In the first episode of Season 4 of Sherlock, Mary dies, and Watson seemingly blames her death on Sherlock.

The episode ends with Watson stating that he'd accept anybody's help but Sherlock's.

What is the reason for this animosity towards Sherlock?

Mary jumped in front of a bullet meant for Sherlock while Sherlock was in the process of solving a case meant to save Mary's life. I don't see any reason why Watson should feel that her death is due to Sherlock. Rather, she would have been long dead if it wasn't for Sherlock solving the Thatcher case and realizing that her life was in danger. While Sherlock was doing all this, Watson was walking around cheating on Mary and their infant baby with a random stranger.

3 Answers 3


People aren't always rational. Watson blames Sherlock because, partly, he also blames himself (not being there, infidelity, etc), but it is always easier to blade someone else. From personal experience, it is often very hard for someone to recognize his own blame in a deeply emotional issue. Our defense is to point blame at everyone else, and we rationalize this idea over and over in our head, until we actually believe it.

You can also argue that Sherlock's tactics could always be different and lead to some other ending. E.g., if he hadn't pushed the old lady in the end, and had actually been humble and admitted how she was actually brilliant, maybe she wouldn't have tried to shoot him to prove she was smarter than him.

Edit: in the next episode, we see how Watson

has reconsidered and no longer blames Sherlock for her. He admits she gave up her own life for him, but that it was not his fault, it was her own choice.

  • 1
    With respect to your last point, one could also argue that if Sherlock hadn't pissed the old lady off, she would choose to shoot at Mary instead of Sherlock. She had a gun, and she was going to prison for the rest of her life no matter what, so it is quite probable that she intended to shoot at least somebody as her final act (otherwise, why carry around a gun?). By pissing her off, Sherlock made sure it was him, and not Watson or Mary.
    – Mikael
    Jan 5, 2017 at 14:59
  • Its an opinion (possibly Watsons!). I believe that she wouldve just given up or killed herself. But hey, well never really know
    – BlueMoon93
    Jan 5, 2017 at 15:01

I don't think that it's entirely do with blaming Sherlock for Mary getting killed, it's more to do with it being his fault that she was in such a dangerous situation in the first place.

Just after she dies, and Watson is holding her body, he looks at Sherlock and says:

You promised you would keep her safe.

He did that on more than one occasion, and ultimately he failed to protect her. They didn't need to bring Mary back until after the case had been solved, she could have remained in hiding, but Sherlock assured John that he would keep her safe and convinced her to come back to London.

If he hadn't convinced her to come back, she never would have been in the situation that led to her death.


Partially he was grieving and just lashing out.

Partially because Sherlock made a vow to protect the Watsons.

Mainly because that entire scenario only happened because Sherlock just had to show boat how smart he was without considering that it puts people around him in danger. He could have had the police arrest Vivian and not even gone there himself. When he was there he was too arrogant to realise that she might be a threat and deliberately goaded her even against Mary's warnings. There was no real need to have called Mary to come with him other than him wanting an audience to show off too.

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