Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Thoughts on Sherlock

Warning: This post contains both spoilers for S2E3 of Sherlock and possible triggers regarding suicide.

So, yesterday I watched the final episode of this season's Sherlock. I utterly adore Sherlock. I was amazed that they could make the series so up to date but still really keep the feel of the original novels. The novels incidentally are very dear to my heart as I'd never read them, and so Daniel and I took turns reading them to each other not long after we first met. (For those of you who might laugh; read somebody a story, have them read you a story; it's a lovely way to pass time, and always makes me feel a little squishy inside!)

The final episode of Sherlock was not based on one of Conan Doyle's novels (except for the ending) and I thought that it was telling. I found it hard to keep my interest in it going for extended periods of time, leading to various pauses whilst drinks were got etc. - something which hadn't happened in any of the previous episodes. I felt it was trying to be a little too clever. It seemed to be trying to comment on the rise of fame for fame's sake, a lack of trust in the media and other "hot" issues. But, in my opinion, missed the mark on all of them.

Despite this, by the end I was bawling my eyes out. I've read the Reichenbach Falls story (or rather, had it read to me) so I knew that Sherlock doesn't die. It wasn't this that caused my tears. It was the sheer empathy I felt for Watson. To have to have Sherlock's "suicide note" on the telephone, to be made to watch him jump. Suicide is a callous enough thing, but that, that was just horrific.

This blog has touched before on my opinions of suicide. And I know that people have to be in an awful position to do it. Hell, I've been there myself. Even so, it leaves me so angry when people do it. I can't even begin to explain the amount of pain I feel for the people left behind by it. And I think Martin Freeman did an excellent job at portraying the anger and sorrow in the few moments he had on screen. The speech when he is at the grave is just heartrending. He begs Sherlock not to be dead, and even though I knew he wasn't dead (and so did all viewers moments later when the camera shows him watching Watson), I couldn't stop the tears. I think it's such an elemental moment, that touches anybody who has had death in their lives but especially those affected by the sudden, violent deaths that luckily most of us avoid.

Overall, I think the portrayal of Watson's reaction was done beautifully. I just wish that I felt the same way about the story of Sherlock's suicide. I know we're meant to feel how much he loves Watson, Mrs Hudson and Lestrade - so much so he's willing to sacrifice himself for them. But, he isn't. He knows he's not going to die. All he's doing is removing his suffering at their deaths and making them all suffer at the thought of his. It's the ultimate in selfishness. Now, I know all suicide is selfish, and maybe I'm missing a clever point Moffat's trying to make about it all. But I don't think I am. I think that this was overdone for emotional tension (the phone call, making John watch, John taking his pulse, all the blood (my god so much blood)) and it ended up feeling tacky.

What are your opinions? I'm really interested to know.

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