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Jan. 1st, 2016

There's no gracious way of coming back to LJ after neglecting it for a bit, especiallyh as I seem to find the time to talk about thinky thoughtys on FB and fannish stuff on Tumblr. It's a bit ironic, you guys are the group I really want to talk about both things with. There's just an inertia that builds up, I guess, and this thought that I want to actually interact with folks here because you matter so much to me - which makes it feel a bit intimidating to dive right back in, especially when I don't feel like I can bring my "A" game.

But there's a new Sherlock special, and so if graceful escapes me, perhaps natural will work? Spoilers below, obviously.

Observation #1: "Completely Victorian," my foot. But then we all knew that these two men were lying liars who lie around lying. So no great surprise there.

Observation #2: Fatsuit Mycroft was a low blow, completely predictable and not even all that subtle. Right up until the point it wasn't anymore. The bet about how long he'd live was fascinating, and as much as I hate to lose Mark Gatiss on the show, I'm increasingly sure that Mycroft isn't long for this world. (Though perhaps there are just other ways he's not going to be able to survive as protector, and still live.)

Observation #3, really more speculation: the special suggests Moriarty is really dead, except as an idea in Sherlock's mind-palace. I don't buy this in terms of the series as a whole: every story needs a good old-fashioned villain, after all, and it's structurally pretty unsound to shift villains midstream after putting so much work into building up the Sherlock-versus-Moriarty conflict. And if you ever wanted us to take Mary seriously as Moriarty II, the bits of modern!Mary we see - her completely unmasking herself to Mycroft, using her skills to help Sherlock - are just one more step you're going to have to overcome. I'm not saying it can't happen, but it's narratively speaking a very odd choice to go further down that road if it's now supposed to be Mary-versus-Sherlock.

I'm going to be predictable here and let my shipper out to play, because I think we now have canon Johnlock - inside Sherlock's mindpalace. By which I mean the "real" Sherlock - the one from the modern times - is now aware that he loves John* romantically. We've moved from a debate about whether the Sherlock-as-passionless trope is a construct presented to the world or whether it's reality, from that discussion to the assertion by Sherlock's darker self that Sherlock and John should just get married already. At which point the two of them together kill Moriarty off once and for all, and we end with John and Sherlock back in 221B, with no evidence that Mary is at all on the scene. This episode is all bout how women are unfairly confined to certain gendered expectations, and that's what makes the canon Holmes-Watson relationship possible. (Not necessarily a romantic one, but just the two-of-us-against-the-rest-of-the-world, having adventures and solving mysteries relationship.) It's Mary's staying behind while those gentlemen go off to have their dventures - willingly or no - that makes the adventures as they're presented possible. Victorian!Mary seems none too pleased with this situation, and modern!Mary is under no obligation to take it. And if this special has any bearing on the larger show, I think it has to be thatwomen cannot be constrained to where their appointed gender role would leave them.Which probably applies to heteronormativity as much as it does to sexim, but that's an argument I'd need to make on more sleep.

(*I originally typed Mycroft here, and just barely caught it before posting. But I really, really really didn't mean to let that particular shipper out to play.)

There are two ways out of this situation that I can see: Holmes, Watson, and Morstan together, or Holmes and Watson together without Mary in the picture at all (since she won't tolerate the small piece left for her). Both are real possibilities, but Victorian!Holmes makes a pretty clear choice to my mind: him and Watson back in their chairs in Baker Street, with Mary nowhere in sight.
Of course, at this point that's a fantasy, but it's what Holmes wants, and he's being more explicit about that than I think we've seen in a long while.

Actually, I think he's being pretty explicit with John, too. He tells John that Moriarty is really dead, that it's just what he had come to represent for Sherlock that survives, but then turns around to say he doesn't need drugs anymore because he has the real thing in front of him. If John lets himself think about that, then he's either going to have to work out that Sherlock was either lying about Moriarty being really dead, or else that he's on to something else equally big. This at a time when as far as the viewer knows, Sherlock has absolutely nothing else going on.

My personal preference/hypothesis/hope? Moriarty survives and still needs to be conquerd, but the meme of Moriarty, the force Sherlock defined himself in opposition to, is a thing of the past. Which is the only thing that made room for Sherlock to finally beat Moriary and not die in the process, because that's what lets him not have to face him alone.

Which is pretty much the character development arc that I've always thought this show was all about. Godspeed, series four.

(And God save the Queen Mycroft. Seriously. I really, really, really don't want to die.)

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
shadowturquoise
Jan. 2nd, 2016 07:35 am (UTC)
#1 - yes, M&G are lying liars, and I love them for it! I love that they will lie to save us from ourselves when we cannot resist spoilers.

#2 - When I first saw fat Mycroft I laughed so hard! But then it got to be not-funny, because he is killing himself. In hindsight, knowing this is Sherlock's mind palace, I think this is Sherlock's fears of losing his brother manifesting itself.

#3 - I took Victorian Mary working for Mycroft to mean that modern Mary once did. The fact that she hacked into MI5 files in front of him also seems to suggest this.

I think M&G want us to see the duo as a trio now, then once they finally get Mary accepted, they'll take her away. of course most of fandom is being really resistant to embracing her (I love her!)

#Johnlock - What specific part sealed it for you that Sherlock acknowledge's his feelings for John? I've just seen TAB once, so I'm curious, nothing jumped out at me. Usually I have to watch these a few times to catch everything.
azalaisdep
Jan. 2nd, 2016 09:03 am (UTC)
I have to confess to having hugely enjoyed it on a much less analytical level, just chortling at jokes like the moustache and the hat. Who needs a fourth wall anyway? ;-)
engarian
Jan. 3rd, 2016 03:09 am (UTC)
I loved watching it, and can't wait for the 10th to watch it again. (yes, I could stream it, but I'm pretty busy and don't really like watching TV anyway)

That mind-palace is growing pretty large, and rather overwhelming. It seems a bit like a cop-out. But I still loved it - the interplay, the bouncing things back and forth, the sinuous lines of plot starting, stopping, and stuttering in the dance. Lovely.

I hope your occasion in Switzerland was enjoyable. It's good to have you back.

- Erulisse (one L)
lindahoyland
Jan. 3rd, 2016 05:31 am (UTC)
Welcome back!
I've missed your posts about Tumblr as I so rarely go there unless prompted.


Edited at 2016-01-03 05:32 am (UTC)
azalaisdep
Jan. 3rd, 2016 06:13 pm (UTC)
Also, just to point out re: fatsuit-Mycroft: that's story-canonical. I vaguely remembered it might be, so looked it up, and he's described in "The Bruce-Partington Plans" as "heavily built and massive" and having a "gross body". So while the version Sherlock's mind-palace came up with might have been particularly exaggerated, if shadowturquoise is right and Sherlock is externalising his fears of Mycroft dying, then obese-Mycroft makes canonical sense...
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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