March 30, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Sherlock – The Lying Detective (S4 E2) (Spoilers)

In the immortal words of one Mr. Ryan Q. Garcia: "WHY CAN'T THEY JUST MAKE SHERLOCK EPISODES FOREVER?!?!"

Whether The Lying Detective ends up being the second to last episode of Sherlock remains to be seen.  In either case, they delivered one of the series best and a perfect follow up to the events in The Six Thatchers.

Some of the Geeks watched it in awe.  Here are their thoughts, with spoilers…

Tom says:  Here’s a challenge for anyone doing any sort of write-up for “The Lying Detective”…how do you do so without mostly discussing that final reveal of the final Holmes sibling?  Euros Holmes was an incredible reveal, and now I find myself wondering how much I picked up on before.  Did I notice the different Faiths?  I did remember noting the woman on the bus Watson flirted with had rather distinctive hair, but did I ever think it was a wig?  I’m not sure.  I’m questioning myself.

I’m not Sherlock Holmes.  Sherlock never questions himself.

And that’s where the brilliance of most of this episode comes from.  Yes, I can wax enthusiastic about Euros, but I’m not going to be doing that just yet.  Save that for next week, which could very well be a series finale.  I’d prefer it not to be, but there is the idea that people should quit stuff like this while they are ahead.

Instead, we have a very twisty mystery, and it looks like “female power” may be a theme for season four.  We saw Mary’s presence all over this episode, either as the voice in Watson’s head, or the rest of the final instructions she gave to Sherlock (that uncharacteristic “Go to Hell, Sherlock Holmes,” from last week makes a lot more sense now).  We saw last week a woman behind the main plot, and another as a top suspect who for some reason is now flirting with Mycroft.  We have the promise of Euros.  A reference was made to Irene Addler, still apparently texting Sherlock.  We even had a surprisingly badass Mrs. Hudson involved in ways we might not have expected.

She’s not their housekeeper.

But this episode really played with our expectations.  We were led to wonder about Sherlock’s general health.  Was he also chatting with a woman only he could see?  Given how warped Sherlock’s perceptions were, it would be easy to believe he was wrong about at least some things.

But as great as the mystery was, even if it means the great Toby Jones was ultimately a distraction from the real villain (that or he’s Heath Ledger’s Joker to Season Four’s Dark Knight trilogy), what elevated this episode above last week is the Watson material.  Watson’s own guilt, his rage, and his reconciliation worked well in large part due to Martin Freeman’s tremendous acting talent.  The added human element is what Watson always brings to the table for this Holmes.  Cumberbatch may be brilliant, mentioning strange things or reciting Shakespeare, but Holmes doesn’t act like a human being.  Watson does.  We need Watson for that.  Besides, Watson himself is getting pretty good at observing a few things in his own way.

Though really, Watson, why did you suggest Sherlock call Irene Addler back when poor Molly’s been waiting in the wings all this time?  Or maybe Jenny.  Jenny would love her some Sherlockin’.

On a final note:  check out author Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City.  It’s a nonfiction book giving the life story of two individuals living in the city of Chicago around the same time.  The two men never met so far as I can remember, but they had deep impacts on the city.  The first was Daniel Burnham, the architect responsible for much of the 1893 World’s Fair.  The other was H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer, and inspiration to Culverton Smith.  The real thing is a heck of a lot creepier than even Jones’ bad teeth would suggest.

Jimmy says: Wow.

Given their 1.5 hour run time it is easy to forget that there have been only a dozen episodes of Sherlock (counting the Christmas special).  And with what might be the penultimate episode of the series (who knows when and if we will get a season 5) they gave us one of the best.

With a crazy Sherlock and a crazy John and everything building up to the confrontation in the morgue, when the audio on my stream of the show decided to go crazy itself, I originally just thought it was part of the show.

Among many highlights was the show giving Mrs Hudson something to do.  Playing a vital role in saving both Sherlock and Watson, all while driving an amazing car.

Toby Jones is particularly slimy as Sherlock’s accused “cereal killer” Culverton Smith.  I was actually a little surprised that his story wrapped up so nicely by the end of the episode.  I had the feeling it would carry over to the finale.  But obviously, they have bigger fish to fry.

It’s been three years since the end of season three, but this episode shows they have at least some things that have been planned out well in advance.  In the season three finale there was mention of “the other one” which many assumed to be referring to a third Holmes brother.  But shockingly it wasn’t Tom Hiddleston, but a Holmes sister.  Who may have just killed Watson, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t.

I’m very much looking forward to the season (and hoping it is not series) finale.

Ryan says:  This will go down as one of the greatest Sherlock episodes ever.  I can’t even imagine what the next episode will bring–was Eurus behind Moriarity all along?–but it was a mind-blowing twist that is entirely due to an amazing actress.  Sian Brooke played four distinct characters in two episodes and did a better job than Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black.  The only part I didn’t like about the big reveal was when Eurus stumbles over meeting Sherlock before.  It’s so obvious, so baffoon-like, so common that it’s hard to believe an evil Holmes could make such a rookie mistake.  Perhaps we’ll discover it wasn’t a mistake at all and just intended to escalate the situation.

What’s even more amazing is that the thing that makes the episode so memorable happened in the last 15 minutes.  The main case was a good one that will make you question what’s real and what wasn’t–something Sherlock himself feels so we’re right there with him.  But when the case is resolved the episode gets epic.  From Sherlock and Watson’s exchange to Watson and Mary’s conversation (we’ll call it that) and then to Eurus.  Incredible stuff.

I am both eagerly awaiting the last episode of Sherlock next week and dreading the moment it’s over.

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