It struck me that from the beginning there was something fishy about Mary.
Mary pretends not to recognise Sherlock. Even if we look at Mary here without knowledge of her past as revealed later in HLV, Mary is not believable. Let’s say she is an ex assassin, running from that life, assuming a new identity as a nurse and just happens to fall for one of the doctors in the practice. She supports her new boyfriend through his grief from losing his best friend, even pays respect at said dead friends grave. Who amongst us would NOT have googled Sherlock Holmes? It’s what we do when we enter a new relationship, we have a need to know about that person. Especially an issue which is badly affecting our new partner. Plus we have the fact that dead best friend was famous. OK, wow, photos and news reports are available. It’s not like Sherlock is any run of the mill looking dude here; he is damn unique, you wouldn’t forget that face in a hurry. Plus there is innuendo concerning your new boyfriend and his dead best friend; hints of a gay romance, enough to put any new girlfriend’s gaydar into operation. Yet when dead best friend arrives as a waiter at your table one evening, and your boyfriend is having an emotional crisis on the other side of that table, you look at the waiter and don’t know who this is? We know Mary is a smart cookie, observant, and yet she struggles to recognise the man before her? Fishy.
Then Mary suprizingly takes Sherlock’s side in the ensueing fight between Sherlock and John. She is not outraged that her boyfriend has been duped, hurt, manipulated, oh no, Mary begins to support Sherlock. By the time we reach the kebab shop we have John feeling alone, with Mary and Sherlock in some weird union of sorts.
Mary is acting as if John is behaving outrageously, she is giving Sherlock signals that she is agreeing with him, lulling him into a sense of simpatico.
Outside the kebab shop Mary choses to remain with Sherlock while John goes to flag a cab. She offers Sherlock help in bringing John around and back to Sherlock. She KNOWS exactly how to work Sherlock.
And how to work John.
The next we see is Mary teasing John about meeting Sherlock again, in a way that is filled with some vague sexual tease. Mary sounds like she is talking to a girl friend here about seeing a guy that the friend is interested in. It is almost as if Mary is using the sexual tension John feels for Sherlock to move him as a chess piece on the board. Move him into position.
Mary easily outwits both these men and by the time we see her ensconced in 221B, she has won. She has both men exactly where she needs them to be, in fact Mary is relishing her role, flaunting her power of observation and manipulation. The scene is demeaning towards the men and disturbing in it’s blatant power dynamic; a third party has moved in to the world of Sherlock and John and utterly destroyed the very heart of who they are. No wonder we get the image of a ‘horned devil’ at scene end.
Finally the coup de grâce, the wedding. Mary keeps on twisting that knife into Sherlock’s heart, and is openly gleeful about the effect she is having on him. Sherlock tries to strike back, his best man’s speech is a triumph of a love letter to John, he undergoes a life changing self revelation in the midst of it, he summons John back to him in several ways, he almost pulls off a ‘hail Mary pass’. But then Mary brings out the big guns, her secret plan for a wedding gift to Sherlock; she allows Sherlock to deduce her pregnancy. Check mate.
Looking at Mary from a non-Johnlock perspective, I can admire her skill and planning, what I cannot see is a woman in love. It is only in HLV when her need for John surfaces that I finally see true emotion in the character. Her desperation to keep John and her fake life is Mary’s defining emotion, and it is selfish, reckless and rings very true. It is the only real emotion I believe we see from Mary in S3. Everything else reads as manipulation toward a goal, as CAM says she is a very clever, very bad girl. I can admire that from a distance. As a Johnlocker I just need John to start fighting, not Sherlock, John. Because by the end of HLV John knows he’s been played, John knows he made the wrong choice, John needs to sort this.