You cannot please everyone. That old adage is so true in the fandom. Just take our lovely Sherlock.
Some people want the S1 Sherlock, with all his acerbic energy, moving too fast to notice those his words left in their wake, with a momentum of pounding ferocity in order to protect himself from the barbs and hate thrown his way. S1 Sherlock was brilliant, a will o’ the wisp man-child that burned so bright with brilliance that you couldn’t remove your eyes from him. We all felt it, that’s why many people are here in the fandom. But note the two edged sword: we had the Greek Chorus back then chanting the mores of the ‘nice’ norm mantra; he’s a dick, cock, douche, unfeeling little shit, arrogant, abuser…..it was all thrown here on tumblr. As much as fans loved Sherlock they wanted him to be different.
S3 Sherlock is different. During 9 episodes TPTB have shown us character growth, especially with the events of the fall catapulting Sherlock into a growth surge. By HLV we have a self-sacrificing, introspective, SLOWER, Sherlock. A man that has allowed himself to take another heart on board his lonely journey, open himself to his own limitations, and become self aware of his colossal mistakes. He is now taking stock of the casualties left in the wake of his brilliance, and as he loves one of those injured, he is now doubting his own methods, his own self worth. As in any journey of self awareness, Sherlock must look at his foundation and if found wanting, accept and rebuild. It’s hard, painful and not pretty; but it is healthy, and it will yield contentment and resolution. But again he has the Greek Chorus, this time wanting him to revert back to his S1 self, yes, the one that many thought was an abusive arse at the time. Now in S3 Sherlock is too soft, making too many mistakes, too slow, too many emotions and vulnerabilities.
The man can’t win.
BBC Sherlock was always a journey. The writer’s were fascinated by taking a young genius, glib, Sherlock, and transforming him into the ‘hero’ who the world knows as ‘Sherlock Holmes’. It was part of their ‘mission statement’. A show about a detective, his journey from great to good. His relationship with his other half, John. The writers had no interest in giving us one version of Sherlock and sticking with that for several seasons, it wasn’t a detective show. The brilliance, for me, of the show is the character development of an iconic figure, the man behind the myth. I see truth in Sherlock’s ‘becoming’. Yes, there are other agendas at work: fixing the issues of the past 126 years in the Holmes stories and adaptations, all the inconsistencies. Plus the homoerotic issue needing to be brought out of the closet, in my opinion, being done via TJLC. A triad of goals for the show playing out with precision.
I am disheartened when I read people wanting S1 Sherlock back. Why? Because although I adored that Sherlock, loved every quip, every moment of utter abandonment of rules, that Sherlock could not be the man I wanted him to be, the one that is the other half of someone else. That Sherlock was a lone star burning bright in his own sky, a sky of just one supernova. The Sherlock of S3 is the man that can now be the soul mate, the Sherlock who can be a genius, contented, wise and the hero of the story. All he needs is for John to complete his journey, and this Sherlock, the one that stood on that tarmac holding back for the sake of another, this man will wait for his John Watson.