There was this long intermission in the About Sixty tournament last night that involved a bunch of actors and a "cuuch" . . . luckily, Sherlockians are used to tales "for which the world is not yet prepared," so I don't have to go into detail. And then there was Benedict Cumberbatch on Saturday Night Live. And when it was all said and done, your commentator was left in a rather shabby shape to commentate.
Ashley Polasek had "The Adventure of the Reigate Squires" charging into the ring with the strength of four stories instead of one. Peggy Perdue brought out "The Adventure of the Crooked Man" like she was a generous billionaire tossing valuable Sherlock trinkets to the audience. But all of those merits of those tales' performance in this literary kumite (pronounced "koo-mitt-ay" for those of you who don't follow Jean Claude Van Damme films) were lost on my benumbed brain, and I wasn't even sure who was winning any more at the point I passed out.
When morning broke, I found Margot Robbie . . . er, Northcott . . . sorry, still shaking off the sleep . . . had somehow gotten "The Adventure of the Resident Patient" into the Battle Royale and was trying to make do with a contestant she admittedly knew wasn't up for this, having a transplant from another entry and a general medical weakness. But she provides a few laughs, so her efforts redeem "Resident" somewhat.
This tournament has taken a dire turn this morning, as About Sixty: Why Every Sherlock Holmes Story Is The Best starts to approach its literal Reichenbach. "Final Problem" is coming, and Bill Mason is well aware of it as he promotes "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter." It has some moves -- the "Mycroft" being a real humdinger (Whoa . . . "humdinger?" Twenty-three skiddoo, that's dated.) -- the words "nothing remarkable" from its proponent make one realize "Greek" just isn't going to win this.
When "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty" shows up, I think it's a little drunk, as Bonnie MacBird has made a cocktail of it that hulk of a story. There is some philosophizing by "Naval Treaty," as one often gets from someone who's been at the bar a little too long, and, while good company in this fashion, the tale just doesn't seem to want to battle for supremacy, which is what we're here for. I suspect it started drinking because it knew "Final Problem" was coming.
And here comes "The Final Problem." Even just the name says this one is going to be trouble for the other contestants in our bookish Battle Royale, and I'm interested to see what tactics Jim Hawkins (not the one from Treasure Island) will have "Final" using. And he has it hitting the ring with its full impact, the "adventure to end the adventures." This story has a "4-D" move that no other tale did, and Jim has "Final" getting down to that move quickly.
The best battles in the About Sixty tournament have always been, I'm sad to say, the most one-sided. Some of these stories just show up and obliterate the competition, and tossing Sherlock Holmes to his death is a move that just destroys. Destroys the audience, destroys all the stories that came before, destroys hope and light and our belief int he goodness of the universe. (Much like a certain political campaign at present.) "The Final Problem" has come in this morning and turned the About Sixty wrestling ring into a smoking crater.
I need to go have some breakfast and recover.