I got carried away in analyzing Sherlock’s mind palace and Molly’s presence in it.
Yes, it has been pointed out again and again that Sherlock envisioned Molly, a pathologist who works with the dead, as his saviour when he could have imagined John who is actually an army doctor and who, I imagine, has more practical experience with bullet wounds, because of you know…being from Afghanistan!
So going by the fact that his mind resorted to an image of Molly rather than someone who is an expert in dealing with life and death situations, he clearly feels something for her. Right? right? Because you know…he associates her with safety and survival.
-cue fangirl screams-
But I don’t think that’s just it - although to be honest, associating someone with safety is actually kind of a big deal, but let me just backtrack a little.
I might just be over-analyzing things but I have always been fascinated with the concept of mind palaces so I am just going to go ahead and give a little analysis.
The first thing I noticed when she entered was that she wasn’t immediately all sciencey,which is what I expected at first because it was after all, Sherlock’s analysis of his own wound and he is merely projecting people in his mind - basically he is just speaking to himself. If he was as ramrod-straight-purely-logical human being, as he always claims, Molly would have immediately launched an explanation and formulated a course of action, but instead, she opened with stating how it’s not like the movies. Notice how she was moving in true Molly fashion - wriggly, quirky and lively. This, I think, is a wonderful way of introducing her as part of Sherlock’s mind palace, because I can see this scene as a parcel of Sherlock’s memory wherein they had discussed a bullet wound while they were in the morgue. In short, he wasn’t just projecting a Molly-the-pathologist-who-has-seen-a-lot-of-bullet-wound-and-knows-how-it-causes-death, he was rememberingMolly.
He was dying and the first thing he sees is a memory of Molly.
What was that they say about seeing your life flash before you when your dying? Yeah, I think this is a form of it. I once read that this flashes are all usually happy memories because it is the brain’s way of comforting the body as it goes through a traumatic experience. This is the first sign that confirms how Sherlock’s consciousness associates Molly with safety.
The next scene was more Sherlock.
(Before we move on, let’s just appreciate the fact that Sherlock’s mind palace includes a morgue.)
Anyways, as I said, the next scene in the-too-bright morgue has more Sherlock element in it. Now this, is Sherlock analyzing his body. Molly was talking faster, was more serious and is delving into more sciencey stuff, talking about the physics of the bullet and how it could affect his body. She concludes by saying that he’s almost certainly going to die. Notice how she became fuzzy all of a sudden before she said this? It was his body showing him that death is near but he needed Molly to say that to him in the face. Her stating it, allowed him to move past the first stage: denial.
So, if your body is already saying bye bye using the face of someone you know deals with death, what happens next?
And so he does, which is why Molly told him to focus. Que the slapping. Twice. By now, I bet slapping is already the rig of our little ship-that-could, and so it should be, because it clearly made an impact with Sherlock. He retained the memory of Molly slapping him and he associated it with maintaining focus. In real life, Molly slapped him three times because she wants him to remain focused with all the beautiful things he has - his born gifts and his friends. Although he had been a bit of a douche afterwards - not really saying sorry in the way she wants him to - and being seemingly unaffected by the slap by making a joke about how he’s glad that she did it without a ring, his mind palace clearly showed us that the slapping had made its mark - can I say pun intended in this part?. Anyway, I bet from now on, when he needs to focus, he’ll just see Molly slapping him, instead of having to slap himself like the way he did in TSoT.
Speaking of TSoT, remember how Mycroft was there in Sherlock’s mind palace to talk him through solving the case? Oh look, Molly was talking him through staying alive! Parallels, anyone? See, the importance of this is that if Sherlock sees Mycroft as his equal (or greater than, based on how he is on a pedestal and Sherlock has to look up to him) when it comes to thinking logically, enough that he seeks him out when trying to solve a case, then clearly he also sees Molly as an equal when it comes to medical and science knowledge, enough for him to discuss with her how he is dying. Take that, people who thought she was just a lab tech/assistant - which she really isn’t for she’s a Specialist Registrar, and from what I’ve read so far, we should probably kowtow to her for being that.
Going back, the following scenes however, highlights the contrast between how Sherlock sees Molly and Mycroft. If we put his interaction with them side by side, we’d see a lot of differences. His subconsciousness always put Mycroft on a pedestal. First, in TSoT where Mycroft was in the judge’s table, high above where Sherlock was. Now in HLV, Sherlock reverted into his younger self and the camera angle shows him looking up to Mycroft. With Molly however, they were always equal - except maybe for that time when he was lying on the slab and she was looking down at him, which I think does not connote any feelings of inequality because as said earlier, that was the time when he was panicking and his consciousness acknowledging the fact that when it comes to death, Molly has the authority.
Another difference, is that If Sherlock associates Molly with the too-bright morgue, he places Mycroft in a dark, shady office where his intelligence was belittled. Molly’s presence was comforting, and although they were both analyzing what he should do, there was no restrictive atmosphere. She allows Sherlock to come to his own conclusion and there were no insults involved. With Mycroft however, even though Sherlock’s also consulting with him, our dying consulting detective reverted into being that kid who thought he was an idiot.
Really, the whole mind palace sequence was a gold-mine! I’m quite glad they added this because it allows us a peak in the complex mind of Sherlock.
I’m just going to fast-forward to their next interaction -which is also one of my favorite in the whole sequence - wherein Sherlock now has to decide which way to fall. Oh hi, Anderson!. You see, I love how they added Anderson in the whole element simply because his presence and actions highlighted something important - probably the most important thing and the one I really want to emphasize in this post: Sherlock’s trust with Molly.
Before, when they were discussing how he should fall, Anderson was behind Sherlock while Molly was in front of him, but when it was time to fall *ahem TRF ahem* , they switched places! It was almost as if Sherlock was about to perform a trust fall with Molly (again) - which in essence is actually what he was about to do. He was putting all his trust in his and Molly’s analysis that falling on his back will save him.
Oh TRF, it was almost as if it was just yesterday…
So he falls…and goes into shock.
But he did not recognize it at first. You know, for a genius like him, one would think that he would know what happens next, but he didn’t! He had to ask Molly what was happening! This is another significant development because Sherlock, in real life, doesn’t always ask the opinion of others. He just assumes that he knows and that he is correct. In his mind palace, at the moment when his mind is having a hard time focusing and getting the answers right (as was demonstrated by his and Mycroft’s talk about the gun and the exit wound), he finds the right answer with Molly! This shows the reason why Molly is Sherlock’s pathologist.
He believes in her analysis - and he doesn’t question it.
(While we’re at this, let us take a moment to remember how he - a chemistry graduate- asked her help to develop algorithms to ensure that he and John would have a nice stag night, when he could clearly do it by himself.)
Okay, fast-forward a little bit and we see Molly telling him to control the pain. Again, Molly sets him straight. In fact, for the entire episode, this is what Molly does - showing him what he really needs to see and telling him what he really needs to do.
You know what that makes Molly?
She is the perfect balance between logic and sentiment and no matter what he had said and done to her before, I think that Sherlock knows this too. It is why in the moment when his body (sentiment) and his mind (logic) were both vying for control over him, it was Molly that he saw.
It was Molly that he needed.