Submission from ‘anon’:

John isn’t a dick; he wouldn’t marry a woman to hide his sexuality. Mary is to smart to be a beard.

When the show started, it grew a large fanbase, and people started to ship Johnlock. The writers are taking advantage of that, creating a season with massive doses of feels. Also factor the large gap between season 2 and 3; allowing fans to tangle a large web of stories in the mean time. Too much antecipation…

This season for me personally is the worse because it became a hostage of this antecipation. The bromance they had became a caricature.

1: Agreed!  I personally haven’t seen anyone attempt to claim that John is marrying Mary as an attempt to hide his true sexuality (although it’s Tumblr, so I’m sure somebody somewhere has).  That’d be a really crummy thing to do to a person, and I agree that if it was what was happening, Mary would not go for it.

2: I disagree.  You can say a lot of things about Moffat, and perhaps even about Gatiss, but one thing neither of them has never done is pander to their fans (a pretty good indicator of this is how disgruntled their fans often are).  They write stories that THEY want to write.  Few professional writers can get far in the industry if they allow their fans’ demands to dictate their work.

3:  I’m not sure what you’re saying here.  Is this an assertion that the tension you (and perhaps fandom) built up over the long hiatus is messing with your perception and enjoyment of the show?  Or are you asserting that the long hiatus has affected how the writers (and/or perhaps the actors) are portraying how they depict the characters and their relationship?

I think that there’s an element of truth to both.  A two-year-long wait is enough time for fans to come up with their own ‘perfect story.’  That will be different for each of us, so there’s no way to make everybody happy.  A long wait also results in an increased sense of “This had better be good!”  Both of those together are hard to contend with.

To be honest, I feel that the hard-edged cliffhangers they like to end these seasons on are not ideal for the length of the hiatus.  The immediate suspense they generate in the viewers degrades to irritable impatience after a while.  There are other techniques they could use to maintain suspense across such a long period.

Such a long wait probably does also affect how the writers and actors conceive their characters.  As a writer, I know how the perception of your own characters and story can change in your head over time.  If you wait too long before you come back to work on a story, sometimes you find that it has changed drastically in your head in the interim.  So yes, it is possible that their conceptions have changed, and even perhaps grown somewhat stylized.

I think, however, that the unusual format of the show also has something to do with this.  Three 90 minute episodes in a season is more akin to the pattern of a TV movie franchise than a typical television serial.  It’s very little time to get into the depth and intricacy of the characters across the fullness of all their facets and personalities.  To combat this, the writers choose themes for each season, and explore elements of the characters through short story arcs.  So it’s also important to remember that what you’re seeing may not be a caricature, so much as a facet.

More specifically, I don’t feel that the relationship between Sherlock and John has become a caricature.  It feels like a fairly consistent progression to me (even if I still have to wonder a bit about what John puts up with), and in this season the writers have thrown open the doors and shown us what’s buried underneath the characters’ layers of reserve.  This is what has always been there, underneath the stolen glances and unspoken moments.  Now it’s simply being fully expressed.

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