I was reading your Shezza posts and I was wondering what you thought of ASiP's introduction of Sherlock's drug use during the drugs bust scene and specifically John's discovery of it. asked by all--stories
Well, I didn’t mind it so much there, though the language in the series has tended to echo traditional recovery narratives (e.g., the notion that any substance use, even a cigarette, is part of a relapse—“Are you sure tonight is a danger night?”). If they’re writing Sherlock as a true addict, then yes, that works.
But I’d like to think something more interesting might be happening in s3. Just after HLV aired I wrote about the drug-test scene. I’ve thought more about it since, especially as I’ve come to understand how s3 puts pressure on Sherlock’s self-definition as a thinking machine. Drugs are proof that mind and body are never separate, because in chemically affecting the brain they bodily affect thought. I think they have an important place in this season because the whole thing’s about Sherlock coming to terms with body and society, the fact that he’s embodied and capable of love, that he can’t extricate himself from his body or his relations to other people. Rather than isolating him, the incidents with drugs bring him physically closer to others: the slap in the face from Molly, the touch in drunken intimacy with John. The season is asking, can this man who’s all mind, pure logic, exist in a vulnerable body? (He begins under torture, he ends as a weeping child.) The drugs motif helps show that deduction happens not in the CGI ether but in the body-mind: not even Sherlock thinks outside the flesh.