pennswoods: (221B Baker Street)
[personal profile] pennswoods
I was watching HLV again yesterday and was inspired to meta. I keep picking at this because I am so taken with how carefully Mycroft and Mary seem to keep their distance from each other this entire series, even though she shot his little brother, and he's supposed to be brilliant at deductions and extremely powerful. Originally posted to Tumblr [HERE].

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A while back I posed the theory that Mary may have actually been working for Mycroft all along and that this might explain a number of peculiarities in series 3. But I’ve been watching HLV again and am even more convinced by a few key moments that point to the Mycroft and Mary connection as a viable possibility:


  1. Sherlock trusts Mary

  2. We first see Mycroft speak to Mary when he learns Moriarty is back

  3. Mycroft really has no good reason for getting out of his car

  4. Mary’s words hint that she has other sources about Moriarty


1. Sherlock Trusts Mary. Following the confrontation scene at 221B, as Sherlock is collapsing, we have the following exchange:

SHERLOCK: John – Magnussen is all that matters now. You can trust Mary. She saved my life.
JOHN (quietly): She shot you.
(Sherlock pulls a face, half-nodding his agreement.)
SHERLOCK: Er, mixed messages, I grant you.

(Excerpt from Ariane DeVere’s Transcript of HLV)

Fans have picked this apart to determine whether Sherlock in fact believed that Mary saved his life either by shooting him in the way she did (surgery) or by calling 999. But I feel this distinction is not as significant as the bolded part. Sherlock believes that Mary is trustworthy (despite the fact that she shot and nearly killed him). What could lead Sherlock to trust Mary?

Mycroft. If Sherlock knew Mary had been screened and hired by Mycroft to look after John in his absence, then he would have good reason to continue to trust her despite the shooting. Furthermore, Sherlock had to know that Mycroft would have figured out that Mary was the one who had shot him and would have no doubt paid her a visit to impress upon her the fact that if anything further happened to Sherlock (and Sherlock’s pressure point, John) that she would not live to regret it. In other words, the fact that Mary was still alive even after having put a bullet in Sherlock meant that Mycroft had the situation under control.

2. We First See Mycroft Speak to Mary When He Learns Moriarty is Back. Upon receiving the phone call informing him that Moriarty is back, Mycroft steps out of his car saying “That’s not possible. That’s simply not possible.” He is facing both John and Mary, and as John steps forward asking “What’s happened” we see Mary standing behind with a rather horrified look on her face even though Mycroft has not mentioned Moriarty. John’s movement and speaking draws our attention, but it’s interesting to notice that the camera does not let Mary’s face go out of focus. We can still see her reaction. This moment is also notable in that this is the first scene (in ALL of series 3) in which Mycroft is seen addressing Mary (either separately or as part of a group).

3. Mycroft Really Has No Good Reason For Getting Out of the Car. In the next moment we see Sherlock receiving Myroft’s call and being informed that England needs him. Mycroft is once again back in his car, leaving me to wonder exactly why he needed to step out of the car in the first place. Perhaps he was overcome with emotion, though that doesn’t seem in keeping with his Ice Man persona. In other words, why would he want to reveal vulnerability in front of John and Mary? However, if Mary had indeed been hired by Mycroft to protect John from threats from Moriarty, then he may have actually been signaling her that she was back on.

4. Mary’s Words Hint That She Has Other Sources. The final scene on the tarmac, just before Sherlock’s plane touches down, Mary and John have the following exchange:

MARY: But he’s dead. I mean, you told me he was dead, Moriarty.
JOHN: Absolutely. He blew his own brains out.
MARY: So how can he be back?

(Excerpt from Ariane DeVere’s Transcript of HLV)

Others have pointed out that Mary sounds a little panicked. Listening to the dialog and seeing it transcribed, what also stands out is Mary’s self-correction. She begins by stating that Moriarty is dead, and then modifies this to indicate that her knowledge is second-hand, she knows this because John told her. It seems like Mary is trying to clarify that the source of her information regarding Moriarty’s death was John and not that she knew about this from other sources.  But why would it be necessary for her, in this moment, to qualify the source of her information? Could it be that she was trying to appear not to already know too much about Moriarty and the threat he posed?



Date: 2014-07-05 01:39 pm (UTC)
ext_65977: (radiant)
From: [identity profile] venturous1.livejournal.com
have you read this: The Professionals
http://archiveofourown.org/works/1852399

Last week's reccs thread at Sherlockbbc was devoted to mary-positive fic, and I am enjoying the mind-bending the fics are giving me, because I can too easly get stuck in getting her out of the way for mad JohnLock as is my habit, and thats not where we are in canon new, is it?

anyway, I loved this little tale, 2k words and it really shifted how I saw their dynamic.

what a twisted web we weave, eh, Messrs Gatiss, Moffat & Thompson?

Date: 2014-07-06 08:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pennswoods.livejournal.com
Oooh. I do need to read that. I have to admit that since I've been on vacation, I've been doing a lot more serious reading and a lot less reading of fanfic. It is so nice to have my brain to myself and to not have to spend it on reading tedious drafts of student papers and exams!

I love the writers and the games they play with us.

Date: 2014-07-06 01:06 pm (UTC)
ext_65977: (molly hearts)
From: [identity profile] venturous1.livejournal.com
it's short - in 2,000 words the author makes sense of the mess HLV left us with. in a way.

ooo, serious reading? as in fiction? or ... I'd love to know what's on your vacation reading list that isnt fandom related.

I'm reading 100 Years of Solitude, The Silkworm, and just finished A Subtle Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin. I started a book review post but .... with 4 blogs to keep up, I give less of my thinky thoughts to fandom, alas.

but, I am doing little fests, so there.

Date: 2014-07-05 02:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hernerdiness.livejournal.com
Mycroft and Mary HAVE to have some sort of connection. I simply can't accept any other premise. It doesn't seem possible that Mycroft knew all about the assassins that moved in near 221B but has no idea about AGRA. And they do seem to conspicuously avoid each other, with Mycroft refusing to go to the wedding.

Date: 2014-07-06 08:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pennswoods.livejournal.com
I KNOW! Those missing months are driving me to distraction, so I'm just going to pose ridiculous hypothesis after ridiculous hypothesis to satisfy myself. I really found Mycroft's complete absence in the hospital after Sherlock is shot to be so very telling. I also think he and Sherlock speak in a sort of code around each other and that there's been a lot said and understood (about Mary and John and other things) that we can't quite pick up on.

Date: 2014-07-05 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azriona.livejournal.com
I have a half- (well, quarter-) written story on my harddrive about how Mary and Mycroft might be connected, but I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon. But yeah - I agree, I think it's very likely that Mary could very well have been working for Mycroft. After all, we know that he had that connection to the CIA (Sherlock mentions it in the very first episode) and Mary supposedly worked for them - it's possible that they ran into each other at that time. And Mycroft is vehement that Sherlock leave Magnusson be - I always wondered if it wasn't because he already had Mary on the case, and wanted to keep Sherlock out of it because his involvement would end up blowing her cover?

(And further - perhaps the reason Mary shot Sherlock was because he unintentionally gave her a signal she interpreted as "Don't worry, I'm in on it, go ahead!" And she would have thought he was wearing a bullet-proof vest under his clothes.)

So there's my Mary&Mycroft story in a nutshell! One WIP to cross off the list.... :)

Date: 2014-07-06 08:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pennswoods.livejournal.com
OMG! Bullet proof vest! This hadn't occurred to me. So she may have thought she was taking even less of a risk in shooting him than she actually was.

This is a genius theory. I love it!

Date: 2014-07-06 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azriona.livejournal.com
Exactly. So she'd have been shooting him for show, mostly (the audience being Magnusson). Which still makes no sense, but at least exonerates her a bit. (I am all about exonerating Mary, though I know not everyone is.)

There is a story already out there about Mary working for Mycroft, though I haven't read it (because it started coming out while I was still working on mine, and I didn't want to read and end up stealing its ideas) - I think Toasty is writing it, I understand it's very good.

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