A Mark Gatiss Tweet about Sherlock/Hannibal’s Mind Palace and EMP Theory

(((This is Part 1 of my 18 part meta series (x) analyzing EMP Theory and evidence supporting it in TFP)))

Admittedly I went into series 4 hoping to see a nod towards the late great NBC Hannibal, a show we know Mark Gatiss was a fan of (he has had these exchanges with NBC Hannibal’s creator Bryan Fuller (x,x) (x) on twitter and he tweeted this pic a month before the third season premiere (x) which was relevant to the season. He also retweeted an article about the show’s cancellation in 2015) and Steven Moffat attended a panel with Fuller at SDCC 2016, after which Fuller tweeted this pic (x). I was pleased to see that my hopes were not in vain.

There were three nods to NBC Hannibal’s cinematography, the most obvious being this one:

When Moriarty meets Eurus in Sherrinford, her image mirrors over his in the glass. On Hannibal, Will’s image mirrors over Hannibal’s during one of their first meetings after a three year absence.

The next one is when Sherlock stands before Eurus’ cell to speak with her for the first time. On Hannibal, this is the first time Will has seen Hannibal since the previously mentioned absence. While Hannibal’s cell is obviously more #Aesthetic, him and Eurus are both in isolated cells that are like “a prison inside a prison” because of their ability to greatly influence those around them.

The final cinematography shout out comes when Sherlock is engulfed in thick black waters when Eurus drugs him so he can’t commit suicide. On Hannibal, Alana Bloom is engulfed in black waters when she is discussing how she fell under Hannibal’s influence.

While the above cinematography nods and mention of cannibals were something I had hoped to see, what immediately caught my attention was this:

When Sherlock gets to the final elevator that will take him down to the level where Eurus is contained, the security guard asks if he’s ever been down there before and then says that. It seems like a throwaway comment, but it reminded me of this tweet from Mark Gatiss back in 2012 when he got asked about where he got the idea for Sherlock’s Mind Palace in HoB, which is when it made its first appearance (x):

What is so intriguing about the Silence of the Lambs comment is not that it was made in the first place, but when it was made. The Hannibal of NBC Hannibal and the one of the books (which is the one Gatiss’ tweet is referencing) both have a memory palace that is vast and filled with memories from every stage of life. The Hannibal on NBC Hannibal expanded on the concept by saying that if he were ever apprehended, he would live in his. When asked if he could be happy there, this was his response:

“In the vaults of our hearts and brains, danger waits. There are holes in the floor of the mind.”

If I am correct in thinking that Eurus is the most dangerous part of Sherlock, the part that could have become a criminal consultant like Moriarty if it wasn’t for the overwhelming influence of his heart, emotions, and inner goodness, then that makes her the danger waiting in his mind. A hole in the floor. The virus in the data (confirmed when her and Moriarty literally mirror each other).

By going down to the final level of Sherrinford (which we know was one of the original proposed names for Sherlock himself), Sherlock knew he would be confronting the one part of himself he never assimilated, the part he kept locked away in the deepest part of his mind palace. In deep waters. By accepting her, he assimilated that final piece of himself, giving him the ability to silence her for good. In doing this, he can see her and play music, symbolizing that they are now in-sync with each other, in concert, but she no longer has the ability to destroy him.

PS - Oh yeah, and as for Hannibal… he’s also locked away and suppressed memories of his sister and an ancestral home he has never returned to. The difference here being, of course, that Hannibal’s sister was real and not figurative. Just an interesting side note and connection.

Basically Will and Hannibal aren’t normal people and there can be no expectation that their interactions with one another or other people will conform to normal social expectations. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to take an absolute moral relativistic approach to the characters or their actions, and in particular I would argue very strongly against ignoring the impact that Hannibal’s violence has on others (at least in the context of analyzing the source material - fanworks are a different question) but it does mean approaching the characters on their own terms and attempting to understand why they are the way that they are rather than simply pronouncing moral judgement upon them. 


My inner voice sounds like you
or, Hannibal, a summary

In time for @hannibalcreative‘s #NovemberAmnesty 
After the art of @sachinteng 

can we just take a moment to appreciate that Hannibal means fucking business this time around about not getting apprehended???

like he took Bedelia to Italy, which, yeah is totally gorgeous and he loves it, but they have an extradition treaty with the United States and if he were caught, they wouldn’t hesitate to send his cannibal ass back

but now he’s taken Will to Cuba; a country which is, yes, beautiful, but has no extradition treaty with either the United States or Italy and is known to harbor criminals from countries seeking extradition

say what you will about what may or may not happen to their relationship over the next season, but there is no doubt that Hannibal is putting as many barriers between him and Will and getting separated again as possible