airynothing: (pained)
[personal profile] airynothing

Ok, here I am back again to talk about why I find this episode deeply unsatisfying.  I hope somebody is listening?

First, I am darkly amused that the two surprises Moffat most strongly enjoined BFI preview watchers to keep secret - the beginning and the ending - are the parts I would cheerfully chop off this episode to make it better.  Perhaps he should heed that writerly advice about killing your darlings.

The beginning - would I have liked the pool resolution better had it come as a complete surprise?  I can only assume so, considering how encouraging and upbeat the BFI audience were about it.  I hate it. 

At the end of TGG, the air is humming with Sherlock and John's emotions.  Sherlock is just moments past having been so unraveled he was combing his hair with the gun.  John was weak in the knees from relief, and they've both just been slammed back into another adrenaline reaction.

Then the new season of filming starts, and it's... dead.  Sherlock is cool and calm, not as a facade he's maintaining with every ounce of his power, but just as a matter of course.  John... well, I can't actually find anything so dissonant about Martin's performance, but somehow, the humming between them, it's just gone.

And that's that.  We never even find out who takes custody of the explosives.  Resolution?  What resolution?  More like Moffat washing his hands of it.

Then comes the best part of the episode, the part where they actually have a life.  Later we pass six months with no life, no cases except the one reference to the gardener and nobody notices the earrings.  But I'll get back to that.

Then!  The end!  Moffat writes a beautiful, heartbreaking, ambiguous, layered ending with all the feelings... and then sticks a ludicrous crap adventure story tacked onto the back end of it.  Which, as other writers have noted, also negates themes he's been building throughout the episode.  I swear I am going to make a copy with that scene deleted.  Let it end with Sherlock reviewing the texts, having easily seen through John's lies, having stopped John from saying the truth (heartbreaking!) by interrupting to ask for the phone; let it end with us wondering why Mycroft (obviously) engineered that interaction.  

Instead of leaving us wondering how Moffat can actually expect us to believe in this solo magic rescue mission.

Ok, my last gripe for the evening: the final six months.  What's going on in the six months between Christmas and Irene presenting herself wrapped in Sherlock's bed?  How are things in the world of the show changing and developing?

John has had five months and three weeks to think about Irene's comparison of their respective emotions for Sherlock.  Did we get to see this?  No, we got to see him ask Sherlock once "How are we feeling about [Irene being alive]?" and get no answer.  Then the five months and three weeks, and then he gets to watch Sherlock and Irene orbit each other for an evening.  Then he leaves them alone in the flat together... does he think they want privacy?  Does he trust her?  She drugged Sherlock before!  We don't even get to see him leave.  We don't see him again until the meeting with Mycroft.  We don't see him come back to the flat, discover it empty or Sherlock there or (there might be a small window for this) just Irene there (perhaps helpfully bugging the place for Moriarty?)

No real clue how his relationship with Sherlock developed over that time.

Also, he hasn't got the chance to smile on camera since Christmas.  One little smile at "England would fall", yes.  Maybe a bit of a smile when he sees Irene on the bed, though that's got to be just surprise, hasn't it?  But no glee, no joy, no giggling at crime scenes.  It took me days to realize this is why I come away from the show feeling so bleak: John has a terrible six months, if we're to believe the cameras.

So what's everyone else doing?  Well, the American is recovering from a truly startling amount of damage.  Ok, that's him sorted.  Ought to have kept him busy, what with the rehab and all.

How about Mycroft?  How about those terrorists?  Ooh, they've been working hard on their plans, haven't they!  Their plans which were already finalized, and compromised, before Christmas at least, possibly even before Irene started playing the Holmes brothers.

Yes.  Because terrorists always sit on a winning plan for six, nine months or so.  Give it time to ripen. Give the other side a sporting chance.

Moriarty, I'll believe, has been keeping busy. Surely he has plenty on his plate.  As for Sherlock, presumably he's been taking cases, but we don't get to see them.  Six months of cases not worth showing us?  What are we missing?  Does Sherlock still get bored, ever?  Or is breaking into one little smartphone so absorbing that it's all he does in his free time?

That missing six months is just wasted.

Edit:  I wrote all this and then realized that there are even more months of wasted not-shown life.  It's been two months since she "died", hasn't it, at the end?  And then however long she was free in between that evening with the Holmes brothers and Karachi.

So that's more like nine months of no joy for John and us not being allowed to see cases.
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