In the last gif he’s like.. Oh yeah…. I was so busy trying to impress you with my deduction skills I forgot you came here for help.
"When i’m holding Violet Smith’s hand and making deductions about her spatulate finger ends, I tried to portray the fact that SH found the touch sensuous." - Jeremy Brett
Brett!Holmes had this occasional aesthetic/sensual appreciation towards women which is so interesting to watch. Because he appreciates beauty, and he appreciates beauty in women, he isn’t blind. I’m same-sex attracted but I can tell when a guy is really good looking, and I’ll enjoy looking at him. But I probably wouldn’t want to cuddle him. And I think Brett!Holmes (who I read as unambiguously gay) is experiencing the exact same thing. An aesthetic attraction, a sensual understanding of ‘this person is hella fine’ that doesn’t include actionable lust or romantic interest.
And I furthermore think its really telling that every time this happens, the lady in question is undeniably uninterested in Holmes. He knows there is no risk of them wanting him.
He didn’t look at Irene Adler in a sexual way, even when he was deep in disguise and she was bending over the lounge in her low cut dress. His admiration was for her musical talent and her intellect. Her beauty affected him (especially in combination with her intellect) but he never wanted to look at her, touch her, in that way. Both he and Watson make that clear. And she was off to marry somebody else.
With Violet, he is being drawn closer and closer thanks to his deductions, he’s examining her, explaining everything to Watson, and he seems to come to himself just in time to realise: wow this is pretty intimate. So he backs off.
Wipes his hands on the tablecloth?? She is a vastly underrated character in the canon, a frankly wonderful female character. Holmes admires her bravery. And she is also going to marry someone else.
In The Abby Grange Holmes calls Lady Brackenstall beautiful, because she is and he isn’t blind and he appreciates beauty, dammit. But when she hugs him in gratitude he is frankly extremely unhappy about the unwanted physical contact, almost (but not quite- he’s a gentleman) throwing her off. And she, too, is romantically involved with somebody else.
Even when he is faking a relationship with a women (The Master Blackmailer) he is sure that the women in question already has another suitor. She won’t pursue him once he has finished with his deception. He didn’t even entertain the idea of continuing the relationship- he made absolutely sure she would have someone else. And its worth noting that the stigma of homosexual relationships was a theme during TMB.
And of course, we can place all these examples in direct opposition to how much (and how comfortably) Brett!Holmes touches Watson. He wants to touch Watson. Even then there is literally no reason for them to be touching, to be in each others space, they are, and Holmes initiates this touching all the time. And Brett knew what he was doing, having gone on record that Watson couldn’t have loved a woman in the same way as he loved Holmes, and that Holmes would’ve died without Watson. He couldn’t be more explicit about this (it was the 80s, and he was a bisexual attempting to keep his own sexuality out of the press, which is hard if you start talking about playing a gay character).
Seriously, though. This link is probably less than 1% of all the amazing examples. The intimacy between Holmes and Watson in this adaption is astounding. Every single episode. Watson never married in this adaption, despite the fact that they included Mary… Like they literally introduced Mary and then didn’t include their romance. It didn’t happen and Watson stayed with Holmes, utterly content. Brett supported this idea 100% because he knew.
Look. I know perhaps I take this too seriously. But I am deeply invested in Granada, because as far as I’m concerned, there is every reason to consider Granada Holmes a canon representation of Holmes/Watson. Queerplatonic, or homosexual, whatever definition you want, you can’t deny that these two were life partners.
… I have to default to a possibly denying stance as to any degree (however slight) of sexuality concerning Brett’s portrayal of the broken penguin interacting with his Watsons (out of some kind of automatic “consideration”… I covet your bravery), but… this is something I’ve thought about before, maybe an odd residual feeling I’ve felt watching Granada’s series. These paragraphs are uncomfortably like someone’s spilled my thoughts onto the floor… and also relevant to the subject for which I was shouting and writhing about today, that is, the label that the penguin is “sociopathic” (Crush and I deny with increasingly raised voices)…. I think I finally believe my own theory that he is indeed a very, very empathetic character, whose empathetic capacities are “employed in an atypical career”, the empathy manifests differently, it doesn’t cease to exist like some (some) have been strongly implying to me.
But yes, yes… Physical sensation, deep empathy. “Queerplatonic” is a great term, I think I’ll go with that…