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Carol the Dabbler

Episode 1.0, The Unaired Pilot (60-min. "Study in Pink")

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I too can watch the Unaired Pilot over and over again. There is so much about it that is good. I suppose there might have been a way to use it as backstory....but that would have made it way to edgy for some viewers, I suppose....but still...the way Gatiss and Moffat can revisit things from that episode into the Aired series, maybe we will see more of it, it's a thought.

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Speaking of revisiting... Honest to God (and maybe I'm reaching), but I have always wondered about that bit where Sherlock is drugged, writhing on the floor, bottoms-up, and the cabbie is walking menacingly around him and he says (paraphrasing),"You're weak as a kitten. I could do anything to you... anything I wanted. Don't worry, though. I'm only going to kill you." 

 

The implication there was obvious, and with all the what-happened-in-Sherlock's-past speculation going on out there, I've always wondered if that was intended to be a precursor to some tidbit of information about some abuse Sherlock suffered in the past, either as a child or at university.  Or if it was just meant to terrify the helpless man on the floor. 

 

It's quite probable I've just thought way too much about this, and have read way too many Sherlock-was-molested fanfics, but every time I watch that scene I get that feeling and I wonder if there was originally meant to be more to that, somewhere down the road. 

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I prefer the older Sherlock. For me, Holmes should be very much a man, not a boy. He's cute in the pilot, yes, but he's not really Sherlock Holmes for me. Matter of taste, of course! I know some will say he still acts like a boy in the finished version, anyway... But that is a lot funnier when he doesn't so much look like one.

 

 

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I prefer the older Sherlock. For me, Holmes should be very much a man, not a boy. He's cute in the pilot, yes, but he's not really Sherlock Holmes for me.

 

  I like what Sherlock became in the "A Study in Pink" as he is more like the Holmes of the books though younger. The Unaired Pilot did make him seem younger still. Though I suppose he had to be so young and naive at some point. But the 90 minutes gave Moffat and Gatiss to work out some of the bugs that the BBC was afraid was going to sink the show before it could even see the light of day.

 

 

 

Possibly just the cabbie knowing Sherlock was a virgin.

 

  That's an interesting idea. I wonder how the cabbie.....ahh...because he was supposed to be hired by Moriarty and Moriarty would have told him that?

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Doubt it.

Possibly just the cabbie knowing Sherlock was a virgin.

 

Very possible! If he was getting his information from Moriarty... and Jim sure did like to poke at that particular beehive.  

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I have always wondered about the recasting of Sally Donovan. I assume the original actress just couldn't commit to doing the series or something, but I actually really liked her.  Also, the Sally we have now (and forgive me, I know virtually nothing of how things work at the NSY, other than what I see in BBC shows) seems to be a much higher rank than the original version? I would compare her to like a junior detective in one and a uniformed, beat cop in the other. Perhaps upon making the decision to have her around for more than on ep, they figured a higher rank would give us more reason to interact with her. I mean, if she were like a beat cop, she wouldn't be hanging out with Lestrade all the time, would she? 

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The showdown with the cabbie is the weakest part of the pilot in my opinion and much better handled in the finished Study in Pink. No matter how young and inexperienced, this is Sherlock Holmes for pete's sake and he just doesn't belong writhing on the floor with some old man making lewd comments over him. There was also nothing special about that scene - even I could have made something like that up. The "game of chess" they finally settled on was brilliant. It made both the hero and the villain appear much stronger and more interesting. And it had that great "what result to you care about" moment - Sherlock deliberately chose to confront this guy on his own just to satisfy his curiosity, prove his brilliance and be distracted from boredom. And he wasn't drugged when he decided to try out the pill. Which made that part where he almost kills himself so much more chilling. (By the way, for some reason I am convinced that he had the wrong one and would have died for sure - no sense to that, is there?)

 

Fox, I agree that the Sherlock we meet in the 90 min A Study in Pink is like the original but younger. I like that - a lot! The Sherlock we meet in the pilot doesn't seem like Holmes at any point in his life to me.

 

But tastes of course differ. I'm glad they chose to publish the pilot and it's not like I don't enjoy it.

 

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Sally Donovan was a sergeant in the pilot as well -- here's the relevant bit of dialog from Ariane DeVere's transcript:

 

DONOVAN: Who’s this?
SHERLOCK: Colleague of mine, Doctor Watson. Doctor Watson, Sergeant Sally Donovan. (His voice drips with sarcasm.) Old friend.
DONOVAN: A colleague? How did you get a colleague?!

 

I haven't seen the pilot for a while, so I'm not certain, but I believe she was wearing more of a uniform there, which would make her look like a more junior person -- which is presumably why she was re-costumed for the second version.

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And also made her clothing factually correct, for a real life detective police sergeant.

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... I am convinced that he had the wrong one and would have died for sure - no sense to that, is there?

 

In the Sherlock universe, there had to be a reason why the other four people all picked the wrong bottle (and I choose to assume that the cabbie was telling the truth about that).

 

Sherlock said it was a 50/50 chance, and the cabbie said something like you're not playing the odds, you're playing against me -- but it seems to me they're both wrong, and Sherlock was actually playing against those other four people.  So all he needed to do was figure out which bottle an "ordinary" person would choose, and then pick the other one.

 

I think that just about anyone who did not know about the prior victims would reason as follows:

 

The cabbie is pushing this bottle toward me.

He wants me to think that he's trying to fool me, wants me to take the other one.

But I'm too smart for him, I'll take this one.

 

And they were all wrong.  So I'm with Sherlock, I'd take the other one.  But we'll never know for sure, will we?

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I think it's just a 50 / 50 chance. The cabbie wouldn't always push the same bottle towards the victim. I suppose he made that choice based on his assessment of the person's character. The situation is new every time and the previous "games" don't really influence the odds for the next.

 

I think I would have snatched up both bottles and switched them around until none of us knew which was which. Then I'd have asked the cabbie if he still wanted to play. His gun was fake, so where would be the big risk?

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I'm not sure the cabbie really cared which pill he took -- one way, his kids would get more money; the other way, he could stop worrying about the aneurism -- a win/win situation.

 

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I don't know. Jeff knew that he was dying so if he took a poisoned pill so what? It has been stated early on in this thread that it could be that Sherlock may be have been Jeff's last target. Maybe if Jeff was able to take Sherlock out his kids would get a major bonus. Sherlock did ask Jeff if the bottles were alike, and Jeff said "in every way."  Did that pertain to the bottles themselves? Or the pills as well?

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And he wasn't drugged when he decided to try out the pill. Which made that part where he almost kills himself so much more chilling. (By the way, for some reason I am convinced that he had the wrong one and would have died for sure - no sense to that, is there?)

 

 

 

I'm torn. On the one hand, it seems much more poignant and important that John killed him to "save Sherlock's life" if he was, indeed, about to take the poison pill.  On the other, the cabbie knew his time was up and he was about to go to prison for several murders (and since he proclaimed it was all for his children, I don't expect he wanted to be around to have to explain that to them). He knew which pill was which, I can see him goading Sherlock into finishing the game when the cops show up in the hopes that he, himself, would be the one to take the poison pill and end it all right then and there. 

 

Or, I suppose he could have also thought that, since he was going to prison anyway, he might as well take down the great Sherlock Holmes on his way out, given that Sherlock was ultimately responsible for his downfall. 

 

I guess we, like Sherlock, will never really know.  Although... I wonder if he ever had the pills tested to find out for sure? Seems like his curiosity wouldn't let him rest on that one. 

 

While we're on the subject, that's one more thing I liked better in the pilot.  John killed the cabbie "only when Sherlock was in mortal danger", but... really, technically, he wasn't.  At least, not at the hands of the cabbie.  Sherlock taking the pill would have been his own choice, even if the cabbie did use his ego to goad him into it.  So John shooting him there in defense of Sherlock probably wouldn't have held up in court.  

 

In the original, however, with Sherlock drugged and unable to fend for himself, it was much more an issue of life or death. I remember when I watched the aired pilot (weeks before I saw the UAP), that whole shooting scene felt very surreal to me and I had a hard time getting on board with Sherlock's "man of high moral fiber, only shot when I was in immediate danger" at the end. Rather, I thought John might not be as moral as he led people to believe. 

 

I guess my final take away was that John was a soldier, and had no qualms killing an evil man, whether the man was a risk at the moment or not. That, I can get on board with. But not the "moral fiber" thing for shooting a man who was just standing there. 

 

 

 

Sally Donovan was a sergeant in the pilot as well -- here's the relevant bit of dialog from Ariane DeVere's transcript:

 

DONOVAN: Who’s this?

SHERLOCK: Colleague of mine, Doctor Watson. Doctor Watson, Sergeant Sally Donovan. (His voice drips with sarcasm.) Old friend.

DONOVAN: A colleague? How did you get a colleague?!

 

I haven't seen the pilot for a while, so I'm not certain, but I believe she was wearing more of a uniform there, which would make her look like a more junior person -- which is presumably why she was re-costumed for the second version.

 

Thanks for that! I wonder why they chose to have her costumed that way in the original? 

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 Jeff wasn't exactly just standing there all innocent and stuff. He had killed four innocent people, one a teenaged boy, for money. John couldn't know how he might be forcing Sherlock to take the pill. Sherlock knew the gun was fake, they hadn't had that luxury, if it even went that far. Would he have let them just leave, as he seemed to be willing to let Sherlock do before appealing to his ego? He had to kill for his kids to get the money Moriarty promised for each body. So probably not especially if Sherlock was to be his last.

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 Jeff wasn't exactly just standing there all innocent and stuff. He had killed four innocent people, one a teenaged boy, for money. John couldn't know how he might be forcing Sherlock to take the pill. Sherlock knew the gun was fake, they hadn't had that luxury, if it even went that far. Would he have let them just leave, as he seemed to be willing to let Sherlock do before appealing to his ego? He had to kill for his kids to get the money Moriarty promised for each body. So probably not especially if Sherlock was to be his last.

 

 

He certainly wasn't innocent, but if I walk up and shoot a murderer in the face on the street because I think he's going to harm my friend, when he was physically just standing there saying "kill yourself!" to him... well, that's not going to get me off in court. Which is, I suppose, why Sherlock covered for him.  I concede that John, from his vantage point, couldn't know what was going on and possibly thought the guy was doing something to force Sherlock to take the pill (although, I wonder, considering his later comment,"You were going to take that damn pill to prove how clever you were, weren't you?"). 

 

Something that has always bothered me, though... in the UAP, John said he threw the gun in the Thames.  In the aired version, he kept it.  But either way, that was a military pistol, wouldn't it have been registered to him? And couldn't the bullet have been traced back to the serial number on the gun, which I'm sure the military has record of, even if he threw it away? Does that not work the same way in the UK as it does in America? Although, I don't get the impression John would have been allowed to keep his service weapon as a civilian, so did he steal that gun? I had a friend in the UK who once told me they weren't even allowed to carry pepper spray, so I imagine gun laws are pretty strict. Not like here (SC, anyway) where all you have to do is take a short class to qualify for a concealed weapons permit. 

 

I also don't imagine Sherlock would get off easy for firing a gun into the air in front of Irene's home, or all over the place at his own flat. Unlawful discharge? I guess it pays to have an indulgent older brother running the government. 

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I also don't imagine Sherlock would get off easy for firing a gun into the air in front of Irene's home, or all over the place at his own flat. Unlawful discharge? I guess it pays to have an indulgent older brother running the government. 

 

  Good points all, but Gatiss and Moffat went to great pains in the 90 minute episodes to "Victorianize" Sherlock and this is fiction based on a Canon where John H. Watson was allowed to keep his. But if Sherlock had some kind of clout in the British Government that would allow him access to "The Palace" wrapped only in a sheet, then it is conceivable that he could get away with things like firing arms in public and such things as that. Known laws and convention just do not apply to Sherlock.

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Can I just also point out the blindingly obvious?

Firing the gun outside Irene's house was to BRING the police and it did...it wasn't Sherlock's gun, nor John's.

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Wow, this discussion has taken a few very interesting turns.

 

The following refers to the finished 90 min version, but I didn't want to post it in that thread because it's in answer to posts made here:

 

From John's perspective at the time when he decided to shoot, all he could make out was that Sherlock stood there with a pill held to his mouth. He knew that four people had died that way, taking those out of their own accord at the hands of the murderer. So of course Sherlock was in immediate danger when he shot, from John's point of view.

 

John wasn't told about the two pills until afterwards (when he talks to Sherlock in the street, he says Sally had been explaining everything to him). It wasn't until then that he must have realized Sherlock had (more or less) voluntarily risked his own life to prove a point and if he had saved him at all, it had been from his own self.

 

Sherlock must have been pretty sure he had the right bottle, but who knows. It would not have helped to get the pills tested later, how would he know by then which was which?

 

As for the cabbie, I don't think he wanted to kill himself. The longer he was in business, the more money he could leave to his family. I'm sure he would have gotten a large bonus for Sherlock. Although... Moriarty might have been disappointed to lose him so soon.

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Oh, no, I didn't mean Jeff! Sherlock, of course!

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Something that has always bothered me, though... in the UAP, John said he threw the gun in the Thames.  In the aired version, he kept it.  But either way, that was a military pistol, wouldn't it have been registered to him? And couldn't the bullet have been traced back to the serial number on the gun, which I'm sure the military has record of, even if he threw it away?

 

Good question.  As Fox says, this is probably more from canon than from current-day realism.  But maybe that wasn't the gun that had been issued to John.  Maybe he had somehow acquired an "extra" gun while in the army (taken off a deceased enemy, for example), so even though he dutifully turned in his own gun, he still had one left.

 

I thought someone had already mentioned the following, but went back and couldn't find it, so apologies if I missed it -- how did Jeff know which pill was which?  I'm assuming Moriarty supplied them both and told him which was which.  Moriarty's actual goal was presumably to kill Sherlock, after which point Jeff would have been a loose end -- so I wouldn't be at all surprised if BOTH of those final two pills were poison.  On the other hand, maybe Moriarty's goal was merely to test Sherlock, in which case he might have been fairly certain Sherlock would choose "the good pill" and get rid of the loose end for him.

 

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I'm glad to see this discussion.  It always bothered me that from John's point of view it was a righteous shooting because he believed Sherlock's life was in danger, but Sherlock put his own life in danger, walking to the door after ascertaining that the gun was a lighter (he could have just left!) and then coming back to 'play the game.'  Good thing this never came to court.  What a mess it would have been.

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