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Rewatch: Sherlock - The Blind Banker

Sherlock Rewatch - The Blind Banker
(Only ~6,600 words this time, yay!)

So, I always remembered this as a sub-par episode that had very few redeeming qualities. In other words, I was CRAZY harsh on it. When I showed Sherlock to one of my friends, I skipped it entirely. But, the other week I showed Sherlock to another friend, including this episode, and well...I've...changed my mind? Shocking, I know. But, while this episode has its issues and isn't as good as the other episodes, it's still really good television.



Anyway, let's start with making tea, Chinese-style... 

I must say, those are very nice teapots. 

So, the problem with this guy is that he disrespects the girls' job in an attempt to be funny. Not a good strategy, buddy. And the problem with the girl is that all her words are said as though she knows full well they are full of HIDDEN MEANING...which, kind of bugs me. I think my favourite line from her is "Is that security?!" because it's the only thing she says that's not heavy (and also has a little bit of British-accent in it, instead of the straight-up Chinese accent).

It helped, when I watched this the second time with friends, that one of said friends was from England. He reminded me that Chinese/Asian culture is still exotic and unfamiliar to the British. It's not for someone living in Vancouver, where the majority of the city is Asian and the cultures have blended to a degree. So, yeah, while I see a lot of this episode as being racist, my friend kind of pointed out that it was inadvertently so, because they really just don't know any better. It doesn't excuse it, but it does explain it - and after I realized that they really did just not know what they were talking about, I felt a little better about how the Chinese were portrayed here - a LITTLE better.

Okay, enough Chinese girls with tea...let's get to Sherlock and John...

We start the episode separate - with John buying groceries and Sherlock fighting a dude with a sword in 221B.

Poor John. I hate those self-checkout machines. 

I like how Sherlock straightens his suit after the fight. Also, he uses the old "Look!" strategy. Me and my bestfriend use the "Regard la!" strategy, it is the French-Canadian version. ;) (I'm also partial to the Due South version of this, which is "Turtles!")

Okay, I absolutely love the faces during this exchange:
"You took your time."
"Yeah, I didn't get the shopping."
"What? Why not?"
"Because I had a row in the shop with the chip and pin machine."
"You had a row with a machine?"
"Sort of. It sat there and I shouted abuse. Have you got cash?"
"Take my card."
-I love that last line, and the way Sherlock says it. It reminds me of my favourite Rudyard Kipling poem, The Thousandth Man. "You can use his purse with no more talk/Than he uses yours for his spendings."

I also love Sherlock hiding the sword, and his shrug when John gives him the disappointed look about the scratch on the table.
Sebastian calls Sherlock "buddy" in the email...I think even John wouldn't ever call Sherlock "buddy." :P

"Is that my computer?"
"Of course."
"What?"
"Mine was in the bedroom."
"What, and you couldn't be bothered to get up? It's password protected!"
"In a matter of speaking. It took me less than a minute to guess yours - not exactly Fort Knox."
"Alright, thank you" *takes computer back.*
-A lot of people side with John here...but, um, I'd like to point out that Sherlock just gave John his bank card/credit-card without a second thought. And it's true that Sherlock TOLD John he could use it, but I think Sherlock has assumed a "what's mine is yours and what's yours is mine" policy without actually consulting John about whether that's okay with him. Obviously, it'll eventually be okay with him because he really has no other choice, but still. I think Sherlock was just a little too optimistic in his reading of social cues.

Though, I forgive John, because he is very stressed out about money. Also, I hate it when people touch my stuff.

So, this episode was all about putting Sherlock in a VERY modern setting...as in, not in the Victorian-esque Baker St, but in the glass skyscrapers.

"Sherlock Holmes!"
"Sebastian."
"How are you, buddy? How long's it been? Eight years since I last clapped eyes on you?"
-Forgive me while I timeline for no reason - but Sherlock was in Uni eight years ago...we know he didn't finish (isn't that canon somewhere? Maybe it isn't.) In any case...that would make him...around 32 years old.
-Okay, that aside, I love how Sebastian is all over-the-top fake friendship, and Sherlock just as this look on his face like "we both know that we hate each other."

"This is my friend, John Watson."
"Friend?"
"Colleague."
-Okay, so I, and most people, got really mad at John for this, because why would he deny being Sherlock's friend?! Especially when Sherlock probably really wanted to show Sebastian that there was at least one person in the world who liked him. It was only on rewatch that I realized that when Sebastian says "Friend?!" he means "Boyfriend?!" and this is John correcting him. Though, even afterward, I think Sebastian still thinks that they're lovers.

"You're doing that thing." *to John* "We were at uni together. This guy here had a trick he used to do..."
"It's not a trick."
-Benedict sounds so much like Alan Rickman with that line. 
-You also see how immediately Sebastian is belittling Sherlock, trying to trivialize what Sherlock's intelligence and talent by calling it a "trick."
-Another quick note about voices...and another thing I missed on the first watch...but Sebastian's posh/banker accent is subtle but perfect. I don't really have an ear for picking apart some of the different British accents, but I recently watched the BBC series 7up...which follows a group of about 10 kids or so from the time they are 7, back in the late 50s early 60s, to the present day. And Sebastian sounds like the really posh dude in that film...the guy who went to all the right schools, was horribly conservative, and eventually became a barrister. Anyway, I can't stand the way that guy talks, and now I can't stand the way Sebastian talks. :P

"He could look at you and tell you your whole life story."
"Yes, I've seen him do it."
"Put the wind up everybody, we hated him."
-Oh god, Sherlock's face here. Try and tell me that this guy didn't have a lonely isolated youth...just try it. He's not a misanthrope. He WANTS friends, he's just been continually rejected throughout his entire life. Also, Sherlock doesn't look at Sebastian for his next sentence...that's says a lot there. Throughout the beginning part of this conversation, he's constantly looking downward into the middle-distance when he first speaks.

"...You'd come down for breakfast in the formal hall and this freak would know who you'd been shagging the previous night."
"I simply observed."
"Come on, enlighten me [...]"
"I was just chatting with your secretary outside. She told me."
-I like how Sherlock reads the situation and realizes that Sebastian will only diminish and make fun of his deductions, like they're a "trick", so instead he pre-emptively takes the wind out of Sebastian's sails.

"There's a hole in our security, find it and we'll pay you. Five figures. This is an advance. Tell me how he got in, and there's a bigger one on it's way."
"I don't need an incentive, Sebastian."
"He's kidding you, obviously, shall I look after that for him?"
-The way Sherlock makes himself bigger than Sebastian is to act as though money is beneath him - which is a pretty big insult when you are talking to someone whose life revolves around the accusition of money. Of course, I think money IS actually beneath Sherlock, so it's not like he's lying. He must know, however, that John needs money - which, I think is why he actually took the job. Though, it does prove to be an interesting case. I don't think Sherlock would willingly work for someone he despised so much though. I suppose, like many things, we can never know how much John's financial troubles influences Sherlock's decisions...because we'll never get to look inside Sherlock's mind like we get to look inside John's.

"Two trips around the world this month. You didn't ask his secretary, you said that just to irritate him."
-I love Sherlock's smile there. Two seconds away from Sebastian, and John's managed to remind Sherlock that his life is different now and he has a friend who likes him not despite his intelligence but in addition to it.
I love Sherlock's fake neighbour-with-lost keys voice. He sounds like a guy that I'd not want to be friends with, but I'd say things like "Oh man, that idiot again" with affection in my voice.

I'm pretty sure headwounds bleed a LOT more than that. Not that I've ever seen someone who's shot themselves in the head before, nor do I want to. But, I once flipped over the handlebars on my bike and gave myself a headwound, and it blend a LOT. Also, I spent a very confusing day forgetting what I was doing from one moment to the next.

"Look at the case, there was something tightly packed in it."
"Thanks, I'll take your word for it."
"Problem?"
"Yeah, I'm not desperate to route around some bloke's dirty underwear."
-There's something about this exchange that sits weird with me, but I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's John's annoyance, or the fact that even Sherlock seems to act as though they're one false step away from having a row. It's just odd.
Sherlock still walks John, as patiently as possible, through his thought process though.

"What kind of a message would everyone try to avoid?...how about those letters you were looking at this morning..."
"Bills?"
"Yes, he was being threatened." *pulls origami from victim's mouth*
"...not by the gas board."
-I like John's mumbled punchline here. You can barely hear it really.

"Ah Sergeant, we haven't met-"
"Yeah, I know who you are, and I'd prefer it if you didn't tamper with the evidence."
"I phoned Lestrade. Is he on his way?"
"He's busy, I'm in charge. And it's not sergeant, it's Detective Inspector Dimmock"
-I love how Sherlock looks over to John, like "can you believe this?!"

I also love Sherlock's deduction when he tries to contort to shoot himself in the right side of the head with his left hand.

Sebastian in the restaurant has an even worse accent then in his office... and by "worse" I mean "perfect."

"It's my chairman, the police have been on to him. Apparently they're telling him that it was a suicide."
"Well they've got it wrong, Sebastian, he was murdered."
"Well, I'm afraid they don't see it like that-"
"Seb!" 
"-and neither does my boss. I hired you to do a job, don't get sidetracked."
-This scene in the restroom is really interesting. Firstly, Sherlock is nearly always filmed in reflection. It reminds me of a great visual meta I read about Supernatural 5x01, and how Sam was filmed as the sole reflection caught in the motel mirror, and person was arguing that this was done to show his isolation from Dean. Anyway, it's an interesting way they've set up the scene here - I'm not sure if they're trying to say something similar or not, but it makes for a great visual dynamic, and it DOES remove Sherlock from Sebastian and John somewhat.
-The other thing that's extremely interesting about this scene is that Sherlock's last ditch attempt to get Sebastian to understand is to call him "Seb" - which, to me, speaks to a kind of familiarity that Sherlock doesn't display with anyone else. We know from S2 that Sherlock doesn't even know Lestrade's first name. Yet, here, he calls Sebastian by a short-name, in a way meant to try to evoke Sebastian's sympathies. I will say that I've seen fics where people have paired a uni-aged Sherlock with Sebastian, and while I don't agree with it, I can't deny that the possibility is there. Sebastian is obviously someone that Sherlock previous attempted to be friends with, and it also obviously did not end well for Sherlock. 
-Also, when Sebastian says "I hired you to do a job"...he makes a face just like Draco Malfoy in the HP movies.
-Final thing: I love the way Sherlock says "Sebastian" in this scene, because he doesn't do the (possibly North American?) thing of saying "Sebashchin" he actually says "Sebas-ti-an", which makes the name much prettier.

"I thought bankers were all supposed to be heartless bastards"
-Oh John, never change.

Then we get the running guy...oh, guy, there is no escaping death...

And Soo Lin has resigned. Time for awkward dude to go look for her...

John's resume! It's very good. John also looks delicious in this lighting. 

"Anything else you can do?"
"Learned clarinet at school?"
-I love the clarinet, so that makes John even sexier.

"I said could you pass me a pen"
"Wha- When?"
"About an hour ago."
"Didn't notice I'd gone out then." *tosses pen*
-I think this could possibly my favourite thing about John and Sherlock's domestic life. Not the fact that they can pass each other pens without looking, but the fact that Sherlock is so used to John's presence in the flat that he doesn't even notice when it's not there. 

"I went to see about the job at that surgery."
"How was it?"
"Great. She's great."
"Who?"
"The job."
"She?"
"It."
*Sherlock breathes in*
"Here, have a look"
-Two things I like about this: 1)Sherlock is engaging in small-talk, inquiring about John's day. 2)When John says the wrong pronoun and then poorly covers it up, Sherlock just has this look like "You're an idiot, but here, help me with this case because I like you anyway."

I also love Sherlock hounding Dimmock. 

I do wonder how Sherlock picks up a book from a stack of books and knows to check the library...but, hey, he's Sherlock *hand waves* Oh, nevermnd, he saw the date-stamp and it's the same date as the day he died. Good job, Sherly.

So, in the scene where they're walking through Trafalgar Square...There's an interview somewhere (maybe in the DVD special features?) where Benedict talks about these three girls who WOULD NOT play it cool when they realized there was filming happening. And now I can totally see them. They wait patiently for Benedict and Martin to pass in front of them, and then they hold each other's hands and start walking after them. It's completely ridiculous and not natural person-in-the-crowd behaviour.

It makes me wonder how they film things in London though, because in Vancouver, they'll sometimes let the background be "natural" if it's out of focus, but anything in the foreground is made up of background actors (at least, this has been true for the few productions I've been on or seen). That being said, I guess this is Trafalgar Square, and they'd probably have absolutely no hope of blocking it off for the shot on a TV show's budget...so maybe this is their bit of guerrilla film making.

I love Raz. I want him to come back.

Poor John...but seriously, it's quite obvious that he's not the artist. Side story: A friend of my brothers was an artist, and he wrote his initials in a certain way. He only did graffiti once underneath a bus-overpass. Just is initials-symbol, really large, but it was only visible from some abandoned railway lines. A month later the city paper did a story about graffiti in the city...guess what picture they decided to put on the front page of story..and what picture his father saw while eating breakfast and recognised immediately? :P

"...I can't believe that she would just abandon them!"
"Perhaps she was getting a bit of unwanted attention."
-Thanks for putting Andy in his place, Museum lady.

"Me, Sherlock, in court, on Tuesday. They're giving me an ASBO!"
-Poor John. Sherlock doesn't even care. :P

*John starts taking off his coat.*
"No," *Sherlock starts forcing John's coat back on him* "I need you to go to the police station..." 
"Oh oh OI!"
*Sherlock just keeps talking*
-Again, I love the familiarity of here...the fact that Sherlock just starts forcing John's jacket back on and pushes him out the door. You only do that kind of thing to your friends - and sometimes not even then.

So, if I'm not mistaken, Van Coon's secretary/lover was played by Benedict Cumberbatch's then-girlfriend. I think that's kind of cute to know.

But, let's get back to John...
"Your friend-"
"Believe me, whatever you say, I'm behind you 100%"
"He's an arrogant sod."
"Well, that was mild. People say a lot worse than that."
-It must be wearing on John to constantly have Sherlock insulted in front of him - even here, when he's annoyed, I think he's actually a little relieved that Dimmock only called Sherlock an "arrogant sod"....I mean, we'll get to it, but we see more how it annoys John that Sherlock is so misunderstood in S2.

Back to Sherlock and the secretary...

I like how on rewatch, you can see her reach up to her hair when Sherlock is talking about whether Van Coon was "appreciative" or not.

"Eddie Van Coon brought a package here the day he died. Whatever was hidden inside that case. I've managed to piece together a picture using scraps of information - credit card bills, receipts. He flew back from China and then he came here."
"Sherlock-"
"Somewhere in this street, somewhere near. I don't know where, but-"
"That shop, over there."
"How can you tell?"
"Lukis's diary. He was here too. He wrote down the address."
"Oh"
-I like this whole exchange, because Sherlock was being so brilliant with finding the street without much to go on, and then John shows up and knows the exact address - and for a second there, Sherlock is such on a deduction high, that I think he wants John to have some fantastical reasoning and deductions of his own. But John just has an address...and it's sort of like what Sherlock did to irritate Sebastian at the beginning of the episode - the expectation of some "trick" and in reality, John's just been handed the information.

So yeah, these shorts of *suspicious chinese people* and then the stereotypical shop-keeping lady is where my British friend was like "um, yeah, Britain...they don't actually know what they are doing here." :P

Numbers! John's so happy. It's like solving a math problem.

I'm not sure John and Sherlock should be talking about Chinese smuggling IN China town, at a Chinese restaurant, ACROSS THE ROAD from a drop off...I mean... there might be people listening.

I always wonder why John didn't just climb up after him.

Also, if this was my place, I'd still be in my apartment - I just wouldn't have gone outside in 3 days. It happens.

Also, my British friend laughed when Sherlock sniffed the HUGE JUG of milk that he found in the apartment. "Yes, because we all know that Asians, despite predominately being lactose intolerant, always have huge jugs of milk on hand. The British just can't fathom anyone who doesn't have milk in their tea."

"Why didn't he close the window when he left? Oh, stupid, stupid, obvious. He's still here."
-Firstly, I love the fact that Sherlock isn't scared. Secondly, I actually love the fact that Sherlock calls HIMSELF stupid. While he does hold himself to a higher standard, I like the fact that he just calls stuff stupid when he deems it stupid, whether it's John, a stranger, or even himself.

"Anytime you want to include me! Oh I'm Sherlock Holmes, and I always work alone, because no one can compete with my MASSIVE INTELLECT!"
-I also love the fact that John says this right after Sherlock's done something really stupid. :P

"You've gone all croaky, are you getting a cold?"
"I'm fine"
-Oh Sherlock, never change. This is what I do too, especially when I've injured myself because I'm an idiot. "Are you okay?" "Oh, I'm fine, it's just a scratch!" "You're missing an arm!" "A minor flesh wound." :P

I'm surprised no one else in the museum realized that that statue replica was spraypainted yellow. :P

Again, I do like the character of Raz - he puts a personality to Sherlock's "network." I also really like the fact that Sherlock values "non-traditional" experts. I forgot to say that before.

"Answer your phone! I've been calling you! I've found it."
-I do wonder why Sherlock wasn't answering his phone. I know he prefers to text, but honestly.

"Sherlock, what are you doing-"
"John! Concentrate! I need you to concentrate. Close your eyes!"
"What? Why? Why? What are you doing?"
"I need you to maximize your visual memory. I need you to picture what you saw. Can you picture it?"
"Yeah"
"Can you remember it?"
"Yes, definitely."
"Can you remember the pattern."
"Yes!"
"How much can you remember it?"
"Well don't worry-"
"Because the average human memory on visual matters is only 62% accurate."
"Well, don't worry, I remember all of it."
"Really?"
"Well, at least I would if I could get to my pockets! I took a photograph!"
-Such an amusing scene...and once again, like on the street, John kind of takes the wind out of Sherlock's mad-genius routine. 

I like sleepy John.

I kinda like the fact that Soo Lin stayed behind to look after old pots. It endears her to me. 

"Fancy a biscuit with tha-"
*Soo Lin drops the teapot, Sherlock catches it*
"Centuries old, don't want to break that."
-Well, maybe you shouldn't have SNUCK UP ON HER WITH A WITTY REMARK, SHERLOCK! Jeez, can't take you anywhere.

"You knew him well, when you were living back in China."
"Oh yes, he's my brother."
-I often wonder why they mad him her brother. To explain why he didn't kill her outright? Or does it have further meaning...does it tie into the greater theme of the series? I'm interesting in familial betrayal, I guess. Because her being the assassins brother doesn't really factor into the rest of this story - he still kills her. It doesn't make him more sympathetic...  Anyway, thoughts?

I do love the way John says "Sherlock."

But oh John, you should not have left Soo Lin alone. Mind you, he probably would have just killed John too...oh wait, he was under orders not to. Yeah, John's an idiot.

"Careful! Some of those skulls are over 2000 years old, have a bit of respect! Thank you."
-Sherlock intrigues me. He always seems to have more respect for the dead than the living.

I like the fact that they don't translate what Soo Lin says to her brother before he kills her.

Also, everything about John from when he hears the gun shot to when he finds the body is acted beautifully.

I also love how angry John gets when they're talking to Dimmock, and how Sherlock knows it.

"What are you thinking, pork or the pasta?"
"Oh, it's you!"
"[...] I'd stick with the pasta. [Wouldn't be doing] roast pork, not if you're slicing up cadavers."
"What are you having?"
"Don't eat while I'm working. Digesting slows me down."
-Here we get the first mention of Sherlock's questionable eating habits.

"So you're working here tonight."
"Need to exam some bodies."
"Some?"
"Eddie Van Coon and Brian Lukis"
"They're on my list."
"Could you wheel them out again for me?"
"We-well, they're paperwork's already gone through."
"You changed your hair?"
"What?"
"The style. It's usually parted in the middle."
"Yes, well..."
"It's good, it...suits you better this way."
-So, as some of you may remember, during A Study in Pink, I wondered if perhaps Sherlock purposefully lead Molly on in order to pull of stunts like this - in which case, he would know full well of her infatuation for him and he is knowingly using it to his advantage. Some of you made pretty compelling arguments in comments though, about how if that were the case, he wouldn't have been caught off guard by the gift in 2x01, nor surprised at some of the other stuff that Molly does. And, well, I've been thinking about it, and this is really the ONLY time we see him "flirt" with Molly to get his way...and it might not ACTUALLY be flirting, or well, he might not realize it is. Sherlock is COMPLIMENTING her. Sherlock might be under the impression that Molly responds to compliments, while not understanding WHY, or that she only responds to compliments from HIM. Anyway, Sherlock and Molly's relationship would make an excellent essay topic in its own right, and I can't wait to see where they go in S3.

If I'm not mistaken, Molly is really the only recurring character that is not originally from ACD canon...and I think it makes her all the more compelling to me, because they're unconstrained by any previous description while writing her. 

Sherlock does do this well...Sherlock thing...of smiling very sweetly at Molly until the moment she looks away, and then the smile drops. And you see it and you are like "oh god, Sherlock, you are such a cad." I mean, really, what did Molly do to deserve such disregard? I guess we'll get to that in S2, but I think it might be a case of Sherlock prejudging her, just like people prejudge him...but I'm still formulating thoughts on this.

But, anyway, back to the show...

Wouldn't the fact that both victims had a tattoo on their heal be in Molly's autopsy/coronor reports? ....you know, that the police would HAVE? Or do pathologists not look at the feet? I guess I need to ask a pathologist, but I've only had that opportunity once in my life and it was years ago...I was more interested in the times they found drug-balloons inside people. (Don't smuggle drugs, people.)

Man, Benedict is so goddamn pretty.

The weird thing about the GREAT BOOK SORT is that they don't even discuss a strategy. Sherlock just starts going through bins seemingly willy-nilly while John sits down to methodically copy out the names of all the titles in order to cross-reference later, perhaps? Anyway, it annoys me. But then, I'm a researcher, and I REALLY hate inefficient searches. 

How could John not notice that it was day and he'd stayed up all night? 

"I was attending a sort of...book event."
"Oh, she likes books, does she, your girlfriend?"
"Mm? What, no, it wasn't a date."
"Good. I mean, um..."
"And I don't have one tonight."
-Oh John, you can even pick up girls when you've been annoyingly unprofessional and not nearly as apologetic as you should be about it.

"I need to get some air, we're going out tonight."
"Actually, I've got a date."
"What?"
"It's where two people who like each other go out and have fun?"
"That's what I was suggesting."
-Stopping here just to point out how ridiculously cute Sherlock is here, because he's basically saying that he likes John...I mean, wow, you won't get a greater declaration of love out of Sherlock than that...well, besides him doing something ridiculous like leaping off a building in order to protect you.

"No, it wasn't. At least I hope not."
"Where are you taking her?"
"Cinema"
"Dull. Boring. Predictable. Why don't you try this? In London for one night only."
-So, I can see where the shippers have SO MUCH fodder, because Sherlock's face does this THING after John says "at least I hope not," and as much as I love a good Johnlock, I actually see the face as a reflection of the following monologue in Sherlock's head - "No, this won't do. I need backup while investigating the circus. Won't be able to convince John to cancel the date, need a different way to get him there - he could bring her with, not ideal, but it'll have to do. I just need to convince him that it's his idea."

"It's been years since someone invited me to the circus."
"It was a friend...recommended it to me...he phoned up. I don't know much about it."
-Now this is interesting. John admits that a friend recommended it to him, but I'm not sure if he means that Sherlock phoned-up the circus for tickets, or if Sherlock had phoned John up and recommended the circus. If it's the latter, then John might be trying to hide the fact that he has a flatmate...which, yeah, is interesting. It's probably the former.

"Well, I think they're probably from China"
"Yes, yes, I think so. That is a coincidence"
-I love that hint of knowing in John's voice. We don't even see his face, but we know exactly what pieces are falling into place inside his head.

"I've got three in that name."
"No, I don't think so, we only got two."
"And then I phoned back and got one for myself as well. I'm Sherlock."
-Oh Sherlock, crashing a bros date is totally against the bro-code. :P

"You couldn't let me have just one night off?"
-I don't think you understand, John. You are now platonically married to Sherlock Holmes. He LIKES you. You will never have a night off for the rest of your life. He is your life-partner. You may have an open relationship, but he is forever your primary, I'm afraid.

"...the Tongs sent an assassin to England-"
"Dressed as a tight-rope walker? Come on, Sherlock, behave!"
-I find it interesting that John tells Sherlock to "behave"... it's a command that people give children. Behave as what? John seems to have declared some sort of line, where it's perfectly alright for Sherlock to be himself in the flat and when they are alone, but in public, John is trying to get him to 'behave.'

"I do have a couple of other things on my mind this evening"
"Like what?"
"You are kidding?"
-Interesting, we return again to my thoughts on A Study in Pink and how John doesn't realize that Sherlock is supposedly 'different' than your average person. John can't comprehend that Sherlock doesn't date...doesn't try to hook up with anyone. Sure, Sherlock told him that he considered himself "married to his work" but sex is such an important part of John's life, that I don't think he can quite fathom that Sherlock meant that he doesn't even have casual relationships.

"What's so important?"
"Sherlock, I'm right in the middle of a date. You want me to chase some killer while I'm trying to-"
"What?"
"Well I'm trying to get off with Sarah!" *Sarah walks up* "Hey.............."
-And here is what Sherlock doesn't understand about John yet, and it makes an interesting comparison between the two...because while Sherlock is a genius at deduction and solving crimes, I think John is a genius at picking up women. This is John's super-power, and once Sherlock realizes, he takes full advantage of it. The thing I love about John though is that he doesn't pick up women by lying to them, or feeding them lines. He just knows how to behave. And...yeah, there's that word again.

"...look at the size of this crowd. This is...art."
-For some reason this line stuck in my head. I guess I like it!
Smooth Sarah....I do like Sarah.

I do love how the escapology act is also SHERLOCK'S escapology act - using the climax of the act to slip out of the crowd and backstage unnoticed.

I like subtle things in shows, like how Sherlock tilts his face down when General Shan walks by in order to more effectively hide. That was always the part of hiding that I hated the most - in order to hide effectively, your eyes have to be closed or averted from the person trying to find you (and your face covered if you've got pale skin, which I have)...which is pretty frustrating when you also want to keep an eye on the person looking for you.

How much do I love Sarah going after the dude attacking Sherlock with a stick? How about A HECK OF A LOT. It always brings me back to my memories of watching the Princess Bride as a kid (my favourite movie) and that scene where Westley is attacked by the ROUS and Buttercup just SITS THERE and then like, really ineffectually pokes the thing with a stick. I just remember me and my siblings yelling at the screen wondering why she was such a useless idiot. I feel like Sarah strikes a blow back for womankind here or something. 

"Is it just me or is anyone else starving?"
"Oh god."
-I love how annoyed Sherlock is here that Sarah is staying. Also, I kind of love Sarah for staying.

"So this is what you do, you and John, you solve puzzles for a living."
"Consulting detective."
"What are these squiggles."
"They're numbers, in an ancient chinese dialect."
"Oh right, of course, I should have known that."
-Again, I like Sarah. I like how she just takes Sherlock in stride...carefully kind of eeking out his boundaries and at the same time not letting his coldness deter her.

I also love how Mrs. Hudson brings up food when she realizes that the boys have a girl over. It's adorable.

"So these numbers - it's a cipher?"
"Exactly"
"And each pair of numbers is a word?"
"How did you know that?"
-I love the look on Sherlock's face. 

On a slightly unrelated note: I wonder what the typical handwriting of a chinese woman looks like, really...I mean, they're used to far different calligraphy, I wonder how that translates into the how they write the Roman alphabet...or if it doesn't matter at all. 

And Sherlock's magical taxi hailing abilities are unsuccessful!

Disgruntled Germans! I love German...these two speak German VERY properly.

Here's the conversation in English, from what I can understand...
"Hey you [...]"
"Excuse me, please"
"Yeah, thanks! *something about how he thought the English were supposed to be polite.*
*Sherlock sees the book and calls after them*
"What does he want? Hey you! What are you doing?"
"Just a minute!"
"Give me my damn book back!" (doch is an untranslatable word used to add emphasis, so I translated it as 'damn') 

"John! John! I've got it, the book! It's the London A to Z that that they use!"
-I just want to say how refreshing it is to watch a TV program where someone says "Zed." That is all.

Oh, also, Sherlock's face when he realizes John's been taken!

"Debit-card name of S. Holmes."
"Yes, it's not actually mine. He lent that to me."
"A cheque for 5,000 pounds made out in the name of Mr. Sherlock Holmes."
"He gave me that to look after."
"Tickets to the theatre, collected by you, name of Holmes."
"Yes, I realize what this looks like but I'm not him."
-I love this case of mistaken identity - mainly, because it shows how much Sherlock and John have intertwined themselves in such a short period of time.

"I heard it from your own mouth - 'I'm Sherlock Holmes and I always work alone, because no one can compete with my massive intellect!'"
"Did I really say that?"
-I like how John briefly amuses himself. Also, I WOULD like to point out that there is a translation barriar when it comes to explaining sarcasm to certain cultures, so please be careful when traveling abroad.

So, about the gun she's holding...if you freeze frame and look at what it says there at the side...it says that it's a prop gun and not real. Haha, oops, production!

Some people take issue with the way usually bamf!John is kinda flipping out here. But, I don't know, he's tied up, has a concussion, and someone is going to shoot him point blank in the head. I think he's within his rights.

It's hard to hear, but John is chanting "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" in his breaths as they take Sarah and put her in front of the crossbow thingy.

So, the thing that gets me about this is Sarah's upper body isn't tied to anything - all she has to do is throw herself really violently to the side and topple the chair over. So, please take note people - if this ever happens to you, TOPPLE YOUR CHAIR OVER. (Also, what the heck kind of life are you living?!)

"I'm not Sherlock Holmes!"
"I don't believe you."
"You should, you know, Sherlock Holmes is nothing like him. How would you describe me, John? Resourceful, dynamic, enigmatic?"
"Late."
-I like this exchange. I don't even know what to say about. I just like it.
See, John knows how to walk while tied to a chair...good job, even if he falls over...at least he kicks the thing.

"It's alright, it's going to be alright, it's over now."
-I do like how Sherlock does comfort Sarah...as opposed to John...

"Don't worry, next date won't be like this."
-Pretty presumptuous of you, John. Also, NOT THE TIME.

But, Sarah's smiling as they're led away, so I guess she's not too put off.

"We'll just slip off, no need to mention this in the report."
"Mr. Holmes-"
"I have high hopes for you, Inspector - a glittering career."
"If I go where you point me."
"Exactly."
-Sherlock also makes sure that Sarah doesn't have to deal with the police, which is another kindness.

Sherlock made 25,000 for this job. That could feed, house, and pay my bills for a year - actually, it's in pounds, so it could do far more than that. And that's just one job for a wealthy client. Mind you, Sherlock and John have to live in London, where everything costs quadruple what you expect it to.

I do love how delighted Sherlock looks when he tells the secretary that her hairpin is worth 9 million.

"You mind, don't you?"
"What?"
"That she escaped..."
-I like that John can read Sherlock. He seems to be the only one who can. He sees Sherlock for who he actually is, rather than who Sherlock wants people to perceive him to be, or who other people perceive Sherlock to be. (When I first wrote that, I wrote "I like that John can read, Sherlock." which is a much different sentence and it is hilarious. Punctuation: It matters.)

Okay, so, doesn't he spray paint the face on the wall in this episode? Or am I crazy? Perhaps I'm crazy...but, I guess I missed it? Or maybe it's next episode. Anyway...um, yes.

Then General Shan gets SNIPERED! 

And END

So, yeah, maybe the problem with this episode is that it's not as rich in character exploration as the others. It just ends up feeling a little flat, a little lacking. It's too much about the story, and not enough about the characters.

Anyway, like I said, it's still better then 95% of TV, so I can't complain.



Next up...The Great Game. I'm not sure when I'm going to get to it. It may have to wait until August, or I may be able to do it next week. It depends how long it takes and how much time I have. Lately, I have not had very much time.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
sylvia_locust
Jul. 21st, 2012 03:40 pm (UTC)
Oh yay! I love reading your meta (sorry about the AO3 kerfuffle) and I just started watching Sherlock yesterday while I was hungover fatigued. I don't have much to offer since I've only seen the first two eps. Except that I also was saying 'just tip the damn chair over' while she was struggling. And then they were trying to untie her and I'm like, really Sherlock, you can just scoot her chair over 4 inches and THEN untie her. Massive intellect my ass.

But whatever, it's fun and I like what I've seen so far. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
hells_half_acre
Jul. 21st, 2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
Haha, another good point! SHERLOCK could have tipped her chair over, or moved her. :P

No worries about AO3. I think I actually kind of prefer only releasing meta to people on my flist (or who purposely visit my journal). It means everyone knows what they are getting. :)

I hope you like Sherlock! This really is it's weakest episode - from here on out, they are all amazing awesomesauce.
sylvia_locust
Jul. 25th, 2012 02:20 am (UTC)
Aha, so this is the Route 666 of Sherlock? I have high hopes then. Already finished episode 3 (only 3 eps in series 1???) and now I'm 87th in line for series 2 from the library :( Also, (SPOILER, jumping ahead) was I having a fever dream, or does Moriarty sound like Him from the Powerpuff girls?
hells_half_acre
Jul. 25th, 2012 03:10 am (UTC)
Haha, yes, this is the Route 666 of Sherlock. And yeah, if this is as bad as it gets, then it's a pretty damn fine show! ;)

And yes, sadly only 3 episodes per series. Good luck on that waiting list!

I'm not horribly familiar with the Powerpuff girls, so someone else will have to agree with you there! :P
et_tu_lj
Jul. 21st, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
I liked this episode a lot, but I think that's because it was the episode where one of my friends said, "Of course you love Sherlock. He's Severus Snape at 30." From the Alan Rickman delivery you mention. I laughed, realized she was completely right, and loved him all the more.

I also enjoy watching the dynamic between John, Sarah, and Sherlock. He does have a life partner, even though he hasn't figured it out yet, and any date he might want to add into the equation has to navigate a position in that relationship. It's entertaining to watch, and I like seeing how it changes and doesn't change things.

Thanks for the meta commentary. Fascinating as always, and it's great to see a different perspective on things. I have to admit I have no more knowledge of Asian culture than the British seem to, so your comments on that vein were informative and useful to me.

And lastly, I adore the pen exchange too. For their familiarity, for Sherlock's acceptance of John's presence in his life, for John's reaction, and for the fact that Sherlock is so locked into his thoughts that he didn't move to get what he wanted for an entire hour. lol. The hacking into John's computer because it was easier than going to the other room I totally get - been there, done that. But waiting an hour for something cracks me up and makes me fall a lot in love with how Sherlock's mind works. First, that he can just continue his internal thoughts for that long without something to record them. Second, that he still remembers the request. If I were to spend that long musing on something, I would have wandered so far off course from the original purpose I'd never remember where I'd started. So I love the exchange for showing both the depth and intensity of his internal processing, and the tight focus of it.
hells_half_acre
Jul. 21st, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
Haha, Severus Snape at 30 - that about sums him up! I like that. :)

I love watching threesome dynamics - and that's really what any relationship John has is going to be.

They sort of did the "tourist" version of Asian culture. It's much more vast and varied than that - and I think that's why it felt a little bit racist. It'd be sort of like if a show only showed Americans as cowboys with six-shooters. But yeah, I mean, it is an ASPECT of Asian culture, it's just a very stereotypical job...and kind of "othering."

And yes, I love that about the pen exchange too - everything you said. There's a casual intimacy to it, but it's also about how Sherlock's head works and how much he can lose himself in there...or rather, know exactly where he is at all times inside his own head, but at the price of not knowing where John is outside of it. :P
et_tu_lj
Jul. 22nd, 2012 07:01 pm (UTC)
lol, our icons even match moods. I just adore that Slytherclaw vibe, and this incarnation of Sherlock captures it so well. The old Rathbone movies only got the Claw side, but Cumberbatch gets all the layers right. <3

Completely agree with the threesome dynamics. It makes for such complicated interactions and gives every exchange multiple layers of meaning. Fantastic.
hells_half_acre
Jul. 22nd, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, what I love about Cumberbatch's Sherlock is that he really defies categorization. :)
jedinic
Jul. 22nd, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
This was so interesting to read - thank you for posting!
hells_half_acre
Jul. 22nd, 2012 02:00 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
katsheswims
Jul. 22nd, 2012 02:50 am (UTC)
Interesting thoughts as usual!

And in regards to this: "I wonder what the typical handwriting of a chinese woman looks like?"

I went to college that had a fair number of Asian students-quite a few from Japan and some from China. I was friends with a couple Japanese girls (calligraphy similar to Chinese) and their handwriting was very small and the letters straight not slanted or anything curly (if you get what I mean).

I partially think the show dealt with the Chinese elements in a way that came off racist sometimes was because I thought they were trying to hearken more back to the original story where China was this exotic oriental place that Britain didn't really know much about (just wanted to exploit)--though your friend is saying it's actually still like that? Could be.

Edited at 2012-07-22 02:54 am (UTC)
hells_half_acre
Jul. 22nd, 2012 03:19 am (UTC)
Cool! That's how I imagined they're handwriting would look like. Yay me!

Well, they may have been harkening back to the Victorian-era perception of China, but they're a modern setting, so I think my friend is right and it's just a slight ignorance that has continued somewhat into the present day. I've never lived in Britain myself, so I can't say. My friend left Britain more than 20 years ago, but he still goes back of course, and his family is still there. But yeah, currently, I live in a place affectionately referred to as Hong-Couver, so I've got a completely different view on Chinese culture. :P
(Deleted comment)
hells_half_acre
Aug. 10th, 2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
I had a strong suspicion that they weren't Germans, because they were speaking it FAR too "properly." All the Germans I know have some sort of regional accent that comes through, even when they are speaking Hochdeutsch.

I'm working on The Great Game, but it probably won't be done for another week or two. I timed it, and it takes me an hour to do 8 minutes. :P

And yes! Sherlock's expressions around Sebastian completely break my heart. You can just tell that whatever went down between Sherlock and Sebastian, it was totally cutting and horrible for Sherlock. I almost don't want to know.

And yeah, I'd have loved it if they gave us more of an explanation as to why Sarah decided not to stick it out with John...maybe they just weren't compatible when it came right down to it. But Sarah did at least TRY with Sherlock, which is more than I can say for the boring-teacher John tried to date in S2.
frozen_delight
Jul. 2nd, 2013 09:52 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that you didn't just gloss over "The Blind Banker". From a post-colonial studies point of view, the episode is a racist disgrace, and from that of the crime lover, the plot doesn't yield much. Speech-barriers and cultural differences aside, nobody could possibly be so stupid and continually confuse Sherlock and John.

That being said, I have to confess I do have a soft spot for this episode. It shows John at his worst and Sherlock at his most vulnerable and emotional. (Yes, there's the pool, there's Baskerville, but for me nothing exposes all of Sherlock's insecurities and past unhappiness so well as one minute in the company of Sebastian Wilkes.)

A lot of people side with John here...but, um, I'd like to point out that Sherlock just gave John his bank card/credit-card without a second thought.
Good point! Yes, I'm really fussy about my privacy and about other people touching my stuff, too, so I understand where John's coming from, but yes, Sherlock willingly shares everything with John - his living space, his work, his friends and now also his bank account.

He's not a misanthrope. He WANTS friends, he's just been continually rejected throughout his entire life. Also, Sherlock doesn't look at Sebastian for his next sentence...that's says a lot there. Throughout the beginning part of this conversation, he's constantly looking downward into the middle-distance when he first speaks.
Yes, yes, yes!
Which makes it even worse that John manages to misread the entire situation and actually smirks at Sebastian's hateful comments.

I like John's mumbled punchline here. You can barely hear it really.
Actually, I didn't hear it before you pointed it out, so thank you!

But oh John, you should not have left Soo Lin alone.
Worst thing John could possibly have done from a moral point of view. And yet inevitable, because he desperately needs Sherlock in his life and has to run to his rescue, even if Sherlock's chance of survival is a lot bigger than Soo Lin Yao's. I dedicated a whole fic to this topic, "Inflammatus et accensus".

I like the fact that they don't translate what Soo Lin says to her brother before he kills her.
Yes, that was the only bit of respect that was shown to foreign cultures in the entire episode.

Sherlock might be under the impression that Molly responds to compliments, while not understanding WHY, or that she only responds to compliments from HIM.
That's probably the case, if we take the disastrous Christmas party into account.

The thing I love about John though is that he doesn't pick up women by lying to them, or feeding them lines. He just knows how to behave.
For once a big no, sorry. John's behaviour towards potential or actual girlfriends is quite inacceptable. He doesn't register them as individuals, just as bodies that are able to provide sex. If he'd stuck with Sarah (or rather, she with him), that might have changed, but as it is, conducting a respectful relationship with a woman definitely isn't his forte.

Disgruntled Germans! these two speak German VERY properly.
Disgruntled, yes, Germans are always disgruntled. But the German they spoke was anything but proper, sorry. As a native speaker I really have to object here.

I love this case of mistaken identity - mainly, because it shows how much Sherlock and John have intertwined themselves in such a short period of time.
That's a very sweet explanation of a very stupid plot device.

"Don't worry, next date won't be like this."
I really hate John for saying that. He's trying to look cool in the midst of all this mess and being an unfeeling dickhead. If I'd been Sarah, I'd have punched him right there. But probably she was too exhausted, both mentally and physically...

So, yeah, maybe the problem with this episode is that it's not as rich in character exploration as the others. It's too much about the story, and not enough about the characters.
This is interesting. For me, as I've outlined at the beginning of this comment, it's entirely the other way round. The story does nothing for me, but I love the new facades of the characters that we're shown here.
hells_half_acre
Jul. 2nd, 2013 10:10 pm (UTC)
From a post-colonial studies point of view, the episode is a racist disgrace, and from that of the crime lover, the plot doesn't yield much.

Agreed.

For once a big no, sorry. John's behaviour towards potential or actual girlfriends is quite inacceptable. He doesn't register them as individuals, just as bodies that are able to provide sex.

Maybe I'd been watching too much HIMYM and my bar was too low? Haha... it could just be that my bar is too low in general. I mean, thinking about it now, I guess I have a personal bias that it's good in these situations - I'm horrible at relationships myself, and when I do decide to pick someone up, it's usually just to get off with a body that is able to provide sex - basically, I guess I'm saying that if I WERE to date (more frequently/again) I'd probably end up being a female version of John Watson... and some people would think I was the WORST, but I'd like me and probably some of the people I hooked up with would like me too, at least for the time I'd need them to. Yeah, yeah... I'm the worst and you're probably right on this one.

Disgruntled, yes, Germans are always disgruntled. But the German they spoke was anything but proper, sorry. As a native speaker I really have to object here.

My rule is that if I can understand it really well, I figure it's proper German... it's been 10 years since I lived in Germany and my ability to understand the individual dialects has decreased even more quickly than my ability to understand hoch deutsch spoken clearly. :P

That's a very sweet explanation of a very stupid plot device.

Hahaha, thank you! My rule is that I like to enjoy the shows I watch - and sometimes that means finding the NICEST explanation for really stupid plot devices and pretending that I believe that's what the writer was going for. ;)

I really hate John for saying that. He's trying to look cool in the midst of all this mess and being an unfeeling dickhead. If I'd been Sarah, I'd have punched him right there. But probably she was too exhausted, both mentally and physically...

Haha, yeah... that's not something you say when someone has just been traumatized for life. :P

This is interesting. For me, as I've outlined at the beginning of this comment, it's entirely the other way round. The story does nothing for me, but I love the new facades of the characters that we're shown here.

Interesting, indeed!
marlowe78
Feb. 20th, 2014 03:18 pm (UTC)
-I don't think you understand, John. You are now platonically married to Sherlock Holmes. He LIKES you. You will never have a night off for the rest of your life. He is your life-partner. You may have an open relationship, but he is forever your primary, I'm afraid.

And that sums it up quite nicely :-D

Disgruntled Germans! I love German...these two speak German VERY properly.

Uhm, no. They speak like puppets move on strings - all artificial and stop-motion-like. I'd have made them American tourists if they couldn't even find a fluent German-speaker in London for two lines :-D


So, please take note people - if this ever happens to you, TOPPLE YOUR CHAIR OVER. (Also, what the heck kind of life are you living?!)

Uh, yes :-D I also wondered why Sherlock didn't just topple over her chair later...

Some people take issue with the way usually bamf!John is kinda flipping out here. But, I don't know, he's tied up, has a concussion, and someone is going to shoot him point blank in the head. I think he's within his rights.


He's also been in the war (and supposedly not just as a doctor) and had been shot. He also said in e1 that that he doesn't need imagination to know what he'd say when he's about to die. I've thought right when I watched that he'd been in pretty much that position before in his life, and add his concussion to it, I can see him freaking out a bit.
hells_half_acre
Feb. 20th, 2014 04:41 pm (UTC)
Uhm, no. They speak like puppets move on strings - all artificial and stop-motion-like. I'd have made them American tourists if they couldn't even find a fluent German-speaker in London for two lines

That's what I meant by "very properly" - as in, "not like Germans at all, but rather like people who learned German in a language class and have never actually spent time in Germany." :P "Proper" was probably the wrong word to use - "artificial", like you used, would have been better. I meant "proper" as in stiff, but that's not the main definition of that word, I realize now.

He's also been in the war (and supposedly not just as a doctor) and had been shot. He also said in e1 that that he doesn't need imagination to know what he'd say when he's about to die. I've thought right when I watched that he'd been in pretty much that position before in his life, and add his concussion to it, I can see him freaking out a bit.

Agreed.

Edited at 2014-02-20 04:41 pm (UTC)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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