Something about this moment makes me wonder because John’s surprised someone figured out what happened.
No remorse, no nervousness at being found out, no running away. John Watson just shot a man and calmly stayed near at the crime scene because he was expecting to get completely away with it.
So, I do wonder, was it the first time?
It was not his first time. No. It really really can’t have been. And Sherlock, being Sherlock of course, KNEW this.
But why do we assume that John’s okay with it? He’s not shaken up, visibly, but he’s got to put on a good face here. He’s hiding the fact that he just shot someone in the most effective way possible—by acting as though he didn’t. Even if it’s not one’s first time, my understanding is that it does not get easier.
I wonder whether his surprise is about Sherlock’s acceptance of his choice and the sympathy on Sherlock’s face as opposed to revulsion. Sherlock knows and accepts, they are both people who do what must be done, and they’ll move on. They’re now in it together at this point, sharing a secret and participating in a lie about someone’s death. They’re stuck with each other going forward.
In terms of him being okay, though, this is a very straight forward situation, compared to many combat situations. Killing a murderer who is about to kill again if you don’t act is a far cry from many combatant kills. At least, from my limited understanding gathered from research and anecdotes from soldiers I’ve known.
Everything you say is completely and utterly plausible Evith — which is part of what makes John Watson as a character so engaging and enduring.
Both what you and Cranberry say could be wrong or right, either separately or at the same time. One can be calm about something and still regret it, but yet accept it as what has happened and deal with it accordingly. Cranberry wasn’t exactly saying that he was okay with it as such, more that he was familiar with it on some level — one which is most likely to have been experience
It’s interesting - I’ve never read this as John being surprised Sherlock figured it out. It’s Sherlock, he just fucking knows everything, right? To me he’s surprised (and relieved) that Sherlock is so calm about it.
In my head, it goes like this: They’ve known each other for, what, thirty hours here? If that? John is completely aware that he’s done something for a virtual stranger that most people would probably not be able to do for their loved ones or family members. And then he comes to the realisation that he has no idea how Sherlock is going to interpret this.
So when Sherlock simply nods and falls right into step with his “oh tra la la wasn’t me” evasion, the shock and relief are palpable. More so than even the shock and relief from the shooting itself.
Another thought occurs to me here that might have merit. You could make a case that by the time they speak in the gifset above, John has known for at least a minute or so that Sherlock knows what he’s done and is just fine with it.
Consider what John sees. Sherlock is sitting on the ambulance tailgate when Lestrade comes over to him and they start talking: then he stands and the conversation continues. Obviously John can’t hear what they’re saying, though it’s a fair bet he might reasonably guess what they’re discussing. But John does see Sherlock’s gaze fall on him, and he sees Sherlock freeze for a moment. It seems unrealistic to expect that John can see what we do, in the close angle — the minute narrowing of Sherlock’s eyes as he makes the connection between the conjectural shooter he’s been describing and the actual man before him.
The justaposition of this shot with the reverse angle on John, in which John looks casually away, is at the very least meant to imply that John knows Sherlock understands what’s happened. This moment, if Sherlock found the shooting problematic, would be the one in which Sherlock would tell Lestrade what had happened. But Sherlock does no such thing (despite throwing at least two glances in John’s direction during his remaining dialogue with Lestrade: the one that accompanies the line “I just caught you a serial killer! — More or less…” is particularly telling, and the line is delivered with enough volume that you could make a case John heard it and understood the glance’s import). John therefore knows that what remains is for the two of them to make sure their stories match insofar as they need to.
This they handle in the dialogue that ensues. None of John’s reactions during this look much to me like surprise. What we do see are repeated reactions of various levels of bemusement, especially at Sherlock’s insistence on discussing the shot right here and now — as if he’s utterly unwilling to let a moment go by before acknowledging it to John and making sure he’s all right — and at least one of the patented Watson Old-Fashioned Looks that we will see again and again from Martin Freeman over the next six episodes when Sherlock needs reining in or is about to do/say something outrageous that might get him in trouble.
(I’ll put the pic here in a second.)
…Just another of many magic moments in the best first episode/TV pilot since The West Wing.