Is this The End for Sherlock? It certainly feels like it. That ending, while lovely in so many ways, felt a little tacked on and there were so many circles that they attempted to close that I would be surprised if this was *not* the last episode ever.
Was it a great episode?
Did I expect a great episode?
I’m afraid this show broke my storyteller heart back in The Empty Hearse. The shift in tone from TRF to TEH, the utterly disappointing reunion of John and Sherlock, the ridiculous non-explanation we got for how Sherlock survived the fall, the “fan service” that came a little too close to mocking–all that made me feel betrayed and unsure. “Betrayed” sounds like overstating, and s1 and s2 were not 100% absolute perfection, of course, but truly, I no longer trusted the writers to do right by the characterization and story they had set up in the first two series.
I tried to have hope. And TSOT was lovely. So many great things in there, Sherlock learning how to navigate his heart, and, at that point, I was all for Mary.
Then HLV happened.
When Mary shot Sherlock I thought–well, I thought many things, but after I calmed down, I thought, “Oh. So that’s what’s more important then. Things don’t need to make sense. Things just need to get Big Reactions.”
This is not my favorite kind of storytelling. But this continued through s4. Plot over character. Hell, not even plot, just Big Scenes. Some of the Big Scenes were great and I loved them. Some of them didn’t make a lick of sense.
So, since TEH, I feel like I have completely lowered my expectations and just looked for bits to like. This line here. This scene there. Because I had no belief that it would all hold together, that the narrative and characterization would be consistent.
This is a sad little way to approach something I used to love. Like going from whole milk to 2% or something, idk. I kept compromising. “Well, if there’s just one scene that could be interpreted this way” or “if they just don’t kill the baby then that’ll be okay.”
So, in TFP, when John and Sherlock jumped out from a second-story window and there was no mention of injuries sustained, I rolled with it.
When they retconned the entire series from the beginning by having Moriarty meet Euros five years ago, I rolled with it.
When they threw a rope down to a man *chained* to the bottom of a well, I rolled with it.
When they chose to have Eurus force these three to go through all her complicated tests rather than just have her “hypnotize” or “reprogram” John, to whom she had TONS of access, I rolled with it.
When they tacked on the cheesy Mary narration over the ending montage, I rolled with it.
When they…. Well. I could go on and on. But the reason I rolled with it all? Because my expectations were so low. I had been trained to overlook a lot by this point, to sift through a lot of dirt to find a tiny gem or two.
And they did actually do a few things I truly enjoyed in TFP.
John and Sherlock working as a team again–the trust, the banter, the love, the adventure. I had missed that terribly. Mycroft, so much Mycroft insight and development. The scenes with Moriarty (but not the reaction gif bits) just because I did miss him, damn it. And Sherlock’s great big heart being as much an asset as his great big brain.
And one more very important thing, a thing that makes it possible for me to keep writing in this particular Sherlock Holmes universe–
They left the door open. Lots of doors, actually. So we can keep on filling in the gaps, fixing the parts that need fixing, and making our own meaning.
I hate how privileged groups are more and more under the impression they can be bigoted on tumblr because they for whatever reason think marginalized people are the oppressors on tumblr as if that’s how oppression and power dynamics even work.
I had a few replies on the initial “call me” Mycroft & Lady Smallwood in a similar sort of vein, so just for the record:
Louise Brealey - 37 years old
Mark Gatiss - 50 years old
Lindsay Duncan - 66 years old
Characters obviously might be a bit different, went with their actual ages for convenience. But it boils down to if a 16 year age difference makes LD too old for Mark, then why doesn’t a 13 year age difference make him too old for Louise? That sort of a comment just always seems to come out when the woman is older than the man and not vice versa.