Spoilers under the cut.




I couldn’t help noticing that the “patient” in Operation is kinda like John: big nose, sticky-outy ears, involved in surgery (albeit receiving rather than performing), at the mercy of the Holmes brothers, broken hearted.

(And the comment “Oh bugger” deserves its own paragraph and a moment of silence while we all contemplate that…)

Well, so what, right? Just a crack-y over-reading of a minor moment.

But then I noticed the visual similarity between the game board and the bomb. The bomb prop bugged me so much: it’s appearance is so cliche and OTT what with the blue glow and meaningless wires and flashing lights. I don’t doubt that it is meant to be a real bomb, but visually it does have a toy-like aspect.

Someone else (sorry I forget who) pointed out the connection between a faulty move in Operation and the third rail in the Tube. (Zap.)

And it dawned on me: that train car scene is Sherlock *inside* a game of Operation, John is still the patient, but this time Sherlock is trying to mend John’s heart, trying to heal their friendship. It (figuratively) IS a game. Extract the game piece (John’s forgiveness) without setting off the third rail of John’s anger.

There’s an element of the hat deduction here, too. Sherlock uses Mycroft’s addiction to being right to lure him into the game of deduction and his delight in proving himself cleverer than Sherlock to goad him on. He uses John’s addiction to adventure to lead him into the train car and John’s faith in Sherlock’s abilities to convince him of their peril.

Sherlock let’s himself appear wrong (erroneously asserting isolation for the hat owner, lack of bomb defusing knowledge) in order to manipulate Mycroft/John into admitting what he wants them to realize (uniqueness needn’t be isolating/yeah, I do forgive you).

Sherlock’s manipulation of Mycroft seems rather heartwarming. Can we see his manipulation of John as equally caring?

(Of course, there’s a simpler read where John’s anger is the bomb being defused. Shh.)

Sherlock-ninja, you find the good shit. Must be those ninja skills.

Huh, that’s interesting. CC, I know you pointed out the touching the rail/Operation thing. I like this extended metaphor all the way through. Rather neat.

Ohhhh, that’s clever!  I like that.

Still can’t agree on the caring part, though.  Well, no, that’s not accurate.  That IS Sherlock TRYING to be caring.  But I’m sorry, it just wasn’t necessary for him to do it, and it was still a damaging, unhealthy thing to do.

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