Sunday, February 17, 2013


"...initially he wanted to be a pirate..."
(Mycroft on Sherlock in the diner)


Privately owned vessel commissioned by a state at war to attack enemy ships, usually merchant vessels. ( Also, one who sails on such a vessel. ) All nations engaged in privateering from the earliest times until the 19th century. Crews were not paid by the government but were entitled to receive portions of the value of any cargo they seized. Limiting privateers to the activities laid down in their commissions was difficult, and the line between privateering and piracy was often blurred.

In the first SHERLOCK BACKSTORY post, this blog made the case that Sherlock Holmes is a recovering drug addict.  Theoretically, before Sherlock met John, he was looking for a flat because he was just coming out of rehab, possibly looking for a flatmate because it was a condition of living on his own again.  Or, because Sherlock hinself thought a flatmate would help keep him straight.  

Possibly Mycroft is the one who insisted, but Sherlock has such deep-seated and long-standing issues with Mycroft, that Sherlock would only move to a flat he'd found on his own.  In the same way, it would be loathsome to Sherlock to depend on Mycroft for money, thereby giving Mycroft control over his life.

Where does Sherlock, who seems to disdain money and thinks a job is "boring," get his income?

The day after Sherlock Holmes meets Doctor Watson, Mycroft brings Watson to a remote location, "avoiding the attention of Sherlock Holmes" and says "I worry about him ... constantly."  Then, he shows up at the scene after the cabbie is killed, expressing his concern and asking Sherlock,

"Did it never occur to you that you and I belong on the same side?"

This can be interpreted as Mycroft telling Sherlock he should come over to the side Mycroft is on, that they should be comrades.  But it can also be taken to mean that they already are, and that is why Sherlock's continued "aggression" towards him is inappropriate.  Then Mycroft says something rather startling and mysterious:

"This petty feud between us is simply childish; people will suffer."

People will suffer.  Who?  Why?

In S1E3, "The Great Game," John finds Mycroft and Sherlock together in the flat, Sherlock as resentful and uncooperative as usual, refuses to look at a file Mycroft has brought on a case of missing missile defense plans. Mycroft tells Sherlock:

"You've got to find those plans, Sherlock. .... Don't make me order you."

And while Sherlock sneers "I'd like to see you try," and seems to be ignoring Mycroft entirely, we learn in the end he does solve the case and recover the memory stick with the plans on it and return it to Mycroft.  The question is: why would Mycroft think he could "order" Sherlock? 

If the police don't consult with amateurs, certainly the British intelligence services don't, either.   Presuming Sherlock will recover the plans, governments don't put very Top Secret information into the hands of anyone who doesn't also have Top Secret clearance.

The only logical deduction to be made is that Sherlock Holmes, a man with serious authority issues, is a "privateer." Someone independent of the government, but under paid contract to the government. He is a "pirate," a privateer, a private person person "commissioned by a state at war to attack [an] enemy ..." And Mycroft seems to be his superior.

Impressing a girl.
Who will suffer if Sherlock doesn't grow up and start behaving as if he and Mycroft are on the same side?   In S2E1, "A Scandal in Belgravia," we learn, as does Sherlock, that a planeful of people in the future will, along with their bereaved families.  The  terrorists will change the code the British and Americans have already cracked and blow up a plane of living people.   Mycroft worked for years to keep the terrorists from knowing they understood that code, and Sherlock handed them the information (via Irene Adler to James Moriarty to the terrorists) in a few seconds of indiscretion and showing off.  (See:  Journey to Reichenbach Five: Reconciliation for more and  the end of the Holmes boys feud.)

Was his lapse really fueled by falling victim to womanly wiles?   Or was Sherlock just rebelling against Mycroft's order to stay away from Irene Adler? Sherlock operates independently, and in "The Great Game," he has his own "contact at the Home Office," who gives him phone contacts to help prove the Janus cars case.  Another indication he has some standing with the government on his own.  Sherlock captains his own ship, a consulting pirate.

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