Some fans have clarified, in response to this post [X] , that they don’t hate Mary for being a former assassin, they hate Mary for having shot/killed Sherlock, and then threatening him in hospital not to tell John. So let’s talk about that. I know I won’t be responding to a lot of points people have made, because I can’t keep up with them. But here goes.
The first thing Mary asks Sherlock when he happens upon her and Magnussen is ‘Is John with you?” and learns “he’s downstairs”. All she cares about in the moment is stopping John from discovering her and her secret, and so she has no time at all. John could walk in on them at any moment. Some have suggested that she should knock out Magnussen and then flee, but that won’t work because Sherlock will be on her the moment she turns to strike Magnussen, disarming her and holding her. In fact, she doesn’t even have a chance to consider that option because of what happens in the gifset above. Take another look at it.
Sherlock takes the step he was told not to take (yes, he does, look for it in the second gif, the weight comes off his right foot), and his purpose was undoubtedly to step forward and disarm her. So she shot him. And she apologized for it, sincerely, with a catch in her voice (go back and listen to her). If she had meant to kill him she wouldn’t have apologized. If she had meant to kill him she would have (as Sherlock later points out) shot him in the head, and probably have done a double tap. She was an assassin after all. If she had meant to kill Sherlock then she would not have called the ambulance as fast as she could - look how she picks up the mobile and makes the call in one movement after striking Magnussen:
Mary did not intend to kill Sherlock, and she did not - despite what some people are saying - actually kill him. Yes, the shot was lethal without immediate medical attention, but she ensured he got that immediate medical attention. Yes, his heart stopped, but he did not die, because he is alive.
However, I do agree that the scenario of shooting someone in the chest with the intent to disable but not kill is more than a little problematic; but that’s a problem with the writing, not with the character. The writers tell us through Sherlock that what Mary did was ‘surgery’. To properly understand her intentions and her character you have to accept this. If you can’t accept this then know that your problem is not with Mary’s character, it is with the writers for giving you an unbelievable scenario. The writers own this story - flaws and all - and you cannot validly reject what they tell you about why something happened to suit what you want to believe about a certain character.
Some people have complained that Mary should have shot Magnussen not Sherlock. Sherlock addresses this issue when he explains to John that Mary saved his life
"When I happened on you and Magnussen you had a problem. More specifically, you had a witness. The solution, of course, was simple: kill us both and leave. However, sentiment got the better of you. One precisely calculated shot to incapacitate me in the hope it would buy you more time to buy my silence. Of course, you couldn’t shoot Magnussen on the night the both of us broke into the building, your own husband would become a suspect, so you calculated that Magnussen would use the fact of your involvement rather than sharing the information with the police, as is his MO.”
I understand that, like John, some of the fandom finds this hard to accept:
I understand why some members of the fandom have turned monstrous because they know who put a bullet in their boy, but maybe it’s time to take a page out of Sherlock’s book and examine, dispassionately and objectively, what Mary did and why she did it. .
The second complaint is that Mary goes to Sherlock’s sickbed and ‘threatens’ him to ensure that he does not tell John. This is what she says: “You don’t tell him. Sherlock? You don’t tell John. Look at me and tell me you’re not going to tell him.” Go back and watch that scene to hear her tone of voice. There are no explicit threats there and Mary does threaten explicitly. Anyway, Sherlock had no intention of telling John. Probably he knew John would not believe him if he did. He was first going to find out what he could about ‘Mary Morstan’ and then trick her into confessing in front of John.
I don’t have any problem with believing that in the past Mary may have been a not-very-nice person who killed people less deserving of death than Magnussen was. Maybe she did go rogue for a while, after being caught up in an intelligence service that warps your value system and anesthetises you to evil. But I believe people are capable of redemption, and that this was the path Mary was seeking when she forsook being an intelligence agent, became a nurse, fell in love with John. She was trying to leave her old life behind her. I think she was a bit like Alec Leamas, the spy who tries to go into retirement in “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" (by John LeCarre). Control (the head of Intelligence) says to Leamas about the business of being a spy: “We have to live without sympathy, don’t we? We can’t do that forever. One can’t stay out of doors all the time. One needs to come in from the cold.” I think Mary was trying to come in from the cold and Magnussen got in her way.
Of course, after I said I’m not reading meta, I’m reading meta.
I’m thoughtfully reading right now and still forming ideas, but one thing struck me, as I was reading:
However, I do agree that the scenario of shooting someone in the chest with the intent to disable but not kill is more than a little problematic; but that’s a problem with the writing, not with the character. The writers tell us through Sherlock that what Mary did was ‘surgery’. To properly understand her intentions and her character you have to accept this.
Emphasis mine. I find this statement a bit iffy, because we have no earthly idea what Sherlock thinks of Mary right now. That line could be a cover, or a lie, for the express purpose of getting Mary to trust him for some end that we’re unaware of. We know for a fact that a whole lot of what the writers feed us through the characters ends up being complete bullshit: Mycroft basically being in on the entire endgame of Reichenbach since the very beginnings of Hound, at the least, despite giving every indication he’d screwed up and allowed John (and us!) to think the same; Sherlock knowing damn good and well that Moriarty was planning this end game from the very start, and went right along with the game in order to draw Moriarty out, etc.
In other words, I wouldn’t trust a single thing any of them said to be the truth right now, for love or money.I really don’t. I’m not sure just about anything we saw in that last episode is actually “real”, in the sense of the unvarnished truth of the thing.
That’s what’s leaving everyone sort of at a loss, I think, and leading to so much disagreement and strife within the fandom. The fact that almost anything we’d come up with at this point to explain it would be plausible within the scope of the show, jive with the textual clues, and be accepted to a certain degree.
I think its rather marvelous, honestly, and I think if everyone (not you, specifically, notmydate, as you’ve been awesome, I mean fandom in general) could just really have a good look at what everyone is saying without feeling like they’ve got a personal stake in it, we’d all understand each other better and learn about so many incredibly interesting ideas.
Oh, gracious, I would not trust Sherlock or the writers to tell the complete and honest truth about Mary. Not yet.
The argument about whether or not Mary meant to kill Sherlock seems nit picky—she absolutely put him at grave risk and he absolutely could have died. That she regrets doing it makes her interesting, but it doesn’t excuse her choice. In fact it makes her sound like a sociopath, the real kind. And it doesn’t help Mary’s case that Sherlock has reformed and is now all about chivalrous self-sacrifice. That’s what S3 is largely about, this comparison of John’s two loves. After watching all that Sherlock goes through to protect Family Watson (mainly John and his unborn child, I presume), it’s hard to see Mary as worthy of my allegiance or affection, even if her intentions were, to her mind, good.