Upon seeing so many descriptions of what a "mess" Sherlock's season four closer was, I'm starting to feel like a hog in a mudhole on a sunny day. (Sorry, fellow Peorians, that metaphor will surely give distant friends more of that rural cornfield impression of the town we get sometimes. But, yee-haw, city folks, we got us a big ol' Bass Pro Shop here!) If "The Final Problem" was a mess, then I'm just rolling around in it like that aforementioned hog.
There is a certain perverse pleasure in loving that thing that the rest of the world disdains, and while there are goodly numbers of Sherlockians who did enjoy what might have been Cumberbatch and Freeman's last ride as the boys from Baker Street, the more mainstream media criticisms just make the piquant flavor of Sherlock, Mycroft, and Euros's story all the more delectable somehow.
Sherlock Holmes should never be a bland recipe concocted to appeal to the most massive audience, like "New Coke" or macaroni and cheese. There are other stories and other characters for that. I really enjoyed complaints about Sherlock and John running out of Rathbone Place at the end of TFP (Yes, I'm abbreviating "The Final Problem." It's a fan thing.), because it betrays a certain "not getting it." Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have always run, despite the doctor's limp. Across moors, away from their attempted burglaries, through this door and that, because what they do is exciting. It needs some running, just so their bodies can keep up with Holmes's brain.
While Sherlock Holmes has always had waves of popularity, necessary to keep the legend alive through generations, the long haul of being a fan isn't done because one likes what's popular. It comes from the point when you're finding meaning and substance in something that isn't the common taste. Fans are the people still standing around the parking lot at Arnold's when Fonzie is done jumping the shark. Because the shark jump is just there to hold the attention of the crowd for just a moment longer, when they might otherwise wander away, which they'll do after the moment's excitement is over anyway.
BBC's Sherlock has been more popular than any Sherlock Holmes since . . . well, I'd best not offend by skipping anyone who might have been more popular than I realized, but it's been a blessing upon Sherlockian culture. The mere proof-of-concept that Sherlock Holmes could comfortably leave the Victorian age from time to time would have been enough, but we've gotten so much more. Youth, conventions, new writers, art, video, audio, new friends, new adventures of our own.
And even if things die down a bit now, if the next hiatus goes on too long, or this last batch just was too much for some to take, Sherlock will still have its fans, many of us inside the more traditional Old Canon cult of Holmes.
And Sherlock Holmes will now have a sister named Euros. Don't think she's going away any time soon. At least in this Sherlockian's head. Because on this master thief's king-sized bed covered in cash (giving up that hog and mud metaphor), I'm still rolling in the wealth of Sherlockian goodness we just got this weekend.
Perhaps obnoxiously so. Sorry about that.
Roll, roll, roll . . . .