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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Sherlock delivers a steaming turd for Christmas

'Is it silly enough for you yet?' Moriarty asks somewhere around the half-way point of the festive edition of the BBC's. Sherlock.

Oh it's gotten more than silly. in fact it's quite daft...yet, somehow it's still compelling.

 Deep down I know it isn't any good but Cumberbatch keeps me glued to the screen. There were good points of course - It was great to see the character in the proper Victorian setting, but as soon as the story got all Inception, jumping back and forth between time frames...well it lost me. Did the events in the episode actually happen? Was it all a drug induced trip for Holmes who has taken his seven per cent solution? Does anyone care?

What started as a traditional Victorian ghost story featuring Sherlock Holmes soon resorted to self referential bollocks, as timelines were torn apart, the promised program was mutated into something mirroring latter day Dr Who. Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss did a great job in bringing Holmes into the modern day but they ain't as clever as they think they are and this episode is an utter car crash. For one thing they cheated the viewer - this was no Victorian era set Sherlock as had been promised.
And for another they presented a real conundrum and then left it unanswered.

 You see, one of us is thick...Either's it's me because I don't understand what
 happened, or it is MoffatGattis for serving up a  steaming turd and calling it Christmas entertainent.

All I can say is I think it was all down to the women libbers. Least, I think that is what happened.

I'm still eager for the next series of Sherlock, but this special will be a lot to get over. I suppose I should watch it again to see if I can better understand it...but what would be the point? Once a steaming turd, always a steaming turd.


Buddy2Blogger said...

This episode did not live up to the expectations. Especially, the climax scene at the Reichenbach Falls were just terrible. I wish they had stuck to the Victorian time period. I loved those parts. The cast (esp. Cumberbatch, Brealey and Gatiss) were excellent. Pity they had to connect it to the ongoing modern day series.


Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Buddy I fully agree - the first hour was among the best stuff the series has done, but then they just threw the story out of the window and went all Inception...only without the style. What a load of absolute rubbish.

oscar case said...

Glad I missed it.

Matthew Clark said...

I have a totally different view of this brilliant episode. It does take place between the events of the previous episode and before what will start the next season. And, yes, it is mostly inside Sherlock's head: the "mind palace" was introduced in the last season, and has not just been brought in from left field for this episode. Remember that the episode starts with a recap of the entire series. If this was supposed to be a stand alone piece with the characters in fancy dress, why go to the trouble of recapping what has happened in the regular episodes? They could have just opened with the wonderful staging of the classic meeting of Holmes and Watson in 1888, followed by the remounting of the opening titles, and their arrival at Baker Street? Which, I thought, was an homage to the Billy Wilder movie "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes". But, they do have the recap, which keys one in that the following is within the continuity of the show. Notice, that once inside the apartment, and everyone has introduced themselves, Sherlock, standing just right of the middle foreground of the frame, and calls for "an end to the exposition and it is time to get on with the story". He then ushers in Lestrade from off stage. This should key one in that this is not a straight narrative, and is taking place, as we later learn, inside Sherlock's imagination.
To recap, after the events of the last episode, and Sherlock is exiled for murdering the Great Blackmailer, he has been called back because it appears that Moriarty has come back from the dead, and is threatening the internet, or something. Sherlock goes into his "mind palace" to work out how Moriarty could still be alive by recalling a similar incident from the 19th Century. Where a woman shot herself in the head in front of witnesses, like Moriarty did, and then was seen an hour later alive and committing a murder, while her body was still in the morgue. Sherlock images himself and his friends back in the Victorian Age to work out how this could have been done. But, while inside his imaginary scenario, he begins to realize that Moriarty's personality has wormed its way into his psyche more than he had thought and is now like, as Victorian Mycroft says to Sherlock using very un Victorian terms, "a virus in the data". So now, Sherlock has to not only solve the mystery of the bride, but also has to rid himself from this outside influence by killing off this "Moriarity Virus" that has invaded, as it has been referred to in the series, his mental "hard drive".
This leads us to what is the actual point of the story, Gatiss and Moffat's brilliant interpretation of the original short stories "The Final Problem", and Doyle's follow up story "The Empty House". Remember in the first episode with the Cab driver, who is transformed from an avenger of wrong doings on the American frontier, as he is in the source story, to a multiple murderer who is sponsored by Moriarity? Here, again, Gatiss and Moffat are playing what is called, by devotees of the original stories, "The Game" and are suggesting that Holmes and Watson actually murdered Moriarity together at the falls, and concocted a story, as presented in the two published short stories, to cover it up. And this is what Sherlock does inside his "mind palace". He and Victorian Watson throw Victorian Moriarty off the falls. Once rid of the virus he is now ready to take on whatever awaits us in the next season.
Oh, yes, the drugs. This does show us more of the relationship between the Holmes brothers, who still spend Christmas with their parents. And gives us a reason for Sherlock's dream to be so vivid. But, in the overall course of the story it is more a distractive red herring.
Not what most people would expect from melodramatic television series, but then this series has always done the unexpected.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Matthew an interesting theory and I will watch the episode again, and no doubt the your suggestions are what the writers had in mind. All the same as an entertainment I think this is far too clever for it's own good, and will baffle casual viewers.