Sunday, April 14, 2013

Anticipating Series 3: the Next Moriarty

"Shooting up" at Baker Street.
In Professor Moriarty Out of the Shadows Part 2, this blog makes the case for the Professor Moriarty we have not yet met as an adult, being a woman. 

It is incomprehensible that the team of Moffat and Gatiss will not bring us James Moriarty's sibling.  The issue of how many Moriarty's exist and their correct names is as large a part of Sherlockiana as his drug use and even the deerstalker hat that never appears in the Canon.

The basic elements of the Moriarty as Woman theory, include:
  • The Killer Cabbie never referring to Moriarty by gender (neither "he" nor "she").
  • The softness of the voice of the Moriarty who spoke to the old woman blown up in "The Great Game."
  • The first words Moriarty "speaks" to Sherlock through the first hostage in The Great Game: "Hello, Sexy."
  • The continuing seductive and intimate language throughout.
  • The clue's in the name: "Janus cars."  The mythological God Janus has two faces, often characterized as male and female. 
  • The envelope for Sherlock with the pink phone that we see early in "The Great Game" was addressed by a woman using a fountain pen, a "Parker Duofold with an iridium nib," according to Sherlock.

The full theory is at the link above.  But about that Parker Duofold with the iridum nib.  This answer was given by a poster with the handle bborchar at the The Sherlock Forum, where this blogger posts as Allin1:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used the Parker Duofold to record the adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Examining the red herring.
Certainly it says so at the link.  Further research reveals this isn't precisely factual.  Near the end of his career and his life, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was paid to appear in ads for the Parker Pen Company advertising the Duofold. This thread at The Fountain Pen Network forum, explores the topic.   The Duofold wasn't produced until 1921, so if Conan Doyle used it, it was only for a few his last stories and he couldn't have used the iridium nib pen, which came much later.

What Does This Have to Do with Moriarty?

Again, we can refer to bborchar, post #39 of the same thread:

Actually, the point of that scene had absolutely nothing to do with the pen (it was just a random deduction that had no explanation- the writers said that they do that all the time because it makes for fun dialogue) - the point of the scene was about the paper.  I will take the words straight from Mark Gatiss's mouth on the commentary on the third episode blu-ray:

Mark Gatiss: "Mrs. Wenceslas here, this is part of a little "Czech" thing, a light motif.  Which is a huge red herring, really.  The Bohemian stationary, she's got a Czech name, little things meant to actually distract, which in the ultimate resolution are shown to be a red herring.  Except we cut it, so that's what it's about.  It's not just a mistake."

Therefore, the pen doesn't factor into it- neither does the woman's handwriting.  It was all part of a red herring that was supposed to throw Sherlock off until revealed in the final resolution (notice how he tells Ms. Wenceslas that the whole case has a "decidedly Czech feel to it"), but was edited out before it aired.
But the red herring wasn't edited out.  Can every element in the scene be irrelevant to the larger story?  That's certainly possible.   But all they left out was the information that showed that it was. They left in all the elements, including the gender of the person wielding the pen. They simply omitted the revelation that it was meant as a distraction.  They could  have edited out 15 seconds from the scene in Lestrade's office and completely erased the statement of a woman having addressed the envelope and the reference to the Parker Pen.  But it was all left in.  And according to Gatiss, "It's not just a mistake."

Discerning the difference between a clue, an error and a red herring is almost impossible, so reasoning has to be always based on multiple factors.

The Final Problem of the Empty House

Wouldn't it be a big surprise for another Moriarty to suddenly show up?  Not to readers of the Canon.  From "The Final Problem," the story in which Doyle kills off Sherlock and Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. Watson writes:
It was my intention to have stopped there, and to have said nothing of that event which has created a void in my life which the lapse of two years has done little to fill. My hand has been forced, however, by the recent letters in which Colonel James Moriarty defends the memory of his brother, and I have no choice but to lay the facts before the public exactly as they occurred.
The Canon says two years pass before Watson knows Moriarty has a brother.  It will have been almost two years between Series2:Episode3 (May 2012) and Series3:Episode1 (possibly December 2013-February 2014) of the BBC's Sherlock. James' brother or sister is going to show up right on time.   In the Canon, Sherlock Holmes reappears at the beginning of "The Empty House," in which the very last of Professor Moriarty's assassins is finally caught.
How the stuntman survives.  How Sherlock does, still a mystery.

The BBC has announced the title of S3:E1 is "The Empty Hearse," which leads to the expectation that Sherlock will re-enter the story early in the episode. The final problem for the next episode is still "staying alive."  How Sherlock managed it.  In the Canon, Sherlock explains his survival as soon as he reveals himself to Watson and the flat at 221B Baker Street has been maintained by Mrs. Hudson and paid for by Mycroft.

But the BBC Sherlock doesn't follow the Canon at all exactly and so what will threaten Sherlock may not be the last of Moriarty's henchmen, but the discovery of James' sibling.

It's time for the answer the real question: Why did Moriarty do what he did?  It was the question asked by Sherlock, by John, by Lestrade, asked over and over..  Sherlock asks on the phone in "The Great Game," at the flat after the trial.  On the roof where "Rich Brook" finally falls, Sherlock finds the answer:

Sherlock: "...I die in disgrace."
James:   "Well, of course, that's the point of this."

Why?  Why did the killer cabbie seem to hate Sherlock so much, why was his encounter so different from the first four people? (Tale of the Killer Cabbie.)  Why was James so angry when he got the call that stopped Sherlock blowing them all up at the pool?  Why is James extending a life he cannot bear to live, until he is positive Sherlock Holmes will die an ignominious death?

Only Professor Moriarty will have all the answers.  The Moriarty who killed Carl Powers, kept his shoes, invited Sherlock to dance, fascinated him with puzzles. This is about where Sherlock started, about why Mycroft had to be "mother" for his whole childhood, about what upset Mummy.

The book page image is  from The Science of Johnlock.

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