For the first 75-80 minutes, I was seriously underwhelmed. Disappointed even. By the looks of it most of the reviewers share the same idea. And I actually spoiled it for myself beforehand and I knew going in that (SPOILERS) Mary was going to die. As I was watching I felt sure that her death would be cheap and convenient, though sad of course. I honestly had no idea how this joyride of an episode was going to work her death into the plot, not with the way these 80 minutes had gone. This episode was going to be sub-par. But then:
Norbury. Norbury changed everything.
This episode was absolutely brilliant.
Let me explain. When we finally meet him again, Sherlock is fresh from his 4-minute exile and he couldn’t be happier about it. He’s tweeting during top-secret meetings, mouthing off to his brother, and solving cases before the viewers even know what they are. There is absolutely no sense of mystery, no menacing buildup, no looming shadow of Moriarty. At one point, there’s this montage of Sherlock solving various cases in seconds, and it all feels a bit cheap. He’s a case-solving machine, back to his cocky, arrogant, humorously socially inept character. John and Mary have domestic bliss, they have a baby, Rosamund, Mary is clever and John is all heart. There are genuinely funny bits of course, between Lestrade and another officer competing for Sherlock’s affection, Mary and John struggling with baby Rosie, Sherlock texting throughout the christening, etc. But there’s not much going on.
There’s the loose thread of the Six Thatchers. We think it’s about the pearl, but it isn’t, it suddenly becomes about Mary. Here, the episode starts to get a little more interesting. Mary’s assassin past is revealed, as is the lone survivor of an attack on her group, other than herself of course, who is hell-bent on killing her. There’s a mysterious English woman who sabotaged the close-knit band of freelance assassins Mary had once been part of, and there’s the word Ammo. And all this prompts Mary to go on an epic, round-the-world journey in an attempt to lure her apparent killer as far away from her family as possible. But of course, Sherlock finds her by simply tracking her, the assassin is killed, and Mary’s life is sort of back to normal again.
And so far everything has been perfect, far too perfect, so perfect it’s boring. Even the most ludicrous of plots is working our beautifully, everything is so complicated it made my head spin, there were so many distractions of the screen. Sherlock is even more ridiculous and over the top than ever before, doing things so clever it’s just not fun anymore, playing the action-hero, becoming a sort of James Bond. He’s back in his element, back in the world of 221B, back in London, back with the Watsons, his family, and back with the ultimate problem of Moriarty waiting for him somewhere in the future. He is on top of the world, he’s high as a kite and only getting higher. It’s ludicrous, it’s too much, it’s too over-the-top, Gatiss is losing his touch. All of these things are running through my head.
But then. Norbury. And everything comes crashing down.
We all thought, Sherlock included, that this episode would be about Moriarty. When Sherlock confronted Moriarty last time he was just like this. Clever to the point of arrogance, insolent, stubborn, cocky, a complete ass honestly. In order to finally defeat Moriarty he needs to go to a different place, become a different person. So this episode was not about Moriarty.
There was no menace, no looming shadow, no final threat waiting at the end of this episode. It was a simple conclusion to an overly complex plot that we weren’t all that interested in at this point. It was the secretary. It was Norbury. And Sherlock confronted her in his trademark style, made rapid-fire deduction after deduction, humiliated her, accused her of being motivated by pure base jealousy. He was convinced he had cornered her, outsmarted her with his own brand of cleverness. She had nowhere left to run, Sherlock Holmes saved the day again, hooray, it was getting less and less interesting.
Then she shot at him. Mary took the bullet. And his whole world came crashing down.
That scene was gut-wrenching to watch. (Also Martin Freeman deserves every award in the universe for this scene). Mary chokes out these fearful last words, they come tripping out of her mouth like she’s desperate to get them out. Sherlock just stands there, confused, pain all over his usually blank face, tears in his eyes, he’s shaking, uncertain, his speech is shaky too. And John. Oh my god, John. He doesn’t sob, he doesn’t curse God, he isn’t numb or anything like that. His grief is… it’s indescribable. He makes this utterly anguished noise and just collapses into himself and collapses completely into this devastation, but not before he’s told Sherlock “Don’t you dare. You made a vow.” And Sherlock is completely lost.
He’s seeing a therapist. John refuses to speak to him. Sherlock’s heart is broken by the loss of pretty much everyone he ever loved in one single moment.
That’s what this episode was about. Sherlock seemed to be sliding comfortably into his old world, fighting crime, being this brilliant machine, his family by his side, Moriarty as the end goal, always Moriarty. Crime solving was always his ‘alternative to getting high’ he enjoyed it, he enjoyed being cleverer than people and solving increasingly elaborate and ridiculous puzzles and presenting this simple solution to rooms of flabbergasted people. His family, the Watsons, were the people he loved more than anyone in the world. But he couldn’t go back to his old world and his old way of life. His high couldn’t last forever or he’d just float away completely. No, he needed to see, up close and personal, the very real consequences of his arrogance, his cockiness, his unrelenting cleverness. He needed to have his heart perhaps irreparably broken, he needed to be human. Moriarty is not human. And last time Sherlock faced him he was nearly the same, he and Moriarty had a lot of similarities. If Sherlock was going to beat him, he could not become him. He had to be brought crashing down to earth.
And he says to Mrs. Hudson, the only person he really has left: “
“if you ever think I’m becoming a bit full of myself, cocky or overconfident, just say the word ‘Norbury’ to me would you.” That’s what Norbury means to him. Norbury is a constant reminder that his actions have consequences, consequences that can cause unendurable pain. That is what will ultimately set him apart from Moriarty. This episode was brilliant because it built everything up, built up Sherlock’s whole world again, made it ridiculous and almost whimsical and fantastical, they created this busy screen and this busy episode that felt as though I was watching on fast-forward and not really getting a sense of anything concrete… and then brought everything to a screeching halt. Because Sherlock needs to go in a new direction now.
I have many, many questions of course. Namely:
- JOHN HAMISH WATSON HOW FUCKING DARE YOU HAVE AN EXTRAMARITAL TEXTING AFFAIR YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED but no you probably feel ten million times worse about that now please don’t leave
- What did Mary mean in her video at the end? Save John Watson. Save him. Go to hell, Sherlock. What did that mean? The video was sweet and a fitting end, but confusing as well.
- Whose side is Molly Hooper on now?????
- SHERRINFORD?????????? THE 13TH?????????? WHAT DOES IT MEEEEAAAAAN??????
But right now, Sherlock is in considerable pain. John Watson is in ten million times more pain. Everyone is in pain. Because this is where they need to start.
Dear future me,
Are you reading this whilst you are happy?
God, I hope you’re happy.
You’ve been through so much, are you even still around to read this?
God, I hope you are.
Pain is never easy, is it? Relationship breakdowns, heartache, emotional and mental trauma. Yes, they’re the features of life.
But god, I hope you’re leading a better life.
Is that constant pain still there? That one that hasn’t seemed to have left your chest for so long?
God, I hope it’s not.
Do you look in the mirror everyday, and like the person staring back? Are you confident?
God, I hope you are.
Do you cry a lot? Better yet, do you cry as much as you used to? And when you do cry, are they happy tears?
God, I hope they are.
Have you found someone to love you just as you love them? Do they treat you right?
God, I hope they’re great.
Do you still write? If so, do you ever write about positivity?
God, I hope you do.
Are you still kind? Do you smile always?
God, I hope it’s genuine.
Are you reading this whilst you’re happy?
God, I hope you’re happy.
It’s been over three months since Theo was wrongly taken to hell. You were so mad at the pack for doing that to him, sure what he did was bad, but you knew you could’ve helped him. You stopped talking to them for the first month, you were so upset, angry, confused and betrayed. You could never forgive them for doing that to Theo. After the first few months you started to talk to them again, you knew it wasn’t healthy being alone and not talking to anyone. Theo was everything to you. Once he left, it’s like he has taken a piece of your heart with him. Your grades had dropped, it didn’t help that you weren’t very good in most of your subjects and that’s where Theo came in, he used to help you. When Theo explained everything, it just made sense to you. Once he left, you didn’t see a point in trying anymore.
Scott called you and told you that there was an urgent pack meeting tonight, you told him you couldn’t make it, you had to catch up with homework. Scott was hesitant but he didn’t push you. He knew how betrayed you felt. Almost once a week he would still apologize for doing that too you. He saw how hurt you were and he hated seeing you that. Even though you said you had to catch up on school work, that was just an excuse to get out of it.
Lately you’ve been missing Theo more than anything. His sweater that he left at your house, the night before he was dragged to hell, is starting to not smell like him anymore. It’s starting to smell like you, you’ve had it on almost every nice since he’s been gone. It’s the only thing you had left. People think you are just being dramatic about this but they don’t know the bond you had with Theo, how much he has done for you. You didn’t care what they thought, you just brushed it off.
Wrapped in his sweater you were looking through your phone, at the pictures you had with each other. It wasn’t healthy but at this point, you just didn’t care. You miss him. You didn’t notice the tears running down your face until you saw drops on your phone.
“I’m so weak” you sighed wiping the tears away. You hated how weak you have gotten. You used to not show emotions, you were so good at hiding them. You let no one see past your barrier you have put up. There was only one person who could get past it, and he was gone.
You kept looking through your pictures until you stopped on your favorite one of you and Theo. It was from your fourth date. It was the best date ever, you never knew that someone like Theo could be so romantic. He took you on a late night picnic dinner. Taking you to his favorite spot, in the woods looking over Beacon Hills. It was so peaceful. For the first time in a long time you forgot about all the supernatural drama and just had time together. The picture was Theo kissing your cheek, wrapping his arms around you and you had a genuine smile on your face with the city night lights behind the both of you.
“God I miss you,” you whispered to yourself. “I wish you were still here with me”
“Baby girl, I’m right here.” You heard the familiar voice, looking at where it came from. You couldn’t believe your eyes. He’s here. He’s standing right in front of you. You shook your head. This isn’t real, he’s gone.
“No, this isn’t real. You’re gone. You can’t be here.” Your voice was broken, it came out hoarse like.
“Sweetheart, it’s real, I’m right here. I’m back.” You got up and ran over to your boyfriend hugging him so tight, afraid that if you let go, he will be gone.
“How? How are you back. I- I watched you get dragged to hell.” You muffled into his chest still hugging him.
“Liam brought me back. He thought I still had my powers and that they could use me to hell with the ghost riders.” Theo explained kissing the top of your head.
“Wait, he thought you still had your powers? You don’t have them anymore?” You asked looking up to him and he just shook his head.
“But since I worked with the dread doctors, I know a lot about the wild hunt and how they are stuck.” God, you missed his voice and him.
“I missed you so much. Hell was terrible. The things I’ve been through doesn’t even compared to the things I did to Scott’s pack.” Theo stopped and look away trying to compose himself. “Y/N you can’t let them send me back, I-I can’t go back. It was hell down there. Every day my sister would torment me. Finding new ways, playing with my emotions. Her…her favorite trick was showing you.” He stopped and his voice was starting to break.
“She knew my weaknesses, she used them against me. The physical pain I felt down there was nothing to the emotional abuse.” At this point he had tears running down his face. You hated seeing him like this.
“Theo” you started walking toward him but you notice he stared at you with wide worried eyes and he started back up towards the wall.
“No! No stop! Sister please leave me alone! I-I’m sorry!” He was having a flashback. You kept walking towards him but he reached the wall sliding down it, trying to make himself small putting his hands up. You stopped walking towards him.
Every time you got close to him he would freak out more. So you did what could only do, wait till it’s over. You hated seeing him like this. It broke you heart to hear him scream. His voice was so broken. Hell did terrible things to him. It broke him down, made him doubt everything. He couldn’t trust anyone, not even himself anymore. Sobs broke you out of your train of thought and you noticed those sobs where Theo’s.
“Baby, it’s me. Your sister isn’t here anymore, she can’t hurt you. You aren’t in hell. You’re free. It’s a flashback, open your eyes” you slowly started walking towards Theo who had his eyes tightly shut. Your voice was soft, being sure not to scare him more.
By the time you got to Theo you bent down to be face to face to him. “Baby, open your eyes. It’s just me, it’s y/n” You placed your hands on his arm and he looks up at you slowly with tears in your eyes, shaking.
You pulled him into you, hugging him tightly. He needed comfort, he needed love. He doesn’t have a family or friends, beside you. You’re all he had. You couldn’t imagine what he went through, and you didn’t want to because you knew how bad it was. Theo wrapped his arms around your waist crying into your chest as you rocked each other back and forth trying to calm the crying chimera down.
“I promise you, I won’t let them send you back. You aren’t going anywhere Theo. You’re here now. They will have to go through me first if they want to send you back,” you reassured him playing with the end of his hair, calming him down. “I promise”
It took Theo a while to calm down, you didn’t mind though. After a while you heard a faint snore, Theo was out. He looked so fragile and broken. He looks drained. The Theo who’s in your arms right now looks like he couldn’t even hurt a fly. Things won’t be easy for Theo, or for you, but you are going to do everything you can to help him. The pack isn’t going to trust him, and you can’t blame them, he did terrible things to them. But everyone deserves a second chance, a chance to redeem themselves. You knew Theo could redeem himself, you saw the Theo that no one else saw. The human side of Theo. You just hope everyone will at least try to give him a chance.
And you know what they did next? The worst thing they did? Made me used to it. I shout my power. I shout my toughness and my danger, but I’m shouting it to children. It’s like they just… They just amputated an essential part of who I was. Who I am.