What a review!!!!

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cover art by Trace Edward Zaber (c)2011

“T.D. McKinney and Terry Wylis have pulled off a great coup…writing this book so convincingly that there was not even a single inkling it hadn’t been written in 1896.”

Happy dances commencing – what a review for KISSING SHERLOCK HOLMES!! Full review here.

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Help save Undershaw – Time’s running out!

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The spacious home where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles and a great number of his Sherlock Holmes stories is in danger of being razed and replaced with a block of flats. Tomorrow, 23 May, is the Judicial Review in which those who wish to preserve this historical home of one of England’s greatest authors have one last chance to avert a national tragedy.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save_undershaw/ – A chance for US Sherlockians to help in the fight save the historical home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – they’re shooting for 10,000 signatures – we share it enough, we could give them far more.

The judicial review is tomorrow – time is short. Sign, Share, Save!

REVIEW – Elementary: A First Look

As we’ve no books to plug at the moment (soon, though), we thought we’d topic on our second passion: all things Sherlock Holmes.

TDM: So we finally have a trailer for the CBS Sherlock Holmes series Elementary.  I’m waiting for the series itself before I get into anything in depth about it.  I’m willing to give it a try, though I have to say I saw nothing that made me want to jump up and down with excitement.  I had a much more positive reaction to the trailer for the Robert Downey Jr. movies.  What about you?

TW: Well, trailers generally are designed to grab an audience, and the RDJ/Jude Law version of Sherlock Holmes lends itself very well to that — plus, it’s a feature film, so even the trailers are high-budget. But given all the ruckus going on over a second television version of a modern Sherlock Holmes, I did expect better. I’ll watch the opener this fall, but I don’t know — already a lot of things bother me about it.

TDM:  So the trailer did not give you warm fuzzies, nor make you want to see the new series?

TW:It really didn’t. Setting aside the perceived rivalry with the BBC version for the moment, it just didn’t feel like Sherlock Holmes. And it has nothing to do with the genderbending of Dr. Watson. Well, okay, nothing with the basic concept. I have no problem with the idea of a female Watson, I just don’t think this particular characterization is what they needed. It weakens the relationship, I think. The whole concept of a “sober companion” is essentially “babysitter.” And “stuck with” as opposed to a meeting of…complements.

My opinion may change as Elementary finds a niche. But judging strictly by the trailer, I’m not seeing shades of “the greatest literary friendship ever known” – which is really the core of the Holmes stories. The spark, if you will.

TDM:  I agree on the “sober companion.”  They didn’t even get the title right.  That annoyed.  And you know me, if they mess up Watson, I’m done with the whole concept.  One reason I enjoy the current movie franchise is Jude Law’s Watson.  He’s an excellent Watson.  I also have no problem with a female Watson.  There was a romcom Sherlock movie ages ago with a female Watson that I enjoy very much.  Of course, They Might Be Giants has a female Watson.  I have issues with bad Watsons.  Other opinions on the trailer?

TW: Just an overall…missing of the point. It felt like–and I realize this has been said by a lot of people who have seen the trailer–the same sort of relationship we’ve seen so many times. Moonlighting, Remington Steele (lord, I’m dating myself here), Bones, House… I could keep going. I don’t know if it’s strictly an American deal, but it seems every time you pair up a male and a female as investigative partners, there’s always either an immediate or delayed flirt-play between them that leads to a romance. Here, they didn’t even bother waiting. Not only do we have Holmes apologizing to her (incredibly out-of-character, and enough of a canon it would never have been a legal issue), but the small bit of praise he gives her about having hope for her as an investigator is immediately met with the downward flutter of her lashes and a half-blush going on. It just doesn’t ring properly – something’s off either in their writing premise OR their marketing campaign.

TDM:  Yes.  And a fear I had when I heard network television was tackling Holmes – that they’d take the route they do with every other detective show out there.  I hope I’m wrong.  But all the shows seem so identical lately.

TW: It’s formula writing. And it bothered me. The behind-the-scenes interviews didn’t help. The writers in particular sounded almost flippant. This isn’t Star Trek (and I love your reboot, JJ, don’t take this wrong); it’s literature. No matter Arthur Conan Doyle never really considered Holmes to be great literature. But it is. And you can’t treat literature like pop culture, without some definite care, and expect it to be different than every other pop culture show out there.

TDM:  As we well know.  We didn’t try to take Holmes into the modern era.  We stuck with one change and kept it Victorian.  If you could update and pull the Great Detective into the 21st Century, how would you do it?

TW:My first step: I wouldn’t make him THE Sherlock Holmes–simply because it’s  too close to the BBC/PBS version, which is absolutely stellar.  (I decided I had to stop over-using “brilliant”) To make a parallel-running series, the second would need a truly fresh view on it. I fear CBS didn’t take the opportunity to craft one.

If you’re going to put a Holmes in NYC in the modern day, why not simply make him a descendant?   We know from canon Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes were  “descended from country squires.”  There’s long been speculation among Doyleans  that perhaps there was a third Holmes brother, the eldest, whose responsibility it would have been to maintain the estate and provide an heir.

Huge amounts of material to work with there.  Plus, it’s a fresh take–I don’t think anyone’s ever used the premise of a great-great-grandson of the family line who has inherited that gift.  And the legal concerns between the BBC and CBS would never have been an issue at all.

The other basic elements–Watson, the police, the deductions, etc–can all be incorporated without a whole lot of effort.  It’s not as if Watson is an uncommon surname. But it allows room for personality differences, the quirks and the backstory, without requiring every scene shot to be microscopically examined for potential legal issues. It allows for that “Americanization.”

A fresh view is what makes the Guy Ritchie films unique  – they took the very basic framework and then ran with it in a totally new style. Yes, Holmes is Holmes and Watson is Watson and it’s Victorian England – but other than that, it’s fresh. There are mixed opinions on how well they succeeded in the endeavor, but you can’t please everyone.

But Ritchie’s premise seems to have been  far more a “What if Sherlock Holmes was an action hero?”  Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss chose a premise of “What if the canon Holmes existed in the modern day?”  Both fresh takes.

Unfortunately, the Elementary creators seem to have copied the second premise rather than crafting another fresh one.  Moving him to New York just isn’t enough of a deviation. Not when there are still other options.

So it feels like a deliberate move on CBS, a retaliation of sorts for being turned down on their offer to the BBC version.  A flip-off. Reminds me of one of my kids doing something strictly to piss the other one off.

TDM:  Interesting.  I actually have a descendant story outlined somewhere.  Did it years ago.  I’ll have to dig it out.  Holmes himself had a granddaughter.  For me personally, I don’t consider descendants an update of Sherlock Holmes.  You won’t have the Watson/Holmes dynamic, for example.  So it ends up something different entirely.  I’m not sure exactly what I’d do.  I haven’t thought about it enough.  It’s an intriguing proposition.  You’re very right that there are so many avenues open to be explored.  It seems a shame Hollywood keeps revisiting the same ones.

As for Elementary, best of luck to them and us.  May it exceed our expectations.

4.5 Stars (okay, Ribbons) from Romance Junkies!!

Wow – Romance Junkies, named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Web Sites for Writers in 2009 and 2010, with over a million hits a month, has reviewed our Sherlock Holmes pastiche and given it 4.5 Blue Ribbon Rating! Here’s the meat of the review itself: (italics added)

KISSING SHERLOCK HOLMES by T.D McKinney and Terry Wylis is a new and intriguing take on the legendary characters of Sherlock Holmes and his friend John Watson. This novel answers the question what if Watson and Holmes fell in love in a surprisingly believable and very entertaining way. It was very interesting to see such a cold and calculating character as Sherlock Holmes behave with tenderness and concern toward Watson. His reactions and feelings didn’t feel out of character to me. The authors have made the feelings these to men share both believable and moving. The tone of the novel is appropriate for the time period in which the novel is set. It truly felt like a Sherlock Holmes mystery. The mystery is an equally important and satisfying part of the story and it kept me guessing to the end. I highly recommend this novel.

Read the entire review here: http://romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/suspense/Kissing_Sherlock_Homles.shtml

SHERLOCK Series 2: The Wrap-Up

WARNING: This is an in-depth review and discussion of SHERLOCK Series/Season 2. As the episodes have not yet aired in the United States, if you do not wish SPOILERS, do not read further.

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Terry Wylis: Alas, the tears have been shed, the gasps uttered, and our hearts stomped on enough times to leave bruises. And the brilliant cast and crew of the BBC’s Sherlock deservedly praised. As the first entry in our new co-blog, we thought we’d summarize our thoughts on the series as a whole, and then address our own theories of how Sherlock managed to survive a 60+-foot dive off the roof of St. Bart’s hospital.  Kettle’s boiled, T.D. McKinney. Pull a chair up to the fire.

TDM:  Ta, love.  It’s been great fun and now we suffer for another year or more waiting for our next fix.  Horrible thing to do to addicts, isn’t it?  Even my husband mentioned how boring Sunday seemed without a new Sherlock.  Boring hardly touches it.

Terry: It’s a good thing they’re totally re-watchable. I pick up new layers and new tidbits every time. A real master work for Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. I hope they continue for many seasons to come. LOL, once their leading men come home from all the globe-hopping.

TDM:  Yeah, at least we’ll have other movies to watch while we’re waiting.  It will be interesting to say the least.  

Terry: Well, the whole of the UK and shortly everywhere but the United States is buzzing about how Sherlock Holmes could possibly have survived that plunge off St. Barts. Several theories, but Moftiss have debunked them all. The question is, are they bluffing?  Or could elements of the various theories be right?

TDM:  I feel like Lestrade during that press conference in A Study in Pink “Wrong, wrong, wrong.”  It’s rather annoying.  We know Moftiss likes to mess with us, so it’s likely the will have some interesting twist to whatever they’ve done.

Terry: Let’s take a look at some of the elements from our favorite standpoint, that of the evidence we were given.  For example, the body on the pavement. Actually Sherlock? And if so, is there evidence that some tricks were used to ensure his survival from a height of 62 feet 7 inches (supplied by the Barts Archives – thank you!)?  I saw a couple of possibilities. You?

TDM:  Visual evidence would indicate it was Sherlock Holmes.  However, we do know there is at least one look-alike in the vicinity (witness testimony of kidnapped child Claudette).  There is a possibility the body could have been that of the look-alike kidnapper.  Conclusion:  Open.  More evidence needed.  There are numerous ways Sherlock himself could have survived a fall from that height.  I could name three that are feasible and even probable, and at least a dozen that are more improbable.

Terry: There’s one particular reason I believe it actually was him. Normally you wouldn’t see a doctor or paramedic rocking the victim of a fall like that, for the simple reason of exacerbating any possible spinal or neck injury. Yet it’s very clear he’s being rocked. The body is lying on its right side, the hand extended, and it’s that hand John takes a radial pulse from–one imagines a non-existent one, for at least the few seconds before someone pries John’s hand away. Is it possible to block a radial pulse without actually stopping the heart? A little Google journey, and I find that yeah, it is. And fairly easily. Some good pressure up in the armpit could do it. Maybe that squash ball he was playing with in the lab–something we’ve never seen Sherlock doing. Moftiss made a statement that everyone had missed a big out-of-character thing that was a clue.

TDM:  I think we had confirmation of that from our favorite former assistant coroner in the UK, too, when he first mentioned it.  * Kisses to JMG for being utterly brilliant in all ways *  The speedy manner Sherlock was whisked away supports that, too.  You don’t want to maintain that sort of pressure for too long, nor is it an easy thing to do.  So, John only has a few seconds to confirm Sherlock’s death before he’s pulled away.  Likewise, how quickly Sherlock’s “body” is removed from the scene.  If he’s dead at the scene (or a dead body standing in for Sherlock), there’s no need to move him.  But he’s taken away like there’s a chance of revival, except no one’s working on him.  All kinds of suspicious.  All things John would have noticed immediately if he weren’t incapacitated.

Terry: I did note several shades of the canon story The Dying Detective. I know there have been a lot of theories that Sherlock actually landed in the laundry truck and the body on the pavement was not him. I don’t buy it for a couple of reasons. Yes, John was disoriented after Sherlock landed. And yes, his eyes were fixed on Sherlock as Sherlock stood on the roof edge. But John followed every inch of that plunge, at least until the last ten or twelve feet when Sherlock vanished behind the ambulance center building that stood between them. I can’t imagine he wouldn’t notice if Sherlock’s plunge vector took him out the extra ten feet it would require to land in the laundry truck. Also, it’s too easy. I don’t see Moftiss resorting to easy.

TDM:  Oh, they’ll do easy.  They just won’t make it easy on us!  Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if that laundry truck didn’t haul away some of the evidence.  Nor if it had a part in making for a safe landing.  There had to be a safety net.  Literally.  And a way to get it out of the way quickly.

Terry: No doubt. In fact, a net or a firefighters’ jump blanket makes sense on a number of levels. Sherlock dives off the building and his body is perpendicular to the building — but when we see a body land on the pavement, it’s parallel to the building. An air bag of some kind would take too long to deflate and put away – but a jump blanket would be like a trampoline – he landed face down, but the momentum (and the holders of said net manipulating it) could easily have taken him back and to the side so he hit the ground parallel to the building.  

And I noticed something else when I paused the video (LOL, numerous times and in numerous places): Sherlock was wearing a black suit and that dark purple shirt, and The Coat, of course. But as he’s falling, there’s a clear flash of white around his waist, and it’s not his skin — so it can’t be simply the shirt coming untucked. Perhaps a little padding to guard against rib damage in the jostling around?

TDM:  Could be.  We know in reality, Benedict Cumberbatch was attached to wires and so that was part of the harness.  But in the Sherlock world, padding works.  I think it’s a good theory that fits the available evidence.

Terry: Why, thank you! 😀  The blanket/net is easily rolled up and stuffed into the laundry truck – wouldn’t even have had to be the back – just the passenger seat, which is right next to the sidewalk as the truck’s parked. It would take all of 10-20 seconds. And the blood splatter pattern by Sherlock’s head is weird.

TDM:  More like someone dumped a bucket of blood and he lay down in it and then they pour a bit more over him, hm?  There’s a lot of it and no brain matter, so serious head trauma but not.  Sherlock’s hair is soaked in blood on one side where it lies in the blood, of course, but again, no sign of a cracked skull.  

There is also no sign of facial damage.  No sign of a broken nose, cheeks, or chin.  None of the extensive sort of damage you’d expect if he’d landed on his face as he would have from the trajectory of his fall.  Had he turned his head at the last moments and landed on the side as shown, there would have been visible injuries to his skull, resulting in at least some damage you could see.  Certainly one of those glorious cheekbones would have suffered.  And though his eyes are open, there is no blood in his eyes.  And yes, we know way too much about what dead bodies are supposed to look like.  We can supply some links for those interested in the forensics of this at the end of our little party.

Terry: Hey, I don’t mind our readers knowing we’ve spent more than one evening deciphering a crime scene in the search for a story or just to hone our skills. But I agree with you about the evidence not matching what we’re being led to believe. There’s blood on the upper part of his lip, but none at the corner — from the angle he was lying at, blood pouring from his mouth would have pooled in the corner and run down to the pavement at the corner of his mouth.  The only blood on the left side of his face is coming from his left ear – leading us to believe further the skull fracture theory — and that could easily have been poured there.  It just occurred to me that Molly could have easily drawn a pint of blood from Sherlock to use for this very purpose, so the DNA would match.

A fully coherent John Watson might have picked out some of all this, even if he didn’t catch it all. But concussed — slightly at least — and already in shock over having just watched his best friend leap off a building, a crowd of people pushing in and pulling him away, plus the terrible finality of the phone conversation he’d just had…Yes, I can see him missing a lot of the minutiae and letting his shattered and foggy brain come to the conclusion Sherlock needed him to. So we have a decent working theory not quite in line with what we’ve seen elsewhere.

TDM:  You and I have dissected enough real crime scenes to know a case of staging when we see it.  So, yeah.  Evidence points to that really being Sherlock on the ground pretending to be dead.  The medical personnel and all those concerned, helpful people are part of Sherlock’s homeless network.  A lot of knowledge and access supplied by Dr. Molly Hooper.  End result, one very dead Sherlock Holmes.

Terry: And one rather shattered John Watson. I have to admit, that’s where my main curiosity for Series 3 lies. How Sherlock plans to make his reappearance without getting a real broken jaw from John punching him out.

TDM:  Let’s hope he has good reflexes.  

Terry: I think the tea’s gone cold, so we’ll wrap it up for this week. Again, well-deserved kudos to the creators, cast and crew of Sherlock — “Brilliant” is too mundane a word now. We may have to make up a new one.  Have you got those links, T.D.?

TDM:  I do.  Forensics fun.  Not for the faint of heart, since this deals with real investigations into real deaths.  But some very interesting facts on death by falling.  And here you thought the body parts in the crisper were odd…

http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~cross/FORENSIC-PHYSICS/FALLING-FATALITIES.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1397448/pdf/annsurg00391-0148.pdf

http://ad-teaching.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/zbmed/Springer%20Verlag%20E-Books/Springer%20E-Books%20August%202010%20in%20Kapitel/ftp_PUB_10-08-20_15-48-14/BSE=7643/BOK=978-1-59745-110-9/PRT=2/CHP=2_10.1007-978-1-59745-110-9_2/BodyRef/PDF/978-1-59745-110-9_Chapter_2.pdf

Review/Discussion: SHERLOCK–The Reichenbach Fall

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!!!

And so it ends…only it doesn’t. Just waits for awhile. (Thank you, BBC Gods!) The third and final episode in the second series of SHERLOCK has aired.  Now that we’ve managed to dry our eyes and pry our hearts out of our throats, it’s time to sit down and review. I’m joined once again by T.D. McKinney, BFF, co-author, and avid Sherlockian. Kettle’s boiled, love – have a seat.

TDM:  You know, I’ve never forgiven Arthur Conan Doyle for The Final Problem, but it does make for good television in the hands of Steve Thompson.  I liked his The Reichenbach Fall much better than The Blind Banker.  Much!  Of course, I’m sure Moftiss [popular nickname of the creative team at the helm of SHERLOCK, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss] had their hands heavily in this particular pie.

TW: Oh, no doubt. FALL did feel more…cohesive? It certainly didn’t lack for intricate details and heavy-duty emotion across the spectrum.

TDM:  Emotional investment by the audience.  Needless to say, nothing BANK brought up in those of us watching could compare to FALL.  Of course, I’ve been weeping over the mention of Reichenbach since I was ten, damn Doyle.  It’s pre-programmed, childhood trauma for me.

TW: I know the week leading up to it was an exercise in torture for you. So, let’s jump right in. Moriarty’s back, and he’s not playing simple games anymore. Lots of screen time for Andrew Scott. Very impressive screen time, I thought. You?

TDM:  Brilliant portrayal of a madman.  Mr. Scott has astounding talent. I look forward to seeing his future roles.  I also like his natural speaking voice–the not-freaky one.  It’s very rich.  He’s not canon Moriarty, but then he’s not written as such.  The bit on the roof where Moriarty is obviously heartbroken that Holmes is “ordinary” is particularly good.  It’s far more subtle than the scene at the pool and showcases Mr. Scott’s talent all the more because of it.  The discussion about Sherlock being like Moriarty and being on the side of the angels but not one of them is likewise.  Very nicely done, multi-layered pieces of art.

TW: Multi-layered is a good way to describe the plot as a whole. Not particularly flattering images of either the tabloid press or Scotland Yard. A lot of old grudges seeping back in, most notably Sergeant Donovan’s…dare I say, bitchy attitude coming to a head. Moriarty seemed to know exactly the proper strings to pull.

TDM: “Shthpidah!”  Sorry – Benedict Cumberbatch says “spider” and I hear the lisp.  Every single time.  Because it is just glorious.  But that is what Moriarty is.  A spider at the center of the web.  Doyle describes him as such–and wasn’t it lovely to hear Sherlock use that at the trial?–so of course he knows just which thread of his web to tickle.  Sally Donovan is wrapped in his silk, just another little fly he’s devoured.  She is on my last nerve, btw.  And let me just add, she wears shoes utterly unsuited to a police officer.  She’ll never chase anyone down in those things.

TW: Yes, I noticed that. Was it just me, or was everything Sherlock did at that crime scene basic forensics? I mean, the oil sample of the footprint and the analysis, then determining what location contained all of them.  “Our boys couldn’t have done it.” Sounded to me like she had a theory she liked…

TDM:  I hate to defend Anderson and Donovan.  The very thought gives me a migraine.  Yes, it is basic crime scene analysis, and it would have been done in the lab.  Sadly, without Sherlock likely the footprints wouldn’t have been found.  That was the Sherlock effect–finding the footprints to begin with.  Which Anderson should have!  In a kidnapping, that room should have been checked and double checked for something like those prints.

Of course, you and I are both true crime buffs and have experience with both solved and unsolved cases.  Sometimes, the locals aren’t experienced in murders or kidnappings because they just don’t happen in small communities.  But this is Scotland Yard.  I’d imagine there to be a unit devoted to crimes against children, including kidnappings.  And for something as diplomatically sensitive as this?  That was poorly done on the writers’ part, I’m afraid.

I forgave them and didn’t rant at the TV too much because a) we all know Anderson is an idiot, and b) it’s Sherlock and the rest was so good.  But yes, it was a very glaring police procedural blunder.  And I hope Lestrade uses it to fry Anderson.

Added all up, Donovan’s theory does not hold.  Any decent detective could have figured this out.  As fast as Sherlock?  Maybe not, since they would have to wait on the lab, but in a kidnapping you can push things through.  Finding the warehouse would have been the crucial part.  That’s where being Sherlock really paid off.  Not the footprint, but being able to ID the place the children were being held let him save them before it was too late.  You didn’t need to be a criminal profiler for this one, just moderately intelligent.

TW: I do find myself wishing the Superintendent hadn’t walked in just as John was about to skewer Donovan, but we couldn’t have him punching a woman. That was a fun bit with the handcuffs, though. Some wonderful moments between the lead characters. And an interesting tension.

TDM:  There’s always interesting tension between those two.  But even more interesting is how perfectly they move together.  Aside from a bit of getting used to it, they’re smooth.  Of course, John never once protests being the “hostage.”  Never offers to separate and turn himself in.  As ever, where Sherlock’s concerned, he’s completely invested.  Once evidence of Sherlock’s supposed duplicity begins coming to light, he never wavers.  You never see an instance of true doubt in John.  Confusion about what’s happening, but never belief that Sherlock is a fraud, not even when Sherlock says so himself.

TW: A couple of lovely scenes, before we get to our two leading men: in the lab, Sherlock with Molly Hooper. A brilliant and touching performance by Loo Brealey. And a little peek into Sherlock’s soul.

TDM:  Yes.  Molly’s shining moment.  Proof she’s not dull and ordinary.  She more than sees, she observes.  She actually impresses Sherlock.  She also shocks him and leaves him off-kilter and reeling.  That’s rather good for him.  Then when he needs a fourth friend, she’s there.  Sweet Molly.  Jim overlooked her and shouldn’t have.  I love irony.  Lovely performance by Ms. Brealey.  Some of the most touching of the whole series.

TW: I’m going to ask you about your choice for most powerful and/or favorite scene(s), because I know they’ll lead right into a discussion of “the boys,” Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. From the chats we’ve had earlier, I suspect our choices match.

TDM:  You might be surprised.  This was a powerful episode, full of emotion and pathos, of course.  Meant to be.  The canon story it was based on is one of my favorites.  Hmm, most powerful…  I know you think it’s the rooftop with Moriarty, but so much of that is possibly faked by Jim or Sherlock or both.  They’ve both anticipated it.  It’s hard to tell which emotions are real and what are made up just to jack with the other.  They do love jacking with each other.  To the point of dying to do so!  That was an admittedly powerful moment, and acted brilliantly by both men.  I particularly loved Benedict’s reactions as Sherlock to Moriarty’s suicide.  Just brilliant.  But no, can’t say it’s the most powerful for me.  

John Watson at Sherlock’s grave is also wonderful.  Martin Freeman is beyond brilliant.  I didn’t cry until his voice breaks and squeaks.  I have to admit, the Jeremy Brett version of The Final Problem affects me far more emotionally.  I pretty much weep through that whole thing.  I’m having a ball through this one.  I feel for John as he’s watching his best friend on that rooftop.  But I’m fine until he nearly cries at the grave.  Martin Freeman is one of the finest actors of his generation.  But that’s not it, either.  

I have to say the most powerful IS the scene with Molly when Sherlock goes to her for help.  He’s almost on the edge of tears when he begins to speak.  His voice is choked and remains so, his eyes bright with incipient tears.  This time the admission of weakness is the truth.  “I’m not okay.”  The great Sherlock Holmes asking for help.  It’s beautiful and touching.  And very powerful.

TW: I actually do agree with you that it is the most powerful. Lots of great moments to choose from. So, your favorite scene? Then I’ll tell you mine.

TDM:  God, so many to choose from.  John telling off Mycroft…you have to feel for Mycroft.  He has screwed this up so badly.  Lestrade doing damage control to try and help Sherlock…Am I the only one who noticed that it looked like Donovan and Anderson went over Lestrade’s head to the superintendent about Sherlock?  John and Lestrade protecting Sherlock.  I love that little “he is not resisting” to make sure no one roughs up Sherlock.  

Okay, I have to admit, my favorite is John punching out the Chief Superintendent.  Just wish they’d shown more.  LOVE the look on his face just before he swings.  You see that shoulder drop and that look and you know what’s coming.

TW: Oh yeah. I do like that one. But my favorite centers around what literature has called for ages “the greatest friendship ever,” and not in the way you’d expect.

The scene is just after Sherlock has refused to go down to Scotland Yard with Lestrade. There’s a moment when Sherlock’s sure Moriarty has gotten into John’s head as well, that John’s worried he’s been taken in. And it hurts. Sherlock’s last defense, more or less, doubting him.

And the reply: “No, I know you for real.” John turns, and you see he thinks Sherlock is doubting him. And it hurts. And then comes a moment of absolute, pure honesty. “No one could fake being such an annoying dick all the time.” There’s a flash of understanding and affection between them that just lights the flat.

That’s my favorite. And of course the “No one could be that clever,” “You could,” moment toward the end.

TDM:  Yes.  They may fuss and fight, but they never really doubt each other.  Not really.  

TW: I think we’ve touched at least briefly on everyone. I do think Benedict Cumberbatch deserves a last thought, though. The sheer range of emotion and talent he’s demonstrated this series is incredible.

TDM:  Oh, undoubtedly he deserves all the hyperbole Hollywood has been tossing about for the last fortnight.  For once, they aren’t lying.  I look forward to seeing what he does with the roles he’ll be offered.  

I do have one other performance to mention.  Mark Gatiss Mycroft is so very touching.  There is pain there, guilt and grief.  Confusion from one who is never less than on top of everything.  It’s perfect.  The Iceman thaws.  

Maybe that’s the secret – so much perfection.  Makes it easy to forgive the very few flaws.

TW: Got your theory yet as to HOW Sherlock survived? It seems to be the topic of conversation lately. Or shall we pull a pint next week for a series summary and a discussion of theories?

TDM:  I have several.  Moftiss keeps saying they’re wrong.  Let’s do a decent dissection of the crime scene and see what we come up with.  I mean, we don’t have all those friends with FBI and forensics such for nothing.  We’re not Anderson; we know how to do it right.

TW: LOL, yeah – I’ll have those Google Earth photos for you shortly, labeled with sight-lines, distances, and the various vehicle-shuffling they pulled on us. Think you can profile Moftiss in a week’s time?

TDM:  Tough.  Moftiss thinking like Sherlock.  Evil.  Climbing about in the brains of serial killers is easier, you know.  Well, they do like torturing us, so maybe there isn’t that much difference.  I’ll give it my best shot.

TW: Next week, then. Thanks for stopping by. You know…there’s plenty of room in this blog for both of us, and the rent’s cheaper if we share. Could be very nice…very nice indeed? There’s another bedroom upstairs.

TDM:  Mrs. Hudson!  I’ll take the room!

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And so, this blog will shortly become the residence of Terry Wylis and T.D. McKinney. We hope you’ll all continue to stop by.

Discussion/Review: SHERLOCK: “The Hounds of Baskerville”

WARNING: This is an in-depth review and discussion of SHERLOCK Series 2 Episode 2, “The Hounds of Baskerville.” If you do not wish SPOILERS, do not read further.

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I’m back with my best friend and co-author–and avid Sherlockian–T. D. McKinney, for a discussion of the second offering of this year’s SHERLOCK triad, “The Hounds of Baskerville.” Written by Mark Gatiss, one of the co-creators of SHERLOCK, the story is based on the original Canon offering, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

TW: Judging by the comments I’ve seen on Twitter, the opinion on this episode was a bit more mixed. Me, personally, I thought it was brilliantly done and perfectly in the spirit of the original. What’s your take? Last week you weren’t sure what you were looking forward to with it.

TD: I think I told you earlier this evening, I’m still processing parts of it. Unlike most Holmes fans, I don’t consider The Hound of the Baskervilles to be the greatest Holmes story Doyle ever penned. I’m very ambivalent about the original tale and some of that flows over to every adaptation. This week’s episode actually “fixed” a lot of the issues I have with Doyle’s original. Overall, I think it was splendid.

TW: Would you like to elaborate on one or two of the points it “fixed” for you?

TD: I never particularly enjoyed the plot device separating Holmes and Watson. Mark Gatiss showed John as perfectly capable of doing investigations on his own, and finding clues all by his lonesome, and yet have our two favorite heroes share the screen. The interactions were wonderful, too.

The story is basically a horror story and it’s often not done as such. Mr. Gatiss, smart thing, played that up. That helps. I know a lot of people complain that the hound turns out to be a fake or looks cheesy in the end, screaming “Scooby Doo,” but seriously, isn’t that the point? It was a trick. It wasn’t a demonic hound. It was a fake. A charlatan’s sleight of hand. Smoke and mirrors.

TW: Agreed. It was an amateur-hour creation of the pub owners to drum up tourism. And it looked the part. You mentioned John Watson and the interactions between him and Sherlock. We’re certainly seeing the friendship solidify and deepen, aren’t we?

TD: The whole season is showing that ripening of the relationship.

TW: And take a few wounds as well.

TD: Sherlock is not an easy man to live with. And John is not one to take a blow without fighting back, literally and figuratively.

TW: Let’s talk about the actors for a minute. We didn’t get to Benedict and Martin last week. What are we seeing this season? LOL, besides the brilliance we got last season.

TD: Relaxed. There is a strong undercurrent of relaxed around each other. Their performances are polished, professional, and of the highest calibre. Martin Freeman has been a star in the UK for over a decade. The rest of the world is just now seeing why. He’s amazing. He’s a master of nuances. Benedict Cumberbatch is likewise poised for international fame. His talent is obvious; just read any of the articles and reviews that have come out in the last two weeks. Likewise, the good looks – any photo will do.

TW: They seem to bring out the best in each other on-screen, too. There’s a chemistry between them that I’m not sure we’ve ever seen in any other Holmes/Watson pairing.

TD: I think we saw something close in the Brett/Burke and Brett/Hardwicke days. Interestingly enough, those gentlemen were also friends off-screen.

TW: True. The Canon nods were cute in this one. I noticed the Persian Slipper has appeared, the bet conversation from The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, and you pointed out a nod to The Adventure of Black Peter.

TD: Yes, there was – the harpoon. I love the little Easter Eggs.

TW: We can’t discuss The Hounds of Baskerville
without a mention of guest star Russell Tovey as Henry Knight. I thought he was marvelous.

TD: He was. He has that boyish, personable, innocent face. Then he hits you with the added vulnerability and you’re sucked right into caring about him and whatever character he’s portraying. He makes his people believable.

TW: We ended up caring about a lot of them. Martin scared me to death in that lab scene.

TD: So you told me. I think you still have heart failure.

TW: Now who’s a brat? 😀

TD: I have never claimed differently. In fact, I’ve achieved levels most only dream of.

TW: Oh yeah. Seriously, though. The suspense levels?

TD: Excellently done. You have to remember I’m very hard to frighten, unless I’m in actual physical danger (which honestly either pisses me off or gives me a rush). So I didn’t actually share the fear you did. But I could appreciate the job done by all involved.

TW: I know you’ve got a comment hovering about you regarding the appearance of Detective Inspector Lestrade.

TD: Lestrade! There was Greg Lestrade. Finally the dear man has a first name. He looked great in the shades, the casual clothes, and the tan. The marriage is obviously over. The lack of wedding ring was so obvious you don’t need my observational skills to see it. Nice hints of a friendship between him and John. I really like that. It was keeping with Canon for him to be there, so that was very nice. My only complaint is there is never enough of him. He needs more screen time.

TW: Anything else you’d like to talk about before I get to the inevitable question you always want to strangle me over? 😉

TD: I’ll take my punishment now, ma’am.

TW: LOL – after A Scandal in Belgravia, I think I’ll just let keep my reply to that safely in the confines of my own brain.

TD: LMAO! Smart woman. You’ve seen my wardrobe.

TW: Most powerful scene? And your favorite, if they’re not one and the same.

TD: This time they aren’t the same. The most powerful scene was the argument between John and Sherlock in front of the fireplace. My favorite is the “make-up” the next day in the cemetery.

TW: And your reasons for both? I agree with you, by the way.

TD: The appeal of Doyle’s stories has always been the relationship, the deep ties between Holmes and Watson. So many adaptations have failed because they don’t get that. SHERLOCK is all about that friendship. Both these scenes revolve around the relationship. Throughout both S1 and what we’ve had of this season, we’ve seen Sherlock spend equal amounts of time captivating John and pushing him away. Not great at relationships. This pair of scenes are a great example of their growth as friends.

I’ve seen a lot of discussion about Sherlock and his show of emotion and fear and such after seeing the hound. What I haven’t seen mentioned is that he chooses to share this with John. He’s been sitting there, alone. He’s had time to order a drink and have it brought ’round. He’s obviously not been speaking to anyone else. Nor has he been acting oddly enough to draw attention (until his later outburst). He didn’t have to tell anyone. He chose to share this very emotional thing with John. Maybe not in the most user-friendly way. Certainly not in a way that made John feel wanted. But under all that, Sherlock still turned to John.

Of course, anything mixing Sherlock and emotions ends up being jacked up.

TW: Very true. I do like that things weren’t resolved in a completely tidy manner. I think it was a very real conversation that took place at the cemetery. Sherlock sort of jacked that up, too, and John’s temper didn’t vanish all at once.

TD: Yes. John has plenty of reason to be pissed off. Probably more than we’ll ever know! But, Sherlock does man up and apologize. And there’s the now-famous “I don’t have friends…I’ve just got one” line. For him, that’s huge. An astonishing admission of affection. Of course, John is adorable. “Don’t ruin it.” That may be one of the best lines in the whole thing. Not THE best. But close.

TW: Well, now I have to ask: what IS the best line in the episode? In BELG I think it was “Sherlock always replies. He’s Mr. Punchline. He will outlive God trying to have the last word.”

TD: [In BASK] It’s John’s line as they’re leaving Baskerville. “Please, can we not do this?” Sherlock looks confused. “Do what?” John has that yeah-right look all over his face. “You being all mysterious with your cheekbones and turning your collar up so you look cool.” For once, John wins.

TW: LOL! Oh, yeah. Okay, on to the inevitable. I assume you’ve stocked up on tissues for this Sunday’s series finale, “The Reichenbach Fall.” Expectations?

TD: That I’m going to be a complete wreck. My boss has already jokingly suggested I take Monday off. My friends have already refused—not jokingly—to be anywhere near me Sunday afternoon.

TW: I’ll still be here. Promise.

TD: I cried the first time I read The Final Problem when I was ten. Admittedly I didn’t know Sherlock Holmes would make it back. Damn Doyle for that, btw. I still get misty over that note for Watson. I’ve seen Jeremy Brett go over those damned falls over a hundred times now and I still cry. I blame it on lingering childhood trauma. Okay…that and my Brett fixation.

I figure Sunday is going to be very bad for me. In a very good way.

TW: I’ll be sobbing right along with you. I sincerely doubt Misters Moffat, Gatiss and Stephen Thompson (FALL’s writer) will let up on us now. It’s been a hell of a ride so far. Thanks for stopping by again this week. Shall we put the kettle on, or just head out to Angelo’s?

TD: Hang on, I think we have a call from Greg Lestrade. Everything else can wait.