Tag Archives: Mary Morstan

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”.

A Few Speculations on “His Last Vow”

7 Jan

There’s a lot of talk on Twitter, and such like internet sites, about the forth coming “Sherlock” season 3 episode “His Last Vow”.  I’ve had a few thoughts on this that I thought I might share.

The thing that is freaking more than a few “Sherlock” fans out is the hospital scene.  We don’t know what happens in the hospital yet, but exterior scenes were shot with John and Lestrade and, of course, rumour is running around like a hamster in a wheel.  Going nowhere fast and ultimately futile.

A section of the fandom seems to think that it is Sherlock who is hospitalised.  There is nothing to support this speculation at all.

Those of us who are Sherlockians, and have read all the stories more times than we care to count, do know one thing.  Don’t get too attached to Mary Morstan.  She didn’t survive long in the books.  A  few times Mrs Watson is mentioned, then *BOOM* – gone.  Over the years there has been lots of discussion as to the disappearance of Mary Watson nee Morstan.  Apart from the obvious one that ACD realised that she buggered up the action and so just quietly dropped the character, or given his cavalier attitude to continuity (DO NOT get me started on Watson’s Wandering War Wound) just forgot her, one or two ideas as to her fate have been discussed deeply.  One very popular theory is that Mary died either in childbirth or while miscarrying. 

Mark Gatiss, Steve Moffat and Steve Thompson are all Sherlockians.  They have not deviated from the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s immortal creations.  However, if they allow John and Mary to have children and allow Mary to live, that would be shifting “Sherlock” into the realms of “Elementary”.  Just another show that happens to use the names of famous characters.  The spirit of the original stories would be well and truly violated.

There are some good clues that Mary is deeply involved in “His Last Vow”.  The message she got at the wedding that was signed “CAM”. Charles Augustus Magnessun.  Somehow, in some way, Mary has fallen into his clutches.

Steve Moffat has written “His Last Vow” – I cannot see him being so damned obvious as to have Sherlock’s life hanging by a thread at season end. 

There are a few possibilities as I see it.

1. Mary Morstan is hospitalised after suffering a miscarriage.

2. Mary attempts to commit suicide, either because of CAM or because John discovers what it is CAM knows about Mary.

3. Mycroft has Sherlock committed to a psychiatric hospital.

4. Mycroft has a heart attack.

Of course, knowing Steve Moffat, I will be completely wrong on all counts.  I look forward to finding out.

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