Tag Archives: Jonathan Aris

Sherlock: The Empty Hearse

2 Feb

I received my Sherlock series 3 dvds last week, and settled down yesterday to watch the first episode “The Empty Hearse”.

I’ll state here and now that I was absolutely blown away by the episode for a hell of a lot of reasons.

Mark Gatiss’ brilliant script for a start.  It was a gorgeous balance of humour, drama, and whimsey.  Mark is a known fan of the Billy Wilder movie “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” and absolutely delighted me by popping one of my favourite lines from one of my favourite scenes in that movie seamlessly into “The Empty Hearse”.  I have to stay, Una Stubbs delivered the line with as much wealth of meaning as Irene Handl did. 

There is just so much to love about this episode, that I warn you now, this is probably going to be more a Sherlockian fan girl gush than a measured review.

The reunion scene with Sherlock and John was superb.  Martin Freeman deserves another BAFTA on the strength of that scene alone.  The mingling anger and pain gave the scene an intensity rarely seen in television performances.  It’s the sort of thing many lesser actors would save for a chance to win an Oscar.  Martin gives his best regardless.  And Benedict played to him perfectly.  Giving that scene to Martin.  An extraordinary gift from an extraordinary actor.

Amanda Abbingdon’s Mary Morstan is fantastic.  I loved her from her first appearance.

One of the best scenes in the episode, in my opinion, is the juxtaposition between John’s day and Sherlock’s day.  It was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages.  Beautifully balanced and hysterically funny to watch. 

The bonfire scene is probably one of the scariest things I have seen in ages, even though I KNEW John would be okay, I was perched on the edge of my seat absolutely bloody terrified!  Though I can’t help but wonder if Mark Gatiss was having a little dig.  Anyone who knows the fandom knows that Martin Freeman is often likened to a hedgehog.  During the run up to Bonfire Night in the UK councils and animal welfare associations constantly remind people to check their bonfires for hedgehogs before lightening them!

Another thing about the bonfire scene.  I found myself remembering Moriarty’s words in “The Great Game”:  “I will burn you.  I will burn the heart out of you.”  John H. Watson has always been Sherlock Holmes’ heart.

The best thing about “The Empty Hearse” had to be the echos of other episodes.  The one that made me smile gently was the “It wasn’t working for me” line, first said by Molly in “A Study in Pink” about lipstick, and echoed by John about his moustache in “The Empty Hearse”.  Sherlock echos Mycroft’s line from “A Scandal in Belgravia” back at Mycroft.  It served to emphasize that “The Empty Hearse” is a new beginning for both Sherlock and his friends and family.

I loved the little bit of back story we got on Sherlock and Mycroft’s childhood and getting to meet their parents.  Played wonderfully by Benedict’s real parents, Wanda Ventham and Timothy Carlton. 

There is also a sense of reversal of position with Sherlock and Mycroft.  In series 1 and 2, Sherlock was the lonely insecure one with no friends.  Now, he has the strength of friends around him to support him.  Mycroft is denying he is lonely, yet Sherlock sees through that for the bulldust that it is.  Sherlock has realised that Mycroft’s cant from “A Scandal in Belgravia” of “All lives end.  All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage”, is just plain wrong, and John’s insistence that friends protect, is indeed the truth.  This makes “The Empty Hearse” a lot deeper than it immediately appears.

Oh and how Sherlock survived the jump?  I loved the fact that 13 possibilities were mentioned.  The one Sherlock told Anderson was the most feasible.  For the purposes of my sanity I will ignore Anderson’s overly romantic version.  And I am definitely going to scrub the Sheriarty version from the walls of my Mind Palace!

But here’s the thing… did Sherlock actually tell Anderson what happened?  Was Sherlock even there?  Was it all in Anderson’s mind?  Because it become clear in that scene that Anderson has had some form of mental breakdown, possibly guilt induced, and is clearly certifiably insane.  Kudos to Jonathan Aris for that scene.  It was brilliantly done.

I can hardly wait to watch “The Sign of Three”.

Hating on Anderson

16 Sep

It’s amazing the things you think about when you’re pottering around the apartment at 5.30am.  This morning I started musing on why the Sherlock fandom loathes the character of Anderson.  I had read somewhere that when the pilot was shot, people decided Anderson was a villain based on the fact the actor who plays him, Jonathan Aris, had a beard.  Yet when the re-shot “A Study in Pink” aired, with a beardless Jonathan Aris, people still started hating on Anderson.

Before we met the character we knew he didn’t like Sherlock. Sherlock: Who’s on forensics? Lestrade: Anderson. Sherlock: Anderson won’t work with me,

We also know Anderson will do anything to discomfit Sherlock. Sherlock: Anderson? What are you doing on a drugs bust? Anderson: I volunteered.

But thinking about it I am pretty sure that it is the first meeting with Anderson that cemented the nascent fandom’s open hatred of Anderson.

When we meet him, Sherlock cheerfully imparts the knowledge that Anderson is cheating on his wife with Sally Donovan.

The Sherlock fandom is mostly female.  To most women cheating men are the lowest form of pond scum.  At that point, whether Steve Moffat intended it or not, the character of Anderson became the most loathed character on Sherlock.  Even the real villain of seasons 1 and 2, Jim Moriarty, is loved more than Anderson!

It is now virtually impossible to find someone with a positive view of Anderson.  Even the fan fiction very much thumps on Anderson.  Something I am guilty of myself – in my writing I’ve had John break his nose, Lestrade publicly humiliate him, Mycroft’s had him drag naked from Sally’s bed to be bullied, and he’s been humiliated playing Strip Monopoly.   And I am nowhere near as vicious as some writers! ( http://www.fanfiction.net/u/4797350/MargyW )

The interesting thing will be how Anderson is treated in season 3.  Will the writers give us some back story that may, at least, mitigate some of the Anderson bashing we’re all guilty of?  Or will they happily fuel the Anderson whumping?  I very much suspect the latter.

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