Anonymous asked you: Why do you think Mycroft didn´t step in and stop Sherlock from taking drugs sooner (I mean even Lestrade was privy to his drug-habit, so it had to exist for some time)? Could Sherlock really get off Mycroft´s radar? Was M. letting him make his own (wrong) choices and face the consequences? Has Sherlock some leverage on Mycroft he used to get rid of him? (“I know you experimented too, so fuck off, brother dear”)
The answer to this will probably never be revealed on screen, and will most likely be left up to your own headcanon. Personally, I suspect that it’s likely that Mycroft tried to help Sherlock and failed. But continues to try, and will always continue to try.
I’ve covered a lot of this ground in previous asks, so I will have to send you back here for more information. Coming up with an answer to this question would require knowledge in two areas the series is reluctant to give us solid information on: Sherlock’s past drug abuse, and the Holmes Brothers’ feud. But, let’s have a look as to what we may deduce about the brothers and this period of time between them.
Sherlock seems to have kicked his habit approximately five years prior to the series beginning. Lestrade gives us that time frame when, in Study in Pink, he states he has known Sherlock for a total of five years, and that he also knows about Sherlock’s history with drugs. Assuming Sherlock’s age is more-or-less the same as Benedict Cumberbatch’s, we’ve to assume that Sherlock kicked his habit in his late twenties. Beyond this, the history is very hazy.
Canonically, Sherlock Holmes spent only two years at university - yet, a standard undergraduate degree typically takes three years to complete. Within the context of the series, there could be a few reasons for his early completion - either he’s exceptionally clever and raced through his degree (perfectly plausible), he got bored and decided he didn’t need to finish his degree (again, plausible), or something else prevented him from finishing. If the latter were the case, drugs would seem a likely candidate.
By the time Sherlock has finished his second year of university and resolved not to return for the third, Mycroft would be about 27 years old, and already a rising star within whatever field of governance he works in. He would, most likely, have lived apart from his younger brother for almost nine years - since leaving home for university. Depending on when their feud started, or how deep it really runs, this may also mean that Mycroft has not had an awful lot of contact with Sherlock over those past years either. It’s easy to imagine a young Mycroft as an intellectually driven individual, so caught up in his own machinations and cerebral complexities, that he allows himself to forget about that troubled baby brother back at home.
Then disaster strikes, and Sherlock goes off the rails. Mark Gatiss, discussing Sherlock and Mycroft’s past on The Great Game commentary, has this to say:
Probably, you can imagine a backstory where he’s…um, and Mycroft’s absolutely despairing because he’s vanished in Central Europe for six months doing God knows what. But, actually, suddenly he finds purpose, and it focusses his life.
After, eventually, recovering his addict brother from whichever godforsaken country that Sherlock found to hide beyond the locus of Mycroft’s control, it seems likely that Mycroft would then pay more attention to Sherlock and take more care of him. It may be around then that the term “danger night” was coined, and Mycroft began a concerted effort to clean Sherlock up.
Of course, Sherlock is a wilful individual, and is never much inclined to do as his brother asks, so the fact that he remained a drug user for some time subsequently should come as no surprise to even the casual Holmes-observer. It seems to me that, given the time frame, it was Lestrade’s promise of murderous puzzles, in combination with Mycroft’s consistent interference, that persuaded Sherlock to wean himself off the drugs.
Mycroft continues to observe Sherlock’s habits, though. And when something worries him, as did Irene’s apparent death at Christmas in Scandal, he intervenes. It’s likely that he’s learnt at some point before that he has to, and, after learning the hard way, he always will.
Of course, that’s just one interpretation of the events. Headcanon is a wonderful thing.
This is great!!
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