Mawwage: Even Sherlock had to get there eventually. Last night’s episode, “The Sign of Three,” found Watson and Mary tying the knot — although, not surprisingly, it was Sherlock who took center stage at the reception. Sherlock’s best-man toast served as the framing mechanism for the episode, and, of course, there were a few murders to be solved in flashbacks, but the episode was, fully, a love story — and not the one between the newly wedded Watsons. “The Sign of Three” occupies a place between buddy comedy and rom-com, emphasizing over and over how much Watson and Sherlock love each other. It’s so much, you guys! They really, really love each other.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that! It’s great! It’s something I wish I saw more often on TV, too. With Donald Glover leaving Community, Troy and Abed are no longer part of the weekly BFF routine. Most of the guys on Big Bang Theory seem to subtly hate each other. And How I Met Your Mother has spent this season putting distance — both physical and emotional — between Marshall, Ted, and Barney. New Girl has turned its focus to Nick and Jess, putting Nick and Schmidt on the back burner. On the drama front, most of the male-male duos aren’t as bonded as Watson and Sherlock; it’s hard to imagine Mike and Harvey on Suits proclaiming their undying devotion to one another, or for both Sam and Jon Snow on Game of Thrones to cite one another as being the most important person in their respective lives. Plenty of male protagonists on TV don’t seem to have deep male friendships: Raylan on Justified, say. Don Draper. Luther. Oh, there are men those characters know and choose to hang out with. But their friendships are nothing like what Sherlock and Watson have.
“A Sign of Three” is only pretending to be a mystery. It’s practically a Jane Austen romance: We see Sherlock’s jealousy flare up when Watson’s former commanding officer shows up to the wedding. Sherlock assiduously plans a pub crawl for Watson’s bachelor party — for just the two of them— and toward the end of the night, they drunkenly sit opposite each other, Watson with his legs stretched out and feet resting on Sherlock’s chair. They giggle and lean toward one another. No one in the episode mentions much about the ceremony or reception planning, but instead, everyone remarks on the weird pressure Sherlock is under to give a best-man speech.
I’ll confess to being a Sherlock-Watson shipper — or a former one, at least. The way those two have stared at each other over the years? That’s the way you stare at someone you want to get with. But with “The Sign of Three,” it sort of feels like Sherlock and Watson have committed to something beyond whatever overt sexual chemistry they won’t cop to; they got married, essentially — a level that not even Dr. House and Dr. Wilson on House, or Scrubs’s J.D and Turk and their epic guy love ever managed to reach. “I want to be up there with the two people I love and care about most in the world,” said Watson, when asking Sherlock to be his best man. Oh? Not just the one person — your soon-to-be wife? And in his best-man speech, Sherlock refers to Mary and himself as “the woman you made your wife and the man you saved … we will never let you down and we will spend a lifetime to prove that.” That’s a wedding vow if ever there were one. “From now on, I swear, I will always be there,” he says to the gathered guests.
All that’s missing is a ring.