Monday, January 2, 2017

Something about Mary.

"All that I have to say has already crossed your mind," said he.

Sherlock Holmes, "The Final Problem"

As of last night, I don't think any of us are really regretting Conan Doyle's decision not to feature Mrs. Watson more prominently after The Sign of Four. Whether you enjoyed the first BBC Sherlock of the 2017 season or not, one thing is very apparent: Fitting a spousal third wheel on to the 221B hansom cab that is the Holmes and Watson dynamic changes things a lot.

In the original stories, Mary Morstan Watson appeared as a client for her one adventure, then pretty much stayed offstage while the boys did their thing, barely even getting acknowledged even when she appeared to have died. BBC Sherlock on the other hand, fleshed her out so much that her "Sign of Four" tale extends over what, at this point, is almost half the series.

The great fun of coming to our latest and greatest screen Sherlock with a full Sherlockian background is seeing how its creators play with the Holmes lore. When these adaptations give you the obvious thing from the stories . . . say a Borgia pearl . . . you know it's not going to play out the way it did the first time around. Other bits, like a simple last name beginning with "N," foreshadow a horrible, regret-causing mistake about to be made. The cookies that Sherlock tosses Holmes fans (not just fans of the show, but longtime fans) can be a delightful enough treat that you can forgive a few other bits . . . like becoming less about the cases and more about the Sherlock Holmes soap opera. 

But being a fan also comes with it the burden of bitching, because it's what fans eventually do. And I've been a fan a very long time, so even though I enjoyed both viewings of "The Six Thatchers" last night, there were a few rough patches, such as:
  • Sherlock telling Lestrade that he (Lestrade) was about to solve a case, then doesn't let the detective come along to catch the criminal, which he would have unless he somehow knew ahead of time what the rest of the plot was or just wanted an extended fight scene with the perpetrator.
  • Mary Morstan revealing she has the Flash's power of super-speed.
  • The girl on the bus business. Didn't really seem to fit the story being told and given the Freeman-Abbington break-up reported in the news a few weeks ago, even though it happened last spring and a personal matter, nothing to do with the show, was just very, very weird.
  • The tale of the merchant who met Death seemed to get old quickly, but perhaps that was just watching it twice.
  • Moriarty appears on every screen in England and there is absolutely no method anyone in creation has of tracking it or gaining leads that are worth a look, even for a side plot? Perhaps someone should just call the Ministry of Magic in on this one and we'll change channels to J.K. Rowling's universe.
  • Hey, it's Molly! Suddenly, I felt gypped that I didn't get more Molly sooner! (I'd say "less Mary, more Molly," but I'd hate to see Molly pay the terrible price of pain Sherlock writers would demand for giving her more screen time. Ulp! Two episodes left. Shouldn't have said that. They could . . . . oh, two . . . no, not Mrs. Hudson as well!)
But let's be positive. It is always a joy to see that cast working together again. There are, as I said, treats a-plenty for the fan. We always get some funny in before the inevitable sadness. 

To end this little blog on "The Six Thatchers," I would like to dedicate a song to Sherlock and John that came to mind after this episode. Yes, John and Sherlock, here are the Stylistics from way back in 1973, singing "Break Up To Make Up."  We hope that things work out for you kids. 

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