I know I "owe" several of you replies on the Hobbit movies. I've loved reading everyone's experiences because they're so varied, both from each other and my own. It both gives me permission to be frustrated and makes me think they're maybe not quite as damaging as I think when I'm stuck in my own head. I really do mean to reply individually but just wanted to thank drinkingcocoa, frenchpony, lindahoyland, dreamflower02, and lin4gondor. DrinkingCocoa in particular. I know it's never easy to stick your neck out when it's not really the fannish circle you run in, but I found that "outsiders'" perspective to be particularly interesting.
On a completely unrelated note: acd_holmesfest has begun posting their entries. I haven't sat down to read any, but I always enjoy them and am looking forward to it. You can do worse than reading the art and fic that uber-talented group usually produces.
And on a different note, the BBC Sherlock fandom has gone predictably off the rails (in a good way) because they released a special DVD of series three, with a deleted scene of about two minutes. I typed up some thoughts on it for Tumblr earlier today but I'd love peoples' thoughts here if you're interested in that kind of thing. As it's spoilerish and a bit long, I'll put it under a cut.
I finally got to watch the deleted “Sherlock” scene rather than just see screencaps of it (so SPOILERS if you haven’t yet), and it’s really scarily well-done. Creepy. By the end of it I wanted to shoot Magnussen myself, and I’m a pacifist. Also, fairly mid-mannered and even-tempered; there’s a reason I avoid wank and work hard to be positive around here, and it’s not just that I’m trying to be good or noble but mainly because that’s just my personality. But this made my skin crawl and see red. Magnussen is assaulting, molesting even, a man incapable of moving away from him, and he’s taking any choice Sherlock ever had to avoid getting involved with the Mary Morstan situation completely out of his hands.
There is simply no way in hell Sherlock would forgive her after bringing that man into his life and making him that vulnerable. This seems, in its way, worse than being bodily shot for Sherlock, and while Mary didn’t pull the trigger it was her past that makes him and John have to interact with him from a position of vulnerability rather than as the crusading freelance detectives taking on the world. Just compare what’s going on here to what Sherlock went through after his jump when he was able (compelled, but also able) to do something heroic). Magnussen takes that choice away from him here, and it made my skin crawl.
All of which makes me wonder why they didn’t include the scene. I suppose we don’t really need more of a reason to hate Magnussen, that’s amply proved with Lady Smallwood. Really, exceedingly amply. Maybe it’s to create some kind of ambiguity on the apology/forgiveness of Mary? Because as I said, I think Sherlock could forgive Mary for shooting him particularly if he thought in that moment she didn’t have a better option – that he was in danger even if she didn’t shoot him because that would somehow mark him (and John) as her ally in Magnussen’s mind. (Which is the kind of comment that has sailed a thousand wankfests and that I try to avoid, so please take it in the hypothetical – that there is a story I think can be told why Sherlock might forgive her in the sense of moving past that, not that I think it’s actually true or that it at all justifies her actions.) I think Sherlock could maybe forgive the physical assault, but opening him up to this kind of psychological, even spiritual assault? That to me seems the more grievous thing, particularly as there’s no compulsion based on what we’ve seen in the show so far. This isn’t that Sherlock was an idiot and broke into Magnussen’s office and also a colossally unlucky man for breaking in at this moment, and now if she doesn’t shoot him there will be Consequences with a capital ‘c’. Sherlock has to deal with Magnussen, not as an adversary but as someone under his power, because of Mary’s past, because Mary made a choice to live in a world where she and the people connected to her had to deal with people like Magnussen, and then she connected herself to John without giving him the ability to consent to living in that world. And now Sherlock has to sit in this room and let this man touch him because she’s made him unable to pull away, both literally and at a deeper level. For Holmes, this scene probably fills the same role that John actually meeting the families of the people Mary shot would. It makes that damage visceral.
So if the casual viewer is supposed to assume Mary and John reconciled, or that Sherlock was sincere in his forgiveness of Mary (rather than trying to make sure John was safe before neutralizing her, whatever that meant), I can see why you don’t include this scene; it give the game away and that’s supposed to be a big part of the mystery we’re working through over the hiatus. That doesn’t mean Mary has to be completely in league with Moriarty or completely against Holmes; she could be more Carruthers than Woodley, to borrow the “Solitary Bicyclist” metaphor so many of us were using earlier this week, not a fitting match for our Violet Smith but also one who is sympathetic enough that Holmes was willing to offer evidence on his behalf if it helped. (As I’ve talked about before, I find it much more interesting that Mary represents the cost of taking too many risks, being too cold-hearted about collateral damage in the pursuit of a good cause, than that she’s actively a villain.)
But perhaps the more interesting thing here is how it complicates Sherlock’s motives in the way he handles the Mary case. I keep thinking there must have been a simpler way to get John safe than the show actually showed us, but there’s a certain similarity to what Magnussen says here to the way the cabbie draws Sherlock out in ASIP. Don’t you want to understand, are you really going to be able to live with not knowing? He has a choice to go to the police, to have her (Mary) arrested, or to work out what’s really going on on his own, and again he chooses door #2. I want to sit down and think through how the two situations parallel each other and how they don’t. It’s like Magnussen is making him (Holmes) complicit in however he twists him, by using Holmes’s psychology against him. And the fact that Sherlock is vulnerable to that is, I think, something that needs to change. Perhaps the fact that the Magnussen shooting was so un-clever isn’t as accidental as it may seem. It’s Sherlock putting John in front of solving the case and seeming clever in front of his audience. It’s quitting in a way that makes Magnussen the winner even in his death (he’s dead, of course, but Holmes couldn’t outsmart him, it took raw violence to neutralize him), and it’s rejecting the drive to know at all costs. I really need to sit down and think about that parallel some more.
(All of which makes this scene really very crucial, and makes me wish it’d made the final cut. Or perhaps that’s not what they’re doing at all, in which case it does seem a bit more superfluous.)
One last thing that interested me was what Magnussen said about Sherlock’s hands, how he envied them, how he even called them violinist’s hands. It’s interesting (and a bit too convenient to feel like a coincidence) that Benedict used this same language in the “Elle” interview. Maybe it really is a coincidence; I mean, there’s a reason why it’s an effective, romantic metaphor, but the timing and the parallel just seems really unlikely as an accident. It’s definitely what made the scene feel not just like a physical assault but a sexual one in its way. (Not actual rape, but there are other kinds of sexualized violence.) Again, it’s something I need to work out here. If there is a sexualized component, it sets up a really interesting parallel between Lady and Lord Smallwood, with John as the spouse who acted out of ignorance and didn’t really do anything wrong, but is now caught up in his web because another woman lied to him. Yet another parallel to a married couple for John and Sherlock, and an unsettling one if you remember what became of Lord Smallwood. Yet another thing to let roll around the back of my brain for a bit.
So. More questions than answers at this point, I’m afraid, but the scene is more relevant than I thought at first. It’s definitely intriguing, and a nice little shot of (semi)canon to think on.
Now I'm off to the grocery store before it closes. If I don't get there I won't even have bread, and peanut butter half sandwiches have been my snack of choice as it's much cheaper and even a bit healthier for a diabetic like me than most other options. I'm making progress with the Sherlock story that was supposed to be ready by Halloweenbut didn't make that cut, but hey, progress is progress.