“Loving someone after years is not reductive, retrograde, antifeminist or weak.”
–Louise Brealey (AKA Molly Hooper)
BBC’s Sherlock recently screened another season and it had a lot in it. It had questions about power and justice, how to deal with loss, and several different kinds of love.
In this version of the story of Sherlock Holmes, detective, he has a unlikely friend. This friend is Molly Hooper. She is a pathologist who works in the morgue in London. Over the past 4 seasons, she has gone from a mousy doctor who meekly supplied Sherlock with the body parts necessary for his various experiments to standing up to Sherlock and making him apologize for a really awful series of remarks to saving his life by faking his death. Throughout the seasons Molly is steadfast and loving towards Sherlock, holding in her seemingly unrequited romantic love for Sherlock. In the most recent season Sherlock and her were entangled in his psychopathic sister’s game of pushing all of Sherlock’s buttons and forcing him into moral dilemmas. One of the tests was Sherlock calling Molly and getting her to say three simple words—I love you—within a set time limit. Sherlock also gets a warning that a bomb will go off if he fails. Molly refuses to say those words until he does. The reason she refuses is because it’s true; Molly does love Sherlock after all these years. And this is where the quote from the beginning comes in. Louise Brealey, who plays Molly, tweeted after the episode, defending her character’s steadfast love for Sherlock despite any return on that love.
Unrequited love is a heartbreaking thing, especially over a long period of time, but it is a beautiful self-sacrificial thing. Molly has loved Sherlock for years, and that in no way diminishes her character.