Tuesday, March 28, 2017

On a first name basis.

One of the great innovations of BBC Sherlock, next to bringing the detective to the modern day (in a fashion that not only stuck, but was immediately imitated), was getting us used to a more modern form of address between the two men: "John" and "Sherlock," instead of "Watson" and "Holmes."

And yet, there was another time when Watson referred to Holmes as "Sherlock" back in the 1800s.

Of course, it took the person we all know called him "Sherlock" the most to cause that to happen. And it begins with the words:

"Mycroft Holmes was a much larger and stouter man than Sherlock."

In the little observational contest that soon follows, it's interesting to see how Watson writes the exchange in "The Greek Interpreter."

". . . said Sherlock."

". . . remarked the brother."

". . . said Sherlock."

John Watson is obviously showing some favoritism in his narration, definitely more familiar with "Sherlock" than "the brother." Yes, John does refer to Mycroft by his first name in a few spots, just to differentiate between the two. But the familiarity when he talks about "Sherlock" is . . . well . . .

Dr. Watson does begin the story with "During my long and intimate acquaintance with Mr. Sherlock Holmes . . . ."  And yet, soon we're reading the words: "His eyes, which were of a peculiarly light watery gray, seemed to always retain that far-away, introspective look which I had only observed in Sherlock's when he was exerting his full powers."

John Watson may be using eyes to describe that what Sherlock has when he really works at it is what Mycroft has all the time, but . . . wait a minute . . . if one starts to look at that passage as one of much familiarity . . . like John is talking eyes because he "likes likes" Sherlock . . . then it's almost like John Watson is actually more attracted to Mycroft . . . which then validates one of CBS Elementary's weirdest bits of continuity.

Okay, now I'm completely off course in this little meander on John Watson using Sherlock Holmes's first name, so I think I'll end it here. But there was a time . . . .

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