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Mycroft Holmes

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Because apparently we did not have one for Mycroft. (Oh the tragedy ;) ) I now bring you his thread. :mycroft: :)

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So my phone gave me issues and I didn't realize it created the thread 3 times. Oops.

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Technology pretending it knows more than you? Somehow that seems appropriate, since it's Mycroft we're talking about. :smile:

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Because apparently we did not have one for Mycroft. (Oh the tragedy ;) ) I now bring you his thread. :mycroft: :)

 

Which points up another thing this forum does not have -- we need a Mycroft smiley!  No, that doesn't sound right.  A Mycroft emoticon?  Nope, that neither.  I guess what we actually need is a Mycroft smirkey.

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Mmmmm... discussions on Mycroft.  Okay, I'll start.  I have to say that I like him better after S1.  In S1 he was a little too hissy in his delivery, always breathing in through gritted teeth.  Glad he dropped that in S2 and S3.  

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I love Mycroft! I think he is an awesome character and I'm glad he is being featured much more than in the Doyle stories. 

I like how Mycroft and Moriarty are both extreme opposite examples of what Sherlock just might have become, if not for John Watson. 

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I love Mycroft, too, though I still don't think I really "grasp" him (his character/ his backstory/ his motivations/ ...).

 

My main concern about Mycroft is that people often seem to agree that he has no feelings at all. I am convinced that Mycroft has feelings. He is a human being, after all and no human being has no feelings at all. But he has chosen to let his rational part rule over his feelings and he has learnt how to repress feelings in years of training. He's very much in control of his feelings pretty much all the time. Nonetheless, I am convinced that he loves Sherlock: He does worry about him constantly, and not only for some "professional" reason (as he'd like everyone, including himself, make believe: "you have more utility here"), but also Sherlock's loss would really break Mycroft's heart. Only a broken heart doesn't mean a broken Mycroft, he would use his powers of reason to duct-tape his heart, to wrap it up like a mummy that is never to see light again but stay dead in a black tomb.

And though he didn't bother to step in when Sherlock was being tortured, I am certain that he did not enjoy watching it. (enjoyment would mean too much pure emotion, anyhow) He didn't really sympathise with Sherlock because sympathising means immersing yourself in someone else's emotions (fears, ...) - and he doesn't even immerse in his own emotions. But deep down in him, I'm sure, he loves Sherlock. This love is of course covered by layers and layers of "rational" thoughts and convictions ("caring is not an advantage!"), but I see this love shining through. And for someone whose all emotions are muffled, even this tiny light of love for Sherlock is overwhelming and a major force for many of his actions. So I am sure that Mycroft was in Serbia not because London needed Sherlock, but because he had closely watched Sherlock's every move in those two years and because he had realised that Sherlock needed him, right then, right there in that cellar.

 

So much for my (as it turned out: melodramatic) case for Mycroft.

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I adore the character of Mycroft; as I said in another thread, what Gatiss has done with this character has taken a presence that I didn't much like in canon (although I really liked him in The Bruce Partington Plans for some reason) and made it into something I really love to watch.

 

My preliminary thoughts on Mycroft is that he comes by his seeming lack of emotion very honestly.  Take a genius-level child with limited exposure to and play time with other children.  Let him find out that the few other children he encounters are not as smart as him, and let him become frustrated by the pressure to behave like them rather than exercise his own intellect.  Let him realize that, in matters ranging from academics to play to problem-solving, if he wants something done to his own standards, he will have to do it himself.  Lay a generally introverted personality on top of that, and you have the recipe for a Mycroft. (You also have a kick-butt government operative, because this is not someone who will flinch at making major decisions without a support team.)

 

Plus, intellect can be a one-way thing, in the sense that you can exercise and expand your intellectual abilities whether you have anyone else around or not.  Emotions, on the other hand, are fundamentally transactional -- they depend on the real or imagined presence of another human being (or something personified, like Redbeard or the Velveteen Rabbit) in order to really work.  Mycroft's accidental and self-enforced solitary nature could well lead to him developing intellectual capacity far more easily than he does emotion.

 

Finally, emotions can hurt!  I sometimes think it is a wonder that we don't have more Mycrofts, because there is so much capacity for pain when you engage emotionally with the world.  For those who can lead with their intellect, it is a much safer way to take control of your world and your experience without courting the pain that can come so easily from emotion.  

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It just occurred to me that I've seen something very similar to the relationship between the Holmes brothers before -- namely, the relationship between Sarek and Spock on Star Trek (specifically the original series and its movies).  In Sherlock, we once again have the totally-repressed father figure (Mycroft) frustrated by the younger man's [relatively] cavalier attitude, even though the younger man himself seems repressed by normal human standards.

 

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Yes, that little chat about how Sherlock was now into making friends during the Game Operation scene. Very telling, I think.

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Yes, that little chat about how Sherlock was now into making friends during the Game Operation scene. Very telling, I think.

 

I ADORE that scene.  Love.  It's so bittersweet...

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It just occurred to me that I've seen something very similar to the relationship between the Holmes brothers before -- namely, the relationship between Sarek and Spock on Star Trek (specifically the original series and its movies).  In Sherlock, we once again we have the totally-repressed father figure (Mycroft) frustrated by the younger man's [relatively] cavalier attitude, even though the younger man himself seems repressed by normal human standards.

 

Totally agree.  Good call.

 

Given the frequency with which this kind of thing comes up, I almost wonder if we need a Star Trek/Sherlock parallels thread?

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I love Mycroft, too, though I still don't think I really "grasp" him (his character/ his backstory/ his motivations/ ...).

 

My main concern about Mycroft is that people often seem to agree that he has no feelings at all. I am convinced that Mycroft has feelings. He is a human being, after all and no human being has no feelings at all. .....

Carol is going to beat me bloody for saying this :D but Moftiss agrees with you ... in that interview I was talking about in the "feelings for Molly" thread, they say almost the same thing you just did. Of course he has feelings, he just suppresses them more than most people are able to......

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 I am convinced that he loves Sherlock: He does worry about him constantly, and not only for some "professional" reason (as he'd like everyone, including himself, make believe: "you have more utility here"), but also Sherlock's loss would really break Mycroft's heart.

 

I agree that Mycroft loves Sherlock, in fact Sherlock might just be the ONLY thing Mycroft has ever allowed himself to love.  And maybe regrets it at times, but there is no going back.  When Mycroft tells Sherlock that losing him would break his heart...if that is what he was WILLING to say, I can only imagine how deep his feelings really run.  Like Sherlock's loss probably wouldn't just break his heart, but destroy him. 

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... people often seem to agree that he has no feelings at all. I am convinced that Mycroft has feelings. He is a human being, after all and no human being has no feelings at all. .....

Carol is going to beat me bloody for saying this :D but Moftiss agrees with you ... in that interview I was talking about in the "feelings for Molly" thread, they say almost the same thing you just did. Of course he has feelings, he just suppresses them more than most people are able to......

... or would want to!

 

P.S.:  :axe:

 

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:grovel:

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Oh, I don't think Mycroft is totally devoid of feeling. And it's pretty clear he cares about his little brother. Sherlock is his "pressure point", after all. But in general, he does seem to be a pretty cold fish, and I do think it's probably a lot easier for Mycroft to repress his emotional side than it is for Sherlock, because it's less strong. Mycroft doesn't strike me as naturally passionate.

 

I don't like the big brother. First of all, I object to the idea of a smarter big brother for Sherlock Holmes. I objected to it in the original, and I never read the Mycroft stories more than once. I'm a bit annoyed they blew his character up so much for this series. Also, he allows for some pretty lazy writing. Don't know how to get your heroes out of the ludicrous mess you've written them into? No problem, just conjure up the fairy godmother with her magic umbrella.

 

Then, of all the characters, he seems the least real to me. There's something cartoonish about Mycroft, as if he should be in a regular superhero film (where I'd probably just love him). So far, they have not successfully made me feel for or with him. If he got killed in the next episode, I wouldn't really care.

 

Also, I cannot forgive the torture scene. I cannot forgive Mycroft for telling little Sherlock he was stupid. How much better, happier and more stable a person might Sherlock have become if it hadn't been for his "rubbish big brother"? Yes, Mycroft does love him, but Mycroft is so averse to love in general that it comes out as this twisted, sick thing with him that does neither himself nor the object of his affection much good. That latter bit is pretty interesting, I grant you.

 

Of course Mycroft is a great source of humor. Mark Gatiss plays him to perfection, and he gets some of the best lines.

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I cannot forgive Mycroft for telling little Sherlock he was stupid. How much better, happier and more stable a person might Sherlock have become if it hadn't been for his "rubbish big brother"?

 

That's a really good point, I absolutely agree that Sherlock developed in a certain direction (that of the self-chosen sociopathy, that is) because of his older brother. I think sociopathy, rationalism and abnegation of emotions are much more natural character traits for Mycroft than Sherlock. Sherlock is much more passionate. But being competitive is quite a normal thing for siblings and in my imagination, Sherlock as a kid always strove to be as good as his big brother. And trying to be like Mycroft of course means that you try to be clever, to be intellectual, to be rational, to detach yourself from feelings. But of course younger siblings cannot stand up to their older siblings in those terms, because even 1 or 2 years make a huge difference for children when it comes to intellectual develoment. So (at least up to a certain age) Sherlock always lost, always was the stupid one, and that'll have even encouraged Sherlock to detatch himself from his emotions, because constant frustration is of course an emotional state that hurts, that weakens you and that you want to get rid of. So this is why I think Sherlock turned out to see himself as a sociopath and be proud of it - until he met John.

 

BUT: I don't blame Mycroft for it. Yes, hadn't it been for him, Sherlock would have developed differently. But Mycroft was just a kid himself that was being itself. He never reflected on how Sherlock must have felt being the stupid one, because that would have been very out if character for Mycroft (reflecting on emotions), and even a huge thing for other children as well (reflecting on other people's emotions). How do you stop someone comparing themselves to you? You can't really. You could explain why they shouldn't and why this comparison must end in disappointment for someone who is younger than you, or you could tell them there is no need to be competitive because there are different ways to be (a) good (person). But if it had been for anyone to explain those things to Sherlock, it would have been for Mommy and Daddy Holmes, not "little" Mycroft.

 

 

 

 

First of all, I object to the idea of a smarter big brother for Sherlock Holmes. I objected to it in the original, and I never read the Mycroft stories more than once.

 

I know that the writers say Mycroft is smarter than Sherlock, and I am sure both Mycroft and Sherlock think so, and I know that the series definitely suggests it. But yet I am not convinced of it.

 

Example 1: When Sherlock gets shot, it's Mycroft who tells him not to be stupid because "it's not about the gun" but that Sherlock only needs to observe the unshattered mirror to know tahat the bullet is still inside him. This looks like Mycroft is the smart one (who even tells Sherlock that he always was so stupid in that very scene), but this is all happening in Sherlock's mind palace. So this intellectual power that we witness here is not really Mycroft's, it's Sherlock's

Example 2: The deduction game in TEH. I would call it a tie. Mycroft may observe some more minute "factual" details than Sherlock, but Sherlock is the only one to see the big picture, to understand how this particular cap may point towards isolation. Now what makes you smarter, seeing every single tree or the forest? As I said, I'd call it a tie.

 

For me, there is no proof that Mycroft really is smarter than Sherlock.

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Oh, I don't think Mycroft is totally devoid of feeling. And it's pretty clear he cares about his little brother. Sherlock is his "pressure point", after all. But in general, he does seem to be a pretty cold fish, and I do think it's probably a lot easier for Mycroft to repress his emotional side than it is for Sherlock, because it's less strong. Mycroft doesn't strike me as naturally passionate.

 

I don't like the big brother. First of all, I object to the idea of a smarter big brother for Sherlock Holmes. I objected to it in the original, and I never read the Mycroft stories more than once. I'm a bit annoyed they blew his character up so much for this series. Also, he allows for some pretty lazy writing. Don't know how to get your heroes out of the ludicrous mess you've written them into? No problem, just conjure up the fairy godmother with her magic umbrella.

 

Then, of all the characters, he seems the least real to me. There's something cartoonish about Mycroft, as if he should be in a regular superhero film (where I'd probably just love him). So far, they have not successfully made me feel for or with him. If he got killed in the next episode, I wouldn't really care.

 

Also, I cannot forgive the torture scene. I cannot forgive Mycroft for telling little Sherlock he was stupid. How much better, happier and more stable a person might Sherlock have become if it hadn't been for his "rubbish big brother"? Yes, Mycroft does love him, but Mycroft is so averse to love in general that it comes out as this twisted, sick thing with him that does neither himself nor the object of his affection much good. That latter bit is pretty interesting, I grant you.

 

Of course Mycroft is a great source of humor. Mark Gatiss plays him to perfection, and he gets some of the best lines.

 

Why do you object to a smarter big brother for Sherlock Holmes?  Just on principle?  Now, I don't mind him being "smarter" in an intellectual sense, because Sherlock is the one that has the motivation, the drive, the curiosity, the energy, etc. to use his intelligence to become, well, Sherlock Holmes!  lol.  I like how Schlauer Fuchs put it too, about seeing every single tree or the forest.   Similarly, if it turned out that Superman had an even more powerful older brother on Krypton, well Superman would still be Superman, the one that came to Earth and saved us all.  (and I blame you T.o.b.y., for putting the superhero images in my mind!).  Or maybe he is  like Batman's Alfred, someone he can always go to for help and advice, but only Batman is Batman. 

 

The torture scene, well, I don't why I have no issue in forgiving that.  Just like I forgive Sherlock for "psychologically" torturing John.  Multiple times.  And what happened in Baskerville looked like mental AND physical torture to me.   lol.  The Holmes boys aren't huge on empathy and compassion I guess - or that is just another emotion they block out?

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Forgot to add, in the torture scene, to me it is not that Mycroft is enjoying it, but probably more like studying and learning from it in some way.  Like how much pain can Sherlock take before he breaks?  Useful information to be filed away in case it is useful later.  Or, how does Sherlock look and react, how does his body react in pain?  Helpful in spotting him out if he's acting or faking pain in the future.  Stuff like that.  Information.  Just another intellectual exercise, again like Sherlock putting John through hell at Baskerville.  It's all about the work! 

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Forgot to add, in the torture scene, to me it is not that Mycroft is enjoying it, but probably more like studying and learning from it in some way.  Like how much pain can Sherlock take before he breaks?  Useful information to be filed away in case it is useful later.  Or, how does Sherlock look and react, how does his body react in pain?  Helpful in spotting him out if he's acting or faking pain in the future.  Stuff like that.  Information.  Just another intellectual exercise, again like Sherlock putting John through hell at Baskerville.  It's all about the work! 

 

I think that's a very good point.  Even in the midst of something like this, Mycroft is gathering data.

 

Although, I have to admit, I really never thought much about the torture scene until I got on these forums and was forced to think of it as a back story point that Sherlock will take forward with him.  Mostly, I considered it an elaborate set-up just so Mycroft could tell Sherlock to quit messing around and get back to England where he's needed.  Maybe I'm just too used to shows using everything for a quick laugh, but I just didn't initially ascribe malicious intent to Mycroft, other than him having a relatively lousy sense of timing.

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Forgot to add, in the torture scene, to me it is not that Mycroft is enjoying it, but probably more like studying and learning from it in some way.  Like how much pain can Sherlock take before he breaks?  Useful information to be filed away in case it is useful later.

 

whoa, that is a shocking view on the scene. I don't really know how to digest this. First of all I hope you don't mean to imply that Mycroft has no plans for "later" to hurt Sherlock in a way that would or just wouldn't break him one day. But I'm sure you don't. I guess you think those information could be useful in the way that in case someone else hurts Sherlock, he knows when he has to step in or for a similar scenario. I really couldn't face it if there was any other purpose Mycroft might find those information useful for. :Fuzzy:

 

But then it's perfectly possible that Mycroft uses the situation to gather information - well, he gathers information in every single moment since he, as Sherlock, does observe what's going on around him. But I can't (won't :blink:) imagine that this is why he is there or why he doesn't step in. I think he doesn't prevent the beating because he analyses the situation and concludes that it is best for both of them not to step in at that moment. There is the Serbian guardsman outside who'd probably shoot him if he found out Mycroft wasn't one of them, and even if they escaped him, there would be the helicopter and the men who caught Sherlock in the first place. And it's impossible for them to outrun the helicopter with Sherlock in that state. So he does watch the beating and probably does collect information, but IMHO he does not watch it to collect information. It's just the most 'beneficial' way to deal with the situation at hand.

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But then it's perfectly possible that Mycroft uses the situation to gather information - well, he gathers information in every single moment since he, as Sherlock, does observe what's going on around him. But I can't (won't :blink:) imagine that this is why he is there or why he doesn't step in. I think he doesn't prevent the beating because he analyses the situation and concludes that it is best for both of them not to step in at that moment. There is the Serbian guardsman outside who'd probably shoot him if he found out Mycroft wasn't one of them, and even if they escaped him, there would be the helicopter and the men who caught Sherlock in the first place. And it's impossible for them to outrun the helicopter with Sherlock in that state. So he does watch the beating and probably does collect information, but IMHO he does not watch it to collect information. It's just the most 'beneficial' way to deal with the situation at hand.

 

 

This pretty much sums up my take on that whole beating scene.   I just always assumed that Mycroft had to continue to play the part to get them both out of there, and that included not intervening at that point in time.

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Would not surprise me if Mycroft was gathering information in his brother's tolerance level while waiting out for the best time to intervene. Mycroft is not the type to quickly jump in to a situation. Everything is calculated out to some degree or other. The thought of Mycroft gathering information of Sherlock's pain tolerance, etc reminds me of a story I heard a few years back when Eli Manning was first in the NFL. He was having lunch with his parents & his brother Peyton. He was telling his dad about what he was doing with the NY Giants and his brother sat back with a paper and pen and took notes. Peyton knew well enough that he could end up playing against his brother at some point since they quarterbacked for different teams.

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