I know this was pointed out within days (hell, hours) of TEH airing, but I wanted to expand on it a little bit.
Despite Moffat’s recent quote about Sherlock finding no women attractive, I know his (and Gatiss’s) earlier quotes protesting The Gay still troubles many fans who want the romance we see actualized, and is often used as ammunition by those who insist any romantic reading is a fandom delusion. TPTB not only denied any possibility of a Sherlock/John romance, they often sounded irritated, as if the mere idea of their two main characters falling in love was ludicrous. (I mean, anyone would get irritated after being asked the same question for the hundredth time, but that’s beside the point.)
Moffat and Gatiss knew the issue of Sherlock and John and sexual/romantic attraction was a hot topic. And that’s not all – they pay pretty close attention to lots of popular pairings and inside jokes in the fandom. In TEH, they decided to have a little fun with fans by including a few fantasy kisses.
If Moffat and Gatiss were truly that tired of getting the Sherlock/John question; if they really do just get their shits and giggles queerbaiting on an epic scale; if they wanted to simultaneously give Johnlockers their fantasy moment without actualizing it…well, they missed a golden opportunity.
If an explanation for the fall was the number one scene fans were anticipating in TEH, Sherlock and John’s reunion was a close second. Why not have a little fun with audience expectations and theories on that, too? Why didn’t we see Sherlock strut over to that table in his waiter getup and whip off those glasses, causing John to gasp and get shakily to his feet, staring at Sherlock with tear-filled eyes, then grabbing him an epic liplock that has restaurant patrons cheering before cutting to Mycroft rolling his eyes at Anthea and saying “I think you’ve been reading too much Nora Roberts, dear…”?
If they truly don’t intend to ever actualize the romance, this was their opportunity to have their cake and eat it too – acknowledge the fans and give them what (they think) we want, but not “go there.” In fact, if you check out the Sherlock forums out there where fans aren’t so much invested in ships and mostly debate plot and the mysteries, many expressed mild surprise after TEH that even the Sherlock/Jim ship got a nod, but not Sherlock/John.
That footage doesn’t exist for a reason.
I’m not tagging this at all, so if it ends up in a ship tag, please know that my intent here isn’t to hate on any ship.