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[personal profile] rageprufrock

While you guys are off fleecing little old ladies, knocking over banks, thieving from local police officers, and calling the Doctor, I'm just going to sit here and rock back and forth rewatching the last few minutes of this week's Sherlock.

So if last week's episode was agonizing, overly complex with a frame for the narrative so it looked like a first-year art student's project but with less restraint and more tired racism -- this week's was exactly what Sherlock Holmes should be. They managed to marry the complex and interweaving issues of a larger mystery with the smaller -- but more important to me -- issues of individual character interactions absolutely beautifully, and when they moved all in concert, it was an absolute thrill. It started off fantastically indulgent and it just got even more fabulous going forward, and I'm still so atwitter about it I am having to dose myself liberally with rose to get this out in any sort of coherent way instead of just typing ZOMG WESTWOOD TAILORING MYSTERY BOMBS I JUST IT WAS SO OMG over and over again. Yes, in that exact order.

There's probably a lot of smart meta that could be written about this week but I'm just going to twirl over the last few minutes, and more specifically, the exquisite subtext of the last few minutes. In a weird way, while I've loved the series and gotten major giggles out of the undercurrent of homoerotic flirting that's been present throughout all the episodes so far, I've been mostly ambivalent to the idea of Sherlock and Holmes actually being in any sort of relationship, either now or eventually. Part of that's because I think there's a much more interesting story here than just one about fucking, partly it's because my view of them has always been so colored by other interpretations, from the old TV shows to the Robert Downey Jr. movie to House M.D., and in all of those movies, though Watson and Sherlock are undoubtedly meant for each other, I've never known whether I was entirely sold on their being meant for each other's beds. For one, I think Watson deserves better, even if he would find better boring.

But this episode totally blew that ambivalence out of the water for me. I still don't know if I ever want to read the ridiculous romances that I so love in every other fandom, but I'm definitely firmly in camp Sherlock and Watson should probably just get married. In fact, I am making us membership cards. They will have a bold serif font and a houndstooth pattern on the back and be as elegantly embossed as something Mycroft would carry.

John Watson spent this entire episode harboring a growing sense of disappointment at Sherlock for not truly caring about the people on the other end of the phone line, and we were reminded -- smartly -- throughout the show Sherlock doesn't really care about all that many people or all that many things. I spent most of this episode saying, "Man, I would give my left nut for them to be totally predictable and make John the target of this bomber's last pip," because I like it when things are predictable but well-executed. And then they gave me what they wanted, because BBC and Stephen Moffat are just as awesome and self-indulgent as I am when it comes to this sort of thing, apparently!

Everything about the last few minutes was fantastic: from Sherlock's seriously sociopathic and nearly carnal curiosity about the bomber when he shows up at the pool, to the way his voice breaks -- in a hush -- when he realizes it's Watson and says, "John." I loved the way that Martin Freeman played that entire scene, the way that the actor they cast for Moriarity was nothing at all like what you expected, and so absolutely perfect, a gut-punch of recognition, to see him again after Sherlock so soundly dismissed him earlier in the episode in a throwaway moment. Even better, I loved what a cruelly worthy adversary Moriarity is, how even though he's obviously pure evil, he's somehow more human than Sherlock.

I also loved the way he promised he would burn out Sherlock's heart, the way Sherlock said he was assured he didn't have one, and how Moriarity begged to differ. This goes into the territory of my college English classes and poetry explication, but even the vocabulary here is crucial: Moriarity, when speaking through John, said he would stop John in his tracks, stop his heart. And later, he more or less repeats the sentiment, because for a total psychopath, he has a bit of a romantic streak in him. Even more telling than just that brief flicker of unhinged threat is the way that Sherlock, after dispassionately letting an old woman panic and weep in terror, and listening without any apparent emotional engagement to a little kid sob and count down to his own death, freaks the absolute fuck out and goes down on his knees, rips the bomb off of John and demands to know that he's all right -- which would be normal for anybody else, but for Sherlock Holmes, it's verbal confirmation he doesn't trust his own observation, that he's so rattled out of his element, that he's so shook up he can see all the data and he doesn't know what to do with it. Congratulations, Moriarity, you found his heart, and you stopped Sherlock Holmes's brain, brava. I'm sure he'll be touching himself to that for months.

Even better is the moments just before the cliffhanger, the way John and Sherlock exchange that look, and how Sherlock, who is so good at running off half-cocked, not explaining himself, acting without consideration for others, actually glances over and checks with John first before he levels the gun at the bomb, discarded on the floor. He might not know the Earth circles the sun, but he knows that he shares his orbit with another heavenly sphere now, anyway. Also, A++ on incorporating the blog and mixed media. I'd been reading it, but mostly as a sort of fun add-on to the series -- it pleases me endlessly that it's shown up in the actual narrative.


Fanfictions, internet. PLEASE, GIVE ME FANFICTIONS.

You could say I had many feelings about that episode.
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