Sunday, January 31, 2016

THE ABOMINABLE BRIDE: REALITY 1

60 minutes in - we first see reality in The Abominable Bride. In BBC Sherlockian reality, it is these parts we can take at face value. (If one can take anything that way in Moffatt-make-it-up-as-I-go-and-lie-to-the-public-Land.)

What facts can we glean?

1. Per Mycroft, Sherlock has O.C.D. Presumably meaning "obsessive-compulsive disorder." We've never seen a hint that Sherlock has O.C.D. No counting, no repetitive actions, no problem being dirty in the drug den.  But it's classic Mofftiss to mis-use a psychiatric term.

However, they did introduce the concept last season in His Last Vow when Sherlock makes the knocker crooked after Mycroft straightens it ("he's O.C.D.") alerting Sherlock to his presence.  Of course, Sherlock is unaware he readjusts it. So, even though we've watched an O.C.D.less Sherlock for five years, he has suddenly developed the condition.  But only as it pertains to door-knockers, apparently. Is it a continuing joke? Or something being set up as a plot point for Series 4?

No way to be sure, but when they introduce something apropos of nothing and make it such a minor detail in the story, it's almost always a writer's way of setting up a future plot device.  But even if true, there's no way out of context to know what it might be, so it's a waste of fan-hours to worry about it.

2. More interesting is Mary checking Sherlock's phone and observing he's been reading John's blog.  ".. the story of how you met ..."  But Sherlock's answer, that he likes to see himself through John's eyes because he seems so much smarter, narrows down what he was reading to two different blog entries.  The first on January 29th.

But the 7th of February entry also starts out talking about what happened when John met Sherlock. Do we believe Reality Sherlock doubts his own cleverness so much he wants to see himself through John's eyes to boost his ego?  Or is he just distracting Mary from what he was really interested in: The Tale of the Killer Cabby. With Moriarty "back," would Sherlock waste 5 minutes? Where did he first hear the name? In The Study in Pink - the Tale of the Killer Cabbie.

What did Mofftiss say about Series 4? "It's the story we've been telling from the beginning."

He was high before he got on the plane. The drugs eased Sherlock's separation from John and Mary, from his life, and to his fatal assignment. But as he searched for clues to Moriarty, the drugs took him on an unplanned journey into his own subconscious.

3. Sherlock was in solitary confinement for a week before his departure. That's a lot of time to think. What would he have to think about?  Possibly how he made his last big mistake.  He assumed. He might start checking old assumptions.  He might know Mycroft was making arrangements for his last, fatal assignment. He might be wanting to solve his oldest case. The mystery that made him make himself into what he is.

4. Mycroft may not be a "proper" big brother.  This statement is easily interpreted as "If you were a good big brother like other big brothers, you'd be doing this for me."  But it might also be meant more literally.  That Mycroft is not a "proper" brother.  That would make him a half-brother or step-brother or an adopted brother.

As we recall from His Last Vow, there seems to be another sibling of Mycroft's. As he told an official when negotiating Sherlock's fatal assignment in place of his imprisonment and was accused of ".. some expression of familial sentiment ..."

"Don't be absurd. I'm not given to outbursts of brotherly compassion. You know what happened to the other one."

The "brotherly compassion" is his own as a brother. The "other one?"  Someone to whom he is a brother. A sister or another brother. But that doesn't necessarily make them Sherlock's sibling. If Mycroft were either a step-brother or half-brother, he could have a sibling entirely unrelated to Sherlock by genetics or family tie.

The language is carefully constructed not to reveal anything about "the other one." Including their gender.  This also happens in another place in this episode. In the Mind Palace, Mary, John and Sherlock are under the church watching the hooded figures chanting and marching by.

Mary explains about Mycroft: "He likes to keep an eye on his mad sibling."  Sherlock's reaction in this scene is to nod agreement. "He needed a spy to hand."

Wait ... what?  If Sherlock isn't the "mad sibling" then who is? Who did Mary follow into the basement of the church in Sherlock's drug-warped Mind Palace?

But there is one more place where the writers carefully avoided mentioning an important character's gender. In the very adventure Sherlock was reading on John's blog in Reality before his descent into 19th century Sherlock. In A Study in Pink. From Anticipating Series 3: the Next Moriarty:

 But when Sherlock and the audience first hear the name "Moriarty," it is from the mouth of the Killer Cabbie. (Tale of the Killer Cabbie.) Supposedly, Sherlock's "fan" and the cabbie's "sponsor."  Yet, neither the fan nor the sponsor are ever referred to by gender. ("I have a sponsor," the cabbie tells Sherlock, "For every life I take, money goes to my kids. ... The more I kill, the better off they'll be.")
It's taken an extra series to get there, but there was a lot to set up.

Assumptions are dangerous things, as Sherlock was reminded. This writer has always assumed the fan and the sponsor are the same person. What if they aren't?  Most people assumed "James Moriarty" who killed himself on the roof of St. Bart's was the analog of the Professor Moriarty of the Conan Doyle novels. What if Jim was Not Moriarty?

5. Jim Moriarty is dead. Reality Sherlock states it unequivocally near the end of the episode. He was there, a foot away. He saw the brains, the blood, the bits of bone.


Unless it's twins - but it's never twins, is it?



2 comments:

  1. sherlocks the mad brother, he killed redbeard when he was a kid, possibly because mycroft made him, and developed multiple personality disorder, which either has been the fan/sponsor behind the cabbie/moriarty and possibly others, or is something that Mycroft only mentions when he is afraid of Sherlock realizing something he doesn't want him to know, sending Sherlock back into a tailspin and delving deeply into whether or not he is the one causing all of this. To me this entire episode was Sherlock trying to figure out whether or not he was behind the character moriarty. If moriarty consistently shows up with a hole in his head, then thats the way sherlock last saw him, and if thats the way he saw him then theres really no faking death. So the entire search for a body was proof that he could find to confirm he wasn't going crazy.
    On a more wild tangent, I'd say that the only reason Molly didn't have a sniper on her was b/c Mycroft (or another nefarious character) wanted a way out for Sherlock, that would distract the public from the fact that (James Brooks was his name I think?) was an actor... something that alot of theories address and that someone probably was controlling him from behind the scenes. Either Sherlock himself or someone that wanted him to go crazy!
    Molly is the loose thread as she is probably the only one who knows what happened to Moriarty/Brooks' body and a perfect inside person to keep Sherlock from actually jumping and contained as she probably handles his unconscious body and delivers it to whomever arranged this whole thing.
    And on that note, whoever did arrange it is probably the one that convinced Sherlock that Magnus was such a threat that he needed to be killed. Remember that originally, Sherlock was almost playful in bringing Jon up to Magnus' office to go get the papers that he was using to blackmail Lady (Smallwood i think?). Somehow, by the end of the episode hes offering Mycrofts laptop filled with government secrets, and Shooting an unarmed Magnus because he's really good at blackmail and flicking jons eye...? Or b/c he's threatening Mary? It doesn't make sense, Mary had Magnus on the ground pleading for his life and is obviously a very strong and important character. I think she trumps Magnus 10 times out of 10. Someone set up that Sherlock would be up there when Mary was, probably Mycroft, baiting him by saying you can't touch Magnus. Mycroft's also has apparently a domineering relationship with Magnus, "He's useful to the British government." He could have easily pressured him to blackmail Mary, so that she would respond in force on the same night. Whoever is playing with Sherlock (either an alternate personality, Molly's associate, Mycroft or another) is keeping him in a constant flux between credibility. Maybe he made himself (putting down redbeard), or maybe hes being convinced that he did. But One way or another, Mary is definitely following a mad brother.

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  2. Going off my previous reply, either Sherlock was slightly aware that Brooks was being manipulated. Why would he have shown empathy, trying to stop him from killing himself knowing that Brooks was the mastermind..? According to most fan theories defeating Brooks was his original intention of luring him to the roof. And Sherlock was probably not trying to preserve someone on the same level of intelligence as he must be aware that there are others close to him that are just as smart/evil, or aware of the possibility that he himself is manipulating Brooks.

    And a question that adds to the mystery is timeline. If in just a mere few minutes Sherlock spends that entire episode playing out a case, how long must he be in his own mind on his sometimes week long visits to the drug den. Its either a testament to how insane he drives himself from all of these loose ends OR a front to hide his time spent pursuing the manipulator or manipulating all of these criminals that have never seen Moriarty. And his other prolonged absences on his own are almost entirely forced by Mycroft. Locking him up in isolation, and arranging his capture in the far east, Mycroft is the one reminding him of redbeard and feigning concern about his drug habit on the plane, while being one of the only 2, either him or Mary to know the location of the church where the body was that couldve convinced him he was sane. He was also the only one that could have allowed Sherlock access to the drugs he took on the plane and perhaps in solitary as well. The list was far too long for him to have snuck on his person. And MAYBE that long of a list was to signal to Mary or John that Mycroft is faking the whole act of being concerned for him/trying to stop his narcotics habit. That would also explain why Mary was so quick to hack the location of the church to try and beat Mycrofts associates to the grave so that he can find the body and disprove his multi-personality paranoia, which mary may be thinking he has as well. This would probably dispel Mary's candidacy as the manipulator. And Sherlock may have realized right then, if he had been narrowing it down between mary and his brother.

    Lastly Sherlock later showed that hes not hesitant to kill someone in cold blood, as he does with Magnusson* There is NO reason that he would be trying to stop Brooks from killing himself if he really thought that he was the culprit. That roof scene is the clue that he is still on the search for the real Moriarty, and his pursuit of Magnusson was probably too close to the real truth. Killing Magnusson was his way of getting information on the true Moriarty, and Marys highly coincidental simultaneous hunt, was manipulated to confuse him/divert his attention.

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