Let it be known that I am utterly flabbergasted at all of the Sherlock Holmes apologists.
Or, maybe, have you considered that he doesn’t demonstrate feelings in the same way as other people? That he’s severely socially inept and therefore has trouble understanding the nuances of emotion, which often makes him come off as a douchebag? Have you considered that maybe he’s, oh, I dunno, autistic (something Holmesians have been suggesting for years) and therefore what may look like insensitivity or plain terribleness is actually just difficulty with boundaries and appropriate conversations?
Because I highly doubt that you have, because you are far too willing to just condemn him as an asocial asshole because he doesn’t display emotion in the way that you would, and he doesn’t make mistakes that you would, and therefore you’re content to assume that he is intentionally being mean and evil and horrible.
I’m not saying Sherlock is perfect. No person - no character - is perfect. I have problems with things John has done, too. And I have problems with things that Sherlock has done. But I am NOT willing to write him off as some insensitive monster just because he makes some mistakes, and I really, really, really resent anyone who does. If that makes me an apologist, fine. But I see far too much of myself in him, and far too much of the people I love, to throw him away like that.
And, really, it makes me nauseous that you find it so easy to deem him an “abusive asshole” (an insult that hits me very viscerally, being as I’ve been called that myself far too many times for the exact same reasons that you are calling Sherlock that) because he makes mistakes, because he has trouble processing emotion, and because he wasn’t “human” enough for you at the onset.
I see both sides of the argument, and frankly I feel that the Hounds experiment thing was something in-character. It’s not a case of Sherlock simply being an asshole - it’s Sherlock trying to find truth and not knowing that he fucked up until much later. Even Conan Doyle Sherlock would have used someone he’s close to as a test subject.
Sherlock, to me, fluctuates between cold and manipulative and simply inept. You cannot brand him as one or the other.
Well, I think that experiment was absolutely in-character too. After all, this is how Stamford describes him in Scarlet:
“Holmes is a little too scientific for my tastes — it approaches to cold-bloodedness. I could imagine his giving a friend a little pinch of the latest vegetable alkaloid, not out of malevolence, you understand, but simply out of a spirit of inquiry in order to have an accurate idea of the effects. To do him justice, I think that he would take it himself with the same readiness. He appears to have a passion for definite and exact knowledge.”
And he said that the drug had already been tested “on a superior brain”, so he had to see its effect on an “average one”, which leaves John, as I’m sure he was thinking “Right. Who can I trust. John. Obvious. He’s always been happy to assist me. This should be ok. He’s just being helpful here, after all.” I’m not saying that this makes it ok, because it’s absolutely not ok; I’m just trying to figure out why he did it.
By the way, I find it amazing that John was more hurt when Sherlock implied that he didn’t consider him his friend than he was after this experiment. I find this very beautiful and moving in a twisted way.
I know it’s not just this experiment that OP was talking about though.
I think he is calculating and manipulative, but not for the sake of being so, but for a Higher Cause; getting to see the dead man’s feet, entering the flat, getting Anderson off his back, etc.
I don’t know what to make of the Christmas scene, to be honest. Maybe he felt cornered. Again, this doesn’t make it ok, this is just (or at least might be) a reason for his behaviour. He seemed quite tense to me. It’s not just about not liking Christmas or preferring to be alone; if he is autistic then it must have been quite a lot of stimulus for him. All those people in a small flat; so many expectations to meet, so many signs to look out for,.. And then there was the obvious emotional stuff concerning Irene.
My fandom is the eloquent-est.