Want to instill doubt in someone? “Change minor details in their surroundings.”
Yes, this post is about Sherlock. Specifically, about the reason for all of those pesky set design flaws that grew larger and larger as series 4 progressed.
For example, the skull picture we normally see…
…turns into this.
Or when Ella’s office looked like this…
…but turned into this.
There are hundreds of examples but how about simply one more.
John’s flat looked like this…
…but turned into this.
If you watch Many Happy Returns, which takes place before Series 3, you’ll see John’s front door doesn’t actually exist under the staircase – that was an unnecessary change in Series 4.
So what do all of these changes have to do with making an impression on the audience? Well. Everything.
When you want to get a group of people to doubt their own memory – or to plant new ones – you have to change things about what they already know, but don’t let on that you’ve changed anything.
And who does this for a living?
Derren Brown, the illusionist who had a cameo in The Empty Hearse. He’s also a very good friend of Mark Gatiss’. He has a fascinating video you can watch about this exact techniqueI’m explaining. By changing details visually, one can change how people doubt their own abilities to perceive reality, and also question their own memories.
Do you know all the outrageous things series 4 fed us?
– Mary is just an ordinary housewife with a good heart – John would never save Sherlock from a serial killer – John would beat Sherlock senseless – Sherlock simply needs love from family to complete him – John has a bunch of friends that love to look after his baby – John would blame Sherlock for any harm befalling Mary – John would easily forgive Mary for shooting his best friend in cold blood – Mary knows Sherlock and John better than anyone ever could
These things blatantly contradict everything we’ve ever known about these characters. Still don’t believe Mary is a manipulative psychopath? Go read the HLV script; it just made its rounds on the internet today.
You’ve been wondering why series 4 is so screwed up, narratively and visually? It has a purpose. It is to make the audience doubt – to make the audience doubt their own ability to comprehend reality.
Happy Birthday Jonathan Daniel Hamm!(March, 10th 1971.)
‘’You know, a lot of people look at me and go ‘Oh my god, you’re so lucky, you have this, you have that, you’re this, and you’re that. Wanna trade places with me? Like, now? Sure. Do you want to do it when I was 23 and living out of my car? And had no parents or prospects? For me, it’s all about understanding that it is not the end of the world. The sun’s going to rise tomorrow. Pull your pants up. Take a shower. Don’t wallow.’’
Sherlock’s eyes were shut and his hands together as his fingers were touching his chin. Meanwhile, his friend, John Watson, was typing on his laptop. “What are you doing?” The detective asked trying to make the doctor stop doing what he was doing because it was annoying him.
“Next post,” he said.
“Stop it,” he snapped.
John stopped and looked confused at the detective. “Why?” He asked. Instead of replying him, Sherlock opened his eyes and glared at him. “Ok, what did you find?”
Desperately he sighed. “Nothing whatsoever,” he drummed his fingers on the armrest. “I need more clues.”
“Anything on the website?”
“No,” he muttered. Suddenly, Sherlock’s phone buzzed. The detective took it and saw that someone sent him a message.
You know where to find me.
He smiled as he read your text. “I’m going to take a walk,” he said as he stood up on his feet.
“What? Seriously? A walk?” John asked in disbelief.
Sherlock buttoned his jacket, then put on his coat and took his gloves. “Helps to think. You know, some fresh air and that stuff,” he gestured with his hands.
“What?” He inquired as he frowned confused.
“Just keep typing,” he said and walked out the room. “Oh, by the way, don’t you dare to post a picture of me wearing the damn hat!” He ordered and John heaved a sigh.
Sherlock hailed a cab and gave the cabbie the adress the place he would meet you.
Once he arrived to empty shell of Battersea Power Station, he walked in the abandoned structure hoping he would meet you there.
As he walked along a corridor he received anothet text of yours.
You’re getting slow.
Sherlock smirked, blocked the screen and kept walking until he reached a large room. He looked around him but he couldn’t see you.
“Walking around a power station, must be dangerous,” he said out loud. “I pressume you’re aware of it…” He trailed off as you walked into view.
“And I assume that you love danger,” you said challenging him.
“Mrs. Y/S, nice to see you,” he greeted as he marched over to you. He clasped his hands behind his back. “I thought you took a day off,” he guessed and then stopped in front of you.
You gave a subtle chuckle. “Don’t be silly, Mr. Holmes. You know, I don’t take days off,” you replied as you looked at him. “Now, I’ve seen you’ve been struggling with this new game of yours,” you said playfully.
“I’m afraid I am. Do you have anything for me?” He asked and raised an eyebrow. You took a pendrive from the pocket of your coat and handed it to him. “And this is?”
“The end of the game,” you gave a smirk as Sherlock gave it a look. “It’s all in there. Does he know?” You inquired but he ignored you since he was thinking about the case. “Does he know?” You repeated the question and cleared your throat.
“Sorry, what?” He frowned and then realized what you meant. “No. I wouldn’t let that happen. I’m keeping him busy - at least for now.”
“Great, because I don’t like someone blogging about me,” you said and he chuckled. “Alright,” you sighed. “This is the moment when I walk out,” you smirked and began walking away, Sherlock stood in his place watching you go. “Try not to get in trouble, it would totally spoil the bussiness, Mr. Holmes.”
“Sherlock,” he said and you looked at him over your shoulder. “Just Sherlock,” you heard him and chuckled.
“Right then, Sherlock,” you said and faded out. Sherlock stood there playing with the pendrive in his hands as he smirked.