Prior to the reveal of Janine as Sherlock’s girlfriend, John was receiving many positive signals from Sherlock, anticedents need to be taken into consideration. Let’s look at them:
- John feels empowered by ‘rescuing’ Sherlock from the drug den, he has chastised Sherlock for using again and returned Sherlock, and most importantly HIMSELF, to Baker Street. John has control. He is in his full command and nurture mode [soldier/doctor] He takes possession of the living room at 221B, with firm stance and posture in the centre of the room. He backs Mycroft down with folded arms and direct eye contact plus a ‘we’d both find that embarrassing’ quip. John even receives a rewarding laugh and shared moment with Sherlock.
- When Sherlock physically pins Mycroft to the wall, John shows signs of arousal. He intervenes by getting very close to Sherlock, his breath is rapid, his voice low and steady and he stares at Sherlock as he speaks, even though he is addressing Mycroft. Once Sherlock relinquishes hold, John then takes control of the British Government and directs the situation. The British Government allows this, defers to John’s relationship with Sherlock and leaves in compliance.
- Now the seduction: John moves directly into case mode, nothing more is said about Mycroft or the physical incident. John takes the centre of the room again. Sherlock is loving this, it feels like old times, and he tells John about the case in negative terms which he knows seduces John, then finishes with the compliment/come-on of ‘trying to recruit you’, which is aimed perfectly at the soldier and adrenaline junkie at the heart of John. John’s facial expression is a small smile with a slight upward tilt of the lip on the left side of the mouth, this is indicative of feeling bonded to the speaker [shared history, shared preferences, knowledge of prior bonding]
We start the reveal with a happy John, he is ‘home’ physically, mentally and emotionally; he has controlled and vanquished Mycroft, he has nurtured and protected Sherlock. But then Sherlock gives him the teaser; ‘stay out of my bedroom.’ Sherlock knows that John will do exactly the opposite. John moves with curiosity to the inner hallway. When Janine opens the door John is shocked and then his eyes show displeasure/disapproval, he never expected this and he doesn’t like it. He can’t think for a few seconds, then he looks her up and down, taking into account her lack of clothing, he stares at her as the facts fall into place as to what this all means. They move into the kitchen and John is now processing this unexpected turn of events, he is still showing signs of displeasure in his tone of voice and his facial expressions. When Janine asks where ‘Sherl’ is John looks incredulous at the use of the diminutive and his reply to her is one of possession of Sherlock and the space he considers ‘home’. Janine moves into the bathroom and John hears her interaction with Sherlock, his facial expression is one of dislike of the situation and he gives a slight swallow which denotes discomfort and anxiety.
Reenter Sherlock, who is preening in his sartorial glory and knows exactly what John is thinking and feeling, he is going to milk this for all it is worth. Payback Time. Note John is sitting across the room and has his back straight and legs apart, his hands on his knees and there is tension in the arms. This is the ‘chastisement’ position, [kid in the naughty chair being told off by parents] does this remind you of a similar scene, yet to come in HLV? Mary assumes a similar pose when her fate is being deliberated by Sherlock and John post shooting. The body position shows ‘bracing’ for either bad news, rejection or judgement. John is anticipating ‘rejection’, relegation in Sherlock’s pecking order, and this speaks to the subtext that John knows he is Sherlock’s priority and he enjoys/relishes that position.
Once Sherlock sits down, John asks the question; ‘you have a girlfriend?’ He has asked this question before, in ASiP. Note John’s expression in the photo above, he has a fake smile. Real smiles crunch the eyes, almost close them, the upper face crinkles, [a Duchenne Smile] here John’s eyes are inquisitive/seeking. His mouth is in a smile that shows repressed displeasure, he is presenting one emotion but feeling a different one. John listens to Sherlock discuss Magnussen but he is not concentrating on that, he is looking cynically at Sherlock weighing up the truth about Janine. Remember John knows how Sherlock operates, and he expects manipulation from Sherlock.
John repeats the question ‘you have a girlfriend?’ When Sherlock replies in the affirmative, John clears his throat signalling he is uncomfortable with the reply he received. John continues to be skeptical until Janine enters the room. When Janine sits in Sherlock’s lap, assuming an intimate pose with face very close to Sherlock, we see John do a crooked smile, this signals tension and discord, discord of known facts about Sherlock versus this new presentation in front of his eyes. John then closes his mouth into a line which is a micro expression for rejection. John rejects the scene. His eyes are wide and questioning, he is still searching for the truth in all of this.
When Janine stands up and Sherlock follows to open the door for her, John stands and postures [I think another blogger has addressed this] the puffing of the chest denoting strength and masculinity, protection of his mate and offspring; this is John signalling to Sherlock but mainly himself, that he still has possession. He swings his arms backward, filling as much space as he can with his presence,and delivers another fake smile. He then looks down at the floor, and his smile evaporates, he looks sad.
In the doorway, Sherlock and Janine share an intimate moment, at first John looks up and his face says amused disbelief, he is querying how far this will all go, he still doesn’t quite believe it is real. Then as Sherlock and Janine kiss, John allows himself to drop the facade and his mouth moves into a ‘what?’ He turns and looks up to the left, shaking his head and his arms and shoulders move upward in a gesture of questioning his own senses. He remains turned away and stares upward, he appears to be allowing the couple privacy to kiss, but he is actually ‘turning his back’ in rejection of the intimacy. He can not watch.
Once Sherlock closes the door and dismisses Janine from his own mind, John has to play catch up, he drops all pretence and shows his true feelings of cynicism and confusion to Sherlock. He enters thinking mode, and paces, arms behind back, he bites his bottom lip in contemplation, he disregards the information Sherlock is telling him about Magnussen and Appledore and asks Sherlock about the suggested dinner. John can not imagine anything as normal as a double date. Why? Surely best mates can double date? But this is not a best friend’s reaction, even a very surprised best friend. This is a man that just had a shock, his turf was encroached upon; his flat and his ….’thing’ i.e. Sherlock.
I don’t see jealousy, I see the adapters of confusion, cynicism, discomfort, tension and possession from John. I see Sherlock manipulating, enjoying and retaliating. I see a fucked up couple.