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Again, with apologies to the more learned in this field, I think that for Sherlock, the difference is firmly established in human bonds. Sherlock has an adversarial relationship with Mycroft who spent most of their childhood either calling Sherlock stupid or tormenting him with stories of the north wind. Sherlock's childhood love, which again Mycroft taunts ...


This question merits a shout-out to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which used a similar technique way back in 1986. This wasn't showing a text message from a phone, but was certainly "capturing the viewer’s screen as part of the narrative itself":


From the Baker Street wiki: En route there, Sherlock remembers Mycroft mentioning Coventry on the phone and reminisces about the allegations that the British government allowed the Coventry Blitz to happen, so as not to alert the Germans that their military codes had been cracked. There, his suspicions that a similar situation is occurring are confirmed ...


Because they had to convince the world that Sherlock was dead. What better way to do that than convince Watson? If Watson appeared in front of the world honestly grief stricken, then the world would more easily believe that Sherlock was dead.


They had to convince Watson. If Watson, Sherlock's closest friend, can truthfully say that he saw Sherlock die in front of his eye then that gives credibility to the story. Having a bunch of homeless people say the same thing doesn't have the same impact or authority.

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