Sherlock: The Series Two Soundtrack

Previous: Series One.

(Look over here for more booklet-y goodness. The artwork is, again, amazing!)

Oh, my God. Who knew having your heart ripped out of your chest and trampled into the dust could be so beautiful? This soundtrack, even more than Series One, goes to show what musical genius is operating behind this, and how valuable the music, composed by David Arnold and Michael Price, has become to understanding these characters–to comprehend who they are, and what they’re going through.

A Scandal Belgravia, tracks 1-7, is internal struggle and yet full of fun. Potential Clients (2) is the fun we desperately needed after the resolution of the cliffhanger from hell, seeing a range of colourful clients and cases turning up at Baker Street. Then, Status Symbols (3) takes us on the road into an adventure that has as many light and comical moments as it is dark and vengeful. Irene’s Theme (1) is the first time we hear Sherlock composing, and it leaves so much room for speculation: is it, as John interprets it, a mourning tune, speaking of a lost romance, or is it an expression of the intricacies of a mind that Sherlock has not unlocked yet, can not get into; just something that characterizes Irene as Sherlock sees her? The Woman (4), Dark Times (5), and Smoke Alarm (6) are the scores that accompanies–some would say, chases–Sherlock and John through this episode, underlying everything with the mystery of a woman as dangerous and smart as Sherlock loves his challenges to be. It already gives a hint at the climax of the episode: the revelation that Sherlock does know about love–and that Irene had no chance of hiding from him. And yet, that Sherlock is willing to take a risk to save someone: whatever reasons he has, swanning in like that… if John knew, he would call Sherlock a hero: SHERlocked (7).

The Hounds of Baskerville is full of scary, scary stuff. Seriously. What got me giggling, though, was the fact that the composers managed to score John and Sherlock arriving in Dartmoor and then put that track on the CD not as “Arriving in Dartmoor” or something. Oh, no. They called it Double Room (10). When I saw that, I thought, ‘Oh, now they’re just mocking us! Or they just love us very, very much.’  A friend of mine supplied: ‘We knew that everyone involved with the show ships it, so. But this is a very creative way of doing it.’ Ch., how right you are!

Now, then. The Reichenbach Fall. In their little letter, Arnold and Price say that they wanted to find a way to weave Sherlock and John’s themes together–and oh, no, they’ve managed. After Grimm Fairy Tales (15) and a bit of Deduction and Deception (16), Sherlock and Jim are both Prepared to do Anything (17). Except that Sherlock had, perhaps, underestimated Jim–he certainly hadn’t anticipated that suicide would be in his repertoire at all, so the shot comes as a shock, not just to us viewers/listeners. Sherlock now knows that, since there is no-one to retract the order, there’s only one thing he can do. That is when a low, dark variation of his theme picks up, then the familiar notes we know from John’s signature score, melding into one despairing tune, underlining their conversation on the phone, taking us right back into that incredible moment that Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman created on-screen; Sherlock’s grief for his only friend and John’s steadfast belief in the man who saved him and continues to protect him. After that, John can only watch when there is Blood on the Pavement (18)–what particularly gets me about that, and what I hadn’t noticed while watching the episode, is the heartbeat that’s pounding in the background, never stopping: proof of life. Sherlock is alive, his heart is still beating, even though it shouldn’t, but John can’t hear it. And that is where the tragedy of this series’ cliffhanger truly strikes: at the end of Series 1, we knew nothing. Nothing whatso-bloody-ever, and now? We’ll never know as much as Sherlock, but we know so much more than John. Brave, but broken John, who pleads for One More Miracle (19). At Sherlock’s grave, we see him walking away with a limp, haunted by the same tune that was his theme in Series 1 (War), that speaks volumes of the loneliness he has been cast back into. Sherlock gave him a home, someone to come home to, and now that home is gone. Or is it? Because Sherlock, glorious Sherlock, is watching from afar, determined to make this right.

And he will, no doubt, in Series 3.

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