John Watson and the Holmesian Mythos

John Watson Martin Freeman SherlockKindly permit us to indulge in a bit of pop culture, albeit highbrow.

Friend of Dappled Things Joseph Susanka considers how the character of John Watson, as “neither the bumbling fool so often portrayed in the early years nor the superfluous sidekick,” is a spiritually significant figure in the BBC’s latest update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective.

Without him, the gulf between the dazzling, irksome Holmes and his audience would prove too difficult to navigate; we might respect him as the world’s most brilliant consulting detective, but we would never be able to love him. With the help of Watson the Reliable Narrator, however, we can bridge the gap between what we know of Holmes through our own experience and what his friends see (and love) in him. Without Watson, Holmes would be little more than a freakishly gifted alien; with him, he becomes a troubled, troubling, redeemable human being.

Does Watson take on new significance in light of the Incarnation? Read the whole thing and decide for yourself! And if you haven’t checked out the BBC’s Sherlock yet, delay no longer! If you’re a Netflix subscriber, it’s currently available via their streaming service, and the first two seasons are also out on DVD.