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12 January 2014 @ 11:09 pm
Sherlock: His Last Vow  
And thus concludes another season.


These days I approach anything Moffat has written with a mix of anxiety, skepticism, and preparation to be offended. So after last week's episode which still ranks as my favorite Sherlock episode of all time, I was ready to be dreadfully disappointed. But as my expectations were almost on the floor, this episode actually delivered in a few ways. In fact, Moffat was practically showing restrain in how he treated the characters and even more so the "witty" rapid-fire dialogue he tends to love his characters sprout. So I wasn't exactly blown away by this season's closer but I wasn't frothing with rage either which is...good.

I can't decide if I want to put the reveal of Mary Morstan in the Like or Dislike list. I think I have to wait until her ultimate fate on the show is revealed as canonically Mary doesn't have a good ending. I will say that I'm actually pleasantly surprised that Moffat didn't end up writing her as completely a villain or completely a Mary Sue. Yes, I was a little worried when she started on the snark dialogue with Sherlock when he lured her to his secret lair, but ultimately she's a woman with a shady past who has done terrible things and who was trying to make a new life for herself. But she's not a villain. She's someone who made certain choices that were now coming back to haunt her because of the company she now keeps. That's about as multi-layered a female character as I've ever seen in Moffat's hands.

I'd actually read the original ACD story that featured Milverton so I very much enjoyed the various connections to the original story and how it deviated from there. All in all, this might be my favorite of the Moffat-penned episodes.

Oh and as a random additional question: the OTHER one? Is Mycroft talking about another brother? It's like they want to make this Skyfall/Sherlock thing real.

And now, for the last time (until next time!)....

Likes
1) Charles Augustus Magnusson - the man was slimy, horrid, petty, a bully, cruel, and heartless. And I loved watching every minute of it. The way he invaded and contaminated a person's space was SO DISGUSTING. The urinating was bad but the licking of the face was just awful. I was amazed that even as I loathed Magnusson, I loved the way Lars Mikkelsen was able to fully capture such a repugnant character. Unlike Moriarty, he's not batshit crazy. He's, as he kept saying, a businessman: cold, calculating, and ready to barter a deal. He represents the lowest of human nature in that he uses people like objects in a way that makes logical sense which feels a larger offense than someone who is just so nuts he just likes screwing with people. I could actually believe that Mycroft would have an uneasy alliance of sorts with Magnusson because the latter clearly plays the game and can actually be counted upon to play his part when needed. Also, the reveal that he has his own Mind Palace was great.

2) Christmas with the Holmes - I take it back: I love the Holmes parents. I liked the throwaway comment that showed that Mrs. Holmes is a genius and clearly that's where Sherlock and Mycroft get their mental prowess. Also, I kind of adored seeing how Mycroft and Sherlock regressed (well, Sherlock's always regressed) to being such kids when home with their parents. Particularly Mycroft bitching on end about having to do holidays with the family and OH GOD WHY IS IT ONLY 2 PM WHY WHY WHY?? And their reaction to getting caught smoking. Clearly Sherlock never grew out of his go to answer whenever he got into trouble. "It was Mycroft!"

3) Janine's parting line - The whole use of Janine nearly went on my Dislikes list but her last line sort of ameliorated it for me. I know Sherlock using her as his fiancee is parallel to the original story but I really disliked that he called her an opportunistic, grasping, tabloid whore. For one thing, her selling her story was IN REACTION to his behavior. Which yes, is perhaps not classy but he made it sound like she was already those things before he started falsely dating her which we never saw and thus, I was less than pleased. He should be glad that's ALL she was going to do. However, I do give Moffat credit for giving her a line that very much humanized her when said Sherlock should have just told her the truth and they could have been friends. Because YES. At the end of the day, Sherlock used her and she in turn decided to use him. It could have gone differently if Sherlock had made a different choice.

Dislikes
1) THE DRAMA. SO MUCH DRAMA - I'm not sure what was up with the music or perhaps it was the way they were cued with the scenes but more than a few scenes felt incredibly melodramatic. Particularly when Mycroft was seeing Sherlock as young!Sherlock shortly after shooting Magnusson. I mean...really? It was sappy enough for me that we had young!Sherlock who dearly loved his dog (Redbeard!) but did we have to have that insert at the end? Also, the whole sequence of Sherlock going to his Mind Palace after being shot was a bit over the top for me. I'm just not the right audience for level of melodrama, I guess.

2) Molly's broken engagement - Please. Can we not return to her pining after Sherlock? Please?

3) Miss me? No. - I actually groaned when Moriarty appeared at the end. I really hope to God that somehow the actual Moriarty won't be in season 4 but rather maybe someone from his network trying to carry on his work. I'm sorry but I thought Moriarty went out on a high note with that spectacular suicide and better acting from Andrew Scott in "The Reichenbach Fall." Having him come back to no doubt ham it up another season is not something I relish. I want more non-bonkers, quiet villains like Magnusson.

So farewell once again, cast and crew of Sherlock. See you in about two years, I guess?
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aelfgyfu_mead: Sherlock and Johnaelfgyfu_mead on January 13th, 2014 12:47 pm (UTC)
I was disappointed. I was trying to lower my expectations because it was Moffat writing, but I'd enjoyed the first two so much that I didn't succeed!

I felt like they made everyone I cared about into people I now find it difficult to care about. John, my favorite character, is presented as a man so in love with danger that he finds an assassin to love even without consciously knowing it. Well, he consciously knew that she was really smart, funny, pretty, and liked him; couldn't that just as well be what attracted him? And of course it's Sherlock telling us what John is, and casting Mrs Hudson as the head of a drug cartel ("I only did the typing!"), so it can be Sherlockian melodrama and misreading the situation. (He can't stand to believe that John could fall in love with someone he didn't at some level know to be dangerous.)

I can handle Mary as a CIA agent; I don't think that's moral or ethical, but I can understand that some people think that it's necessary for the safety of their country. I have a real problem with her as a mercenary assassin, killing for pay and/or fun. And John said that her past was her business, but when she shoots Sherlock, it's not her past any more; it's still her present. Her way of dealing with a threat is still to resort to violence, and she badly hurt the other person whom John loves very deeply. She would have killed Magnussen, and I'm just not ok with that.

Now Sherlock is a killer. I didn't like the fanfics that made him into an assassin during the time he was gone. The show presented us with a Sherlock who worked quietly behind the scenes with the authorities to bring people to justice, which I liked much better. I'm not pleased that Sherlock shot a man at point-blank range because he couldn't think of an alternative, and I'm disturbed that he doesn't seem bothered by what he had done. I understand his motives, and I respect that he was willing to make such a sacrifice for John and Mary, but I can't condone the killing. Honestly, I thought Mycroft might have been about to order a shot on Magnussen; he wanted Magnussen gone, and when Sherlock shouted out that there was no vault, I think Mycroft might have acted first and worried about clean-up later.

I fervently hope that Moriarty is really gone and that someone else is using his image. Canonically, Moriarty has a brother with the same name! I'm going to bet that they're twins so they can bring Andrew Scott back without Moriarty having faked his suicide too.

I'm not happy that Molly is not seeing her boyfriend any more and very displeased with Sherlock for announcing that to draw attention away from his own behavior. I like how angry Molly was with him and what she said to him. I want more strong Molly—and not just in the Mind Palace.

I did like the way John obviously struggled with what he learned about Mary and his feelings of betrayal: of course he feels like everyone lies to him! I like that he didn't forgive her immediately but took months. (I think it also took time to forgive Sherlock, but the show didn't show that as clearly.)

I like that Mary really loves John and isn't anyone's tool or plant.

I like that Sherlock did not go behind John's back but told him the truth and brought him in to hear what Mary had to say.

And Sherlock's an idiot for leaving the hospital and running around like that.

formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on January 13th, 2014 03:32 pm (UTC)
I'm not AS bothered by Sherlock killing Magnusson to protect John and Mary given that they had John shoot and kill the taxi driver in A Study in Pink to protect Sherlock. Granted the stakes seemed lower since the driver would have killed Sherlock while Magnusson isn't a killer. But I'd largely come into the show accepting at least one of the main characters had taken lives and now that the other has, it felt more numbing to me than disturbing.

The idea that John is addicted to danger makes sense to me in theory if we are to accept the Moffat version of these characters which is always the two dimensional version. I feel like if anyone else wrote this episode, my list of Dislikes would be so much longer but I was almost surprised the writing wasn't worse given the author.

I was also glad Magnusson's blackmailing of Mary came after Mary meeting John and she wasn't a plant from the start.

If Andrew Scott does come back as the other Moriarty, he better be very different. I'm of the few who largely did not like his Moriarty being so over the top crazy. I don't want another season of it.
aelfgyfu_mead: Very angry indeedaelfgyfu_mead on January 14th, 2014 12:42 am (UTC)
If Andrew Scott does come back as the other Moriarty, he better be very different. I'm of the few who largely did not like his Moriarty being so over the top crazy. I don't want another season of it.
Word. I could handle him as the canny, manipulative, but not crazy brother. Shoot, maybe I should write it now, in case they don't.
The other Weird Al: minisherlock - lestrade screamingaeron_lanart on January 13th, 2014 08:57 pm (UTC)
I actually groaned when Moriarty appeared at the end.

Glad it wasn't just me!

Also glad there's someone else who still likes Mary - so much hate going on at her in places I visit atm so to have someone else share similar views to mine is quite pleasant.

As for Molly's broken engagement - that leaves her free for a little bit of comfort from Greg (who is obviously fond of her at the least).
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on January 14th, 2014 04:38 pm (UTC)
A bit late to the party here, my watching was delayed. I am pretty much in agreement with you. For Moffat, a good episode, but I'm not terribly pleased with what they've done with Mary. I thought Martin and Amanda did a great job, but I don't see why every single woman on this show has to, in some way, be evil. John deserves someone who is just a nice, normal person, and writing it all off as 'attracted to danger' is...simplistic at best. I liked that she does genuinely love him, and they're going to remain together. But I hope this doesn't lead to Mary fighting side-by-side with the boys next series now that we know she has the skills.

I'm very glad I have my Abby verse to soothe myself a bit.

I loved the brotherly and family moments. The Holmes family are lovely, and odd and perfect, the way I always seem to like to write my families. Unconventional but functional.

What I feel about this season is that my favourite episode was the second, because all three writers collaborated on it. It had Thompson's coherent plot, Moffat's wit, and Gatiss's warm but flawed characters. If every episode could be written as a team, I think the show would be perfect.


formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on January 15th, 2014 02:58 am (UTC)
What I feel about this season is that my favourite episode was the second, because all three writers collaborated on it.

I didn't realize that "Sign of Three" was written by all of them. I kind of hope they do the commentary for that one even more now.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on January 15th, 2014 03:47 am (UTC)
I only knew because they mentioned it on the Sherlockology preview post. I think it's basically Thompson's baby, but the other two helped.

I hope for commentary, too, but they never seem to do ones for Thompson's episodes. The Sherlock commentaries are some of my favourites, especially The Great Game one. They are people who know what a commentary is for. They always deliver the right amount of behind the scenes, and camaraderie.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on January 15th, 2014 04:39 am (UTC)
"The Great Game" commentary is ridiculously entertaining. My favorite part is still Mark Gatiss talking about how he used to swim in that pool and what his younger self would have said if his older self had told him he'd one day be writing for Sherlock and Doctor Who.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on January 15th, 2014 04:41 am (UTC)
I rather love his dead on impression of Martin Freeman. And Benedict getting very chatty about something, and Martin and Mark being all '...' about it.