Wednesday, January 1, 2014

And suddenly, I fear no spoilers.

The faked death. The emotionally straining reunion. The Sherlock season opener.

We have been here before.

Having resigned myself to waiting the eighteen days until the proper American start to the much anticipated season three of Sherlock, I settled in to commemorate the day by at least watching "A Scandal in Belgravia," last season's opener, one more time.

You know, the one that got nominated for all those "outstanding" Emmy awards.

I anticipated an enjoyable 89 minutes of rerun Sherlock, having a few chips and some guacamole, just relaxing a bit on the sort of day where relaxation is king . . . .

And then "A Scandal in Belgravia" began.

Forget spoilers, I've seen the whole damn thing multiple times. I know what happens.

And yet, it drew me in. So many choice details. So many references for the knowledgeable Sherlockian to revel in. Such an emotional impact . . . not just at the climax, but over, and over, again. Everything I love about Sherlock Holmes was captured in that 89 minutes. Much of it, quite beautifully.

I don't think the episode lost a step from the first time I viewed it. "How does Elementary even exist?" I found myself wondering. And remembering how I was stunned to realize they'd combined "A Scandal in Bohemia" with the movie The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, my favorite Sherlock Holmes movie of all time, I realized something else.

"A Scandal in Belgravia" is my new favorite Sherlock Holmes movie. Of all time.

Sure, not every episode of Sherlock is "A Scandal in Belgravia." But they're closer to it than anything else on film or videotape. And how can the Mona Lisa or the Grand Canyon or Lara Pulver have such a thing as "spoilers?" A true thing of beauty is something you have your own first time seeing through your own eyes no matter what anyone has told you. It's that moment when it becomes yours.

Some things depend completely on their shocking surprises to delight and entertain. But the really good stuff . . . and I mean really, truly, madly good . . . well, it doesn't even matter if you've seen it all before. It's still just that good.

So spoilers . . . pfui! I laugh at spoilers. Sherlock is coming back.

And that's good enough.


  1. Do you want to know my reaction without specifics?

    I was a bit disappointed. The style is quite different, the look, touch and feel is a bit off, for my taste and I personally didn't find the episode as aesthetically pleasing as we are used to by now. :-( Not bad. Not bad at all, but noticeably different.

    1. Are we going to me missing Paul McGuigan's directing, when all is said and done this season?

  2. I certainly did in this episode. I don't care for Lovering's style. He hasn't got the light touch, the seemingly effortless grace I enjoyed so much in Belgravia.

    Of course, I can't yet say anything about the other two directors.

    Also, to waste one precious episode of only three on fan wank? I believe that it was done in good cheer and not too mockingly, but still. Not a clever move imo. Reviews are not so over the top enthusiastic as they were for S2/1.

  3. I absolutely adored S3Ep1. Adored it. Yes, it was different in many ways, but the canonical references were flying by so quickly that I had to mentally run to keep up. No spoilers, though. I'll let you experience it in unspoiled purity. But I will say that the room of people with whom I watched "The Empty Hearse" laughed, howled, yelled, stomped their feet, applauded, and shouted with joy. It will be worthy of many, many repeat viewings.

    1. But come on, canonical reference fly-by is what Elementary usually does. Certainly that isn't enough to make it a great episode?

      TEH was so tonally different that I had difficulties with it. I'm curious what Brad will think of "Sherlock - The Comedy". Sunday's instalment shall be even funnier. *sigh*

      I'm just working on a write-up for Doylockian.

    2. Mentioning "canonical reference" and "Elementary" in the same sentence is jarring to this sensitive Sherlockian soul. What I've seen in that show is passing reference, mainly by character name (especially when they combine Adler/Moriarty--how efficient of them). TEH was chock-full of character names, place names, story references, story plots, dialogue...I have a list I could share of what some of us have come up with if you have an interest.
      As for TEH in comparison with any Elementary episode, this quote, originally written in reference to a comic book series called "Watson and Holmes" by New Paradigm Studios, sums it up for me:

      "There is one bar you must reach over when doing an adaptation of any type and in any genre. You must be able to make the audience forget they are looking at an adaptation. If they are continually thinking of the original piece or the version they liked better, you’ve failed as a writer to draw them in, hook them into the new world you’ve created, even if that world is populated by characters they have met before. That is challenging enough, but when you’re taking a swing at such iconic and recently re-glamorized characters like Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick Watson, now you’ve got some real work ahead of you."

      To me, "Elementary" does not attempt the 'real work', but takes the lazy approach as if they propped a compendium up in front of the writers and instructed them to pick something from Column A and something from Column B.
      I felt the love from the first moments of TEH to the very end, especially from Gatiss yanking the chains of fans from around the world. It's more than a show--there's a connection that Moffit and Gatiss have with the fans that Elementary can't even dream about.

    3. Oh dear, I didn't want to wound your sensitive Sherlockian soul! *what have I done? wailed she*

      You will certainly not get any objection from my side that Sherlock does it way better than Elementary - perish the thought. It's just that ever so many references couldn't really make that ep work for me.

      Is it a good movie? Is it exciting? Is it funny? Yes, of course it is. All of that, especially funny, in spades. But is it Sherlock as we knew it? Not for me and I'm having difficulties letting go.

  4. Cultfix has a spoiler-free (not so sure about that) review of S3/2 here:

    "A lot of the running time plays out unlike any Sherlock episode we’ve seen before. In fact it could be an extended episode of a sitcom. If that last sentence scares you, don’t worry it’s a very good sitcom, just maybe not quite what you expect from an episode of Sherlock."

    Suddenly I'm dreading Sunday.

  5. Except for two little spots, I loved Ep.1. And I really thought the little tweaks at fandom were funny--I love fic and am a horrible fangirl, but, yeah, the fact that I saw the window clip before I saw the ep and almost died in a puddle of Sherlolly made it even funnier. I am not sophisticated enough, film-wise, to notice directing issues unless they are very, very bad. However--according to Kristina Manente, who was at the sneak preview of The Sign of Three--its style is very different, so people who did take issue with this one should be reassured.

    Also...just looking at the "sitcom" quote--I didn't think it was sitcom-y. It was lighter than, say, Reichenbach Fall, but it was a deceptive lightness. And then I just typed a bunch of stuff that I had to erase because it was way too spoiler-y. I'm guessing that Gattiss took that tone on purpose, to avoid too much sap, but he put a lot of depth in there, too.