“You Either Die A Hero Or You Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become the Villian”
I received a couple of anon messages as well as an ask by @babymisha15 on the topic of villains in 11x20 “Don’t Call Me Shurley”. In order to not clog up anybody’s dashes or repeat similar things over and over again, I thought I’d reply to them in this post with a hell of a lot of crazy ideas.
The title of this meta post is a quote taken from “Batman: The Dark Knight” and I felt it fitting for the thoughts the asks I received sparked regarding the return of God and the way the show painted him over 42 minutes. After I found the time to rewatche the episode, I am even more struck than on first watch how very cleverly this episode played with perception and deception, played with truth and lie, played with metaphors of light and dark and how it also seemingly contrasted God and the Darkness. What struck me most about the episode though is, that even though one the surface it may look different, if you dig a little deeper, the show did not choose sides here. It didn’t pass judgment, just showed and told.
In one ask someone wanted to know if I thought they’d make God the villain. To be honest, that wouldn’t even be something new, because with what he did to his sister, no matter for what reasons, he proved to have villainous potential. Much more than that though this question made me realize what would be an epic set up for S12: Turning God into the Big Bad. In the end it would be the ultimate battle of humanity fighting for free will, because in a lot of ways one could say with Chuck’s return and him intervening and finishing his autobiography that will affect the world at large, he dictates and influences its fate by making it “his story” and by that in one swift motion making it the world’s story too.
Now, if we work with what this episode showed us, then there is enough wiggle room left to - if you want to - to think of God playing still right until the very end, and actually not coming clean. He said he loved acting. That acting is fun. And if we look closely at these scenes and the moments when the music dropped away and it got uncomfortable, because it went where it hurt, the moments where he didn’t act, he was downright scary and someone you don’t want to have as your enemy. Chuck as the scenes showed is not his true self, it’s what he hides behind, do question is did he act in the last scene of the episode too or was he sincere?
Very interesting in this regard I find the exchange between Metatron and him when he says that “he didn’t see the evil turn coming” (and arguably not many wouldn’t be surprised by that plot twist) and following it up with “why do you want to be me” connecting the “going evil” with himself. It’s far fetched, but it leaves room for the possibility of God not even realizing that in the end he may become the villain, even more than his choices may have rendered him to be that already.
Lucifer, he said, wasn’t a villain. And to some extent I agree, it was how God reacted to his behaviour and deat with it, by locking him away like he did with his sister, out of sight out of mind. But it’s undeniable that what he had entrusted to Lucifer was in part what built the groundwork to turn him into an antagonist. That doesn’t absolve Lucifer or Metatron or any of the other people of their wrongdoings or sins though. It’s their choices that put the nail in the coffin. And choice, free will, are key words, have always been on SPN.
And the question remains also if it was also the influence of the Darkness, who was just contained “barely” as Chuck himself said, that helped along shaping Lucifer. And I find that line to be beautifully fitting to how the fog wormed its way into the police station. You can’t keep out what’s meant to be there, what used to be there. What was there with you from the beginning. Imo this episode and especially the emphais on mirror and the line about
“Every great hero needs a great villain.”
makes it a compelling thought that God locked his own Darkness away, externalized it and it’s time for him to take it back - two halves of one whole, ying and yang. And the effect the Darkness fog had on the people was to bring out their darkness. Meaning the Darkness lives in every single person, has always been in some proximity part of creation.
Metatron told God to look into a mirror and tell the world who he is and be honest. God, isn’t just light and beauty and warmth, that’s clear as day, I think, after this episode and his mirror image, his negative mirror image is his sister. And she too said what the fog sparked was showing a mirror and showing the truth: that God’s creation is a built on a lie or rather is built on Darkness, not light.
I have no clue if the show would ever go there, turn God into the Big Bad, but man, I gotta admit it could really be something. Especially considering what Metatron said so convingly:
“Humanity is better than you are.”
Arguably humanity and it’s creations renders it to be Gods themselves. Yeah, they are flawed. But as we have seen so is the Almighty. So therefore I personally kind of like the idea humanity is the true divinity.
Long, straight hair, lipstick that comes and goes, and an ironically macabre career—exploring unassuming but totally awesome Molly Hooper is a journey that starts with specific stories framed by the creators of the BBC’s Sherlock, finds its anchor in the Sherlock Holmes canon as a whole, and winds up the wider genre of procedural mysteries.
At the beginning of A Study in Pink, Molly Hooper is first introduced as a contrast to and amplifier of Sherlock’s character. His abrupt, almost alien behavior as he flogs a corpse and fails to notice any normal social signals is contrasted sharply with Molly’s slight attempt at humor and shy flirtation. She immediately gives the viewer a window into the detective’s differences from the rest of the world—a world where a woman’s attempt to impress a man with lipstick would be appreciated at best and ignored at worst. In Sherlock’s world, however, facts come first, no matter what, even when it comes to the size of a woman’s mouth. At the same time, Molly shows herself to be more persevering than one might expect, since she doesn’t give up on Sherlock.
In The Blind Banker, Molly again amplifies Sherlock’s character, this time helping to show that he is not always quite as socially oblivious as one might expect and not above cashing in on relationships to get what he wants. His blatant flirting with her in the cafeteria line not only works on a general level by capturing her attention and flattering her (a certain amount of investment in the relationship for the future), but it also leads to an immediate look at a body that he needs to see in order to complete his investigation. Though Molly appears to be completely under Sherlock’s spell in this instance, readers of her blog, which is produced by the BBC and considered to be part of Sherlock canon, will have encountered the following quote:
“Oh, and Sherlock came in again tonight. And he was his usual arrogant self! And he was blatantly flirting with me and I know he’s doing it and I should tell him to stop but I don’t! And, of course, he was only doing it so I’d help him with something. As soon as he got what he wanted, he was off.”
Molly may intermittently act as Sherlock’s dupe, but she’s not an entirely oblivious victim.
Along with other major arcs of the series, Molly’s story comes to a head first in The Great Game, when she is shown to be the unwitting pawn of two extremely clever men, neither of whom is terribly scrupulous about using her for his own ends. Sherlock once again hurts her by abruptly pointing out that her boyfriend is gay, though his offensiveness is apparently unintentional in this case. Jim’s use of her is far colder and more sinister, as she becomes a part of his deadly game.
The cliffhanger at the end of the series leaves Molly hanging as much as the other characters—a woman with a preference for two men who use her, but at the same time a competent career woman who isn’t as gullible as she seems.
Through the next two series, her character grows enormously. The revelation of Molly’s true importance in Sherlock’s second series, particularly throughout The Reichenbach Fall, certainly met and then exceeded fans’ wildest hopes. Previously, Molly’s humiliation at the Christmas party in A Scandal in Belgravia had revealed an unexpectedly contrite, even sweet, side of Holmes. Later on, her perceptiveness regarding his true mental state (“You look sad when you think he can’t see you”) helped him to understand her value. Finally, in the end, when even Watson had to be kept in the dark, Holmes looked to her for help.
By series three, Molly has become a formidable ally for Sherlock and a woman who realizes her own strength to the point that she’s willing to take him to task for his substance abuse. Also, through windows into Sherlock’s mind palace, she’s shown to be a permanent part of his mental processes, his respect of her so great that she represents all medical knowledge to him.
In the first series of Sherlock, Molly was a humorous character with a great deal of potential. In the subsequent series, she revealed her true nature as a multi-faceted, faithful, and intelligent woman. Her future in the show is certainly something to anticipate.
Molly and the Holmes Canon
Virtually every incarnation of Sherlock Holmes shares the common characteristic of willingness to use innocent people to accomplish his own ends, and the BBC version expresses this quality no more ruthlessly than his original predecessor. Most of Sherlock’s flaws—such as pipe smoking, drug use, and some aspects of his sociopathy—have been portrayed as glamorous and attractive in various books and films, to the point that in many cases, they have become like backhanded strengths. His selfish, borderline-exploitation of other people, as exemplified in his treatment of Molly, however, is impossible to glamorize.
In simple terms, at the beginning of the series, Molly showed the viewer an ugly side of Sherlock, one that is absolutely necessary to the character. Without true flaws, Sherlock Holmes is a caricature—an impossibly heroic genius who is good at everything and even successfully controls his vices. Molly’s frequent presence on the show is a reminder that the world’s only consulting detective can be selfish, thoughtless, and occasionally cruel. He may be a hero, but he is also an anti-hero, a duality that makes him one of the most intriguing characters in the world.
As the series progresses, however, Molly’s growth takes her from a dupe to a queen, a woman whose ability to stand up for herself and for what is best for her friends ultimately affects Sherlock’s own character. He becomes a better person as a result of trusting and knowing her.
Molly and the Mystery Genre
The concept of flawed heroes runs through all of literature, film, and television, but mystery novels and shows have made the concept of the heroic antihero an art form. Larger-than-life detectives bring larger-than-life vices to the cases they solve. Dr. House has his Vicodin, Flavia de Luce her vindictiveness, Adrian Monk his obsessive compulsions. Arguably, most of these characters are the descendents of Sherlock Holmes, attempts by authors to capture the complex interplay of light and dark that makes up Conan Doyle’s hero. The creators of the BBC’s Sherlock have seen fit to soften their hero’s smoking habit and take away his drug use almost entirely. Molly is essential to the show because she highlights what makes Sherlock so very imperfect—his frequent lack of understanding of people or concern for them. The things she amplifies in him make him a reflection not only of Conan Doyle’s original source, but also of the mystery genre as a whole, a gray-shaded world of flawed heroes. And yet, there’s something a little bit different about Molly Hooper, a little bit independent, a little bit unwilling to give up, something in her that ends up surprising even Sherlock Holmes.