Exactly How Eloquent is Dust?
Let’s look at some parallels. The second from the top gif is one of the first sites we’re shown when John enters 221b for the first time in two years. The beautiful dust dances around in the left of the frame. One of the last deductions John saw Sherlock do before the Fall was the “dust is eloquent” scene and that was the last time John heard mention of Mrs. Hudson’s dusting. The motes are reminders, then of Sherlock’s brilliance— something John holds onto. But more importantly, this is the position John stood in when he affirmed to Sherlock that he believed in him. “Nobody could fake being such an annoying dick all of the time.” John returns to 221b, his unwavering belief in Sherlock reaffirmed. Look at how “I know you’re for real” gif overlays the 221b dust scene?! Notice how the light from the street illuminates John’s face when he says “real” and how that light beams into 221b when John returns? Sunlight is steadfast. LOVELY.
Now let’s think of the dust in Jack the Ripper’s room. Lestrade asks Sherlock what happened to John. Sherlock replies: “Not really in the picture any more.” Then the cement from the ceiling falls. The first time we saw dust moving about in Hearse it was when John had to admit that Sherlock wasn’t in the picture anymore. This dust is deep.
A third time we see dancing dust on the left is when Sherlock recalls the Ripper room. Visually something cool is happening. The frame from the Ripper is overlayed onto the scene in 221b. The rectangular light from the Ripper room highlights Sherlock’s face, bringing our eyes to his. It’s not just the look it frames— it’s the fact that Sherlock is sniffing. His nose wrinkles as he inhales. If you listen closely to the soundtrack, you can clearly hear Sherlock’s snuffles. But. He’s not smelling anything in 221b (unless John hasn’t washed!) He’s remembering a smell. What scent is it then?
AN EVERGREEN TREE. AND SMOKE.
Right before Sherlock remembers the Ripper dust in 221b, John asked him who tried to incinerate him in the bonfire. Sherlock is frustrated because he doesn’t know the answer and then BAM— the Ripper dust scene comes to his mind.
Sherlock remembers the scent of burning trees at the bonfire and associates it with the burnt pine or spruce smell of Jack the Ripper’s costume! The falling dust then makes him think of the trains that rattled Jack’s room and voila! That’s how you get the underground deduction. John is a conductor of light.
So. Look at the final image. That’s:
- John saying he knows Sherlock’s for real.
- The dust of 221b when John returns to tell Mrs. Hudson he’s moving on.
- The dust Sherlock sees right after he’s told Lestrade that John’s not in the picture any more.
- Sherlock remembering that dust because he associates it both with the terror of losing John and three puzzles he has yet to completely solve. (Who tried to kill John; The Ripper case; and the Rat of Sumatra underground network case.)
That, my friends, is parallelism. THAT is eloquent dust.