For Sherlock fans, Series 4's second episode, "The Lying Detective," was the one they've been waiting for for years, because it sees Sherlock Holmes and John Watson finally share a hug.
The moment happened when Watson, played by Martin Freeman, broke down and confessed to Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock that he had been speaking to another woman behind his wife Mary's back (before her death in the previous episode.) Watson, riddled with guilt, was in need of comfort, and while many fans would have expected Sherlock to react in a completely different way (given the difficulty that he has previously shown with expressing feelings) he surprised us all by embracing his friend and colleague.
221% of the sherlock fandom's profile pic will be this in the next 24h pic.twitter.com/yPOhY3uOit— the man we both love (@deppnroses) January 8, 2017
And the internet has gone crazy.
The episode of the hit BBC series drew in 6 million viewers, winning its time slot and beating competitor Endeavour's 5.1 million. Fans took to Twitter to share their joy over the emotional moment — and it's clear that a lot of people have been waiting for this for a long time.
I'm actually sobbing over a hug between them. Sherlock just holding John while he cries oh no I can't— Summer (@Sassian_andor) January 9, 2017
I just watched Sherlock from yesterday and omg the hug between him and Watson killed me I love them so much— iz (@magnifiquezjm) January 9, 2017
Honestly that few seconds of a Johnlock hug has given me motivation for the rest of 2017 #Sherlock— Chris Storhm (@OncomingStorhm) January 10, 2017
not gonna lie i totally did cry when there was even a POSSIBILITY that sherlock was going to hug john #sherlock— edes (@anotherharmony) January 10, 2017
OH MY GOD SHERLOCK HUG JOHN ! SAD SAD SAD SAD— ret (@whotf_m_i) January 10, 2017
This hug was much more than just a fleeting moment of emotion — it was also an important step in the development of Cumberbatch's character.
Could this moment be the breakthrough that Holmes needed to come to terms with his emotions? Does this mean he will be more willing to embrace his softer side? Could this new change in Holmes' attitude subsequently affect his approach to his work?
We'll have to wait and see how Series 4 plays out, but the new dynamic between the characters, coupled with through-the-roof ratings, could help ensure that the series makes it back for a fifth series.
However, it's possible that more main characters will be killed off, something Cumberbatch seemed to hint at during a recent interview.
"This new series goes to a place where it will be hard to follow on immediately," he explained. "We never say never on the show, but in the immediate future we all have things we want to crack on with, and we've made something very complete as it its."
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