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« A professor's life: Spring 2017 | Main | This Week's Acquisitions »

January 02, 2017


Scott Bailey

As we were watching the episode, I had the following thoughts: the writers did a huge amount of work early on establishing Holmes as an unlikable character (whose unlikableness was a great source of comedy); Watson felt sorry for Holmes, and that sorrow--and Watson's humanity--led to an affection and a sort of protectiveness for Holmes; at some point the writers had the idea that Holmes needed to become a sympathetic character (in order, maybe to create those sweeping story arcs they're clumsily cobbling up to replace the amusing and exciting episodic structure of the seasons); in order to make Holmes sympathetic, he must be turned into a tragic figure; in order to make him a tragic figure, we must be shown him losing battles to protect those close to him, and the truth of the characters he will lose no longer matters as long as the emotional blow Holmes is to receive is as big as the small screen can make it. In other words, the writing really has to go overboard to counterweight all the work done in the early episodes. What the show fundamentally is has changed, as you point out, and the new idea of Sherlock is pretty well divorced of the original idea, and the existing characters and sets don't fit very well with Sherlock Version 2.

How Watson feels about Holmes is, I think, less important now than how the audience feels about Holmes. Watson is just another stick used to beat Sherlock, and the Deep Sad Pain of Sherlock is the core of the show. "Why isn't this better?" I kept asking myself. "Why is the high-functioning sociopath now treated as a Tortured Artist? WTF?"

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