Please don’t give up hope.
Okay, I know S4 in general and TFPB in particular SUCKED MAJOR ASS. I know we’re all heartbroken, angry, disconsolate, hopeless.
But can we all just- stop for a minute, and try to calm down, and think, before we decide to harass Mofftiss and everyone on Sherlock’s production team and boycott a show that’s never let us down before now, for more than 5 years? I thought that’s what we do. We see through Mofftiss’ hurtful bullshit and analyze what the show tells us. What they tells us through the show.
I have a theory. I still have doubts, of course, but it’s okay to doubt. It’s healthy. Especially when you believe in something. It means you care. I care about this show. A lot. Too much, perhaps. But I feel that TPTB deserve the benefit of the doubt, because they’ve earned it for 5 years, 3 seasons and 1 special episode, and if that doesn’t mean anything, then what does?
So there are a few possible explanations for what the trainwreck that we saw this season.
One of them is that TPTB don’t care about their story anymore, actually they hate it so much that they undid everything (plotlines, character development, coherence, everything) they’d been building up to TAB.
Unlikely, considering what they’ve said about Sherlock Holmes before. Of course, since we know they’re dirty little liars that lie, and they’ve lied to us before, we can’t trust anything they say, but then why make the show? Why aggravate fans of the other adaptations by saying there was something everyone else got wrong, and their objective was to get it right? Why slip so many clever references and details and hints that only the small part of the audience who is even aware of subtext will see? It’s not like it would help their ratings. And why write TAB as a love letter to us, TJLCers? We’re the only ones who liked the episode, casuals and antis (who compose the majority of the audience watching the show) hated it (because they didn’t understand it).
Plus, on its own, S4 is career suicide.
I don’t buy it. it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t fit.
Another possible explanation is that Mofftiss and everyone involved in the making of the show suffer from incompetence so intense they wouldn’t recognize good story-telling if it was dancing the dance of the seven veils under “I am good story telling” in giant neon red letters right in front of them.
Also unlikely, for the reasons stated above, ie s1 to 3 of the show, and the fact that TAB is a masterpiece.
Actually, season 4 has been, so far, an absolute mess to me (TLD was its high point, I guess, but even that was weird. And don’t get me started on Eurus’ impossible stunt or sudden characterisation change from one episode to the next). The transitions are weird (Sherlock drowning in black goo, seriously?). The characters are OOC and the acting is awful. Lines from previous episodes are being reused by different characters. There are plot holes the size of my country in every episode, and the laws of physics, time and space are being ignored. The whole fandom is begging for context and we still haven’t been given any.
However, my experience of S4 so far is not unfamiliar. It actually reminds me of how I experienced S3. Now, some context (for once): I wasn’t aware that the word subtext existed before I googled “Sherlock theories” the day following TSOT. The reason I looked it up was because I perceived a drop in quality that I couldn’t quite believe happened, because there was something I was missing. Then I came across @loudest-subtext-in-tv‘s metas and tjlc, and that convinced me because it made sense of the show, and the rest is history, and now I love it even more (I even learned to like TBB, who knew). My point here is: we’re missing something. We’re still lacking context. We need more data.
The third explanation is a bit of a leap of faith, but it’s also the more likely, if past experience is any indication (and tbh it’s the only one that’s keeping me from being a heartbroken mess rn).
As I said before, S4 as a whole doesn’t make any sense, if we take it literally. However, if we look at it through the lense of EMP theory… if everything, from the moment Mary shot him to the end of TFPB, is Sherlock’s coma dream, and they still haven’t revealed it, then we can draw the conclusion that:
TPTB are pulling a Reichenbach on us.
They’ve killed their show. Not because they don’t care anymore, or because they only care about money and figured a few heartbroken fans aren’t worth the trouble.
They’ve killed their show because A) they want people to root for Johnlock, so they tried to make the straight version absolute TRASH and succeeded beyond their wildest nightmares and B) they’re letting us to connect with the Sherlock Holmes fans of the victorian era.
A) speaks for itself. No one likes this season. This very straight season. Not casuals, not antis. For once the middle episode is the one people like best. It doesn’t fit with the episodes that came before, hell, the episodes of S4 contradict themselves. This season feels wrong, because it’s not the story that Mofftiss and co have been telling for 6 years, and everyone, even casuals and antis, knows this, if only on a subconscious level. (”by the prickling of my thumbs”, everyone?)
B) makes even more sense: ACD let Holmes’ fans think he’d died with Moriarty for 10 years, never to return again. We know they have 5 series planned, so of course there’s no point in killing Sherlock – hence why they let us see him well and alive at the end of series 2. Instead, they’ve chosen to hit us, TJLCers, the people they’re really writing the show for, at our weakest point and our worst fear: they’re going to make us think that TJLC is dead and buried, and that we’ve been mislead and queerbaited the whole time.
So they’ve killed the show. Now they’re going to bring it back to life.
Promise of Love, Pain of Loss, Joy of Redemption.
It applies to John and Sherlock after Sherlock faked his death, but also to Sherlock Holmes’ fans of the Victorian era after The Final Problem, and to us, right now, after the Final Problem 2.0. ACD made fans wait 10 years. We could have to wait 1 week (I know the BBC has a new show slotted in for next Sunday, but 1) Mofftiss taught us that the media can be manipulated easily and 2) they made an entire fake season, I don’t think they’d hesitate to make a fake trailer and ask a famous actress to lie for them, especially if she happens to be in the real episode – just not as a main character obviously), or we could have to wait 3 years I believe Mofftiss are actually sadistic enough to make us wait that long, but it has a huge risk of killing their show, for real this time) for the confirmation of TJLC.
If this is true (and I can’t begin to imagine living in a world where this isn’t true), and they do end up confirming TJLC, then Mofftiss are right, and this season is truly brilliant. It’s text, over subtext, over metatext. But only then.
Either way, they’re bringing it back to life. Eventually.