way.
As for “new” Sherlock – he does what everyone in his situation would do: Give up what he loves most. He believes that John will be happy with Mary, can only be happy with Mary, and he wants nothing more for John than to be happy. Maybe he even realizes that John isn’t ready to commit to those feelings between them. I take a wild guess here and say that in S4 we won’t see him pushing John away anymore. He’ll show that he is there, is around, a comfortable, but “non-threatening” presence for the moment. And John will get used to it.