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J.P.

It's 10 Years, folks! O_O

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For those of us who watched "Study in Pink" on PBS, it'll be ten years on October 24th.  Alex and I had never even heard of the show till about 30 seconds before it started.  (We were visiting a friend, who thought the ads sounded interesting.)

 

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8 hours ago, J.P. said:

it's their celebration, not ours.


I see what you mean, but it's something for us to celebrate as well -- sort of like one's parents' wedding anniversary, I guess, the beginning of it all.

 

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Lately I've been seeing a lot of vintage Sherlock clips coming up on my Facebook Watch feed, unbidden by me.  I haven't been looking for them, they just pop up.

I didn't get to see Season One until March of 2011, when the DVD became available Stateside, and I knew just a couple minutes in, when I watched Molly watching Sherlock beat the cadaver with his riding crop, that I was in for some good television. When 'Sherlock' was at its best, it is quite nearly perfect--one of the very best shows I've ever known in the medium.  The pilots of LOST and ENDEAVOUR gave me similar feelings.  All three shows eventually lost their way to become pale, perfunctory versions of their earlier selves, but I don't regret having those experiences.

COVID-19 and the passage of time have got me down, though, I must admit.  Watching Benedict & Martin embark on this journey of their partnership makes me feel the weight of all the years that have gone by.  Amanda & Martin have split up; Ben's marriage might not be all that it's marketed as . . and there is a definite estrangement between two men who had been the closest of colleagues and friends.  It's not just the years and everybody looking older; it's the disbanding of such a special group of creative people who were doing something so fantastic.  I feel that ultimately "Sherlock" was abandoned by the four principals most responsible for bringing it to life.  This project, this labor of love which was so special to us, the viewership, has been cast aside by its actors and its producer/writers as just another job they've tired of.

Moffat can make noises about a Season 5, but I think they are hollow, and if they aren't sincere and he's just saying that to whip up attention for his latest project, awfully manipulative.  I think he telegraphed his true intentions when he literally blew up 221b in the final episode of S4.  I just wish he'd let us leave Sherlock and John in a better place.  Something is always going to feel unfinished and dangling about the show that started off so very great.

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1 hour ago, Hikari said:

I think he telegraphed his true intentions when he literally blew up 221b in the final episode of S4.  I just wish he'd let us leave Sherlock and John in a better place.  Something is always going to feel unfinished and dangling about the show that started off so very great.


Well, to be fair, they did put the flat back together again rather quickly (however farfetched that may seem, considering the apparent force of the explosion).  What sort of "better place" do you have in mind?

As for "unfinished," I think that was intentional, in a "Sherlock Holmes is immortal" kind of way.  They were left running off to solve another case.  Which leaves the door open for them to return -- hopefully with case-oriented episodes like the ones in Series 1 & 2.

 

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54 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:


Well, to be fair, they did put the flat back together again rather quickly (however farfetched that may seem, considering the apparent force of the explosion).  What sort of "better place" do you have in mind?

As for "unfinished," I think that was intentional, in a "Sherlock Holmes is immortal" kind of way.  They were left running off to solve another case.  Which leaves the door open for them to return -- hopefully with case-oriented episodes like the ones in Series 1 & 2.

 

The whole Doctor-Whoish Sci-fi laws-of-physics defying finale episode really put me off.  That bit about Sherlock and Watson blasting through the window as if they were on a bungee ride  . . I know it was supposed to be a bit of whimsy, I guess, but it was too cartoony and I felt it insulted the audience.  Sherlock Holmes does amazing things to be sure, but even he is subject to natural forces . . he never REALLY jumped off the Reichenbach Falls.  That last episode left a really bad taste in my mouth.  I would have preferred they NOT destroy Baker Stretet and then put it back together in a far-fetched manner.  I would have also preferred that John's beloved Mary NOT be a murderous assassin.  The whole thing started to go wrong in my opinion with S3:3 when Mary shoots Sherlock, technically kills him in order to protect herself and her entire facade is revealed.  That was already a step too far, so turning 221b Baker Street into a virtual reality theme park ride was just icing on the cake.  That's what I mean by a better place.

I'd be as happy as anyone to get more Sherlock, but I really wouldn't hold my breath.  I think Moffat is just a big tease. They've run out of gas on Sherlock.  More to the point, I think neither of our actors would agree to do any more and in fact, I don't think they would ever agree to work together again.  The hate seems to be real.

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5 hours ago, Hikari said:

The whole thing started to go wrong in my opinion with S3:3 when Mary shoots Sherlock, technically kills him in order to protect herself and her entire facade is revealed.


I kinda started to wonder what I had wandered into with S3:1, The Empty Hearse.  Not saying I hated it, just that it didn't feel quite like Sherlock to me.  Many of the subsequent episodes have wandered even further afield (in my opinion).  My suspicion is that Moftiss were getting bored and therefore felt the need to be clever (meaning, of course, by their own definition of clever, rather than mine).  The only episode I've thoroughly enjoyed since then is The Abominable Bride.
 

5 hours ago, Hikari said:

They've run out of gas on Sherlock.


See "bored," above.  That is seriously my best guess, as well as my best hope -- because if they're merely bored with doing Sherlock, they're likely to become unbored after being away from it for a while.  In fact I sincerely hope they *don't* attempt any more Sherlock till they're good and unbored with it, because otherwise I suspect we're going to be presented with more clever.
 

5 hours ago, Hikari said:

I think neither of our actors would agree to do any more and in fact, I don't think they would ever agree to work together again.  The hate seems to be real.


I've heard people (fans and journalists) hint at that, but I've never heard any convincing explanation of why they think so.  All I've seen is a few overblown "explanations" in the tabloids.  Could you fill me in on why you're convinced?
 

 

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11 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:


I kinda started to wonder what I had wandered into with S3:1, The Empty Hearse.  Not saying I hated it, just that it didn't feel quite like Sherlock to me.  Many of the subsequent episodes have wandered even further afield (in my opinion).  My suspicion is that Moftiss were getting bored and therefore felt the need to be clever (meaning, of course, by their own definition of clever, rather than mine).  The only episode I've thoroughly enjoyed since then is The Abominable Bride.
 


See "bored," above.  That is seriously my best guess, as well as my best hope -- because if they're merely bored with doing Sherlock, they're likely to become unbored after being away from it for a while.  In fact I sincerely hope they *don't* attempt any more Sherlock till they're good and unbored with it, because otherwise I suspect we're going to be presented with more clever.
 


I've heard people (fans and journalists) hint at that, but I've never heard any convincing explanation of why they think so.  All I've seen is a few overblown "explanations" in the tabloids.  Could you fill me in on why you're convinced?
 

 

Re. Estrangement between our leads 

I really don't want this to be true.  It's a feeling I get based on some what sounded like sniping exchanges in the media between Ben & Martin.  Ben gave what sounded like a really testy comment in response to what he perceived as MF complaining about the burdens of the Sherlock fandom.  Ben chastised this attitude and alluded to 'taking hold of your reality'.  It was around this time that the news of the Freeman-Abbington split was making the rounds, shocking to all.  Season 4 was already in the can, so the public was just hearing about this, but Ben had had to work with both halves of the estranged couple on set for weeks, and that can't have been a pleasant experience.  Perhaps Ben was, and is, very angry at his former co-star for walking out on his family?  Amanda made it sound like a  more or less mutual decision, after she admitted to crying for a week straight.  Even if it was she who decided to end the relationship, I think it had to have been in direct response to MF prioritizing his career over his family.  From 2011 with the outset of the Hobbit shooting to the point where they broke up, he'd barely been at home.  Cumberbatch is equally busy, but he hadn't been away from a wife and two small children shooting in foreign countries for about two years straight.  No sooner had Hobbit trilogy and Sherlock wrapped, than MF spent 6 months in North America with Fargo.  He's done a number of other projects since (Marvel films) that took him out of the country.

"Sherlock" has definitely made major international stars out of both leads.  For MF, it led directly to his casting in the Hobbit films and the MCU movies.  He was brilliant in the first season of "Fargo", where he adopted an impeccable Minnesota accent, and he doesn't seem to have stopped working since.   It seems to me that MF has some definite anger/competitiveness issues which were exacerbated by being overshadowed by Cumberbatch in terms of their profile on the show--Dr. Watson certainly has his legions of fans, but the show is called 'Sherlock' after all--and I think the two who seemed so close on set grew to have really divergent opinions about how to deal with the demands of global fame.  I think in Martin's opinion Ben courted the fans too much; in BC's view, perhaps MF was too surly toward the PR demands of his position and unappreciative maybe of the fans who had made him a huge star.  This is just conjecture on my part, but it can't have been too easy for a proud person like MF, who had been working steadily and achieved a body of work while his co-star was still at university, who was the more 'known' of the pair at the outset of the show to be eclipsed so much by BC.  I think they are just temperamentally, and in their approach to the acting work, very different people, and just as with family members, many times, got on each others' nerves.  Hopefully they just needed a break from one another and will be able to sustain a friendship even though they are not working together any longer, but the relationship may have run its course as most 'work friendships' do.  Despite what the fandom wanted to promote in all the hundreds of 'shipping' type videos of 'FreeBatch' out there, the two guys had completely separate lives and social circles, and when not working on set together did not hang out and were not joined at the hip.  It was a professional relationship that was amicable, but then something changed.  Martin was the only principal cast member who was a no-show at the breakfast which was part of a prize package/Meet the Cast event, and at first I chalked it up to Martin being busy on location for another job.  Which he may very well could have been.  But this was right on the heels of that snippy press exchange between them, so I wondered if MF's absence was a sign that there was a fissure in relations that would not be easily mended.

If that's the case, I'm sad . . but whether or not it is, I think Mssrs. Moffat, Gatiss, Cumberbatch and Freeman have all firmly moved on with their careers and post-Sherlock lives, and reconvening everyone for a Sherlock reunion might be just a pipe dream.  The very angry, embittered John Watson of the final season is perhaps a bit closer to MF in real life than the JW we all fell in love with in S1-2 as the long-suffering, kind and loyal companion of Sherlock Holmes.

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28 minutes ago, Hikari said:

Re. Estrangement between our leads 

I really don't want this to be true.  It's a feeling I get based on some what sounded like sniping exchanges in the media between Ben & Martin.  Ben gave what sounded like a really testy comment in response to what he perceived as MF complaining about the burdens of the Sherlock fandom.  Ben chastised this attitude and alluded to 'taking hold of your reality'


I thought that might be what you were referring to.  It looks to me like that was entirely orchestrated by the tabloids.  What MF actually said was that, although he still enjoys filming Sherlock overall, having hordes of fans (albeit well-behaved ones) watching the process was not particularly fun.  So of course the big headline was "MF says Sherlock no fun any more."  He was MISquoted out of context!  (I can certainly understand what he actually said, because I can't even think when someone's staring at me.)  Then a reporter "quoted" MF to BC, so he was responding (in a very understandable way) to (at best) a paraphrase, rather than to what MF actually said.  Hopefully the two of them have gotten it all straightened out by now, but of course the tabloids won't let go of it that easily.

 

39 minutes ago, Hikari said:

Amanda made it sound like a  more or less mutual decision, after she admitted to crying for a week straight.  Even if it was she who decided to end the relationship, I think it had to have been in direct response to MF prioritizing his career over his family.  From 2011 with the outset of the Hobbit shooting to the point where they broke up, he'd barely been at home.


Going strictly by what little I've actually heard each of them say in video interviews, it looks in hindsight like they made a few unfortunate decisions that are still having repercussions.  While he was in NZ, she said she was beginning to feel like a single mother (despite the daily Skype calls), and also said that if they had it to do over, she'd pack up the kids and go with him.  Then after the split was announced, he said that recently when he'd come home from a long day on the set, he just didn't have the energy to interact with the kids.  My initial reaction to that was that, as you say, he was putting his career ahead of his family, but on further reflection it occurred to me that I probably would never have had the energy to deal with kids either, simply because I wasn't used to having kids around.  And he was no longer used to it either.  Not only that, but they aren't the little tykes that he'd lived with pre-Hobbit, they're now teens, and I hear that teens can be a real challenge even to parents who've "grown up" with them.  Like I said, unfortunate decisions with repercussions.

As far as what effect the MF-AA split may have had on BC's attitude toward MF, I've seen no indication that they were ever bosom buddies.  They seem to have had an excellent working relationship, but that whole "best friends" thing was apparently just tabloid hype (including one report that MF was BC's best man, whereas in real life, he wasn't even at the wedding).  It's disappointing when two of your close co-workers split up (albeit amiably), but in real life that sort of thing happens sometimes.  And it's not even like the three of them were co-workers in the usual sense; they were people who had worked together for a few months every couple of years.

 

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12 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

I kinda started to wonder what I had wandered into with S3:1, The Empty Hearse.  Not saying I hated it, just that it didn't feel quite like Sherlock to me.  Many of the subsequent episodes have wandered even further afield (in my opinion).  My suspicion is that Moftiss were getting bored and therefore felt the need to be clever (meaning, of course, by their own definition of clever, rather than mine).  The only episode I've thoroughly enjoyed since then is The Abominable Bride.

In my view, which I think is justified when we consider the last two seasons of the series, Moffat and Gatiss peaked too early.  I was really surprised, and a little nonplussed, that they decided to end S2 with 'The Reichenbach Fall'.  In the stories, the incident at the Reichenbach Falls firmly separates the two halves of the Holmes-Watson partnership into a 'Early period' and "more mature period".  The two disparate friends had been living and working together for a number of years--at least 4 or 5 in canon time, if not chronological time for the readers--before SH pulled his disappearing act at the Falls.  When we convene with Watson and Holmes in "The Empty House" and Watson has been grieving for three years, the two seem to have reached a more sedate place in their partnership.  Perhaps if Mofftiss had rearranged some of the episodes and ended S2 with the Hound and saved the Fall for the next season, there wouldn't have been such a shift in tone so abruptly between the two halves of the series. With Sherlock such an established hit in its first season, I'd say the chances of it being cancelled after a second season were about nil.

They could have introduced Mary earlier and not gone in such a bizarre way with the character.  Mary is a smart cookie; what a shame they couldn't find a way to have her apply that brain to helping the partnership rather than tear it apart.  Why couldn't she have been that nurturing, kind, fun-loving nurse John fell in love with?  Mary represents hearth and home for John Watson; Mofftiss turned her into the enemy, and that betrayed this character completely.  

I think the Fall would have been better to end the third season and then they could have explored CAM in S4.  The whole 'Euros' thing was a misfire.  The actress was great; it's a bravura turn, and a arch-villain was needed with the demise of Moriarty and CAM.  But to make this person Sherlock's sister?  Just wrong.  Completely at odds with the Canon, where it is and always has been the two Holmes boys against the world.  Mofftiss tried to turn the Holmes' boys childhoods into a Dennis Lehane novel.  Please.  (Shutter Island reference).

S3 was anticlimactic after the Fall, but in retrospect after S4, has some really good stuff in it.  (Apart from the revelation about Mary, of course.)  'The Sign of Three' is my favorite.  We still liked Mary then, thought she was a great girl, perfect for John.  The opening bit of E3, with the riff on 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' and "Billy" . .brilliant.  Lars Magnusson was a fantastic villain as CAM.  But why, why, did they have to make it go so wrong with Mary?

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15 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

spite the daily Skype calls), and also said that if they had it to do over, she'd pack up the kids and go with him.  Then after the split was announced, he said that recently when he'd come home from a long day on the set, he just didn't have the energy to interact with the kids.  My initial reaction to that was that, as you say, he was putting his career ahead of his family, but on further reflection it occurred to me that I probably would never have had the energy to deal with kids either, simply because I wasn't used to having kids around.  And he was no longer used to it either.  Not only that, but they aren't the little tykes that he'd lived with pre-Hobbit, they're now teens, and I hear that teens can be a real challenge even to parents who've "grown up" with them.  Like I said, unfortunate decisions with repercussions.

Yes . .it's sad when any family splits up, but I really thought those two were in it for the long haul.  The Hobbit was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I'm not suggesting he shouldn't have done it--he was a perfect Bilbo Baggins in every way--but sustaining a family life over that distance is impossible, as they discovered.  I'm sure at the outset neither was prepared for what 18 months that far apart was really going to do to their relationship.  With both of the children in school in London, I'm sure neither wanted to uproot them from everything they knew just for a temporary job of Daddy's but in retrospect, it probably would have been better if the family had been together.  The kids could have had a years' schooling in Wellington and it would have been an adventure.  But it wasn't just the Hobbit . . he was working on Sherlock concurrently and then immediately inked another commitment to shoot for several months in America with Fargo.  Again, another great role and a great performance--but at what cost to the the family?  High.  It's like he was avoiding being at home.  No doubt he'd gotten out of the knack of being a day-to-day parent, but . . that was his job, too.  They needed him even more as they grew up compared to when they were tiny.  She was a single mum for  years on end, and had essentially put her own promising career on hold to be the only stable at-home primary parent.  She did do some work during this period--'Case Histories' and 'Mr. Selfridge'--nice solid little earners that kept her in the UK, but still, her earning power couldn't match his.

I can't help wondering if they had been legally married if he would have found it so easy to walk away.  As a general rule I am not personally in favor of couples cohabiting and having children together without marriage because it goes against my principles, but also, pragmatically speaking, if she is (as is usual) the lower-earning partner who has stopped a career to have children, marriage offers her some protections of the law which she is not entitled to as a live-in domestic partner only.  I don't know for a certainty that she ever wanted to be married, but I thought it was kind of instructive as to his mentality toward money and the power balance in their relationship, that when she was having her well-publicized troubles with the Inland Revenue and had to go to court for back taxes, he was nowhere in sight, not even as a support in court.  The amount she owed was substantial, but for the multimillionaire star of the Hobbit franchise, really a drop in the bucket.  He left her to face the court and her tax bill all on her own, which as her domestic partner/not husband, he was absolutely legally entitled to do.  They weren't married so his money was his money and her money troubles were not his problem or responsibility.  Regardless of the reason why she owed so much money, it seemed rather cold to me that the father of her children, for whom she had willingly diminished her earning power so that she could stay home and be a mother, his partner of nearly 16 years by that point--did not offer his financial assistance during this time.  Their breakup wasn't too long afterwards in reality; we just didn't find out about it until significantly more time had passed.

There seemed to be a number of problems in that relationship which may or may not have been primarily related to his absenting himself from his family for work.  He is not to be blamed for everything: I'm sure she contributed her share of faults.  But they always seemed so happy together and really in synch on red carpets.  I'm learning that what we see is so very often not the true reality behind the flashbulbs and the smiles.  Actors act; that's what they do.

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I don't think we have enough information (actually we have none, as what we get are some second-hand pieces, already digested and dressed for clickbait) to build an opinion or speculate on other people's relationships. And honestly, it's not our business. IMO.

If Mofftiss want to make more Sherlock, they will do it. Otherwise they won't. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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15 minutes ago, J.P. said:

I don't think we have enough information (actually we have none, as what we get are some second-hand pieces, already digested and dressed for clickbait) to build an opinion or speculate on other people's relationships. And honestly, it's not our business. IMO.

If Mofftiss want to make more Sherlock, they will do it. Otherwise they won't. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

That is certainly true.  They hold all the cards there.

And you are correct that any speculation about personal relationships is just that--speculation.   If there are interpersonal conflicts among the cast/producers, even if it's just conflicts of time/priorities, that is going to impact any future offerings of a show with as many moving pieces as this one had.  Unlike many people, I guess, I never just look at 'the work' and take it at face value--I'm interested in the lives and stories of the people behind the finished products which we see, whether it's books, films music, art or TV.  And among the cast and crew of Sherlock there are many human stories.  On the surface, the show is merely a vehicle for our entertainment, but there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into crafting these pieces for our amusement, and I always keep that in view.  If the makers of Sherlock are like an extended family, well, like any family, there's a fair bit of dysfunction going on, as well as, I hope, some love too.

It is in a way crucial to the ongoing survival of this community that we hold out hope for a someday reunion of our Sherlock team to once again do what they do so well in entertaining us with their creativity.  I was just offering my reasons for why I am more or less convinced it will never happen.  Presently I put the likelihood of a Sherlock reunion at about 10%.  It's been more than four years since they wrapped Season 4.  That's an eternity in entertainment years.  I'd love to see another Sherlock Christmas special sometime in the next 5 years.  Do I think it will definitely happen?  No, I don't.  I'm not optimistic at all, as it feels like the whole team has drawn a line under that whole project. Right now it looks like Sherlock Holmes 3 with RDJ for Christmas 2021, if Covid hasn't shoved that further back, is our only bet for more Sherlock any time soon.

Perhaps 10 years hence, our team will get together again for a riff on the final Sherlock Holmes story, 'His Last Bow' when Sherlock is 60.  But they've already used that title, so they'd have to call it something else.  Alternatively, Benedict could appear by himself in the two Sherlock-narrated adventures sans Watson, 'The Lion's Mane' and 'The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier.'  Those are interesting possibilities, but I think the program we loved so much is over for good.

I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

 

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On 7/28/2020 at 12:21 PM, Hikari said:

I was really surprised, and a little nonplussed, that they decided to end S2 with 'The Reichenbach Fall'.  In the stories, the incident at the Reichenbach Falls firmly separates the two halves of the Holmes-Watson partnership into a 'Early period' and "more mature period".

Well, Moftiss have pointed out several times that scarcely any adaptations have presented the early adventures AS the exploits of young men.  (Not sure anyone else has done Study in Scarlet complete with their meeting, for one thing.)  So they said they did want to show their formative years, but they were also looking forward to moving along to their more mature classic period.  Then after Series 4 aired, they said that their Holmes and Watson are now ready to be the classic crime solvers.  So I guess they're putting the division a bit later than you are.  I believe that the Jeremy Brett series also put the Reichenbach episode at the end of the first season (albeit a longer season than with Sherlock).  They went on to do several more seasons, and would presumably have finished adapting the entire canon, had it not been for Brett's failing health and death.  So there's precedent.
 

On 7/28/2020 at 12:21 PM, Hikari said:

They could have introduced Mary earlier and not gone in such a bizarre way with the character.  Mary is a smart cookie; what a shame they couldn't find a way to have her apply that brain to helping the partnership rather than tear it apart.  Why couldn't she have been that nurturing, kind, fun-loving nurse John fell in love with?  Mary represents hearth and home for John Watson; Mofftiss turned her into the enemy, and that betrayed this character completely. 

All I can say is, considering what they'd already done to Irene Adler, I wasn't particularly surprised.  (But disappointed, definitely.)
 

On 7/28/2020 at 12:21 PM, Hikari said:

The whole 'Euros' thing was a misfire.  The actress was great; it's a bravura turn, and a arch-villain was needed with the demise of Moriarty and CAM.  But to make this person Sherlock's sister?  Just wrong.  Completely at odds with the Canon....

See "Irene Adler," above.
 

On 7/28/2020 at 12:48 PM, Hikari said:

I thought it was kind of instructive as to his mentality toward money and the power balance in their relationship, that when she was having her well-publicized troubles with the Inland Revenue and had to go to court for back taxes, he was nowhere in sight, not even as a support in court.  The amount she owed was substantial, but for the multimillionaire star of the Hobbit franchise, really a drop in the bucket. 

A lot of people were expressing that point of view online at the time.  But she stated quite firmly and publicly that she didn't want him to pay her back taxes -- so for all we know he actually had offered.  I can certainly understand her not wanting to be seen as his dependent.  And as J.P. said, it's really their business.
 

On 7/28/2020 at 4:34 PM, Hikari said:

It is in a way crucial to the ongoing survival of this community that we hold out hope for a someday reunion of our Sherlock team to once again do what they do so well in entertaining us with their creativity.  I was just offering my reasons for why I am more or less convinced it will never happen.  Presently I put the likelihood of a Sherlock reunion at about 10%.  [....]  I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

If we knew for sure that there would be more episodes, we wouldn't need to hope, would we?  So I see nothing wrong with holding out unquantified hope.  What is that quote from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel?  Something like "All will be right in the end -- and if it isn't right, then it is not yet the end."

 

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13 minutes ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

All I can say is, considering what they'd already done to Irene Adler, I wasn't particularly surprised.  (But disappointed, definitely.)

It has been observed by many others that Moffat isn't great at writing women.  He certainly mucked about with two of the primary women of the Canon.  I like Una Stubbs' Mrs. Hudson very much--for once a fully-fledged spunky personality in her own right; not just Sherlock Holmes's house drudge who is scandalized by his unconventional behavior.  And Molly was a welcome addition.  But for the two females who were 'The Woman' respectively for our detective pair, their modern counterparts are definitely more morally corrupted than the originals.

'A Scandal in Belgravia' is my favorite episode of the series, although not really for this version of Adler.  It's a joy to see Sherl matching wits with a mind as canny as his own, who is also quite a bit more worldly in the carnal sense.  In the original story, Irene actually gets the better of Sherlock Holmes (twice) when he anticipates her moves too late.  In her own time, the Woman is a scandalous figure, an 'adventuress' . . which has a negative connotation of a morally lax woman who uses her feminine wiles to extract money and position from men.  It is basically synonymous with prostitute.  Conan Doyle's Adler was a world-renowned opera singer, world-traveled and single, and that was enough to make her an adventuress in most people's books.  A woman living her life without a man on her own terms was suspect.  What the story shows is an artistic woman who is betrayed in love by an untrustworthy cad who is an extremely powerful person, and the photograph she endeavors to get herself featured in and hide away is her insurance policy against a man who could easily have her killed.  She earns Sherlock Holmes' admiration in the end for her brains and resourcefulness.  He also will vouch for her moral character and winds up being the witness at her wedding to a man who is going to treat her better.  

A woman who makes her living by sex work and extorting her high-profile clients is certainly an 'adventuress' for our time, but a great deal more morally corrupt than the original.  I think Doyle classed Adler and Sherlock as 'friendly antagonists' . . .The Woman and he have opposing objectives when it comes to this picture in her possession which compromises his client, but Adler is not a 'bad person'.  Moffat's Adler is a very bad girl indeed, in bed with terrorists, quite literally, with every bit of her for sale.  She becomes a villain, since she's Moriarty's henchwoman as much as Sebastian Moran . . and that was never in Canon.

The original story ends much more happily, and the person who gets his comeuppance is the one who deserves it--the conniving 'King of Bohemia' . . a thinly veiled stand-in for the Prince of Wales, Edward VII.  I'm guessing Doyle was not a fan of the son, but he does have Sherl shoot 'VR' into the sitting room wall later.  Nobody is dead in the original tale, only embarrassed.  Irene nearly kicks off an international terrorist incident, deals a blow to British intelligence . . extorts any number of people, and who is the dead woman in the morgue on Christmas Eve who is supposed to be her?  Just more collateral damage.

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1 hour ago, Hikari said:

In her own time, the Woman is a scandalous figure, an 'adventuress' . . which has a negative connotation of a morally lax woman who uses her feminine wiles to extract money and position from men.  It is basically synonymous with prostitute.  Conan Doyle's Adler was a world-renowned opera singer, world-traveled and single, and that was enough to make her an adventuress in most people's books.

I assume that Moftiss took the "adventuress" tag seriously.  But I just checked:  The word is used only once in the story, and it is the King of Bohemia who applies it to Irene.  Considering his likely motives, I take the term with a large grain of salt.  As you say, most Victorians would have made similar assumptions merely because she was self-reliant, so he presumably feels perfectly safe in making the accusation -- he doesn't bother to offer the slightest bit of substantiating evidence.  (I have the feeling that Watson was taken in by the ploy, considering his comments about her "dubious and questionable memory.")

1 hour ago, Hikari said:

Moffat's Adler is a very bad girl indeed, in bed with terrorists, quite literally, with every bit of her for sale.  She becomes a villain, since she's Moriarty's henchwoman as much as Sebastian Moran . . and that was never in Canon.  [....]  ... and who is the dead woman in the morgue on Christmas Eve who is supposed to be her?

The concept of an Adler-Moriarty alliance does seem to appeal to those making filmed adaptations -- Moftiss is not the only one.  But yes, their Irene has blood on her hands, and not just indirectly from her connection with Moriarty.  As you say, there's that corpse with the "bashed in" face, the one that looks enough like Irene otherwise to fool Sherlock Holmes.  I have a whole lotta trouble believing there just happened to be one of those available when Irene needed it.

 

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16 hours ago, Carol the Dabbler said:

(I have the feeling that Watson was taken in by the ploy, considering his comments about her "dubious and questionable memory.")

That was a harsh criticism, indeed, because the events of the story he then sets out to relate prove that Adler is a canny but honorable woman.   John Watson is a conventional Victorian gentleman, and espouses the conventional morality of his time (apart from hanging out with Sherlock Holmes and participating in a number of dubious and questionable bendings of the law in the pursuit of SH's cases) . . at least where women are concerned.  Adler is very different in her mode of life than his virtuous Mary.  But I can't help wondering if this astringent dismissal of Irene's character is rooted in jealousy.  We never see Adler again in Canon, but she captures Sherlock Holmes's imagination for all time.  Until the end of his days, she was always 'The Woman'.  Sherlock is saluting a worthy adversary whom he finds an interesting brain puzzle, along with whatever else he might have found attractive about her person.

Watson, loyal friend though he is, can't compete on this level.  The scene in BBC Sherlock between the triad in Baker Street and JW's obvious non-plussedness at having to share 'his' friend was droll.  On some level, Watson fears The Woman--fears that she will take Sherlock Holmes away from  him and destroy the comfortable bachelor detective life.  So it's quite ironic that it's John who will shortly after fall in love with a Woman and kind of tear the partnership apart first.  It was never the same after JW got married.

When we meet Violet Hunter (The Adventure of the Copper Beeches), here is another strong and plucky female with a resourceful brain.  Watching SH engage with her, John senses a greater-than-average interest in Miss Hunter than his flatmate usually demonstrates with female clients.  It seems as though JW may be thinking that Vi would make a good match for Sherlock . . . but he hastily has to insert that she was not his type, being 'freckled as a plover's egg.'

Both Miss Hunter and Irene Adler are popular subjects for pastiche, especially Adler.  Writers can't resist exploring the tantalizing possibility that despite his protestations about grit in the instrument, that Sherlock Holmes loved this Woman.  Regardless of what John thinks, she was a worthy person to love.  BBC Adler, not so much.  

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48 minutes ago, Hikari said:

It seems as though JW may be thinking that Vi would make a good match for Sherlock . . . but he hastily has to insert that she was not his type, being 'freckled as a plover's egg.'


You take that as an expression of his own negative opinion, rather than as a straightforward description?  I looked up the quote:  "She was plainly but neatly dressed, with a bright, quick face, freckled like a plover’s egg, and with the brisk manner of a woman who has had her own way to make in the world."  That sounds like a pretty positive description to me, though of course I'm not a Victorian like Watson.

 

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A freckled complexion wouldn't have been too desirable in the Victorian era, where a milky complexion was prized, but now that I think of it, Dr. Watson had an expanded reaction in a pastiche I read.  I was hot and heavy with the collecting of those during my renewed Sherlock-reading phase; between short story collections and novels, I think it has to be over 200.  So those tend to get mixed up in my mind with the original details.  It looks like the Doc had a very positive reaction to Miss Hunter's intrinsic qualities, but we know his type is the porcelain blondes like his Mary.  He was very taken by another Violet (Smith) in The Solitary Cyclist who is described as such a face.  I think that would have been pre-Mary.  

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55 minutes ago, Hikari said:

It looks like the Doc had a very positive reaction to Miss Hunter's intrinsic qualities, but we know his type is the porcelain blondes like his Mary. 


You sure you're not referring to another pastiche there?  Just to be contrary, I looked up his meeting with Mary in Sign of the Four:  "Her face had neither regularity of feature nor beauty of complexion...."  He goes on to comment quite favorably on her demeanor, but clearly considers her complexion to be sub-par.

 

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