Yes, true, I suppose you have a point there.  If you’re trying to compare the two characters, then you have to do it fairly.  Would we be as pissed at Sherlock if he had shot Mary, rather than the other way around?

That’s a very interesting question, actually.  In the replies to CC’s post, some people did actually bring that up and said, yes, they would be equally pissed if not more so.  I suppose the answer would vary on a case-by-case basis.  There is a thing about a show naturally biasing us toward favoring the main character; the whole point of the show, usually, is to show them in a favorable light, to make them sympathetic, to help us get into their head and understand and feel compassion even for their flaws and mistakes.  So aside from issues of misogyny, shipping defensiveness, etc., being viewers of the show already starts us out leaning toward Sherlock’s side.

I’m mildly curious, now, what most peoples’ reactions to that would be, but not enough to start fights over it.

I think the point was meant to be about the line itself, and whether we are weighting it differently because it comes out of the mouth of a character whom we may not like, vs. if it came from the mouth of somebody we are already predisposed to like.

But as you point out, and bawdoun did, comparing it to Sherlock saying it can be a loaded deal, because it’s not just us as fans who are controlling the context surrounding the characters: the show itself does as well.

Still, it’s a pretty crappy thing to say, regardless of who it’s coming from.  It wouldn’t be less crappy if Sherlock had said it.  That would only have indicated he hadn’t learned anything from his last mistake.  (But as it turns out, he has.)

There’s also the point that Mary has known John for, what, a year?  John said in TEH that he and Mary had been seeing each other for around six months, right?  And they were getting engaged.  So then in HLV, it’s a few months after the wedding.  She doesn’t yet know what Sherlock knows: that if John loves you, you can trust him with your heart.

So that line proves that she’s selfish, but not that she doesn’t love him or that she’s a bad person.  (Again, the ‘bad person’ part comes from other things.)

Shooting Sherlock, on the other hand, did prove how far she was willing to prioritize her own happiness over John’s, because she knew from experience how miserable and hurt that would make him.  What Sherlock did to John was a really stupid, blind mistake.  What Mary did was not.

Which is why it was so important for Sherlock to contextualize it as, “Mary was NOT trying to kill me, look, it was just the only option she had to buy time.”  Whether that’s true or not, the IDEA is absolutely critical.  If Mary was really willing to kill Sherlock in order to keep John, no matter how much damage it did, there’s no rational way that would be forgivable.  But if Mary was just trying to critically injure Sherlock so that she had more time to achieve a stable situation, then…well, realistically it’s pretty batshit to forgive her for that too, but these are batshit people.

(Aaaaand I still don’t know whether it’s supposed to be audience suspension of disbelief or Sherlock trying to gloss over the whole “but putting a bullet in somebody’s liver leads to a situation in which you’d better be prepared for someone to die even if that’s not your ideal outcome” but the fandom’s been over that one.  Again, batshit people.)

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