I analyse the scene between the Holmes Brothers where Mycroft states they were completely isolated as children. I explore their family background and how their isolation can explain why Sherlock behaves like a psychopath some of the time.
Hell is Other People
The clear intention for the entire scene between Sherlock and Mycroft is to show that Mycroft is cleverer than Sherlock. Well, the script certainly hammered the idea home with more nails than the coffin needed.
The main suggestion we get from this scene about the Holmes Brother’s background is that Mycroft and Sherlock grew up isolated. In fact it is stated that Mycroft didn’t meet “other children” until Sherlock was old enough to have his intelligence judged and found wanting.
We are not provided with an explanation for the Holmes’ brothers complete lack of social interaction with others.
Given how ordinary and benign their parents seemed during the short scene, I do not believe that this couple conspicuously choose to completely isolate their children.
The script didn’t even compromise by having Mycroft meet children and decided to shun them – they actually didn’t physically meet any other children in any proper capacity for the best part of Mycroft’s childhood. Contrast this with the apparently normality of the Holmes Parents and you get a very strange back story that reads like something assembled from a checklist.
Gatiss evidently wanted “normal parents + maladjusted children” without much thought to reality. From my experiences in psychiatry and life, this is not what happens. The Holmes Brothers display extremely dysfunction emotional coping strategies (The Empty Hearse – The Holmes Brothers Reunited). No matter what genetic influences they are under, you do not produce such maladaptive responses if you spent your formative with such normal, loving parents.
The best explanation I can give is that for some reason, the Holmes Brothers ended up spending their childhood completely isolated and that their parents actually ended up have little input in their lives.
For most children with busy parents, social interaction and emotional development are significantly aided by school, friends and relatives.
It is clear now that the Holmes Brother had none of these sources of help during their development, which can give us an insight into why Sherlock occasionally does behave like a psychopath, even though he isn’t one.
An examination of Sherlock’s emotional development — or lack of it — through analyzing my favorite scene in all of Sherlock (Operation/Hat Deduction).