The thing is if they wanted us to think Mary is forgiven they would have done the story in a linear way : confrontation at Baker Street and then the “forgiveness” scene. Actually constructing the forgiveness scene around flashbacks of the confrontation scene makes us feel that it’s all happening simultaneously and that John’s “forgiveness” is really weird because for us it just happened. We just saw it.
More than that, the use of flashbacks during this scene which was unusual in Sherlock before s3 is a direct parallel to the forgiveness scene between John and Sherlock at the end of TEH which was also interrupted by a flashback sequence of Sherlock explaining the Fall to Anderson which, I think we can all agree on it, is bullshit, even if there may be some elements of truth in it. Therefore the narrative structure explicitly established that Sherlock’s explanation of why Mary did what she did and how was a lie, with maybe some truth in it.
Finally those two forgiveness scenes contrast with each other in every way, Mary and John are in a lovely and quiet environment but she doesn’t ask for his forgiveness, she doesn’t even seem to want to talk about it he’s the one who brings up the subject and he says that “those are prepared words” which is like the negative pendant of the carriage scene where Sherlock makes a decision on the spur of the moment “let’s use this fucked up situation to see if John can forgive me” and BEGS, kneeling, in a penitent position, for John’s forgiveness which he is then granted. Just watch the two scenes and appreciate the difference in John’s behavior.
Mary isn’t forgiven, at all.
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