Back to previous post: Open thread 192

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Our media elite, urging us to die politely

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

January 12, 2014

S is for Sherlock. It’s also for **Spoilers**.
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 06:03 PM * 52 comments

I have to say that The Moon is a Harsh Mistress makes much more sense after the carbonite freezer failed and they uploaded Mycroft’s last consciousness into a computer. And it’s interesting how the Doctor’s Wife turned up, but Matt Smith is going to want her back in her blue box form, so Lestrade should really turn his attentions elsewhere.

Hope the squid was CGI. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Given that the Beeb is running such a staggered schedule of the show, let’s put any discussions of the series here in a separate thread. Anyone not wanting spoilers for all three episodes…avoid, yeah?

Comments on S is for Sherlock. It's also for **Spoilers**.:
#1 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2014, 06:15 PM:

For someone who doesn't seem to need other people at all, he's got a lot of them in his head, doesn't he?

Also, I love the explanation of why John loves Mary.

But I knew about the Tube air vent houses already.

#2 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2014, 06:30 PM:

The funny thing about the tube air vent houses is that while you have that façade at the end of the vent that faces the square, at the opposite end - on another street - all there is is a brick wall low enough that you can almost see over it (or you can if you're my height). Obviously the residents of the square had more clout than those who lived on the other street.

#3 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2014, 06:37 PM:

Bold move to have Sherlock come back as a ghost making the first six episodes the origin story for a re-reboot of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

So anyway, these three episodes were very tightly interlinked by John and Mary (and Sherlock and Mary) and also by use of the memory palace, which was perfectly justified in it's own use of screen time as well as foreshadowing the reveal.

(I lived on the same block Earls Court tube station for a while and everybody wanted to tell us underground trivia when they visited for some reason, so vent houses were not news to me either)

If I were to criticise them I would say that it makes use of a lot of cool random nonsense and then justifies it mostly with style and acting chemistry. The discussion of how Sherlock gets off the roof basically comes out and says it in the text. Sherlock had 13 ways off that roof, all of them ludicrous. John doesn't care how he got off the roof, he wants to know why Sherlock pretended to be dead. They toss out 2 or 3 mysteries an episode that would be the most interesting in a series of most crime shows, but act as though that doesn't matter because John! and! Sherlock! are having a moment.

And I reckon the cliffhanger means the Sherlock/Moriarty snogging scene canon.

#4 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2014, 06:47 PM:

Well, I always thought that Conan Doyle was kind of cheating by not having Mary and Sherlock have to put some actual work into figuring out how to share Watson. The first two episodes of the series are more realistic: both of them understand that they're almost a triad, really.

As for Mary's backstory...well, to expand a bit more on my terse comment above, I am reminded of Daniel Craig's Bond in "Casino Royale". There's that scene where Vesper Lynd has just seen her first violent death, and she breaks down in the shower, fully dressed. And he goes into the shower with her, also fully dressed, and sits there with his arm around her. When I saw that, I thought, "Finally, we depict Bond as a genuinely damaged personality, someone whose emotional landscape is basically a collection of craters. He's learned to live with it, but that's what you get when you take anyone and make him do the things Bond does."

Well, Watson's the same. He has to be, to put up with Holmes, even leaving aside the military service. Conan Doyle did the "love of a good woman" approach, and made Mary Watson a fairly safe character, but it seems at least as likely that Watson's tastes would run for romance in the same direction they did for friendship.

(I do like Mrs Hudson's backstory, rather a lot. I bet she did a hell of a lot more than typing for that cartel. Though that makes me think of Burn Notice, or possibly Miami Vice.)

#5 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2014, 07:02 PM:

(Am I the only person who wants Sherlock/Miami Vice crossover fic? Am I a bad person for this?)

#6 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2014, 10:55 PM:

What I want now is either a genderswapped or utterly genderblind Hamlet, with Andrew Scott playing Ophelia.

Odd, because normally I prefer my Ophelias heavily underplayed, but good lord, that was glorious. I hope the scenery was tasty.

#7 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2014, 11:27 PM:

But the books were written more than a hundred years ago. How come we are worried about spoilers?

(by the way, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are really the same person)

#8 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 01:28 AM:

At half an hour I was intrigued but skeptical, especially regarding Janine.

At an hour in I was riveted--everything with Mary was masterful, especially "what is she?" (And yes, John's personality, hinted at both early on and in this episode, made perfect sense.)

At the end...we.. We'll see, won't we?

#9 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 03:43 AM:

"Where's the cottage?"

"Sussex Downs."

"Uh. Nice."

"It's gorgeous. There's beehives, but I'm getting rid of those."

I laughed like a drain.

When Magnussen visited Baker Street he showed off (what later transpired must have been a fake version of) the letters. What was the point of this; was he luring Sherlock and John to his penthouse for some reason?

And Moriarty could have recorded his TV spot before his death, of course.

#10 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 06:12 AM:

If I recall correctly Magnussen hints that he might have actual documents somewhere but having all the data in his head and a giant media platform means he mostly doesn't need them.

I note his two-layered defence against desperate and violent responses to his blackmail. Killing him won't work as, so far as anyone knows, his vault still contains the information. Meanwhile his vault is safe because it's in his head. Sherlock's success is in creating a situation in which Magnussen has to reveal his defence, opening him up to a direct attack.

Meanwhile I'm not convinced that Magnussen's plan as revealed will give him leverage over Mycroft. If Sherlock and John go to prison as traitors, which will be a matter of public record, Mycroft will either be retired or remain in place. As shown Mycroft doesn't have the power to get Sherlock completely off a serious crime. If Magnussen has enough people in his pocket to keep them out of prison, he ought to already be able to keep Mycroft off his back*. I can only assume that Magnussen can't stand that there is anyone out of his control.

In other words, Magnussen is brought down by his own greed and hubris.

* If he intervenes so obviously I find then probably this will be so blatant I imagine Mycroft can make use of the situation. This is the kind of cold-blooded multi-stranded strategy I can see from the secret service civil servant Mycroft.

#11 ::: AlyxL ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 08:10 AM:

Lovely to see Moriarty back, although I suspect he may still be really dead, and just have recorded stuff to transmit after his death. With any luck, that won't stop him from appearing in the next series though. Does anyone else wonder if Janine is related to him? I realise that not everyone from Dublin is related (I'm from there myself, and not related to either, AFAIK), but it would be interesting, wouldn't it? And I'm sure we haven't heard the last of that Sussex cottage.

Charles Augustus Magnusson (I keep thinking of him as Charles Augustus Mikkelsen) was a wonderfully unpleasant villain, and I was sorry to see the last of him.

What really intrigued me was the identity of the Clarence House Cannibal. Is Sherlock old enough to have met the Queen Mother?

#12 ::: Snowrunner ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 11:37 AM:

The friends whom I rounded up to watch this with are pulling a John Watson and focussing entirely on "Sherlock has a girlfriend ? Sherlock knows what to do with a girl?"

I can hear the fandom imploding already. I was particularly tickled by the headline "He made me wear the hat!"

Other than that, I loved Freeman's fabulous portrayal of the kind, conflicted, sturdy, betrayed Dr John Watson.

#13 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 11:41 AM:

Snowrunner @12:
Sherlock knows what to do with a girl?

I'm sure he learned it on YouTube. (Ducks, runs)

#14 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 01:54 PM:

abi@13: one of the nice things about Sherlock is the way they've managed to do Sherlock Holmes in an interconnected age without making the old-fashioned-clues-and-human-behaviour stuff look too silly. A modern computer-literate consulting detective would probably solve crimes involving cross-site scripting attacks and keyloggers, but what we are happy with is Sherlock extracting a personal story from the scratches on a mobile phone. It's a fantasy version of our modern world, where human interactions with each other and with tangible things are still all the evidence you really need.

(I've always been a bit unsettled by how respectable crime fiction is: The Genre That It's Okay To Like. There's something about watching Detective Inspector $Character_Actor and Detective Sergeant $Sidekick_Actor restoring the balance of justice by asking a few questions of half a dozen people spaced out over two hours of British television that tells us that everything is fundamentally fixable and tame.)

#15 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 02:00 PM:

Steve with a book @14:

Well, yes, this is true. But I was riffing on how he learned to fold the napkins for the wedding.

#16 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 02:08 PM:

abi@15: heh, of course; I'd completely forgotten about that. I am slow.

If they made a Cumberbatch/Freeman Sherlock film I cannot see how it would fail to make a lot of money.

#17 ::: Wendy Bradley ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 02:44 PM:

I'm fascinated by that (comment #16 about a film making lots of money), particularly in the light of comments in interviews that they may only make three episodes at a time but each one is the equivalent of a movie and made to the same production values. How do the business economics of film vs television *work* then? Why would it cost more and make more money to have a BBCSherlock movie rather than the three tv episodes? Each one brought in about 8m viewers just in the UK - how many people would see the movie? Genuinely interested in the economics of it all.

#18 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 04:01 PM:

Apart from anything else you would want to avoid releasing a Cumberbatch/Freeman film around the same time as a Downey Jr/Law Holmes film.

I believe that even in the era of HD TV, films, being designed to be played on 20 foot screens, are shot to higher definition, requiring more attention to detail in sets and props etc. In addition TV shows are often able to keep costs down with standing sets etc. and a cast and crew familiar with each other and the work to reduce practice and rehearsal.

The people putting up the money for a film would be different to the people currently producing the TV show and have different expectations as to what they would influence. A film director usually has more control than a TV director over such things as casting and script so choice of director would be extremely important. The risk-averseness of modern big budget film making would tend to smooth out some of the sharper edges if it went down that route, and a small budget film would not have a lot of marketing to get people's bums in seats. Compare this to the BBC who can say "Hey, remember Sherlock? It looks cool! It's back! And you don't even have to change channel!" for a relatively small cost.

None of these are barriers to such a film being made and being a great success, but are all things that need to be solved.

(I ignore Hollywood Accounting and such problems as re-introducing the characters and set up for new viewers who wander into the cinema and the difficulty of pulling off things such as the more interesting multi-episode tricks in individual films as beyond the scope of this comment)

#19 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 04:19 PM:

I watched the first two minutes of the Sherlock Empty Hearse episode and found myself hating it and since I do not hate watch shows I switched it off. I thought the solution was very contrived and required too many extras. I think on the whole I hate shows headed by Moffat.

#20 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 04:41 PM:


The "solution" in the beginning of "The Empty Hearse" wasn't the actual explanation of what happened. Since you dislike contrived and overly complicated solutions, you might actually be amused by what they actually did.

#21 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 06:58 PM:

Ursula L@20: the second 'solution' to the Sherlock Death Problem in The Empty Hearse now, given the Moriarty Lives! reveal, looks more promising. How did Sherlock 'die'? He tumbled to his 'death' solely under the force of gravity. What else tumbles solely under the force of gravity? An asteroid. Who wrote the classic treatise on the subject?

Wake Up, Sheeple!, as I understand they say on the Internet.

I jest, but there are all sorts of possibilities for S4. Or a film. (A film need not even be very big-budget: the Alan Partridge film of the summer, bringing a much-liked TV character to the big screen, seems to have done pretty well...)

#22 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 07:04 PM:

Have liked all three episodes of this season.

But, toward the very end, Mycroft denies having any familial affection, saying something along the lines of "you remember what happened with the other one"...

WHAT other one?

(Have to re-watch it, and hit "pause" to catch some of those lines. After I've seen the newest two Downton Abbey episodes...)

#23 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 07:23 PM:

Steve with a book @21 - As I understand it part of the delay in making this series has been scheduling the actors, especially Freeman and Cumberbatch. I can't help thinking that if a film were to be made, instead of three 90 minutes episodes in 2 years, we'd get one 120 minute film, and have to wait longer.

So here's my actual problem with The Empty Hearse. John says that he doesn't care how Sherlock got off the roof, he wants to know why he pretended to be dead. Sherlock's reason is that he needed to dismantle Moriarty's network to remove any threat. Fine. Still he told Mycroft (because he needed him and Mycroft would work it out himself anyway). And he told Molly (he needed her for the plan). And he told his parents, which is why they didn't go to the funeral, which is the kind of detail that would entirely screw up an attempt to fake a death.

(This may annoy me especially because I took a stray exchange in A Scandal in Belgravia* along with Mycroft then being alone on Christmas Eve to jump to the conclusion that their parents were dead, following which I constructed an elaborate backstory)

* It was something like:
Mycroft (pouring tea): I'll be mother shall I?
Holmes: You always were, that was the problem.

#24 ::: Snowrunner ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 08:31 PM:

glinda at 22
According to the "official" biography by Holmesian speculator Baring-Gould, William Sherlock Scott Holmes is the youngest of three brothers, his elders being Mycroft and Sherrinford.

abi at 13
Lol. but don't forget, Sherls loves to "dance" *winkwink etc*

#25 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2014, 09:06 PM:

Ursula L @ #20

The "solution" in the beginning of "The Empty Hearse" wasn't the actual explanation of what happened. Since you dislike contrived and overly complicated solutions, you might actually be amused by what they actually did.

That is very good to know. When/if, Sherlock comes on PBS (I think on the 19th), I shall give it a a longer chance.

Moffat still can annoy the ever loving something or other out of me. The Doctor Who Christmas special made me want to strike my head against a coconut. Still... it could have been worse. Bad Dr Who is better than no Doctor Who. And it could have made me want to strike my head against a bottle of mead.

#26 ::: Martin McCallion ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2014, 06:34 AM:

Did anyone else expect that Sherlock’s big mistake that would destroy the lives of everyone he cared about (I paraphrase Magnussen) would be that Magnussen “owned” the junkie chemist (Bill Wiggins?), who would have brewed a fatal poison rather than a sleeping draft?

Seems like an unlikely oversight by Magnussen; though it would have made the whole story descend into unrecoverable tragedy, so it probably wouldn’t have been a great idea for the series.

#27 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2014, 07:17 AM:

If we're talking about why "Sherlock" is a television series rather than a series of movies, I think it is important to understanding what is going on to look at this as a collaboration of friends and family.

From what I understand of the origins of Sherlock, it began as Moffet and Gatiss, both Doctor Who fans who managed to turn their fanfic into canon stories and canon cosplay, talking about Sherlock Holmes stories on the train when they couldn't talk about Doctor Who stories why they might be overheard.

And then Moffet explained the ideas they had to his wife, and they both convinced her mother to have her company produce those stories.

So, in understanding why it is television instead of movies, it is because Moffat's family by marriage produces television, not movies.

And producing this within the family enhances their family life, rather than producing it outside their family expertise and loosing the experience of making the program as a family endeavor, an enjoyable and cooperative experience.

If Moffat had to work on Sherlock as a movie, with movie producers, rather than with his wife and mother-in-law as television producers,would it be worth it to him? If Gatiss had to work on this as merely a writer, rather than putting himself into the story as Mycroft, and having the control to let his cosplay stick, would it be worth it to him?

Going back to its origins, Sherlock is about the triumph of fandom over the larger mundane society. A couple of fanboys, who couldn't talk about their ideas on Doctor Who where they might be overheard, made up fanfic about Sherlock Holmes in the modern world instead, and convinced the larger world to pay for both their stories and their cosplay in those stories. (Gatiss enojoys cosplay, and plays Mycroft and also enjoys writing fanfic, Moffat isn't into cosplay, but only fanfic.)

And Moffat gets to work on the whole project with his wife, so that it becomes about affirming their family connections rather than him going off to work. Likewise bringing in Martin Freeman's partner to play John's wife, and having one of Moffat and Vertue's sons play young Sherlock. There are some very talented people who are also good friends and family with each other, and we get to watch them turn work into play.

#28 ::: Anne Sheller sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2014, 08:14 AM:

At least it seems to me that the comments 29-31 have a pinkish hue and porkish aroma.

#29 ::: Anne Sheller doesn't see spam anymore ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2014, 08:21 AM:

And...zapped even as I was reporting it. Thank you, gnomes.

#30 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2014, 07:02 AM:

I don't know if anyone else got this impression, but it did seem to me almost as though Sherlock was trying out new partners for some of the series. Firstly Molly*, but he also discussed things with Mycroft (when John wasn't speaking with him) and Janine (at the wedding), then adopted Wiggins. Also he spent more time talking to some of them (also Anderson) in his mind palace. It might just be a result of John refusing to talk to Sherlock for half The Empty Hearse, and having to be with Mary for some of The Sign of Three, so they needed someone for Sherlock to talk to.

* Which demonstrated that she would be an excellent partner if the show were less about guns and bombs and dashing about London and more about turning up at crime scenes and figuring stuff out**. Oh and if there weren't the unrequited love too.
** If, in fact, it were Elementary.

Ursula L @27

I agree with almost everything you say there. I might put a slightly different emphasis on it though. Moffat worked almost entirely in Television until writing the Tintin film (after Sherlock started). Gatiss similarily, although he has also written novels. So they already had experience in TV, and were working on a TV show when they came up with the ideas, it would be natural to make the initial idea a TV show, rather than a film (or novel, cartoon, comic book, audio play etc.)

Martin Macallion @26 Did anyone else expect that Sherlock’s big mistake that would destroy the lives of everyone he cared about (I paraphrase Magnussen) would be that Magnussen “owned” the junkie chemist (Bill Wiggins?)

No, but only because Sherlock's weaknesses are always arrogance and John in this show.

#31 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2014, 10:04 PM:

Caught up.

May I say, as a very minor point, that the use of on-screen text has gotten really *good* this season. I mean, what they did with a font choice.

#32 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2014, 10:09 PM:

Steve with a book, @9:

I figure that Magnussen flashed the letters as misdirection -- setting the visual implication of a storehouse of documents.

#33 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2014, 05:06 AM:

All Magnussen has to do is point a newspaper reporter at the story, maybe dropping a few hints about sources, and let them do the leg-work and take the risks of a libel case.

What the story glossed over is how he gets the information in the first place, and that's something Conan Doyle doesn't much talk about either. How does a professional blackmailer keep getting their knowledge? It seems to me to be naturally a more personal crime. Blackmail is pre-industrial. Or is it?

The industrial blackmailer would be connected with the NSA or GCHQ, a channel by which the government can manipulate significant individuals. Which isn't entirely incompatible with the story. Mycroft's warning to Sherlock does fit that.

#34 ::: Neil W ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2014, 06:14 AM:

Dave Bell @33 Magnussen is a newspaper publisher. He has investigative reporters on his payroll. A newspaper is already an intelligence gathering organisation.

Also, once he has a number of powerful people, such as senior police, MPs etc. in his web, he can pressure them to get access to more information. (I have a personal theory as well; a CIA officer might just let themselves be exposed by him rather than hand over information about their own agents. But a Belgian or Italian agent could square giving over Mary's file with their conscience. Magnussen, being multi-national, can put pressure on the weakest link.)

#35 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2014, 01:19 PM:

Ursula@ #27:And Moffat gets to work on the whole project with his wife, so that it becomes about affirming their family connections rather than him going off to work. Likewise bringing in Martin Freeman's partner to play John's wife, and having one of Moffat and Vertue's sons play young Sherlock.

And having Sherlock's parents played by Benedict Cumberbatch's parents.

#36 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2014, 12:54 AM:

Those were Cumberbatch's parents? I must confess I didn't notice it in the credits. Are they professional actors? They certainly did a good job....

#37 ::: Lucy Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2014, 02:30 AM:

Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham are indeed professional actors -- Ventham appeared in "The Prisoner" and original Who -- and tried to talk their son out of following in their footsteps, wanting something more stable for him.

#38 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2014, 12:47 PM:

I feel better about not noticing it in the credits since they have three different last names. Thanks for the background info!

#39 ::: Lucy Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2014, 06:52 PM:

You're quite welcome!

Does it help to know that Timothy Carlton dropped "Cumberbatch" when he became an actor? His father and grandfather were, respectively, a decorated submarine officer and the consul-general in Turkey, and he didn't want to coast on their fame.

BC's full name is "Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch", which takes up a great deal of space on the relevant line in a passport.

#40 ::: snowrunner ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2014, 06:46 AM:

To add onto the list of close relationships, Olivia Poulet, Cumberbatch's ex-girlfriend, played Amanda, the PA walking around with a 9mil jade pin in the Blind Banker.

Martin Macallion @26 Did anyone else expect that Sherlock’s big mistake that would destroy the lives of everyone he cared about (I paraphrase Magnussen) would be that Magnussen “owned” the junkie chemist (Bill Wiggins?)

No, because Magnusson would have killed off everyone that was of use to him. As he pointed out to Sherlock, he wasn't going to let John die in the Empty Hearse. Not if John was Sherlock's pressure point.

#41 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2014, 12:55 PM:

I tend to watch things uncritically (at least the first time) and then notice things that didn't quite work over the next few hours. Here's what I remember from all the things I was thinking about in bed last night:

  • Magnussen has letters when he meets Sherlock at Baker Street, but says he has no physical documents in the vault. Were they real or fakes? Were they just to lure Sherlock to Magnussen's office, where M would confront the dynamic duo? I suppose that plan was derailed by Mary with a gun.
  • The rubber ball! I originally thought John was mentioned it trying to come up with ways Sherlock might not be dead, but apparently that was just a fanfic that stuck with me. The rubber ball was one of the first things people noticed when looking for explanations.
  • Moffat leading men are really into kissing without consent - the Doctor, a lot, and Sherlock with Molly. I realize one of those was in a fanwank scene, but Molly looks terrified when it's real and she can see him coming in for a kiss.
  • Magnussen couldn't have deduced the name Redbeard, so where did it come from? The Holmeses don't seem like the type to write down information about family dogs in any sort of place where Magnussen could get at it.
  • The Holmeses must have been shitty parents to let their older son demean their younger, and to not have socialized them until they were old enough to already have internalized their smart/dumb roles.
  • Why did Sherlock tell Anderson why he did it? Just wanted to show off to someone? (I mean, other than so that the audience would get to find out, because they probably would have rioted if no one ever told the real story.)
  • How did Mary get into Magnussen's office? It's said that she befriended Janine for this purpose, but I wouldn't have expected Janine to let in Mary dressed as a commando.
  • I thought it was odd that Benedict was born to people with the last names Carlton and Ventham - he CHOSE to be known as Cumberbatch? - but it turns out Carlton is a stage name and his dad's real last name is, in fact, Cumberbatch.
  • Too bad we couldn't have had one of Cumberbatch's parents and one of Gatiss's, to tie together the disparate appearances.
  • What happened to the other brother? Nice little throwaway there.
  • Mycroft can't let Sherlock get away without being punished for committing murder, so he gets him out of the public eye by sending him on a suicide mission. But once Moriarty's video shows up, I guess it's okay for Sherlock to have committed murder with no consequences after all?

Also, a very good Sherlock fanfic, with a female Lestrade. Covers season 1 and 2 and then ventures into uncharted waters. I looked it up to give you guys the link and accidentally started rereading it. Really good.

#42 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 02:18 AM:

I am still not caught up with all three, but I no longer care. I watched The Empty Hearse and now part of the wedding one. I feel like Charlie Brown who keeps having the football jerked away, except halfway through another run at the ball I realized I did not care to even make the attempt. The music is good, the acting is good, the cinamatography is... okay. A bit too clever at times. The constantly sliding cut thing in the wedding one was more distracting than pretty. But the stories are just awful. I range from bored to annoyed through the whole of episodes. Invader Zim has more sense and continuity.

I entirely understand why people do love this, but I cannot make myself even tolerate Sherlock. I am going to go check out Elementry from the library and give it a chance.

#43 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 03:21 AM:

If Elementary is like a meal, Sherlock is like a bowl of junk food snacks. Fun, but insubstantial. “The Sign of Three” (the wedding ep, the most recent to have shown in the US) is especially snacky, structured to provide lots of fun little payoffs throughout, but adding up to not very much.

We haven’t seen the third ep yet, so I don’t know what import “Tube vent houses” is going to have, but is that a fake house designed to cover up a ventilation station for an underground train? We’ve got one of those in Brooklyn.

#44 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2014, 04:32 AM:

I do wonder if elements of Sherlock, because of Mycroft's position, are loaded with weight from modern British politics. Mycroft is the epitome of the arrogant, scheming, man in power, not caring about the mere mortals. Even his brother can be used.

"You have been in Afghanistan" is not just an echo of the original, it makes everything Watson does a potential political statement. He was a Doctor, but when that first episode ends he has become a killer. So many of his connections are scarred by conflict.

People do complain about Sherlock's high-functioning sociopath self-diagnosis, but we have come to see how both he and Watson are abnormal. There's the abusive relationship with Mycroft in there, and the apparent failure of the parents.

You can look at the relationship between the brothers as emblematic of so many different relationships in the modern world: the governing and the governed is not the only sort.

I shall stop. I am already starting to feel like the sort of bad critic who conjures up authorial motives from the whole cloth of his prejudices.

#45 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2014, 01:18 PM:

Like many Sherlock BBC fans, I'll bet, I've been contenting myself during the hiatus by reading fanfic. When the third season finally debuted in the US, I watched The Empty Hearse, and The Sign of Three, and got really, really frowny. What the heck happened to the story tackling serious issues? Why did they start playing the characters for laughs? ...and then I realized the serious tone I'd really appreciated in fanfic was never in the show, or at least not to the same extent, as the fanfic I'd loved. What felt like betrayal was actually me forgetting where the line was drawn between canon and fanon.

(The third episode, His Last Vow, made me less frowny. Much better fan service, Mssrs. Moffat and Gatiss, thank you very much.)

Now that I've seen all three new episodes, the thing that sticks with me the most strongly is Sherlock coming back from the dead, literally, because his subconscious madman reminded him that John would be alone, without defense, if Sherlock was to die. The one person Sherlock cares enough about to return to life's travails is John. That, at least, squared my fanfic reading with canon. :-)

The image that most sticks with me? Moriarty chained and bound in that padded room. I can understand why Sherlock might have Moriarty as the mental avatar for his psychopathic side, but that's a very extreme method of locking him up and says a lot about how much Sherlock fears that side of himself.

(Moriarty alive or dead? Hmm.)

#46 ::: Clarentine ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2014, 01:19 PM:

Abi @1: I knew about the tube vent house fronts from something I read here several years ago. AKICIML!

#47 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2014, 01:51 PM:

I suppose it's possible that the broadcast was a recording Moriarty made before his death, and whoever inherited his criminal empire is using the recording for his own nefarious means.

#48 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2014, 03:37 PM:

"People do complain about Sherlock's high-functioning sociopath self-diagnosis"

Does anyone take it seriously? You can't blackmail a sociopath by threatening his associates.

Everyone in The Gang is *broken*, and I very much liked the show's discussion of why John and Mary are together. But "sociopath" ain't it.

(I liked this season a lot. I hope being popular doesn't crush it.)

(Although the bomb thing was awkward plotting. This show has always had some awkward plotting, of course.)

#49 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2014, 04:03 PM:

So... Mrs Hudson is a former exotic dacer?

#50 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2014, 04:03 PM:

Dancer, not 'dacer'...

#51 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: February 07, 2014, 05:30 PM:

Regarding Moriarty: It is canon that Professor James Moriarty had a brother called Colonel James Moriarty. This was probably just a slip by Doyle, but has led to fannish theorising that the professor's brother took over his organisation after his death, and some of the stories about Moriarty really relate to him. I think this may well underlie Moriarty's reappearance in some way.

#52 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2014, 02:52 AM:

I've felt that the effort to use the plots of the Conan Doyle stories weakens the series. Doyle created a wonderful pair of characters, but his plots are ridiculous. My favorite episode so far is the wedding, because of the sheer joy of watching Sherlock be a Best Man. My enjoyment of the show is purely in the interplay between the characters, and I find it quite wonderful.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.

(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.