“Soldiers today.” – Sherlock Recap – The Final Problem

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Sherlock, Season 4, Episode 3
“The Final Problem”
Posted by Sage

I considered breaking with our recap naming convention to call this post an “in defense of” piece. I can’t divorce my experience watching “The Final Problem” from the high rate of angry feels (and dearth of good feels) stirred up by the first two episodes of the season. So when the first few minutes of “The Final Problem” felt like a return to form for Sherlock – at least a return to the more madcap storytelling of season 3, which I loved – I produced my ticket, loaded up my luggage, and got on board. Did it make any sense? Barely. Was it a blatant attempt to have it all ship-wise? You better believe it. But this finale had all the nerve and zip I’ve come to expect from this show. I’ve been down enough on this season; I deserve to get a little enjoyment out of what might have been the last ever episode of Sherlock, in spite of its manifold problems. Sometimes nostalgia deserves the win.

The show’s primary concern has always been the humanization of Sherlock Holmes. Above all. And while I don’t believe that all antisocial people are created by a traumatic childhood incident, I believe the series was always determined to give us a REASON for the consulting detective. (“The roads we walk have demons beneath.”) If that weren’t the case, there would have been no job for Eurus Holmes, a lost sister drawn in the fashion of Hannibal Lecter. (And even he was allowed to have books.) Sherlock incorrectly diagnosed himself as a high-functioning sociopath – he’s just a big softy with an avoidance complex. Eurus is the only sociopath produced by her family. And while her empathy chip is busted, she can do virtually anything she sets her mind to. There’s always been a somewhat rational explanation for events on Sherlock (“It’s never twins.”), but Eurus breaks that mold. Mycroft and Sherlock’s sister introduces a supernatural element. Her brain has advanced to a state that’s beyond what we’d call possible. Her will is extraordinarily potent, as is her intellect. Eurus isn’t magic in this context – just an anomaly. But she may as well be a sorceress. Seeing her standing expressionless in her cell, hair hanging around her face, I couldn’t help thinking that Eurus is a grown-up Matilda Wormwood, if her story had gone very, very differently.

Source: shrlckholmes
 

Funny that Moffat and Gatiss were deadset on over-explaining Sherlock’s emotional state, yet let the entire episode run wild under the broad hand wave of Eurus’ powers. On the other hand, I was perfectly happy to set rationality aside for the 90 minutes. We’re asked to right at the beginning, when it comes to light that Eurus dressed up as Faith Smith, exchanged texts with John, and then pretended to be the grieving man’s therapist just to announce her presence to her big brother. (Bus Girl is the inexplicable piece and a transparent effort to persuade the audience to forgive John because it’s not REALLY cheating if you’re swapping emojis with the criminally insane. I RESIST.)

Look, it’s frustrating that – in a season where one female character was thrown in the fridge and another handed mostly recycled material – Eurus Holmes exists in order to make men REALIZE things about themselves. The narrative isn’t any kinder to her than it has been to Molly and Mary, and Mofftiss stepped WAY out of bounds with that unproductive conversation about Eurus’ deviant sexuality. But I could also argue that Eurus’ Saw murder spree happens as a direct result of one man deciding that he knows what’s best for her and another deciding that what’s best for HIM is to erase her existence entirely. She couldn’t be handled. They couldn’t burn the witch, so they locked her away. Then Mycroft USES her brilliant mind whenever it is convenient for him. Eurus is called upon to save people living lives she won’t get to have. Like, I know she’s remorseless, but I also get why she’s angry.

Source: cumberbatchlives

Eurus does succeed in dismantling the stories the three men in her web tell about themselves. His sister is Mycroft’s most fatal mistake. He’s one genius level under “telepath killer” and his claim to fame is that he’s always in complete control. But The British Government’s approach to the largest problem ever to plague his own family turns out to have been tremendously wrong. (“I’m not asking HOW you did it, Idiot Boy…”) John still believes he can be a “soldier today” when the situation calls for it, but his practicality stops right before the ability to execute a man to save another life. And Sherlock, as has been pounded into our heads by now, is not immune to sentiment at all. He feels things very deeply, even though he tried to force those emotions out of himself the first time they became too much to bare.

Does Sherlock’s sister know the difference between a game and a massacre? The show tries to have it both ways with Eurus. Sometimes she seems not to understand the full effect of what she’s doing. But in other moments she’s downright Moriarty-sinister. She’s the most interesting villain we’ve had all season, but the fuzziness of her character is set in high relief when that guy actually shows back up. Jim Moriarty is shoe-horned into this story to within an inch of his (ended) life. Just for fun. But that tracks, because fun is his number one reason for doing anything.

Source: majorlyobsessed

Sometimes you don’t know how starved you’ve been for a character until you openly weep at his five minute cameo. The flaws of this episode are many and dumb, but god, I could watch that helicopter entrance on a loop for the better part of a day. I might have, actually. The glasses. That suit. The soundtrack. His love of theater. I don’t buy that Eurus would send for Moriarty or that Mycroft would allow it, but I DO buy that Moriarty would show up to Sherringford practically panting with desire to find out what’s up. (“You’re a Christmas present.” “How do you want me?”)

“Do you like my boys?” Source: majorlyobsessed

(I did fear for one brief moment that Eurus had dominated Moriarty like she does everyone else and had been controlling him for the past five years. But I suppose she can turn it on and off and what she needed from Jimbo was his own personal expertise. It would have broken my heart if they’d erased everything about him.)

Moriarty didn’t live to see it or gain anything from it, but the booby-trapped haunted house he designs with Eurus does bring Sherlock’s carefully constructed facade crashing down. She’s obsessed with her brother’s deductive skills, which she must have noticed about him when they were children. What seems rather pointless while Mycroft, John, and Sherlock are racking their brains over Eurus’ puzzles is explained to some degree when we learn what she did to get herself locked away. Victor Trevor was the game. Young Eurus reasoned that if she took something away from Sherlock that he loved very much but left a trail for him, then he’d be playing with her while he followed it. But she overestimates her brother’s abilities and underestimates his emotional distress. She didn’t mind that Victor Trevor died, even if her original intent wasn’t necessarily to kill him. Either Sherlock would be enticed by her brilliance or she’d lose him forever. When her experiment failed, Eurus literally set her life on fire. There was nothing left.

Source: rominatrix
 

Johnlock fans who were hoping for something more definitive from this episode were disappointed. (Hey kids, death threats are what we might call an overreaction. Also illegal!) But all these connections between John and Sherlock’s “Redbeard” point to the arrival of John Watson in his life as the moment that Sherlock began to untangle himself from all those emotional security systems he put in place. He blocked out all memories of Eurus and turned Victor Trevor into a trusty dog because he couldn’t live with what had happened. That ought to have closed him off completely to someone in serious danger of getting as intimate with him as his childhood bestie.

 
 
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“Once more unto the breach.” – Sherlock Recap – The Lying Detective

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Sherlock, Season 4, Episode 2
“The Lying Detective”
Posted by Sage

We are officially going around in circles. Then we are backtracking and going on random tangents and we don’t even get the satisfaction of tormenting Mycroft while we do it.

“The Lying Detective” brought so many of Sherlock‘s favorite devices limping back into an already overstuffed narrative. Were there fun moments? Sure. Was the emotion real? Sometimes. Did Martin Freeman break me with this acting? Absolutely. Even though the pacing of this episode made it an easier watch than “The Six Thatchers,” it still collapsed in the center under the weight of everything it’s trying to do.

Let’s start with Toby Jones as the odious Culverton Smith, a wealthy philanthropist who moonlights as a serial killer. I’m surprised any scenery was still standing after Jones chowed down on it all, but hey, that’s why you hire him. Culverton is the jolliest murderer you’ll ever meet and so eager to share his deeds with an audience that his board meetings always come with a complimentary mind-eraser. But who needs an explanation of why anyone would agree to be hooked up to such an IV, even if asked by someone they trusted, let alone a creepy little troll like this? There are cereal/serial killer jokes to be made!

Source: bbcsherlocksource
 

How many more times will Sherlock tell us that no, actually, THIS is the worst and most heinous criminal he’s ever encountered? Whatever their methods and motives, so long as Sherlock writes all its uber-villains to be overly articulate, pompous, joyously maniacal, and just half an IQ-point less sharp than its hero, those variations barely register. Andrew Scott’s Moriarty is unsurpassable. And yeah, the show blew that wad in season 1. But that’s no reason to turn every Conan Doyle bad guy into the same monologue-crazy gentleman psychopath.

So Culverton Smith’s taunting of Sherlock wasn’t as effective as it should have been. It did eat up plenty of time though. None of that time was spent explaining what Culverton’s endgame was or how he’d planned to get Sherlock in one of his hospital beds. (I don’t know how he could have anticipated what happened in the mortuary.) He grandstands with his guests in the children’s ward, behaving a way that made me wonder who would ever let him speak to kids, fortune or no fortune. Nothing about Culverton Smith is lovable. He’s off-putting and scary, even when he’s smiling. He’s so clearly operating on some strange and separate plane yet no one but Sherlock and Watson appear to be repulsed by him or even the slightest bit concerned. I wondered at first if we’re meant to be seeing his behavior through Sherlock’s eyes – that in his drug-stupor he was looking beyond the facade and into the guilt. The show could have also made a more trenchant point about the leeway we give to the rich. But as it was, Culverton’s strange personality just hung there, unexplained and unquestioned.

Source: sannapersikka

I’m going to put my murder weirdo hat on right now and say that it is EXTREMELY unusual for a serial killer to want to stand out like Culverton does. Some are extremely anti-social. Most blend seamlessly into their communities. Ted Bundy was famously charming. It’s not Culverton’s hinting at his atrocities that’s unbelievable, it’s that he’d draw attention to himself in other ways, putting his name on hospital wings and appearing on television. His methods are interesting though, and I do appreciate how the show melded the “The Dying Detective” plot with the very true and very fascinating story of H.H. Holmes, the serial killer doing big, big business in Chicago during the World’s Fair. (Have you read The Devil in the White City? You get on it, and Leonardo DiCaprio, get on that movie you promised me.) He’s committing mercy killings minus the mercy and he’s doing it in a tricked-out MURDER hospital. (“I like to make people into things.”) Still, Culverton Smith falls short of being the terrifying presence Sherlock intends him to be because THERE ARE NO VICTIMS. I mean, there are meant to be many, but why are they locked out of the story? It was a nice character detail to show Lestrade so broken after hearing part 1 of Culverton’s lengthy confession. (He’s a good man.) But without context, the whole case felt so…impersonal.

Source: londoncallingsigh

Naturally, it’s all about Sherlock, who we know from the episode title is keeping something from us. It’s back to another familiar well with the detective getting himself hooked to achieve a goal: this time, it’s to court the sympathy or at least the presence of John Watson. John, you’ll remember, decided to break all ties with Sherlock after the death of Mary.  His grief has left him temporarily incapable of taking care of Rosie, and he takes offense at his shrink approving that choice out of pity. “Why does everything have to be ‘understandable’?” he asks. “Why can’t some things be unacceptable? And we just say that?” John Watson is so alone, with no company but his dead but still cheerful wife.

It’s common in Sherlock for people to communicate with themselves by communicating with their concept of another person, usually, that’s achieved by Sherlock in his mind palace. But there’s something unkind about putting Mary in this position, following John around, existing to only motivate his participation in the world or to stir up his guilt. She’s dead and she still can’t catch a break. Selfishly, I loved seeing Amanda Abbington again. She’s a master of the reaction and made for a charming personal ghost – as nurturing, mischievous, and on Sherlock’s side as ever. And even though the manipulation was strong and so predictable, Mary’s presence broke up the anger that rightly dominated most of Martin’s performance in this episode. She tries to remind him: “John, you’ve got to remember, it’s important: I am dead.” But John refuses to register this information. His stubborn denial was this episode’s most moving moment, though I expect Team Johnlock will disagree. (I’ll get to it, dain’t you worry.)

Source: livingthegifs

High Sherlock is still a sight to behold and I applaud the unabashed Britishness of having Benedict Cumberbatch roaring the most famous speech from Henry V for no detectable reason other than his training. (Question: if Sherlock doesn’t need room in his brain for the solar system, how come Shakespeare gets a spot? Answer: He’s a romantic, duh.) The visual bravado of the scene comes to its slow-mo/sped-up climax when Mrs. Hudson drops Sherlock’s tea so that she can get a grasp on the gun he’s been waving around. (“Of course I didn’t call the police, I’m not a civilian.”) And prepare to hate me, because I’m about to rain on your Hudders parade.

“That’s good.” Source: livingthegifs

I miss the subtlety of early Sherlock, where Mrs. Hudson would make reference to her checkered pass and then chuckle and pass the biscuits. (That never happened exactly so, but you get the drift.) Now all subtlety is gone. Mrs. Hudson drives an Aston Martin like a coked-out 007 and evidently has the upper body strength necessary to shove a 6′ tall man into the boot before she does it. She doesn’t need to do these things to prove to me that she’s a badass. She always has been; those original episodes show us that she endures what Sherlock puts her through because she cares about him but also because she loves the danger.

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“The danger was the fun part.” – Sherlock Recap – The Six Thatchers

Source: 1985

Sherlock, Season 4, Episode 1
“The Six Thatchers”
Posted by Sage

As dangerous as it is to hand too much of a popular series over to fanservice, so too is it to treat your audience like adversaries. That’s the feeling I got when I watched the Sherlock Season 4 premiere — like the show was all puffed up and encroaching into my space, daring me to turn against it. “Give the people what they want,” John says. “No, never do that,” Sherlock counters. “The people are stupid.” Why do I get the feeling they were talking about us?

Where was the joy? The giddiness? I felt like my heart would burst during the majority of Season 3. I was so happy to be back watching such a clever and sleek show with characters I adore. Not here. Sherlock is always self-aware, but usually in a way that lets fans share its ego. This episode felt interminably long, because it seemed as if we were no longer included in the fun. “The Six Thatchers” was a dour installment that set up what looks to be a dour season. As Mary says in her video message to Sherlock, “The danger was the fun part.” A slow march to the gallows is not.

The case isn’t tremendously important, but the circumstances surrounding Sherlock’s return are. He must have subconsciously worked out the majority of his issues with the ghost of James Moriarty during his drug trip in “The Abominable Bride,” because “The Six Thatchers” finds him interested in the villain’s next move in his “posthumous game,” but not so preoccupied as to withdraw from life. (This is Sherlock Holmes we’re talking about, the measure of successful social interaction is different.) Anyway, Lady Smallwood, Mycroft, and the rest of their Rulers of the World knitting circle make quick work of absolving Sherlock of the murder of Charles Augustus Magnussen. They rescind his death sentence so he can sniff out the metaphorical bomb Moriarty left ticking away somewhere in London, and Sherlock is only too delighted to tell them that there’s currently nothing to be done in that regard. (“I’m the target. Targets wait.”) He returns to Baker Street and his expectant friends.

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Unsurprisingly, my favorite parts of this episode were all domestic. Pregnant Mary heaving about the flat, weighing in on cases. Sherlock’s amused smile when John and Mary simultaneously shut down his offer to give their unborn baby his name. Molly teaching Mrs. Hudson how to focus John’s camera. Sherlock trying to explain his rather reasonable expectation that Rosamund Mary Watson NOT throw a toy back at him that she appears to want. Greg and another Scotland Yard officer making small talk on the landing while they wait for their consultant to be free. Sherlock showing off photos of his godchild to his brother, who offers the kindest compliment he can muster: “Looks very…fully-functioning.”

Source: sherleck

Finally, Giles Greg offers up a case that’s worthy of more than a chat in the living room with Sherlock and John’s balloon stand-in. But determining the cause of the sad end of Charlie Wellsbury isn’t something to be done with a Holmesian flourish. The most dastardly thing the family has done is to have a shrine to Margaret Thatcher.  And though she was no picnic, that certainly doesn’t make them deserving of what happens to their son. This boy cut a trip of a lifetime short to travel thousands of miles to wish his father a happy birthday. He dies alone; his body is burned beyond recognition. But there’s no murderer but Death himself. Death does not always arrive in the body of enemy, but it always gets its man. In the market at Baghdad or outside an English estate.

Sherlock has tossed off condolences before, but he’s never sounded more genuine than when he tells the Wellsburys how sorry he is for their loss. Would it have been any comfort if the great Sherlock Holmes could have identified some nefarious plot and apprehended an assassin on whom they could lay their anger and grief? Maybe. As it is, it’s a hopeless, purposeless death that propels the rest of the episode.

“Well, I like you.” Source: 1985

The episode lags a bit after Sherlock discovers that first missing bust of The Iron Lady. Because the busts don’t matter – only what’s contained within. The dog sequence is cute, but unnecessary. There’s only the symbolism of the market, and the episode was heavy on the symbolism already. Craig is a chubby and bespectacled hacker stereotype in a show that doesn’t need one. (One of the most thrilling things about Sherlock is that – besides the texting – the detective is rather old-school in his methods.) Anyway, while I understand that A.J. is a broken and desperate man, I would think that a world-class secret assassin would know when he was creating a pattern. But he doesn’t, and Sherlock heads him off at the home of one of those crazy Thatcherites. It was brilliant throughout, but I want to especially acknowledge the work of first-time Sherlock director Rachel Talalay here in the fight scene, particularly as A.J. and Sherlock grappled in the pool.

Sherlock gets the upper hand, smashes the bust, and then looks among the shards for the Black Pearl of the Borgias – a link to Moriarty. Instead he sees Mary’s A.G.R.A. flash drive. Sherlock said earlier that he knows when the game is on because it’s his lifeblood and what used to be his only bliss. But Sherlock’s eyes are panicked as he tries frantically to discern who this man is and how he’s linked to his friend. This isn’t a game he wants. It’s all well and good when he’s playing fast and loose with his own life. But there’s nothing to love about a threat to Mary, John, and their baby girl.

Source: rosegoldsherlock
 

Confronted with the drive, Mary tells Sherlock what the acronym means and why she and her three compatriots each carried one. Their last mission went belly-up during a coup in Georgia; Mary believed she was the only one who’d escaped alive. Her past is catching up to her again. And though she’d prayed it wouldn’t, she’s been honing a protocol for that very occasion. Because Mary is a PRO. Since the moment he met her, Sherlock has known that Mary Watson is capable of taking care of herself. He even tries to send John home to be on baby duty in this episode so that he can Mary can follow a lead together. She’s a combination of Sherlock and John: an intelligence agent AND a soldier, smart, always aware, and willing to do what is necessary. She goes on the run – a wife and mother throwing her own peace away so that she can protect her family. And what does Sherlock do? He undermines her agency by tracking her movements and then going to COLLECT her, like an errant child.

Source: sir-mycroft

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“There’s always two of us. Don’t you read The Strand?” – Sherlock Recap, The Abominable Bride

the abominable bride

Sherlock, New Year’s Day 2016 Special
“The Abominable Bride”
Posted by Sage

If you follow Head Over Feels on social media (and you’d better), you perhaps noticed that we didn’t give off our usual hum of anticipation leading in to a brand new episode of Sherlock. Truth be told, I found it genuinely difficult to get excited about a special that looked for all the world like it was going to be some kind of dream or alternate reality adventure, totally outside of the actual show canon. “The Abominable Bride” was a standalone story that put us right back where series 3 left off…and it wasn’t. I admire Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for their determination to have their cake and eat it too, even if that doesn’t work out for them all the time. But when years pass between our appointments with this Sherlock and Watson, why not be bold?

sherlock set

Look, this Victorian Inception thing either worked for you or it didn’t. But the conceit gave the show’s brilliant production and design staff another way to shine; their care and attention to detail showed in every frame. At last year’s Gallifrey One convention in Los Angeles, I was privileged to spend an hour in a hotel boardroom with Sherlock production designer Arwel Wyn Jones and a dozen other fans, 12 Angry Men style. That’s nearly a full 11 months ago, but he was already neck-deep in preparations for “The Abominable Bride.” The task that was keeping him up at night around that time? Finding era-appropriate versions of Sherlock and John’s signature arm chairs.

Production designers spend their lives considering minute details that only the most attentive of viewers will even consciously note. And that’s why we love them. But the scarcity of the new Sherlock episode to the people who make it shows in the final product. In “The Abominable Bride,” I see a piece of work that’s been made in its own sweet time with the cool, shrugging confidence that can only come with runaway success and a heavily tumbled slash ship. I also see that the artists behind the show had months (and years in the case of the writers) to think about how to do it and how to do it right. Contradiction, my dear Watson. It makes for a divided audience. About a third of my Twitter timeline really hated this episode.

Me? I’m fine. “The Abominable Bride” didn’t have the giddiness of “The Sign Of Three” or the cold dread of “The Reichenbach Fall,” and believe me, I’ll get to the problematic bits. Still, I enjoy Gatiss and Moffat’s textual high-fiving over their own cleverness – you kind of have to, to be a fan – and the one-off did push the story forward incrementally. Or at least, a couple of characters.

Though the first five minutes did nothing to allay my fears in that respect. The episode opens and proceeds for a while as a straight-up Victorian re-telling of “A Study In Pink.” John Watson is injured in the war; runs into his old friend Stamford, and meets his new flatmate Sherlock Holmes whilst he’s wailing on a dead body in a morgue. It’s all very twee, aside from Martin fucking Freeman. Sherlock is always Sherlock – a “man out of his time” or any time. He’s timeless. But “Bride” showcased the traditional Watson who runs parallel to the modern one in Freeman’s performance. He plays this Watson so differently, though there’s never a doubt that the partnership is still the same. As always, I marvel at his talent and get more excited when I should when he gets to yell.

good lord

Then the episode fast-forwards a bit to an established sleuthing duo returning home from another adventure that’s sure to be written up for publication in The Strand magazine. The time-warped Baker Street is proper thrilling, as is the appearance of Mrs. Hudson. She’s the first in a series of women to be overlooked and undervalued in the episode. And while she may be used to reading her name in a perfunctory context in John’s stories, she’s not over it. “Well, I never say anything, do I?” she challenges her tenant. “I’m your land lady, not a plot device.” (THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT A PLOT DEVICE WOULD SAY.) Inside their rooms is another woman is taking drastic steps to be seen. Mary Watson resorted to gaining access to 221B as a client, since it’s the only way by which she can see her husband. Not that her husband is really worth the trouble. 0/10 recommend dating or marrying 1895 John Watson, ladies. His painfully bored wife misses him, and offers up her assistance on the next case. “What would you do?” John asks her, befuddled by the suggestion that she might be of help. “Well, what do you do?” Mary shoots back. He doesn’t have much of an answer.

Sherlock ignores the domestic happening behind him and murmurs some foreshadowing about going “deep” within himself for a case. (“Ummmm…” – Tumblr.) Then a pair of mutton chops walks in, followed quickly by Detective Inspector Lestrade. He’s shaken, and certainly there on business. But first, a drink. (“Watson, restore the courage of Scotland Yard.”)

waltz

Lestrade (still FINE AS HELL, even with the face-warmers) begins weaving the tale of Emilia Ricoletti. On her wedding anniversary, Ricoletti put on her wedding dress, smeared red lipstick onto her mouth, and then stepped out onto her balcony in full view of the busy street below. Bystanders ran for cover as she shrieked (“YOU?”) and fired shots at the ground, the whole ordeal ending when she pointed the gun at herself and pulled the trigger. Or so that’s what rationality would predict. Later that night, none other than Emilia Ricoletti’s husband Thomas meets “the bride” on his way out Lime House. The dead woman, whose body he was certainly on his way to identify, shoots him in front of several witnesses and disappears into the foggy night.

bride

I want to talk about storytelling for a minute. It’s happening on every level of Sherlock. Every case starts with a story, whether that comes from the law or from the client. It’s never nothing. There’s never no information. There’s a version of events from a specific point of view. There are prejudices and assumptions about what humans are or are not capable of. It’s Sherlock’s job to suss the truth the out, his lack of emotion (keep telling yourself that, Shezza) making him the ideal editor to cut through the bullshit. (“Poetry or truth?” “Many would say they’re the same thing.” “Yes, idiots.”) Once that happens, the story is re-written yet again, this time by John Watson. Whether he’s writing for a blog or for the Strand, he’s writing for an audience now. Sherlock’s work doesn’t make him a legend. John’s stories do. And they’re nothing without a little flair. My head canon is that every Sherlock episode is a “filmed” version of a Watson blog entry, and maybe the cases themselves weren’t quite so melodramatic. It’s all about framing, you see.

Lestrade’s narration is enhanced by a cool visual trick. The Sherlock crew set up the sitting room of 221B in the middle of the street where Thomas Ricolletti is shot; the camera zooms in and out of the meeting of minds and back to the murder, so it’s as if Lestrade, Sherlock, and Watson are actually witnessing the crime. That technique also backs up my unreliable(ish) narrator theory. The sleuths are seeing events as Lestrade describes them. He’s the storyteller.

Not that Sherlock trusts him. The first stop is the morgue, to ascertain whether or not what’s on the slaaaab is truly Mrs. Ricoletti. A “moron” has strapped the corpse to the table (hi, Anderson!) and is rewarded for his stupidity with verbal abuse by “Hooper,” the mustachioed, no-nonsense coroner. I do believe I love this. Modern Molly is a very feminine character who doesn’t see why her desire to date, wear lipstick (right shade or not), or be a low-key cat lady should at all undermine her authority in the lab. (Or in Sherlock’s mind palace. HM.) Molly could have been written into this special as a barmaid or something and the cross-dressing out of necessity could have been given to a female character who’s less stereotypically girly. But our Molly Hooper is a little ruthless. And she’s certainly brave. I could see her gaming the system to live the life she feels she deserves and do the work no one could do better. My shipper heart also leapt at the brief yet weighty interactions between Holmes and Hooper. There’s something about Holmes not noticing something very off about the coroner that calls back to the bad timing, misunderstandings, and tentative healing of their 21st century relationship. I ship it in every era.

hooper hooper 2

Anyway, the dead body is (or was) unquestionably Emilia Ricoletti. The only change from the body’s previous day spent in the morgue is the smear of blood on one finger – the finger “she” used to write “YOU” in her own blood on the wall. (Anderson’s precautions aren’t so stupid after all, maybe.) Watson offers a meat-dagger-quality theory that Sherlock shoots down immediately: twins. SECRET twins. (“This whole thing could have been planned.” “Since the moment of conception?”) The good doctor does make a helpful note on the way out, however. The body shows signs of consumption. Sherlock doesn’t hear this part, since he’s already decided he’s learned all he can from these people. (“Thank you all for a fascinating case. I’ll send you a telegram when I’ve solved it.”)

never mention me never mention me 2
Oh, and there have been more murders pinned to “the bride.” All men, which has Lestrade shaking and Sherlock scoffing. It’s copycats, the detective reasons. With hysteria in the wind, why not add the bells and whistles the public associates with this ghostly terror to throw Scotland Yard off the actual scent? Sherlock’s interest in the case waning, Mycroft sends for the men to call on him at the Diogenes Club. But before that, we get a very strange scene between Watson and his maid. Mary isn’t in (and hasn’t been much since she received a cryptic telegram at 221B); the maid is quite intentionally impertinent in asking about it. John’s response is such a perfect jab at the designation between real duties and “women’s work.” (“If it wasn’t my wife’s business to deal with the staff, I’d talk to you myself.”) This hint at the conspiracy behind the city under siege would have worked better if the maid had appeared in one or two more scenes to underline the role she plays in the Watsons’ life and how enraged she is at being ignored. Instead: fat suit Mycroft.

wilder wilder 2
Besides the fact that Mycroft Holmes is quite rotund in the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, I don’t understand this choice. I suppose the goal was a spot of dark comedy, with Mycroft eating himself to death just to win a bet with his brother. But it doesn’t fly. It’s too meanspirited a take on Modern Mycroft, who’s come to show real regard for and loyalty to Sherlock. The visual gag is easy and vile; John’s sign language hack-job is just as predictable, but much less uncomfortable. The success of the scene is that it’s where I began to really question what was going on backstage of this episode, if you will. Mycroft does delight in being the puppetmaster, but the way he fed this information to Sherlock and Watson (a Lady Carmichael will lead them to the perpetrators of these acts, “an enemy we must lose to…”) is too contrived for a regular Moffat/Gatiss script.

cards right cards right 2

Brother Mine meets with Lady Carmichael, who also has a story to tell. Her husband has been acting strangely since the morning he received five orange pips in the mail (classic Holmes reference), apparently an omen of death. “She’s come for me, Louise,” he chokes out. From that morning, he’s a haunted man. This is terrific news in Sherlock’s book, since it gives him a solid opportunity to see “the bride” in the flesh. Or not, whatever.

Sherlock: “Eustace is to die tonight!”
Watson: “Holmes.”
Sherlock: “…And we should probably avoid that.” 

The boys take a field trip out to the Carmichaels’ country mansion. On the train, Watson’s uneasiness starts to show. He’s accepting the stories as they’ve been told to him. Based on the witnesses and the positive morgue ID, there can be only one conclusion: Emilia Ricoletti is terrorizing men from beyond the grave. He forgets how facts can be twisted, until Sherlock accuses him of letting his pathetic fancy run wild. “Since when have you had any kind of imagination?” Sherlock asks. “Perhaps since I convinced the reading public that an unprincipled drunk addict was some kind of gentleman hero,” Watson answers back. And….fair.

come to mention

Sidebar: I love it when Sherlock gets all macabre and says things like, “There are no ghosts in this world, save those we make for ourselves.” I bet you all a million dollars each that James Franco has whispered this exact sentence into the ear of at least one NYU co-ed while drinking small-batch whiskey from a chipped coffee mug in a Brooklyn speakeasy.

Eustace is not psyched about being the carrot dangled in front of a misandrist spirit. He even attempts to convince the detective that his wife is overreacting, even though he was the one sobbing on the floor in his pajamas the night before. Sherlock will have none of it. He met Lady Carmichael and in an instant knew that she wasn’t the type to be held hostage by a scary story and a creaky step on the stairs. “She’s not a hysteric,” Sherlock reminds her husband. “She’s a highly intelligent woman of rare perception.” He does smell one rat in the house though. And I wonder if Sherlock’s enthusiasm for this rather dangerous plan has anything to do with his assumption that Eustace probably deserves what’s coming to him.

rare for us

“Mm, I should think so. Murder on the knees.”

At last, we’ve arrived. The gay greenhouse scene. *cracks knuckles*

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Martin Freeman – The 2014 Showman of the Year

snl my name is martin

Posted by Kim and Sage

Middle fingers up for Martin Freeman, our Showman of the Year!

2014 marks our second annual awarding of this title, and the criteria are getting a little more clear. Just like 2013 winner Tom Hiddleston, Martin represents the range of what we appreciate here at Head Over Feels: unquestionable talent, a heavy impact on pop and fandom culture, cuteness, and – above all – a proclivity to burst into spontaneous dance. He’s also got the best face in the business; an endearing fondness for ascots and colorful socks; plus the lovely and equally talented Amanda Abbington for a partner. (Great taste.) And Martin’s kept us entertained throughout the year, from Sherlock‘s third series run in January all the way to The Hobbit‘s Christmas release.

Yes, mainstream fame now belongs to our Fisher Prince Man. (And he’s just going to have to deal with it.) Having adored him since a DVD of the original run of The Office found its way into my hands, I felt a massive swelling of pride (and a few falling tears) to see him standing in front of the house band in Studio 8H. And I’ve got a feeling that Martin Freeman won’t need to introduce himself to American audiences for much longer.

–Sage

Stuff happens to John and John happens to stuff, on Sherlock:

watson am i a pretty lady

It’s no wonder the Sherlock fandom is certifiably insane. It’s pure torture that we are only blessed with Martin’s John Watson every three years or so.  NINE EPISODES.  That’s all we’ve had.  It feels like more and it feels like nothing all at the same time.  Sherlock Series Three lasted a blissful 12 days, if you went by the UK Schedule, which obviously we did.  It was over as soon as it started.  Series Three hooked up with us and then refused to cuddle afterwards…but we were fine with it.  Sage has said it before, but most of the series felt like a love letter to the fans, giving us everything we wanted and more.  We got to see John grieve over losing Sherlock and then his OUTRAGE at his return (poor bb didn’t know what to do with himself).  We got to see John fall in love with Mary (she can stay cause she understands that John needs his boyfriend as much as his wife) and subsequently stand by her when her shady past came to light.  Is there anything more romantic than “The problems of your past are your business. The problems of your future are my privilege.”? I don’t think so.

john watson his last vow

The highlight of Series Three, however, was John and Sherlock’s drunken Stag Night.  I’m not gonna SAY Martin’s delivery of “Yeah, but am I pretty lady?” tipped the scales in his favor when it came to him winning this honor, but I’m not going to deny it either.  I think I can safely speak for Sage when I say we would have watched an entire episode of those drunk idiots gleefully clueing for looks.

Well, now he can say “Fuck you, I won a BAFTA and an Emmy.”  Also, I don’t think I will ever forgive the circumstances that made him miss the Emmys this year, therefore denying us an acceptance speech. (FINE.  It’s because he was playing Richard III in London.  Whatever.) Martin and Benedict BOTH won and NEITHER were there…probably because they knew that their collective wins and speeches would have plunged Tumblr into a black hole, never to be heard from again.  Worth it, I would say. (And I think Tumblr would agree.)

— Kim

Recreating mid-’90s indie magic in Fargo:

fargo bad boy

There were a lot of things that could have gone wrong with Noah Hawley’s miniseries adaptation of the Coen Brothers’ 1996 film. It could have turned off viewers by re-writing a beloved screenplay, alienated new fans by being too precious about the material, or missed the tiny, moving target that is the movie’s brand of dark comedy. But Team Fargo succeeded by combining serious respect for its inspiration with audaciously doing its own thing. “Its own thing” included casting an internet-famous British actor to take the lead as a Minnesotan sad-sack who becomes a soulless bastard. Cut to Martin being nominated for all the awards.

fargo nifty pens

To begin with, HOW DOES THAT ACCENT COME OUT OF HIM? I might not believe it if he hadn’t DONE IT FOR ME HIMSELF. Yes, this year I got a few minutes with Martin on the red carpet for the Paley Center preview of the show, and I managed to somehow stay upright and vaguely human for the entire interview. We chatted about the challenges of the part (including the dialect) and of the brutal weather on location. I waited until the end to begin gushing about his work on this past season of Sherlock, which he graciously endured and thanked me for. It was because of him that I tuned into the PBS premiere in the first place. (Benedict Whom-berbatch?) He’s my favorite living actor and I’ll be forever grateful that I had the chance to tell him how much I appreciate the humanity he brings to every role. I also want to note that a small group of fans waited just beyond the red carpet and I witnessed their interaction. One such fan – who’d worn a suit for the occasion – held out his hand and said it was a pleasure to meet him. Martin shook his hand heartily, thanked him for coming, and even complimented his ensemble (“Very sharp.”), all without a hint of irony. CLASS. I feel that some interpret Martin’s sarcastic humor as ungratefulness or an unwillingness to engage with the adoring masses. But what I saw was sincere. My hero-worship of him only got worse that day.

fargo lester diner

ANYWAY, FARGO. If you watched it, you get it. If you didn’t, get on it. Those people didn’t hack each other up in sub-zero temperatures for you to not tune in. Dontcha know.

–Sage

Taking on Richard III, and our beard fetish:

We weren’t there, as we tragically live in America, but we are SURE he was awesome.  Plus, beard porn.

In lieu of being able to share our own experiences, let’s look at Martin’s reviews, shall we?

The Guardian: Martin Freeman is an original, not massively humped Richard, who coolly examines each phrase as if it were a poisoned proposition. Contained and caustic, he gets his way not by seductive snarling; not even exactly by fear, but by careful planning.

The Guardian (again): It’s fair to say that Freeman’s Richard is perfectly suited to the concept. This is no grandiose villain but a dapper, smooth-haired figure who only gradually reveals his psychopathic tendencies. And although Freeman chops up the verse into neat little segments rather than giving us the architecture of a speech, he has the capacity to make each phrase tell: “simple, plain Clarence”, for instance, becomes a withering put-down of his gullible brother.

 

Variety: He nails the self-satisfied psychopathic side with tiny, well-placed bursts of self-satisfied humour. Even when furious at his loss of control and power, he always keeps the audience with him because he never shouts or loses control.

HuffPo: Martin Freeman has a well-deserved reputation for interesting approaches to text and impeccable comic timing and both those talents are well-used here. He has a great knack for using pauses for dramatic effect and sources of humour, such as when he’s asked to address the nobles, all of whom he will of course murder on his way to the top, the disdain is palpable as he starts “Amongst this princely…heap.”

The Independent: Freeman gives a highly intelligent, calculatedly understated performance, full of witty mocking touches in his rapid line-readings (he refers to “this princely….heap” with a comically fastidious pause) and creating a rapport of shared superiority with the audience over his dupes.

BEARD.

You get the picture.

— Kim

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“Here be dragons.” – Sherlock Recap

Sherlock His Last Vow John Watson definitely in danger

Sherlock
Season 3, Episode 3: His Last Vow
Posted by Sage

Anxiety. Dread. Ice cream. Alcohol. These are what Sherlock fans usually bring with them to a finale episode. Especially after the relative lightheartedness of this season’s first two stories, we seemed to be due for a haymaker right to the heart.

But even though Sherlock Holmes killed a man and John Watson’s new wife put a bullet in his best friend, “His Last Vow” was almost cheery compared to “The Reichenbach Fall.” I mean, Moriarty is back. And we did miss him. Very much.

Charles Augustus Magnussen is no Moriarty. Jim Moriarty is a cuddly little bastard. He carves private messages into apples. He has a Bee Gees ringtone! I’m not sure I’d turn down brunch with him. Sherlock tells us that Magnussen makes him feel physically sick, so chances are he’s used that “the whole world is wet to my touch” line more than once. We meet him as he’s intimidating Adelaide Brooke Lady Elizabeth Smallwood into dropping an investigation into his influence over the Prime Minister. He licks her face – so close to her eyeball that I actually wish I were dead – and in between shudders of revulsion I wonder just what was in the water at the Mikkelsens’ house.

Sherlock Magnussen licking face

“My brother was right – people are delicious.”

Magnussen deals in information. Everyone has a weakness or two – “pressure points,” he calls them – and he uses this knowledge to hold people hostage. Sherlock is initially hired by Lady Smallwood to do something about this “shark,” which is how he ends up in the same smack house where John Watson goes to retrieve his neighbor’s junkie son.

Sherlock well I'm not now

“I’m undercover.” “No, you’re not.”

The original Sherlock Holmes was fond of cocaine, which was totes not a big deal in the 1880s. Our Sherlock has substance issues too. He claims he’s undercover for a case. He is – he hopes to draw Magnussen out by advertising his drug habit as a pressure point – but John isn’t buying that as the only reason he finds “Shezza” lying on a dirty mattress in a pair of – gasp – sweatpants. And now is not the time to fuck with John Watson. He’s living in the suburbs, he’s bored, he’s dreaming nightly about war and Sherlock Holmes, and he’s just desperate for an opportunity to stick a tire iron in his pants and go sprain some people. “It’s just a tiny bit sexy,” Mary tells him, as we all nod furiously at home. “Yeah,” he answers. “I know.”

Sherlock Molly slap

Also not thrilled with this development is our favorite pathologist, Molly Hooper. (Sherlock looks so busted when John calls her from the car. He doesn’t want to disappoint her again.) Molly Hooper got to snog and slap Sherlock Holmes in the matter of one series. Somewhere out there, The Woman seethes with jealousy. “How dare you throw away the beautiful gifts you were born with? And how dare you betray the love of your friends? Say you’re sorry.” She may say it louder now, but Molly has always called Sherlock on his shit. (“You always say such horrible things.”) And by not letting him off the hook for his bad behavior, as everyone else tends to do, she actually gets real apologies from him. But not this time. “Sorry your engagement’s over,” he counters, making this the third consecutive episode where he’s brought up Molly’s relationship status in conversation. He’s being petulant, but this low blow feels so much more personal than his usual lashing out. We don’t get an answer to that question because Molly won’t take the bait. But we see her flinch at the pain of it, and what is going on with these two?

In related news, I spent an hour tonight looking at Molly Hooper-inspired sets on Polyvore and pricing colorful sweaters.

Mycroft Magnussen going against me

Mycroft has engaged Anderson and his Holmes fan club to clear 221B of whatever gear his brother has hidden before Mrs. Hudson finds it and tries to sell it, probably. He clenches up at the mention of Magnussen, riling up John and Sherlock with his warnings to leave the creepy guy alone. Mycroft knew then that Magnussen would try to get to him through Sherlock; he’s aware of his own pressure point. Can I get some pity for Mycroft Holmes, over here? This poor guy has spent his entire life protecting his brother, and it’s definitely not because he’s getting any credit for it. (“Your loss would break my heart.”) What must it feel like for him to see Sherlock connect so easily with John? Maybe that’s the real reason he skipped the wedding.

Sherlock Janine His Last Vow lap

Which brings us to the Janine problem. Sigh. As delightful as it was to watch Sherlock Holmes cuddle with buxom brunette and to watch John Watson reacting to Sherlock Holmes cuddling with a buxom brunette, the Janine storyline irks me still. We see that Sherlock has regressed since faltering at the wedding – it’s not a stretch to imagine that he’d push his sense of decency far enough aside to use a woman for the sake of a case. But Janine: how could you? The girl fawning all over the detective can’t be the same one we met when John married Mary. That lady was savvy and cool and figured Sherlock out in one afternoon. They understood each other. They were partners-in-crime. Now she buys this doting boyfriend act? Whatever happened to, “I wish you weren’t…whatever you are”? Is she really so desperate for a ring that she’s not the tiniest bit suspicious that her detective boyfriend wants access to the heavily guarded office of a controversial and dangerous man? Did she fall onto his penis and forget her own name? That is a hallmark of a Moffat woman, I suppose. We’re supposed to be okay with all of this after the scene in the hospital when Janine turns out to be just as capable of exploiting people as Sherlock and they forgive each other. But the assassination of her character isn’t just infuriating. It’s totally nonsensical. Here again we have Moffat refusing to honor the agency and truth of a female character, choosing instead to manipulate her so that he can get from story point A to story point B a little faster. Sherlock could have just as easily buddied up to Janine and engaged her in the plan. She even says so herself. “You shouldn’t have lied to me. We could have been friends.”

Sherlock His Last Vow Mary Morstan liar

It’s almost a comfort to know that Sherlock Holmes can still be surprised by people. And he can, very much, be blinded by sentiment. Despite all the clues – which he later recounts, because he noticed them all on some level – Sherlock doesn’t deduce Mary’s secret. He just doesn’t want to. Yes, Mary Morstan is more than she initially seemed. But as we got to know her in the last two episodes, I became more and more adamant in my belief that she couldn’t possibly be revealed as a true bad guy, especially once she became pregnant. And I refused to believe that her relationship with our John was a lie. So, our Mary has killed a few people. Who on this show hasn’t? It’s practically a requirement to hang with this crew. She didn’t betray John. That would have been unforgivable.

Sherlock Mary It's What You Like

In fact, she’s the perfect match for John. I love that the prototypical Dr. Watson – the one who just wants his chair and a cup of tea and “I say, old chap” and all that – is just a story that John tells himself. That is not who he is. He is as addicted to danger as Sherlock – maybe even more so. And he subconsciously picked himself a (nearly) rehabilitated assassin for his bride. What’s the big deal? I’d pity the nice, normal girl without a cat burglar outfit stashed in the back of her closet, who gets involved with these psychopaths. As Moffat said to Vulture, “Have we forgotten that John shot someone in the back in episode one? And then had a giggle about it?”

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“Did I say ‘murder’? I meant to say ‘marriage.'” – Sherlock Recap

Sherlock John Hug Sign of Three

Sherlock
Season 3, Episode 2: The Sign of Three
Posted by Sage

Dearly beloved.

We are gathered here today to watch this man, THIS man, and this woman firmly establish themselves as the finest adventuring trio since three little Gryffindors knocked out a mountain troll in the girls’ bathroom.

During “the dark times,” as the two-year hiatus must be known, the Sherlock fandom had to survive on crumbs of information. In the summer of 2012, Gatiss and Moffat gave us three, one-word clues to Series 3: “rat,” “wedding,” and “bow.” While two of those were infuriatingly cryptic, it was a decent bet that “wedding” would refer to the canonical nuptials of John Watson and Mary Morstan. That celebration was never “seen” in Conan Doyle’s stories. And, while I don’t agree with Moffat very often, I have to echo his childhood frustration with Sir Arthur keeping what must have been one hell of an interesting party “off-camera.” Everybody loves a wedding. Especially a wedding that has Sherlock Holmes YouTubing serviette tutorials.

Sherlock Sign of Three Mary John Wedding

It may have been John and Mary tying the knot, but the wedding itself was The Sherlock Holmes Show. They didn’t seem to mind much. No one minds when the overactive ring bearer runs onto the floor and interrupts the first dance or gets a little icing on the Maid of Honor’s dress, do they? They just let the little guy have a good time and tucker himself out. Sherlock showed unusual self-awareness when he assured an expectant John and Mary that they’ve already had plenty of practice parenting him.

The structure of this episode milked every last drop of goodness from throwing your characters a big ol’ church wedding. (I don’t know what a linear episode of Sherlock would even look like and I don’t think I want to.) We got it all – from a Johnlock perspective, of course – from the Best Man ask to the stag night to the episode’s centerpiece: Sherlock’s toast. That toast, just so you know, only put into words the love for John Watson that figures into every one of Sherlock’s actions in “The Sign of Three.”

Sherlock With your number

“Highly functioning sociopath. With your number.”

With Sherlock composing wedding waltzes and threatening Mary’s admirers, how can we reconcile this man with the one who callously threw himself back into John’s life with barely an apology for his absence? Simply this: Sherlock knew how he felt about John. He hadn’t the slightest idea that John felt the same about him. He truly did not know. The concept that he is someone’s best mate literally breaks him for a moment. (“Yeah, it’s getting a bit scary now.”) He usually can’t stop yammering. Now, he can’t even speak. He drinks eyeball tea. And it’s “surprisingly okay.”

Sherlock Sign of Three It Is

“This is the biggest and most important day of my life.”

From that moment, the Best Man is full-steam ahead to give John Watson the wedding he deserves. Look at my precious angel, sitting in a pile of napkins shaped like the Sydney Opera House, insisting, “That just sort of…happened.” Or helping Mary sort out the seating for the friendly and unfriendly relatives. And we can’t forget about him pretending not to notice John sneaking extra shots on their private (!) stag night.

You heard me .There’s no way Mr. Consulting Detective didn’t realize that the groom-to-be was dismantling the hangover-free alcohol consumption plan he’d carefully constructed with Molly Hooper. (Sidenote: Though she was offended for a moment that Sherlock assumed that she had “practical” experience with drink, Molly is the most normal and social of any of these weirdoes, so it was a good call.) He knew it. He just thought: “Sod it. I’m getting drunk with my best friend.”Also, a beer-meter didn’t work for William in Can’t Hardly Wait and he was a also a genius. Don’t challenge the beer gods to a fight. You will not win.

Sherlock Drunk i know ash

“I have no legs!”

And thank goodness for that. John Watson’s stag night will go down in my personal TV-watching history as one of THE most delightful sequences ever to reach my eyes and ears. A DUBSTEP SHERLOCK THEME was composed for this, for heaven’s sake. There’s no bad mood that cannot be immediately cured by Holmes and Watson narrowly avoiding a bar fight only to end up cuddled and giggling on the Baker Street staircase before getting burned for being total lightweights by their sweet, old landlady. And let’s appreciate the “Sticky Head” game that they play, not just for the lolz (“Am I the current king of England?”), but also for the immense amount of flirting going on.

Sherlock John am I a pretty lady

You can read it as overtly romantic and sexual if you like, but I’m just impressed that a show like this allows a (at least outwardly) platonic male pair to be this physically close without qualification or excuse. Yes, John does tend to exasperatedly announce to certain characters that he actually IS straight, thank you very much. You can’t blame him for being frustrated with Mrs. Hudson, since she insists on ignoring him and living in her own reality where Johnlock are totally doing it all the time. (Can’t blame her either.) What matters to me is that he never feels the need to make that announcement when he’s putting his little feet on Sherlock’s chair or grabbing hold of his knee to keep from sliding to the floor or – apparently – practicing his wedding waltz with him. They are close, in a way that female friends have been allowed to be forever.

Sherlock the game is something

It just gets better when a client (“Nurse?? Cardigan?”) shows up and we’re treated to some drunken deducing. Unable to resist the case of the ghost boyfriend, Sherlock and John go “clueing for looks.” And we find out that Sherlock’s the kind of super-genius who forgets the word for “chair” if he’s shit-faced enough. Playing drunk isn’t easy, though it looks to be so. Though I’m appreciating his face on a near daily basis at this point, I’m especially fond of Martin “Fuck you, I’ve won a BAFTA” Freeman’s expression when John expects a high five for remembering the words “crime scene.”

Sherlock John high five

“Up top! No?”

Having royally bombed that one, the case Sherlock brings up in his Best Man speech features more sobriety and less vomit. It is, however, still unsolved. Out of all the stories he could have shared, Sherlock Holmes – who can’t stop going on about his international reputation even when he can’t remember what it’s for – chose “The Bloody Guardsman.” He chose the case where he failed and John – who always keeps him right – did something extraordinary.

“John, I am a ridiculous man. Redeemed only by the warmth and constancy of your friendship.”

Sherlock’s speech was everything we hoped: awkward, poignant, and a fitting tribute to John and to Mary. He did it. He manned-up and joined the world officially, with all of his friends looking on. I’ve seen criticism that wonders why these people stick with him, despite his many faults. But there’s an aspect to friendships and romantic relationships that those critics are ignoring, and that is: are you needed? Everyone wants to feel that. And those closest to him know that Sherlock, despite his natural inclination to shut people out, needs them very much. Looking on while he takes off his “highly functioning sociopath” security blanket, Mrs. Hudson and Molly and Lestrade aren’t just reacting to what’s happening between him and John, they know they were all a part of this.

Sherlock Let's play murder

Check out John in the background – “Gettin’ real tired of your shit, Sherlock.”

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“Ooh, you bastard.” – Sherlock Recap

Sherlock Killing Me So Two Years Ago

Sherlock
Season 3, Episode 1: The Empty Hearse
Posted by Sage

God, I missed this show. This absurd, arrogant, UNREASONABLY fun show.

#sherlocklives, readers. But we already knew that. What we didn’t know was how he did it.

Or maybe we did, since the opening sequence of “The Empty Hearse” – the Reichenbach fall from a different perspective – seemed directly lifted from the pages of Tumblr. Theories from across the fandom came to life as Sherlock bungeed off the roof of St. Barts; a team of black-clad accomplices attached a freakishly life-like Holmes mask to Moriarty’s fresh corpse; and – actually, if anyone called this, they should share co-creator credits with Mofftis – famous British hypnotist Derren Brown put John Watson to sleep to buy the whole charade a little more time. Plus, the first entry in our Best TV Moments of 2014 post is already etched in stone, because holy cannoli, that KISS.

Sherlock Hair Ruffle

THIS is how you go get your woman.

Sherlock Molly Kiss

There aren’t enough cold showers in the world.

My brain had barely registered that I was watching my first new Sherlock episode in TWO years when Sherlock crashed through that window and took Molly Hooper in a manly fashion.

This is the stuff that your BEST dreams are made of. I mean, really, you’ve had that one, right? Where Benedict Cumberbatch strides towards you, his coat billowing majestically out behind him, ruffles his curls and attacks your mouth like this was the only reason he created this elaborate plan in the first place? In fact, I’m currently researching lucid dreaming so I can have it every night until the day I finally explode in a glittery cloud of lust.

We can’t see his face, though Molly’s expression is exactly the one you’d expect. (Louise, I know you hardly had to act in that moment.) Sherlock glides out the double doors and out of everyone’s lives like a PIMP, and then the whole thing is interrupted by Lestrade’s “bollocks.” (Hee.)

Turns out this story is trademarked Philip Anderson, because the former detective is fan-ficing his way out of feeling responsible for Sherlock’s death. “You did this and it killed him and he’s staying dead,” says Silver Fox Greg, and that’s a little harsh, even for Anderson, who lowers the IQ of every street he stands on. But Philip’s new obsessive hermit bag is just one of the extremes that “The Empty Hearse” took us to.

John Gurl

Remember when we assumed Series 3 would be all angst and distance and hurt feelings while John found a way to forgive Sherlock for making him grieve his best friend for 24 straight months? Nope? Me neither. Instead, we got a Pink-Panther-meets-Naked-Gun-type-sequence wherein Sherlock decided to surprise John – who would be “delighted,” he was sure – by posing as a French waiter and interrupting the fancy dinner during which John intended to propose to the tremendous Mary Morstan. (I’ll get back to her.) It wouldn’t have been any less ridiculous if he had gone with his original plan of popping “out of a cake.” Possibly wearing these. ANYWAY. I kept pausing this scene to ask myself how it could be real. Could Sherlock really be drawing a tiny, curvy mustache on his face with a biro and adopting a Pepe Le Pew accent to break the news to John THROUGH PUNS?  (“It is familiar, but with a quality of…surpriiiise!”) Could the trio really then get kicked out of THREE consecutive restaurants, at least once for headbutting? Could I love Mark Gatiss any more than I do right now?

Of course, there was real emotion there and very real hurt on John’s part. I want to go on walkabout to collect all the awards, trophies, and medals of acting valor and deliver them right to Martin Freeman’s Hobbit hole. We know by now that this John Watson’s anger runs deep, though he struggles to keep a lid on it like the military man he is. Martin has always nailed John’s controlled fury – and those moments when he loses that control. He also nails his “this bitch” face. See above.

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