I felt my heart crumple when I first saw it.
Someone needs to analyze this. Emma? Somebody? What is it about the bare feet that is KILLING ME every time I see it? Why?? Why are we having such an emotional response to bare feet?
Because this the only time we’ve ever seen John on screen without footwear (he might have been barefoot in the FALL post-shower scene, but it’s hard to tell). He’s always been shod in one way or another: brogues, sandals, always ready to take off after Sherlock at a moment’s notice. Now that Sherlock’s dead, he has no reason to do this anymore. Also, the way they’re pressed together, instead of flat on the floor, is reminiscent of hands in prayer, or two hands clasped with fingers interlocked. Curled in on himself, vulnerable.
Bare feet are vulnerable. In western society, we usually wear shoes. Sometimes we go barefoot indoors—at home, where we let our guard down—and sometimes people wander around in a park or whatever barefoot. But it’s exposed. Physically, it’s risking injury by stepping on glass or thistles or a bee. And the sole of the foot in particular is something that isn’t public.
John sitting here, like this, is indicating he has nowhere to go. It suggests nakedness and privacy, an intimate glimpse of him, and for John, who is such an active person, it suggests surrender. He’s not even trying, not even pretending to hope something will happen. Or, perhaps, it suggests that he doesn’t want to.