Monday, January 6, 2014

The Empty Hearse

While I certainly don't fall into this category of Sherlockians upon watching Saturday night's episode of BBC's Sherlock, I nonetheless understand the hype. Having suffered a long wait (and on a cliffhanger, oh God) for The Empty Hearse's debut, conspirators and cynics alike spent the past two years
1) drawing their own deductions on how Sherlock survived the Reichenbach fall and
2) building a steadily-growing fandom.

 So, how did Sherlock survive? With help from his tramp connections? By a carefully-timed leap? Episode 1 of season 3 tells all.

 ...Or does it?

 The episode opens with a glimpse into Life After Sherlock. Some toast to his memory:

Others undergo the I've- grown-facial-hair-out-of-grief transformation:

Ah, yes.

At the beginning of the episode, Sherlock accuses Mycroft of enjoying watching him being tortured. This same harsh comment is applicable to Sherlock himself, who let John grieve and wither and grow facial hair although others knew he had faked his death.

Commenting on how Watson would react to finding out Sherlock was still alive, Gatiss said, "I always found it a little unlikely that Dr. Watson's only reaction was to faint for instance—as opposed to possibly a stream of terrible swear words." I’m glad Gatiss did bear in mind the 21st-century-aspect of it (f bombs, etc.) Sherlock certainly deserved to get attacked.

Moreover, the way he announced his presence, although humorous, was immature and improbable. Considering how the show has always been – to the best of its ability – realistic, or at least excusably purported when it comes to scientific evidence/mind palace technicalities, much of Episode 1’s screenplay seems drastically tailored to suit the show’s fan base.

Don’t even get me started on the gay kiss and ruffle-hair-then-kiss-Molly scenes. Episode 1 really indulged in some un-Sherlock-y lovey-dovey-ness that sent fangirls fangirling, as if they weren’t already. There was also a segment of wasted footage dedicated to the ‘deduction’ game between Mycroft and Sherlock. Ok, it’s been two years and fans have missed it, but really?

I’ve seen great shows ruined because the screenwriters decided to start writing for a collective, squealing fan base and not for the integrity of the show itself. Moffat and Gattis are definitely aware of the cult following their show has spawned – look at Anderson. He is the mascot for each conspiring Sherlock fan on tumblr. I just hope such recognition does not lead to the degradation of what is now BBC's most popular miniseries.

Yet this episode is nonetheless one that satisfies. Watson has found himself a fiancée who is great for him (and the show, I think). The train sequence at the beginning and the text-crossovers (I apologize for my lack of cinema terminology) show that Moffat and Gatiss still include classic BBC-Sherlock cinematography. So many scenes are laugh-worthy, especially the montage but perhaps not the ending scene – is it just me, or did Sherlock go too far in pretending to not know how to defuse the bomb? 

Anyhow, 1.5 hours spent being entertained by Cumberbatch and Freeman’s natural chemistry and being wowed by clever dialogue/deductions/plot twists is always time well spent.

2 more episodes left until the tumblr fandom is reduced to: