Heartless Abandonment: Composing Irene’s Theme
Let’s look at the stunning shot of Sherlock composing “Irene’s Theme” not from the point of view of what he might be feeling about Irene, but focus instead on his feelings for John. After all Mycroft’s right. Sherlock hardly knew her.
The camera focus, the door frames, window casing, window valences, the fluorescent light in the kitchen, the ambient light in the lounge and the backlight from outside the window all lead the eye from a wide angle view directly to Sherlock at the centre thinking about Irene’s password and composing while all around him remain the trappings of Christmas- mistletoe in the kitchen, fairy lights, Christmas cards, tinsel, and perhaps most interesting of all, the open bible on John’s chair.
Mistletoe? at 221b??? Did Mrs. Hudson hang it? Did John? It’s heartbreaking because it symbolizes nascent attractions— the kind of infatuations between new lovers who need an excuse to show public affection. Who was it meant for?
The bible? It’s by John’s chair and stands in for him. Maybe it’s part of his Christmas tradition to read from the Gospels. Why else would it be there, and be open? (Yes, I’m assuming it’s a bible but look at it carefully.)
In Context: The scene before this one is Sherlock’s Danger Night/sock index scene. We know from Molly at the party that John had plans to spend Christmas with Harry and that Sherlock pouted about it:
We also know that John cancelled his plans not only with Jeanette (at Mycroft’s insistence), but also with Harry (was it because Sherlock told him she was drinking again?) Christmas was a Danger Night, but was Sherlock upset over Irene’s death or was he acting out to keep John (& Mycroft) close on the holiday? Both?
Time has passed and it’s New Year’s. Sherlock’s composing sad music (which, John tells Irene, he always does) and John comes downstairs on his way out. Mrs. Hudson who shows John that Sherlock still isn’t eating. He then fails to unlock the mobile. (At that point I think he knows Irene’s alive.) Next, John asks Mrs. Hudson if Sherlock’s ever had a romantic attachment. Neither of them knows. We aren’t told where John was intending to go but we do know moody Sherlock was watching him leave and saw that he was intercepted by Irene’s assistant. John seems to find her hot and likes the proposition of spending time with her; he’s prepared to heartlessly abandon Sherlock:
Once in the car, John tells her that Sherlock doesn’t follow him everywhere ergo Sherlock tends to follow John around town.
In the end, John does spend New Year’s with Sherlock: