She has completely turned my life around, changed everything.
But for the record, over the last few years, there are two people
who've done that and the other one is...
a complete dickhead!

I have to give John credit here. For someone who really hates talking about his feelings, I think this is singularly a brave act.

John would rather Sherlock just understood what he feels without having to talk about it. (Surely that’s an advantage of Sherlock being the most observant man in the world. You’d think.) John thought the best man thing would be obvious, but it wasn’t. When he asked Sherlock to be his best man, he was immediately pushed towards actually articulating how he feels about Sherlock, and he wasn’t ready to do that. He was gearing up to, and then got stopped short.

As we see constantly with John, there’s a level he finds easier to say out loud (“of course you’re my best friend!”) and a level he struggles to express. He’s obviously aware of whatever it is, he just struggles to say it. Like his inability to say to his therapist the obvious “I loved him,” he can cop to “he was my best friend,” but he can’t form anything else into words, even while admitting that there is something else.

What did John think Sherlock already understood when he asked him to be his best man? What was he hesitating to say out loud, if “best friend” wasn’t it? Probably something along these lines: I’m marrying Mary, but you are my (I hate this term, but) soulmate.

When John says the easy part out loud (“Of course you’re my best friend,”) Sherlock reacts as if that’s the most shocking revelation ever. But John doesn’t seem to recognize that. It looks as though he assumes Sherlock is just processing the task.

It bothered me that John didn’t stop to consider what Sherlock’s meltdown might possibly mean at the time. So, as I say, I’ve got to give John credit here, because he’s trying to reopen this conversation and make sure Sherlock understands how John feels about him.

He told Sherlock that he considers him his best friend (obviously), but here he’s trying to tell Sherlock that’s there’s more to it than that, something he finds difficult to express. How do we know that? He avoids making eye contact long enough for Sherlock to make a getaway. 

And what does he say?

Mary is important to him, so important that he’s marrying her, but she’s not the only one who’s playing that kind of role in his life. He’s trying to say that things aren’t going to change between them if John has anything to do with it. Mary can’t replace Sherlock. He’s trying to be reassuring, which suggests that he has some glimmer of understanding of what Sherlock’s meltdown and panicked napkin-folding might mean. But it really is only a glimmer.

John is in love with both Mary and Sherlock. He imagines he’s going to have a normal (romantic) life with one of them, and an abnormal (whatever this is) relationship with the other, but he can’t say he loves one of them more than the other. And he can’t say that one of them is more important to him than the other. That’s all he’s trying to say here, right?

But he can’t get the whole thought out. He only got as far as Mary is important to me, and Sherlock runs off. Ostensibly because he’s on a case and something got his attention. But I’d say he most likely runs off because he can’t bear to hear John say what he thinks John’s going to say. I’ve chosen Mary over you. He knows that already. He’s running away from it, from John, from his feelings. He’d probably have been folding napkins again if he could have. He’s terrified.

But props to John for trying. It’s nice to see him try to take care of Sherlock on an emotional level. I wish Sherlock had stuck around and  listened to what John actually said. It’s not every day that John manages to turn his feelings into words, after all.