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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

still disappointed by Sherlock (“The Six Thatchers” open thread)


Sherlock! Now with more James Bond than Sherlock Holmes. Ridiculous coincidence drives the plot. And a woman is sacrificed for men’s character development. Oh joy.

And that’s all I have to say about this. The thread is yours. Assume that the comments below are full of spoilers.

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maryann buzz | tv buzz
  • althea

    Enjoyed it, given that I watched it (as I do many shows that I consider lesser) from the mirror on my desk. Obviously wasn’t drawn in completely. Was frankly pissed off when Mary died. Drawn-out scene, I thought surely she was going to live, why kill her off? Oh. Nope. Well, that was obnoxious. Then Watson gets horsey. Everybody traumatized. Left with a baby to deal with…

    Then the capper, the aftershow/making-of to show how everybody’s really happy with the episode, ever so proud of it, but most particularly Moffat and Gatiss, who are positively giggling like schoolgirls, look what WE did, wasn’t that original? Smug a-holes.

  • RogerBW

    Well, presumably even Moffat won’t bring dead people back to life in this universe.

  • Vanessa

    I was with the plot that led to Mary’s demise up till the actual event. I thought the backstory was fun and interesting (though was that flash drive not even encrypted as well as Irene Adler’s phone?). Mary was a bit of a Bourne identity character and it was fun to watch her retrieve her identities from distant locations.
    I also accept losing Mary since Watson’s marital status was a bit of a jumble in the original stories.

    What gets to me is the self-sacrifice. For Mary to jump in front of a bullet aimed at Sherlock was completely inconsistent with her character and (as with River Song) takes a smart independent female character and turns her into an emotional foil for the lead: 1) Mary was a professional–if she could see what was happening and was capable of acting that quickly, she would have pulled the target out of the way; 2) Mary was a new mother–mothers are acutely aware of their importance to their children and take fewer risks. Hard to see how she would have judged Sherlock’s life more worthy than her own.

  • halavana

    considering that Conan Doyle killed off Mary/Watson’s wife in the original stories, it’s not surprising that Moffat et al do the same, but it’s still annoying and disappointing.

  • RogerBW

    The original Mary Watson (née Morstan) was killed off off-stage between storiesin order to get Watson back into Baker Steet, rather than having her death scene milked for cheap emotional manipulation. Emotional manipulation is what a Moffat script does.

  • Danielm80

    I doubt the big plot twists were much of a shock to anyone who likes mysteries, or watches television (especially if they’ve read Conan Doyle—or watched House ). But the plot twist involving the flowers in John’s hair really did shock me. I’m intrigued to see what they do with the new character, if they don’t immediately forget she exists. I hope they don’t turn her into a femme fatale or a damsel in distress. Mary was, at least, a complex, entertaining femme fatale, and when she was a damsel in distress, she occasionally got herself out of distress. So I’m cautiously optimistic, which is the best I can do with Moffat.

  • why kill her off

    Why bring her into the overall story in the first place if they were only going to kill her off? Oh, right: To make men have feels.

  • Jurgan

    I started to dislike Sherlock when I saw what they did to Irene Adler- partly because they made her a teenage wank-fantasy, but more because she was stupid enough to use the name of her crush as her password, as though she were a middle schooler. I watched the rest of the season on Netflix, but by the time season three had gotten to that platform I had already heard that it was very disappointing (particularly the hand-wave of Sherlock’s fake death) and didn’t feel like bothering. So I haven’t seen any since Reichenbach Falls, and I don’t feel like I’ve missed much. Did I hear right that when John is mad at Sherlock for disappearing for two years without explanation, Sherlock tricks John into thinking their about to die in an explosion to force John to forgive him? That is straight up abuse, and I’d advise John to get the hell away from this monster. But it’s not surprising coming from the man who thinks saying “The Doctor lies” gives his main character license to mistreat everyone around him.

    In the last month, though, I’ve been binging Elementary on Hulu, which I recommend to anyone who wants to see a modern Holmes but is getting tired of Moffat’s version. I can understand why people were skeptical about it, but I consider it a much better show. Sherlock can still be insensitive, but people call him out when he crosses a line. He makes a crack about Joan Watson being cranky because she’s on her period, and she tells him to knock off the misogyny. He tries to get personal revenge on a criminal who hurt him, and Gregson (basically their version of LeStrade, though there is a different character named LeStrade) says that Sherlock went too far and he can’t trust Sherlock anymore. Women and other non-Sherlock characters have actual agency. There are people who just happen to be women or non-white not because it’s part of the story, but because they’re in one of the most diverse cities in the world. BBC Sherlock is almost all white men unless there’s a plot reason, despite London’s own diversity, whereas Elementary will have a small town sheriff who’s onscreen for three minutes be a woman. There are openly gay and trans characters and no one makes jokes about it or treats it like it’s something odd (as opposed to Sherlock and John’s constant “no homos” when people suggest they’re a couple- BTW, there’s absolutely no “will they, won’t they” crap between Sherlock and Joan Watson).

    One warning I will give is that you need to watch the full first season before passing judgment. Elementary has an unusual amount of character development for a network crime drama, given that those are made for syndication and typically can be watched in any order. So it would be easy to get the wrong impression if you only saw a few episodes. For example, when the first season was half over Maryann said that Joan was more of a babysitter than a partner, which is a bit like watching half of the original Star Wars (aka “A New Hope”) and saying that Han Solo is a selfish jerk who only cares about money. By the end of season one, she has developed into a full partner and often figures out aspects of cases that Sherlock misses. He’s still the great detective, but she’s becoming a detective in her own right. Also, if you’re too attached to canon, you may have problems. Their version of Irene is quite different as well, but my problem with BBC’s version wasn’t that she was different, but that she was stupid. And of course there are episodes that are weaker than others and don’t do much for the plot; that’s to be expected when you make twenty-four episodes a year. But all in all, I give it a strong recommendation.

  • Jurgan

    Maybe not literally, but from what I’ve heard Moffat could have said a wizard revived Sherlock after he jumped off the building in Reichenbach Falls and it wouldn’t have been much less plausible than the actual explanation for his survival.

  • RogerBW

    Yes, I started watching Elementary because I thought it would be amusingly bad, but it’s turned out remarkably good. (S3 better than S4, I thought; not caught up with S5 yet.)

  • althea

    You know what I liked best about Mary, after her pragmatism and good sense? (And intelligence and humor. And so on.) She may have been a femme fatale in certain ways, but she wasn’t dolled up, sexy and fashionable. Her hair was awful, and I always thought she looked too old for John (which is only explainable by the undying trope of giving mature men blue-eyed dollies for mates.)

  • Danielm80

    I love Mary, and I love that she doesn’t fit into any stereotypical role, even when the writers try to force her into one. That’s partly because Martin Freeman had the good sense to marry an amazingly talented actress (even if the marriage didn’t last).

  • Jurgan

    I’m still on S2.

  • The problem is that there is *no* actual explanation for Sherlock’s survival. None at all.

  • Jurgan

    Terrible. I think back to how you and others went through that scene frame by frame trying to solve it, and the whole thing turns out to be empty.

  • Oh, it’s worse. The episode actually smacks down the people in Sherlock’s “real” world, the fans of the famous detective, who did the same thing fans of the show did, trying to figure out how he could have survived the fall. It is a shocking demonstration of disdain for the very people who’ve made the series as popular as it is.

  • Ah, this discussion settles the disquiet I had been feeling. Mary Watson is River Song – snarky and violent with an impressive career but still prone to sacrificing herself for her man.

  • Well, what else are women for? :-(

  • dionwr

    Well, to be fair to it, it’s not like they hinged the plot on the existence of an almost omnipotent supervillain from Sherlock’s childhood who was so traumatic for him that he suppressed all memory of her existence until Just This Minute, at which he figures out that the supervillain’s problem is that she was afflicted with both supreme intelligence *and* ladyparts at the Same Time, which (obviously, to Moffat and Gatiss) drove her insane.

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