Tag Archives: The Empty Hearse

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 Fan Fiction Writer’s Opinion

16 Dec

I am about to shove in my two cents worth on the debacle at the BFI screening of Sherlock “The Empty Hearse”.

It is my considered opinion that springing explicit Johnlock fan fiction on Benedict and Martin, and expecting them to read it was pretty disgusting behaviour on the part of Caitlin Moran.  This is not the professional behaviour you expect from a journalist of Moran’s calibre.  It’s also a low, nasty trick to play on someone who is a friend.  Not funny.  In fact to pinch the Sherlock fandom’s favourite phrase, it’s a bit not good!

Of course Twitter and Tumblr reacted in their usual manner.  Firstly whining about the fan fic writer’s work being used without permission, then bashing Martin and Benedict for not wanting to read it!

Let’s look at the first one, shall we?  All fan fiction writers break copyright ever single damn time we post a story.  So don’t whine to me about stories being used without permission.  If Mark Gatiss, Steve Moffat and the BBC really wanted to, they could make life extremely miserable for fan fiction writers.  Oh and those “disclaimers” so beloved of fan fiction writers actually mean diddly squat if BBC seriously decided to sue.

Many fan fiction writers seem to think that they are above the law and that the shows owe them!  Excuse me, has it occurred to you lot that you are actually stealing the character’s created by the hard work of others and then playing holy hell with them?  So many stories are so far removed from the characters that they are barely recognizable.  I try to keep the characters in character – which is why my stories can take a month to write.  Until I can hear every word being delivered in character by the actor in my mind, then to my way of thinking, it’s not proper fan fiction, it’s simply new characters dressed in old clothes.

And Johnlock is about as far removed from the true characters as is possible.  Neither Sherlock or John are gay.  Yes the show has homoerotic overtones, which are mostly used for comic leaven.  Not to be taken seriously.  Yes, I have written a little light Johnlock myself, though nothing explicit.  And this has only happened when the story I’ve been working on works best with that outcome.  I prefer the strong friendship that glows throughout all the episodes of the show.  The friendship that is the essence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works.

The second complaint about Martin and Benedict not being happy to read Johnlock fan fiction.  How the hell would you like it if you were an actor and you’d invested so much time and effort into bringing a character to life, to find people are happily bastardizing the character for their own amusement?  Think how Martin and Benedict must have felt.  Martin at least has read some Johnlock, I understand, Benedict I don’t think has.  Suddenly, you’re confronted with some pretty explicit writing that you’re expected to read out loud.  I’m actually surprised they didn’t just get up and walk off.  It says much for the grace and kindness of both men that they didn’t take their anger out on the audience.

Remember this when you write fan fiction or draw fan art.  We are privileged.  We are using the images of two REAL men who just happen to play characters, and they are mostly happy to allow us to do so.  Remember that the next time you feel the urge to whine about lack of respect to fans, be it writers or artists, or just the average fan.

Respect is earned not given as a right.  If you don’t respect the actors with your work and your attitude, why the hell do you expect anyone to respect you?

26 Seconds of Beautiful Agony

4 Aug

I have spent a large chunk of the weekend carefully examining (ie drooling over) the first Sherlock season 3 trailer.

It is 26 seconds of sheer, gorgeous, agony.  I love it.

Beautifully put together to tease and tantalize.  I think I’ve been teased to the very edge of my reason.

As Mark Gatiss wrote the first episode, “The Empty Hearse”, I am guessing that the snippets of footage used all came from his masterpiece.  Make no mistake, it will be a masterpiece.

I will admit I kept getting distracted.  Sherlock shucking his coat as he walks into (I think) a restaurant resulted in me becoming mesmerized and totally fixated on that damn errant curl on Benedict’s neck.  I just want to curl it around my finger.  I spent most of the preview muttering “Down Girl” and “Sit! Stay!” to myself. 

Then there is the expression on Sherlock’s face.  Fear, determination, and hope all chasing across his face as he crosses the room.  The urge to cuddle him into a coma becomes irresistible.

I’m still not sure if Sherlock was entering a restaurant to meet John or heading into the Diogenes Club to see Mycroft.  Incidentally, I can’t imagine Mark Gatiss wandering too far away from ACD canon with Sherlock’s return, so I am supposing the Mycroft knew Sherlock faked his death all along.  After all, in the books, Mycroft kept his brother in the loop and continued to pay the rent on 221B Baker Street.

The trailer is absolute perfection.  I adore it.  I kept sneaking back to YouTube for one more look.

There is one meeting I really do want to see though.  Anderson and Sherlock.  I have been amusing myself imagining the sick, horrified look on Anderson’s face when he realises that Sherlock isn’t dead.  I do hope we get to see that.


Shooting Sherlock

14 Apr

I have been following the news detailing the shooting of the first episode of season 3 of Sherlock, “The Empty Hearse”, with great interest.  And, having seen many of the photographs, also with great envy.  I so wish I could be in London right now to get the chance to see Benedict, Martin and the crew at work.  It’s times like this that you realize Australian really is too damn far away from anything.  *feels sad*

Some brilliant photos have emerged.  Benedict Cumberbatch at his most gorgeous…not to mention his nuttiest.  It is great to see a man so comfortable with himself that he has no qualms about looking like a complete dork in photos.  No raging Hollywood ego in action here.

One other thing has emerged.  Just how damn unusual the cast and crew of Sherlock are.  Most would get annoyed at the number of fans turning up to watch.  Not this lot.  The fans have been warmly welcomed, and in turn have responded by being well behaved and respectful (mostly).

Crew members have taken fans up to the door of “221B Baker Street” to let them be photographed…and sometimes Benedict or Martin have made their day by inserting themselves in the shots. 

Both Benedict and Martin have happily posed for photos and chatted with fans.  Not by word or look has it even been intimated that the fans presence is a nuisance.

Stories have come out of fans, having been all day at the shoot without food, being fed biscuits by Benedict, and pizza by Martin.  And non-fans wonder why we love these men?

As a complete back room geek girl, I am adoring the photos of the technical aspects of the shoot.  Particularly the recreation of the fall from The Reichenbach Fall.  Even if I did almost fall off my chair laughing at the photo of Benedict suspended in mid air keeping the rain off with a large umbrella.  The  lyrics of the Mary Poppins song “A Spoon Full of Sugar” kept going through my mind: In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun, you find the fun, and snap the job’s a game. 

Yup, sounds like working on Sherlock to me.

One unsubstantiated story from the shoot really delighted me.  Allegedly a fan had nothing with them for Mark Gatiss to sign and asked if Mark Gatiss would high five them instead.  Mark’s response was supposedly “I only do french kisses.”  I did find myself wondering just what Mark’s response would have been if said fan had called his bluff.  Which is exactly what I would have done if I was that fan.  Mark Gatiss would probably still be running.

The Sherlock fandom is probably the luckiest fandom in the world.  Not just tolerated, but encouraged, one could almost say loved, by the cast and crew.  It isn’t the usual toxic co-dependency you often get between shows needing an audience and fans needing something to follow. 

Together we are something unique.

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