When John heard water splashing and realized Janine went into Sherlock’s bath.
He actually clenched his jaw.
This is painful and unfair. I never want to have to see John so resigned and sad-eyed and disappointed again.
It’s actually amazing to me that this works in a platonic framework, in retrospect. Like, they built up their relationship so deftly that even this rather obvious display of pain, devastation, jealousy— it still flies by. I’m not just intrigued by the idea that people simply don’t see it— heteronormativity or whatever other reason. But I’m also curious about how this fits with ‘queer-baiting’ and whatever goes on in shows like SPN and Teen Wolf, and whether it’s anything like this (I’d love to do a cross-fandom analysis, if I watched those shows). Like, when you look at Martin Freeman’s face, his emotions are very present— transparent, even— and very specific. It’s not just ‘longing looks’ or ‘eye-fucking’, or what have you, which can be ambiguous or seen as projection. This is pure acting, narratively speaking, just a sincere look at John and John’s feelings. It actually cannot afford to be baiting or insincere in any way. This is not performative, and therefore unambiguous: it’s just how John feels, and it’s pretty much straightforward. The moment is parallel to the focus on Sherlock’s expressions as he walked away from the dance in TSoT.
To be honest, I feel that interpreting the show to be ambiguous involves more mental acrobatics and justifications than not, and it ultimately harms the characterization, especially of John and Sherlock in particular. It’s the simplest thing in the world to see how John feels, ‘cause it’s actually how I felt myself when I heard Janine with Sherlock in the bathroom, way before I’d decided to believe in ‘canon Johnlock’ as a thing: I was just devastated and betrayed. That is just the surface reading of the show; it is not subtext at all. This is that swooping feeling where he has to be questioning all the unspoken hopes he’d been nurturing, all the comfort and understanding with Sherlock he’d gained in TSoT. A double whammy of not being needed— either as Sherlock’s friend (since Sherlock never called about his relapse) or as his lover (since he apparently has a sexuality, and that too has nothing to do with John). The viewer is placed in John’s shoes, and we naturally feel his free-fall, that sinking, sickening feeling which is only exacerbated by Sherlock’s proposal and Mary’s reveal.
This is basically classic romantic angst, in a nutshell, and it’s only the beginning.
I totally agree about the mental gymnastics one needs to do to pretend this is ambiguous. It’s not ambiguous at all, and it isn’t subtext either, if you ask me. It’s as plain as the nose on our faces.