You are both wonderful actors who have made me cry.
Okay, well, my version of crying anyway...but I'll get to that later.
Let us begin, and the beginning, which is also the end.
Because BAM! They hit you with it right away. The opening scene was absolutely gorgeous in it's heartbreak. The water running down the window pane behind John's head like a waterfall - the way John can't even say Sherlock's name, can't say any of it...yet, before we even get to that, we have John treating his therapist like Sherlock treats/treated everyone "don't ask stupid questions" was the tone - of course she knows what's going on, of course she watches the telly, reads the paper...has heard all about The Great Sherlock Holmes...or, rather, the Reichenbach Detective.
Because we find out that Sherlock solved a very high profile case - and now he really is the darling of the press. No longer just a detective for small cases...he's finding paintings, and rescuing the Prime Ministers kids (or something)...and I loved these bits, with Sherlock trying to play along with social convention. With John trying to coach him through it. I loved Sherlock commenting on all the gifts to John.
At first, I thought I liked the gag-gift from Lestrade, because at least it wasn't something impersonal like cuff-links (all his cuff's have buttons) or tie pins (he doesn't wear ties)...no, it was a tease from Sally and Anderson in the back...and then later, I couldn't help but reinterpret it not as a friendly tease, but rather a cruel one. A lack of respect...though, I guess the point was that Sherlock never gave them respect either.
I liked Sherlock not understanding why SHERLOCK'S reputation would bother John...still not quite understanding the depth of how John cares for him, or perhaps not understanding what that depth MEANS.
Maybe it's because we knew what was coming, but Sherlock and John's domesticity scenes this episode were tinged with that feeling of "you'll regret that when he's dead..." or, not as strongly, "don't complain about each other, you have such little time." I think, though, that both John and Sherlock value honesty and the trust that comes with it...which, well, is another theme of the episode...so I don't think they'll regret these "domestics" or at least, they shouldn't. Though, I'm sure they both wish they had more time together...
Ugh, okay, sorry, not starting in on the depressing stuff yet. Let's do the ominous stuff...
The Moriarty Sequence - from the Tower of London ballet to the blues tune as we went to trial - was absolutely beautiful and amazingly well done. I especially like the song choice for that blue number.
The reporter - Kitty. Goddamn, I kind of wanted her to be of some help, but no...she was, of course, just as Sherlock said. Now, I must admit to being pulled a LITTLE bit out of the action here, and I feel really bad about it...but I'm a huge fan of the IT Crowd, so seeing Jen was sort of well...I said "JEN!" and then started thinking about Roy...and...yeah...but the actress was great, really, it's my own fault for having watched the IT Crowd way too much.
I did like her trailing after him saying "You and John Watson - just platonic?!" It IS so weird in today's society how men just can't be flatmates and best friends without people talking...in the 1800s, there was such things as "romantic friendships" and no one would bat an eyelash at some nice non-sexual cuddling...of course, that led to the backlash...and yeah, then we get today.
I'm getting way off topic here...where was I?
Oh, Moriarty to Baker St. I liked how Sherlock knew what would happen, knew he was coming. I like how Sherlock sets up a full tea service, extremely proper and according to social custom. Tea is a social ritual. I liked the unfinished piece and the discussion of Bach. The fact that Moriarty took Sherlock's chair, even though Sherlock pointed at John's. I'm actually kind of glad that Moriarty didn't sit in John's chair. Besides being blasphemous, it's completely the wrong aesthetic. Sherlock can sit in both his chair (modern) and John's chair (old-fashioned), because Sherlock is both these things. Moriarty doesn't have any of the old-fashioned qualities that Sherlock has.
I'm digressing again...
Although it was cruel and condescending...I DID like Moriarty's line about how maybe he should get a "live-in" ordinary person too.
I loved John walking into the Diogenes Club and talking at full volume trying to find Mycroft! Hilarious - but honestly, what was Mycroft thinking?
And then the assassins moving in...interesting...and I was thinking "Why is Mycroft telling John this, OF COURSE John is going to look out for Sherlock. IT'S WHAT JOHN DOES!"
John found the envelope, and just opened it, and I thought it was sawdust or something, but my first reaction was ANTHRAX! Haha, you can tell what era I grew up in :P
And then the kidnapping case....it was cool. I felt so bad for those kids.
But let's talk about MOLLY!
Molly is AWESOME! Just...the fact that she's noticed that Sherlock looks sad when John's not looking at him. It means that Sherlock is already worried...already suspicious that he won't be able to outwit Moriarty this time...already aware that he is playing into Moriarty's game exactly the way Moriarty wants him to, and he can't stop.
And I loved Molly for noticing...and I loved her for being Sherlock's friend, even though Sherlock says such mean things, always always...and I love Sherlock for looking at Molly and finally SEEING her, and understanding just how valuable a friend she is.
But, yeah, I also love the fact that Sherlock is already trying to protect John...always trying to protect John, even if it's just from Sherlock's doubt. John always has faith in Sherlock, and Sherlock doesn't want to do anything to change that. For all Sherlock's talk in The Great Game about John not making him into a hero - in this episode, Sherlock is desperately trying to be a hero for John.
And of course, as soon as he solves the kidnapping - I realize that he's being framed. And Sally suddenly decides to fulfill her prophecy, because she hates being wrong....and I hate her for it.
Sherlock still doesn't understand what John's problem is...and part of me can't believe that Sherlock could actually believe that John would think Sherlock was a criminal...(that was a confusing sentence on my part)... that is to say, that Sherlock should know by now that John would never - COULD never - think that of him. And I think he gets that by the time the scene is over, but still... I do like the fact that John never comes right out and says "I can't have people thinking you're a fraud, because you are the best and wisest man I have ever known, and I just want everyone else to see how brilliant and wonderful you are - I want everyone else to see what I see." But, I DID Like his version (the one that he can get away with and not bring horrid FEELINGS into things)..."no one can fake being such an annoying dick all of the time."
Handcuffs!! I love John punching the chief of police (or, whatever that guy's title was) because he called Sherlock names. And I love their escape...John holding onto Sherlock's sleeve in the alley was adorable, and them having to coordinate getting over that fence was also great (how DID John manage it?)...
And ..John picking up the newspaper and saying "kiss and tell with Rich Brook" and I was like "Whoa wait...does Sherlock actually have an old lover?"
Actually, while were on the subject...did anyone else find it a little weird that Sherlock and Mycroft weren't talking AT ALL?! I mean, geez...what happened between Hounds and now? Sherlock was able to call in a favour with Mycroft in Hounds, yet now Mycroft won't speak directly to him at all. Maybe just because he's guilty for what he did? I'm wondering if Mycroft made the classic mistake in this one...he gave John the information, thinking that John would tell Sherlock and give Sherlock a jump start at figuring out Moriarty's game. Only, Mycroft didn't realize that John doesn't actually tell Sherlock anything about their meetings...or anything at all unless Sherlock asks, or JOHN thinks it's important. So he tells about the assassins, but he doesn't give the name Rich Brook.
I had a pair of friends who were in a couple, and at the time, I lived with my best friend...our friends who were in the couple, would tell my best friend something, or tell me something, and then get mad when they found out that we didn't pass along the information to each other. Like, they just assumed that if they told me something, I'd immediately tell my best friend. Which, wasn't the case at all...and vice versa for my best friend. Anyway...yeah, couples (all sorts of couples) don't necessarily tell each other every single conversation they have in a day - even if that conversation is with the other person's brother. (Coincidentally, I once slept with my friend's brother, and I only told him about it 3 years later.)
I've gotten off topic again...
When they get to the reporters house and Moriarty is there! MAN! THAT BLEW MY MIND. Also, it was REALLY TRIPPY...because you KNOW it's all lies, but there's absolutely nothing in Andrew Scott's performance that's inauthentic to THAT moment. He doesn't let Moriarty bleed back in...there are no secret evil looks to Sherlock...no, he's playing Rich Brook.
Also, I was so focused on the other translation of Reich(=Empire), that I didn't even put the name-play together until Sherlock stated it at the end. :P
And then Sherlock takes off, and who is the last person (other than John) that he can trust? Molly.
If you are going to fake your own death, it helps to have friends at the morgue.
Molly is awesome yet again, of course, because she doesn't ask questions - she doesn't even want to hear Sherlock's explanation. He tells her that he thinks he might be dying, and she just says "what do you need?" and THAT my friends is how to be a friend.
Which brings me to another point: In so many Reichenbach/Empty House fics, it's Mycroft that's known the whole time that Sherlock is alive...and yet, in this version, does he? Does Mycroft know that he didn't kill his own brother?
Speaking of Mycroft - I love that John put it together that MYCROFT was the one that sold Sherlock up the river. It's a brilliant confrontation.
And when John got the call about Mrs. Hudson, I knew it was a fake...because we KNOW that Sherlock would fly into a rage/sadness/madness if anything were to happen to Mrs. Hudson...so, I do think John falls a little here, because he should have realized that Sherlock was playing him...and I think he does, as soon as he sees Mrs. Hudson perfectly healthy. But still, it hurt my heart as I watched, to think that John calling Sherlock a "machine" could be the last words he ever said to him.
And then the rooftop.
The whole scene was amazing...the battle of wits, and the round and round, and trying to figure out who is on top - who has the ace up their sleeve - who is acting distressed when they aren't? For how many contingencies has Sherlock planned?
Moriarty's suicide...I did NOT see coming. There's some joke I should make here about the look of surprise on my face or something...but, for some reason I think it'd be in poor taste.
And then everything that follows KILLS me:
Sherlock's distressed noises. Seriously, LISTEN to him. One thing I love about this version of Sherlock (and the thing that sets him apart from all other versions of Sherlock) is the fact that they weave in this slight autism to him...and those distressed noises strike at the core of that.
The Note - For days, weeks, months, I've been wondering how they were going to do "the note" - would it be a letter, would it be a text, would it be an email, would it be a comment on the blog? ...I never pictured a phone-call. I never pictured a version in which John can talk back...and it ripped my heart out. They REACHED for each other, and John's repeated use of "stop it. stop it." and "no, no, no" and just...I love how NATURAL it was, especially from John's end, because John didn't have a lie that he needed to spread, and he didn't have a ruse that he needed to carry out even though it broke his heart. John just had his best friend telling him lies from the edge of a building and asking him to believe them. The whole thing was gorgeous. Sherlock was CRYING, so much that it was dripping off his chin...and yeah...
The cyclist - was he part of the homeless network? It couldn't have been coincidence...the choreographed knock to the ground, that would delay John getting to the body...was the hit on the head lucky?
John...oh John..."he's my friend"...them prying his hand off the wrist...John just collapsing. Sitting in an empty flat with no shoes...and no, he's not going to tell his therapist all the things he would have liked to have said to Sherlock Holmes...because he CAN'T, because there's only one Sherlock Holmes.
Mrs Hudson...Sherlock's stuff is in boxes, and John won't return to the flat...can't. And John says he's angry, so she lists off all the things that drove her crazy about Sherlock, but they both loved him...and those are the things they would give anything to have to put up with again...
Interestingly, they did not put in "the best and wisest man I have ever know" - but I like what they did better, because it's more realistic that John would be a little in-eloquent...and it's MORE of a compliment to this Sherlock to call him human, not a freak, not a weirdo...a human with a heart.
"I was so alone and I owe you so much." - and this is where I swallow. Why does Holmes need Watson? (he's a doctor, he's normal, he's his only friend)...why does Watson need Holmes? This is what this version of Sherlock addresses: Sherlock and John were BOTH "so alone"...and then they found each other, and it doesn't have to be sexual to be love. And now, John's alone again...
"Could you stop being dead...could you just stop this," - and here we see as far as John Watson will get to a breakdown...because he's a British soldier. And this is done brilliantly, the way he swallows his words, whispers them, because he can't let the sobs sneak out behind the words. He covers his eyes when he tears up, because crying is something that is not done openly. He takes a deep breath, presses it all down, becomes the soldier he was and is - he does a military turn, and then he exits.
A family member of mine once complained to me about her British upbringing - British Protestant - where you aren't supposed to feel emotions, and you certainly aren't supposed to show them. I was raised much the same way...so, on this blog, I like to joke and say, "that would have made me cry, if I had a soul" or "I would have cried, except my heart is nothing more than an engine formed from the remnants of a dead star"...but the truth of the matter is that I very seldom cry about anything...and for that reason, when I do show an emotion other than happiness, my friends tend to freak out. So, when I say off the top, that Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch made me cry - I mean that they made my throat tight, and perhaps I blinked more often. And the fact that Martin Freeman made my throat tight just by making his own throat tight is really saying something for how amazingly accurately the emotions in this episode were written and acted.
So I love, I absolutely love, the last shot of John, mask in place, walking away as though his best friend wasn't buried in the ground. It's so goddamn British.
I loved it just as much as the shot of Sherlock, alive, watching as his best friend walks away.
So...how long do we have to wait for Series 3, so that we can all be happy again?