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... I've thought of some more

Apparently, I'm not done with Sherlock thoughts just yet. Mostly because I've actually been reading through some of the theories and reactions and stuff on the tv tropes entry and its subpages, and it's stirred up thoughts I forgot to mention. (It's weird, the "fridge brilliance" entries are almost entirely intriguing and/or enriching; the "fridge horror" entries, below them, nearly all annoying for having missed the point in some way or another.) Quick thoughts, mostly, although raising more questions than the last, now that I've read what people (on that site, at least, who in this case appear to be obsessively thorough) have noted or not (and am wondering if I'm the only one who thinks it). Flistie reassurance that I'm not insane is appreciated, but not demanded.

Spoilers, still, naturally, since most of this has to do with events of the second season.





So, I assumed on first watching that the phone call that Moriarty received that defused the pool-bomb-sniper standoff came from Irene, telling him that she had in her phone'o'blackmail a piece of code that pertained to the Coventry plot. (Or perhaps the photos of the royal that are enough to get Mycroft involved. Maybe both, I don't know. How long was Bond Air being planned, anyway? Sherlock had the phone for six months!) I assumed that partly because Moriarty's next big play was to use Irene to get Sherlock to crack it (he does so love to watch Sherlock dance), and because in his criminal enterprise, this was a crazy-valuable piece of merchandise. And while he may just have changed his mind again, him walking away from killing Sherlock directly implies that he's just been handed enough ammunition for a far more entertaining go-round with him (and his brother), with far higher stakes. I mean, I don't think his base motivation ever wavered: he just wanted to stop being bored. Enabling terrorists and bringing England to its knees (and thus engaging at least one Holmes, likely both, in its defence) are only valuable to him inasmuch as they divert him from his Final Problem.

Which means that, unbeknownst to anyone except Moriarty, Irene saved Sherlock's life. Hello, bookends! We like you! – Except that I haven't noticed this mentioned anywhere, and while I haven't read everything on the series' entry (there's a lot), I thought this would be the kind of thing that would at least merit a mention. Maybe I'll find it after I post about it, like everything else.

Also, one of the few non-annoying fridge horror ideas pointed out that Sherlock's perceived fraudulence calls every case he worked on into question. Apparently (I haven't seen it) the television newsreport of Sherlock's death, posted on John's blog, has a detail scrolling below it saying the convicted murderer from the tv celebrity's death in "Great Game" was filing to reopen the case. Which, from a Moriarty-faked-his-death perspective, is brilliant. Destroying Sherlock's reputation not only is great fun, but buys back a lot of cred he might have lost as a criminal consultant by ratting out some of his clients for kicks – he destroys the credibility of the evidence against them. Also, it appears there's been no official mention of the body. I mean, I'm not saying that Moriarty definitely planned to fake his death for whatever lulzy reasons, but there are a lot of character-consistent doors being left open for that to be the case.



Here's another question I had as I watched that I haven't seen anyone ask (or answer, for that matter): exactly what was the extent of Mycroft's involvement in all of this? I mean, the clips of his reactions to everything (after the whole Adler/Coventry cockup, anyway) are highly ambiguous and in retrospect can be said to mean damn near anything. I kept watching to see him actually react to the death of the one person he absolutely cares about, and saw no such thing. Okay, Mycroft's a stoic, maybe. On the other hand, it read much more to me like he knew Sherlock wasn't dead. (Again, in the corresponding Sherlock Holmes canon, Mycroft is the only one who knows Sherlock isn't dead. Not conclusive by any means, but suggestive.) I can't say this with any certainty (yet; it'd mean going back and watching all the relevant scenes to test the theory, and I don't have time), but I have something of a suspicion that Mycroft deliberately allowed Moriarty to go after Sherlock. Which sounds like a risky and completely dick move; ie, exactly what both Holmes boys do to test/solve their problems, especially when they feel it's the best option. The question is not so much would Mycroft do this, but having done it, how much would he tell/help his brother?

I mean, there are all these people decrying Mycroft for being so hubristic, or stupid, or childish, or whatever, in telling Moriarty all about Sherlock and then letting him go without warning Sherlock, apart from telling John to look out for him and no real reason why. And you start to go, yeah, that is quite a stretch, especially from the overprotective Mycroft. The only other option than him being very strangely OOC is that he did so deliberately. Which, if he doesn't know Sherlock pulled a switcheroo, would leave him absolutely devastated. Which he does not seem to be. Again, that might be a supreme stoicism, but that feels kind of an odd choice.

Although if we posit that Mycroft did this, we'd have to ask why. Why not just kill Moriarty when he had him in custody (as we assume he could without much trouble, considering Moriarty was in the kind of facility in which prolonged torture was conducted)? Quite likely for the same reason we were explicity told of why Mycroft couldn't just destroy Irene's phone's harddrive: he would never know the source and extent of any number of potential security leaks. Killing Moriarty would not solve the problem of the things he'd put in motion, which we know from "Scandal" includes assisting terrorists. Letting him go, and then tracking the contacts and resources he used to target Sherlock, would give Mycroft's secret service at least a partial map of Moriarty's network. In fact, to ensure Moriarty set his sights on Sherlock and would be less likely to notice being shadowed himself, Mycroft actively primed him by feeding his obsession with Sherlock. I mean, that's just one reason off the top of my head why it would make more sense in terms of national security to let Moriarty go than keep him locked up and not giving them any information. (It also makes a nice little parallel with Moriarty's arrest, "trial", and being released, all for ulterior purposes. Hello, parallels! We like you too!)

Of course, Mycroft couldn't know what Moriarty's plans were – quite likely Moriarty didn't formulate them in any detail until he got out. So even if he warned Sherlock that Moriarty was gunning for him in some way (and why he was allowing it), the sleuthing aspect of Sherlock having to be awesome and work out what was actually going on is not undermined, from the perspective of story satisfaction. And the question of why Mycroft couldn't help his little brother is easily answered by the idea that if he did, Moriarty would know and realise something bigger was up. (Thus also keeping the significance of Molly's involvement intact.) Mycroft did all he could by warning both Sherlock and John in different ways, and then for the sake of the operation had to stay the hell out of the way, and trust Sherlock's ability and John's loyalty. Made all the more fun (meta-wise, that is) that John called him out on pretty much all of this, without knowing what was (possibly) really going on, and received an extremely weak excuse in response. Because he could not, under any circumstances, tell John the truth. Now tell me if any of all of that sounds out-of-character for Mycroft.

And, if this is what happened, then Mycroft gets some character development. Which is nice.





Okay, that's it. Again.

For now.

Comments

( 21 speakses — have a speak )
fannishliss
Apr. 3rd, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
I like Sherlock, and I love John, but I hate Moriarty, and I find Sherlock's obsession with Moriarty kind of sickening. The way that Moriarty stimulates Sherlock's brain grosses me out tbh. I'm like, awesome, defeat him, but don't get off on it so much! Fine too, whether or not you care about the victims... but just to get so excited about the game afoot and to dismiss the victims is unsettling to me.

I loved the first ep and the experimental ways it was shot, like using the floating texts... I loved the unveiling of Mycroft and the way John was taken off guard by Sherlock repeatedly. The second and third eps bored me, the second the most so, while the third was a little too close to hard horror -- like the movie Seven, which I could have done without for my whole life.

So, there are certainly aspects about the show that I LOVE, primarily John and the John/Sherlock interactions as John struggles as a regular gifted person to keep up with the uber genius... and the way the two of them fit together is lovely. I think my favorite moment of the first series is when John shoots the cabbie. I like that Sherlock is made of hubris, but I also like the way that John is a shield around him ... I guess I don't really warm to the idea that John might be Sherlock's weakness... I think Sherlock would skip right over that ...

anyway that is why I am eager to watch more of it even though it didn't entirely work for me. I am character driven first, story driven second, but somehow the stories of season one didn't grab me the way they were meant to.
themonkeytwin
Apr. 4th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
but just to get so excited about the game afoot and to dismiss the victims is unsettling to me.

Fair enough. I mean, I think it was intended to come off that way, so if that is genuinely offputting then of course the story/character won't work for you. I don't know what you've picked up about the second season, but the one of the main underlying threads is how Sherlock is changing (albeit slowly) through John's influence, and how that impacts all his other relationships. So hopefully that will be more satisfactory for you!

like the movie Seven, which I could have done without for my whole life.

Agreed, totally.

I guess I don't really warm to the idea that John might be Sherlock's weakness

Which is really one of the ideas they're playing with: what exactly constitutes weakness? Are you stronger not caring (Moriarty), caring only according to strict principles (Mycroft), learning to care to where it changes your principles and actions (Sherlock), or being undyingly loyal (John)? I mean, I have my suspicions on where they'll draw the line obviously, but the interesting thing is how they get the characters there.
(Deleted comment)
themonkeytwin
Apr. 4th, 2012 02:02 am (UTC)
You're certainly not alone! It feels so weird not to have seen it mentioned anywhere, but then I don't go travelling too far abroad in this fandom, so I thought maybe that was it. It's probably on tumblr somewhere.

That's going to be the real reveal of S3 – not whether it was planned, but how much and by who. And they've got to strike a satisfactory balance, because if the Holmes brothers are reavealled to be too much in control, it cheapens Sherlock's apparent growth in response to the situation he finds himself in. Let me know when you post the fic, I'd love to read it!
(Deleted comment)
themonkeytwin
Apr. 5th, 2012 03:17 am (UTC)
I have no idea about tumblr. It seems like a colossal waste of time, to be honest, which is why I'm always glad when my more savvy friends are able to find the fun things and point me in that direction. They tend to have good taste.

Love to show you my fic when it's finished. Thank you for being interested!

Of course! If nothing else, it's a fascinating thing to explore, and I know I'm not going to have time, so I'm really glad someone is! :)
(Deleted comment)
themonkeytwin
Apr. 22nd, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
I'd be happy to take a look. I know what it's like when you don't have anyone interested in a fandom! :) I'll PM you my email address, if that's easiest.
(Deleted comment)
themonkeytwin
Apr. 23rd, 2012 08:01 am (UTC)
Hm, I tried but it said you had it set to a privacy setting which didn't allow for PMs. So I guess either change that and let me know, or give me your address here if you don't mind. :)
(Deleted comment)
themonkeytwin
Apr. 23rd, 2012 11:50 pm (UTC)
Just emailed you. Let me know if you didn't get it. :)
(Deleted comment)
bitterlimetwist
Apr. 3rd, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
You were not kidding about Sherlock eating your brain. I love how much thought you've given this. I love your brain, okay? I haven't given it nearly as much, and I watched it a couple of months ago so I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but I thought Mycroft let Moriarty go as part of a plan, pretty much exactly as you describe. I thought it was kind of spelled out at the end there? I think I need a rewatch.

Re: bookends in A Scandal in Belgravia. That is very cool. I really liked that episode, probably because I found Irene a more interesting (or maybe just less annoying) antagonist than Moriarty. Sherlock fandom completely missing the point on her did not surprise one bit. Ah fandoms, always so predictable.

Your description of John in the previous post reminded me of someone, and then bingo Hurt Locker. ;p

I want to live in Irene's house. It's so gorgeous. /shallow
themonkeytwin
Apr. 4th, 2012 02:19 am (UTC)
It did! It ate my brain! And there were no leftovers!

I thought it was kind of spelled out at the end there?

See, I thought it was kind of the most logical assumption, although I was of course rather distracted by other things (oh John, I will hold you!) at the time and wasn't checking the integrity of the theory. Rewatch! Rewatch and tell me what you think! (Does that give you an idea? It gives me an idea. *stares fixedly at you*)

I have to kind of agree with you on Moriarty. He's ... I don't know. They've played him in an interesting enough way, I guess, but he is not ultimately a very interesting person. There's no tension in him; there's only changeability. And while he is so unfettered to make that very dangerous, he is not, as a character, intriguing at all. Irene most definitely is. She's a character; Moriarty is more of a device. Both to create conflict and to act as a reflection of the heroes. Without Sherlock, he's not interesting at all. Poor guy. Quite the punishment, to be merely the shadow the "hero" sheds; no wonder he's bored with it all.

Ah fandoms, always so predictable.

I love that we share a brain about this. It makes fandom-adjacent life liveable, sometimes. :)

I want to live in Irene's house. It's so gorgeous. /shallow

Ha, the second time I watched these episodes was with my mum, and we are constantly talking about that. She was upset by "Reichenbach" and so insisted we watch "Top Hat" (read: White Collar), which she's firmly devoted to in spite of never getting the name right, and the exact same conversation goes on. "Oh, look at that apartment. Oh, that's gorgeous. I want that one." As well as spot-the-landscape in New York, since we lived there for a while. In conclusion: shallow appreciation of set porn is thoroughly acceptable around here! :p
bitterlimetwist
Apr. 4th, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
Does that give you an idea? It gives me an idea. *stares fixedly at you*

It does. But maybe it's the wrong one. *stares back and raises an eyebrow*

Scandal was sparkly and bubbly, like champagne. The stakes were high, but not as high as Reichenbach, and there was so much delight in the way Irene and Sherlock were circling each other.

Moriarty reminded me of the Joker in The Dark Knight (not my favourite thing in the world, tbh). There's was bit too much of that lunacy and look-at-me-creating-chaos, even though Moriarty obviously has different motivations.

I really shouldn't go on like this until I rewatch. I may change my mind completely.

Oh, those chandelier-style lamps. Oh, that black wallpaper in her bedroom. *drools*

themonkeytwin
Apr. 5th, 2012 02:59 am (UTC)
I was going to say about the Joker! Yes, absolutely. I mean, I don't know Moriarty's characterisation in the books, so I don't know which comes from where. But that kind of completely chaotic character pretty much reached its peak with The Dark Knight. (I didn't like it that much either.) I mean, I like that Moriarty is a thoroughly British (Irish...?) character, that nothing he does rings false for that nationality. He's not aping the American version. But it's still just not all that interesting. And part of that has to be that even though he's set up as someone who Sherlock could potentially turn into, we all know he's just not going to, so there's no tension there, either. In fact, in spite of all the damage he can do, he just comes across as kind of pathetic, especially when compared to the far richer life that Sherlock has half-adopted, half-stumbled into.

That said, I think there's a lot of potential for developing him (assuming he's still alive) by actually putting him with a companion of sorts. Maybe that's why I'm so keen to see Moran. Other than, obviously, to see the dark version of John. So. *fingers crossed*
workerbee73
Apr. 3rd, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
OK, now you've just got me watching all the little snippety snippets I can find on youtube. OH MAY, WHERE ARE YOU???
themonkeytwin
Apr. 4th, 2012 02:21 am (UTC)
Oh dear. Don't worry, it'll be here soon! I really hope it doesn't disappoint once it does. *worried face*
lmx_v3point3
Apr. 4th, 2012 09:04 am (UTC)
Awesome. I hadn't even considered Irene's involvement that far back, but it makes such perfect sense, and closes that whole scene in a much more logical way than 'oh yeah, I'm gonna just go away now...'

I am convinced there's a lot more going on with Mycroft than we know at this point. And I really like him as a complete bastard, just one with better social skills than Sherlock (which potentially makes him a worse sociopath...) like most politicians. Regarding Moriarty's body - someone somewhere (sorry I fail on references today) pointed out that there was no mention of the dead storyteller on the roof in the newspaper - which would have hightened the sense of the spectacular, which papers never fail to do. So that suggests they didn't find the body... for whatever reason.

http://popcultureprodigy.tumblr.com/post/19800067891/holmesiswheretheheartis-pretended-to-shoot
themonkeytwin
Apr. 5th, 2012 02:19 am (UTC)
I just rewatched the first part of "Scandal", and discovered it's about as directly implied as it can be; there's an "answer cut", with Sherlock posing the question of who could have changed Moriarty's mind, and a cut straight to Irene hanging up her phone. Like so many other things on this show, easy to miss if you look away for even a second! And of course in all the excitement I must have registered it, moved on, took it as assumed, then got confused about my own take on the situation when no one else thought it worthy of mention. Idek. I blame cheekbones. Those are cheekbones that can carry a lot of blame.

Honestly, they've left themselves open for a lot of different options at this point. I don't think they'll disappoint. I've come to really like each of the episodes so far, I doubt they'll drop the ball now.
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