In a recent interview, Martin Freeman spoke of his role in BBC Sherlock and while answering a question about portraying characters who are “ordinary people dragged into the extraordinary,” he had a fascinating thing to say about Dr Watson (emphasis mine):
“Sometimes it’s forgotten… you know, I know what you’re saying about John and Bilbo both being ordinary people dragged into the extraordinary but sometimes it’s forgotten that before John Watson meets Sherlock he’s already an extraordinary man. He is a soldier, he is an army surgeon who saves lives, who can take lives. He is certainly a lot more capable than I am in real life. It’s just that he meets someone who’s even more extraordinary – you know, in a normal room of people John Watson would be the guy, ‘cause he can do stuff that hardly anybody else can do. But he just happens to meet his flatmate – he’s a genius. So a really impressive bloke meets a fantastically impressive bloke and together they make magic.”
That is certainly how Freeman presents him in the BBC adaption. Through the Canon, we can give examples of how Dr Watson saw himself and we know how Mr Holmes viewed his friend, but how did other people view Dr Watson? Was he “the guy”? What moments from the Canon can you find to support or refute that?