Are you paying attention now, Sherlock?
Where’s a Viennese alienist when you need one?
Lipstick in Sherlock is bound up with sex and love and attraction – Sherlock notices Molly’s overtures in the form of lipstick but disregards them (along with a cruel ‘mouth too small now’ dismissal), and Irene’s preparation for battle in ASiB is liptstick in the shade of ‘Blood’.
The Woman now resides in Sherlock’s mind palace to help him clarify thoughts of sex, love, and attraction.
In TSoT, we learn that 1) The Woman knew John’s middle name and 2) Sherlock claims “God knows where she is.”, but in reality, he’s just choosing to ignore her – all those thoughts of love and attraction needs to be ignored so that he can solve the case. Oh, Sherlock.
But sex/love/attraction has a name for Sherlock, and its name is John Heimish Watson.
Which brings us up to the Sherlock’s nightmare funhouse of a mind palace in TAB, where everything is ever so vividly distorted – partly because it’s his id, and he’s got a huge imagination, but partly also because of the drugs.
“Mouth like a crimson wound.“
Poetry or Truth? A bit of reality and imagination mixed together. That’s essentially The Abominable Bride in a nutshell.
He’s ignored the idea of sex/love/attraction long enough – how does he like the lipstick this time? It’s so big, it’s smeared all over the bride’s face. Is the mouth big enough for his attention now?
Some side tangents on smeared lipstick, unrelated to this current train of thought:
1) Mary is one of the bride’s mirrors, the bride has smeared lipstick similar to the Joker, Moriarty is Joker-esque.
2) Why is Molly Hooper one of the faces that we’ve seen revealed as one of brides? Yes, it’s a woman that Sherlock has belittled in the past. But Molly is the one that has the “mouth too small” lipstick reference. Filing that away for later.
Back to Sherlock and his thoughts on sex/love/attraction.
There’s only one broken window we need concern ourselves with.
So in the glasshouse chat, the very subject of feelings and physical impulses conjure up a beckoning bride, impossibly entering a locked house. All right then.
Sherlock then runs towards the house, breaks open a window to crawl into the locked house … in the process, releasing a murderous bride. Making some mental progress then.
Not just any bride, a murderous bride. Such passion. Is someone feeling starved?
But it’s still not resolved.
The sealed chamber of his has been breached. Now to search for the body. We have mind palace!Mycroft literally telling Sherlock to look for the Woman (it’s about sex, as we were helpfully informed in ASiB), and we’ve got Sherlock breaking into the earth with a shovel (the imagery!) to look for something buried and presumed to be long forgotten (his libido):
Well, Sherlock’s still scared. He keeps looking after he doesn’t find what he thinks he’ll find, and he doesn’t want to forget the idea of it – not only does the long-dead skeleton bride come to life and sings ‘Do not forget me’, he is ravished by the skeleton.
He realizes perhaps woman-woman is not quite what he was looking for.
Even though Sherlock didn’t realize on stag night who John is supposed to be, he certainly does now. YOU. It’s always YOU. John Watson. And Sherlock is frantic with desperation.
I hope you enjoyed this ramble – this started as a mini-meta on lipstick that just sort of mutated into a full-blown one. Whoops.
TL;DR – How do you like me now, Sherlock? It’s me, John Watson.