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I really like all of this. But one point is still bothering me: 

“she deliberately did not do her best to kill Sherlock” 

So, I see what you did there (because you’re a good writer, shh). That is absolutely factual, what you wrote. What Sherlock said though wasn’t. He said, “she saved my life.” 

I’m not necessarily arguing that that means Sherlock is trying to convince John to stay with Mary; rather, I think the writing is making Sherlock say it that way to convince us that Mary isn’t as frightening and ruthless as she is. Because stating the fact is very unsettling:

“She shot me in a lethal spot in the chest / abdomen with the likelihood that I would I would die; but part of her perhaps hoped I wouldn’t” doesn’t sound as good. “She saved my life” makes her sound like a saint.

I read this at first not as Sherlock trying to push John toward Mary, but of Sherlock’s incredibly warped sense of how he ought to be treated by people; of seeing violence as a sign of love or desert (see also: TEH).

But I don’t know who’s trying to convince whom of what at this point; I just know I feel jerked around.

Yes.  The reality of it is that if Mary had unequivocally wanted to kill Sherlock, with her aim she could have hit him in the heart or gone for a head-shot.  She did not even need to give him the few minutes for an ambulance to potentially get there.  She was not committed to killing Sherlock.

But if she had unequivocally not wanted to kill Sherlock, she could have simply shot him in the thigh, or gone for a few other disabling but less immediately lethal shots than in the torso.

She took a gamble, gave him a chance to survive, and admittedly did call the ambulance that then saved his life.  But she’s also the one who made it necessary to call the ambulance.

This could be due to a lot of things.

1: Visual media is awfully casual about guns and people getting shot.  It’s common to dramatize it, either in favor of their lethality or lack thereof (example: there is absolutely no physical way Sherlock could have gotten out of that bed to go chase around London.  It just would not have happened.  There are limits to what willpower can force the human body to accomplish.)  So, it could be the writers doing the Hollywood thing.

2: It could be Sherlock being inured to violence and people trying to kill him.  I do not in the least believe that Sherlock believes that violence is how he “should” be treated.  He does not have that kind of low self-esteem complex.  He’s used to people treating him like dirt, but he does not accept it.  Indeed, he dismisses them as useless, stupid creatures who are barely worth dignifying with the title of ‘people.’  His ego is real, and it is enormous.  But he may be so used to people being enemies that someone who is not actively attempting to wipe him off the map could be seen as less than threatening.

3: It could be Sherlock attempting to play it down for John’s benefit.  ”Look, she wasn’t actively trying to obliterate me.  It’s okay, we can still be friends.  Come on, we both know the contract killer thing is kind of hot.”

4: And this is probably the most likely: Sherlock and Mary think a lot alike, in terms of absolute goals and the ruthlessness of their methods in achieving them.  After Sherlock showed up, Mary’s absolute goal was to make sure that she and John got out of that building alive, not arrested, and with John remaining ignorant of her secret.  To accomplish this, she pistol-whipped the man who could have them killed or arrested, and shot the man who would have been able to delay her enough to make her fail.  Sherlock can appreciate that logic.  Furhermore, he can appreciate that kind of ruthlessness exercised in defense of John Watson.  And so he scored her the point—because frankly if it had been him, he probably would have just killed the person standing in his place.

The fact remains that in any world less insane than the one these three live in, Mary shooting Sherlock so he would require the ambulance outweighs the fact that then she called one.  But since they all live in Lala-Batshit-Sherlock Land (in a lovely little cul-de-sac on Ex-Assassin Avenue), they’re willing to work with what they’ve got.

But you know.  It did take John months to get over it.  Part of that was certainly that he was distraught to discover that his wife is an ex-contract killer and that he himself is far less normal than even he believed.  But part of it is also undoubtedly that she did put a hole in his best friend.  I’m pretty sure that weighed heavily in the length of time it took for him to make his decision.

(From a narrative standpoint, I think it was done partly because they needed Sherlock incapacitated—his recuperation does play a large role in the plot—and partly for the drama.  I think they would’ve done better to go for a bit less drama, in this case.)

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