The International Business Times offers more spoilers for Sherlock Series/Season 4. [Do I actually need a SPOILER ALERT here? Really? ] The article quotes Steven Moffat alluding to Moriarty’s returning as a major character and an increase in romance as well as more screen time for Molly and Mrs. Hudson.
The Daily Dot has a piece on the growing concerns among a some Sherlock fans that the apparent sexism and misogyny of Steven Moffat ,expressed in various interviews and certain Dr. Who scripts, has taken root in BBC’s Sherlock series, particularly in the ending of “His Last Vow” in Series/Season 3. Now I’ve expressed my sense that Sherlock has been morphed into The Doctor in my Series/Season 3
rant review, however, I’d avoided publicly airing my earlier concerns about the show’s portrayal of key women from the original Canon. So since I’m burning bridges, let’s go ahead and discuss some issues with the women in Sherlock.
[Oh, and do I really have to say SPOILER ALERT?]
The Daily Dot notes:
What has some fans angry is that Sherlock’s interpretation of Milverton’s death completely removes the agency and power of the female character in the original story. An unfortunate occurrence that neatly fits in with Moffat’s track record with female characters in both Doctor Who and Sherlock.
“The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton” is one of the very few examples in Victorian-era Holmes canon where a female character takes practical action on her own behalf, while Holmes and Watson technically fail to solve the case. Milverton, like Sherlock’s Magnussen, is a foe so powerful that it’s virtually impossible to defeat him using Holmes’ usual methods, which is why the story has to end with Milverton’s death. The final scene of the short story is Holmes identifying Milverton’s killer, but tacitly agreeing with Watson to let her get away with the murder because Milverton was such a loathsome figure.
If Moffat and Gatiss had simply said they wanted Sherlock to kill Magnussen because it was a more interesting story for him as a character, or because it provided an exciting development to lead into the next season, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. But the fact that they seemingly couldn’t believe that a woman defeated Milverton only exacerbates their problems with Sherlock fans who already take issue with the way women are portrayed in the show. Links to the interview are already spreading on social media…
“…don’t waste your time and ours hooting at crap! Go after the good stuff, or leave it alone.”
— Daniel C. Dennet, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, “Sturgeon’s Law”
Because Sherlock is not (was not?) “crap,” I am compelled to share this review, even though I know it won’t make any difference in what is going to happen in Series 4 and 5. I feel in all fairness, though, I must warn you, that, in the words of the divine Miss Bette Davis, “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
First, before I go any further, let me say that even though my comments on episodes 1 and 2 are brief, it’s not due to lack of appreciation. I have not had television reception for 13 years, but purchased both a wide-screen plasma TV and installed minimal cable just to watch the episodes, and then held rather elaborate Sherlock Series/Season 3 parties for the event. I do not regret a penny spent. Sherlock Series/Season 3 Episodes 1 and 2 were incomparably wonderful, nonpareil storytelling in an expanding Sahara of television.
We’ll get to episode 3.
SPOILER ALERT FOR THOSE WHO DON’T REALIZE A REVIEW WILL HAVE SPOILERS
“The Empty Hearse”
I thought “The Empty Hearse” was a brilliant send up of all the post-Reichenbach Fall hysteria, in the original meaning of the word, which was very reminiscent of the reaction of the reading public when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes in “The Final Problem.” (By the way, Holmes first fans had to wait 10 years for his return.) It was witty, thought provoking, and gave fans some much needed catharsis, as well as poking a bit of biting fun at the excesses it skewers. There was plenty of angst, but there was a great deal of good natured fun with the characters, and just enough mystery and deduction to make it an actual Sherlock Holmes story, and not simply an homage to fan fiction. (People forget that “The Empty House” also focused more on Holmes’ return then on the mystery.) Hearse, however, is not necessarily comfortable viewing for those who don’t like facing a bit of self-examination or non-traditional television. And not particularly satisfying, or undertandable, for “mundanes,” i.e., non-fans. But then freshness and originality is what made Sherlock such a success!
“Somebody loves you! If I had to punch that face, I’d avoid the nose and teeth too.”
—Irene Adler, Sherlock, “Scandal in Belgravia”
Fans of the series got John not just punching Sherlock in the face, but fans of the Canon got a nod to the John Watson originally fainting, when Sherlock reveals himself, in Freeman’s masterful performance of a man willing himself to stay standing and conscious. The acting was, if anything, even better than the previous episodes, and I was struggling for some decorum while inwardly bubbling at Benedict Cumberbatch getting to show off his comedic chops (little did I know then what was to come).
“Only they’re not really telegrams.” — Sherlock Holmes, Sign of Three
Very brief post to a couple of terrific articles you might like. The first comes from Wired Magazine where the geeks have created a list of all the “shout outs and references you missed” in The Empty Hearse. (And yes, I did miss a couple, so I guess I’ll just have to watch it again. Darn. “Saracasm.” “Yes.” )
Rolling Stone Magazine has a nice piece on “How ‘Sherlock’ Made Holmes Sexy Again” (showing that either Rolling Stone has finally started hiring women, is comfortable in its masculinity, or as decided to “pander” to a wider audience than it did in the 20th Century when sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, and misogyny ruled the editorial board). They’ve also got a linked piece on why Benedict Cumberbatch is “The Bitchiest Holmes Ever” (not my word choice, dearhearts).
Must go. Work, work, work. “How dull.” So true, Sherlock, so true.
Just a few quick notes and links. For some really spiffy ones, you might want to check out Anne Zanoni’s Airel’s Miscellany… a la Sherlock and there’s a new site filled with informational resources (growing by leaps and bounds and the sleeplessness of its author) called Guide to Sherlock Episodes and Characters by Barbara Warne.
Word of Warning If You Are Viewing “Sign of Three” For the First Time This Weekend
To avoid choking or spewing, I recommend that first-time viewers NOT drink any beverages during the episodes. Seriously. Each time you think you are going to be safe to take that big gulp, you’re at risk of having things go down the wrong pipe or be shockingly ejected in a wide dispersal pattern (I believe I have found and cleaned everything from the party at this point, although the micro fleece afghan may never be the same. I’m so glad I served champagne and not the red wine!)
While I’m curtailing my Sherlock and Sherlock Holmes fannish spending to optimize my U.K. Invasion funding (%%$%#$$#% Taxes!), I suspect the nerd and geek in me will not be able to avoid buying the Sherlock App for my iPad. There’s a full review and details on Sherlockology here. Who wouldn’t want to be part of Sherlock’s “Homeless Network?” I mean you never know when you might be called upon to help stage a fake suicide, right? But even more exciting is that there are supposedly 10 new mysteries that you get to solve. Alright, Alright, I confess. They got me with the news that there will be some exclusive new footage of Cumberbatch and Freeman as Sherlock and John included as well. The app is a joint venture of The Project Factory and Hartswood Films and should be available now from your UK App store. Supposedly an international and Android release are coming. (You know, it would really be lovely if corporations grasped the fact that these days things need to be released world-wide at the same time because we are connected world-wide and that not doing so only causes people to have to fake IP addresses and engage in behaviours they ordinarily wouldn’t. Just saying…)
And finally, here’s a charming video from CBS about the lasting power of Sherlock Holmes with some nice shots from the Atlantic Sherlock Holmes Convention, some historic footage of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and some lovely interview bits with Lucy Liu and Johnny Lee Miller from Elementary — oh, and a brief segment on all the naked Sherlock Holmes of late (that got your attention, didn’t it?).
No spoilers really. But I may have to reconsider my thoughts on the efficacy of prayer. I’ve been asking for no major plot or character holes and for Mr. Cumberbatch to be given a chance to demonstrate is comedic capabilities. My prayer has been answered in spades — so far. Granted the tissues do get passed around, but in a good way, at the end of the evening. (And do not think I am slighting Martin Freeman’s comedic turn either, but he gets more opportunities so it isn’t quite as comment-worthy.)
Of course, His Last Vow is from Mr. Moffat, so the atmosphere will turn and there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I am certain.
I just realized I should mention that I’ve updated the Guesses and Spoilers posts with my thoughts on His LastVow (Sherlock Series/Season 3, Episode 3). Without giving anything away,because we’ve all seen the trailers, let’s just say I think John is going to be a lot more grieving (which is too bad because I really like Mary) and I’m also concerned about Molly’s health. This is Moffat, after all, and he’s run out of Timelords and their companions to kill for the moment. And we all know Moffat Must Kill Someone. (Imagine a series where Moffat and George R.R. Martin collaborated. Shortest series in history. Everyone killed off by the end of the first episode!)