Thursday, January 09, 2014

Moffat's Sherlock 3 and Doctor Who

Anyone who watches both these programmes cannot fail to notice the parallels. From the obvious

SherlockDoctor Who
Faked his deathFaked his death

to the equally obvious

SherlockDoctor Who
Left John and Mary's wedding earlyLeft Amy and Rory's wedding early
"I don't shave for Sherlock Holmes." "You should get that on a T-shirt""The angels have the phone box", I've got that on a T-shirt.
"Do you always carry handcuffs?"Why would you even have - handcuffs? (Ok, that was River Song but still...)
No one actually dies - even though there are two (attempted) murders"Everybody lives!"

Once you realised this it is obvious how the rest of Sherlock's plot is going to be. Namely, this Mary and her baby isn't real, it's only a goo replica; the real one has already been kidnapped. The baby girl is then trained into a psychopath dominatrix called Irene Adler and sent back in time to defeat Sherlock. The plan almost succeeded, only for her to fall in love with Sherlock. As for how Sherlock faked his death, obviously none of the explanations given in The Empty Hearse is correct; the real explanation is that the one falling off the roof is a robot version of him...

OK, seriously. I think the latest episode, The Sign of Three, has unfairly got quite some stick. True it isn't your typical Sherlock episode, but to say it has no crime investigations, turned into a sit-com, etc, I cannot agree. The episode is very carefully crafted together, where all the apparently unconnected ends are tied up together at the end, like how a proper detective story should be. The way that the (attempted) murder stories were interwoven into the best man speech is fascinating. There isn't a more ingenious way to put together murder detective stories, a best man speech and exploration into the character's development into one episode really. (I do feel the stag-night scenes are a bit too long, though.)

The two cases that Sherlock picked to describe, the Bloody Guardsman and the Mayfly Man, he only intended to use them to illustrate how good a man John is (and they served this purpose nicely); he did not know at the time that it actually is related to what is happening right at the wedding, and the fact that they are (though a very unlikely coincidence in reality) is surprising to the audience after 70 minutes of "sit-com". The best man speech (gee I can only find a cached version!), by itself, is an excellent one even if you remove all the flashback scenes. Particularly the way he says all the bad things about marriage, bridesmaids etc only to turn it round a moment later. (The crying scenes are too fake though... is it really that moving?) The writer, Steve Thompson, should be congratulated about that. (I know this is written by all three of them, but one could assume, at least initially, that this episode is meant to be written by him?) (Btw, his Doctor Who episode, The Curse of the Black Spot, also got some heavy stick but I also thought it was unfair: the surprising reveal that the other thing is a medical ship in another dimension is very interesting.)

I hope time will do it justice, and that this episode will go down TV history as a classic - not necessarily because it is "the best" but because of its uniqueness.