What starts as a security job soon becomes a murder investigation. Then, it becomes a double-murder investigation. Oh, no, wait a triple-murder investigation. And if that’s not enough, it then becomes a life and death situation for Watson and.. oops, sorry. Spoilers! Continue after the jump and I’ll tell you that…
the other person in question is John’s date: Sarah, who works at the local surgery he’d applied for a job at; which, of course, Sherlock finds positively dull, but nevermind. Watson’s trying to provide for at least some “mundane” in his life, as a balance for the life he leads with Sherlock, I suppose, and a dull surgery job with sniffles and kids with toys up their noses ought to do the trick with that. (Except he sleeps through his first day ’cause he’s knackered from pursuing the case with Sherlock all night. Ah, dear.)
But, as we can imagine, things never stay mundane—let alone bleeding DULL—with Sherlock:
But it’s a while into the episode until the shit hits the fan this comprehensively—up until that point, it’s an awful lot of running around London and the flat in 221B Baker Street, harassing a very stubborn DI Dimmock, and messing around with Chinese numbers.
One might say that this story, loosely based on The Adventure of the Dancing Men, is more templated than last week’s plot, and that it gets a bit too easy to guess sometimes, or that the story’s just too conventional—in German television, we have several crime shows on offer every day, from US or UK imports, like NCIS or The Lynley Mysteries respectively, to native, smaller, productions that run every day at six o’clock or our big Tatort. I’ve seen so many movies and episodes asking ‘Whodunnit?’, it becomes easy to guess sometimes. But never you mind if it’s written really, really well—no issues with this one, then. It is your usual smugglers-stealing-from-Chinese-mobsters-get-a-visit-from-a-hit-man story; you even get a good kidnapping with a bit of torture and mistaken identity, and Sherlock’s getting strangled twice. And, both times, you can actually just cough, ‘He’s behind you, idiot’, before they grab him; but I do that twice every James Bond movie, so I have no shame.
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are both fascinatingly awesome actors:
Have I mentioned that Watson is AWESOME?
Because I had a row, in the shop, with a chip-and-pin machine. (Sherlock: You had a row with a machine!?) Sort of. It sat there and I shouted abuse—’ve you got cash?
Me, Sherlock, in court; on Tuesday—they’re giving me an ASBO!
I don’t know what that says about me, but that stuff with Freeman’s delightful delivery—and, oh Lordy, voice—made this the sexiest piece of television I have seen, but above all: heard, in a long, long time.
Which reminds me: the dialogue is great, again. And especially between John and Sherlock, it ties in with the Odd Couple feeling they give off—that scene where John just throws a pen in Sherlock’s general direction without even looking, knowing he’d catch it? Seriously! If that’s not drawing on suspiciously quickly developing closeness, I don’t know what is. They’re ping-ponging ideas about the case now without missing a beat, they’ve become a team, friends—colleagues, as John points out to everyone they meet, in case they ask stupid questions again, ’cause he’s got other plans; which Sherlock himself presents himself to be a bit thick with:
Sherlock: “We need to get some air, we’re going out tonight.” — Watson: “Actually, I’ve got a date.” — “What!?” — “Where two people who like each other go out and have fun.” — “That’s what I was suggesting.” — “Noo, it wasn’t. At least I hope not.”¹
Watson: “Come on, Sherlock, behave!! […] Sherlock, I’m in the middle of a date: you wanna chase some killer, while I’m trying to…” — Sherlock: “WHAT?!” — “While I’m trying to get off with Sarah! *Sarah turns up beside him* Heeeey..! *Sherlock, I will kill you if this goes south*”
So, while Sherlock doesn’t necessarily understand the need of a date—which could be misconstrued for bromance jealousy, really; except it really is convincing and plausible that Sherlock invited himself to their date because of the “circus”—he does understand that women can be jerked around to one’s own advantage, which is exactly what he does with Molly. He proves he can charm the dead banker’s neighbour into using her balcony to get into the flat below; and he proceeds to use his talents on the girl from the mortuary. I told you, I’m sure he knows about her crush on him—it’s a bit hard to miss, really—and he uses her vulnerability and her sensitivity to his behaviour to get access to the victims’ bodies, complimenting his way around the rules. That we just see that charming smile fall the moment she turns her back is quite cruel, and crucial to our further understanding of his character: how far would he go, whom would he be willing to manipulate? We know from the original stories that Holmes was never above leading even Watson to believe complete nonsense about the case or his whereabouts, withholding vital information more than once: even though he steadfastly maintained it was to protect Watson himself or, more often than not, the case’s development, not because he lacked of trust in his companion. So, how far would this Sherlock go, beyond grinning really creepily and just doing a bunk along with the graffiti artist, leaving Watson to be taken into custody?
This thing with Molly was possibly just to show that, while he doesn’t act on it romantically, he does plainly understand what women want—he just doesn’t care that he does. People have to earn his respect by contributing something valuable to the case, like Sarah did when she pointed out the words on the photograph that Soo Lin Yao had scribbled down for them; although, before that, she’d probably saved his life by attacking the hit man, and he still wants her out of the flat at first. So, apparently, Molly hasn’t contributed something like that yet, other than corpses he could use the riding crop on for experiments—that’s where Sarah poses a contrast, and a question for Molly (well, several, really). I mean, would Sarah ever fall for Sherlock instead of John (as I presume she might do; she will be in next week’s episode, anyway)—I doubt it. But, question: Have the writers got anything in store for Molly? Will she come into her own, will she even notice the game that Sherlock’s been playing with her? Might he even, oh dear!, reconsider his treatment of her?
Sherlock: “Sherlock Holmes is nothing at all like him. How would you describe me, John? Resourceful? Dynamic? Enigmatic?” — Watson: “Late..?!”
Ah, yes, the last-minute rescue. The General got away, the Black Lotus, the ancient Chinese crime syndicate, remains largely unharmed; but Moriarty made sure to get rid of her: he likes to cut out the middle (wo)man. On the way there, though: the scene in which Sherlock realizes which book they’d been using, the London A-Z—I still can’t quite decide whether I should find it neat or a bit too ridiculous. No matter—the eye painted on a… whatever that thing on the street is, a junction box?, clearly means they’re being watched for what they did and the inconvenience they caused. Though, well, a Chinese crime syndicate might be the least of their problems in next week’s series finale.
- Sherlock’s just been strangled to almost-death and sounds very raspy; Watson, concerned: “Are you getting a cold?”
- Dimmock, realizing Sherlock’s always right: “I go where you point me.” — Exactly.
- How You Know You Watch Too Much Doctor Who: When Dimmock asked, “But if his door was locked from the inside, how did the killer get in?”, my first thought was: ‘Sonic Screwdriver! … Oops.’
- ¹ What doesn’t really make it easier, too, is how Sherlock is physically more comfortable with Watson than with anyone else: helping the latter into his coat and smoothing out the shoulders; taking his head into both hands while trying to help him concentrate on the pattern of the chiffre. Gah, the fanfiction this might inspire! *coughs*
Next episode: The Great Game. Sunday, August 8, 21:00 on BBC One. (The review of which will arrive late, by the way—I’ll be on a real holiday until the 12th 😉 .)