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Hey, I was wondering: Of course probably most people wish "Sherlock" will never end. But if it had to, what would you consider the perfect ending / closing moment?

 

The last we see of Holmes and Watson in "His Last Bow" is not very satisfactory: Holmes lives a retired life among bees and writes boring books about them and Watson is on the brink of being drawn back into war.

 

Got anything better?

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Since Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are actually immortal, there will always be new cases and versions of them,  I don't want to see any more gravestones. Maybe them just running out of 221B on another case would be the best. Not a cliff hanger, just a shot of them as they will always be in the minds of those who love them best.

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Oh no, no gravestones please! I totally agree. Hmmm, if they're running out of Baker St on a case (an image I find very appealing), would your "perfect closing moment" include John Watson having to be living there again?

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would your "perfect closing moment" include John Watson having to be living there again?

No, not necessarily. I think Sherlock will grow and mature in his own right. John may always be his best friend, but I think John could still enjoy wedded bliss and still go racing all over London with Sherlock when the World's Only Consulting Detective needed his blogger the most.

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I agree!

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Me too -- and that seemed to be Sir Arthur's opinion as well.

 

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that seemed to be Sir Arthur's opinion as well.

 

You think so? I'm not sure. Doyle never put much effort into Dr. Watson's "married bliss" and he killed off the wife (wives?) for no apparent reason. I guess having Holmes and Watson live together made it easier for him to invent adventures that Watson would be able to participate in; he didn't have to come up with reasons for why he was around.

 

Also, the idea of the chraracters' being immortal certainly did not occur to Doyle in the beginning and later, he made several active attempts to end them. I think actually Watson's marriage was the first of those attempts, because at the end of "The Sign of Four", it sounds as if being married was going to end his career as Holmes' assistant completely. The second attempt was, of course, Holmes death (meant to be real!) and the third was sending him into retirement with the bees.

 

None of Doyle's attempts at endings (or good points to stop) appeal to me in the least and I certainly don't like to think that the last we know of Dr Watson is his impending involvement in World War I.

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Oh dear, that reminds me of a certain Cracked photoplasty entry:

 

57103.jpg?v=1

 

Seriously now, maybe the new film with Ian McKellen will provide a more satisfying ending - I don't know if John even appears in it, though.

 

As for marital bliss and still sharing adventures with Sherlock, I wish I could share your optimism, Fox. I'm not sure if someone can actually have two such emotionally intense relationships at the same time or if they'll automatically clash, be it over invested time, emotion or simply focus. Not to say that married people can't have deep friendships, that would be stupid, but I doubt that it would work at the same level of intensity. In season 1 and 2, Sherlock and John were, for all intents and purposes except the sexual one, each other's significant other. But then again, some people make poly relationships work, too.

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It seemed that Doyle tried, at least. There were many instances in canon where Dr. Watson and Holmes were not living together, Watson married or not. He did become quite a busy practicing physician and there are several stories where Watson and Holmes had not seen each other for weeks, maybe even months on end, and yet, when ever Holmes said he would like Watson to join him in an adventure, Watson dropped everything. Either leaving his wife, or his practice in the hands of another physician. His practice, not his wife....or at least....not as far as we know.

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Thank you guys! I am so glad this discussion got (re)started. And thanks for the pics - great way of putting it.

 

As I've said elsewhere, I don't think Doyle put much thought into why his characters acted a certain way or made certain decisions. He was just trying to make a few quick bucks with crime stories. But that doesn't mean it's any less fun to try to figure his people out (more fun, actually, because there is no clear "wrong" or "right").

 

If you wanted to write it so that John can be happily married and still run around London with Sherlock, I guess you could use Doyle's idea that the doctor sold his practice and became a full-time assistant to the consulting detective. Watson being a doctor is not important, either to the stories or to himself. I think he was originally written as one because he's based on a real Dr Watson and because Doyle was an (unsuccessful) doctor himself.

 

If you do it that way, the Adventures become John's job and Baker St his office - and everybody has to balance their jobs and their relationships, so why shouldn't he be able to? This would cast Sherlock in the role of the boss from hell...

 

 

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This would cast Sherlock in the role of the boss from hell...

Believe me, I work for one of those, and Sherlock ain't it. John would never have to worry about making enough money to pay rent "and" put food on the table. John could never say his life was boring, ever again. Sherlock would not be trying to replace John with an illegal immigrant, John would know the job description by heart and never balk at fulfilling it. If anything about working for Sherlock bothered him, he would have quit 221B ages ago.

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That was just one of my silly attempts at making a joke...

 

I agree with you of course that all in all, John would be happy having that kind of "job" - why else would I include the idea in a thread about how one could do a good ending :-)

 

And it would sort of solve the problem of having to balance a marriage and a rather complicated best friend, wouldn't it?

 

If you wanted to make it even easier, you could just let modern Mary inherit (or otherwise gain) her money. There's no real reason in today's world why John would not be able to marry her if she were rich, is there?

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I've raised that question elsewhere, but don't recall getting a definitive answer.  Does seem like it'd be less of a problem nowadays, though.

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I've raised that question elsewhere, but don't recall getting a definitive answer.  Does seem like it'd be less of a problem nowadays, though.

 

I tried my hand at an answer in the thread for "The Sign of Four". Wait, I'll try to find it.

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Found it:

 

"About how Watson feels regarding Mary's supposed wealth: This is an old convention in Victorian love stories. Man loves woman but she is (or becomes ) rich and he is poor. Now, if he proposes, he can always be suspected of having "ensnared" her for her money and it will be said of her that she "married below her station". On the other hand, if the woman is totally destitute, he can't propose either, because then it would seem as if he were taking advantage of her. 

 

If the story is to end happily, the rich woman looses her money (or her expectation of it), the man is now free to approach her and she will always assure him that his love is the greatest treasure she can imagine. The destitute woman betrays her affection in some more or less subtle way (usually by breaking into a violent fit of tears). If she is really desperate, she flings herself into the arms of the hero, thus forcing him to marry her because he's touched her.

 

If you want an example: In Dickens' "Little Dorrit" you get both scenarios in one book. Plus the third big Victorian relationship problem: The woman who is insanely loyal to her father."

 

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Right, that's the Victorian cliche.  I can't imagine a modern man actually saying that he can't marry a woman because she's richer than he is, though I suppose he might shy away from her on those grounds without comment.  I do know that men in much more recent times have been reluctant to even date women who are taller than they are, or smarter, or who have a more responsible job.  In those cases, I don't think it's so much about reluctance to "take advantage" as about fear of being seen as the lesser partner.  Of course, that may have been the Victorian motivation as well, just dressed up in more frills, as was the custom in those days.

 

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In today's time, it's usually ego that makes a man not want to marry someone smarter, taller, richer. Although there are as many male golddiggers out there as there were female ones.

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The end of episode one was pretty perfect, I think. I hope if the show ever stops, it will be at a similar moment - or, as Fox suggested, with the hopeful opening of a new adventure. And maybe with some unsolved riddles that the fans can try to figure out for eternity.

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As for marital bliss and still sharing adventures with Sherlock, I wish I could share your optimism, Fox. I'm not sure if someone can actually have two such emotionally intense relationships at the same time or if they'll automatically clash, be it over invested time, emotion or simply focus. Not to say that married people can't have deep friendships, that would be stupid, but I doubt that it would work at the same level of intensity. In season 1 and 2, Sherlock and John were, for all intents and purposes except the sexual one, each other's significant other. But then again, some people make poly relationships work, too.

 

While I do think that one could write it so that marriage and detective work plus friendship with Sherlock would be possible, I think Doyle did not mean the two to be compatible originally. I see his idea to marry Watson off as the first attempt of terminating the series, based on what Watson and Holmes say about it at the end of "The Sign of Four".

 

Of course, Doyle must have been thinking more along the line of Watson's time and energy being limited rather than his emotional capacity.

 

I have just "rediscovered" The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which includes lots of his most famous and popular stories. They all take place during the marriage and in every one, Doyle seems to have felt the need to explain how Watson came to be involved. My personal favorite reason is in "The Five Orange Pips", where as soon as Mrs. Watson's back is turned, the good doctor goes straight back to Baker St and stays there until she comes home. Come on, Watson, you can't tell me that you're incapable of living on your own after years of military life - and besides, what kind of a substitute is Mr. Holmes for a Victorian housewife? Well, maybe he just wanted to be pampered a bit by Mrs Hudson...

 

 

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  Or maybe Mary is a neat freak and he knows with Sherlock he can throw his socks to the wind and who's gonna care, well, Mrs. Hudson for one, but with all of Sherlock's papers, books, and what not floating around who's gonna notice a sock, or two....it's the bachelor pad bar none, and then there the assured adrenalin rush of chasing after Sherlock on a case.

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I like that, Fox. The description of Holmes' main room sounds so cozy in a weird way (just like he sounds like really good company in an even weirder one) and I like how they made it come to life just like I had imagined it on "Sherlock". Wouldn't you just love to spend an afternoon there - Sherlock at his microscope too busy to notice or care what you were doing as long as you don't touch anything and don't talk?

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But he's such a show off. Sooner or later he's just going to have to start crowing about something fascinating that he's doing with the head in the fridge, or the eyeballs in the microwave, or he's gonna ask you to hand him is phone when it's right by his hand, or if your gonna get up and make tea, you might as well make him one too.

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If I actually get to fumble that phone out of his chest pocket and hold it to his ear - why not?

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The stories that bother me the most are the ones where a popular character is killed off simply because the actor no longer wants to play him/her

 

That is exactly why I spend so much time speculating about how one could do a proper ending for "Sherlock". Doyle is no help whatsoever on that point, because his ideas were, as far as I can see:

 

- marry Dr Watson (didn't work, because Dr Watson, contrary to what he said before he had the ring on his finger, found it very possible to run off with Holmes on any case that presented itself - or rush to his supposed deathbed, if the great detective suddenly thought that was funnier)

 

- kill Holmes (didn't work after all because Holmes' fans and the need for money overcame even death and Prof. Moriarty)

 

- send Holmes into retirement as a bee-keeper (!) and Watson into World War I

 

Of course, characters, like people, will grow old and die. If they are dependent on real-life "mediums" (the disadvantage of being a film character versus "existing" in a book), of course those will not be available for ever. As Fox has kindly pointed out before, however, some fictional people have managed to become immortal nonetheless. So what I call "ending" is more like a good-bye. But good-byes are important, so I hope they find a better one on the show than Doyle did. And soon enough! Because the worst ending is the one that takes place after a series has been dragged on beyond all chance of quality.

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Of course, characters, like people, will grow old and die. ... But good-byes are important, so I hope they find a better one on the show than Doyle did. And soon enough! Because the worst ending is the one that takes place after a series has been dragged on beyond all chance of quality.

 

Hopefully "soon enough" in this case will be a very long time from now -- not only because the quality so far is excellent, but also because they're not trying to do twenty-some episodes per year.

 

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