This blog happened to be written because of a conversation with a friend about this week’s episode of Sherlock. I came to the realization that there are two distinct kinds of people who watch Sherlock.
The Shippers, and the Solvers. Odds are you’re one of them, and odds are you’ve seen Season four’s The Lying Detective, otherwise consider this your SPOILER warning.
So, what’s a Shipper. Well in any fandom you have Shippers. They’re not exclusive to Sherlock, and they tend (though not always) be the types of fans that enjoy fanfic. I’m leaving fanfic out because it’s not needed to define a Shipper of Sherlock characters. And for the context of this post, I’m going to refer to “relationships” as anything that’s cannon. That is any relationships that characters have, not necessarily romantic, so it could include what people think of John and Mycroft’s relationship, or Mrs. Hudson’s and Sherlock’s. This is what keeps these people watching each week, the interactions between people, not the story itself. It’s not that they don’t care about the plot, it’s just as one friend put it “secondary”. Solvers (which is a term that I am using more specifically for Sherlock) are those that watch primarily for the mystery. For the twists and turns, and the reveal at the end. They want to revel not just in a problem solved, but in knowing how the solution was found.
So, how did I come to these categories of fans? As I mentioned it came from a conversation with a good friend of mine, who also watches the show. It happened when I asked this friend about the end of The Lying Detective, and by end, yes I mean the fact that Euros Holmes was masquerading as Watson’s therapist, after also masquerading as Bus Girl, all directly under the nose of Sherlock (and to some degree Mycroft). To me, this was a mindblowingly awesome twist, and it made me ridiculously enraged and excited about waiting for next Sunday’s season finale. To her, it was something that she’d spent little emotional energy on, because she was still processing all that had transpired between John and Sherlock. She was distressed that John could have beaten him in the morgue and had feels about the hug, and whether or not their relationship would ever be the same.
In my mind I was thinking: “BUT IT’S SHERLOCK’S SISTER, AND SHE’S A CRAZIER SOCIOPATH!!!”. In hers it was “John and Sherlock have been through so much, will there be enough closure?!?!?!!?” (Note I put mine in all caps, because my brain was shouting, and not being in her brain, I won’t presume the level of OMG-ness).
What’s an example of a Shipper and a Solver? Well John Watson would be a Shipper, and Sherlock would be a (you guessed it) Solver.
Are there those that can watch Sherlock for BOTH the relationships and the plot. Of course. I mean even if the plot (of any show) is great, if the characters always stay the same and never grow (either together or apart) doesn’t the story becomes meaningless? On that note, should characters never have interesting things happen to or with them, then why bother watching them?
But, I also realized something about myself and my friend. I think it’s safe to say that as a Solver, I tend to focus more on a problem, than a person, when someone comes to me with an issue. And I typically find that if I discuss a problem with someone and they offer a hug, I don’t refuse but hugs don’t “fix” things (and yes Tumblr… I know the hug was a BIG DEAL).
Now, why does any of this matter? Well it matters because Solvers need Shippers. I think that most Solvers need at least one Shipper in their lives, because if you forget that problems affect people, does it really matter if we solve them? Also, Solvers and Shippers might not always agree on things (like what was most important about last week’s episode), but they can usually enjoy the same things (like the awesomness of last week’s episode).
Thanks for reading this particular ramble of mine, and if you think you’re a Shipper a Solver or something in between (a Sholver, a Sopper?), leave a comment!